Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Walsingham and Clare

That was some weekend. Our Bournemouth Mission was present throughout, which meant that several events were entrusted too us. One of us read a lesson at the Pilgrimage Mass, others brought up the elements. We led Morning Prayer in the Parish Church a couple of times and on our last evening Benediction was attended by many other pilgrims.

Mgr Keith waiting as the Image arrives at the Catholic Shrine

We had wondered whether our Ordinary would be present; Mgr John Broadhurst was standing by in case he could not make it. In the event he came straight from Liverpool and his mother's funeral. Despite thundery showers all day, the procession from the Anglican Shrine was completed in the dry.

Our Bournemouth contingent was one of the larger ones attending; there were some noticeable absences this year but for all that the Church of the Reconciliation was comfortably full for the Mass (at which Mgr John preached). Fr Alan Williams, the Administrator, had already left to prepare for his Episcopal Ordination on Tuesday. His appointment to Brentwood is great news for the many Ordinariate priests in that diocese.

This is the latest family to join our Bournemouth group. Here Dennis and Sherlyn and their six lovely children are meeting Mgr Keith. Walsingham is such a good place for catching up on old friends and meeting new ones. As in previous years, Bishop Lindsay made us all very welcome at the Anglican Shrine, and once again many of our Catholic pilgrims found the candlelight procession and evening service which he led one of the highlights of the pilgrimage.

Standing in the new building the Prior explains the developments
One the way home we stopped off at Clare Priory. It is one of only two pre-Reformation houses once again occupied by religious of the original foundation - the other is Aylesford. Clare was the first Augustinian house in the country, and the Friars returned there in 1952. after a break of a little over four centuries. The church was an original monastic building, but was only converted into the Church when the Friars returned - the original Church had, like so many others, been used as a source of building materials by the locals. Last year it was greatly enlarged with a handsome new wing, to accommodate not only visitors but also the local Catholic congregation, for whom it is their Parish Church.

Old church and new addition at Clare

Fr Darryl Jordan (seen here next to the Prior) bore the lion's share of leading our pilgrimage, ably supported by Madeleine Hemsley.
As always, Walsingham was a great opportunity for renewing old friendships and making new ones. What's more the rain held off for our picnic lunches.

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