On Monday 4 July a happy band of 36 Liverpool UCM members set off for the annual national pilgrimage to Walsingham – a gathering of 700 women from all over the country.
It was a spiritually uplifting experience and it began with Mass. The service that evening at the Slipper Chapel was followed by a candlelit procession back to the village, led by our national spiritual adviser, Bishop Alan Williams, through beautiful countryside in the fading light.
Tuesday saw us head back to the shrine, which was designated a minor basilica last December by Pope Francis, to attend an open-air Mass concelebrated by Bishop Alan and many UCM chaplains from around the country. Following a picnic lunch we walked in silent procession along the Holy Mile to the abbey grounds where diocesan banners were paraded, prayers said and hymns sung with gusto.
The national president, Val Ward, gave a very encouraging address and we all affirmed our commitment to the aims and objectives of UCM. Monsignor Michael McQuinn then delivered a reflection followed by Benediction. At the end of this special day we bade farewell to friends, old and new.
Before returning to Liverpool the next day, we took a trip a few miles along the road to Wells-next-the-Sea where we saw the beach and the sea (but no royalty or corgis) and had our lunch. We then completed our journey home. Everyone who went received many blessings and came back refreshed and we all thank our Walsingham organiser, Margaret McDonald (no relation), for her hard work and successful planning.
Next year’s pilgrimage runs from 3–5 July and Liverpool will be the lead diocese so we would love to see as many of you as possible joining us for this enriching experience. Please get your reservations in early.