Bishop Alan’s “Farewell to Walsingham” as our Diocesan Bishop

On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Bishop Alan Hopes celebrated his farewell Mass at Our Lady’s Shrine in Walsingham as the Bishop of East Anglia.

Concelebrating was Canon Peter Collins, the new Bishop Elect of East Anglia, whose Episcopal Ordination as the 5th Bishop of East Anglia will take place on Wednesday December 14th, Feast of St. John of the Cross.

Bishop Alan Hopes has always had a strong love and devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham since his very first Pilgrimage to her Shrine in 1959. In the years since he has come to her beloved Shrine in Walsingham, to pray, to plead intercession and mercy, to ask for graces and guidance, which have been received in abundance.

As Bishop of East Anglia he came to give thanks to the Lord, and the Blessed Mother for all the graces received and especially those received as Bishop of our Diocese.

Bishop Alan had the privilege of wearing the restored chasuble, worn by His Eminence Cardinal Francis Bourne of Westminster, on the momentous day, Sunday August 19th, 1934, when he led the First National Pilgrimage to Walsingham for 400 years!  During this Pilgrimage he solemnly declared Our Lady’s Shrine in Walsingham as the National Marian Shrine for England Mary’s Dowry. 12,000 pilgrims were in attendance that day in 1934, the greatest number since the sad days of the reformation. The epic pilgrimage of the pilgrims from all over England is well worth reading about! A day pilgrimage of sacrificial long journeys by train, which included events in both Norwich and Walsingham! It was headlined in the catholic press as: Our Lady Returns to England’s ‘Holy Land.”

The Rector, at the beginning of Mass welcomed Bishop Alan with gratitude for his love and service of Our Lady’s Shrine over his years as Bishop of East Anglia.

The Rector also welcomed Bishop Elect, Canon Peter Collins with the assurance of prayers from Our Lady’s Shrine.

The Bishop welcomed his successor, Bishop Elect Peter Collins who he will have the joy of ordaining as Bishop this week in St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Norwich.

Bishop Alan began Holy Mass by proclaiming the great doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and continued this proclamation throughout his homily.

At the end of Mass Bishop Alan drew our attention to the uniqueness of this celebration of Holy Mass! To have an outgoing Bishop, his successor Bishop Elect Peter Collins, and also Bishop Elect Philip Moger, who on February 21st, will receive his episcopal ordination as an Auxillary Bishop, for the Archdiocese of Southwark. How often does that happen!

Bishop Alan asked for our prayers for both of them.

He expressed his gratitude to all at Our Lady’s Shrine, who over the years, had made him so welcome, especially during his 9.5 years as Bishop.

Most of all he stressed – Pray for Me! At the moment he was almost overwhelmed with gratitude and emotion!

It is with great fondness that we wish dear Bishop Alan a well deserved, restful, long and peaceful retirement!

There were some precious moments in the Slipper Chapel before Our Lady of Walsingham when Bishop Alan as he has always done – entrusted all to Our Lady of Walsingham,

the past, the present and the future.

Photos were then with both Bishop Elect Peter and Bishop Elect Philip before Our Lady of Walsingham’s statue to record this unique moment!

May Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for them and the Dioceses which they are to serve.

Ad multos annos Bishop Alan, to a long awaited retirement!

We look forward to welcoming you as our Bishop Emeritus to Our Lady’s Shrine on your future pilgrimages

to Our Lady’s Shrine.

Deo Gratias! With assurance of continuing prayers.

Jesus Mercy! Our Lady of Walsingham pray.