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Our Lady of Walsingham

The shrine in the village of Little Walsingham is known as "England's Nazareth." It was erected by Richeldis de Faverches, a Saxon noblewoman who had a vision in 1061 in which Mary showed her around the house in Nazareth where the angel Gabriel came to her to announce Jesus' birth. In the vision, Mary urged Richeldis to build a replica of that house in Walsingham. The house and a priory (erected later) became a popular place of pilgrimage and were visited by a succession of English kings, including Henry VIII. Despite having made a pilgrimage there, Henry had the shrine shut down during the Reformation.

The Anglican tradition of the pilgrimage was restored in the 1920s. Today, groups of pilgrims visit Walsingham every day from Easter through the end of summer. The theme of the 2003 pilgrimage season is "The Holiness of God."

Above, Deacon Joshua Whitfield of the Diocese of Fort Worth is shown helping to carry the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham in the procession on Monday, May 26, which was the National Pilgrimage day for the shrine. Deacon Whitfield is completing his seminary studies in England this spring and will begin service as a diocesan curate at St. Peter & St. Paul, Arlington, this summer. Commenting on his experience, he said, "It was a great day, but I think that my shoulder will never be the same. Our Lady is extremely heavy!! "