Advent and Christmas Resources
Posted on the 25th Nov 2020 in the category News
Advent and Christmas
As we journey through Advent and towards Christmas we are making a variety of resources avaialble that will help us pray and worship through this holy season.
O Radiant Dawn
This is a resource to help us on our journey through Advent. There is a daily reflection, and each week looks at a different theme of patriarchs, prophets, St John the Baptist and Our Lady.
This resource is published by The Church Union and The Society which is supported by Forward in Faith.
You can download the booklet HERE.
To accompany these reflections and to go deeper into the weekly themes, a video will be released each Saturday during Advent at 5:30pm (starting on Saturday 28th November). These videos will be available on the Facebook pages of The Church Union and The Society, as well as on The Society's YouTube Channel.
Journey with Mary
The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingahm has produced a resource that will help families to pray together through the Advent season with Mary. This resource includes reflections, prayers and activities and you can download it from the Shrine's website HERE
The Wondrous Gift
This booklet has a reflection for each of the 12 days of Christmas and reflections that take us through the Baptism of Jesus to Candlemas. This resource is written by Fr Philip Barnes and produced by The Church Union and The Society, which is supported by Forward in Faith.
You can download the booklet HERE.
O Come Let us Adore Him
This is a resource published by The Church Union and The Society which contains prayers and devotions to use around the crib or nativity scene either in church or at home. There are also resources for use with children, which have been kindly written for us by Clare Williams.
You can download it HERE
Saints of the Month
Posted on the 24th Sep 2020 in the category News
When we pray, even if we are by ourselves, we never pray alone. We pray with the Church around the world and our prayers are joined with those of the company of heaven. In these booklets there are a selection of biographies of saints and holy people whose feast days occur each month, as well as prayers you might find helpful.
Please click on the month to download that month's booklet
Posted on the 18th Dec 2019 in the category News
Adoremus Pilgrimage 2019
Walsingham, my home of: solace, reconciliation, companionship.
I made my first journey to Walsingham having been encouraged by the words of Pope Francis. His exact words I do not remember unfortunately but I ‘listened’ and what an invaluable experience it has been.
Adoremus is a wonderful weekend experience which brings together young adults in deepening our faith – on the topics of vocation, evangelism, and living out our Christian faith. Not only do we get to learn from the great model of young Priests, we also have the chance to share our thoughts amongst ourselves. Many of us on Adoremus come from parishes where the lack of other like-minded young people makes these discussions even more enlightening! I am constantly simply overjoyed being in the midst other young Christians and more so, Anglo-Catholics; with whom I have formed great friendships.
The first visit to the Holy House always leaves me in awe; to Our Lady’s courageous declaration in saying ‘Yes’ to God. Walsingham is my home where I renew this Yes with the Blessed Virgin Mary, being my constant guide.
During the course of the weekend, we have the opportunity to receive the healing ministries through the laying on of hands, anointing with holy oil, sprinkling at the Well. You are encouraged to ‘come as you are’ because in proclaiming the gospel no one is ever excluded! How wonderful it is to know this!
The Sunday perfectly coincides with the glorious Feast of Christ the King, with mass attended at St Mary & All Saints Church. This I find keeps the flame of our faith burning as we journey on - to forever proclaim Christ as our one true redeemer.
The teachings on Adoremus have positively moulded my life immeasurably:
“Go to church on Sunday” – It not only feeds us, as only Christ will nourish our souls but it also sets us apart not because we are superior, but as God's chosen children. This is a constant reminder of our identity in Christ and the duty that comes with it; making Him known to the world through our lives. And as we see Christ present in the Eucharist, so must we see Him in the poor.
“No vocation is ever better or less than the other”
No matter what my calling is, in this very moment I know we are all called to holiness, to love. I have since begun to take an active participation in the church and I am thankful to have had an incredibly supportive Vicar, Fr. Phillip Corbett, who has enabled me to do so.
My dear young people, through our baptism we are called to a greater mission. Christ is always calling us and Walsingham welcomes you, and we have each other to help us on the way!
Wonderfully Made – The Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage 2019
Posted on the 30th Oct 2019 in the category News
As ‘ear-worms’ go this was a pretty good one for the five-hundred or so young people who attended this year’s Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage to get stuck with. “I can see the fingerprints of God when I look at you” they sang with great gusto, expressing the conviction that each one of us is ‘Wonderfully Made’ in the image and likeness of God, “covered with the fingerprints of God” called to reflect his glory and a masterpiece of creation.
Each year a team of us plans the five day Youth Pilgrimage to carefully reflect some of the challenges and questions that our young pilgrims bring with them. This year we wanted to pick up the theme of self-image, which can take such a battering from the pressures of Social Media and the celebrity culture that looks for ‘perfection’ in a limited understanding of what is beautiful.
