Diocesan Pilgrimage to Walsingham
Saturday 27th May 2023 was the Brentwood diocese annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. Our Lady blessed us with gorgeous weather though it was a little chilly inside the Basilica.
Coaches carrying excited pilgrims started to arrive about 10.30am. The day started with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, available from several priests at 11.00am in the Basilica. Mass preceded by the Angelus followed at 12.00pm. The lovely weather facilitated the procession to enter through the Basilica grounds, with Bishop Alan, clergy, and altar servers.
On the day, there were about a dozen concelebrating priests plus two deacons one of whom works at the Shrine. Bishop Alan joked that the amount of clergy present was part of Brentwood’s expansion plans. There were also seven altar servers, plus me as MC, enough to serve the Mass with dignity and reverence.
After the Mass everyone enjoyed a picnic lunch in the grounds before walking the along the Holy Mile at 2.30pm. The procession was led by the servers with the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham carried by teams of four people. Bishop Alan preferred the procession, to be walked in silence reflecting on the beauty of God all around us. Arriving at the Village several of the servers stopped at Dowry House to collect The Blessed Sacrament before proceeding to the Abbey grounds, at the end of Vespers.
Adoration and Benediction then followed and at the end everyone in the Abbey grounds moved towards the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham, which was standing on what is believed to have been the original site of the Shrine. Things concluded with the singing of the Regina Caeli.
The Shrine of Walsingham is part of our Catholic heritage. If you do not know the history of the Shrine look it up on the internet and find out how Our Lady appeared to Lady Richeldis. Our Lady has appeared in many places around the world but only here in England did she ask for a replica of the Holy House of Nazareth to be built. England is Our Lady’s Dowry and Walsingham is England’s Nazareth. When England returns to Walsingham Our Lady will return to England.
Our parish is closely aligned to the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, so the Shrine is of special significance to us. Next year we would like to have a coach full of people from the parish visiting the Shrine, bringing young and not so young. It is so important that our young people know about the Shrine to ensure its posterity.
Nicola, MC at Christ the King Church, Chingford