One Sunday in September, six of us from St John’s (mostly from the 9.30am Mass singing group), plus two from “the other” St John Baptist, drove leisurely the long journey to Norwich, in two cars kept in visual contact by Union Jacks clipped to the windows: it works very well!
After my stay last year with a friend who is parish priest of Sheringham and Cromer, I had asked, “Does anyone fancy . . . ?”, without specifying the idea as a holiday or a pilgrimage, or anything in particular. The result was eight of us on a five-day “jaunt”, staying at a Travelodge near Norwich.
We spent a day in Walsingham: midday Mass in the Basilica by the Slipper Chapel was attended by many pilgrims who had gathered to welcome the National Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Later we were sprinkled at the well in the spectacular Anglican Shrine Church. We lit candles for your Intentions in the Slipper Chapel and the Anglican Shrine, and we brought back two candles, one to light by Our Lady in Church, and one to place at the altar in the Primary School entrance hallway.
The group photo was taken by an obliging passing student outside Norwich Anglican cathedral. We also visited the cell of Mother Julian, the 14th century anchoress and first woman to write a book in the English language: “Revelations of Divine Love”. In her cell we prayed together the prayer reproduced here. Nearby, we called into the welcoming Julian Centre, run by Anglican Sisters, and learned more about Mother Julian.
A “City of Centuries” walking tour of the city, prebooked with the Tourist Information Office, was excellent. We spent the evening at the Maddermarket Theatre for a production of “Dancing at Lughnasa”, set in County Donegal in the 1930’s. It was interesting, strange, and conducive to nodding off! Driving back to the Travelodge after dark, the flags were mostly useless – anyone got luminous flags?
We spent a day at the lovely coastal resort of Sheringham. Some of us walked part way along the sands towards Cromer, and some of us paddled in the sea. Fr Denys Lloyd at St Joseph’s made us very welcome with tea and cakes in the parish hall before giving us a tour of the very interesting Church and presbytery before evening Mass. The large Stations of the Cross are beautifully and intricately wooden-carved. They had been commissioned from the Southern Tyrol: then they vanished, and arrived years later after being holed-up in a German freighter which had been interned in Genoa for the duration of the First World War.
So, it proved to be an excellent “jaunt”, relaxed but full of interest and fun.