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Pilgrimage to Door of Mercy 2016


Putney marks the beginning of the boat race which finishes down river at Mortlake but on the morning of Saturday 9th September it became the foot pace from Putney up river to St. George’s Cathedral, Southwark for the Mortlake Deanery.

Over 80 pilgrims arrived at the Cathedral to go through the Door of Mercy led by the cathedral Dean, Fr. Richard Hearn.

The six and half mile route along the bank of the river Thames was carefully researched and trodden beforehand by Clive Sinnott of the Mortlake Deanery Pastoral Council the chief organiser of the  pilgrimage.

The day, in overcast conditions and threatening rain, began with a gathering of pilgrims from East Sheen, Ham, Kew, Mortlake, Putney, Richmond, Roehampton, and Wimbledon Common the eight parishes which make  up the Mortlake Deanery together with the German Community at Ham and the Chair of the Pastoral Council, Fiona Hoyle.

Canon Michael O’Dea, parish priest of Putney, led the pilgrims in reciting the Diocesan Jubilee Prayer and gave a short and uplifting talk before everyone set off to walk to the river Thames.

There were little children, some in buggies and other walking, with a group of pilgrims at the other end of the age spectrum together with religious nuns and priests. Even a dog came along but when tiredness crept in he was transported in a wheelchair cradled in the arms of its owner who was making the pilgrimage.

The only heavy rain came down on the embankment near Lambeth Bridge with refuge and lunch taken in Archbishop’s Park, Lambeth Palace. An earlier stop for tea and coffee had been in Battersea Park.

More pilgrims arrived at St. George’s Cathedral. The Dean of the Cathedral, Fr. Richard Hearn welcomed the pilgrims and led them through the Door of Mercy. On the other side of the Door in the Cathedral there was the blessing of water and sprinkling as a reminder of baptism.

The group then processed to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel to pray before the exposed Blessed Sacrament with the opportunity to go to confession to one of the five priests available which included three from the Mortlake Deanery, Canon Michael O’Dea, Fr. Richard Whinder and Monsignor William Saunders.

The Jubilee Prayer of the Diocese was said and following Benediction tea and coffee was taken in the Amigo Hall with the pilgrims then going their disparate ways home.

The pilgrimage was a great success with spirits high at the end with a sense of achievement and inner peace and contentment at having braved the elements completed the walk and made the pilgrimage through the Door of Mercy in the special Jubilee Year of Mercy.

 It was a pilgrimage to remember.


Pilgrimage Door of Mercy 2016