Parish and other Pilgrimages

page 2
PAGE 1 Fr Patten looked back at organised pilgrimages in the early days an early pilgrimage before the Translation 1925 St Barnabas, Pimlico 1928 Norwich Anglo-Catholic Pilgrimage 1928 League of Our Lady/Society of Mary from Birmingham from 1932 St Andrew's, Willesden 1934 Bradford and Worth Valley 1935 PAGE 2 Scottish Pilgrimage 1936 Southend & District Pilgrimage Association from 1946 St Augustine's, Tonge Moor 1947 Oakworth (Bradford) 1948 St Mary Magdalene, Millfield, Sunderland 1959
SCOTTISH PILGRIMAGE 1936 [after the Holy House was built but before the Shrine Church] from Our Lady's Mirror, Summer 1936 number This season will ever be marked in the annals as the year when the first organised Scottish pilgrimage came to Walsingham since the destruction of the original Holy House. These adventurers, led by Father Joblin of St Michael's, Edinburgh, heard Mass and were blessed at 6 o'clock on Saturday, August 22nd, and after a hurried breakfast boarded the train for their long journey to East Anglia. Other members of the pilgrimage came by road. Arrived before the Sanctuary the weary travellers led by a blue-eyed laddie carrying a votive banner, made their first visit. The whole pilgrimage was a most happy event, and already plans are being set on foot for a second Scottish Visit in 1937. from The Scottish Guardian 9 October 1936 As the date of the Pilgrimage drew nearer my enthusiasm waned. Memories of my first and only Retreat came back to me, when as an undergraduate I had spent a dreary weekend in Cambridge, being tormented by a hearty "loyal" Anglican clergyman. I prayed that I might develop a chill before it was too late. Then again, I am rather fussy about food, and I had visions of all sorts of depressing meals eaten in the company of elderly ladies whose spectacular piety would only increase my indignation. But it was now too late, and I had promised to go to Walsingham. As I was on holiday at the time, I was able to persuade two other Scottish friends to come down from London with me. One of them conveyed us in his car, so leaving town, we bowled along the flat but pleasant roads of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire very happily, and so arrived at Walsingham about 5 p.m. on Saturday, 22nd August. Christian Atmosphere And here just a word about Walsingham itself; the village has for its main feature a long, rather sloping street between old-fashioned thatched cottages, and the ruins of two great monasteries on either side of the highway. Just an East Anglian village in picturesque surroundings; we could see the flannel trousers of trippers alternating with the breeches and leggings of the local farm- workers. But everywhere one also sees evidence of a specially Christian atmosphere; notices "To the Holy House" are to be seen in the windows of shops and inns, while several repositories displaying pictures and objects of piety testify to the presence of a Holy Shrine close at hand. As we drove through the village we met a well-known Edinburgh W.S., who had just arrived before us, and our first welcome was from him. He told us that he was speeding off to Fakenham station, six miles away, to meet our leader, Fr. Joblin, and the pilgrims who were coming by train from Edinburgh; he told us also that the whole party were to meet at the Holy House at 6.45 p.m. for our first visit to the Shrine in Walsingham. Our rooms had been booked at the Black Lion Inn, which has housed every Sovereign of England from William the Conqueror to Henry VIII, and has not altered much since the 16th century. At this hostelry a little grey-haired lady welcomed us, and told us something of the great pilgrimages that have come to Walsingham in recent years from many famous London parishes and from all over England; she added that we Scots were always "behindhand", whatever that may have meant. The Blue Blanket At 6.30 we found our way to the Shrine, our small party of three reinforced by a friend who had motored all the way from Nairn to join us. There on the spot we met Father Hope Patten, Vicar of the Parish, and Father Derrick Lingwood, the Pilgrimage Secretary. While we were exchanging greetings, the bus arrived and out clambered a little laddie carrying the Scottish Pilgrimage Banner of blue and silver with the Cross of St. Andrew, our Patron; he was followed by Father Joblin, who is Rector of St. Michael’s, Edinburgh, and the rest of the pilgrims, all looking very fresh and fit in spite of their ten-hour train journey. And so we made our first visit to the Holy House, England’s Nazareth. Among the Intercessions, the priest prayed that the glorious Mother of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ might make good all that was imperfect in our poor requests, and thus obtain for us the blessing of a heart completely surrendered to His Will. This was the introductory act of our visit. After a delightful supper served by the Sisters in the Pilgrims’ Refectory, we returned to the Shrine, where Fr. Joblin gave us a little address. He spoke of Pilgrimage Places throughout the ages, and dealt in particular with the history of Walsingham. The evening closed with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, after which Confessions were heard, and so to bed, feeling rather unaccountably happy. Whole Village Astir Sunday morning was heralded by a blaze of sunshine and scent of honeysuckle, and after customary ablutions (all in cold water), I set forth from the Black Lion. The whole village was astir at a quarter to eight for the early Mass at the Parish Church; there were boys and girls on pushbikes, and older men and women sedately walking. But my companions and I were bound for the Holy House again, where our Priest-Conductor was to say Mass for the Scottish pilgrims. Everyone seemed to be in the Chapel before our arrival, and with difficulty we found corners to kneel in. The beautiful statue of Our Lady was lit with many tapers, and the little chapel seemed to be silently thrilling with the quiet business of prayer, when the server pushed his way through the crowds who knelt on the floor to make a passage for the priest to the altar. I kept reminding myself that to a true Catholic it would all be just the same at Paisley or Prestonpans, and yet everything seemed different in a strange way in this sacred centre. Making the Stations Breakfast followed in the Refectory, and at 10 o’clock we set out to make the Way of the Cross at the open-air Stations in the lovely Shrine garden, under the guidance of our Leader. Over and over again we prayed, “O God, I love Thee with my whole heart, and above all things, and am heartily sorry that I have ever offended Thee. May I never offend Thee any more. O May I love Thee without ceasing, and make it my delight in all things to do Thy Holy Will”. This was our Litany. When we had finished the Stations, we made for the Parish Church to join with the people of the village in their Parish Mass. The church was full to suffocation, though I imagine it must hold at least 400 people. I noticed our landlady, the postman, and the Master of a Cambridge College among the congregation, and the Mass music was well sung by a large choir of men and boys – a fine service. After church we had a stroll round, and then met again at the Hospice for an excellent lunch, after which came the Intercessions, and our visit to the Holy Well. I shall not soon forget the reading of the Intercessions by the Leader; they were of all sorts, personal and general. For Spain; for the Conversion of Scotland; for the return of a friend to the Sacraments; for a greater sense of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament – all just as they were written and sent in by the pilgrims themselves. After each group of petitions came the oft-repeated prayer, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us; Jesus full of goodness and love, have mercy on us; Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us”. Then the pilgrims in turn drank of the water of the Holy Well, and were blessed one by one. All this may seem to be the record of rather an intensive Sunday’s worship, but the curious things if that when these devotions were over at about 3 p.m., we felt almost lost when we heard that we were free to go and explore the village or anywhere else we liked until the 6.30 p.m. Evensong in the Parish Church. My friends and I pushed off to Hunstanton to get a breath of the sea, and others went with the youngsters to row or bathe at Wells-on-Sea, where the pilgrims from Scotland and abroad used to land long ago in the far-off ages of Faith. The First Scottish Pilgrims I have attended evening service and Benediction in many lands, but it was a wonderful experience to hear the well-known hymns, “O Saving Victim” and “Therefore we before Him bending”, sung in English instead of Latin by English folk in honour of Christ the King; it was inspiring, too, to reflect that we were the first party of Scottish pilgrims to visit the restored Shrine since its destruction four hundred years ago by the forces of Satan. The experiences of that unforgettable weekend can only be a personal memory; it is impossible to describe them. I will merely say that once again one felt rather lost and lonely when Sunday’s worship was over, and we came out of church. Supper and a most pointed and vigorous discussion about modern architecture closed