On the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham our society organised a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady at West Grinstead and onto Arundel Cathedral. This day marks the first anniversary of the enthronement of Mgr. Philip Egan as the 8th Bishop of Portsmouth. It is also the first anniversary of the blessing and dedication of the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham in St. Mary’s. It was therefore a wonderful time to ask for Our Lady’s intercession at the shrine in West Grinstead, where the One True Faith was never lost throughout the penal times.
Throughout the day pilgrimage there was Mass, Exposition, the rosary/ devotions, Benediction and opportunity for Confession. Most of those who attended were able to visit the secret chapel above the presbytery (once a hay loft), where priests ordained abroad offered Mass in secret. (See Gallery – pilgrimage page – for photographs).
As always at West Grinstead, there was a warm welcome from Fr. David Goddard (parish priest / custodian). Frs. Anthony Glaysher and Jonathan Redvers Harris concelebrated Mass with him. In the sermon at Mass, Fr. Jonathan reminded those present that Our Lady is a source of unity among the different Christian denominations and an aid to our search for Almighty God. Referring to the shrine at Walsingham, he said “In Mary we find a shrine built for the Creator of the universe. She is the creature made ready as a holy house for our Creator and Saviour”.
What did the pilgrimage achieve? It was certainly spiritually uplifting. Here are the thoughts / impressions of one pilgrim, – Margaret Scutt:- “Going from the 16th and 17th centuries to the 19th century and there we were, in the 21st century, walking where those of our Faith lived, worshipped and sometimes suffered and died, for our Faith, just as Catholics are doing today, gave me a renewed sense of optimism, a more profound belief in the indestructible artery of the Eucharist sustaining the Faithful down through two millennia and continuing into a future unknown but for that one never failing Presence. A wonderful experience”.
For further information on the West Grinstead shrine visit: – www.consolation.org.uk
On the return journey the group stopped at Arundel Cathedral. Like St. Mary’s in Ryde, it is also dedicated to Our Lady. Co-incidentally, both the cathedral and St. Mary’s have the same architect, – Joseph Hansom, and the same stained glass window designer, – Nathaniel Westlake.
After a guided tour of the cathedral, Fr. Glaysher led prayers at the tomb of St. Philip Howard, who died from his sufferings in the Tower of London in 1595 and was canonised in 1970.
Further information on both Arundel Cathedral and West Grinstead can be read on the Places / Pilgrimages page.