A group of 13 Pilgrims met together at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham on Friday 4 June and were blessed with good weather on both the Friday and the Saturday. The party had been reduced to that number by the unfortunate ill health of an older Companion. We were most grateful to Father Antony Grant CR, for acting as Chaplain to our Pilgrimage.

We started with our First Visit to the Shrine. A number of our party stayed in the Holy House to attend Shrine Mass, followed by Evening Prayers. After that, we had Supper, which was followed by the opportunity for our group to socialise, until (at Father Antony’s suggestion) a few Pilgrims joined the Sisters of the Society of St Margaret in their Priory for Compline, after which the group got together again in a certain well known hostelry in the village.  

Saturday morning started with Mass in the Guild of All Souls Chapel, during which three beautiful icons, written by one of the group, Companion Peter Grayson, were blessed. After breakfast, we visited the Stations of the Cross and were delighted to be joined by Pilgrims from the East Anglian Companions of CR, who were at Walsingham for the day. Peter then gave the group an impromptu and most interesting talk on the subject of iconography.

In the afternoon, there was an opportunity to attend Sprinkling at the Well, although this was also available to Pilgrims on Sunday afternoon. As members of our group were able to attend on either day, most took the opportunity to explore the Shrine shop and other shops in the village, or the Museum and attached beautiful grounds containing the site of the original Holy House and the impressive ruins of the Augustinian Priory of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  At 6pm, there was a con-celebrated Mass in the Nave of the Holy House; it was quite an experience to worship with other parties staying at the Shrine, especially for the writer who had the privilege of reading a lesson. After supper on Saturday, we were able to join in the marvellous Procession of Our Lady, where one of our number was a torch bearer.

On Sunday, Fr. Antony offered our Intercessions in the Holy House, prior to the whole group going to the Parish Church of St. Mary to join with other Pilgrims and local residents at Mass. Sprinkling again followed lunch that day. Subsequently we attended the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament which took place in the Shrine Church as, sadly, the good weather of Friday and Saturday had by then turned inclement. A number of our party again went to Compline in the adjacent Convent. The evening was duly completed socially.

Fr. Antony celebrated Mass for us on Monday morning in the Holy House, followed by our Last Visit to the Shrine. After breakfast, it was time to depart, with all of us looking forward to next year. The dates for 2011 are 3 to 6 June. Next year is the 950th anniversary of the appearance of the Blessed Virgin to the Lady of the Manor, Richeldis. What a year to visit Walsingham!

Geof Dignum CCR

(Photographs of the 2010 CCR Pilgrimage to Walsingham can be found here)