the day, for we were to be at Mass at 7 a.m. the next morning. It was St. Bartholomew’s Day, and the crimson chasuble was the colour of the giant peonies in the Sisters’ garden. Suitcases and bags were stacked outside the little chapel of the Holy House, and then after a hurried breakfast we made our last visit to the Shrine. “Alas, O Mary, I must leave this Sanctuary of your choice, this holy place, trodden by so many of your clients throughout the ages. I have now to return to my ordinary daily life, which will be no easier, no less difficult, than in the days that have passed, but I go with a new purpose, increased fidelity, and a renewed assurance of your constant prayers”. So prayed our Leader, and so pray I, hoping that in the Month of Mary next year an even larger band of Scots people will come to visit the Shrine of the Holy Mother of God, and by her gracious aid may help to win back our country for her Son. top of page
SOUTHEND & DISTRICT PILGRIMAGE ASSOCIATION : from 1946 from Our Lady's Mirror, Spring Number 1955 The Southend and District Pilgrimage Association came into being as a direct result of a pilgrimage to Walsingham in 1946, when some sixty people from churches in or near Southend- on-Sea united in this act of thanksgiving for the end of the war. The following year, 1947, saw a further pilgrimage and it was suggested afterwards that those taking part should form a small association to promote an annual visit to the Shrine of Our Lady and to spread knowledge of Walsingham wherever opportunity offered. It was felt too that such an association might be able to make its small contribution to the life of the Church in other ways, in particular by encouraging pilgrimages to holy places within reach and by creating an organisation for its members and friends that would make such journeys possible. A Chaplain was appointed and a Committee formed in 1947 and since that time the Association has been able to carry out a full programme every year. The chief event is of course the Walsingham pilgrimage and in addition one other long-distance pilgrimage to a Cathedral or other shrine is also undertaken. There are normally from four to six other visits, frequently to small country parishes where priests are teaching the Catholic faith to small and sometimes rather unresponsive congregations. By such visits the Association tries to help in the work of Catholic evangelism; its members see something of the work and worship of small parishes that they would not otherwise know, and we are told that such visits are often very useful stimuli to those on the spot. Some years ago the Association was able to set up its own shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in a local Church and here on the fourth Friday in each month members meet for a short office and Intercessions. These follow closely on the pattern of those offered in the Holy House, and a number of thanksgivings have already been recorded for answers to prayer. A weekly Mass is also said by the Chaplain for the work of the Association. As far as possible, pilgrimages or visits are arranged to take place on or near to one of the Feasts of Our Lady and the Walsingham pilgrimage is always made in Mary’s month of May. Until last year, the Walsingham pilgrimages had been day pilgrimages only, but last year’s and this year’s are week-end visits and it is hoped that this will now become the rule. In addition it is hoped to arrange a day pilgrimage later in the year for those who cannot be away for the full week-end. Care in organisation has resulted in minimum cost to pilgrims and any surplus in the funds at the end of the year enables a donation to be sent to the work of the Shrine. For the past two years the Association has published a small annual magazine on the eve of its Annual general meeting, giving a resume of the year’s work and the latest news from Walsingham in addition to other interesting articles. Membership of the Association is open to Anglicans who are in sympathy with its objects, and who live within a reasonable distance of Southend-on-Sea. The practical usefulness of an organisation such as this extends in many directions. It has been responsible for bringing home hundreds of people to Walsingham over the past seven years – many of who have experienced a deepened devotion to Our Lady and the mystery of the Incarnation as a result and not a few of whom have benefited from prayer at the shrine or sprinkling at the well. It has been the means of many prayers and much intercession being offered in Holy Places . . . in some perhaps for the first time since the Reformation. Many of its members have been able to visit places which ordinarily would have presented