Richborough Festival

The Bishop of Richborough will be holding his Festival at Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday 10th June. He has been afforded the honour of celebrating at the High Altar. My hope would be that parishioners would attend this Festival in support of our Bishop. I would anticipate travelling on the Friday, staying overnight and then returning on Saturday evening. If you are interested in attending, please speak to Fr Harri.


Lent is the forty-day liturgical season of fasting, special prayer and almsgiving in preparation for Easter. The name “Lent” is from the Middle English “Lencten,” meaning spring; its more primitive ecclesiastical name was the “forty days,” “quadragesima” in Latin or “tessaracoste” in Greek. The number “forty” is first noted in the Canons of Nicaea (A.D. 325), likely in imitation of Jesus’ fast in thedesert before His public ministry (with Old Testament precedent in Moses and Elijah). By the fourth century, in most of the West, it referred to six days’ fast per week of six weeks (Sundays were excluded)

Ash Wednesday-Its meaning and significance

The Church has long used ashes as an outward sign of grief, a mark of humility, mourning, penance and morality. The Old Testament is filled with stories describing the use of ashes in such a manner. In the Book of Job, Job repented before God:“Therefore, I disown what I have said, and repent in dust and ashes” (42:6). Daniel “turned to the Lord God, to seek help, in prayer and petition, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes” (Dn 9:3). Jonah preached conversion and repentance to the people of Nineveh: “When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes” (Jon 3:6). And the Maccabees army prepared for battle: “That day they fasted and wore sackcloth; they sprinkled ashes on their heads and tore their garments” (1 Mc 3:47).

Ashes were imposed on the early catechumens when they began their preparation time for baptism. Confessed sinners of that era were also marked with ashes as part of the public penitential process. Other baptized Christians began asking to receive ashes in a manner similar to catechumens and penitents. Christian men had ashes sprinkled on their heads while ashes were used to trace the cross on the forehead of women. Thus the use of ashes as the sign of penance, in readiness for Easter, was becoming a Churchwide practice. Around the year 1000, Abbot Aelfric of the monastery of Eynsham, England, wrote: “We read in the books both in the Old Law and in the new that men who repented of their sins bestowed on themselves with ashes and clothed their bodies with sackcloth. Now let us do this little at the beginning of our Lent, that we strew ashes upon our heads, to signify that we ought to repent of our sins during the Lenten feast” (“Aelfric’s Lives of Saints,” 1881, p. 263). This same rite of distributing ashes on the Wednesday that begins Lent was recommended for universal use by Pope Urban II at the Synod of Benevento in 1091.

So when we go to Mass on Ash Wednesday and receive the blessed ashes on our forehead, we are repeating a somber, pious act that Catholic Christians have been undergoing for over 1,500 years. As “The Liturgical Year, Septuagesima,” by Abbot Gueranger, O.S.B., written in the middle decades of the 1800s, puts it: “We are entering, today, upon a long campaign of the warfare spoke of by the apostles: forty days of battle, forty days of penance. We shall not turn cowards, if our souls can but be impressed with the conviction that the battle and the penance must be gone through. Let us listen to the eloquence of the solemn rite which opens our Lent. Let us go whither our mother leads us, that is, to the scene of the fall.”
Like all those before us, we unhesitatingly embrace this invitation to sanctity, this time to turn away from sin. We are part of that great cloud of witnesses who through all the ages have donned the ashes, publicly acknowledging that we are Christians, Christians who have sinned and seek to repent. We acknowledge that “we are dust and to dust we shall return.”

Ash Wednesday is one of two days of special observance (the other being Good Friday) for which fasting is recommended. Traditionally this has referred to going without food for the entire day however this is not practical for everyone, it is best to use your own discretion in determining how to you best can observe this teaching.

The most important thing that any Christian can do on Ash Wednesday is to be present at Mass. This is a day of obligation, a day when all Christians should present themselves at the Altar. There will be three opportunities to do this in the Benefice on this day:

10.00am Low Mass, Holy Trinity, Hempton 
10.30am Mass with Hymns, St Giles’ Church 
7.00pm-Solemn Mass, St Mary’s Church

The Imposition of Ashes will take place at each Mass

The Annunciation of the Lord (25th March)
This Feast has particular significance in Walsingham, as it recalls the visit of the Angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her home in Nazareth, to announce that she would conceive and bear a son through a virgin birth and become the mother of the Son of God, marking the Incarnation.

We will celebrate this feast with: 
12noon Solemn Mass, Shrine Church

Making your Confession
If you haven’t gone to confession in a while, Lent is the perfect time to reconcile yourself with God and the Church. To make your confession, seek an appointment with Fr Harri or one of the assisting clergy. You can always approach a priest before or after Mass for this sacrament.

