Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Our Lady of Walsingham

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham - it's still got another twenty minutes to go! I had the privilege of making a pilgrimage to Walsingham today with my mum (a proper pilgrimage, with a set of Rosary mysteries on the way, during the time there, and on the way back, though as my mum pointed out, John Paul II rather threw a spanner in the works by introducing a fourth set of mysteries!). The Mass was of course a solemnity, and the Sisters of Walsingham, from Brentwood, processed the statue of Our Lady into the church to place next to the altar. There were priests from the diocese as well as from elsewhere, and the church was extremely packed. Bishop Michael gave an edifying homily about Mary's place in the work of our salvation, and held up her humility as an example to us. He also preached the same message I had heard from a different priest the last time I was in Walsingham - that is, a pilgrimage is never the end, but the beginning! Like the slipper chapel there, which is where pilgrims traditionally took off their shoes to walk the last mile to the old shrine barefoot, going on pilgrimage is an initial step which entails consequent conversion of life. Mary is not the goal, but the Mother who points us to our ultimate end, Her Son. Below is an excerpt from the litany to Our Lady of Walsingham (not the same excerpt I posted a year ago):

Woman who wondered, Remember us to God.
Woman who listened, Remember us to God.
Woman who followed Him, Remember us to God.
Woman who longed for Him, Remember us to God.
Woman who loves Him, Remember us to God.

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