Our Lady's Mirror

Autumn 1932

The August pilgrimage altar in "The Cathedral"
Since the summer number of the “Mirror” quite a series of events have taken place at the Shrine. The most outstanding as far as the general public is concerned being the Assumption pilgrimage, which was held entirely in the precincts of the Sanctuary, thus ensuring freedom from outside annoyance and also saving the pilgrims a very great amount of fatigue. A large marquee was erected on the terraced lawn of the Hospice of Our Lady, which someone or other facetiously called "the Cathedral", a term which caught on, and everyone was soon talking of "the Cathedral". Although the more frequent of the pilgrims missed the parish church, yet the atmosphere in the tent was very remarkable. The altar was raised on a platform, behind which was placed a great crucifix with two figures representing the Annunciation. For the Feast of the Assumption, which is the patronal feast of the parish, the village was again decorated with flags and festoons, as is the delight of the inhabitants to do, and of course it was a day on which many came from round about to pray at the Shrine. The first anniversary of the Translation, as the opening of the Shrine has generally come to be called, was observed with a Triduum, or three days of prayer, kept simultaneously in the parish church, and at the same time in the Holy House. This was no small undertaking for a small village. On October 15th, the actual anniversary of the Translation, the first Children's pilgrimage came to the Holy House. Within the octave, on the 19th, the Guardians of the Shrine assembled for the first annual chapter at the Sanctuary. It was a truly auspicious occasion. After mass all proceeded to the outer church of the Sanctuary, which was arranged with seats and two long tables crossways, the 'chair' being below the big crucifix, as is common in a chapter house. There was much business to get through, but the chief point was that the Guardians formed themselves into a College with the title of "The College of the Guardians of the Holy House and Sanctuary of Our Lady of Walsingham". A constitution and rules which had been before the Guardians since a special meeting which was held in London in February last, were further discussed and adopted. Father Patten was elected first Master of the College and also Administrator of the Sanctuary for a term of five years. Mr Derrick Lingwood was elected Bursar and Clerk to the College, also for a term of five years. An executive council was formed, comprising the Master and Administrator, Bursar and Clerk ex officio, and Father H J Fynes-Clinton, Fr Reggie Kingdon, Fr E Elton Lury, Sir William Milner and Mr Eric Maclagan. The second important matter was the decision to extend the present buildings of the Sanctuary to accommodate more than twice the present numbers, and which will be known as the Choir. It will be fifty-four feet long by thirty feet wide, and so will make the Church double its present length. This decision was made as the experience of the last pilgrimage season proved that the Sanctuary is much too small for the requirements of the pilgrimage. We must remember when the ancient buildings, which were the same dimensions as these now in use, were standing, they were adjoining, or at most (and more probably) only a stone's throw from the great Priory Church, the nave of which alone was 258ft. by 48ft. The total length with the Choir, which seems to have been open to the pilgrims as well as the nave, was 408ft. In other words, it was as wide as the present Church is long, and nearly eight times as long. One can hear the reader saying, "Yes, that is all very well, but how do you hope to get enough money to build at this very bad time in our finances; we did all we could to help put up the present Sanctuary?" Yes, we believe you did. But next year, 1933, is an especial year; it is the anniversary of the commencement of the Catholic revival, a fact which will be very much brought home to us by the various organisations within the Church during the coming months. Efforts are to be made for the whole English speaking race to make great acts of thanksgiving for all that they owe to God for the miraculous revival in the Catholic church. And we feel that if we do not make our appeal for the required amount to build the necessary extension, and also to clear off what remains of the debt on the present buildings at once, later on those who love Our Lady and Walsingham will upbraid us and say, "Why on earth didn't you ask for our Centenary Thankoffering for the Sanctuary; we have given it now to something else, and cannot help for a long time to come." So we are sending out an appeal asking for £3,000. ... This Choir is to be raised, we hope, in honour of the Incarnation and as a memorial to the generations yet unborn of the gratitude of English speaking Catholics for the wonders of the hundred years from 1833 to 1933. We put our confidence in all the members of the Society of Our Lady of Walsingham and the Priest Associates of the Holy House to do all that they possibly can to make this project an accomplished fact. Of course, there are many of us who have no money; what can such do? If our thankoffering is to be worth anything, it must entail some sacrifice if we are rich or poor; those who have no money might sell something, and all can collect from their friends ... Whatever you propose doing with regard to other appeals for your thankoffering, please send something to the Shrine. We believe the Society and the Priest Associates could, if they made great effort, build the whole of this extension and clear the debt. What a fine thing it would be if they did. Will July 19th be the day of the laying of the foundation stone of the new buildings? Or will July 19th be the day of the opening of the Choir? To a large extent that depends on you! In the week following the Anglo-Catholic Congress Centenary functions there is to be a Centenary pilgrimage to the Holy House. [details of the programme are given] The outer court of the Sepulchre has had its roof put on and a small altar has been made and placed against the wall. This is a copy of the altar in the Choir of S Clare, at the church of S Damian at Assisi. By the entrance to the actual tomb the round stone has at last been put into place. The new feretory of S Vincent is in place. It has been designed to stand above the well on the north side of the altar of the Annunciation. There have been over 7,080 people through the Holy House, excluding Walsingham people and pilgrimages and the very busy month of July, when no record was kept, from Oct. 15th 1931 to the same date this year. article: 'The Association of Prayer' [details of the new association founded in Walsingham]; 'All Hallows Eve', by A Religious illustration: The August pilgrimage altar in "The Cathedral" [above] gifts: all the Stations have now been given