Hundreds take part in pilgrimage to Walsingham
- Credit: Archant
Around 850 people braved the cold weather to join a pilgrimage to Walsingham.
The pilgrimage on Monday, May 6 began at midday at the Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, with a Pontifical Mass held in and outside the Chapel of Our Lady of Reconciliation.
A group of around 120 young pilgrims had walked across the Norfolk countryside to Walsingham after attending the Ignite Festival in Swaffham.
In his homily, Bishop Alan said: "The story of Walsingham is an enduring witness to the beauty and power of silence.
"The message of Walsingham asks us not to speak but to help build up the Kingdom of God through silent witness to our faith in lives lived closely to Jesus Christ."
After Mass, groups from across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough enjoyed lunch in the grounds of the Shrine before Bishop Alan performed the traditional crowning of the statue of Mary.
Over 700 pilgrims then joined a Marian Procession to the priory grounds in Walsingham along the Holy Mile, one of only three such pilgrimages now allowed along this route every year, while others went in coaches.
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On arrival at the priory grounds, the Blessed Sacrament was placed on the altar and Bishop Alan gave Benediction.
He then led devotions at the original site of the Holy House, before it was destroyed at the time of the Reformation.
Walsingham has a long history of religious pilgrimage.
The Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham was established in 1061, when it is said that Richeldis de Faverches was led in spirit to Nazareth by the Virgin Mary, who showed her the house where the Annunciation occurred and asked her to build a replica in Walsingham.
During medieval times, Walsingham was visited by thousands of pilgrims from all over Britain and Europe, including nearly all the kings and queens of England from Henry III.
In the Reformation, the priory and the friary were dissolved and all property handed over to the King's Commissioners.
Walsingham then began to grow as a place of pilgrimage again in the 1800s.