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Philip North back in the East for Walsingham pilgrimage

29 May 2015

by a special correspondent


YOUNG and old, black and white, and wearing everything from jeans and T-shirts to blazers and boaters, worshippers packed the Abbey Grounds at Walsingham for the annual National Pilgrimage on Bank Holiday Monday.

The Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North CMP, a former Priest Administrator of the Shrine, celebrated the pilgrimage mass with two dozen other bishops and nearly 150 Priests Associate of the Holy House.

It was Bishop North's first public engagement at the Shrine since his consecration earlier this year (News, 3 February), and the congregation of nearly 2000 welcomed him with sustained applause.

There was applause, too, for the outgoing Priest Administrator, the Rt Revd Lindsay Urwin OGS, who will return to minister in his native Australia in September. The Guardians will appoint his successor in due course.

In the afternoon, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd Dr John Hall, spoke about the image of Our Lady of Pew in Westminster Abbey. Sister Mary Angela SSM then led the Rosary, as the image of Our Lady of Walsingham was carried in the middle of a long procession that snaked its way through the village's narrow streets.

There was soon a sea of black cassocks outside The Bull, broken up by episcopal purple, the monsignorial magenta of the Rector of the RC Shrine, and the odd flash of scarlet from a few clergy of the Royal Household. The festal atmosphere was enhanced by the news that, in the course of the afternoon, Norwich City had won promotion to the Premier League.

The Vicar of St John the Evangelist, Brownswood Park, the Revd Daniel Sandham, is a long-standing pilgrim to Walsingham and a former Norwich mascot. He admitted that the image of Our Lady of Walsingham in his parsonage had been draped in a Norwich scarf for some time.

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