Preparation for confession should include an examination of conscience, which means you think back on sins you have committed since your last confession. If you don’t recall how long it’s been or have never been before please don’t worry. Just tell the priest your situation he will guide you through the process.

What you will experience is the healing gift of God’s love, the chance to start over with a clean conscience, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

Stations of the Cross
These are depictions of 14 incidents during Jesus’ journey to the Cross. They are used within a service entitled ‘Stations of the Cross’ where the congregation visit each station in church with a brief reading, response, prayer and meditation.

The services will all begin at 7.00pm in St Mary’s Little Walsingham on the following Fridays:
24th February,     3rd March,     10th March,     17th March,     31st March.

In addition, there will be ‘Mini-Stations’ on a Wednesday at St Giles’ Church at 10.15am every week during Lent, where we will pray three stations each week.

Giving alms has always been an important part of Lent. For many people, it means giving money to charities or some other good cause. But the concept of almsgiving goes much deeper. It is our response to the teachings of Jesus that encourage us to reach out to people in need—not just with our money—but with our time and our talents. Today we might call it ‘stewardship’.

Lent gives us the opportunity to cultivate a spirit of generosity. It gives us a chance to share what we have and who we are with other people. It puts us in communion with others and helps us understand that we are all members of the Body of Christ. Think carefully about how you will share your time, your talents and your treasure during Lent. Keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Following a discussion in the PCC, and in recognition of the significant need in our local community, our fundraising effort this Lent will be for the work of the Norfolk Foodbank.

Lent Lunches will be held on every Tuesday during Lent, at 12.30pm in St Mary’s Church, Little Walsingham, following the 12noon Mass. They will take place on the following dates:

28th February      7th March     14th March      21st March     28th March     4th April

If you are willing to assist by making soup, or providing help on the day, please sign up on the sheet at the back of St Mary’s Church. You may of course wish to support their work through additional donations to the foodbank station, or a one off monetary donation.

Lent Course

This year we will be undertaking the course:

‘Bread of Life’
The Christian Faith through the Lens of the Eucharist

The course has been written by leading thinkers in the Catholic Tradition of the Church of England, and even features an interview with our own Sr Mary Angela SSM!

The course will run at 7.30pm every Thursday in the Orangery within the Shrine Grounds. For convenience, and with grateful thanks to Fr Andrew Greany SSC, the Chantry Priest, the Parish Mass on a Thursday at 7pm will be held in the Guild of All Souls’ Chapel.

One of the best ways in which we can observe this holy season is by seeking to deepen our Christian faith and understanding and so I would strongly encourage you to attend.

23rd February      I am the bread of life

2nd March          He has reconciled us to God

9th March            The word of the Lord

16th March          Hear our prayer

23rd March        The body of Christ

30th March        Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

Purple Cloth Coverings

You will recall that from the 5th Sunday of Lent onwards crosses, statues and images are draped in purple. Placing the coverings out on this Sunday underscores a deeper step we take with Christ on his Lenten journey. As Monsignor Elliott remarks:

"The custom of veiling crosses and images ... has much to commend it in terms of religious psychology, because it helps us to concentrate on the great essentials of Christ's work of Redemption."

How can I keep a Holy Lent?

Here’s a helpful acronym to help you stay focused during Lent:

Keep • It • Simple • Sinner.

The best Lent is one in which we enter the season wholeheartedly. All too often, people either take on too much or don’t take on enough. The solution is to simplify our disciplines, focus our intentions and concentrate more clearly on our spiritual goals.

To keep it simple this Lent, try the “1-1-1 Plan”: one sin, one add- in, one give-up. Concentrate or focus on one sin or fault that is getting in the way of your relationship with God and with others. Add one positive activity that will deepen your prayer and spiritual life (especially if you think you are too busy to put anything more into an impossibly busy schedule!). Deny yourself something you really like or are attached to.

One sin
Most of us, if we are honest, know at least one area of sin to focus on during Lent. If you need help in identifying which sin to concentrate on this year, ask God in prayer to reveal it to you. If you still aren’t sure, ask your family or close friends. Just be sure you are willing to listen to them and accept their assessment.

One add-in
The next step in 1-1-1 Lent is to add one thing of God to your routine that you haven’t been doing. Because we are all so busy, it’s a good idea to not just pick an add-in, but to schedule a regular time when you put it on your calendar so you don’t “forget.”