Walsingham is an extraordinary place to ask that question “who am I?” as it presents us with a joyful affirmation of human dignity and destiny in the vocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a dignity which rests not on fame and fortune but on the call of Almighty God and our response to that call.
We gathered as a diverse group of pilgrims, from different social backgrounds and settings, but the striking thing about the Youth Pilgrimage is that it gives to all the security to enjoy one another’s company, to be challenged by the gospel, to grow in confidence as a Christian, and to grow. We strive to provide ways that these young Christians can meet one another, and ‘The Hub’ – a café style space for them to socialise together- is one of the places this happens; one afternoon there I noticed a Chaldean Catholic Deacon from Iraq talking to Swedish Lutheran teenagers –at an Anglican pilgrimage!
The devotions so familiar to all Walsingham pilgrims formed the framework for teaching and led our young pilgrimages on a journey of exploration and discovery. As we gathered together for the First Visit on the Monday evening we heard those astonishing words of Psalm 139 that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”, and as each pilgrim entered the Holy House they could look into a large mirror bearing the words ‘Wonderfully Made’ to see the reflection of themselves and the image of Our Lady of Walsingham – both called and loved by God.
Our Mass on Tuesday morning looked at what we mean by saying that we are created in God’s image, before moving on in the evening to think about how we are made for relationship with God and one another as we made a rather soggy Holy Mile procession to the Shrine grounds, there to fall silent in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament to receive Christ’s blessing at Benediction. We can sometimes talk easily about Walsingham being a ‘thin place’, a place where heaven and earth are met, and as 500 young people knelt silently praying, seemingly oblivious to the rain, the reality of that was plain to see.
Wednesday’s theme was the incarnation and God’s taking of human flesh – filling it with the dignity of his life. After an afternoon of fun activities we gathered again in the ‘Big Top’ marquee where all our worship is held to celebrate the healing graces that abound at Walsingham, and in response to a challenging sermon from Bishop Philip North our pilgrims received the water from the well, prayed for wholeness and healing with the laying-on of hands and anointing, and received that joyful assurance of the forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation – and the queues of penitents will have been a cause of great joy in heaven.
Bringing a group to the youth pilgrimage can sometimes be tiring and hard work, and for the Shrine it is a tremendous undertaking and responsibility, but if ever encouragement were needed it comes from the knowledge that during this week lives are changed, hope is renewed, and the fire of faith is kindled in many young hearts. We’re conscious that this grace comes as a gift from God, and that many are joined with us in prayer and generosity –not least through the ‘Godparents’ scheme, and we are hugely grateful for this.
We anticipated the celebration of Mary’s Assumption into heaven on Thursday, seeing in that glorious ending to her earthly life a sign of our own call to life with God for ever. The message of closing Mass was summed-up by Bishop Philip North in just six words: “Eat the body, be the body“. We focused on belonging to the Church as members of the Body of Christ, fed by the Body of Christ.
After Mass the pilgrims left the big top, still dancing and singing “covered with the finger prints of God”.
It’ a truth we hope they never forget.
For photos of this year’s Youth Pilgrimage, follow this link:
Fr Philip Barnes
Holy Cross Day in Rochester Cathedral
Posted on the 30th Oct 2019 in the category News
Priests and people from eight different dioceses filled the nave of Rochester Cathedral on Holy Cross Day, 14 September, as they joined with Bishop Norman Banks for his Richborough Family Festival.
A congregation of over four hundred, including the Bishop of Rochester, first participated prayerfully in a festival Mass, concelebrated by many priest-brothers of the Society of the Holy Cross, which co-sponsored the day as it marked its patronal commemoration.
Younger members of the congregation read and led the intercessions, with gift bags for their junior siblings. All present also took home Richborough Family wristbands, accessories which proved highly popular! In his homily, Bishop Norman reminded the congregation that in the Cross we find life, health and salvation, and thus that we should look for strength to the crucified Saviour in times of trial and distress.
There was time after Mass to explore the cathedral and city, with some pilgrims opting to eat their picnics in the grounds of Rochester Castle, and there to enjoy the day's fine weather. Other members of the Richborough Family visited the arresting "Knife Angel" installation in the cathedral garth, a peripatetic national monument against knife violence and aggression.
But before long it was time once more to worship, at a beautiful service of Choral Evensong with which the Festival drew to its close. Visiting musicians (members of "SiNG - the Travelling Evensong Choir") sang Bruckner, Brewer and Goss, and the diocesan bishop invited Bishop Norman to pronounce the final blessing.
The celebrations continued for some in a number of local restaurants and hostelries, while others boarded their coaches to return to their parishes, full of faith, hope and joy.
A similar celebration is proposed for 2020, to take place at Canterbury Cathedral. Further details will be made available in due course