Record breaking temperatures attract hundreds to pilgrimage
- Credit: Archant
With record-breaking temperatures on Bank Holiday Monday the annual Walsingham pilgrimage attracted almost 900 people to the village.
The Diocese of East Anglia pilgrimage to Walsingham featured a new format this year and started at the Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.
A mass was held inside and outside the church’s chapel, where pilgrims were able to enjoy the 25C (77F) temperatures.
Bishop Alan also welcomed a large group of pilgrims who had walked across the Norfolk countryside to Walsingham after attending the Ignite Festival in Swaffham.
Speaking to the pilgrims, he said: “We are commanded at the end of Mass to go out and to be the presence of Jesus in our world, to proclaim his Gospel and to live as those who have experienced the love and mercy of God.
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“We are to commit ourselves to love and serve the people of our world and especially those who are the neediest in our society.”
He went on to speak about the Ark of the Covenant which was, for the Jewish people, the dwelling place of God on earth.
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After the mass groups from across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough enjoyed their lunches in the grounds of the shrine before Bishop Alan performed the traditional crowning of the statue of Mary.
Most pilgrims then joined a Blessed Sacrament Procession to the Priory grounds in Walsingham, while others travelled by coach.
At the priory grounds, the Blessed Sacrament was placed on the altar and Bishop Alan gave Benediction.
It was almost 960 years ago that the small village of Walsingham became tied to religion. A Walsingham widow is said to have seen the Virgin Mary in a dream and was asked to rebuild the house where, more than 1,000 years ago, and more than 2,000 miles away, an angel revealed she was to be the mother of a messiah.
It sparked a religious fervour which brought kings, queens and international fame to the tiny Norfolk village. The Nazareth house was faithfully built in Norfolk, on land which is now part of the Abbey Gardens at Walsingham.
For more information on the church and its history visit the website at www.walsingham.org.uk/home.