Papal preacher brings message of hope to Walsingham
Preacher to the Papal Household, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, brought a message of hope to the Anglican National Pilgrimage in the grounds of Walsingham Abbey on May 29. Keith Morris reports.
This year the event was part of Thy Kingdom Come, an ecumenical global prayer movement which the Archbishop of Canterbury has invited people around the world to join. The wave of prayer which started on May 25, runs for 10 days between Ascension and Pentecost.
The Anglican Bishop of Norwich (The Rt Revd Graham James) and the Catholic Bishop of East Anglia (The Rt Revd Alan Hopes) joined in prayers for the unity of the Church.
Fr Raniero was invited to speak to around 1,400 pilgrims and spoke about Mary as the mother of hope and courage at the cross of Jesus. “Mary hoped against hope, in a situation which seemed entirely hopeless she still hoped that God was able to raise her son even from the dead and God did not disappoint her,” he said.
“Like Mary, the church is called to be a mother of hope for the poor, the suffering, the humiliated, the discriminated against. The church needs to stay close to them in hope as Mary did. It is not enough to pity their sufferings,” said Fr Raniero. “People need hope just as much as they need oxygen to breathe.
“The Church was born from a moment of hope. The sudden transformation of the disciples and their enthusiasm cannot be explained otherwise. They were reborn anew to live in hope. With this hope they went on to conquer the world.
“Hope changes everything, even when nothing has changed,” he said. “The task of giving hope to the world is beyond our human capabilities – we need the help of the Holy Spirit, which was given to the early church at Pentecost.”
Following the sermon, the traditional Procession of Our Lady took place around the village, returning to the Abbey grounds where Bishop Graham and Bishop Alan led an act of thanksgiving and commitment to the mission of the church.
As a sign of a commitment to work and pray together two new icons have been commissioned for the Anglican Shrine and the Catholic National Shrine. They were blessed by both bishops.
At a morning Mass in the Abbey grounds, the celebrant was the Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Revd Martin Warner.
The previous day, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord on May 28, Fr Raniero preached at the Catholic National Shrine at Walsingham.
Pictured above, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, preaches in the grounds of Walsingham Abbey.
To see a picture gallery of the event click here or view below