27th June

I led a retreat for a pro-life group last month from May 26-30, the HELPERS OF GOD’S PRECIOUS INFANTS. They pray outside abortion “clinics” (real clinics heal rather than kill people) and offer pro-life alternatives to parents as they go in.

It was held in the idyllic village of Walsingham, Norfolk, home of the primary English shrine of Our Lady – Our Lady of Walsingham.

Walsingham village

This is a picnic we had after Mass in the shrine basilica.

Picnic

The main preacher for another event taking place that weekend was Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, renown world-wide as the preacher of the Papal Household. I got a photo with him in the sacristy after Mass!

Fr Raniero Cantalamessa

We did a procession with the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham from the village to the shine which is about a mile in length.

Walsingham Proc

On the Monday we went to visit Oxburgh Hall, a stately home of the Oxburgh family. This was a family who were able to keep the Catholic faith in spite of King Henry VIII’s reformation. This is the stately home surrounded by a moat.

oxburgh hall

This is the study.

oxburgh-hall-books

This is the famous Priests’ Hole. It was a hiding place where priests would be concealed while on the run from the authorities. This is me squeezing down to get into it – the access was cleverly concealed in lavatory. Inside, it was a bit bigger than a shower cubicle. It was built by the martyr St Nicholas Owen (+1606), a lay Jesuit brother whose work it was to build such places around the country. He was captured and died while being tortured; he never gave up his prized secrets though.

Priests hole

This is the family’s chapel where we had the privilege of celebrating Mass. As the altar was attached to the back wall, both priest and people faced East (Ad Orientum). Lady Mary Oxburgh was in the congregation. I believe that she has a son studying for the priesthood.

oxb chapel (2)

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