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Saturday, October 29, 2016
Inaugural Mass for the Guild of Our Lady of Willesden
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¬†The new Guild of Our Lady of Willesden was launched on the traditional feast day of the Immaculate Conception during a Solemn Mass celebrated by Bishop Victor Guazzelli. Over 700 people packed into the shrine church in Harlesden, Northwest London. The Mass began with a procession of a replica statue of the Black Madonna, which is housed in the shrine. Children from the local Catholic schools led the way, holding roses and candles, and were followed by the statue, which was carried by four parishioners. The music (including the Missa de Angelis) was magnificently sung by the parish choir, led by Mrs June Julien, with the help of organist, Darren Lane, and soloist, Amy Swales (who sung Schubert's Ave Maria at the Offertory and Franck's Panis Angelicus at Communion). During his homily, Bishop Victor explained the role of the Blessed Virgin, especially during these times, and the significance of the shrine as a spiritual centre for London. He spoke of the Guild's charter and of its importance for the city. The Guild invites members to pray a specific daily prayer to Our Lady of Willesden for the protection and conversion of London and is entrusted with the responsibility of reawakening the ancient devotion to the Mother of God in Willesden, by bringing pilgrims to the shrine - especially on the great feasts of Our Lady. It is hoped that the shrine will once again become the active Marian Shrine of London, as in days of old. The Guild was approved in May 2002 by Cardinal Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, who agreed to become its President. The Master of the Guild is Mr John Rick Miller and the Rector of the Shrine is Fr Howard James. Members (and all devotees of Our Lady) are welcome to attend one of the evenings of prayer held every Tuesday at 7.30pm in the shrine chapel. There is also a monthly Holy Hour in honour of Our Lady of Willesden, with Rosary, Sermon and Benediction. The shrine is open every day. For information on the Guild and for an illustrated history of the shrine by Revd Nicholas Schofield, MA (£6 inc. p&p - please make cheques payable to 'Our Lady of Willesden'), please write to : Our Lady of Willesden, 1 Nicoll Rd, Harlesden, London NW10 9AX (tel - 02089654935; fax - 02088969941). Travel information: the nearest station is Willesden Junction (British Rail/Bakerloo Line). Bus services PR1, 187, 224, 226 and 487 also stop nearby.
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