St. Boniface Day 2010

One verb would adequately summarise my experience of the annual St. Boniface Day, and that verb is ‘walking’. Leaving the small village in Nes, after a pilgrim’s blessing from Fr van Ulden, we set off towards the coast of the Wadden sea near Wierum. We walked along the dyke, amid several flocks of sheep and numerous oystercatchers, swallows and housemartins. After a few kilometers we left the dyke and turned southward towards the village of Ternaard, from where we headed on towards Hantum, Hiaure and ultimately Dokkum. It was close to noon when we reached our destination; the St. Boniface park. In the four hours before that we covered some 18 kilometers, which included two rest stops (with free stories from Deacon Peter Vermaat).

In the park, the workshops had already begun, and I soon found myself with a meal ticket and the company of several friends. I also took the opportunity to walk around a bit and catch up with several people. In a thinly populated diocese like ours, it’s nice to be able to do that. Among those people was the bishop, who celebrated his birthday that day as well.

I had the impression that the day was well-attended, although perhaps not as well as last year. Still, the atmosphere was good, and even the usual chaos of a procession  getting readied for take-off was not too bad at all. Naturally, I was among four guys drafted to carry the bier with some of St. Boniface’s relics in the procession. An honour to be sure, although ignoring the photographers is a bit of a chore. One of them had the gall to tell me not to smile because it didn’t look solemn enough for his picture… This was even before the procession had begun and I was chatting with some friends near me.

The procession, which started at the parish church and ended at the park, was followed by Mass, offered by Bishop de Korte in concelebration with a handful of priests. It was a valid Mass, but I will not say too much about it, since it was also one of the most horizontal Masses I’ve ever witnessed. The sentiment in my previous post refers to this Mass as well. It was disconcerting.

All the same, I am glad I took the trouble and had the means to do the walk and meet up with friends in Dokkum. The weather, the landscape and the company all combined into a great day, and I consider the procession as a very good conclusion.

The sea at low tide
We still have all the dyke ahead of us

Deacon Peter Vermaat, the storyteller

The bishop mingles. That cat likely thought that all those people had come for him...
The relics of St. Boniface have pride of place in the procession. I am on the back corner, viewer's right.

Bishop de Korte gives his homily

St Boniface Day 2010

This week I read the first announcement for the St. Boniface Day of 2010, to be held on 13 June. And the best news is that the optional walk (pilgrimage is too big a word for it…) will follow the route of my first St. Boniface Day in 2006 (I think, might have been 2007): from the village of Nes along the coast and then south towards Dokkum. If the weather’s good it’s a great route to walk.

The annual St. Boniface Day is a day where, basically, everyone in the diocese can gather in Dokkum – the place where St. Boniface, the patron saint of our diocese, was martyred. There’ll be a procession and Mass, workshops (Leo Fijen will speak at one of these) and special events for people of all ages. It’s basically a lot of fun.

So I’m looking forward to that. Here are some impressions of last year’s Day:

The Frisian landscape in the early morning is pretty
A stained glass window of St. Boniface in the chapel named for him.
One of the workshops: make your own rosary
Reinstated only a few years ago, a procession from the parish church to the chapel
Four seminarians carry some of the relics of St. Boniface
Mass in the chapel
Consecration