Tuesday, August 30, 2011
LMS Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham: photo essay
The last minute preparations included the completion of a new banner by the ladies of the Oxford branch of the Guild of St Clare. (More on the Guild blog.)
Sung Mass in the Catholic parish church in Ely, St Ethelreda's, early in the morning on Friday. Fr Shyrane, the parish priest, is extraordinarily welcoming to the many pilgrims who pass through. We had our dinner on Thursday night and breakfast after Mass in the Presbytery, and most of the ladies slept on the floor. The men were in tents in a camp site outside Ely.
After Mass Fr Bede Rowe, our chaplain, blessed the banner, and gave the blessing used at the Christus Rex pilgrimage in Australia, of the pilgrims' 'staves and scrips' (our sticks and daysacs) and of the pilgrims themselves.
The banner has its first outing, on the way from St Ethelreda's to Ely Cathedral.
Ely Cathedral, a medieval masterpiece. We prayed there for the healing of schism.
Shortly after leaving Ely it began to rain intermittently, including some quite heavy rain. The banner is being carried by Br Julian of the Friars of the Immaculate, based at their community in Stoke on Trent. Also with us from that community was Br Pietro, an excellent singer, an Italian who has been in England only a month. We were very privileged to have them with us.
Dinner in a school where we stayed Friday night. Paul Waddington and Lucy Shaw were in charge of providing the food; we did very well. In the school we were all able to sleep under cover, in various rooms and corridors.
After a short walk we had a Sung Mass in the chapel at Oxburgh Hall, at 9am. We were joined by a number of local LMS supporters.
Walking on from Oxburgh, after a cup of tea very kindly supplied by the Bedingfelds, and a look at the very interesting priest-hole - I'll blog about that separately. It was much brighter, and despite thunder and lightning at one point the rain was limited to showers, with a couple of impressive rainbows during the day.
At a pre-Reformation Priory we said prayers for the dead.
Saturday night we were in a village hall, where some very kind local ladies prepared a meal for us. The men were again in tents outside, about a dozen tents, mostly one-man 'pop up' tents, with the ladies on the floor in the hall. Before bed we venerated a relic of the True Cross, which one of the pilgrims had brought with him.
Sunday morning, a fairly short walk to Walsingham.
Arrival at the Slipper Chapel, the Catholic shrine, part of the medieval shrine complex: it is where pilgrims left their shoes for the Holy Mile to the Holy House in Walsingham itself.
Sung Mass in the modern Reconciliation Chapel.
Our numbers now include not only the walking pilgrims and our various support drivers but a coach-load from London, many other LMS supporters from around the country and a number of young people taking part in the Youth 2000 weekend taking place. Y2000 is such a big event that they have their services in vast tents in the field opposite the Slipper Chapel, so it didn't prevent us from booking the Reconciliation Chapel for Mass at 2pm.
We processed from the Reconciliation Chapel to the site of the Holy House in the grounds of the medieval Abbey. Here we sang the Te Deum and had a final blessing from Fr Bede.
The site of the Holy House.
An impromtu survivors' photo.
The full set of photos.