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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Our Lady of Walsingham




















Joy to thee, Queen, within thine ancient dowry -

joy to thee, Queen, for once again thy fame
is noised abroad and spoken of in England
and thy lost children call upon thy name.
Ladye of Walsingham, be as thou hast been -
England's Protectress, our Mother and our Queen!

In ages past, thy palmer-children sought thee
from near and far, a faith-enlightened throng,
bringing their gems, and gold and silver love-gifts
where tapers gleamed, where all was prayer and song.
Ladye of Walsingham, be as thou hast been -
England's Protectress, our Mother and our Queen!

Countless the signs and wonders that men told there,
for not in vain did any pilgrim kneel
before thy throne to seek thy intercession
but thou didst bend to listen and to heal.
Ladye of Walsingham, be as thou hast been -
England's Protectress, our Mother and our Queen!

The Martyrs' blood, like heavenly seed, is scattered;
the harvest now is ripe for us to reap;
the Faith dishonoured now is held in honour;
O help thine own this precious gift to keep!
Ladye of Walsingham, be as thou hast been -
England's Protectress, our Mother and our Queen!

Unto thy Son - unto our sweet Redeemer,
Source of our Hope, our Life, our Joy, once more
we bring the love and loyalty of England
and in his Sacrament we him adore.
Ladye of Walsingham, be as thou hast been -
England's Protectress, our Mother and our Queen!

The 15th of October (which falls on Gregorian 28th of October) is the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham. I have never been to Walsingham and would very much like to go. I've been told to avoid the "grand national" pilgrimage as it turns into Lourdes in summer (which is something I hope to never have to go through again). I should perhaps arrange to stay there at some point during the coming winter months.

The hymn above was the final hymn at the Mass at York Minster, which concluded last year's "Magnificat" festival, during which a statue of OLW went on tour throughout the land. It appeared in the Mass booklet without acknowledgement and so it is reproduced here. The title of the post includes a link to the tune.

At this time we need to pray all the more fervently for Our Lady's prayers and protection, as we are in danger of losing the Orthodox Chapel at Walsingham. I don't have the full story but I gather that developers are involved and the chapel is on the site that they wish to build on. I have been unable to get in touch with the priest who is taking care of the appeal but as soon as I have more information, I shall post it here. Please pray.

9 comments:

Ian said...

My prayers ascend. Please do inform us when you have further information on how we may help.

I too would like to visit Walsingham one day; people seem to be greatly blessed by visits there. Although it seems your visit to Lourdes wasn't as wondrous as it may've been, I'd be rather interested in hearing your thoughts about it, if you are so inclined (having never been on any pilgrimage myself).

BTW: in the hymn above, who/what are the " palmer-children"? Thank you.

Michael said...

Thanks, Ian. As I understand it, a palmer is a pilgrim. I think the word comes from the tradition of pilgrims to the Holy Land bringing palm branches back with them, which I think is rather nice.

I was perhaps too harsh on Lourdes. I actually thoroughly enjoyed the pilgrimage. I loved the fact that people from all around the word were united in one language and singing out with one voice in nthe candlelit procession. I went as a helper in the hospitl and also was assigned a pilgrim to care for in one of the hotels but also served at some of the Masses. All in all it was good.

However, the downside was the sheer volume of bodies everywhere, the excessive heat (and that from someone who grew up in the Caribbean!) and the shops, oh the shops! 6-foot long glow-in-the-dark rosaries, holographic images of Our Lord on the Cross which show him alive from one angle and dead from another, rosaries which contain a little water "from the spring" in the medallion, and all of which have the words "Made in Taiwan" somewhere on them.

The 27-hour coach and ferry journey either way didn't help matters either. We got to Lourdes after all that, to hear the Bishop of Salford during the notices at the first Mass, express what a difficult flight they had had, as it was delayed by four hours! I was tempted to shout something to the effect of 'Oh dear! Poor you!', but managed to restrain myself.

Then there was the journey home. By the time we got back to Manchester, we were all unshaven, unkempt and we all smelt awful and none of us actually cared by that point.

Despite all that, I'd rather like to go back, except that I no longer believe in the Immaculate Conception and so the main thing that appealed to me just isn't there anymore (unles Bernadette misheard).

That's why I'm trying to explore the local shrines. Father Gregory has promised to keep me informed of any pilgrimages that his parish goes on. They recently went to Holywell to the shrine of S. Winifred (of Cadfael). I look forward to the next one.

Michael said...

Okay, I've spoken with Father Andrew Bond at S. Seraphim's and here are some more details from memory. For its entire existence, the chapel has been in rented space (for the past 40 years) in the old railhouse at Walsingham. This was taken over by the local authority, and there were plans to build a road along the old rail-track. It was a low-priority project and was only ever going to be done when funds were not urgently needed elsewhere.

Because of these plans, the requests of the community to purchase the railhouse were repeatedly declined. However, in the past 20 years, other roads nearby have been expanded and improved, and part of the land over which the railway runs has been used for something else, which means that the buinding of the road is now not possible and even if it were, would be unnecessary, so the local authority is happy to either increase the rent of the railhouse to commercial fee (which would mean in excess of a fourfold increase) or to sell the property, which, with property prices being what they are, is no mean sum m(unlike when they first offered to buy it).

They are determined to find some means of keeping this property. Father Andrew's words were that giving up the chapel at Walsingham is 'not an option'. There is an appeal to raise funds, the details of which I do not currently have but which are being posted to me tomorrow. I shall perhaps dedicate an entire post to it when it arrives.

Huw Raphael said...

Michael - Thank you for posting the hymn. That is wonderful and it will, I imagine, show up on Sarx on the Gregorian feast day.

Thank you for the news. We will pray for the monk there. Two things come to mind that this news is *not* as bad as it may seem:

A) The place you mention is a monastery that, as you note, has always been in a rented space and never been a very active community. (I've heard there is only one monk. That may be wrong.) The monk could be fit in anywhere and their bookstore, well... I've always said that Church Bookstores are commercial space and should be paying commercial fees. (My American libertarian side.)

B) There is an Orthodox Chapel in the Shrine property, the closure of the monastery would not mean the loss of "the Orthodox Chapel at Walsingham" save as the monastery is an enclosed space.

But the monk is in my prayers!

Ian said...

Thanks for the further info, Michael.

I think I need to get over to Merrie Olde Englande again soon and join a pilgrimage: if your good self and Fr Gregory were there, all the better!

Continued prayers: for the monk, and for your catechumenate.

Ian said...

[Oh, and thanks for the info on Lourdes: it does sound rather trying...]

Elizabeth said...

Hi Michael
A Happy and Blessed Feast Day of Our Lady of Walsingham to you !

The little church of St Seraphim`s in question is a super church, and is many people`s first exposure to Orthodoxy.
I have a very great fondness for it and would be extremely sorry to see it go. It does get a lot of visitors and is very firmly on the tourist/pilgrim trail at Walsingham
I am sorting through my religious interest books and pruning drastically. I will be selling the prunings and the proceeds will go to the fighting fund to save St Seraphim`s. Only a small gesture but i hope it will help :-)

Richard said...

elizabeth,

Perhaps you could post some of the books you'd like to sell on your blog, then your fellow bloggers could have first dibs!

fantastic chris said...

If you fancy a very enjoyable and special pilgrimage to Walsingham try Student Cross. This does not just include students, but all ages, and takes place during the preceeding Holy Week from a number of locations bordering East Anglia (e.g. Nottingham, Kettering, Leicester, London etc.). We walk along with a large wooden cross staying in local church and village halls. look at http://www.studentcross.org.uk/ for more details