Fr Philip and the Pastoral Assistants have recently been to Walsingham. It was Laurens’s first pilgrimage to the Shrine, and he has kindly shared some of his thoughts about the experience.
As Pastoral Assistants we have been to Walsingham on Pilgrimage from 24 – 26 November with Father Philip. We had a great time. Adoremus (the title of the pilgrimage) is for people between the age of 18 and 35.
On the way to Walsingham we made a stop at Norwich Cathedral and a stop at the beach for a walk and catching some fresh air. We arrived late in the afternoon in Walsingham, just before dinner.
On Friday after supper we went into the Shrine Church for the first visit to the holy house. We gathered at the altar of the annunciation and after having said some psalms and a Bible reading we went into the Holy House where we could light a candle and say a prayer.
At the altar of the annunciation, Fr Jack started with an introduction what really got to me. He said that when we are in Walsingham in the Shrine, we are there to meet Jesus. Fr Jack said, it is like going to visit a friend when you are young; when you visit, it is the mother who poured the tea and makes things ready. In other words, it is the mother who tries to make it a home for you. We experience something similar in Walsingham: we are there for Jesus; Mary makes it a home for us and points to Jesus.
On Saturday we had two interesting talks: Me, Myself and God, all about our relationship with God and our life of prayer; the second one was called The Mass: God with us. The second talk, given by Fr Edward, was about what the Eucharist is, what it means to us and what the Bible says about it. In the evening we had a service with the liturgy of reconciliation and Benediction. After Benediction there was a possibility to stay for prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament and to make our Confession.
On Sunday morning we started with a talk about Anglo-Catholicism, mainly about how it all started and what it means today. After the talk we went to mass in the Parish Church of Walsingham with a procession with the blessed Sacrament for Christ the King. In the afternoon there was a service with Sprinkling, Benediction and Last visit to the Holy House.
It was a nice weekend out of Croydon, to have fresh air and to be in the country. But mostly it made me realise how important Mary has been in Jesus life and she still is for us. Not just as the mother of Jesus, but also as our mother. And in a sense, she is also our sister in faith – someone who has finished her pilgrimage but walked the same walk as we do today. She knows what we are going through because she has experienced it in her own life.Besides that, it was nice to meet other Anglo-Catholics of the same age group, making new friends. Hearing about their experiences in church made it a very interesting pilgrimage. And in our free time we visited the shops in the village (and the Bull!) and had a laugh.
I am grateful to St Michael’s for making it possible for us to go on pilgrimage that has helped us to explore our faith and God’s calling in our lives.