How fast has WYD crept up on us? I honestly can remember our first preparation day and I thought, well, 2011, that’s a long time away – it’ll take forever! But now I can see that the closer we get to going, the quicker the time flies by!
The Diocese of East Anglia’s group of young people start our pilgrimage in just one week. My parish priest, Fr Martin Fears, came up with a great idea for us to attempt on the way to Spain – a 3 Shrine Challenge! As the Diocese of East Anglia is home to England’s Nation Shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk, we are starting our pilgrimage from there. We are having Mass at 6 in the morning (yes, you did read that right!) and starting the long coach journey straight afterwards.
We will then travel to France, where we will stay the night in Poitiers (which is an absolutely gorgeous place), and carry on to Spain. However, we will stop off at Lourdes, the breathtaking shrine where Our Lady visited St Bernadette, to take a look around and hopefully inspire most of our group who have never been there, including me! After this, we will travel to Zaragoza, an archdiocese in Spain that is home to their national Shrine to Our Lady, and this is where we will spend the first few days with the Days in the Diocese programme.
As I have never been to WYD before (I was one year too young to go to WYDSyd 2008) , I’m not really sure what to expect. People have told me different things about it and their experiences, but I’d like to have my own experiences and I can’t wait to do this!
Our group have decided to do this pilgrimage in memory of our departed bishop, Bishop Michael Evans, who passed away on the 11th July and who would have celebrated his 60th birthday on the 10th August, the day we leave for Spain. He was such an inspiration to all of us and really helped the youth of the diocese become involved with lots across the entire diocese, including WYD. We will keep him in our minds all the way through WYD and beyond and we know that he will now be able to be with us every step of the way.
We might not know exactly where we’re staying yet, or who we’re going to be with, but it will sort! I’m far too excited over WYD – I’ve bought a whole new wardrobe for Spain and I’m being told that I can’t pack just yet, otherwise I’m going to have no clothes for the next week! It’s going to be such an amazing thing to be involved with and to be a Communications Officer, with this responsibility, makes it much more so!
I’m planning to blog next when I’m on the coach going to Spain, so please read and spread the joyous word of WYD!!!