Menna McBain writes: The Ledbury and Belmont Abbey Group had booked a year in advance for their usual pilgrimage in May 2020, and of course had to cancel in April 2020. Nothing daunted, I re-booked for May 2021, thinking that surely it will all be over by then. It was not to be – the Government delayed the promised freedom until 21st June, so I re-booked (again) for that date and everyone still wanted to come! Then, June 21st was suddenly no longer ‘freedom day’, and all was once more thrown into confusion.
We decided to go ahead anyway and leave it all to Our Lady. The bus company was happy with it and so was the Shrine. There was an initial ‘wobble’, but the Rosary was prayed and all was well – including the weather which was warm and sunny throughout.
After 18 months, it was wonderful to be the First Coach! The necessary restrictions in Elmham House were not too onerous and we felt welcomed everywhere, especially with the Shrine bell ringing as we processed in, singing, (albeit in a slightly out-of practice and rusty fashion!)
Well done Ledbury and Belmont Abbey WA, who were recently our first proper Residential Pilgrim Group in a long, long time! They stayed Monday to Friday at Elmham House. The pilgrims are pictured here with the Rector just before departure after a blessed and wonderful stay.
Some of our group were ‘first-timers’ and I was afraid that their initial experience of Walsingham might not be a good one, but I need not have worried. I think we may even have some new WA recruits.
As we left the village in procession on our final day, two ladies came up to us and said, “Welcome back! It is so good to see the pilgrims here again.”
What a wonderfully positive report, Menna. Thank you for writing it; may it encourage others to get the Pilgrimage Season rolling again. The Shrine looks forward to hosting many more such pilgrimages. Could YOUR parish, or a group of parishes, get a group together? There may be people who visited Walsingham electronically and could now be encouraged to make a visit in reality! After all, many who would have been jetting off to foreign holiday destinations will not be – what better than a pilgrimage to beautiful Walsingham? dc