considerable difficulties – such as Religious Houses at a considerable distance away – or to join in observances such as the Whit Monday pilgrimage at Walsingham, the Commemoration of King Charles the Martyr in London, or the Corpus Christi procession at Otford, to mention but one or two examples. From time to time, walking pilgrimages have been undertaken by some of the junior members. All these experiences bring to those who participate in them a new vista of the life and work of the Church outside their own parishes. The feeling of happy devotion that pervades these pilgrimages must be experienced to be appreciated. Many friendships have been formed and new links forged. It is in the hope that possible this experiment which God has prospered, may interest others who might like to try something of the same kind elsewhere, that these notes have been written. top of page
ST AUGUSTINE'S, TONGE MOOR 1947 from Our Lady's Mirror, Autumn and Winter Number 1947-8 We had to come from Bolton in the foggy North. None of us had even been to Norfolk before. We had wondered for a long time how to make the pilgrimage from here, as it is nearly 200 miles each way, trains are awkward, and to charter a special "chara" would be beyond young people's pockets. To hitch-hike would not give us enough time. We only get two holidays in the year here, in July and September, from Saturday to Thursday. We do not go in for Bank Holidays. But something happened. One of the Boys who attends St Augustine's in the holidays has a father who is a furniture remover. He is of the "personal touch type", still able to do things on his own responsibility. He asked his foreman ("Bob") if he would like the trip, who said he would if he could take his wife. And that's how fifteen of us had a free lift both ways in a furniture van, while five others (a whole family) came in a private car. One of our priests [Fr Humphrey Whistler] came with us, and another [Fr Kenneth Child] met us at Walsingham. They belong to the Company of Mission Priests, which has a "House" here, and runs this parish (St Augustine's, Tonge Moor) somewhat as your College of St Augustine runs Walsingham and Houghton; though as yet we have no lay brothers. We all intended to keep the Greater Pilgrimage, and had a copy of the Manual before we came. We went to our confessions the night before and attended a Votive Mass for Pilgrims and Travellers the next morning before setting off at 8 a.m. It was a long journey and we could not see much. The back was slightly open, but let in more fumes than fresh air. Kelham was our half-way "station", where we were welcomed by one of our former priests who has joined the Society of the Sacred Mission. The furniture van was not uncomfortable as we had put four settees in it, but some of us suffered a good deal from road-sickness. We eventually arrived at Walsingham at 7 p.m., and after finding our various billets, enjoyed the first of many excellent meals provided by the Sisters in the Refectory. The private car arrived a little later, having had to buy and fit a new radiator on the way. Benediction that evening in the beautiful Shrine Church, and our first visit to the Holy House, was unforgettable, and a great climax to the day. The atmosphere of the "Holy Land of Walsingham" had infected us at once, added to which there is nothing so moving as arriving safely at the goal of your pilgrimage. I will not describe the details of the Greater Pilgrimage, familiar to you; daily Mass, which we all attended; Sung Mass at the Parish Church; Evensong and Devotions at St Giles; the Stations of the Cross, winding through the garden in brilliant sunlight; and finally the visit to the Holy Well, after offering our petitions in the Holy House. None of us had particularly bodily ailments, but others here have benefited since, and all of us in different ways, known only to ourselves. Not the least striking has been its effect on"Bob" and his wife, who joined in everything with us. A "highlight" of the pilgrimage, not part of the official routine, was on Sunday evening, when we all gathered in the Shrine, and Father Derrick [Lingwood] talked to us for for a whole hour (tired as he was), at our request, about the wonderful history of Walsingham in the past, and the still more wonderful restoration of the Shrine of Our Lady in such recent years, still unknown to so many in England, with all the pilgrimages, and the miracles that Our Lady has begun to work again for the faithful, through her intercession with her Son. We could have gone on all night listening to him. We had a day off on Tuesday, and paid a visit to Blakeney, visiting its beautiful Church, associated with your Bishop O'Rorke, and wading