What does pilgrimage mean?

A local vicar is to make a 20-mile pilgrimage to Bury St Edmunds Cathedral to mark the 1000th year of the Abbey of St Edmund and raise money for a mental health charity to help those in need during these uncertain times.

What does Pilgrimage mean to you?

The Revd Tom Mumford from St Gregory’s Church in Sudbury will walk a 20-mile stretch of St Edmund’s Way from Sudbury to the Cathedral this Saturday (Aug 22) where he will be met by the Dean, the Very Revd Joe Hawes.

He is raising funds for the Kernos Centre in Sudbury.

Tom said:

“The COVID19 pandemic has heightened anxiety in our nation like nothing I have seen in my lifetime. Isolation has intensified loneliness, lockdown has caused both mental and financial depression. Our lives have been changed entirely, almost overnight. We have all had our dark days and weeks.

“I know from my own experience and from speaking to parishioners during lockdown that things have been really up and down. So, recognising the increasing need for mental health support at this time, all money I raise will be donated to the Kernos centre to support local people in their time of need.”

You can donate here.

Bury St Edmunds was once a centre of international pilgrimage with people travelling thousands of miles to visit the shrine of St Edmund.

Only eight of the original pilgrim badges 15th century pilgrims would acquire once they had completed the journey still exist, and on Saturday Tom will wear a replica of one of them presented to him by Moyse’s Hall Museum, home to the original, and specially made by Dr Steve Jones, Metallurgist and Secretary of the Friends of Moyse’s Hall Museum.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral had a number of pilgrimages planned for 2020 as part of the Year of Pilgrimage and their 1,000th anniversary events. Some of these went online when we went into lockdown, but work has just started on a number of new pilgrimage trails people can download and use.

Find them here.

The Dean of St Edmundsbury, the Very Revd Joe Hawes said:

“We are keen to encourage people to rediscover Bury St Edmunds as a pilgrimage destination and in the tradition of Benedictine hospitality, we look forward to welcoming Tom and sharing in prayer with him, as he arrives at the end of his pilgrimage along the St Edmund’s Way.

“’In 2021 there will be opportunities for people to make their own pilgrimages, as part of the anniversary of the founding of the Abbey of St Edmund, as we develop our pilgrimage heritage,’ he added.

Find out more about 2020 Year of Pilgrimage, Year of Cathedrals.