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King’s Lynn parish celebrates 1,175 years of history

King’s Lynn Parish celebrated an amazing 1,175 years of Catholic history in a very special Anniversaries Mass in the grounds of St Martha’s School on June 25. Edd Chomicz reports.


2017 is a historic year for the parish with so many anniversaries to be celebrated. These include:          

  • 480 years of the Walsingham Martyrs execution in Kings Lynn,
  • 225 years of public celebration of Mass in Kings Lynn,
  • 120 years of the restoration of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the Holy House
  • 120 years of the building of Our Lady’s Church,
  • 100 years of the death of Austin Lewis in World War 1,
  • 70 years of the Consecration of Our Lady’s Church,
  • 60 years of the opening of St. Martha’s School

Specific dates have allowed specific occasions to be remembered and celebrated throughout the year, but parish priest Fr Peter Rollings, asked for something special for the whole parish to celebrate and participate in together.

His wish was granted. On Sunday June 25, usual Masses were cancelled and all parishioners were invited and encouraged to attend the single celebratory outdoor Mass and fete as planned, prepared by parish communities, organizations and families.

St Martha’s Catholic primary school allowed the use of its playing field, its staging, its PA systems and other facilities. The school children sang at the mass. The Knights of St Columba (KSC) organized the set-up and practicalities for the mass and stalls for the fete afterwards. All food and drink, games, activities and other stalls were free to all participants.

The Parish sick were anointed during the Mass; first communion candidates were presented with their communion certificates; confirmation candidates were presented with celebration prayer books and the parish celebrated an outdoor baptism, believed to be a first for the Parish.

After Mass, three food stalls fed hungry parishioners – a traditional BBQ, a South Indian food stall and a Filipino food stall. An amazing 700 free hot meals were prepared and eaten.

Free candy floss, free cakes, free books, free plants (bring/share/take) stalls were very popular, as were free teas and coffees.

The Youth group and KSC had game stalls and garden games. The Cubs and Beavers demonstrated their skills and challenged all. The school all-weather area had competitions, and KS1 and KS2 Easter Painting competition winners were presented with their prizes.

A test pit was also prepared by the West Norfolk and King’s Lynn Archeological Society, with interesting finds to be displayed at the school.

The weather was generally kind with only a few showers. This did not dampen the enthusiasm and participation of everyone. A very special celebratory day not to be forgotten.

Pictured top is the anniversaries Mass, middle, confirmation candidates and, above, first communion candidates.

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