Ideas for add-ins are pretty much endless, but some include:

  • Go to Mass in the middle of the week
  • Attend the Stations of the Cross or the Lent Course
  • Read a Gospel
  • Volunteer
  • Get up early to pray

One give up
Giving up something for Lent has been part of the Church almost since the beginning. While giving up sweets and alcohol are time- honoured, consider giving up one thing that you really like or enjoy. Just make sure it is something that lets you feel the deprivation and is at least a little bit challenging. Make it difficult but doable.

  • Fast from fault finding and nagging, and fast from a critical tongue or a closed mind.
  • Give up impulse purchases.
  • Give up an unhealthy habit, like smoking.
  • Limit the time you watch television or surf the Web.
  • Give up eating out and donate the money you save.



Chantry Roll for the Parish of Walsingham with Houghton

The Parish maintains a chantry roll, which records the names of the faithful departed and their date of death. At Mass on a Sunday and during the week we pray for the repose of the souls of these individuals and their names are published in the Pew Sheet.

The time has come for this list to be updated.

From Sunday 4th March the list will only include the following:

  • The names of those individuals buried in the Churchyards of St Mary’s, St Peter’s or St Giles’ from 1st January 2018 onwards.

  • The names of those provided by a parishioner on the form which is available at the back of the Church.

    Please be aware that any individual can place the name of a departed loved one on the roll, even if they never lived in the Parish or were not associated with it. I am encouraging parishioners to limit themselves to placing no more than six names on the chantry roll. If you have any questions about this, please speak to Fr Harri.




During 2022 the foodbank collection point in St Mary’s has donated 1,168kg of items, and helped to provide 2,336 emergency meals for people in crisis. Overall Mid Norfolk Foodbank has seen an increase of 50% in demand for their services in comparison with 2021. Thank you to everyone who supports this important work.

Saint Giles' Church


Over the past few weeks the Altar at St Giles has been restored and beautified.
Previously the lower section was simply painted red and covered by a frontal.
It has beeen skillfully decorated to match the upper half.
Thie image above shows the altar now resplendent, a worthy place to offer the sacred mysteries.


Chrism Mass 2022

The Rt Rev Norman Banks was the Pricipal Celebrant and Preacher

at the Mass on Wednesday 13th April in Saint Mary & All Saints, Little Walsingham.

Below are a few of the photos taken at the Mass which was 'live-streamed' to Sweden.





St Mary's: Stephen Parkinson (Vice-Chair of the Walsingham PCC) &

Maureen Howard

St Peter's: Brian Landale & James Woodhouse

St Giles: Bert Frew & Barry Shipp

West Barsham: Susanna Soames & Grace Howlett (Vice-Chair of the Barsham PCC)

East Barsham: David Simmons & James Goodley

Walsingham Treasurer: Stephen Parkinson

Barsham Treasurer: Lynette Sutton

PCC Secretary to both Parishes: Lynette Sutton

Walsingham PCC Members:

Jonathan Bardwell  Paolo Castagnoli  Graham Howard  

Marlene Keeling  Susan Poole  Pat Sikes

Marc Booty  Steve Burgoine  Pam Millar

Cara Ross  

Sr Angela SSM (In attendance)

Barsham PCC Members:

Sheena White, Sue White.



Parish Confirmation

The Bishop of Richborough will administer the sacrament of Confirmation

on Wednesday 15th June at St Mary’s.

The service will take place in the evening, time to be confirmed.

If you are interested in being confirmed, please speak to Fr Harri.



Ukraine Appeal 

The Disaster Emergency Committee is appealing for donations to support the people of Ukraine who are in need of food, water, shelter and healthcare.

To make a donation please either follow this link:

or leave your donation on the offertory plate at the back of any of the Churches within the benefice, in an envelope clearly marked UKRAINE. 



Parishioners are encouraged, as the Archbishops do, to join in Pope Francis' call for Ash Wednesday to be a day of prayer and fasting for this situation.


Fr Parry

As many of you know, shortly before Christmas, Fr Parry moved into Scarborough House in Wells-next-the-Sea. Since then visiting the home has been restricted to a few individuals. This has now changed. Fr Parry would be delighted to receive any visitors who wished to see him. To do so, please ring Scarborough House (01328 710309) and book an appointment. It is best to avoid anytime between 11.30am and 1.00pm. You will need to present a LFT to be admitted. 



Licensing at Hempton 

On Thursday 3rd February at Holy Trinity Parish Church, Hempton, Fr Harri was licensed as Interim Priest-in-Charge of the Parish of Hempton with Pudding Norton by the Bishop of Lynn who officiated and preached in the presence of The Rt Revd Norman Banks, Bishop of Richborough.



The Crib Service 2021

This year the Crib Service at S. Mary's went with a "Boom" and below are a few images of the event.
More images can be seen



The Confirmation of Joe Goswell


It was a great delight to witness the Confirmation of Joe,by Bishop Robert Ladds, on Thursday 16th December at S. Mary's. 

