HISTORY in the RAIN
Southwark sends 1500 pilgrims
ATHOUSAND pilgrims received Holy Communion in pouring rain at Walsingham on Sunday, when the first Pontifical High Mass to be celebrated in the Abbey grounds since 1538 was sung by Bishop Cowderoy, leader of the Southwark diocesan pilgrimage.
The last Mass in the Abbey grounds, prior to Sunday's, was on D-Day, and that was a Low Mass, celebrated by Bishop Parker of Northampton.
Altogether there were 1,500 pilgrims; 700 of them travelled to Walsingham on special trains from London; the others made the journey in coaches from all parts of Kent and Surrey. Some of them started out as early as 5.30 a.m.
The choirs of St. George's Cathedral, Southwark, arid St. Joseph's church, New Malden. led the procession of pilgrims. Fr. Nigel Lam, C.M.S., preached. Bishop Parker of Northampton was present. .
Four priests distributed Holy Communion — under umbrellas shielding off the rain.
"Everyone got soaked," said Fr. Hugh Hunt, organiser of the pilgrimage, "but no one was rained off. We all stayed together and completed the day as scheduled."
To commemorate the occasion, Fr. Hunt gave a Ciborium to Walsingham which
he had brought down from New Malden, Surrey, with 1,000 hosts.