Each year for the last ten years people from St Chrysostom’s have joined friends from St Peter’s, Oughtrington, for a day pilgrimage to the lovely shrine at Ladyewell near Preston. The pilgrimages are always joyful and special. This year, for our 10th anniversary, we asked Bishop Mark to lead the pilgrimage, and invited other friends to join us. We had a lovely, holy day, which Bishop Mark described as ‘Awesome, full of fun and faith.’
Here are some scenes from the day:
On the way: It’s good to catch up with friends, and exchange news and thoughts together as we journey by coach. The last stage for many is by foot as we follow the ancient pilgrim route to the shrine.
Although the sound of the motorway reminds us the M6 is very close we feel we are stepping apart into a timeless, special, place.
Pilgrims together: How lovely to see pilgrims making friends with one another, supporting and praying for one another. We were a mixed group of over 60 pilgrims from different places this year and it was good to see shared conversations. There was more sharing too. At least one person (guess who!) had brought bread, cakes, butter, biscuits and – tongue, from the local Coop to share with others. For one of the young pilgrims it was their first taste of tongue – a day to remember!
Holy Water is a feature of most shrines. Through the generations many pilgrims have found new strength and healing in the waters of a shrine. We remember our baptism in Christ, and by doing this together we are reminded of the lovely richness and variety of our Christian family. Water cleanses and revives, and our pilgrimage is a sign of our hope and renewed faith.
The Mass ended with photographs, and as it was the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima she is in the photo too! The RC priests of the shrine welcomed us, and it was good to have a part in their special day too. How lovely that women and men Anglican priests celebrate Mass together at this RC shrine – unlike at the Anglican shrine at Walsingham. Bishop Mark preached an encouraging sermon reminding us of the primacy of prayer, and Hannah (parish assistant) reminded us of joy and fun in faith as she taught us a song, which many of us will remember for a long time!
Leaving Ladyewell we carried many happy memories of the day, in the meetings, time together, prayers, and sharing heaven and earth seemed very close together. On the walk back even the flowers reminded us of Our Lady’s shrine – close to where our coach was parked a large bunch of Forget-Me-Nots. (According to medieval tradition Our Lady’s eyes were Forget-Me-Not blue).
God bless the Shrine at Ladyewell.
Our Lady of Ladyewell, pray for us.