Celebrating the Annunciation: A Message of Joy Transferred to Today

Today, the Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham observes a very special occasion, the feast of the Annunciation. Usually falling on the 25th March, which this year happened to fall on Holy Week, this important feast has been transferred to today.

For nearly a millennium, the faithful across our nation have found solace and inspiration in the profound message delivered by the Mother of God right here in Walsingham. It’s a message of simplicity yet immense depth, one that transforms lives through its heartfelt acceptance. The Annunciation, as recounted in the Pynson Ballad, marks a historical moment of unparalleled significance – the moment “The Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14). This event not only signifies God’s walking among His people but also highlights Mary as the first disciple, a steadfast witness to her Son’s life, from His miraculous conception to His resurrection.

Mary’s invitation to “Share my Joy in the Annunciation” extends to us an opportunity to partake in the joy stemming from the life and mission of Jesus Christ. This joy, born out of embracing God’s Will, offers companionship and strength, serving as a constant reassurance that we are never alone in our journey through life. It encourages us to face life’s troubles with a sense of direction and discover true meaning through giving to others.

This year, as we commemorate the Annunciation, the Shrine invites people nationwide to embrace and make Mary’s joy their own. Our observance comes at a time marked by challenges and uncertainties, reminiscent of those faced by Mary herself. Her life, not spared from pain and trials, exemplifies unwavering faith and trust in God’s plan. As prophesied by Simeon, Mary endured sorrow that pierced her soul, making her a beacon of hope and a source of comfort for us in times of joy and sorrow.

Let us look to Mary with confidence, drawing strength from her example and her prayers. As she leads us to her Son, reminding us to “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5), we are reassured of the boundless joy and strength found in heeding Jesus’s teachings. In the words of St John Henry Newman, “According to our need, so shall be our strength.”

On this significant day, let us renew our commitment to live by the message of the Annunciation, embracing the joy it brings and spreading it among those around us. May Mary’s example guide us, and her prayers protect us, as we strive to follow her Son and find solace in His divine love.