On Monday we left home around 10.30 a.m. to travel to Walsingham for the Bible Week. We stopped for a brief lunch at Barton Mills and then fought our way through the snarl up of traffic at Brandon.
They seem to have altered the traffic light sequence and the queues stretched in both directions for miles. When we arrived at Walsingham we were allocated our room in the Milner Wing complete with en suite. I discovered there was a Mass in the Shrine Church at 5.00 p.m. so went to that and then stayed in church for Evening Prayer, the first event of the Bible Week when we were given notices and explanations of what was going to happen. After dinner Compline was in the Shrine Church.
Every day there was a Keynote Address based on the Letters to Timothy; two were given by Bishop Lindsay and one by Sister Meg. The Keynote Addresses were held in the Roman Catholic Church in the village. After the address there was just time for a coffee before the Hour of Silence before the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction back at the Shrine Church. Each evening, before dinner, there was a Solemn Mass in the Shrine Church.
At 8.30 p.m. there was a different service in the Shrine Church: on Tuesday there was “Praying with Mary” on Wednesday “Liturgy of Healing and Reconciliation” and on Thursday “Songs of Praise” which was combined with Testimonies. Many people then gathered in the Norton Room bar for a nightcap.
Each afternoon there were optional seminars and we went to two: about the Creation stories in Genesis and about the Covenants in the Old Testament. They were extremely well presented and very interesting.
Those who have been to the Caister Retreat would have noticed the similarities between the Walsingham Bible Week and Caister. Some 200 of us were present including a group of young people who had their own programme joining with the rest of us for worship. It was a most enjoyable, spiritually refreshing week and Ann and I hope it will be held again next year. It was good to see several familiar faces from the Caister Retreats as well as to meet some who had come for the first time.
Friday morning there was a Solemn Mass at 9.15 a.m. after which we made our way home, calling at the Walsingham Farm Shop for some items of groceries first. We then carried on to Swaffham for lunch at “Old Mother Hubbards” one of the best fish and chip shops around. Then it was on to Brandon to wait some 45 minutes to get through the town before an otherwise uneventful trip home.
The week had been prepared by Bishop Lindsay Unwin OGS, the Shrine Administrator, and we were very grateful to him and to the other Shrine staff for all their hard work in making the week so worthwhile.
Pictures taken during the week can be found on the Walsingham Web Site:http//www.walsingham.org.uk