On Friday 8th March Fr John gave his blessing and waved off Brother Thomas and 9 students from the College for the annual weekend pilgrimage to Walsingham
Throughout the year, candles burn for many and varied intentions including students and staff of the College and our loved ones. We also took all the prayer requests from the board in the College Oratory to include in our prayers whilst on pilgrimage.
A few of us visited the new Museum on the High Street which houses the extensive collection of Marion items collected by the late Peter Sibley. The curator, Tim, was pleased to hear that we had not cancelled our pilgrimage this year, and after the tour generously gave each of us a manuscript as a gift.
As it was ‘low season’ at the Shrine so we students had the whole of one of the guest blocks to ourselves. We used the spacious and comfortable upstairs living room as our Pilgrimage Common Room where we listened to the two excellent addresses given by Fr Thomas (about two anti-types of Mary, Rebekah and Hannah), and also to relax in at the end of the day.
We said CoR Mattins in the Barn Chapel each morning and prayed the Stations of the Cross (appropriately, the weather got wilder the closer to Calvary we got…)
With the other pilgrims we entered fully into the life of the Shrine and attended the Pilgrimage Mass, Shrine Prayers, Liturgy of Healing and Reconciliation with laying on of hands, Sprinkling and Benediction. We also made use of our free afternoon with some of us heading off to the coast, some relaxing and reading, and a few of us taking a prayerful walk down to the Slipper Chapel.
On Sunday morning attended Mass with the local community and other pilgrims. The weather turned very Norfolk on us – rain, hail, sleet and snow and that was just during the short walk to the Parish Church.
At our request for our purchases to be blessed, Fr Thomas, as unfazed as only a CR brother could be, found a suitable Collect and before we left England’s Nazareth blessed all the Tat that we had bought over the weekend…
The Journey home along the A1 and M62 was through treacherous weather of driving rain, sleet and dangerously high winds. Although separated by about 100 miles of tarmac we joined in with the Community by praying the CR Evensong whilst driving along and although the weather raged about us there was a stillness and peace in our hearts that one often finds having spent time in prayer at Walsingham.
Many thanks to Fr Thomas for his prayerful leadership of our pilgrimage, to Frs Kevin and Andreas and all the team at the Shrine for making us all so welcome, and of course to our pilgrimage officers, Ben and Max, for organising our weekend of prayer, reflection, fellowship and fun so impeccably.
See you at the National!