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National Pilgrimage 2017
The National Pilgrimage this year was a 'Beacon Event' for the Archbishops' 'Thy Kingdom Come' initiative.
Beginning on Saturday evening with a Pilgrimage Mass, at which the Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley & Master of the Guardians, was Principal Celebrant and Preacher, there followed 40 hours of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the Shrine Church.
On Sunday, as the Forty Hours continued, there was an Ecumenical Vigil in the Parish Church with addresses by the Bishop of Norwich and the Abbot of Farnborough.
On Monday, at noon, The Rt Revd Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester, was the Principal Celebrant at the Mass in the Abbey Grounds.
After lunch the Sermon was preached by Padre Raniero Cantalamessa OFM Cap. Preacher to the Papal Household.
(See below for a summary of Fr Cantalamessa's sermon)
The Procession, with the Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich and the Rt Revd Alan Hopes, Bishop of East Anglia, returned to the Abbey Grounds for the presentation of icons to both the Anglican and Roman Catholic Shrines.
The weekend concluded with Vespers and Benediction in the Shrine Church.
Read the address given by Dom Cuthbert Brogan OSB, the Abbot of Farnborough at the Ecumenical Vigil - click here.
Read the address given by the Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich at the Ecumenical Vigil - click here
Visit the Shrine Photo-Gallery for photos of the whole weekend.
Archbishop of Canterbury’s Greeting to Walsingham
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, sent warm greetings to the hundreds of pilgrims gathered in Walsingham on the Spring Bank Holiday Monday for the annual National Pilgrimage to the Anglican Shrine in Norfolk.
Pilgrims from across the UK, and including some overseas visitors, heard Father Kevin Smith, Priest Administrator, read out thankful support for the 40 hours of constant prayer in support of the Archbishop’s initiative Thy Kingdom Come leading up to the start of today’s National at 12noon.
Archbishop Welby said: “Prayer matters, and prayer changes everything. Because as God changes us in prayer he drives us out to be justice-seekers, peacemakers, healers and bringers of good news. In praying, ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities.
He added: “And so it is wonderful that so many are gathered here in Walsingham, ready to join in prayer and action with all those across the world praying these same words, Thy Kingdom Come.”
Hope takes centre stage at Walsingham
(A Summary of Fr Raniero Cantalamessa's sermon at the National Pilgrimage; for the full text click here.)
“People need hope to live just as they need oxygen to breathe” - Fr Cantalamessa
It is Mary, Mother of hope, who continues to inspire and encourage millions of Christians around the world to face up to the challenges they face, Father Raniero Cantalamessa OFM.Cap told pilgrims at the 2017 National Pilgrimage to the Anglican Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham.
The Preacher to the Papal Household told the thousands of people gathered: “On Calvary, Mary was not just the ‘Mother of sorrows’ but also the ‘Mother of hope,’ With all the more reason we must say the same about Mary beneath the cross: in hope she believed against hope.”
Fr Raniero Cantalamessa OFM.Cap is an internationally renowned preacher and author. Since 1980 he has served Pope S. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis as Preacher to the Papal Household.
He told the Bank Holiday congregation: “Mary is a model for the Church. The Church is called to be, like her, ‘a mother of hope’ for the world. Just as Mary was close to her crucified Son, so the Church is called to be close to the crucified of today: the poor, the suffering, the humiliated, the insulted, the discriminated against.”
Fr Cantalamessa said: “The Church must transmit hope, proclaiming that suffering is not absurd, that it is meaningful, because there will be a resurrection of the body in the last day and there can be a resurrection of the heart every day. People need hope to live just as they need oxygen to breathe.”
He also told pilgrims that perhaps the Christian faith will experience a revival in England and in the wider secularised western world for the same reason that it was embraced in the first place “because it is the only doctrine that has an answer to give to the great questions about life and death. The most important thing is to understand how we can proclaim hope today to the world in which we live.
“The failure of the great alternative ideologies, like Marxism, has led people to live from day to day without any great enthusiasm or excitement about the future. Hope is transmitted by contagion.
He added: “Christian hope has eternal life as its ultimate object, but it does not exclude the lesser human hopes for oneself and one’s children, as finding a job, overcoming an illness, meeting the right person to love and be loved by.”
- HOW IT CAME ABOUT
In 1938 the Whitsun weekend saw a huge influx of
pilgrims to Walsingham to witness the blessing of the much
enlarged Shrine Church. As had become customary, there
was a great procession from the Parish Church to the Shrine
. It was estimated that the procession took "one hour less
three minutes" to pass the Common Place and that 6,000
pilgrims passed through the Holy House. In the report of
the weekend in the 1938 Our Lady's Mirror (the
forerunner of the present Walsingham Review) the
intention was announced to hold a similar day pilgrimage "as
an annual event every Whit Monday."
This indeed happened in 1939 and 1940, but then, for
the remainder of World War II, the pilgrimage went into
abeyance. 1946 saw its highly successful revival - but pouring rain meant the
procession had to be cancelled! The Whit Monday great
pilgrimage became known as the "National" in 1959 - after
one of the guardians, the present Earl of Lauderdale, had written to
The Church Times urging people to join the Whit
Monday pilgrimage, describing it as "the first National
Pilgrimage in the history of the Church of England to the
Shrine of the Incarnation at Walsingham."
In 1971 the Whit Monday bank holiday was moved to the
last Monday in May and the National Pilgrimage moved from
Whitsuntide to this date. The only cancellation since 1946
was in 2001 because of the Foot and Mouth epidemic.
The Walsingham Archive pages contain
fascinating accounts and much more information on the
history of the National. Did you know, for example, that
there were not enough cows in Walsingham to supply the milk
needed for the pilgrims' tea on Whit Monday 1938? Or that
106 pilgrims had breakfast at The Clock Restaurant in Welwyn
Garden City on their way to Walsingham and between them,
left 4d (four pence) in tips! Go to the
Archive home page, enter
the Archives and find "Whit Monday Pilgrimages".
Since 2004, when the programme of the National
Pilgrimage was recast to include a lunch-break, the
practice of formal picnicking in The Abbey grounds
has grown. Last year, there was a wonderful sense of
togetherness as pilgrims from all over the country
produced hampers, tables and chairs - and the
Walsingham National Pilgrimage lunch party began! If
you are coming to this year's event, do think about
bringing a picnic - of course the sun will shine and
the grass be dry!
The Procession in Common Place
Our Lady of Walsingham and Our Lady of