Dominican Friars’ Pilgrimage Passes Through Henley

Residents and Regatta-goers may have been surprised to see four friars on the Thames Path over the past two days as they stopped over on a pilgrimage walk from Ramsgate to Oxford.

Father Toby (second right) explained:

“I’m one of four Dominican Friars currently walking from Ramsgate in Kent, through Canterbury, London and the Thames Path on our way to Oxford.  We are doing a pilgrimage to commemorate 800 years since the first Dominican Friars were sent from Bologna by Saint Dominic to make a foundation in Oxford.

“Despite the fact that we look like a mediaeval re-enactment society, we are real Dominican Friars and we are inviting people to share in our pilgrimage along the way.  Some have joined us for a number of days, some for an hour or two.

“Part of what we are doing is to show the joy of the Christian Gospel, and to show that this way of life of poverty, obedience and chastity – most people’s idea of a nightmare – can be something joyful.   And also, very importantly, we are carrying people’s prayer requests along the way with us in our pockets.   It’s been a tough 18 months for many, and we are praying their intentions along the way.”

The group left Henley at 11am today for Pangbourne and will arrive in Oxford on Sunday.

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