21 May 2011

May 22nd 2011 - 5th Sunday after Easter and Our Lady of Walsingham

On this weeks show we have our regular prayer space, a quick run down on the celestial guides for the following the week, a reflection on this weeks Sunday gospel and at the end of the programme we have an interview exploring the Shrine of Our Lady of Walshingham

Saints of the Week

May 23rd - The Martyrs of Cappadocia
May 24th - St David of Scotland
May 25th - St Gregory VII (Pope) and St Mary Magdalen of Pazzi and St Bede the Venerable
May 26th - St Philip Neri
May 27th - St Augustine of Canterbury
May 28th - St Germanus of Paris

Gospel - John 14:1-12

We continue this week through the Easter season with another reading of the Sunday gospel taken from the Gospel of St John. John's gospel can be off putting in the way it is written if we dont take time to slowly read and reflect with it. In some ways it is almost an ideal gospel to reflect on with lectio as you have to slowly make your way through the text and literally "chew" on the images and messages that John is trying to get across in what is sometimes very poetic language.

This weeks gospel is a case in point where almost every line would cause you to pause and just sit with it rather than trying to digest the whole excerpt that is presented for the Sunday liturgy.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still and trust in me" - in the world we are living in today where we have a serious need for inspiration for the troubles that beset us the message from John's gospel this week is inspiring and hope filled. Jesus is calling us not to be depressed, to trust in God and to have hope even in the darkest moments of our lives. A hard call for christians to trust in the love and mercy of God.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel are availabe from Word on Fire, English Dominicans, Jesuits of Mt St Joseph Bangalore, India.

Shrine of Our Lady of Walshingham

John has an interview that he conducted with the director of the shrine of Our Lady of Walshingham once know as the Nazareth of England.

The Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham was established in 1061 when, according to the text of the Pynson Ballad (c 1485), Richeldis de Faverches prayed that she might undertake some special work in honour of Our Lady. In answer to her prayer, the Virgin Mary led her in spirit to Nazareth, showed her the house where the Annunciation occurred, and asked her to build a replica in Walsingham to serve as a perpetual memorial of the Annunciation.

This Holy House was built and a religious community took charge of the foundation. Although we have very little historical material from this period, we know that with papal approval the Augustinian Canons built a Priory (c 1150). Walsingham became one of the greatest Shrines in Medieval Christendom.

In 1538, the Reformation caused the Priory property to be handed over to the King’s Commissioners and the famous statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was taken to London and burnt. Nothing remains today of the original shrine, but its site is marked on the lawn in “The Abbey Grounds” in the village. After the destruction of the Shrine, Walsingham ceased to be a place of pilgrimage. Devotion was necessarily in secret until after Catholic Emancipation (1829) when public expressions of faith were allowed.

In 1896 Charlotte Pearson Boyd purchased the 14th century Slipper Chapel, the last of the wayside chapels en-route to Walsingham, and restored it for Catholic use. In 1897 by rescript of Pope Leo XIII, the sanctuary of Our Lady of Walsingham was restored with the building of a Holy House as the Lady Chapel of the Catholic Church of the Annunciation, King’s Lynn. The Guild of Our Lady of Ransom, brought the first public pilgrimage to Walsingham on 20th August 1897. Visits to the Slipper Chapel became more frequent, and as the years passed devotion and the number of pilgrimages increased.

On 19th August 1934, Cardinal Bourne and Bishop Lawrence Youens led the Bishops of England and Wales, together with 10,000 pilgrims to the Slipper Chapel. At this pilgrimage, the Slipper Chapel was declared to be the National Shrine of Our Lady for Roman Catholics in England.

Walsingham was a restricted zone and closed to visitors, but many service men and women showed interest in the Shrine. On May 17th 1945, the American Forces organised the first Mass in the Priory grounds since the Reformation.

The Shrine now attracts some 100,000 pilgrims during the pilgrimage season with about 30 Major Pilgrimages from Catholic, Diocesan or Ethnic groups and Catholic Societies or Associations as well as many parish groups.

"There are many rooms in my Father’s house; if there were not, I should have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me" It is a line that gives us great hope and that there isnt one way for us to get to heaven, each of us is called to live out our own lives in our own way but in communion with the way God is calling us to live to the fullness of live. We can't all be Mother Teresa's of Calcutta or St Francis of Assisi but we are called to live out our lives to the best of our ability. 

It is also gives us hope when we are dealing with grief which we need to think about when we loose a loved one, the image almost that our journey or life task is done and then Jesus comes back and says "come, lets go to my Father's house to your own room and rest for ever".

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