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East Anglia pilgrims gather at Walsingham and online

Two hundred socially-distanced pilgrims were welcomed to the Catholic National Shrine at Walsingham on a rainy May Bank Holiday (May 3) for the Diocese of East Anglia annual pilgrimage, with many others joining them online. Keith Morris reports.

It was the largest in-person pilgrimage the Shrine has seen since last autumn, but most pilgrims were asked to stay at home and watch the Mass online instead.

Shrine Rector, Mgr Philip Moger, welcomed pilgrims, saying: “It is a great pleasure to welcome you to Walsingham for the East Anglia Diocesan Pilgrimage. It is a bit of a cheek really for a Yorkshireman to welcoming the locals to their own shrine. It is wonderful that you are able to be here because last year was a year of great challenge with pilgrimages not even happening virtually in some cases.”

The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Alan Hopes who said, in his homily: “As Christians, going on a pilgrimage journey reflects something of our journey towards God, our creator. We come ever closer towards God, bringing to him all of our needs, our thanks, those whom we love, asking him to bless them.

“This year there is only a small group in person from our Diocese with many others joining us from their homes. We are unable to walk in procession in large numbers and not able to share our stories, our joys and our tears with one another as we usually do.

“This is very sad but it does teach us that our pilgrimage journey towards God is never easy, never what we expect and not controlled by our will but by God’s desires for us.”

Shrine CEO, Zyg Rakowicz, said that the 200 people at the East Anglia pilgrimage was the largest number attending the Shrine since last autumn. A further 400+ people joined the Mass online.

“The Shrine has been open for a couple of months for private prayer and Mass,” he said. “We will re-open on May 17 for accommodation with retreats also running at Dowry House both online and in person.

“We warmly invite people to come to Walsingham now things are opening up. Groups will be allowed from later in June but we await Government guidelines for exact details. We hope to be welcoming ever greater numbers to Walsingham in the near future.”

Watch a video of the May 3 Mass online shortly at: www.youtube.com/WalsinghamCatholicTV

Click here or see below for a picture gallery of the East Anglia Pilgrimage Mass, Rosary and Benediction

Walsingham East Anglia Pilgrim Mass May21