With backpacks loaded up, water bottles filled and waterproofs at the ready we gathered in our Community Chapel to pray before hitting the road. We uttered pilgrim prayers and prepared ourselves for our two day, 20 mile, pilgrimage to the Community of the Holy Cross at Costock.
After prayers we tied up our boots and made the several hundred yard walk to Leicester Cathedral for our first prayer stop. We stopped outside St Nicholas (where we took our community promise), St Margaret’s and on the ruins of Leicester Abbey to pray our Pilgrimage Micro-Service (download the whole Micro-service > https://leicestertreeoflife.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Pilgrimage-Micro-Liturgy.pdf).
Prayer of Blessing
Thank you, Father, for this ancient place of prayer:
For the faith that has blossomed here,
And for the worship in all seasons offered here;
For the lives that have been transformed here,
And commitment stirred into life here.
As we tread in the footsteps
Of our mothers and fathers in the faith
Bless us and all who come here,
This is the house of God.
This is a gate of heaven.
From Abbey Park we followed the river out of the city. We walked through Watermead park, where we watched butterflies dance and young people launch kayaks into the soar. We arrived to a warm welcome at St James the Great, Birstall. We shared lunch and prayed together. We took time to take in the amazing Theodura Salusbury Stained glass.
Watered and fed we got back on the road stopping to pray at St Michaels and All Angels, Thurmaston and All Saints Cossington. It was lovely to see the residue of #ThyKingdomCome prayer at Cossington and to stand with them to pray for the restoration of their building. As well as sharing an ice lolly and cup of tea!
Refreshed, we continued on our way, pausing in Sileby to pray at St Mary’s and the Methodist chapel. We circumnavigated a huge free-range chicken farm, before arriving at our day one destination: Seagrave.
We shared a meal with our amazing hosts and set up ‘Champ’ at All Saints, Seagrave. We said Compline together with lots of local parishioners, disable the church bells and turned out the lights for the night.
The smell of bacon sandwiches (a massive shout out to the awesome Trisha Nutter!!) and coffee got us out of beds bright and early. We packed up, said morning prayers and got back on the road. The road quickly became a path and then a track and then a field.
We skipped across styles, crossed corn fields, galloped through grass glades and found our way through forests stopping in awe to admire Gods creation. The highlight being a drove of hares happily hopping and recklessly racing around a field.
Field after field after field was broken up by a car boot coffee shop (set up by Trisha) and a prayer stop at St Mary’s, Wymeswold. With the sun beating down and legs beginning to turn to jelly we made our descent to Costock. We stopped at Costock C of E Primary School to be grilled about the Community of the Tree of Life by a bunch of vary curious school children.
Do you like your job? Are you a nun? What do you want to be when you grow up?
Post grilling, we grabbed lunch and made our final prayer stop at St Giles. Gathering every ounce of remaining energy, we hopped up Bunny Hill (A60), arriving at the Community of the Holy Cross in time to join the sisters for Vespers.
Psalm 93 / St Patrick’s Breastplate
You know when I leave and when I return;
Never out of step.
You know where I’m coming from and where I going;
Never out of your sight.
You know what’s in my head and on my tongue;
Never out of touch.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise