Ahead of the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham, Cardinal Vincent led the annual diocesan pilgrimage to the Catholic National Shrine of Walsingham on Saturday 22nd September. The theme for this year’s pilgrimage was the ‘Family as Joy for the World’, following on from the World Meeting of Families in Dublin and from the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and Congress in Liverpool.
Over 700 pilgrims from parishes around the diocese gathered for Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady, celebrated by the Cardinal, Bishop John Sherrington and priests representing all parts of the diocese. During his homily the Cardinal explained that going on pilgrimage to Walsingham joins us to a great 'stream of faith'. This flow of faith connects us all in the mercy of God.
Just as St Bede writes about Jesus looking at Matthew with the eyes of mercy and choosing him, added the Cardinal, so God looks at us with the eyes of mercy and chooses us all to hear his word and put it into action. This stream of faith, of being chosen by God's mercy, is what connects us to St Matthew and to Our Lady who sits at the foot of the cross and invites us to look at the wounds of Christ.
After Mass Cardinal Vincent led the procession from the Slipper Chapel along the Holy Mile, with pilgrims singing hymns and reciting the Rosary. The procession made its way to the Abbey grounds, where the pilgrims gathered for Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, with Bishop John conferring Benediction.
The liturgy ended with the Cardinal bestowing a special blessing on all families invoking the intercession of Our Lady.