50,000 form living chain from Leeds to Kirkstall ruins
THE battered ruins of Kirkstall Abbey in York shire, and the few remaining stones of the ancient Abbey of the Holy Blood at Hayles in Gloucestershire on Sunday rose out of the dissolution of the Reformation and became again living centres of Catholic faith and devotion.
Between 50,000 and 60,000 pilgrims from practically every parish in the Leeds diocese marched four abreast in procession from the centre of Leeds for r Benediction amid the ruins. assisted with undimmed ardour in
For a long period the procession formed a continuous three-mile chain between the city centre and the abbey. When the leaders were entering the grounds, thousands at the other end were still awaiting their turn to begin the march.
Across the country. at Hayles, near Winchcombe, 5,000 people assisted at the first Mass on the site of the Abbey since Henry commissioners pulled it down stone by stone in 1539.
The day was the Feast of the Martyrs SS. John Fisher and Thomas More.
On the same day, up in North Wales, at Llangollen. 2,000 Catholics of many nations attended Pontifical High Mass in the Eisteddfod tent. the scene of last week's international festival of the arts.
And in London, Cardinal Griffin, preaching in Chelsea, near the home of St. Thomas More, was latinouring a modern martyr, recalling how, exactly three years previously, Cardinal Mindszenty was in London celebrating the Mass of the two English martyrs—well knowing the fate in store for him.
Sunday (writes THE CATHOLIC HFRALD representative in Leeds) was the proudest day in Yorkshire's postReformation history.
At least 50.000 walked in the procession to Kirkstall, and thousands of others went to the abbey by special trains, trams and motor coaches.
The marchers took two hours and a half to file through the abbey gates.
From shortly after midday pilgrims streamed to the Town Hall Square from the 17 Leeds parishes, many walking in procession from their churches.
They were joined by contingents that had come by motor coaches from Sheffield, Bradford, Wakefield, Batley and other towns.
The procession set out after the " Credo " and the singing of "God Bless our Pope." The Rosary and hymns on the way were synchronised with the aid of amplifiers.
The solid lines of marching men and youth made the deepest impression but equally heartening was the brave display made by mile after mile of women and girls who after the trying march in the summer heat the devotions at the abbey.
Conspicuous in the procession were 300 boys front St. Michael's College wearing Holy Year medallions, 500 girls from Notre Dame and St. Mary's Colleges, 500 Poles, including a group of girls in national costume carrying the banner of Our Lady with streamers in the national colours, 16 Passionists in habit. kilted pipers from St. Mary's, Scouts, Guides and Cubs, and a fine body of Young Christian Workers.
Three brass bands as well as the Scout band accompanied the singing.
Crowds of saon-Catholics lined the route and immense numbers watched the proceedings from the wall overlooking the abbey.
The ruined abbey made an imposing setting for the open-air altar near which seats were provided for the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, Alderman and Mrs. F. H. O'Donnell, the first Catholics to hold these offices.
The solemn hush when the Blessed Sacrament was raised by Mgr. Canon Dinn in Benediction, the rousing. exultant note of the massed voices in the " Lourdes Hymn " and " Faith of our Fathers" will be abiding memories of a historic occasion.
The pilgrimage was organised by the Catholic Parents and Electors' Association. to celebrate the Holy Year and the centenary of the Hierarchy's restoration. The civic authorities gave it their wholehearted cooperation—and Catholic policemen gave their services for the day without pay.
The address by Fr. Clifford Howell, S.J., is reported on page 7.
The 5,000 pilgrims at the Abbey of the Holy Blood—whose consecration '700 years ago was attended by King Henry III — included many non-Catholics.
They came from as far away as London and Devon, North Wales and the Midlands, as well as from most parts of the Cotswolds. Forty Benedictine monks from Prinknash Abbey. the first to officiate at Hayles since the Cistercians were driven out at the Reformation, escorted their Abbot, Dorn Wilfrid Upson. to a canopied altar set up in what is left of the nave where he celebrated Mass in the presence of the Bishop of Clifton, Mgr. Rudder
(Continued on page 7)