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