On Tuesday 25th June the Catholic Church in Tetbury was invaded by over a hundred and twenty students representing the different secondary schools of the diocese.
The reason for this gathering? Our annual Secondary Schools Pilgrimage.
By Ann Fowler:
On Tuesday 25th June the Catholic Church in Tetbury was invaded by over a hundred and twenty students representing the different secondary schools of the diocese. The reason for this gathering? Our annual Secondary Schools Pilgrimage.
Although our choice of place for a walk, Westonbirt Arboretum may not at first sight seem like a place of pilgrimage it does provide a safe environment where students can walk together on a journey to discover more about themselves and their relationship with God. It is also wheelchair accessible which is essential for some of our students. We are also celebrating our belief that God is present in every aspect of our lives wherever we are we just need to allow ourselves to become conscious of God’s presence.
The day began with students arriving from the different parts of the Diocese in their various mini buses most of which were seen passing the church several times as drivers sought the elusive car park. However everyone eventually arrived and piled into the small church hall where students began the process of getting to know each other. We then celebrated mass together in the small but beautiful church. Dave Wheat our youth officer and two of our school chaplains, John and Caroline provided the music whilst everyone sang enthusiastically. Fr Isidore provided a drum accompaniment to our final hymn and sent everyone out singing. A stop for photographs then off to Westonbirt arboretum for lunch and then our walk. For many students it was their first opportunity to meet the Bishop in an informal setting and to talk to him.
During the walk students and staff from different schools took the opportunity to share ideas and stories and learn from one another. A moment of drama came when it seemed like one of the wheelchairs might be running out of power but we successfully made it back to the starting point without losing anyone along the way.
Special thanks go to Bishop Declan, Fr Patrice, Fr Kevin Henessey and Fr Isidore who gave up their time to celebrate and walk with the students, all the school staff who made the day possible and to the people of Tetbury Church who made us all so welcome.