The Exhibition to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Cross Carrying “Pilgrimage of Prayer and Penance for Peace”, will run from 2nd July until the end of October 2023 between 10.00 and 16.00, in the Welcome Centre at the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady, the Slipper Chapel at Houghton St Giles.  The Exhibition contains details of the pilgrimage together with excerpts from reminiscences of the cross carriers, together with news clippings and photographs from the papers of the time.

If you would like to mark this anniversary in a personal way, you may wish to follow the 75th Anniversary Stations of the Cross which were said on the 16th July 2023 and are available for download here.

About the 1948 Pilgrimage

In July 1948, 14 crosses, weighing 90 lbs each, were carried from 14 different towns around England and Wales over 14 days, covering on average about 220 miles each. These crosses form the Stations of the Cross in the Slipper Chapel grounds.

On arrival near Walsingham, each group held an all-night vigil with their cross, before leaving at dawn on 16th July, for a Mass at the Slipper Chapel. Later in the morning there was a Pontifical Solemn Mass at which 12,000 were present. This was followed by a barefoot procession from the Slipper Chapel to The Priory Grounds, where Cardinal Griffin was present for Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.  In the evening the Crosses made one last journey back to the Slipper Chapel Meadow where they were set up to form the Stations of the Cross as we know them today.



Archival Film “Crucifers to Walsingham” of the 1948 Cross Carrying Pilgrimage

The photography and commentary spoken by Very Rev. Fr. Hilary Carpenter, OP give a clear and factual account of the purpose and fulfilment of the pilgrimage, culminating in the thronging ceremony in the Abbey Grounds, Walsingham of the great Act of Consecration of England and Wales by His Eminence Bernard Cardinal Griffin – July 16th 1948 Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

The pilgrimage was motivated by a plea from Pope Pius XII to all Christians to make acts of penance and reparation, following the tragedy and evils of World War II. The Cross Carrying Pilgrimage was dedicated to the future peace of the world, and for peace in the homes of Families in Britain. Men started out from 14 different destinations across England and Wales, carrying the Crosses which would eventually create the Stations of the Cross at Our Lady’s Shrine in Walsingham. The great UCM – Union of Catholic Mothers group supported the walkers throughout, along with thousands from the parishes and places they pilgrimaged through.

Catholic Film Institute documentary film “Crucifers to Walsingham”, of the 1948 Cross Carrying Pilgrimage of Prayer and Penance for Peace, to Walsingham, which culminated in the solemn Act of Consecration of England and Wales to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.