Following two years of postponement and uncertainty, the annual Scottish National Youth Pilgrimage was once again a success as around 40 young people from across the country gathered to pilgrimage across Dunkeld and Birnam on Saturday 24th September.
The group, spanning ages between 12-35, split into junior and senior groups as they walked from St Columba’s RC Church, Birnam, over the bridge to the historic Dunkeld Cathedral, once the heart and namesake of the Diocese. Along the way, the pilgrims engaged in prayer and contemplation, with guided activities and stations at locations such as the Beatrix Potter gardens, and Little Dunkeld Kirk. Upon reaching the riverside, the groups were able to renew their baptismal promises against a backdrop reminiscent of the Jordan River, where Christ was baptised by St John.
The pilgrims were then welcomed into the Cathedral by the Rev. R. Fraser Penny, who has been the minister there for the past 22 years. Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh, who had been walking with the senior group, led a small reflection and prayer, before celebrating Holy Mass with the pilgrims at St Bride’s RC Church in Pitlochry.
The day was filled with fellowship, blessing and joy, with pilgrims of all ages from all over Scotland interacting with one another. A sincere thanks goes to the board members of the Scottish Catholic Youth Service for arranging the day; to Rev. Penny and his parishioners for granting the use of the Cathedral; to Fr. Emmanuel Adindu MSP, parish priest of St Brides, Pitlochry and St Columba’s, Birnam, and his parishioners, for opening their parishes and welcoming the pilgrims at the beginning and end of their journey; to the many youth workers and volunteer youth leaders who accompanied the young people; and to all the young pilgrims who participated in the day.
The Scottish National Youth Service will now be looking towards 2023 and the International World Youth Day pilgrimage, which will be held in Lisbon, Portugal from 1st-6th August 2023. Each diocese will be making their own arrangements for travel and accommodation. Young people ages 16-35 can find out more and register their interest here.