It was not Walsingham, but it was the next best thing. On Wednesday 19 May, 100 members of the Union of Catholic Mothers from across the Archdiocese gathered in the grounds of Our Lady's, Lydiate, at the invitation of Father Grant Maddock.
We were there for our very own ‘Walsingham at home’ – a special outdoor Mass celebrated to make up for the fact we had been unable to stage the annual UCM pilgrimage to Norfolk, either this year or the last.
What a wonderful day it was too, as Our Lady smiled on us with beautiful weather. The Mass, said by our spiritual director, Fr David Potter, with Mgr John Butchard concelebrating, was followed by a picnic lunch (socially distanced, of course). We then had a Rosary procession around the grounds, carrying the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham, with hymn-singing and music supplied by Fr Grant. Benediction and the liturgy of Our Lady of Walsingham brought this very special day to a close.
We thank our president, Maureen Finnegan, along with all the committee and everyone who made this day such a success. Meeting up with so many friends after such a long time was a wonderful experience, and gave us a feeling that perhaps this dreadful period may be coming to an end.
Now for some dates for your diary, ladies. On Saturday 26 June we will celebrate the UCM's Annual Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral, at 2pm, with Archbishop Malcolm McMahon celebrating. Unfortunately we will not be able to invite our usual guests from other faiths, or to process with our foundation banners. On Saturday 12 July we will hold our annual general meeting from 1–3pm at St Albert the Great parish, Hollow Croft, Stockbridge Village, L28 4EA. Finally, the next bi-monthly Mass will be at St Richard's on 14 July. I hope these dates do not clash with your long-awaited holidays!