Together with other children from the Aberdaugleddau Deanery area, a group of 25 young people and helpers set out on a 3-day journey of Christian discipleship and discovery around St Davids.
By following in the ancient footsteps of thousands of pilgrims before them, the group walked from Solva, round St Justinians and ended up in St Davids Cathedral for prayers (topped off with fish and chips in the local chippy!). The trip involved some good old-fashioned camping at Caerfai Bay Campsite, where the children took turns in helping prepare meals and washing up, as well as ‘Pilgrimage Olympics’ and a lot of Uno! This is the second year of running this Pilgrimage with Amanda Coombe, the Deanery’s Youth and Family worker and the fellowship and witness of the children always amazes us, as does their sense of pride and achievement when they have completed the ‘challenge’.
St Jerome’s has also become the starting point for the 100km Way of St David pilgrimage route to St Davids, following the coast path from Neyland and Milford Haven through to Dale, Little Haven, Newgale and Solva.
Pilgrims are coming from as far away as Canada and the USA, as well from across the UK. After setting off from St Jerome’s with the help of a Pilgrim Blessing from Revd Marcus Zipperlen at the Sunday morning Eucharist, they walk for five days covering 20km (12 miles) a day, arriving in St Davids on the following Thursday. On arrival in St Davids Cathedral, the pilgrims are greeted by Janet Ingram, the Cathedral’s Pilgrimage and Education officer. They give thanks at the shrine of St David and then they visit Tŷ’r Pererin – the Pilgrims’ House – to receive their Way of St David Certificate to recognise their achievement in completing the pilgrimage.
The pilgrimages are organised by Iain Tweedale, who attends St Jerome’s and is also a volunteer holiday leader with Journeying, a not-for-profit Christian walking holidays organisation. “Many of the pilgrims who come on the Way of St David have already walked the Camino in Spain and are looking for a quieter and more contemplative route away from the summer crowds in Galicia,” he explains. “Others are attracted by the beauty of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and others come because they are at a cross-roads in their lives and are looking for time to think and work out what to do next. The pilgrimage path is also literally common ground for spiritual discovery where people who may be curious about Christianity can connect with Christians away from the more formal religious settings where it is harder to ask tough question about faith.”
Journeying is based in Pembrokeshire and is using its thirty years experience of pilgrimage holidays to work with St Davids Cathedral to develop the “Way of St David” into a fully-fledged pilgrimage route by 2023 to coincide with the 900th anniversary of the declaration by Pope Calixtus II that two pilgrimages to St Davids were the equivalent of one to Rome.
For more information on the Way of St Davids Pilgrimage and Certificates please contact Iain Tweedale at Journeying:
For more information on how to arrange a pilgrim welcome and tour at St Davids Cathedral, please contact Janet Ingram: