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Information on the National Pilgrimage
2017 National Pilgrimage
Monday, 29th May - 12 noon
Walsingham Abbey Grounds
Concelebrated Mass - 12 noon
Principal Celebrant: The Rt Revd Martin Warner (Bishop of Chichester)
Sermon, Procession & Benediction - 2.30 pm
Preacher: Padre Raniero Cantalamessa OFM.Cap - Preacher to the Papal Household
Fr Raniero Cantalamessa OFM.Cap, Preacher to the Papal Household, will be the guest preacher at the 2017 National Pilgrimage on Monday, 29th May. The National weekend will feature 40 hours of prayer (starting on Saturday, 27th) including an ecumenical vigil in S. Mary's Parish Church, Little Walsingham on the Sunday evening.
The event is the Shrine's response to Thy Kingdom Come, a global prayer movement which the Archbishop of Canterbury is inviting people around the world to join. The wave of prayer will start in May and run for 10 days between Ascension and Pentecost. (www.thykingdom.co.uk)
Saturday 27th - Monday 29th May 2017
FORTY HOURS OF PRAYER BEFORE THE BLESSED SACRAMENT
Beginning with the Pilgrimage Sung Mass on Saturday 27th May at 6pm, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed in the Shrine Church for 40 Hours as we pray for the Church and for the Nation, and for the coming of God’s Kingdom. Pilgrim Parishes and Walsingham Cells are invited to join in this wave of prayer as it is offered in the Shrine, and if possible for all who love Walsingham to observe the 40 Hours in their churches at home. The 40 Hours ends on Monday 29th May at 10.00 am, as preparations are made for the National Pilgrimage Mass at 12 noon in the Abbey Grounds.
AN ECUMENICAL VIGIL OF PRAYER
Sunday 28th May at 8.15 pm - as the Forty Hours continues in the Shrine Church, an Ecumenical Vigil will be held in the Parish Church. We will gather as Christians of all denominations to pray for the Nation and for the Unity of the Church.
THE NATIONAL PILGRIMAGE DAY
Monday 29th May at 12 noon - The weekend culminates in the celebration of a Solemn Mass in the Abbey Grounds at 12 noon. The Principal Celebrant will be the Right Reverend Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester and a Guardian of the Holy House.
Following the Mass, pilgrims can enjoy a picnic lunch in the Abbey Grounds and, if they wish, receive the ministries of Sprinkling, the Laying on of Hands and Anointing, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation which will be available in the Shrine Church.
At 2.30 pm all will gather for the Sermon and Procession of Our Lady.
The Preacher at this year’s National Pilgrimage will be Fr Raniero Cantalamessa OFM Cap. Preacher to the Papal Household.
Fr Cantalamessa is an internationally renowned preacher and author. In 2015 he was invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to preach at the Opening Eucharist of General Synod in Westminster Abbey, and since 1980 he has served Pope S. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis as Preacher to the Papal Household. In this capacity, he preaches a weekly sermon in Advent and Lent in the presence of the Pope and his Cardinals ,the Bishops and Prelates of the Roman Curia and the General Superiors of the Religious Orders.
2016 National Pilgrimage
Monday, 30th May
Report and Photographs
The Shrine Priest, Fr Graham Lunn, eyes firmly fixed on the road ahead and with an inscrutable expression, leads the procession of Guardians, Bishops and Clergy from the Shrine Church to the Abbey grounds, past the pump in the Common Place.
For a printable PDF of Fr Andrew Mitcham's sermon (see below) please click here.
Fr Philip Barnes - the Interim Priest Administrator - writes:
THIS IS A DREADFUL PLACE!
A cold and blustery day made north Norfolk on Bank Holiday Monday feel more like November than May, but a warm spirit of thanksgiving and festival prevailed for a joyful National Pilgrimage.
The pilgrimage programme began with a glorious Choral Evensong and Benediction on Sunday evening, with musicians led by Nick Kerrison, our own Director of Music. It was good to begin the festival with prayer before the Sacrament, and to have a moment of stillness before business of the next day.
Just under two-thousand gathered in the Abbey grounds for the Pilgrimage Mass. As everyone waited for the entrance procession, the overwhelming thought was 'please don't rain'. And although the wind blew a gale - it didn't. The Principal Celebrant was the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson. In his welcome to the Mass Bishop Tony reminded us that Mary is the Mother of Mercy – she sings of God’s mercy in her Magnificat, and gave birth to incarnate mercy – Jesus Christ.
After Mass pilgrims received the ‘healing ministries’ in the Shrine Church, or stoically braved the chill to enjoy picnic lunches in the Abbey Grounds. It was a great chance for everyone to greet old friends and - for those bishops and priests doing the rounds of the grounds - a chance to sample a variety of picnic offerings!
At 2.30 pm, after the final 2016 rendition of "The Happy Birds Te Deums Sing" ( 'tis Mary's Month of May) and a choir anthem, the Vicar of Walsingham, Houghton and the Barshams, Fr Andrew Mitcham, (who is also a Guardian of the Shrine) delivered a powerful and challenging sermon in which he spoke of Walsingham as a truly dreadful place! He spoke of the verse in Genesis 28 (v17) in which Jacob exclaims - after waking from his vision of the ladder with the ascending and descending angels - “How dreadful is this place! This is none other than the House of God and this is the Gate of Heaven.” Fr Hope Patten had chosen those words as the motto of the Shrine (Domus Dei - Porta Coeli).
Fr Andrew said Walsingham was a place of encounter with the mercy of God –a mercy which we are invited to reflect in our own lives.
After the sermon Our Lady of Walsingham was carried in procession through the village as we sang the pilgrim hymn and recited the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary, recalling the ways those mysteries show God’s mercy to us. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was given by the Rt Revd Peter Wheatley who retired last year as a much loved Bishop of Edmonton.
As they headed for home many pilgrims sought out warming cups of tea, and in the Common Place friendships were renewed and refreshment of another kind taken. It may not have been the hottest National Pilgrimage on record, but it was certainly full of joy, hope and many blessings!
- 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