Walsingham Hosts Third Annual Lenten Retreat for Priests

The Catholic National Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady, at Walsingham, held its Third Annual Lenten Retreat for Priests from Monday 4th March to Friday 8th March 2024. The Retreat, attended by 30 priests from all over the country, took the theme “The Priest, the Servant of the Lord”.

Led by Rt Rev Michael Campbell OSA, Emeritus Bishop of Lancaster, the retreat offered a structured programme, focussing on the “Servant Songs” in Isaiah. Each day included times for prayer, adoration, talks at the Shrine’s Retreat Centre, shared meals, refreshments, and opportunities for communal worship, including a concelebrated Mass each day at the Church of the Annunciation.

On Tuesday, the retreatants had the opportunity for a guided visit to the Abbey [former Augustinian Priory] Grounds, where they were able to visit the original site of the Holy House. Most other afternoons, the priests were able to join the programme of devotions and prayer at the Shrine itself and enjoy the local North Norfolk countryside.

One of the retreatant priests, speaking of the meditations received, said: “We’re all very grateful to Bishop Campbell for his meditations this week. We’re looking forward very much to hearing the Servant Songs proclaimed in Holy Week, especially on Good Friday. We’ll hear and pray them in a new way, as we see quite how much they apply to our priestly ministry and Christian lives.”

Another priest attending, talking of his time at the retreat, said: “The retreat has been spirit-filled. The reflections of Bishop Campbell have been wonderful and very inspiring. With the other priests around, the atmosphere has been wonderful. I’m really inspired and happy to be here.”

Bishop Campbell shared his experience on leading the retreat: “It’s been lovely really; it’s been very good to be among my fellow priests and it’s always good to be together. I hope I am giving them a word or two of encouragement.”

“I spoke about the priest as the ‘Servant of the Lord’ in the light of the Servant Songs. I’ve always had a liking for those particular passages of Scripture, so I laid them before the brethren, who were very receptive and open.”

The Catholic National Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady, at Walsingham, looks forward to welcoming Bishop Campbell back to Walsingham for Holy Week to celebrate the Shrine Liturgies for the Sacred Triduum.