Every August Bank Holiday, the Latin Mass Society hold a walking pilgrimage from Ely to Walsingham, a distance of 57 miles, praying to Our Lady of Walsingham for the conversion of England. This year because of the Covid-19 restrictions in place, rather than cancel the popular event, the society decided to continue the tradition but this time online, writes Clare Bowskill.
After the success of their Digital July Conference, which featured Live-Streamed Mass from St Mary’s Warrington, and included talks and meditations all broadcast on YouTube, they decided to broaden the format and encourage pilgrims to walk wherever they were in the world and to share their walks online.
The route began in North London at the Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden with streamed Mass celebrated by Fr Mark Elliot-Smith. The pilgrims were able prepare by watching a series of online meditations from priests including Dom Bede Rowe and Dom Anselm from the Community of Our lady of Glastonbury, Canon John Cahill, Fr James Mawdsley FSSP and Fr Michael Rowe who filmed his meditation from his parish church in Perth, Australia.
The mornings then concluded with Rosary and Meditation from Fr Tim Finigan, in the Archdiocese of Southwark, and then the Angelus from the Franciscan Friars of St Mary’s, Gosport. On the Saturday morning Mass was celebrated at the church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs in Cambridge. The pilgrims could sign up to the fitness app ‘Strava’ joining the Latin Mass Society’s own Walsingham Club page and record their walk distances, and even record the number of decades of the Rosary prayed and number of hymns sung.
Over the course of three days 50 pilgrims signed up the app and walked a total of 672.12 miles between them. Some pilgrims walked as families, small groups, even as individuals. Many chose to photograph churches and sites of Catholic interest along the way.
One group walked the distance of the pilgrimage 56 miles from Manchester to Warrington, and on to Wigan and finishing in Preston in Lancashire. Another family walked a distance of 12 miles along the Kent coast to Mass in Ramsgate on the Sunday morning. Pilgrims from as far afield as Australia and the USA joined in, singing and praying to Our Lady of Walsingham as they went.
On the final day of the Pilgrimage, the Latin Mass was live-streamed from the Slipper Chapel at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham celebrated by Fr Henry Whiseant. This Mass was watched by a combined digital congregation of over a thousand people across the various platforms.
The Latin Mass Society Virtual Walsingham Pilgrimage is still available to view on their YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsxse5AR6hhY6ATQW34vn8w/
Picture: The August Bank Holiday walking pilgrimage saw people join in with their own special walks. (LMS).