Saturday, September 11, 2021

Photos of the Latin Mass Society Walsingham Pilgrimage

We are very grateful to Mr Charles Bradshaw for sharing this account of the recent pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in England, organized by the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, and likewise to Dr Joseph Shaw for sharing his pictures of the event. Links are given below to two flickr albums where you can see many more.

We’re on the road again!” The past few years have seen a sharp increase in off-grid living, and with it a deep desire to give the modern world the heave ho. Off-grid traditional Catholicism is certainly what it feels like as you pack the car for the annual Walsingham Pilgrimage, not just with your backpack and tent but an entire sacristy, from vestments right down to grains of incense. Blessed with Solemn High Mass on each of its three days, the pilgrimage offers a chance to shed the cares of this world for a brief moment and connect with the essential: God; carefully lifting every second of the liturgy from suitcase to sanctuary.
But beyond the complex infrastructure of organization, there’s a sense in which each Mass stops to speak to the pilgrim on the way. As dawn rises on the first day around the relic of St Eltheldreda, there’s a palpable sense of expectant hope as the bleary-eyed pilgrims confide their joys, cares and intentions to the once great Queen and Abbess of Ely.
Yet as the 56 mile walk advances, it’s like a monastery on the move, 130 pilgrims strong, a power house of prayer and fellowship on the march, determined to keep going for God, where the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic” of the Creed meaningfully sung, seems to sink into the walls of the chapel at Oxborough Hall the following day breathing a deep sigh of relief, united as it were with the martyrs whose blood has shaped the unshakeable Faith of the recusant families of our land.
And from that persecuted Church of yesteryear and now, emerges on the final leg a yet stronger band of pilgrims, restored now by Grace and Sacraments, unstoppable on their quest to reach England’s beating heart. Mid-afternoon on Sunday, it is the Church triumphant at the feet of Her Mother at Walsingham, as She walks singing and praying along the Holy Mile after Mass. As the High Street opens out, there’s not a pilgrim who isn’t moved as they glimpse the sight of the Abbey where once that Holy House stood.
Like all great symphonies, the music is not over until the last movement ceases. The Slipper Chapel is that decrescendo, filled with the intimacy of gladness at the feet of Our Lady as the Mass is almost whispered in Her ear before a final adieu.
Over the years, many friends have sought at Walsingham that generative power of Our Lady’s Grace. Some have found their vocation to the priesthood and religious life; others simply an answer to their prayers. The friendship and joy that the pilgrimage offers allows for a moment life to stop and come into its own. If I came to Walsingham, it was with intentions of my own, and the surprise of their answer in God’s unexpected way.
Some facts about the 2021 Walsingham Pilgrimage
The Latin Mass Society’s Walking Pilgrimage 2021 has taken place since 2010; this year’s was the largest ever, with 120 walking pilgrims and 12 non-walking volunteers (including cooks and support drivers.)
We were joined by Fr Serafino Lanzetta of the Family of Mary Immaculate and St Francis based in Gosport, Fr Henry Whisenant of Whithermarsh Green, and the Rev Mr Gwilym Evans FSSP (transitional deacon). We were also accompanied by two male and one female religious. Each day of the pilgrimage we had High Mass, accompanied by chant led by Dominic Bevan, with the organist Thomas Neal.
The main pilgrimage walked a total of just over 56 miles, from Ely to the Catholic Shrine in Walsingham, and on to the site of the Holy House in the grounds of Walsingham Priory, over the course of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (27-29th August). This year three pilgrims experimentally walked from Cambridge to Ely on 26th August, to extend the pilgrimage by 17 miles. They set out from the Cambridge Blackfriars, where a Low Mass had been said for them in the traditional Dominican Rite by Fr Gregory Pearson. There was an additional Sung Mass on Monday 30th August in the historic Slipper Chapel of the Catholic Shrine.

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