Around 850 people joined the annual Diocese of East Anglia pilgrimage to Walsingham on Bank Holiday Monday, May 6, despite cold and cloudy weather.
The pilgrimage began at noon at the Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, with a Pontifical Mass held in and outside the Chapel of Our Lady of Reconciliation.
A group of some 120 young pilgrims had walked across the Norfolk countryside to Walsingham after attending the Ignite Festival in Swaffham.
In his homily, Bishop Alan said that during the Pilgrimage we were consecrating our Diocese to Our Lady of Walsingham, so that we might bring the Gospel to all the people of East Anglia.
"The story of Walsingham is an enduring witness to the beauty and power of silence," he said. "Our world is becoming less and less silent… but we know that the more we run away from silence, the more we run away from the World of God, Jesus Christ, who speaks deep within us in the silence of prayer and reflection.
"The message of Walsingham asks us not to speak but to help build up the Kingdom of God through silent witness to our faith in lives lived closely to Jesus Christ. The evangelisation of our country will never happen, nor individuals be impressed by the faith, unless our words are based on the foundation of personal holiness and prayer."
After Mass, groups from across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough enjoyed their lunches in the grounds of the Shrine before Bishop Alan performed the traditional crowning of the statue of Mary.
Over 700 pilgrims then joining a Marian Procession to the Priory grounds in Walsingham along the Holy Mile (one of only three such pilgrimages now allowed along this route every year), while others went in coaches.
On arrival at the Priory grounds, the Blessed Sacrament was placed on the altar and Bishop Alan gave Benediction and then led devotions at the original site of the Holy House which contained the image of Our Lady, before it was destroyed at the time of the Reformation. This included a prayer for England and singing the Lady of Walsingham hymn.
For more news and information about the Diocese of East Anglia see: www.rcdea.org.uk
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