across mud-flats to the sea. Now Tonge Moor is full of the story of our pilgrimage, and very envious. I think we have learnt a new personal love and veneration for Our Lord's Mother, and to think of her as a real person, actively helping us, and loving us. To show our love and gratitude to her we were present at the Mass of her Nativity the next Monday. We hope to keep up our contact with Our Lady of Walsingham by always attending her Mass, if possible, on the first Saturday of each month, when the two priests who came with us have an obligation to say Mass for the pilgrims, as they are now Priest-Associates of the Holy House. [by Fr Humphrey Whistler] AND ST AUGUSTINE'S HAVE COME ON PILGRIMAGE AT THE SAME DATE EVERY YEAR SINCE THEN top of page
OAKWORTH 1948 from Our Lady's Mirror, Autumn Number 1948 The twelfth annual pilgrimage by Brontë Bus took place on Whit Monday. For the second time the 360 miles were covered in one day. So the Sacraments were received in Oakworth or the other home Churches of the pilgrims. The Itinerary was said in Oakworth Church on Whit Sunday evening, and the pilgrims were blessed and sprinkled with holy water immediately after the Mass at 4 a.m. on the Monday morning. Some two dozen pilgrims – men, women and children – of ages ranging from four to sixty years were in the motor-bus ready to begin the 180 mile journey at 4.30 a.m. Fr. Ross, now Vicar of Holy Trinity, Bradford, and further pilgrims from Bradford, Burnley and Dewsbury were collected before many miles had been covered. Fr. Dolman, Parish Priest of Cromwell, near Newark-on-Trent, had made arrangements for the pilgrims to have breakfast in a café garden in his parish at 7.15 a.m. Fr. Dolman once again gave the pilgrims a happy welcome, and said the Litany of Our Lady with them in his beautiful Church just before they continued their journey and he began his Mass. King’s Lynn was reached soon after 10 a.m., and the pilgrims were in the Holy House soon after 11 a.m. Then they joined happily in the functions of the day, the children gaining good positions for the High mass, some of the others, assisting at the Low Mass in the garden, while the rest gallantly crushed themselves into the Church. Meals were taken at the Guildshop café. Amid much congestion and many halts, they made the Stations in the blazing sunshine of the afternoon – their banner of the Holy Family was carried before them in the procession through the streets. Many who had not been able to reach the Holy Well earlier in the day, returned there when things were quieter after tea; and intercessions were offered in the Shrine at the same time. Canon Goodworth had made arrangements for supper at 8.15 p.m., under the patronage of S. Peter at the Inn of the Cross Keys in his parish of Suttertoy, on the Great North Road. Oakworth was reached soon after 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning – all the pilgrims agreeing that the time had been all too short, and looking forward to coming again and bringing other people with them. top of page
S MARY MAGDALENE, MILLFIELD, SUNDERLAND 1959 provided by Fr Skelton and the parish The first pilgrimage from the parish started on 1st August 1959. The Fraternity of the Holy House of Our Lady of Walsingham & S. Bede the Venerable was established on 1st February 1961 with Fr. Charles Leslie Barron as first Superior. Fr Beresford Skelton is only the second Superior in the 45 years of its existence. The Diploma of Fraternity hangs on the wall of the Lady Chapel. Fr. Graeme Carey, Assistant Curate of our parish, asked the Sunday Night Club if they would like to visit a very special place in Norfolk – a Shrine of Our Lady that had once been the greatest Shrine in England and devotion had been revived there - for a Pilgrimage in the first weekend of August, the end of the shipyard’s fortnight holiday. Thirty or more people said they would very much like to make the journey. It was not going to be an easy or restful Bank Holiday week-end. It could only be a Sunday night stay in Walsingham because a great number of the pilgrims had to be back at work on the Tuesday. The pilgrimage could not start until late on Saturday night because one of the pilgrims worked in a Gents’ Outfitters and the shop did not close until after 6.00pm on Fridays. Everyone gathered at S. Mary Magdalene’s Church and had cups of tea and sandwiches in the Church Hall. There were Marian Devotions in Church and the Itinerary before everyone got on board a coach hired from Don Smiths Coaches Durham. A number of pilgrims expressed their thanks for the prayers offered when they saw the coach. It must have been the oldest one on his books. Would it make the journey to Walsingham without