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Pilgrims complete holy journey to island

PILGRIMS from around the world have completed a journey to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in time for Easter.

SACRIFICE: Each pilgrim carries a large wooden cross for days to reach Lindisfarne in time.
SACRIFICE: Each pilgrim carries a large wooden cross for days to reach Lindisfarne in time.

Groups taking part in the Northern Cross pilgrimage set off from different locations in England and the Scottish Borders and walked for days to reach the destination, staying in church halls along the way.

Each group carried a wooden cross and walked between 70 and 120 miles. All the pilgrims met on the tidal causeway sands before crossing to Lindisfarne.

Frances Williams, overall co-ordinator of Northern Cross 2014, said: "Northern Cross is a very unique experience, a week of fellowship that can be tremendously rewarding as we share a common pilgrimage.

"Making this time for Easter, participants come from many different backgrounds, denominations and ages, all have left daily routines to enjoy pleasant walking, new friendships, and joyful liturgy. Walking together, we are boosted in many ways through experiencing the beautiful countryside, the local communities and by sharing prayer, worship and song. Ultimately we all have a really good time."

Also walking on the walk was Fr Brendan Callaghan SJ, new Novice Master for the Jesuit Order in Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Ms Williams said: "People may think pilgrimage is a historic concept, yet Christian pilgrimage is very much alive, demonstrated yearly by the five million people who go to Lourdes, or the 200 thousand who walk the Camino di Santiago [from the Pyrenees to north-west Spain].

"On pilgrimage we are removed from extra possessions, and just require whatever can be carried in a small bag.

"Cut down to essentials, we are stripped of most trappings of modern living. A pilgrimage is a chance to mirror life, to step back and look to see what the important things are. We can spend the time to look for meanings in life; or to work out things that trouble you, or just to reflect."

She added: "Northern Cross, and any walking pilgrimage, is a chance to get away from the demands of the world. The destination alone is not solely important — it is a goal — but the important thing is to form a small Christian group of people, travelling together on the road, using each other's skills, helping with each other's weaknesses."

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