The Latin Mass society's annual walking pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Walsingham took place over August Bank Holiday weekend. The fourth consecutive year of this event saw 90 people (a 25% rise on last year) undertaking the three-day journey on foot to 'England's Nazareth'. The intention of the 55-mile walk, which started in the cathedral city of Ely in Cambridgeshire, was the conversion of England. Pilgrims slept in tents or on the floors of schools and village halls along the way and clearly many found it more challenging than they had expected, but all managed to reach the Shrine in time for Solemn Mass in the Extraordinary Form on the afternoon of Sunday 25th August.
Four priests accompanied the pilgrimage, Fr Bede Rowe of Clifton diocese, presently based at Chavagnes College in France, was chaplain of the pilgrimage. He was joined by Fr Thomas Crean OP, of Holy Cross Priory, Leicester, Fr John Cahill of Northampton diocese and Fr Michael Rowe (no kin) from Australia. Three seminarians from the Fraternity of St Peter joined the event as well as a member of the Dominican community at Blackfriars, Cambridge. Traditional Solemn Mass was celebrated every day of the pilgrimage, most notably at Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk, a fifteenth century moated manor house and former recusant home, still lived in by the Bedingfield family.
LMS General Manager, Mike Lord, said: "By common consent, this has been the best year for this pilgrimage so far. The overwhelming majority of walkers are young families and young people, showing the continuing vitality of the Traditional Mass and Faith. Many are encountering the Old Rite for the first time and have found the experience of the traditional spirituality of the Roman Rite and the physical and spiritual discipline of a walking pilgrimage an inspiring and transforming experience. Our entrance into Walsingham itself was memorable. On other public pilgrimages organised by the LMS, it is common to encounter hostility in the street, but as we approached the gates of the Abbey grounds to the former site of Lady Richeldis's Holy House, the response of bystanders was very positive, even awed."
The LMS plans to release a short film documentary in the early autumn about this year's pilgrimage to inform and inspire others to join them for next year's event.