Welcome to the site for News, Events and up-to-date Information on Traditional Catholicism in the West Midlands (UK). I am one of the Diocesan Representatives for the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales for the Promotion of the Traditional Roman Rite.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Walsingham Pilgrimage

Walsingham is quite a long way from Birmingham, taking about three hours to drive east. But for us it is always a journey towards Christ, and this weekend was no exception.

We were fortunate enough to be able to take Fr Philip Cleevely, our chaplain, who said his own Mass in the slipper chapel at 9am on Saturday morning. It was his first Mass in the little chapel, and was a real treat for us having never seen this altar used in its original intended way, so to speak. Please note that the shrine staff and sacristans have all the necessary stock for a Low Mass such as this, and are only too happy to accommodate priests wanting to say a Mass using the 1962 missal. Our many thanks to them.

In pre-reformation England this was the last chapel en route to the great shrine in Walsingham; before the last 'Holy Mile' which pilgrims would often walk barefoot, hence the name. In this last century, as devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham has returned, the Slipper Chapel is the centre of Catholic devotion to our Lady in this country. Even near the old demolished abbey in Walsingham, the Anglicans have built their own shrine to honour our Lady. In the last couple of years the RC church in Walsingham has been rebuilt, but is very modern in specification, and it would be impossible to say Mass ad orientem there. It is a small church more intended for the Catholic parish, but has a large parish centre to accomodate pilgrims. Pilgrims tend to congregate around the RC shrine, at the Slipper Chapel in Houghton St Giles.

Because of the sheer volume of pilgrims, there is a large chapel of Reconciliation beside the shrine which is modelled after a Norfolk barn. The wall behind the altar can even be opened up to allow a congregation outside to participate in the Mass. The LMS national pilgrimage Mass took place here yesterday at 3.30pm after a procession up from Walsingham (a reverse holy mile!) The celebrant was the Rt Rev Mgr Gordon Read, who sang a missa cantata. He preached on this feast, the Holy Name of Mary, particularly about a devotion to the humanity of Jesus, which is typified by the original vision to built a replica model of the house of Nazareth in Walsingham. It was nice singing the communion motet 'Adore te devote' and the final hymns 'Salve regina' and 'Faith of our Fathers' (which is perhaps an LMS favourite written by Fr F Faber RIP)

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