Parish Pilgrimage to Walsingham 2013


Our annual parish pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham took place this year from Monday 13 to Friday 17 May, with 17 pilgrims.

The timetable started off with a Blessing of Pilgrims in St Matthew’s Lady Chapel at 9.30am and we then set off in private cars, with a lunch stop en route, arriving at Walsingham in early afternoon. First stop, as always, was the Slipper Chapel, the Roman Catholic Shrine, where we said a short prayer and Fr Nicholas took the group photo. At the Anglican Shrine we had our First Visit to the Holy House at 3.30pm, assembling at the Shrine Church after depositing cases in rooms, and all

went in together. Shrine Mass, in the Nave, was at 5.00pm, after which there was free time to unpack and look round the Shrine and the village before we met up again for Evening Prayer followed by Supper in the refectory at 6.30pm. At 8.00pm we had Discussion and free time, when we decamped to The Bull in the village.

Each day had a structured programme of events, with pilgrims free to join in as much or as little as they liked – attendance at everything is not compulsory! Every day had Buffet Breakfast from 8.00am, Morning Prayer at 9.00am and a Mass. In the afternoons after Lunch there was free time till Evening Prayer at 5.30pm followed by Supper. Fr Nicholas gave a talk on Tuesday and Thursday and certain days had certain Shrine events - on Tuesday evening the Sprinkling at the Well followed by Ministries of Healing, on Wednesday evening the Candlelight Procession of Our Lady followed by Benediction.

The Shrine was full with many other groups in residence and pilgrims coming just for the day; in our own group we celebrated Morning Prayer, Mass and on Wednesday morning Stations of the Cross, and joined in as a whole with other pilgrims to celebrate Evening Prayer, the Sprinkling at the Well and the Pilgrimage Mass on Wednesday and the Candlelit Procession. Even with so many people about, the Shrine exudes a feeling of peace and it’s easy to sit in the lovely gardens and enjoy the quietness and the birds singing and not be conscious of other people. This year unfortunately the weather was poor, with a cold wind and rain at times.

An important part of the Pilgrimage, going as a parish group, is the social aspect and it gives us a chance to get to know each other better and let our hair down. With free time every day there’s a chance to walk round the village, visit the Slipper Chapel again, go outside the village to the sea or other towns nearby, or just have a rest. And of course, there’s always the local pub, where we all congregated for our last evening’s social gathering.

Friday arrived and our last morning before departure was celebrated with the Last Visit to the Holy House, a liturgy consisting of prayers and hymns. All liturgies throughout the week are laid out in the Pilgrimage Manual which we all individually have with us. A Parish Pilgrimage is arranged every year from
St Matthew’s, normally in May or June; last year we also had a short two-day visit in October and also a day Pilgrimage for those who had not visited the Shrine before to have a taste of the joy it can offer.

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