Walsingham National Pilgrimage 2017
Archbishop of Canterbury’s Greeting to Walsingham
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, sent warm greetings to the hundreds of pilgrims gathered in Walsingham for the annual National Pilgrimage to the Anglican Shrine in Norfolk.
Pilgrims from across the UK, and including some overseas visitors, heard Father Kevin Smith, Priest Administrator, read out thankful support for the 40 hours of constant prayer in support of the Archbishop’s initiative Thy Kingdom Come.
Archbishop Welby said: “Prayer matters, and prayer changes everything, because as God changes us in prayer he drives us out to be justice-seekers, peacemakers, healers and bringers of good news. In praying, ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities".
He added: “And so it is wonderful that so many are gathered here in Walsingham, ready to join in prayer and action with all those across the world praying these same words, Thy Kingdom Come.”
Hope takes centre stage at Walsingham
“People need hope to live just as they need oxygen to breathe” -Fr Cantalamessa
It is Mary, Mother of hope, who continues to inspire and encourage millions of Christians around to world to face up to the challenges they face, Father Raniero Cantalamessa told pilgrims at the 2017 National Pilgrimage to the Anglican Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham today.
The Preacher to the Papal Household told the hundreds of people gathered: “On Calvary, Mary was not just the ‘Mother of sorrows’ but also the ‘Mother of hope,’ With all the more reason we must say the same about Mary beneath the cross: in hope she believed against hope.”
Fr Raniero Cantalamessa is an internationally renowned preacher and author. Since 1980 he has served Pope S. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis as Preacher to the Papal Household.
He told the Bank Holiday congregation: “Mary is a model for the Church. The Church is called to be, like her, ‘a mother of hope’ for the world. Just as Mary was close to her crucified Son, so the Church is called to be close to the crucified of today: the poor, the suffering, the humiliated, the insulted, the discriminated against.”
Fr Cantalamessa said: “The Church must transmit hope, proclaiming that suffering is not absurd, that it is meaningful, because there will be a resurrection of the body in the last day and there can be a resurrection of the heart every day. People need hope to live just as they need oxygen to breathe.”
He also told pilgrims that perhaps the Christian faith will experience a revival in England and in the wider secularised western world for the same reason that it was embraced in the first place “because it is the only doctrine that has an answer to give to the great questions about life and death. The most important thing is to understand how we can proclaim hope today to the world in which we live.
“The failure of the great alternative ideologies, like Marxism, has led people to live from day to day without any great enthusiasm or excitement about the future. Hope is transmitted by contagion.
He added: “Christian hope has eternal life as its ultimate object, but it does not exclude the lesser human hopes for oneself and one’s children, as finding a job, overcoming an illness, meeting the right person to love and be loved by.”