Saturday, 4 October 2008

Walsingham Festival

The procession.

A friend of AW from Preston. Nice place, Preston.

The procession begins.

Sacred Heart Shrine.

Our Lady's statue in the Lady Chapel.

The main Marian shrine in St Augustine's Tonge Moor.

Salve Regina.

A Church full of happy people.

The procession.

Anglican Wanderers.


The sanctuary before Benediction.

More Wanderers.

The Lady Chapel altar with, I think, fabric from the coronation.

Today I went to Clitheroe and bought a joint of mutton from the market and a brace of mallard. I also enquired with the butcher about hare, because autumn always makes we want its sweet, gamey, yielding flesh both long slow cooked legs and as-rare-as-you-dare saddle. The kind butcher told me that he will send someone out to shoot one whenever I like, apparently the marksman can drop by a wood he knows after shooting birds. There will be pictures, fear not! After the excursion to Clitheroe I went to Tonge Moor in Bolton (once, worryingly, called the 'Venice of the North') for their annual Walsingham Festival. Tonge Moor and Walsingham go way back, they were some of the first pilgrims back in the restoration and they still send a strong cohort now. Walsingham festivals have their roots in long, dark days of war when movement around the country was banned and Churches with a great devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham erected shrines to her and underwent devotions common to the shrine. Tonge Moor have an annual, well attended, festival Mass and procession followed by a buffet and Benediction.

Today was no exception. Father Jeremy Sheehy from Swinton preached an interesting sermon and the Mass was packed. Braving the rain, we did a quick lap of the Church grounds and the road with Our Lady in procession before the Buffet and a most effective, simple service of Benediction. It was a great joy to be stopped by so many Anglican Wanderers from up and down the country, including some of you from Gloucestershire and Glossop, Blackpool and even Tonge Moor itself. Thank you all, and the customary picture of you goes up, identifying you to other Wanderers! I am very pleased that we manage to provide a way of keeping in touch for those of you who, as I heard today, live in deserts for the faith. It is not a desert as long as you keep the light shining and it burns brighter when kept with such devotion.

Tomorrow we will be using our new green High Mass set for the first time, so I will try and arrange for pictures to be taken. I had a lovely dinner at the house of friends on Friday night, with a lovely cut of lamb rounded off with a memorable fig eau-de-vie which itself was rounded off by enough brandy to make this mornings drive to Clitheroe a little late, resulting in a late arrival for the Mass. Never mind.