The Student Cross pilgrimage has taken place every year since 1948. The name reflects the origins of the pilgrimage, which now involves students, as well as many more experienced participants, from new-borns right through to pensioners.
Each group collectively carries a large wooden cross as a witness to the people that they pass, crossing fens and gently rolling hills on the way to Walsingham. One group is known as London Leg and sets off from Epping. The pilgrims are welcomed, accommodated and fed by kind-hearted churches and individuals along the route, as they live out their Christian witness in this special way.
Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, archbishop of Liverpool, walked Student Cross in the 1980s; recently he spoke about his experiences of the pilgrimage: “You meet yourself, that’s the person you don’t expect to meet, and you meet Jesus in your fellow pilgrims and those you meet on the way. It was a wonderful thing to do and I recommend it to everybody.”
Student Cross is different each time you walk, but always meaningful and enjoyable. The physical journey culminates in the arrival in Walsingham on Good Friday, where the whole pilgrim body celebrates Easter together.
José Pedro Vieira, who walked from Kettering in 2017, said: “Student cross is unlike anything you’ve seen before. Filled with moments of pure fun and of deep spiritual experiences, it is a most wonderful way to live the Holy Week!”
The pilgrimage is a chance to celebrate Easter in a unique way, by living Holy Week in community, celebrating liturgy and tangibly walking with Christ towards the joy of the Resurrection.
Megan, who walked for the first time in 2017, said: “We talked, we laughed, we ate cake, we sang, we shared amazing moments together and became a family through the simple act of walking along winding lanes together.”
Those interested in joining the 2018 pilgrimage can find out more and register at Student Cross, or contact Laura on 07891464066.
Those walking invite you to pray for them as they make their journey and hold the communities they pass in their prayers.