in conjnction with S Cuthbert's Earls Court
Saturday 25 August (for supper) to Tuesday 28 August (after breakfast)
Walsingham has been a place of pilgrimage since the eleventh century. Inspired by a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary a replica of the house of Nazareth in which she received the visit of the Archangel Gabriel was built there, and was encased within a large church. This shrine was one of the foremost places of pilgrimage in England, with many walking the ‘Walsingham Way’ each year. Destroyed at the time of the Reformation, and restored in 1921 thousands of pilgrims are drawn each year to this remote corner of North Norfolk to find peace, renewal, inspiration and encouragement in their life as disciples of Jesus.
Walsingham is ‘holy ground’ for Christians from many different traditions –alongside the Anglican Shrine there is the Roman Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady, and the Orthodox Churches also have a presence in the village. It is a place where we are invited to think about Mary’s ‘yes’ to God, and how we might echo her faith filled response to God in our own lives. The special tranquillity and beauty of the place, as well as inspirational worship and opportunities for reflection mean heaven seems very close in Walsingham, and it is a place for encounter with God in sometimes unexpected ways.
Going on a pilgrimage offers us the opportunity to spend ‘time apart’ with God and with our fellow pilgrims. The whole Christian life is sometimes described as a pilgrimage –a journey with God from our baptism into his heavenly Kingdom. Making a pilgrimage to a particular place is a reminder of that greater journey we are making with God, and helps us hear his call to us afresh. The shrines of the saints and going on pilgrimage were commonplace in medieval times, but recent years have seen a revival in the practice, and our forebears in the faith would recognise the reasons we go on pilgrimage today: companionship, in a spirit of penitence, seeking healing and as an anticipation of Heaven.
Why the August Bank Holiday?
Since its foundation Walsingham has been a place where Christians have prayed for God’s gifts of wholeness and healing in their lives. Still today it is a place where we are more aware of being held by the current of God’s grace, and where we can be touched by him afresh. This ministry of healing is the focus of a special pilgrimage on the bank holiday Monday, as Christians from around the country gather for a Mass in the Shrine gardens, and to pray for wholeness and healing. It is a beautiful event, and our time in Walsingham will be over this day so that we can share in its blessings together.
What will we do?
Walsingham is a beautiful place, and it’s lovely to make space to relax, explore, be still, enjoy the good food in the pilgrim refectory and to enjoy the company of your fellow pilgrims. We’ll give a clear programme before we go of times and places you’ll need to be, including meal times and the times of services and devotions in the Shrine Church, but as a guide:
How much will it cost?
The basic cost of the pilgrimage is £190.00 for adults and £114.00 for children. This covers the cost of your accommodation and meals –from our evening meal on Saturday until breakfast on Tuesday. The cost of your travel will be in addition to this.
There are pubs and cafes in Walsingham, and a couple of good shops selling devotional items –and a superb Farm Shop. Be aware there are no cash points in the village so make sure you’ve got a bit of cash with you –though you can always use credit/ debit cards in most places.
How will we get there?
Walsingham is tucked away in North Norfolk, and transport links can be a bit tricky. After a bit of research we’ve found that the cheapest way for us to get there is to travel from King’s Cross to King’s Lynn on the train, and we’ll hire a local coach company to collect us at King’s Lynn to take us to Walsingham (and to return us to the station on the Tuesday). We will give a clear timetable of where to be when to pilgrims before we go, so that we get there safely and together!
What is accommodation like?
We’ll be accommodated in the range of comfortable rooms around the Shrine grounds. Most bathrooms are shared, and there can be pressure on single rooms at times so the willingness to share helps (though isn’t always essential). The housekeeping team do a superb job to make sure pilgrims are comfortable –and that the needs of body as well as soul are met!
Interested in finding out more?
If you’d like to know more about Walsingham the website www.walsinghamanglican.org.uk is a great source of information –and even includes a short introductory film to give you an idea of what the place is like.
Want to book a place?
Fr Paul or Fr Philip have booking forms for the pilgrimage, and these should be completed and returned with a £20 deposit (which will be deducted from your final bill) by May 27th.
We’re really looking forward to welcoming you on the pilgrimage and to a blessed time together. If you have any questions please ask.
Places: 20 please contact Fr Philip Barnes at S Stephen's if interested