Friday, 30 March 2012

Holy Week - Student Cross

Pilgrims across the country are beginning their final preparations before the annual Easter journey on Student Cross to the shrine to Mary in Walsingham, Norfolk.

On their way, they will provide many parishioners and people who see them as a reminder of the true meaning behind the Christian festival.

Ali Hodrien, national director of Student Cross for 2012, said: “For most people, Easter is more often represented by the chocolate eggs that have lined our supermarket shelves since January. For the pilgrims themselves, it is a reminder to themselves and the people we meet that Jesus’ sacrifice and his message of love is more important than ever.

From 31 March to 8 April, around 250 pilgrims of all ages and diverse backgrounds will experience a week of fun, friendship and freedom, with the occasional blister thrown in for good measure. Six of the 11 groups – or ‘legs’ will walk up to 130 miles, staying overnight in church and village halls, while two legs walk a shorter week for those unable to make this larger commitment.

In addition, there are three family legs which include a new group for teenagers and their parents, walking for the first time this year. Each leg carries a large, wooden cross and the arrival of these 11 crosses at the National Shrine to Our Lady in Walsingham, on the afternoon of Good Friday, will mark the beginning of the pilgrimage’s unique celebration of Easter.

Mrs Hodrien added: “Pilgrimage is actually a fantastic way to put our modern lives into perspective, and gives us the opportunity to reflect on those things that really matter to us. With the basic requirements of food and shelter met, we are freed from the everyday pressures of work or study, and able to relax into friendships old and new, while enjoying the beautiful countryside that we are privileged to walk through, and reassessing our relationship with God.

“One of the most touching things about the journey is meeting those that help us on our way. Their generosity – both practical and spiritual – is what makes our walk possible, and being welcomed by familiar faces who value our presence as a key part of their Easter preparations is a genuinely humbling experience.

“However many times a pilgrim joins us, they will always find their experience unique. Although we are only together for a short period of time each year, the experience reaches far beyond that and for many people is genuinely life changing. Although we only carry the cross for a week, we carry the experience in our hearts throughout the year.”

There are still places available for the pilgrimage. Visit: for more information or email

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