On Saturday, 13 April, eighteen members and friends of the Sheffield branch of the Walsingham Association met with members of the Leeds branch for their annual half day of recollection.
After lunch at Murgatroyd’s Fish Restaurant, we were welcomed at the Convent of Mercy in Yeadon, by the Sisters and Father Ben Griffiths, the Leeds chaplain.
We began the afternoon by listening to the opening chorus of JS Bach’s “St Matthew Passion”. “Come ye daughters, share my mourning. See Him, the Bridegroom Christ. See Him, a spotless lamb. See His patient love.” Fr Ben then spoke of Julian of Norwich’s reflections on Our Lady’s sufferings. The deeper was her love for her Son, the deeper her share in his sorrow and suffering.
We were given a copy of the Gradual Psalms (Psalms 119-133), also called the Psalms of Ascent, or The Pilgrim Songs, recited by devout Jews on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, for the Passover feast. Our Lord and his disciples would have sung these as they journeyed along.
After a break, the Palm Sunday Vigil Mass followed a meditation on the Seven Dolours of Our Lady, with us reciting the Litany of Our Lady of Sorrows. There was much for us to contemplate.
We again heard Bach’s Passion, with its measured tread of the music. Fr Ben recommended that we think of this, whilst reciting the psalms during Holy Week, as we ourselves followed Jesus on his way to Calvary.
“A Man who was completely innocent offered Himself as a sacrifice, for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.” (Mahatma Gandhi 1869-1948)