The recent 2022 annual East Anglia Diocesan Young Adults Pilgrimage saw young people from the diocese walking in the footsteps of St Winefride and the many saints of that part of Britain, say Ciaran Losasso and Elliot Cannon from the diocese.
The group comprised six young adults ranging in age from 16 to mid-30s, travelling by road from East Anglia and staying at the Vincentian Retreat Centre in Pantasaph near Holywell. Each day was spent exploring different ways to pray from the Church’s rich treasury alongside day trips to holy sites across the north of Wales, associated with a multitude of saints including St Trillo, St Asaph, St Beuno, St Mungo and others.
These included holy wells, island churches and beautiful coastal scenery. In all things we sought to find ways to take opportunities to draw closer to Jesus by asking the prayers of his saints, learning from their example and spending quality time with the Lord in prayer.
A real highlight was our visit to the Shrine of St Winefride at Holywell, where we bathed in the well that sprung up on the site of her beheading. The story of St Winefride’s purity and fire for God was inspirational to us, as were the stories the many people who had visited the shrine over the years – including during persecution.
The pilgrimage was also full of laughter, fellowship, late night card games and conversation. One pilgrim said, “Looking back it was a calm time away with the Lord and a small group of pilgrims”. Others felt they had learnt new ways to pray or had re-connected with their faith by taking time away from the bustle of day-to-day life.
The opportunity for Confession and daily Mass was greatly appreciated and all agreed that it was great few days in the company of God, of each other and of some remarkable ancient saints.