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Latest Post from the Vicar’s Window

Dear friends,

Every year, a group of Christians from Holy Trinity go on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. Generally speaking, it is the same group, while the majority of the congregation don’t seem particularly interested. Some have called in to the shrine while on holiday in the area – but that is not the same as actually taking part in a pilgrimage. (A bit like visiting a country church when a wedding is taking place. Not the same as knowing the couple and being part of the proceedings.)

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One of the problems with Walsingham could be the cost. Many years ago, the nuns dished out stew and potatoes and rice pudding in a pre-fab hut– and that was it. A cooked breakfast had to be paid for separately if required. Now there is a plush dining hall, a fairly wide choice of menu – and cooked breakfasts are the norm.

If there is a problem then it is that of over-eating. It is all paid for and to forego a meal seems to be a waste of money. (You can, of course, have half-board, but that excludes pilgrims from an important part of pilgrimage – table fellowship.) I wish that the meals were simpler, smaller – and cheaper.

It is the same with the accommodation. It is all very smart and there is nothing for the pilgrim to do. Again, in the “old days”, pilgrims changed the bedding and brought their own towels. As with so many religious establishments, the employing of staff makes it very hard to make redundancies. What about a more “cheap and cheerful” regime, complete with the wielding of the vacuum cleaner at the end of a visit? (There are cheaper ways of being at Read more