Saturday, 21st July
Coaches leave Rotherham, Sheffield, Dinnington,
Dronfield, Chesterfield, £17 adults, £11 children
Procession along the Holy Mile, Mass of Sunday, return 9pm approx.
Details will be in parishes or contact Francesca Flynn, 0114 2686247,
email@example.com, or Ray Morrisroe, 0114 2749600.
WALSINGHAM – ENGLAND’S NAZARETH
Pilgrims have travelled to Walsingham, in Norfolk, since 1061, when (according to the ancient ‘Pynson Ballad’) Our Lady asked Richeldis de Faverches, Lady of the Manor of Walsingham Parva, to build a replica of the house in Nazareth, as a memorial of the Annunciation. The wooden house contained a statue of Our Lady, seated on a wooden throne, holding the child Jesus. By the end of the 12th century, a great Augustinian priory had been established there.
Along with Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago de Compostela, “England’s Nazareth” was one of the main places of pilgrimage in medieval times, until the dissolution of the monasteries. Its priory was taken by the crown and the house and statue were burnt at Tyburn. Pilgrimages ceased, but were resumed in the 1930s and the village is again a centre of Christian devotion, attracting thousands of people yearly. There is a one day pilgrimage led by Bishop Ralph from Hallam Diocese every year.
There are three shrines. A mile from the original site, pilgrims used to leave shoes in the ancient Slipper Chapel and continue barefooted. This is now the Roman Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady, hosting many annual pilgrimages. In 2015 Pope Francis raised it to the status of minor basilica (one of only four in England). St Seraphim’s Orthodox Church has many icons, although the actual Orthodox shrine is within the Anglican shrine. The latter’s peaceful garden is inspired by Pope John Paul II’s Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. This and the Roman Catholic shrine’s icon both show the ecumenical spirit of the place.
Walsingham Abbey contains the priory ruins, site of the original shrine. The great east window and some other buildings are all that remain. It has twin wells and a pack horse bridge, originally on the Norwich Road. A plaque marks the site of the original ‘Holy House’.