Pilgrims joined the event on 6 October from several areas of the Diocese of East Anglia, despite flooded roads in the surrounding area.
Event organiser Janet Baker reports: “Our Holy Mother did not let us down. With vigorous encouragement from the Shrine Director Mgr Armitage, delivered in his own inimitable style, we offered it all up in Reparation. The outcome was a very blessed day, with pilgrims in good spirits enjoying something of an adventure.
“The team at the Shrine worked tirelessly all day,” she said. “There was not room in the Chapel of Reconciliation for everyone to attend Mass there, and sitting outside was not an option (except for a few hardy souls who chose to do so). Fortunately, most others were able to squeeze into the two halls where they shared in the Mass through a live stream.”
The Holy Mile was impassable in some places, causing the procession into the village to be cancelled; Bishop Mark O’Toole, who intended to take part, was unwell and had to cancel at the last minute.
Mgr Armitage read out the Bishop’s homily, which began by referring to a recent visit to Africa, where the coming of the Gospel had brought a new respect for humanity.
At Mass the people sing a Gospel anthem, reported the Bishop: “Praise to the Gospel for it…showed us that girls could be educated…it taught us to accept twins…it taught us to recognise the dignity of every human being….”
The homily recalled the far-reaching effects of the 1967 Abortion Act which has led to over 8 million abortions in the UK.
“In the face of such a relentless pursuit of death-dealing, we can sometimes feel overwhelmed,” wrote the Bishop. “This is where the parable of today’s Gospel and the example of the mustard seed should give us courage. Our faith may seem small but the Lord does not abandon us. He can bring an abundant fruitfulness out of the smallest beginnings.
“In this holy place, we recall the holy house of Nazareth, where Mary showed she was open to the Gospel of Life, as she gave a home for The Word of God to become flesh and to be born into our world.”
This year coaches came from Leeds, Kent, Central and East London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire. Next year the pilgrimage takes place on Sunday September 27, and will be led by Bishop Marcus Stock of the Leeds diocese.
Full details will be available on www.prolifepilgrimage.org