Saturday 7th September saw a group of Pilgrims from St. Matthew’s and St. Catherine of Siena heading up the A1 to join Pilgrims from around the Northern Province at Durham Cathedral. The occasion? A celebration for the Feast of the Translation of the Relics of St. Cuthbert from Holy Island to Durham.
The vast Cathedral and its staff greeted us with joy and warmth ubiquitous with that part of the world. A beautiful Mass was presided over by the Bishop of Beverley and a fascinating sermon was preached by Fr. Kevin Smith SSC, who brought greetings from Our Lady’s Shrine at Walsingham. Members of the Mission Partnership joined the Celebration Choir, singing the beautiful ‘Collegium Regale’ Mass setting by Herbert Howells, and Hubert Parry’s My soul, there is a country from his Songs of Farewell. Following Mass those assembled processed around the Cathedral to the Shrine of St. Cuthbert, during which we sang a hymn telling of the history of Northern Christianity to the rousing tune of Onward Christian Soldiers.
It always makes me chuckle when on pilgrimage it’s quite acceptable to sing, with great gusto I hasten to add, of fierce marauders, invading heathen hosts, and slaying Thanes. I do love a good pilgrimage hymn! On arrival at the Shrine we gathered underneath and joined in the beautiful singing of the Litany of the Saints before being dismissed by the Bishop. Following Mass we went our separate ways for lunch in Durham, many of us, Ordained and Lay, enjoyed the very generous North Eastern hospitality! A truly enjoyable and uplifting day of worship and fellowship.