2020 Pilgrimage Season: Mary, Queen of All Creation
The clergy and staff at the Anglican Shrine in Walsingham are looking forward to the coming Pilgrimage Season and to welcoming many thousands of pilgrims and visitors to England’s Nazareth.
During the coming months, the Shrine will be reflecting on this year’s theme, and the title of “Mary, Queen of All Creation”.
Walsingham is set in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. North Norfolk may not have majestic hills to boast about, but its rural landscape and wide skies attract many thousands of tourists and visitors at all times of the year.
We sing in the Walsingham Pilgrim Hymn of Our Lady’s appearing “in Stiffkey’s fair vale”, and as pilgrims approach the Shrine, they are greeted by a magnificent view across that vale, a welcome to England’s Nazareth provided by nature itself.
In the Creed, we proclaim the faith of the Church and our belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, through whom all things were made. We profess that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, by the power of the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “Creation is the foundation of all God’s saving plans, the beginning of the history of salvation that culminates in Christ…from the beginning, God envisaged the glory of the new creation in Christ”.
The coming into the world of Christ, the new creation, the Word made flesh, is made possible by Mary’s “yes” to the Creator himself. The seventeenth century bishop and scholar, Lancelot Andrewes, describes Mary as “the Land of Promise, the good earth which brings forth the Saviour”.
The beauty of creation speaks powerfully to us of the love and beauty of God himself and of the dignity he has bestowed on all men and women made in his image. God has given us the responsibility of stewardship of creation, and current concerns about the environment highlight the need to reflect on the consequences of neglecting or abusing what has been entrusted to us by God.
There is a rich seam of Christian truth and wisdom to be explored in the title of “Mary, Queen of All Creation” and where better to do that than in a place as beautiful as Walsingham!
The National Pilgrimage takes place as usual on Spring Bank Holiday Monday 25th May beginning at 12 noon. The preacher will be Fr Tim Pike CMP, Parish Priest of S. Michael and All Angels with S. James, Croydon. We look forward to a day of great joy and devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham and to welcoming pilgrims from many parts of the nation. We will also again have the West Yorkshire Police Band to entertain us during the picnic lunch and later in the afternoon.
The Youth Pilgrimage (Monday 3rd – Friday 7th August) is another highlight of the season and over the past two years it has been great to welcome many new groups to Walsingham from around the country. The Shrine has been looking at ways to develop this much-loved annual pilgrimage event and the recent move to provide on-site catering has been a great success. I am delighted that Bishop Philip North will once again be leading the teaching team and exploring with our young pilgrims the gift of friendship through this year’s pilgrimage theme: Inseparable – Friends for Life. Further details are available on the Shrine website.
The Pilgrimage for Healing and Renewal on August Bank Holiday Monday 31st August has been blessed with beautiful weather in recent years, and pilgrims often comment on the day’s very special sense of prayer and devotion. The pilgrimage is held outdoors in the Shrine Grounds (weather permitting!) and begins with a Sung Mass at 12 noon. A picnic lunch is followed by Sprinkling & the Healing Ministries concluding with Benediction. The Principal Celebrant will be Bishop Nicholas Reade and the preacher Canon Paul Greenwell, Master of the Charterhouse in Hull.
This year’s Regional Walsingham Festival will be held in Durham Cathedral on Saturday 24th October with a Sung Mass at 11 am and Afternoon Devotions at 2pm. Many of our pilgrims come from the North East of England and there is strong support for the Shrine in that beautiful and historic part of the country. The Image of Our Lady of Walsingham will travel from Walsingham to Durham, the furthest north it has ever been, and it will be a wonderful celebration in that ancient place of worship and pilgrimage.
These are just a few of the highlights of this coming season. You will find more details about these and many other services and events on the Shrine website, as well as information about making a visit and booking accommodation.
I hope you will come to Walsingham in 2020. It is a very special and holy place and a warm welcome awaits you!
May God bless you and Our Lady of Walsingham, Queen of All Creation, pray for you.
Fr Kevin Smith,