The pilgrimage began in 1984 with two coaches from London, led by Fr Jeremy Davies (Westminster Diocese). The intention was, and still is, to pray for an end to abortion and to make reparation for the millions of abortions that have taken place. Soon, others began to come, at first by car and then later by coach. Now, more than a 1000 pilgrims travel by coach from many points. Information about the pilgrimage is widely circulated among individuals and small groups in many other areas too. All pro-life leaders are invited to join the pilgrimage and are asked to encourage their members to take part.
We have been blessed and encouraged by the Bishops who have led the pilgrimages over the years, and have spoken with compassion, understanding and hope. Pilgrims have returned to their homes strengthened for the tasks they undertake on behalf of those who have no voice of their own.
In 2022 the Pilgrimage was led by Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth. Bishop Philip chose the theme for the Pilgrimage as’ Promoting Life from conception to natural death’. In his homily he started by thanking all who work for the pro-life cause for their witness to the sanctity of life, He went on to outline three prayer intentions for the day. Firstly, to thank God for life, and the immense love that has created the world we live in and all things that live in it. Secondly, to make reparation for the sins against life, in their many forms, but mostly in the form of abortion and euthanasia Thirdly, he asked that we pray for a new heart, for new courage and strength to proclaim the gospel of life to a society which has lost sight of life, family, morality or spirituality. At the same time he pointed to signs of hope, such as the decision on Roe v Wade, the increasing number in favour of lowering the limits on abortion. He said that it is not the message we proclaim that is wrong, it’s about making sure that the message comes over clearly and attactively. He finished by pointing us to the transfigured Jesus and the admonition ‘listen to Him’, to come to him through Mary and receive from him the guidance of his Holy Spirit in order to carry out this work.
The full text of Bishop Philip’s homily can be found here
Bishops who have previously led the Pilgrimage
(homily available where names are highlighted)
Rt Rev. Bishop Mark O’Toole, Bishop of Plymouth
Rt Rev. Robert Byrne CO, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham.
Rt Rev. Alan Williams, Bishop of Brentwood
Rt Rev. Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth
Rt Rev. Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury
Rt Rev. John Sherrington, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster
Most Rev. Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham
Most Rev. Kevin McDonald, Archbishop of Southwark
Rt Rev. Gordon Wheeler, Bishop of Leeds
Rt Rev. Ambrose Griffiths, Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle
Rt Rev. Peter Doyle, Bishop of Northampton
Rt Rev. Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood
Rt Rev. Patrick O’Donoghue, Bishop of Lancaster
Rt Rev. Arthur Roche, formerly Bishop of Leeds
Rt Rev. Alan Hopes, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster
Rt Rev. John Arnold, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster
Rt Rev. John Hine, Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark
Rt Rev. Marcus Stock, Bishop of Leeds