Pilgrim’s Journey

The annual Christian cross–carrying Pilgrimage to Holy Island will begin tomorrow. During the week before Easter,  dozens of pilgrims will make the 100 mile trek through Northumberland and the Scottish Borders to the ancient shrine.
Northern Cross starts on Friday 26 March and finishes on the Island of Lindisfarne, (Holy Island)  Northumberland,  on Easter Sunday, 4 April. The pilgrimage began in 1976 and has grown steadily every year.
This year’s pilgrimage is made up of three groups or ‘Legs’ who will set off for Holy Island – Lindisfarne in Northumberland to join together and celebrate the Easter weekend. They will walk 10 –19 miles per day and each group carries a large wooden cross as a sign of Christian witness. They stay in church and village halls along the route, and join in with  people of local churches for worship. Groups will be starting from Bellingham ,Northumberland,, Lanark ,Strathclyde, and Carlisle ,Cumbria. The pilgrims of Northern Cross come from many different denominations, as do the hosts, but are linked by their enthusiasm for walking through beautiful countryside  and their faith in God.
All too often we forget the ancient and powerful traditions of the Christian Faith. For generations upon generations pilgrims have traveled to Holy Island, for almost as long as Christianity has been in these islands. For most of that time there were no trains, planes or automobiles. In those days such a journey was a huge and dangerous undertaken, given that most people never left their home villages. They traveled hundreds of miles by foot, a living journey of faith.
There is a tendency among human beings to fixate on the present day, often it is hard not to, especially no when there is so much to occupy our minds.
But in the past we will find many answers especially in the Christian traditions of our ancestors.
As we go through this holy week, spare a prayer for those brave pilgrims traveling towards holy island in what is likely to me inclement weather. And have a thought for the example they all those who have traveled that path before set for modern Catholics.

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