The Shrine is visited by thousands of pilgrims of all ages who represent the various localities and communities of England. For example, The Youth 2000 pilgrimage is attended by hundreds of young people, pilgrims come from Cornwall to Yorkshire while the Dowry of Mary pilgrimage is attended by several of the ethnic chaplaincies, communities from Albania to Zimbabwe, representing the universal church.
We want to be able to continue to encourage pilgrims to visit the Shrine far into the future, so we are embarking on our Shrine Development plan.
It is very important that we are able to offer facilities in the shrine grounds that will cater for increasing numbers of pilgrims, some of whom who are disabled. We plan to build a pilgrim hall and a sheltered area which will transform a day spent at the Shrine as pilgrims will have somewhere to meet for talks, educational presentations for schools, and ensure heavy rain will not mean that pilgrims return home wet and cold.
Our accommodation in the village of Walsingham has limited facilities for our disabled guests, so we plan to build twenty en-suite bedrooms with disabled access and appropriate bathrooms. It is so important that we are able to offer the opportunity to stay to all our pilgrims, regardless of their age or health. For some of our disabled pilgrims time spent at Walsingham is especially precious and we wish to enable them to spend time at England’s Nazareth.
We also plan to establish a retreat centre in the village of Walsingham. The property has already been acquired but funding is now needed to refurbish it with bedrooms, a chapel, meeting room, cloister and silent garden and a welcome centre. A programme of retreats will then be available all the year round so that any who wish can share and strengthen their faith without distraction.
This plan will enable the Shrine to be at the heart of the faith of England, continuing the vision of Lady Richeldis in 1061, ensuring that all who have a devotion to Mary can share in that vision.Tags: The Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham