More than 2,000 people went on the Brentwood diocesan pilgrimage to Walsingliam on Sunday. A special 12-carriage train took 650 pilgrims,' 35 coaches carried many more by road and hundreds went in cars.
They were joined by 150 people from the Westminster diocese: and one coach travelled with pilgrims from Liverpool and another made the journey from Todrnorden, Lancs.
The purpose of the pilgrimage, organised by the Knights of St. Columba, was fourfold : to celebrate Our Lady's Year, to pray for the persecuted Church, to pray for world peace, and to pray for the needs of the diocese.
Hymns in honour of Our Lady were sung as the procession, which included clergy, nuns and Children of Mary, moved from the Friday Market Place to the Slipper Chapel, where High Mass was celebrated by Mgr. Howell, V.G. Bishop Beck referred to the persecution of fellow-Catholics in Communist countries. Many have died a martyr's death, and "we of the same Faith must pray earnestly for them. '
Calling for prayers for peace, Bishop Beck warned : "The world trembles on the edge of a precipice which could result in a catastrophe,' Following the Mass long queues formed outside the Slipper Chapel and a number of sick pilgrims were taken through the throng to the shrine.