Divine Intervention? The journey was long and there was little opportunity for sleep. The Pilgrims were so excited at making such a long journey at dead of night. The sense of adventure and excitement was almost tangible among children and adults alike. This was really something very different from anything they had done before. The children were unable to contain their anticipation until they fell asleep with exhaustion. There were very late night, and very early morning, stops for refreshment and comfort. The road was slow – the old A1 - with out any of the by-passes and dual carriageways. When we left the A1 we wound our way along the A17 through all the villages, passing great shadows of churches and crossing great rivers until in the early hours of the morning day light started to appear as we came near to Kings Lynn. We got out of the coach at the Slipper Chapel at about 5.00am and walked into Walsingham, while Fr. Carey led us in praying the Rosary. It felt very like S. Mary Magdalene coming to the tomb in the first light of Easter Day. Mother Margaret Mary was waiting to welcome us with hot tea and a slice of bread in the kitchen (which is now Stella Maris Green Room). The boarding out of the Pilgrims was confirmed – a great number of us were at Mount Pleasant and a few at Great Walsingham. Having had breakfast the Mass could not be celebrated until the three hour fast had been observed. We were taken down to the Shrine Church for our First Visit to the Holy House. Everyone was struck by the beauty of the small Holy House inside the Church and the sense of wonder of being in such a holy place could not have escaped anyone. Fr. Carey celebrated Mass for us at a side altar in the Shrine Church and we went to the Parish Church later in the morning. The afternoon was spent in the Shrine Gardens. In the late afternoon there was intercession in the Holy House and Sprinkling at The Well. This was a most moving devotion and everyone felt that they had been touched by God. In the evening everyone gathered again into the Shrine Church for the Address, given by Fr. Colin Stephenson, and Benediction. Some of the other pilgrims stayed behind for their last visit but S. Mary Magdalene Pilgrims made their way to their lodgings after supper. The following morning before breakfast Fr. Carey celebrated for us and breakfast was served in the Marquee. After that we made our way round the garden for Stations of the Cross. After lunch there must have been some more free time in the afternoon because many of the Pilgrims had bought articles from the Shrine Shop which was also part of the Archway building of what is now Stella Maris. The Pilgrimage concluded with the Last Visit at about because 4.00pm because there was the long journey back to face – the winding roads of Norfolk and the A1. Again use was made the “greasy spoon” cafes along the way. The total cost of the pilgrimage – coach fare and boarding – was £3.10s 0d (£3.50). Most of us had saved £1 as spending money were asked to take 10s (50p) as a donation for the work of the Shrine. The Pilgrims’ Manuals were 1/6 (7 1/2p) and were very thorough in setting out the meaning and objects of a Pilgrimage and the form of the spiritual exercises that each type of pilgrimage would follow whether it was a Greater Pilgrimage, lasting three days, the Day or Private pilgrimage or in the case of S. Mary Magdalene’s first pilgrimage the week-end Pilgrimage. That first visit to Walsingham, to England’s Nazareth, inspired us at S. Mary Magdalene to make it a regular event in the spiritual life of the parish and so it is that 47 years later pilgrims still come to Walsingham in an unbroken chain of visits at least once a year and sometimes even four times a year. The Fraternity of Our Lady of Walsingham was given its Diploma in February 1961 and the Lady Chapel was refurbished to make space for a Statue of Our Lady of Walsingham. The image of Our Lady of Walsingham is in the niche above the altar, and can be seen on our Parish Website. As we prepare for the 75 Anniversary of the Translation of the Image at Walsingham itself we cannot help wondering whether Fr. Hope Patten who had died the year before, had any notion that what he had started would involve such a large number of pilgrims, and had Fr. Carey any idea what seeds he had sown in the parish of S. Mary Magdalene Millfield and across the region, because he and Edward Ross were forever on the road visiting church groups to promote the Shrine and encourage parishes to found Cells of Our Lady of Walsingham. go to previous page top of page
1947: a typical ‘group photo’of over 70 years ago:Tonge Moor about to leave for home; the Sunderland group photo 1959 is below