This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The LMS Pilgrimage to Walsingham

The Latin Mass Society pilgrimage from Ely to Walsingham took place from the 22nd to 24th August. The big question on everyone's lips was "Venietne Frater Eccles?" or "Will Bruvver Eccles be coming?" Well, here is my account of the proceedings, and you can judge for yourselves.

LMS pilgrimage

Eccles and friends on the pilgrimage.

For me the pilgrimage was an opportunity of meeting several legendary figures for the first time. Dr Joseph Shaw, the LMS Chairman, had invited along his great friend Mgr Basil Loftus - at 103 he was the oldest participant - although Basil is no friend of Latin! "A priori, I may be persona non grata!" he admitted. "But I am coming along to meet the dramatis personæ, and, at the end, to say Veni, Vidi, Vici! even though the use of Latin is infra dignitatem!" He went on to say that God, having no supernatural language-learning abilities, could not possibly understand Latin.

Protect the Pope shirt

The shirt I was wearing.

Another surprise participant was Michael Campbell, the bishop of Lancaster. He was very keen on having his photograph taken dozens of times, so that he could post the results on his blog, along with all the other remarkably devout things he had been doing in August (Blackpool is such a spiritually nourishing place for a holiday). However, our friend +Campbell dropped out at an early stage, saying that he needed a spot of prayer and reflection.

Donnelly pub

A place for prayer and reflection!

I had hoped to see Fr Tim Finigan, but he sent his apologies, as he was packing in readiness for his move to Margate. I tried to persuade him that there was no need to take his vast collection of old copies of the Tablet with him, but he felt he could not live without them. Luckily, we did have Father John Zuhlsdorf walking with is, toting his trusty automatic, so that we received no attacks from those vicious gangs of Anglican ladies that roam the Norfolk countryside.

We were really honoured to see Professor Tina Beattie on our expedition. Admittedly, she complained non-stop about the absence of women priests on the pilgrimage, and asked Dr Shaw whether adequate arrangement for contraception and abortion on the walk had been made. I did not hear Dr Shaw's reply.

Vin in Walsingham

Walsingham! We ask a local resident for directions.

Well, that's it, really. A good time was had by all, and Damian Thompson - a mere spectator - was waiting in Walsingham to welcome us with a supply of nourishing cupcakes and custard. I think all this circumstantial detail proves that I was definitely present, even if I had doffed my usual red biretta for the occasion.


  1. Truly priceless indeed, although if Mgr. Bas gave his age as reported above then I'd like to know how he got into my class at school. I'd like to think that I've got another 23 years ahead of me but when we were both sitting crosslegged on the front row of the school photo wearing short pants he didn't seem such a sage! Perhaps it's just hisage.