New pilgrimage routes have been unveiled between our wonderful cathedrals and other “holy magnets” in our diocese.
The British Pilgrimage Trust and the Association of English Cathedrals have drawn together a host of walks including a 6.5 mile route from Fountains Abbey to Ripon Cathedral; Paulinus Way, a one-week, 65-mile walk from Todmorden to York Minster and a walk between Halifax Minster and Bradford Cathedral.
A newly-invented route takes walkers from Dewsbury Minster to Wakefield Cathedral or for keen hikers, the Yorkshire Dales Abbey Way is an option – a 136 mile, 13 day pilgrimage from Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds to Whitby Abbey.
Dr Hayward co-founder of the British Pilgrimage Trust said: “Cathedrals are the ultimate symbols of destination.”
“This project is about creating a whole new way of engaging with cathedrals for everyone, whether or not they have been into a cathedral before. It turns cathedrals into more than just tourist places by turning tourists into visitors and visitors into pilgrims.
“Cathedrals are, in some way, holy magnets: most obviously in a visual sense as they are often the only thing you can see on the horizon.”
The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson DL said: “In recent years it has been a joy to see an increasing number of people coming to Ripon as pilgrims. It seems that many who come as tourists and visitors discover that they have become pilgrims before they leave.
“Our Anglo Saxon crypt, a medieval centre of pilgrimage, was built by St Wilfrid in 672 and remains a major attraction for many pilgrims today.
“The crypt symbolises the empty tomb of Christ. Its message of hope, founded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, perhaps gives to those who have discovered the Christian faith and those who have yet to do so, a sense of life’s true destination being found in the unfailing love of God.”
The Dean of Wakefield, the Very Rev Simon Cowling said: “The doors of all our cathedrals always stand open for you, whether you want to come on pilgrimage, or if as individuals you want come and have a conversation with any of us. You will always be welcome and I hope to see you very soon.”
The Dean of Bradford, the Very Rev Jerry Lepine commented: “Bradford Cathedral is a vital part of the life of this city and Diocese and we look forward to our next 100 years.”
This national project aims to establish a pilgrimage route for every Church of England cathedral, taking in established wayfarer routes, other places of faith, “spiritual pathways” and lesser-known walkways.
It pays tribute to a number of cathedral anniversaries taking place next year – from the 850 years since the murder of Thomas Becket, once Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1170 – to the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Coventry.