Blackpool Deanery Pilgrimage to the Holy Door

Sr Philomena Grimley SHCJ is a Sister of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, a community of Roman Catholic Sisters serving in the United States, Africa, Europe, Chile, and the Dominican Republic. Her community is based in Blackpool, in the parish of Christ the King and St Kentigern. Sr Philomena helped organise the Blackpool Deanery Year of Mercy Pilgrimage to Lancaster, using CAFOD resources as part of the day. Sr Philomena writes about the pilgrimage. 

Sr Philomena by the Martyrs Memorial

Sr Philomena by the Martyrs Memorial

On Saturday 10 September over 100 pilgrims from six parishes, that form the Blackpool deanery, travelled to Lancaster in order to take part in the Year of Mercy pilgrimage to the Holy Door at St Peter’s Cathedral.

We went in response to Pope Francis’ invitation to us all in this Jubilee to make a pilgrimage as a sign of opening ourselves to experience God’s loving mercy so as to be able to show it to others.

We went first to the Martyrs’ Memorial high on the hill above the Cathedral to be in communion with those pilgrims of faith who suffered there and in whose steps we follow Jesus. 

Pilgrims of all ages acting in solidarity with refugees

Pilgrims of all ages acting in solidarity with refugees

At the Cathedral, after our prayer together, each one entered through the Holy Door in silence and then we gathered in the beautiful Baptistry chapel to make our act of faith and pray for Pope Francis. All around the Cathedral were Prayer Stations and Prayer Guides we could visit, together with opportunities to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Two of the Prayer Stations offered the pilgrims an opportunity for action as well as prayer. Many took the CAFOD Lampedusa Cross cards and wrote messages of hope to be sent by CAFOD to refugees.

On the Station for Care of Creation, CAFOD’s set of post cards were there for the taking to help prayer and reflection, as Pope Francis has asked that Care for our Common Home be added to the Works of Mercy.

After a closing time of prayer together the pilgrims enjoyed each other’s company over tea and cake as we received the warm hospitality of the Cathedral’s social centre before our journey home.

Philomena Grimley SHCJ


Pilgrims and the Lampedusa Cross



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