Year of Cathedrals, Year of Pilgrimage
Following in the footsteps of a thousand years of pilgrims: the first St Frideswide Pilgrimage
More than 400 people will be following in ancient footsteps of a thousand years of pilgrims when they take their first steps on the inaugural St Frideswide Pilgrimage this Saturday leading to Christ Church Cathedral Oxford.
St Frideswide is the Patron Saint of both the city and University of Oxford, and her shrine lies in the Cathedral. Her saint’s day on 19 October has become a day for celebration across the county known as Oxfordshire Day.
Pilgrimage has been at the heart of mission and ministry at Christ Church Oxford, which regularly attracts different parish groups from the 815 parishes across the Diocese of Oxford, and the St Frideswide Pilgrimage has been planned in partnership with the Diocese.
(More about 2020, Year of Pilgrimage here).
People will be arriving at the Cathedral by one of four routes, representing the four points of the compass. The routes use a mix of footpaths and the Thames Path, and vary in length from 17 miles from Dorchester Abbey (across two days) to a family friendly 1.5 miles on Saturday afternoon from Iffley Lock.
Pilgrims are expected to arrive at the Cathedral from 2pm and prayer stations have been set up for reflection and prayer and they will also be invited to pray at the Shrine of St Frideswide in the Cathedral’s Latin Chapel.
There will be a short reflective service at 4pm, which will include an anthem by the St Frideswide Consort, the older members of the Cathedral’s girls’ choir. Both the Dean, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, and the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, will help lead the service.
The Succentor, the Revd Philippa White, one of the key organisers of the day said:
“I’m excited to welcome pilgrims from around the Diocese and beyond to their Cathedral.
“Like many others rediscovering pilgrimage around the world, they are quite literally following in the footsteps of over a thousand years of pilgrims finding in this place beauty, transcendence and the presence of God.
“As we celebrate Frideswide as our sister in faith, whose life shows us what it is to follow God’s call, we offer to all who wish the chance to step aside from ordinary routine and into sacred space, experiencing the Cathedral in a variety of ways both traditional and contemporary. We pray that God will meet all who gather with us.”
For more information visit the Pilgrimage section the Christ Church Cathedral website.