Sunday, 27 March 2011

Walsingham's Jubilee Year has begun

A Solemn Pontifical Mass in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 26th March marked the start of the celebrations for the 950th anniversary of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham (England’s National Shrine of Our Lady).
Archbishop Vincent Nichols presided at the Mass, and was joined by H.E. Archbishop Antonio Mennini (the Apostolic Nuncio), Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, Mgr Keith Newton (Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham), other bishops, the Abbot of Farnborough and priests representing dioceses from around the country. Also present were representatives from the Anglican Shrine, including the Guardians of the Holy House who accompanied the statue which had been brought from the Slipper Chapel. The statue was carried in procession by members of the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham. More pictures of the Mass can be seen here.

At the start of his homily the Archbishop made reference to the fact that St Pauls’ latest book about Walsingham [Walsingham: Pilgrims and Pilgrimage] was available in the bookshop and that the author, Fr Michael Rear, would be in the shop to sign copies. He did then go on to say that he was delivering a homily and not a commercial! His Grace pointed out that this Jubilee celebration highlights the imperative for us to work and pray for the visible unity of all christians, whilst also being an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel to the people of our land.

After the Mass the Archbishop joined the many guests in St Pauls bookshop by Westminster Cathedral to celebrate the publication of Walsingham: Pilgrims and Pilgrimage, where he commended both Fr Rear on his work and St Pauls for the excellent quality of presentation.

The book has received great praise from the Shrines, the media and all who have read it. It is now hoped that a way can be found to introduce the book in to America, where there is a great devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham, notably in Williamsburg, Virginia; Houston, Texas and Washington D.C..

Also in the bookshop on Saturday was Jeremy de Satgé, one of the founding members of The Music Makers, who was there to promote his latest CD Our Lady of Walsingham. This excellent production is a history and meditation in words and music. Narrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, it has contributions from the Administrators of the two Shrines in Walsingham, Sr Therese of the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham and music sung by Schola Cantamus. The CD is available to purchase from our bookshops or our website.