Today started with a nice morning prayer, led by Fr Luke Goymour, in the backyard of our hostel in Viana do Castelo to send us on our way around this very beautiful city.
We then went to a local park for a group activity with other nationalities, when we read through a passage that Pope Francis had written and we had to talk about different issues that our church communities and world faces. We talked about climate change, conflict and other big topics and what we can each do about them.
The rest of the day was spent doing different workshops that were designed to give all of the pilgrims a greater knowledge of the Portuguese heritage and history in Viana do Castelo. The workshops include making a salt carpet as well as traditional dancing.
Today we took the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham around with us. The statue first went to World Youth Day in 2019 when a small group from the Diocese of East Anglia went to Panama, since then the statue has accompanied the youth of East Anglia on many pilgrimages.
Our Lady of Walsingham fits particularly well with the current theme for World Youth Day which is “Mary arose and went with haste”. This occurs right after Mary’s “yes” to God which is an integral part of the story of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Each day a different small group will be in charge of carrying the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham with them for the day. The statue came with us when we had a chance to explore some of the local culture in Viana do Castello. This included learning some traditional dancing, tying knots and about traditional flower making crafts. The lady running the workshop on flower crafts made out of paper, very kindly gave us one to keep with the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham. There was also an opportunity to have a go at traditional embroidery and salt art.
We finished the day with a ceremony of light, where we prayed the rosary together with other pilgrims from around the world, also visiting for World Youth Day. Each decade of the rosary was said in a different language representing the different pilgrims at the service including Portuguese, English, Polish and Ukrainian. Throughout the day many people asked questions about the statue and it was an amazing opportunity to introduce people to Our Lady of Walsingham.
Pictured above are East Anglia pilgrims with their friends from the Diocese of Plymouth.
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