On Sunday July 2, approximately 700 Vincentians from many parts of the country joined together in prayer to participate in the National Pilgrimage for the Sick at Walsingham in Norfolk. Bishop Peter officiated this event, his first SVP pilgrimage since becoming the Bishop of East Anglia last year. However, this certainly was not his first visit to Walsingham.
The day began with everyone enjoying their own picnic lunches under the wide-open skies of Norfolk, adorned by white, fluffy clouds. A cool breeze was present, preventing us from getting too hot, and fortunately, there was no rain.
Bishop Peter co-celebrated Mass at 1:30pm, with several other priests. After a short break, many people were anointed with the Sacrament of the Sick. The day concluded with Benediction at 4pm. A wonderful atmosphere of friendship and love, always present when Vincentians gather, filled the air.
In his homily, Bishop Peter acknowledged the immense service that SVP members provide to the community. With heartfelt dedication, these members address the cares and worries of many, often dedicating a lifetime to service. He noted that most of the members were no longer young and emphasized the need to attract younger people. He affirmed that SVP members were indeed true servants of the Lord.
The SVP Pilgrimage always takes place on the first Sunday of July. So, next year it will be on July 7. Consider marking this date in your diary. For those living far away, it may be worth considering a long weekend. Accommodation is available in the village (which would need to be booked well in advance) or in numerous hotels along the Norfolk Coast, such as in Cromer, Sheringham, or Hunstanton. We look forward to seeing you again next year on Sunday July 7, 2024.
SVP members of St Mary’s Conference in King’s Lynn, together with brothers and sisters in the newly-formed Wash Conference in Dersingham, joined the pilgrimage, said Pauline McSherry: “A day of prayers, friendship and many helping hands was truly memorable. As the years creep on help is greatly valued. Thank you to all who were by my side in my nonagenarian year. Bishop Peter spoke warmly of the work of SVP, an ageing community and still ready to serve. He encouraged the younger generation to step forward and serve those in need.”