Around 3,000 people will be journeying as pilgrims to Walsingham on Saturday 22nd July to mark the Centenary of the erection of the Diocese of Brentwood. Led by Bishop Alan Williams sm, they will include 56 priests, six deacons, two seminarians, 79 altar servers and representatives from 74 parishes. The Bishop of East Anglia, the Rt Rev Alan Hopes, will also be present.
Leaving early in the morning, the pilgrims will travel from all points across the Diocese, arriving at the Slipper Chapel at around 11am. Bishop Alan will then lead them in the Rosary and consecrate the Diocese to the Blessed Virgin Mary. After a picnic lunch, there will be a silent procession along the Holy Mile before Mass in the Abbey grounds. Bishop Alan will preside and Mgr John Armitage, Rector of the Shrine and past VG of the Diocese of Brentwood, will preach at the service.
Says Bishop Alan: “This pilgrimage will be a wonderful celebration of our Diocesan Centenary. It will be an opportunity for us to dedicate the Diocese to the Blessed Virgin Mary and give thanks for the faith of those who have gone before us. It will also be an opportunity to bring our people together and look to the future – and I trust it will bring many blessings and graces to the pilgrims present.”
Music for the Mass in the abbey grounds will be supplied by an Eminent UK hire organ. Musician Shea Lolin, who has already been involved in a number of the Centenary events and is a partner at Eminent UK, will play the organ under the direction of the Master of Music for the Diocese, Andrew Wright.
Pope Francis designated Walsingham shrine as a minor basilica in 2015, in recognition of the growth and witness of the shrine over the many years since its re-establishment after its destruction during the period of the Reformation. It draws increasing numbers of pilgrims every year.