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Year 4 God Team Visit South Africa

On the 10th March the Year 4 God team set off for Durban, South Africa for 12 days to experience a new culture and way of life. We mainly worked in Fr Thami’s Parish of Umlazi which was spread over a 50 mile radius including main towns and countryside. This gave us the opportunity to work with many different people from different walks of life.
Susi - For me South Africa was amazing, definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. A real highlight for me was going to Kwa Hilda’s orphanage in Newcastle. Here children, whose parents have either died or are suffering from HIV and AID’s come before and after school and get fed while being able to take part in educational activities. Here they have around 400 children registered but can only feed 60 a day. It was so overwhelming to see how happy they all were even though to our standards they didn’t have much at all. It was so much fun seeing them singing and dancing traditional Zulu songs and even trying to teach us some, (the dancing didn’t go particularly well). While they were teaching us these we decided that we would teach them a song so started to teach them ‘Head’s, Shoulder’s, Knee’s and Toe’s’ which they all loved. While we were there we also had the delight of seeing 30 mothers come and collect food parcels that the orphanage had bought for them using money that pilgrims had sent. These parcels included things like rice, maize, salt, beans, and potatoes and also daily house cleaning products such as soap, washing powder and Vaseline. One women immediately started singing and praising about the parcels and soon everyone was joining in singing, dancing and clapping. This was their way of saying thank you too us.
As well as the orphanage we went around Fr Thami’s parish going into members of the Mother’s Union houses evangelising and praying for the people who live in the house. I couldn’t believe what some of the houses in the townships were like, some of them didn’t even have beds, all they had were what seemed to be mats made out of wicker. We would walk up and down mountains and hills to get to some of the houses, singing and dancing. Everyone was just so happy that we had come to see them. Some of the women would even do a type of scream to praise the fact that we had come to visit. It made me feel so happy knowing that just spending 5 minutes in there house had made their day! If I had the chance to then I’d definitely go back in a heartbeat. I met so many amazing people who do so much for their community. The trip has made me come back with open eyes knowing not to take anything that we have for granted because there are people out there who don’t have much, but are literally the happiest people ever.


George - South Africa - What was most memorable to me? Having to fit two weeks of experiencing a completely different culture into a paragraph is difficult. I think I would say the experience as a whole is what I'll remember not just any one or two events. Memories of visiting a deprived orphanage, evangelising in the mountains deep in the heart of Africa, experiencing life in the markets where selling things for almost nothing is your only income, nothing can be compared to been most memorable or my favourite thing I experienced, all are so different and eye opening, every experience makes you ask yourself, Why am I not doing more to help, why is this allowed to happen? Whilst we had a day off and went to the beach life still continues for everyone else why struggles and scrapes together every penny they have for food. All in all good and bad South Africa has been an amazing, eye opening and heart-warming experience that I will never forget and that I will always treasure in my heart. I have made friends, seen things you can't even imagine and the best thing about this was that I was able to experience this incredible journey with my best friends.


Lauren - The church services in South Africa are very different to our typical services with a lot of beautiful singing, all in Zulu and dancing which they did freely around the building even before the service had started. On top of the gorgeous singing and dancing, household objects such as books and cowbells were used to make a beat fitting to their rhythm of singing. This also continued throughout the services which could last up to four hours. We also got to introduce ourselves and explain about Walsingham and our traditions which was translated into Zulu for those who didn’t speak English. Some people travel over six miles to get to church in searing heat which shows the enthusiasm to worship with your community.
The trip had been such a humbling eye opener which has made me realise that life is too short to worry about the little things in life. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting some incredibly generous, talented people all who have the same love of their faith as we do and hope to keep in contact with then in the future. The experience as a whole is something I’ll never forget and the memories made are ones I can share with my Yr4God family for years to come.

 

 


 

 

 

Andreas - The visit to South Africa was for me a fantastic experience, to see and learn about another culture and get a different experience about how they do the church and parish works. The thing I enjoyed most was going to the orphanage in Newcastle, meeting and playing with all the children and seeing how they live. The Orphanage give as many children as possible food during the day and gives them a place to play with each other for a few hours after school before they going to their families where they stay for the night. All of them were so happy to see us and we were very well welcomed by all of the staff and children. During the days on our visits in Durban with the parish priest Fr. Thami we went out evangelising in the townships, it was very interesting to see the houses and churches looked compared to what we’re used to. All the people we met during our visits were very welcoming and wanted to show how much they appreciated our visit in different ways. This journey have been amazing and it have given me so much more experience about the culture and church life in South Africa. I’m so glad for all the memories and friends I have got after this journey.

All of us got so many different things from this experience and we would love to try and help the community in whatever way we can. The orphanage especially would really appreciate donations to try and make it a better place for all the children who go there. It has been amazing to see what they have already done with the money that pilgrims have sent in, but there is still so much more that can be done. So please if you’d like to send a donation then do as we have seen first-hand how much it changes their lives.


Are you sitting comfortably?

If you are in the Shrine Church you most certainly are (sitting comfortably, that is), as the rather rickety chairs from the 1930ís and the additional  unattractive blue and black plastic  additions have recently been replaced by very smart and very solid new benches designed by Luke Hughes, the well-known and respected church furnishers. You will find other examples of their work in St Albanís Abbey and Westminster Abbey and many other prestigious venues, to which the Shrine is the most recent addition!

Luke Hughes has pioneered the stackable bench and this will allow flexibility for the occasions when we need to clear the church for the more relaxed families and childrenís pilgrimages, and on the day of the National at the end of May. The last three rows are backless benches to facilitate Shrine prayers each evening when the gathered congregation face the Holy House and there are also a number of easily portable Ďperchersí especially designed for the Shrine to allow for flexibility.

For those of us who work at the Shrine this new arrangement is a godsend. No more of the thankless and never ending task of straightening the chairs after services in order to make the place look tidy and  keep the slightly OCD Administrator content!

Each bench has an inset of the medieval pilgrim seal found in the British library and from which Father Hope Patten had the statue in the Holy House cast giving a unique feel to our new furniture. In time, copies of this seal in pewter will be  fashioned as a paper weight and will be available for sale in the Shrine shop.

A number of pilgrims have contributed financially to this project and if you are interested in making an offering towards their cost then go to The Future/The Appeal where there is further information and an online donation can be made; alternatively, contact Venetia Davies on 01328 824204 or v.davies@olw-shrine.org.uk.


St Augustineís @ Walsingham

A huge thanks to all members of the Society and others who made contributions to the refurbishment of St Augustineís. The refurbishment is now complete. The list of donors is now being compiled and will eventually be housed in the Eric Kemp memorial library.

The refurbishment of St Augustineís was dedicated by the Archbishop of York during the National Pilgrimage on May 27.  Since then there has been a steady stream of clergy and other leaders booking in to stay there for times of rest and spiritual refreshment. We also now have several bookings of parish leadership teams who want some time away together to reflect and plan. There are six en suite rooms (two are doubles), each with a comfortable bed, armchair and desk. What was until the refurbishment the office of Assistant Administrator and Youth Missioner has now been transformed into an attractive meeting room.

The old, and it must be admitted musty, library is now a wonderful and comfortable space for reading and study. There is WIFI in the library and throughout the building and a kitchen next door for making refreshments.

Residents in St Augustineís generally eat in the Pilgrim Refectory but can opt for a self service continental breakfast in the nearby College kitchen.

All bookings are dealt with by the Hospitality Department (tel: 01328 820239; email accom@olw-shrine.org.uk)

There seems little doubt that St Augustineís will enhance our facilities considerably and answer a real need for church leaders who want a place to stay that offers both stillness and life, as well as a regular rhythm of daily prayer.

The Library Challenge!

There have been very few new acquisitions to the library over the past twenty five years and we need to establish an ongoing fund in order to purchase both new and second hand books, not least for  the Marian library but also in the general theological library.

The Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament has made a generous donation of £5,000 to begin this work and there have been various other smaller donations. These are difficult economic times of course, but anyone who might want to contribute in this way can do so by getting in touch with Venetia Davies in the first instance.

It may be that Society members and Priests or Deacons Associate have books in good condition that they might wish to donate to the library. We are grateful for such offers as long as the potential donor is not offended if we say no! Space is limited and we canít stock everything. But, for example, we recently received a wonderful collection of works about Carmelite spirituality from the estate of the late Miss Dorly Moos, a local resident and regular pilgrim. Potential donors should contact the Administratorís office.


The Shrine Stained Glass

The November 2012 edition of SUSSEX LIFE has a article (by John Snelling) about the work of Michael Coles - a stained glass designer and maker who has a studio in Lindfield. It was Michael Coles who was commissioned by Fr Martin Warner (now Bishop of Chichester) in 2000 to create the three lancet windows in the then new refectory and the glass in the garden round tower. Then in 2008, a generous gift from Forward in Faith enabled a further window to be installed in the staircase tower of the Milner Wing.

The Sussex Life article includes several photographs of details of the Milner Wing window including the images of the broken Walsingham seal, the owl of "dark night" and the figures of Fr Patten and Sir William Milner (plus his dog, Bracken). The Sussex Life website (sussex.greatbritishlife.co.uk) has an archive section for previous editions of the magazine. (Go to Magazines/Sussex Life Digital Archives). The November 2012 edition isn't in their archive yet, but it will presumably appear there in December. The article is on pages 71 - 73.

The Shrine has recently produced a leaflet about the stained glass both in the Shrine Church and the work of Michael Coles. Click here to view a PDF of the leaflet.


Opportunities for Giving

The Welcome Centre has become a vital part of our work here, and gives an excellent introduction to folk who have not been to Walsingham.

Part of the display are four beautifully produced books with text, artwork and photographs that tell our history in a simple and attractive way. These have been so well thumbed that they need replacing as well as updating.

Each of the four books will cost in the region of £250. There may be pilgrims with a heart for this evangelistic work who would like to make a contribution to their replacement. An acknowledgement of the donor or the person(s) in whose honour it is given will be included in the book.

Thank you to those who responded to our appeal for contributions to assist with the refurbishment of some of the statues in the Shrine Church. Keen-eyed pilgrims to the National Pilgrimage will have noticed the two very beautiful processional crosses, used now for many years at the pilgrimage and which are an important part of our heritage.

Both are in such need of repair that they are almost dangerous to use, and their restoration is now urgent. Each will cost in the region of £1,500. Any pilgrims who would like to make a contribute as an act of thanksgiving or in memory of a loved one should contact Venetia Davies on v.davies@olw-shrine.org.uk or 01328 824204.


Renewing Holy House Lamps On-line

It is now possible to renew your Holy House Lamp - and Lamps of the Chapels and Shrines - on-line.

Payment is by debit or credit card. However, please do not renew unless you have recently received a renewal letter in the post from the Membership Secretary.

On that letter you will find a Lamp Reference number which you need to renew on-line. Click here to renew a Holy House Lamp.

Currently, the waiting list for Holy House shelf lamps (£40 per annum) is quite short (1 - 2 months), so if you have been thinking about having a lamp dedication erected for your church, organisation or someone special in your life, then now is a good time to do it. Click here to request a lamp on-line - or contact the Membership Secretary, The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, The Milner Wing, Common Place, Walsingham NR22 6BP by post, or email - membs@olw-shrine.org.uk, or telephone - 01328 820582.

 

 

 
   

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