parish pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of
Walsingham took place this year from Monday 9 to Friday
13 June, with 14 pilgrims. Unfortunately two pilgrims
had had to drop out before we went.
The timetable started off with a Mass and then a
Blessing of Pilgrims in St Matthew’s Lady Chapel. 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. At the
Anglican Shrine we had our First Visit to the Holy House
at 4.00pm, assembling at the Shrine Church after
cases in rooms, and we all went in together. Afterwards
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.
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 we
had Buffet Breakfast from 8.00am, Morning Prayer at
9.00am and a Mass. In the afternoons after Lunch there
was free time until Evening Prayer at 5.30pm, followed
by Supper. On Tuesday we had a talk from the Year4God
team and on Thursday we went to the Priory where Sister
Mary Angela talked to us about her vocation to the
Religious life. Certain days had certain Shrine events –
on Tuesday evening the Sprinkling at the Well followed
by Ministries of Healing, Laying on of Hands and
Anointing and on Wednesday a Pilgrim Mass in the morning
and in the 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; on Wednesday
afternoon our group followed the Stations of the Cross
around the garden. 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
the weather was good.
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
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.
Please find below a selection of photos.