SILVER JUBILEE OF WALSINGHAM'S RESTORATION
Three days of prayer for: Lapsed, Conversions, Unity
A SILVER jubilee triduum of prayer will open in Walsingham tomorrow (Saturday) night, when, following a procession and evening Mass, members of the All Night Vigil Group will spend the night praying for the lapsed, for the conversion of England, and for
Twenty-five years ago Cardinal Bourne led the first National Pilgrimage to the restored shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. The preacher was Fr. Vernon Johnson, then a recent convert.
This Sunday thousands of
from England m al
pilgrims fl over saEland will take part in the 25th National Pilgrimage under the leadership of Bishop Parker, Again the preacher will be Mgr. as he now is) Vernon Johnson. Pontifical High Mass at the Slipper Chapel at 11.30 a.m. will be followed by a procession
o the Market Place at 3 .m. Low Mass will be said at the Slipper Chapel at 4.15, and at 9.30 p.m there will be a torchlight procession.
Travelling by night On Tuesday, thousands more pilgrims. many of them travelling through Monday night, will gather in Walsingbarn for the Union of Catholic Mothers annual pilgrimage and the third day of the triduum.
The pilgrimage will be led by the Cardinal and by Bishop Parleb Northampton ton who
r of Nthamp
will say Mass in the Slipper Chapel at 11.30 a.m. A procession from the chapel at 1.45 p.m. will go to the Priory ruins where the Cardinal will preach and give the Papal Blessing. Archbishop Gonzi of Malta will give Pontifical Benediction.
Sick pilgrims will be blessed with the Blessed Sacrament as at Lourdes.
Five years before the Norman Conquest. when St. Edward the Confessor was King of England, there lived In Walsingham a a
widow named Richild. She wished to do something special for Our Lady and prayed for guidance.
Three times in a dream she had a vision of Our Lady who led her, as it were, to Nazareth and showed her the place where the Angel Gabriel appeared to announce the Incarnation. Richild was told to take the measurements of this Holy House and to build a chapel like it in Walsingham.
From this beginning rose through the years first the chapel. then the Priory (run by Augustinian Canons). Walsingham became England's national pilgrimage centre probably unrivalled even by Canterbury.
There came kings and queens and beggars, saints and sinners,
people of England. The rich vied with each other in their glorious and costly gifts.
Destruction, restoration The destruction of the Priory and the shrine at the Reformation, the burning of the statue and thus the curtailment of
pilgrimages, removed also the reason for the Slipper Chapel which became successively workhouse, cottages, forge and barn.
In 1904 the chapel was bought by a convert, Miss Charlotte
Boyd and It was an
eventually handed over to ou Bishop Youcns of Northampton who felt that here was an opportunity to do something really great. He erected within
a shrine of Ou the chapel shrinr Lady e e
with a new statue based on the old priory seal. Pilgrimages immediately started to revive. But it was not until 1934 that although a an Cardinal Bourne, sick man, led thousands from all over Englend on the first National Pilgrimage. As a
e permannt record of this event a panel was inserted in the then new pulpit at Westminster Cathedral—the Cathedral which was to only a few months later say farewell to the dead Cardinal
There were two bouquets
In 1938 came a public act of reparation on the fourth centenary of the destruction. A great pilgrimage of the young England was organ ised of Englganised under the leadership of Cardinal Hinsley and Bishop Youens. Pontifical High mass was sung by Archbishop Myers in the Slipper Chapel and the
/the permission procession, with of Lady Gurney (non-Catholic owner of the priory ruins), walked to the site of the former shrine.
The Cardinal and Bishops walked to the site of the Holy House and laid there a bunch of lilies. As they left another bouquet was left by Lady Gurney. Stark, simple crosses standing in the Slipper Chapel meadow remind us of 1948's great pilgrimage of prayer and penance. Two hundred and sixty men, including 30 priests set off on foot from 14 centres all over England carrying 14 crosses representing the 14 Stations.
Later this summer. as in the
few a past fe will another pilgrimage will walk to Walsingham, that of the Guild of Our Lady of Ransom under the leadership of the Master, Mgr. Laurance Goulder.
In the 1954 Marian Year the Apostolic Delegate crowned the statue of Our Lady and the Divine Child.
The year 1961 will bring the ninth centenary of the first foundation of the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. Nine years ago England d was chosen by Our Lady—and England responded. The revival is coming slowly but surely in the English way Anglicans too gather at Walsingham They, too, pray for reunion. Perhaps in God's good co time that reunion will come partly at least through the those who now
prayers of tho at different times stand on the gentle lawns that cover the love and devotion of byegone Catholic England. M. C.