The Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage has long been an annual highlight of our music ministry calendar. Each year we joyfully take on the task of bringing the theme and liturgies to life for the young people (and adults) who attend.
This year’s theme was ‘Wonderfully Made – Your Body, Christ’s Body’. Our pilgrims learned about the beauty of being who God has made them to be and how we are to live together as the body of Christ.
In the current age of social media and so-called reality television, it’s a very important message for our young people to hear.
MONDAY EVENING: Wonderfully Made
We welcomed our wonderfully made pilgrims under the big top for the first time to the tune of our theme song for the week, Fingerprints of God by Steven Curtis Chapman.
It proved to be a bit of an ear-worm, and pilgrims were singing it all over the site throughout the week – which is exactly what you hope will happen with a theme song.
In preparation for Bishop Philip North’s homily, we sang Bernadette Farrell’s beautiful setting of Psalm 138 (139) O God You Search Me (Our acoustic version is recorded on How Can We Keep From Singing? Vol. 1)
Finally, the pilgrims made their way out of the big top to make their first visit to the Holy House in a toe-tapping Marian procession, singing the Calypso Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, from How Can We Keep From Singing? Vol. 4
TUESDAY MORNING MASS: ‘Made by God” #designed
Our first morning Mass focused on the raising our awareness of our being #designed and created by God. We again gathered to Fingerprints of God and opened Mass with the ever-familiar refrain of All Things Bright and Beautiful which segued seamlessly into a full-throttle rendition of Chris Tomlin’s Indescribable.
Elle Limebear’s Maker of the Moon provided a beautiful, meditative backdrop to the Communion procession. The words were a perfect fit for the theme of the liturgy. And perfect for this moment when the King of Creation would meet us here, ‘face to face’, in the form of Bread and Wine.
The service concluded with the folk-hymnal classic, Laudato Si and a stirring rendition of Matt Redman’s Let Everything That Has Breath.
TUESDAY EVENING: ‘Made for Relationship’ #inrelationship
After a slightly soggy holy mile procession from the (RC) Slipper Chapel, the pilgrims quietly gathered in the Anglican Shrine Gardens as we played a few of our Marian favourites: Chris Rolinson’s setting of Hail Mary, Jo Boyce’s settings of Magnificat, and Blessed One by Aaron Thompson which we also recently recorded on How Can We Keep From Singing? Vol. 4.
Then our attention turned to the Blessed Sacrament, as we sang Behold the Lamb, while a sea of candle-bearing pilgrims knelt prayerfully on the damp grass.
WEDNESDAY MORNING MASS: ‘Made With a Purpose‘ #beautiful
On Wednesday Morning, our focus was the Incarnation and how God can inhabit a body like ours.
Our entrance song was Beautiful One by Tim Hughes and we pondered the truth that our wonderfully made beauty is but a reflection of the beauty of the One in whose image we are made.
For our offertory song, Stormzy’s Blinded by Your Grace, Part 2 put in an unplanned appearance. We had been planning to use Matt Maher’s All the People Said Amen. But Fr Stephen Gallagher’s homily made such strong reference to the Stormzy anthem that singing it seemed the appropriate response.
During Communion, the words of Graham Kendrick’s Meekness and Majesty echoed the message of Christ becoming one like us and dwelling within us so that we might share in his divinity.
Meekness and majesty manhood and deity, in perfect harmony the Man who is God, Lord of eternity dwells in humanity.
After Communion, Kari Jobe’s My Beloved provided the perfect moment to prayerfully hear God remind each of us just how beautiful we are in the eyes of the One who made us.
WEDNESDAY EVENING: ‘Meeting the Risen Christ’ #madewhole
Our music workshop choir joined us to sing the identity-affirming anthems Known by Tauren Wells and Lauren Daigle’s You Say. Our guest lead vocalist on You Say, was Molly Scott – a former youth pilgrim who also happen to be a 2018 X factor finalist.
THURSDAY MASS: ‘Made for Life‘ #Glorious
Thursday’s Mass anticipated the feast of Mary’s glorious Assumption into heaven. We opened with the upbeat Calypso Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
During the Gospel reading of the Visitation we sang Jo’s moving setting of the Magnicat. And our Marian focus flowed through to the intercessions with the simple sung response With Mary We Ask You.
Fr Philip Barnes spoke to us of our dignity and destiny – to share in the glory of heaven. And we responded in our Offertory song with Hillsong’s Who You Say I Am.
The final words of our Communion song, O Come to the Altar by Elevation Worship – reminded us that though we have a glorious destiny, we must faithfully “bear our cross as we wait for our crown…”
FRIDAY MASS: ‘Made to Be One ‘ #belong
The message of closing Mass was summed-up by Bishop Philip North in just six words: “Eat the body, be the body“. We focused on belonging to the Church as members of the Body of Christ, fed by the Body of Christ.
Our entrance song set the scene for our Eucharistic theme: a lilting, reggae version of the traditional hymn Guide O Thou Great Redeemer. We love to build these bridges between the traditional and the contemporary…
“Bread of Heaven… feed me ’til I want no more”
Our offertory song was We Are One Body by Dana. A World Youth Day theme song from way back in 1993, but just perfect for the day’s theme.
During the elevations in the Eucharistic prayer, we sang the corresponding verse of This is My Body (In Love For Me) to underline and echo the words of Institution.
After the mandatory reprise of this year’s pilgrimage favourites, the pilgrims left the big top, still dancing and singing “covered with the finger prints of God”.
It’ a truth we hope they never forget.
Photos by Hannah Brodie