Later today, I will drive over to Fakenham to join the walkers on the Guild of Ransom Walsingham Walk. A party has walked there from London over the last week, praying the Guild of Ransom Novena and carrying petitions from people all over England and Wales.
Until a couple of years ago, the walk was done as a route march, on public roads, with each man carrying all his requisites for the week. The first year I did it, I suffered from quite bad blisters and was hobbling around for two weeks afterwards. The next year, I was better prepared and managed it without trouble.
However, the roads to Walsingham which used to be quiet country routes, now carry heavy traffic, including articulated lorries, travelling in excess of 50mph and the decision was taken that the enterprise was an accident waiting to happen. Some of the experienced walkers devised an alternative route which is mainly off road. The route is much longer but the compromise was made of taking two support vehicles: two black London taxis in fact, driven by a former walker and his brother.
Today is the last long day of walking, with the walkers arriving at the Crown Hotel in Fakenham for a slap-up dinner and then a hotel bed for the first time in the week. Tomorrow, we will walk the short hop of five miles from Fakenham to Walsingham and then on Sunday say fifteen decades of the Rosary walking slowly in a "holy shuffle" to the Slipper Chapel where the petitions to Our Lady of Walsingham will be deposited. On Sunday, we will join in the celebration of Mass for the feast of Our Lady of Walsingham with the walkers deservedly given a special place at the front.
I'll try and post from Fakenham or Walsingham if it is possible. Otherwise I hope to have some stories and photos when I return.
I have had rather a lot of time away from the parish the past couple of weeks - and this year with the Feast day being on Sunday, I am now away for the weekend. Fortunately, the Holy Ghost Fathers kindly arranged for their Mission Appeal to be this weekend. It will be very much down to business from next Tuesday. One or two new initiatives are brewing away in my mind and need to get put into action.