The Rector’s Christmas Message – May you have a happy Christmas, and a peace and joy filled 2023

Christmas greeting 2022

Once again, it’s my privilege and pleasure to wish you a happy and blessed Christmas.

As the number of pilgrims lessens during the winter months, and our accommodation is closed for its annual ‘breather’, England’s Nazareth is nevertheless is by no means shut, and our liturgies and devotions continue, to the glory of God, the honour of the Blessed Mother of his Son and the wellbeing of visitors and pilgrims. It’s all change in the diocese of East Anglia this December. Bishop Alan Hopes, after a dedicated and generous ministry among us, was able to retire when the Pope appointed Canon Peter Collins, a priest of the diocese of Cardiff, as his successor. His Episcopal Ordination and Installation took place in St John’s Cathedral on Wednesday 14th December, and I (along with Fr Kevin Smith, the Administrator of the Anglican shrine) was honoured to be able to lead the procession into the Cathedral with our own statue of Our Lady of Walsingham. She rightly has a special place in the life and devotion of this diocese. As I write this, I’m conscious that I shall be leaving Walsingham in early February, for pastures new – and southern! I have been appointed an Auxiliary Bishop in the diocese of Southwark, and whilst, surprised and immensely privileged to be called to such a great ministry, shall, of course, be sorry to leave Walsingham as Rector, but will never forget it, and hope never to stop visiting as a pilgrim. Please pray for me, and for a new Rector for the National Shrine. May you have a happy Christmas, and a peace and joy-filled 2023.

Photo Credit to Diocese of East Anglia & Bill Smith