Sunday, 29 May 2011

To Jesu Mount in May

To follow on from my previous blog, this being the month of May when we honour Our Blessed Lady as the Mother of our God and our heavenly mother, we are making a pilgrimage today to our local shrine, St Mary's Chapel and Well at Jesmond.
St Mary's Chapel at 'Jesu Mount' was regarded as one of the most important shrines in Christendom in medieval times. The reason for this veneration was due to the fact that evidence of the enactment of healing miracles at St Mary's Well had been received and accepted by the Pope in Rome. It was held that Jesus at the request of the Virgin Mary, had perforemed miracles between AD1125 and AD1250 at the Well, which was in a wooded hollow, a short distance to the west of the chapel. The chapel was built in the mid 12th century. It has been suggested that the Lords of Jesmond brought relics from the Holy Land to the chapel which caused it to become the object of pilgrimages. Pilgrim Street in Newcastle City centre is so named because the pilgrims would lodge there on their way to St Mary's at Jesmond. In 1428 the Chapel was partly ruined and Pope Martin requested that it should be repaired. He announced,
"To all the faithful, relaxation during ten years of one year and forty days of enjoined penance, to penitents who, on the principle feast of the year and of the dedication of the below mentioned church, visit and give alms for the repair and conservation of the chapel of St Mary, Jesmond, in the Diocese of Durham to which resorts a multitude on account of divers miracles wrought through the merits of St Mary the Virgin whose buildings are very ruinous"
(Thanks to my husband for this local historical research)
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, Holy Mary, Mother of God pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death, Amen

Sunday, 22 May 2011

'The Way' - Pilgrimage Memories

The Camino, a collection of ancient medieval pilgrimage routes which weave through France and Spain and converge on the shrine of St James at Compostela, is the subject of a recently released film starring Martin Sheen and directed by his son, Emilio Estevez, who also has a cameo part in the film.
Although we have travelled by plane to Santiago as a couple, my husband would have loved to walk the Camino.Now with a disabling knee injury preventing long bouts of walking this was a great alternative way to experience this particular pilgrimage. And we were not disappointed - beautiful Spanish vistas, close up views of Pamplona, Burgos and other towns, atmospheric shots like a candlelit cloister adapted for pilgrims to sleep in pepper the film. Sheen begins the Camino as a somewhat reluctant pilgrim and we also meet three others with their own individual reasons for walking the way. As we see the Botafumeiroa, the huge, famous thurible swinging to and fro above the high altar, in the closing scenes of the film, we know that pilgrimage does us good!
The film brought back memories for us. It was so reminiscent of a pilgrimage we made from Santander to Fatima with our two young daughters. We remembered the many and varied people we met on pilgrimage, the hardships and trials, the high spots and the sense of achievement on reaching a goal, both physical and spiritual. 
Families should go on Pilgrimage. There are many options around the world, but don't forget to look closer to home - in the UK there are many ancient routes and shrines and families could even create their own! 
In May the Holy Family Guild walk to a ruined medieval shrine of Our Lady at Jesmond in Newcastle. We walk across the Town Moor, through a local park and residential streets as we make our way, praying the rosary and adding hymns and a litany  when we arrive. It takes about an hour but it is a wonderful way to introduce young children especially to the idea of pilgrimage. Go to see the film if you wish but more importantly 'become a pilgrim'!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Blessed John Paul II

I do not intend to further fuel discussion as to whether the Beatification of John Paul II should have occured now or at all. Pope Benedict XVI knew what was happening. To paraphrase 'I wanted to start the process soon. The fact that it has come to fruition today is because the Lord so willed it'
We trust in the Lord and thank Blessed John Paul II for one of his many gifts to the Church, Familiaris Consortio, the 'Bible' of the Holy Family Guild, surely due for a reread in this, its 30th year.