Category Archives: Walsingham 2018

Day 5: Our Lady’s Shrine, “Farewell”

And so to our final Mass of the Pilgrimage, and an opportunity to draw everything together. Fr David concluded his series of homilies by asking us, ‘what will we say and do?’ and what will others say of us as a result of our time of transformation and renewal here in Walsingham. Our devotional items were blessed, we bade farewell to Our Lady and we took a fellowship breakfast together one final time.

A long physical journey home awaits us all but, like the Magi, we are all of us returning by a ‘different Way’. Each of us has told of the unique and personal ways this week has touched us – in its laughter, its poignancy, its depth, its solace, its challenge.

It has been a wonderful week.

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O holy house of Walsingham!
Here would we ever dwell,
But Jesus calls us to the strife
And tumults of our daily life,
Our Lady’s Shrine, “Farewell.”
Our Lady’s Shrine, “Farewell.”

 

Day 4: The Way of the Cross

A highlight for many, today we walked the Shrine’s newly restored Way of the Cross, joining Our Lord in prayer and song on the Way of His Passion. Our young pilgrims were superbly led on their own version of the Stations of the Cross by Cerian, shortly behind the main group. The day had started off ominously wet but the skies cleared in time for our devotion to begin. Amazingly, at the 12th station (Jesus Dies on the Cross) the skies did indeed darken again only for the sun to reappear (quite literally) at the empty tomb and Resurrection Stations. It was a powerful devotion, one that consumed all our senses and met us all deeply.

 

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Our afternoon was spent by some on excursion to nearby Wells-by-the-Sea, while others rested at the Shrine or saught retail therapy in Norwich!

Back at the Shrine in the evening we had our Mass of our Lady, with prayers offered at the Holy House. Fr David continued his thematic homily by asking us ‘What do we hear?’ and ‘what do others hear from us’? This in the context of the Gospel reading where Elizabeth, on meeting her newly pregnant cousin Mary, sees in the Child to come the work of God Himself: not for Elizabeth the obvious scandal of the circumstances Mary found herself in. Rather, that Mary was ‘Blessed among women’ and had found favour with God – a part of His Divine plan. And in Elizabeth’s greeting Mary herself hears the vindication of her own trust in God’s purposes, and is moved to proclaim her great song of faith: the Magnificat.

As we reflected on this we spent time before Mary asking her help and her prayers for the needs of our world, our parish, for the departed and for our own journey in faith.

Our Lady of Walsingham
Pray for us

Day 3: The Holy Mile and Fr David & The Flambettes

After the Pilgrimage Mass it was onto the coach for the short trip to the Roman Catholic Shrine and Slipper Chapel. Here, as has been tradition over the centuries, some of the group walked back into Walsingham reciting the Mysteries of Light of the Rosary. As the picture of the shoes attest, some even followed the pilgrims through the ages by walking the ‘Holy Mile’ unshod!

The day was crowned (appropriately, being the Feast of Our Lady’s Coronation) with a Procession around the grounds in her honour and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. It was wonderful to see our young people, Cerian, Tom, Gethin and Charlie taking on the role of torch bearers accompanying the Image of Our Lady: ‘Flambettes’ being the technical term!

Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!

Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!

Day 2 : Holy Spirit and Mary, Star of Hope

Our time at Walsingham began proper with sung Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit for our pilgrimage group. To strains of the St Julian’s hymn and invoking the Spirit to come down as a Refining Fire, Fr David challenged us ‘what do we see?’, and by extension what do others see of Christ in us.

Fr David took us around the two Orthodox churches here in Walsingham, an experience with echoes of our worship back home where iconography takes such a key role in our spirituality.

And then to the evening’s Healing and Reconciliation liturgy, foreshadowed by our earlier Mass. The theme of this year’s Walsingham season is ‘Mary, Star of Hope’. We were reminded of Mary’s trust in God’s plan for her as we seek to bear our own challenges in life; and how the unique mark of the Christian faith is the promise – the Hope – that in Christ all will be well.