An inside view of the Shrine of Our Lady St.Mary of Glastonbury Church, copyright Glastonbury Shrine.
By David Baldwin
Well, OK, a bit of an ‘over the top' headline, but I come from an over-the-top sort of place, and anyway I seriously want to engage your attention over a serious matter. The matter, is the place I come from – Glastonbury – a place that can be described as spiritual, but sadly these days for all the wrong reasons. Many hundreds of years ago it was a full-on Christian community, but nowadays it is awash with new-age influences, ranging from the mildly wacky joss-stick-and-crystal brigade, to the deadly and sinister practises of witchcraft and satanism. But in amongst all that are people genuinely seeking spiritual fulfilment.
Our parish church – the Shrine of Our Lady St Mary of Glastonbury (www.glastonburyshrine.co.uk) – is beginning to go on the offensive, and one of our major events in support of this is processing Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament down Glastonbury High Street during the annual Youth 2000 Festival of Prayer. About three hundred and fifty of us, but mostly young people, form up behind the Blessed Sacrament, and armed with our music ministry, rosaries, Miraculous medals and prayer cards, take to the streets to give joyful and convincing witness to the people of Glastonbury of all persuasions that Jesus is Lord.Reactions from onlookers and passers-by are normally positive, for who can resist joyful young people in full song and sincerity? And whilst it was not necessarily an opportunity for detailed one-on-one evangelisation, it is certainly a powerful collective witness of faith, and who knows what effect this procession will have on individuals as they watched and wondered, as they examine the proffered prayer card, as they thoughtfully finger the rosary beads…..as the echoes of joyful people die away down the street, or back in the silence of their homes?