From 27th September to 30th September, Walsingham will host the European Marian Network’s Annual Meeting.
On Wednesday 28th September at 4.30 pm there will be a Concelebrated Mass with Archbishop Kevin McDonald in the Chapel of Reconciliation, when all the representatives of the participating European Shrines will be present – Altotting (Germany), Brezje (Slovenia), Csiksomlyo (Romania), Czestochowa (Poland), Fatima (Portugal), Gibraltar, Knock (Ireland), Levoca (Slovakia), Lourdes (France), Mariapocs (Hungary), Marija Bistrica (Croatia), Mellieha (Malta), Vilnius (Lithuania), Zaragoza (Spain), Zarvanyzia (Ukraine) and, of course, Walsingham itself. In our prayers will be the Shrines of Banneux, Mariazell, Einsiedeln and Loreto who are unable to attend this year. All are welcome to join us for this Mass which will be held in the Chapel of Reconciliation, Walsingham.
So what is the Network and why does it exist? The following is taken from the website of the Shrine in Lourdes, where the Network is administered from, by way of explanation …
The European Marian Network
The people of today are nomadic, not just in their ideas but also physically. They travel a lot. But the nomad also requires reference points. In the desert we need to know where to find water holes. This is as true for the Christian as for everyone else. This is why, today, pilgrimages and Sanctuaries are so important; they are resting places and an oasis in a busy world which can, so often, be a spiritual desert. Each Sanctuary has its own particular atmosphere. Pilgrims find a source of enrichment in one Sanctuary or another.
The European Marian Network links twenty Sanctuaries, the same as the number of decades in the Rosary. Almost every European country is represented and the best known Sanctuary of each country was chosen. Under different titles, the Blessed Virgin Mary is venerated in different ways and by different Christian confessions. May Mary help nations to grow in union with each other and bring unity between all Christians.
The European Marian Network was formed in 2003 with the encouragement of Rome. The Directors of the Shrines who participate in the Network meet each year to get to know each other better and, above all, to understand better the needs of the millions of pilgrims and visitors who frequent these Sanctuaries.