PARISH HALL FACILITIES – although the Government has given the green light to restart the use of hall facilities they can only be used for a very limited type of event. Furthermore, the recent government guidelines regarding groups of 6 has made things uncertain. Having reviewed the necessary documentation surrounding the reopening of the hall, we note that as well as implementing social distancing, one-way systems, sanitizing stations etc. it is necessary for the hall facilities to be thoroughly cleaned after every use, which cannot be done by the hirer of the facility. In view of the very small numbers that we would be allowed to accommodate and the cost of cleaning and sanitization, we are sadly unable to open the hall at present. This is naturally impacting our income, so we thank those who are able to continue give to the parish through the ways listed below.
OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM – celebrated on 24th September. During the 12th century, Walsingham in Norfolk, was one of the four main shrines in Christendom. England was known as Mary’s Dowry and Walsingham was its ‘Little Nazareth’. In 1061, Our Lady appeared in a vision to Richeldis de Faverches and showed her the house where the Annunciation had taken place. Richeldis was requested to build a similar holy house at Walsingham. In 1538, the Reformation caused the Priory property to be handed over to the King’s Commissioners and the famous statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was taken to London and burnt. Nothing remains today of the original shrine, but its site is marked on the lawn in “The Abbey Grounds” in the village. The Shrine now attracts some 150,000 pilgrims during the pilgrimage season with about 35 Major Pilgrimages from Catholic, Diocesan or Ethnic groups and Catholic Societies or Associations as well as many Parish and Overseas groups. On the Feast of the Holy Family, 2015, during Pontifical Mass in the Chapel of Our Lady of Reconciliation at the Shrine, Bishop Alan Hopes read out a document from the Vatican, stating that Pope Francis was pleased to confer the title of Minor Basilica on the Shrine. There are only three sites with that title in England, the other two being St Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham and Downside Abbey Church. We are fortunate to have on loan a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham, in St Patrick’s Church. Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.
After the destruction of the Shrine, Walsingham ceased to be a place of pilgrimage. Devotion was necessarily in secret until after Catholic Emancipation (1829) when public expressions of faith were allowed.
At the end of the 19th century, Charlotte Boyd, an Anglican convert, bought the disused 14th century Slipper Chapel, restored it and donated it to the Benedictines of Downside. On the 19th August 1934, the chapel was formally consecrated as the National Catholic Shrine to Our Lady.
ORGANIST NEEDED We are looking for a regular Organist / Keyboardist to cover the Sunday Parish Mass and Holydays when we return to our sung masses. This entails the playing of 3 or 4 hymns and to accompany the mass setting and responsorial psalm and a voluntary to conclude. We usually meet for a music practice in term time on Wednesdays from 6.15 to 7.15pm. Interested yourself or perhaps know of someone? Please contact Fr Michael for a chat.
STEWARDS APPEAL As we are now getting busier, we need more Church stewards for Sunday Mass and Wednesday Mass. If you are thinking of volunteering, it might help to know what stewards are. Firstly, this is something which the government has required to be in place, for churches to open for Mass. They arrive half an hour before Mass, greet people, answer any questions, guide them to their seats and in going to Communion in a way that preserves safety. Finally, they clean the areas where people have been sitting to make the church safe for the next Mass. A big thank you to all those who have been doing this for the community since lockdown. We couldn’t open without you! If you can help or would like more information you can contact us through our Facebook page : email firstname.lastname@example.org : phone us on 01249 712136 or have a word after Mass.
CAFOD – UNITE AGAINST CORONAVIRUS As we cope with coronavirus in the UK, we think of our brothers and sisters in developing countries who are facing this pandemic with fragile health systems, some of which have almost no intensive care beds or ventilators. Food prices have already risen with borders closing, the poorest are losing their jobs and income with wholesale shutdowns. Furthermore, inadequate healthcare, lack of access to washing facilities and limited ability to social distance will result in loss of life on an intolerable scale. The likely impact will be devastating. We are one global family. In order to continue protecting and improving the lives of those in poor communities, your prayers, gifts and voices are needed now more than ever. Please visit cafod.org.uk/coronavirus to find out ways you can give, act and pray in response to this crisis.