Youth Pilgrimage 2010
On Friday 16th July a small group of us set off for our annual pilgrimage to Walsingham. When we arrived we found our rooms and had time to unpack before going for the First Visit and Mass in the Holy house which Fr David said for just our group. During the First Visit each person thinks of their intentions for the pilgrimage. Fr David gave a short sermon during which he told us when he was young he lived next door to an ‘aunt’ who always kept her house immaculate, when he went to play with his friend they always had to keep the house tidy but his mother wasn’t like that, their house was always messy and full of toys and things laying around. When his friend came over to play they enjoyed themselves because they felt relaxed and at home. Fr David explained that he thought the Holy house was like that, it was so full of things and a place you could be comfortable in.
It was then time to join the rest of the pilgrims staying there for Evening prayer followed by the Rosary during which all the prayers sent in to the shrine are prayed. This was followed by a delicious dinner in the refectory. Most of the group then went to sample Walsingham’s night life, this year without having to worry about being in before the 11 pm curfew as we were staying in the Richeldis block which has its own entry code.
The next morning we met up for a full English breakfast. Fr David had booked us in for Mass in the Holy house again which he said for our departed friends, especially those who had previously been on pilgrimage with us but were now no longer with us. Later that morning most of our group walked the Stations of the Cross. These take you around the shrine grounds and include a stone ‘tomb’ which you can enter and three large crosses at Calvary. We then met up again for a large lunch in the refectory; Walsingham is not the place to go if you are on a diet!
Saturday afternoon was free time so Paul and I wondered around the shops getting some items for our repository in church before having a rest. We then joined the other pilgrims for the Shrine Mass. For this we were sitting in one of the side chapels and noticed that we were sitting behind the tomb of Fr Arthur Tooth and were surprised to see he had been imprisoned for his faith and had died in 1931. Paul and I were puzzled by this and went back later to check the date; surely no one had been imprisoned for their faith as recently as that? However, it was right. Later that evening, still puzzled, was asked Fr David who explained that he had been imprisoned for the use of incense, candles, and vestments which was at the time illegal and that our former organist,Max, had know Fr Arthur.
After another large dinner we gathered for the candle lit Procession of Our Lady during which we process around the grounds while singing the Walsingham hymn. This was followed by the ministries of Laying on of hands, anointing and confession. All of which are around the Shrine church and you are welcome to go to as many or as few as you wish. These finished at around 10pm so we quickly went out again to sample the night life.
Sunday morning I was up bright and early and went to join the Sisters at the priory for the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer. The Priory is next to the shrine and anyone can join them for any of their offices, they also have the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament every morning and you are free to go in to their chapel for quiet prayer anytime. After another full English breakfast we set off down to the Parish church for their Mass and were then back at the shrine in time for another large lunch.
At 2pm we gathered at the Shrine church for Sprinkling at the Well. We then had time for a very quick tea before we had to be back for the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament around the grounds with Benediction, which Paul was Crucifer for, followed by the Last Visit. It was then time to pack up and start our long journey back home.