Our Lady of Walsingham 24.5.2008

Day 2, Saturday. I woke up early to go back to Netherhall House where I attended morning Mass in a beautiful chapel, perhaps one of my favourite chapels, I especially love the absolutely wonderful and holy smell of the place. After Mass some 25 people from Netherhall went on their annual Marian May pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. More about the shrine later, but here’s the favourite chapel:

Well, Our Lady of Walsingham was apparently one of the most significant pilgrimage sites in the Middle Ages, comparable even to Rome and Santiago de Compostela (remember Czestochowa, Fatima and Lourdes weren’t there back then:). But then came Henry VIII and destroyed it. What was left was a tiny chapel which is now the Catholic shrine, while the Anglicans have a new church where the original shrine was located in the Middle Ages. We visited them both and prayed the Rosary, walked and talked with friends and bought some souvenirs. Here is the Catholic chapel with again absolutely wonderful smelling candles. (I bought two and have one of them lit and burning right here in front of me:)

Then the Anglican shrine. Now this really shocked me, and it shocked some of my Lutheran friends here in Finland, and it might (depending on your knowledge and views) shock you as well. If you’re ever going to see Catholic Protestantism, it’s here. Well I guess of course these Anglicans wouldn’t call themselves Protestant, but the fact remains they’re ”one” with the mainline Lutheran churches (Porvoo agreement). So here goes the list: statues of Mary, statues of post-reformation Roman Catholic saints (Therese, John Vianney), altars with six big candles, Blessed Sacrament Chapel, tabernacle, priests wearing cassocks, prayers and Masses (!) for the dead (!), holy water, benediction, confession… and on it goes. Here are some photos to give you a taste of it. Statues…

…Blessed Sacrament Chapel, with huge Latin letters as in St. Peter’s in Rome saying ECCE PANIS ANGELORUM…

…Way of the Cross, this one being the Station where Veronica wiped the face of Our Lord…

…and finally the beautiful main altar…

Unfortunately the ”Catholicism” wasn’t the only thing to shock me… namely, two of those priests wearing cassocks seemed to read the biblical command ”greet each other with the holy kiss” a little bit too literally… yep, right there in public. It’ll be interesting to see what the Anglican Communion decides about the gay issue in their major conference this summer. But well, to move on, here are some sheep from the neighbourhood:)

And since we were near the east coast, we drove to the beach and had a football match there. The sand and the sea were nice but the wind was terrible.

And here I am then with the two greatest Opus Dei men in London, Jack Valero who appeared on BBC after the Da Vinci Code scandal and who loves to give announcements, and Peter Brown who’s not actually brown but he supports Leeds United and has a very British accent and sense of humour:)

On the way back the boys had to have dinner so we stopped to have what else but Fish&Chips:) I learned that the fish that goes with fish&chips is cod which in Finnish translates as turska which is actually quite a rare dish (or fish;)) on Finnish dinner tables at least in my experience… But well it wasn’t bad at all and we got home safe and sound (though late) and I was ready for the next adventure. I don’t know if I’ll be able to write tomorrow since it is my birthday and I will have a lot of things to do but be sure to check back in a couple of days for part 3.

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One response to “Our Lady of Walsingham 24.5.2008

  1. Cod fish is my favorite! :) It’s true it’s not eaten much in Finland any more, it’s been overfished in the Baltic Sea so it’s almost extinct now, but it’s a popular dish in Norway. Cooked fresh cod w/ melted butter, cooked potatos and carrots, yum! Fish&chips is kind of good too but maybe a bit too greasy for my taste.

    The more I hear about that Henry VIII, the less I like him…

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