Our Lady's Mirror

Summer 1957

new entrance to the Hospice
More pilgrimages than ever are booked for this summer, and only two week-ends are without at least one group visiting the Holy House. Besides organised mid-week pilgrimages there is an increase in the number of parties being brought to visit the Shrine, such as the Mothers’ Union and other Church organisations. We try to arrange for someone from the College to meet these (often uninstructed) groups and they give a short instruction and lead them in prayers in the Holy House so that these interested people do not come and go as if it were an ordinary show place. The weather was kind to us over Corpus Christi and the usual procession of the Blessed Sacrament was held in the gardens on the Feast day. Two stations were made at the altars set up in the precincts. The parish procession, which is always held after Mass on the Sunday after, was also favoured with a bright sunny interval. Father Hope Patten, the Administrator, has again been ordered by his doctor and oculist to go away for a complete rest and in the hope of preserving his eyesight, which has been failing rapidly since the Spring. For some years now it has been the custom for pilgrims before leaving Walsingham to place on the altar of the Holy House their thank-offerings, which are used for the maintenance of the Shrine – no small expense. This practice seems to have been forgotten by the directors of the pilgrimages. At the Jubilee a priest sat in the Shrine and received their gifts as pilgrims returned from the well. We would suggest that conductors should follow this good example. The altar of the Holy House has been raised by two inches – a very great improvement both from the point of view of its appearance and convenience. The Patronal Feast of Walsingham is observed annually on the festival of the Assumption. During the week following, the Fete is held in the Sanctuary School grounds for the restoration of St. Mary’s and for running expenses. The Sunday is also a great family day with us, and we usually try to keep it closed to pilgrims, though this does not always come off. Then on the Monday there is a parish outing, when servers, choir, Catechism children and a number of adults, after hearing Mass, go off to the sea together, returning home for Benediction about 9 o’clock. There are other minor activities too which occupy our days until the 22nd. This year the above programme was carried out as usual. Our suggestion about altering the format of the MIRROR has not so far met with much criticism. One Priest Associate writes: “There is much to be said for maintaining traditions. I suspect that many will say: Let it stay as it is. It is, after all, a family journal and need not try to compete with the vulgarities which nowadays seem necessary to high-powered propaganda”. This being so, for the present at any rate the magazine shall stay as it is. THE CONCLUSION OF THE JUBILEE OF THE HOLY HOUSE The jubilee was brought to a close in dull, showery weather, but the rain kept off for the outdoor procession and the programme did not have to be curtailed. Pilgrims from S. Magnus the Martyr and the Catholic League arrived on Saturday afternoon and Father Fynes-Clinton gave an opening address on the Ark of the Covenant before the evening procession and Benediction. The Pilgrims’ Mass was said at S. John’s Chapel; Stations of the Cross followed as usual and they attended the High Mass in S. Mary’s. During the afternoon other groups of people arrived, so that by 6.30 a goodly congregation assembled in the Parish Church for Solemn Evensong and Benediction. Then the rain teemed down, but a little before 11.30 it lifted and the church seemed very full in the half light. When more pilgrims arrived they all assisted in saying the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, after which the procession set out along the Sunk Road for the Shrine. Both the tower of the Parish Church and the west front of the Shrine were beautifully floodlit (through the energy and kindness of Mr Barrie Wells). Just before reaching the Pilgrimage Church spots of rain began to fall, but we were all inside before it started to pelt down. Here a Solemn Te Deum was sung and High Mass began about 12.30, at which a number of pilgrims and parishioners made their Communions. This was followed by low Masses in the Holy House. Unfortunately sufficient priests had not arrived to keep a continuous stream and there was therefore a break in the middle of the time, but the Watch before the Blessed Sacrament was kept all night, the Masses re-starting at 5.30 and Benediction being given at 7.30. The Administrator had to be up all night attending to priests after their Masses and supervising the Watch. Stations of the Cross and Sprinkling began soon after breakfast, when pilgrims started to stream into the village. The church was packed by midday, when Bishop Vernon commenced the Solemn Mass at the faldstool, Fr. Michael Smith as deacon; Fr. Peter Pearson, Subdeacon; Fr. Oldland, assistant priest; Fr. de Lara Wilson, first M.C.; Fr. John Foster, second M.C.; Mr Kenneth Condon at the organ and Frs. Palfrey and Harbottle cantors. A visit was made to the Holy House at the end of Mass; Stations and Sprinkling continued after lunch served from the Refectory on the lawns and in a marquee. All too soon the bells rang out again and stragglers found the Pilgrimage Church crowded with the congregation standing waiting to hear Fr. Thomas deliver his oration, and then came the last procession, this time all through the village. According to the estimate of the police, about seventeen hundred people took part in this and a number of pilgrims stood in groups in the streets singing the hymn Ave Ave as the procession passed. A second Solemn Te Deum was sung and the Bishop gave Solemn Benediction. So the Jubilee Festivities for 1956-7 were brought to a close. THE HOLY HOUSE REREDOS Over a period of time notices have appeared in the MIRROR asking for donations towards a permanent reredos for the altar of the Holy House. This is, first, a practical necessity as the temporary hangings which were put up twenty-six years ago are just falling to pieces and it would cost a mint of money to replace them adequately these days; also, hangings are not the best decorations for a place like the Shrine where so many votive candles and lamps are constantly burning. Secondly, the nine hundredth anniversary of the foundation of the Holy House coming as it does in 1961, it seemed to the Guardians an obvious thing to put up a permanent record of our gratitude for all the blessings of the revival here and the many graces and favours obtained through Our Lady’s prayers, and so Sir Ninian Comper has been asked to prepare drawings for the scheme and has commenced work upon it. We are sure all those who love Our Lady and her House at Walsingham will wish to have a finger in this gift to her, so now is the time to send any contribution you can, however small – or large. A sum of £300 is needed to complete the work, excluding the new altar crucifix and candlesticks designed for this setting. articles: Fr Thomas, sermon on 10 June 1957; 'On Foot to Walsingham' (Southend pilgrimage); John L Oldland, 'Whit Monday Pilgrimage 1957'; A C B, 'A visit to Loretto' photographs: five photographs in and around the Shrine [one above]