On Friday 10th June 50 students and 7 staff undertook a Pilgrimage to the Door of Mercy at St George’s Cathedral. The event was organised to commemorate the Jubilee Year of Mercy which was announced by Pope Francis in December.
The Jubilee Year of Mercy is a time for the Church itself and for Catholics everywhere to show mercy and compassion, in thought and in deed, and focus on forgiveness, reconciliation and doing good in concrete ways for the needy and those on the margins of society. Doors of Mercy have been set up at every Cathedral in the world and journeying through a Door of Mercy a sign of spiritual renewal, and the passage from sin to grace.
For the group from the School the pilgrimage started at the Church of the Precious Blood in Borough. We arrived early and a number of students took the opportunity to go to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. The whole group then attend the parish lunchtime Mass which was led by Fr Chris Pearson. Fr Chris tailored his homily to express how Christ calls each of us to a higher ideal that it is not enough for us to just to follow the rules, but we had to display love and understanding through our following of the rules. It was a wonderful time of quiet prayer and reflection and an excellent start to the pilgrimage.
Following Mass, Catholic Historian Joanna Bogle joined the group. Through her inimitable style with enthusiasm and knowledge, she shared the history of London and Southwark with the young people whilst taking them on a tour of Southwark.
The pilgrimage ended at St George’s Cathedral, the annual venue for Challoner Day, the students and staff got to experience it in a different light. They had the opportunity to learn more about the Cathedral’s history, and then spent time in quiet reflection, thinking through what they had learned and experienced, and how to open themselves to be conduits to God’s mercy and love. Fr Ola Craig then led the group in the Door of Mercy Prayer Service, which included sprinkling with holy water and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Some thoughts from students about the day:
“The day was very spiritual and calming, it made you feel one step closer to God. It helped you understand your religion on a deeper level and you were surrounded be people where you could see their faith shining through.”
“A very helpful experience because we got to explore the history of our religion. We saw how the roots of Christianity date back and how much effect it has on our lives today”