...in Norfolk in May. The first really warm sunny weekend of the year, the leaves thick and lush and green on the trees, bluebells misty in the woods as pilgrims made their way to Walsingham, organised by Aid to the Church in Need. The coaches left London via that messy area where ££££££millions are being spent on the Olympics, and then headed out for East Anglia. We sang hymns and said the Joyful Mysteries and the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary on the journey, and I gave a talk about Walsingham...and then we were winding down Norfolk lanes and arriving at the shrine of Our Lady...a delight to meet friends, to take part in a glorious Mass, to kneel at the shrine and entrust worries and petitions there...during silent moments Mass in the barn church, the occasional birdsong trilled from outside where the meadows were green and beautiful under the vast Norfolk sky...inside, everyone sang the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Pater Noster with strength and faith, and Fr Martin Edwards, our ACN chaplain, preached about Pentecost, the eve of which we mark today. In the Bidding Prayers we prayed especially for the Holy Father and his visit to our country,and as Mass ended we sang "Faith of Our Fathers"...
Then a Rosary Walk through meadows down to the village, praying and singing. We followed, as all today's pilgrims now do, the old railway track, crossing a small brook and making our way down to the Friday Market and into the (new - only built about 5 or so years ago) RC church in the village where we packed in for Benediction.
There was time to potter about the village for a while afterwards, and have a proper Tea, all most agreeable. Walsingham is enchanting and we met other pilgrims, notably a parish group from St Joseph's in Dorking. The summer's pilgrimages are just beginning - there is a special one for grandparents and grandchildren on July 24th, which seems a delightful idea. The village is a joy, though I was sad to see that there seemed fewer shops than on my last visit, and one of the pubs has closed. (Lots of pubs are vanishing across Britain, along with Post Offices and public libraries, and with them whole chunks of our community lives, and it's horrid).
Are you praying about the Papal visit? Have you joined in the Spiritual Bouquet? Urged friends to do so?