Sunday, July 06, 2008

A much more successful pilgrimage II

The Procession

Norbertines from Manchester, very friendly chaps.

The procession coalesced and proceded down the very steep hill from the Catholic church to the shrine, (in enemy hands for some time.)

A reliquary containing a piece of St. Winifrede's arm bone. Her shrine is the longest continuously visited Catholic shrine in Britain, but her body was lost at the Revolution when the iconoclasts threw it in the river Severn. Some remains were rescued and have been treasured by the Catholics since then.

Haven't seen so many birettas in one place in a long time. I was sitting next to a reporter from the Universe (English Catholic newspaper, rather liberal). He knew all the responses and sang the Credo without looking at the sheet, so he knew what he was about. I remarked that Holywell doesn't see this sort of thing every day, and he agreed that the popular public devotions were a very good thing.

Lovely children. The face of the future of the Church.

St. Winifrede's church. Held by the Occupation.

All locked up, but a very lovely medieval portico.

The Saint.

Fan vaulting!


The stone walls of the shrine of the well were entirely covered in graffiti where pilgrims have left their name, often with the date, for future generations to remember them in prayer and solidarity.

The holy well. I dipped my rosary in.

The photo above looks a bit odd. The front section that shows as green and still, is the part of the well that has been separated out from the spring by stone work that used to allow pilgrims to get into the water by a set of steps. Now, the much larger pool in the front of the shrine serves this purpose.

This pic makes it a little clearer.

Father chatting merrily away about the history of the shrine and St. Winifrede, but didn't realise his microphone was still on.

Afterwards, we struggled back up the hill for Benediction. Lovely. And who says Catholics can't sing? The responses and even the Latin hymns were joined very enthusastically. I think it's only NovusOrdinarians who can't, won't, or have little reason to sing.

There was a big spread on at the pilgrim's hospice, tea, cake, and my favourite Catholic dish: triangle sandwiches. The hospice is new and large and very lovely and is being run by some Italian Brigittine nuns who have come from Rome to minister to the poor English and Welsh Catholics.

A highly satisfactory day, in all.

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