Friday, August 07, 2015

NEW DAWN IN THE CHURCH... the name of a vast annual gathering at Walsingham.   This year I was invited to take part, doing a workshop on "Celebrating the Church's Feasts and Seasons" and also giving a talk to the whole gathering.

Highlights of these golden days in Walsinghanm were a candlelit vigil of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the gardens around the big barn church, and a glorious morning procession (most pilgrims walking barefoot, as is traditional) down to the old Priory for a vast open-air Mass. These were memorable days, in which I found myself remembering dear Pope Benedict's words "The Church is alive, and the Church is young!"  There were something like 2,000 people at New Dawn, families camping in the great fields around the shrine, young people gathering for their own activities, everyone joining together for Masses, talks, times of prayer.

Speakers during the week included Bishops, missionaries, leaders of various groups...the big Mass in the great priry ruins was celebrated by Archbishop Kevin McDonald.  Walking down the lane in a vast, slow-moving procession, saying the Rosary, with much singing of "Ave Ave Ave Maria " in between the verses, was wonderful - the river gently lapping by alongside, the wide Norfolk sky above us, the sunshine dappling through the trees...

New Dawn continues for a week, but I left on Wednesday, for the rather delightful reason that I was about to take part in another great Walsingham event...the annual John Paul Walk, which starts at Bury St Edmunds! So I took the train home from Kings Lynn, spent one night at home, then packed and organised myself for this great annual Walk, which would return me to Walsingham!  

 And set off...and I'll be telling you my adventures shortly...

No comments: