The first Latin Mass Society (LMS) walking pilgrimage from Ely to Walsingham took place during August. It started with a blessing in the Catholic parish church of St Etheldreda in Ely.
The pilgrims, many of whom were young, then walked from Ely to Downham Market where Mass in the Extraordinary Form was sung in the parish church by the pilgrimage chaplain, Fr Alex Redman. Fr Redman also led devotions and heard Confessions en route.
On the second day the pilgrims continued to Oxburgh Hall, owned by the Bedingfeld family, which has been in Catholic hands since the Middle Ages. A sung traditional Mass was celebrated in the private chapel.
On Sunday the pilgrims continued on their way to Walsingham, where they prayed in the Slipper Chapel and walked the Holy Mile from the village to the Catholic shrine. Many pilgrims, by tradition, were barefooted.
Finally, sung Mass was celebrated in the Chapel of Reconciliation by Fr Redman. Most of the pilgrims were young and greatly enthused by the combination of the physical effort involved and Mass and devotions in the traditional form.
Dr Joseph Shaw, chairman of the LMS, completed the walk and said: “This is simply a trial run. There is a noble tradition of walking pilgrimages to Walsingham which the LMS wishes to revive, so next year we are planning a much bigger and even more heartfelt pilgrimage and we invite all young people, and not so young, to join us. We are determined through hard work and penance to return the Catholic faith to England and Wales.” Forthcoming events associated with the LMS include: the Quarant’ore – 40 hours of devotion – which will take place on October 21 to 23 at Blackfen; Recollection Day in Gateshead with Fr Armand de Malleray on October 30 at St Joseph’s Church, Gateshead; and plainsong workshop with Lancaster Cathedral’s Schola Cantorum on November 13.