The National Pilgrimage was held on Monday 28th May and entitled ‘Mary – Star of Hope’.
The event began on Sunday Evening with Compline and Exposition of The Blessed Sacrament followed by an all night Vigil concluding with Benediction on Monday morning.
The Principal Celebrant at the Concelebrated Mass in the Abbey Grounds was the Rt Revd Norman Banks, Bishop of Richborough and the afternoon Sermon was given by The Reverend Prebendary Graeme Rowlands, Parish Priest of St Silas – the – Martyr with Holy Trinity, Kentish Town and Registrar of the College of Guardians.
During the notices following Mass, Fr Kevin Smith, Priest Administrator, referred to the forthcoming retirement of the Rt Revd Graham James, Lord Bishop of Norwich and Honorary Guardian of the Shrine, the retirement of Canon Beau Brandie as Chief Steward of the The National Pilgrimage for 36 years and the sudden death of Fr Michael Whitehead, Emeritus Guardian of the Shrine and former Registrar. Bishop Philip North, Master of the Guardians, spoke about Canon Beau and made a presentation on behalf of the Shrine. Canon Beau received a standing ovation from all the pilgrims.
During lunchtime there was an Activity Carousel for children and young people while Ministries of Healing were available in the Shrine Church.
Following the Sermon and Procession through the village, Benediction was given by The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham and Guardian of the Shrine.
The Pilgrimage concluded with Solemn Vespers in the Shrine Church.