He is the eighth candidate to be confirmed this year from a Benefice Population of 929. 


A Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving for the 100th Anniversary of
the Induction of The Revd Alfred Hope Patten SSC 

as Vicar of Walsingham was held on Saturday 20th November
in St Marys & All Saints Church, Little Walsingham

On the 19th January 1921 The Revered Alfred Hope Patten was inducted into the living of the Parish of Walsingham with Houghton. As is traditional at an induction he rang the Church bell, and rather than ring a number which might equate to the number of years he hoped to be in the Parish, Fr Patten rang the Angelus. It was a sign of things to come. In July 1922 he restored the Image of Our Lady of Walsingham, and placed it in the Guild Chapel. It was of course not the first image of Our Lady to be brought into this place, that statue which now stands in a niche in the Guild Chapel, was erected by Fr Reeves, Fr Pattens predecessor. But Fr Patten had a clear vision of what he wanted to do in this place, and by 1931 the work to restore the Holy House and the Shrine had begun. Fr Patten contributed significantly to the restoration of Marian devotion in the life of the Church of England. 

Fr Patten is rightly remembered for his work in restoring both the Image and the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, but it would be remiss not to recall the considerable work he undertook within the life of the Parish during his 37 years of incumbency. Fr Patten endeared himself to his parishioners through his pastoral care, his teaching, and the generous hospitality which he offered at the Vicarage. Today we give thanks for his ministry, and for the ministry of those who have followed in his footsteps:

Vicars of Walsingham 1921-2021   

1921 - 1958    Alfred Hope Patten
1959 - 1976    Alan Arthur Roe
1977 - 1989    John Edgar Barnes
1989 - 1995    Michael John Rear
1995 - 1999    Keith Frank Michael Haydon 
2000 - 2011    Norman Aidan Banks
2013 - 2018    Andrew Mark Mitcham
2018               Harri Alan McClelland Williams   

The Barshams were grouped with Walsingham Parish from 1995 onwards. 

The Mass began with the Angelus recited by Fr Michael Rear, before the Image of Our Lady of Walsingham in the Guild Chapel. 

The entrance procession stopped for a station at the statue of ST HUGH OF LINCOLN. Fr Patten was born on the Feast of St Hugh (17th November) and retained a great devotion to him throughout his life.   

The GOSPEL was proclaimed by Fr Keith Haydon. 

The HOMILY was given by Fr John Barnes. 

Following Communion the SOLEMN BLESSING was given by The Rt Revd Norman Banks.

The Sanctuary Party processed to the graves of Fr Alfred Hope Patten and Fr Alan Roe and prayed:

"Hear with favour our prayers, which we humbly offer, O Lord, for the salvation of the souls of Alfred Hope Patten and Alan Roe, your servants and Priests, that they, who devoted a faithful ministry to your name, may rejoice in the perpetual company of your Saints. Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen." 


Bishop Roberts Ladds SSC 

celebrated his 40th anniversary to the Sacred Ministry 

with a Votive Mass of Thanksgiving at S. Mary & All Saints Little Walsingham 

on Sunday 26th September 2021



60th Wedding Anniversary Celebration

On Thursday 9th September, Michael and Katherine Lovatt attended a Mass of Thanksgiving at S. Mary's celebrated by Fr Harri. together with friends from the Benefice congregation and Katherine's bridesmaid from 60 years ago! 

Following the Mass a buffet lunch was held in the church.



  Assumptiontide Concert 
Assumptiontide Lecture   




Parish Mass 

at S. Mary's 

on Sunday 

Further images of the Assumptiontide Weekend can be viewed in the Photo Albums by clicking this link


The Bishop of Norwich's Visit to the Benefice 

Bishop Graham visited the Benefice of Walsingham, Houghton and The Barshams on Sunday 8th August 2021 and preached first at the Parish Eucharist at S. Peter's Great Walsingham and then at the Parish Mass at S. Mary & All Saints, Little Walsingham. 

It was the Dedication Festival of the S. Mary's in remembrance of it being destroyed by fire on 14th July 1961 and reconsecrated by the Lord Bishop of Norwich on 8th August 1964. 

The Mass was well attended by both parishioners of the Benefice and pilgrims to the Shrine and the Bishop blessed children in the Sunday school at the start of the service.   

Following the service the Bishop joined in the celebration with members of the congregation.



Baptism & Confirmation at S. Mary's 

On Sunday 11th July there was a 

Solemn Pontifical Mass with Baptism & Confirmation 

with The Rt Revd Normans Banks SSC, 

Bishop of Richborough, as Celebrant and Preacher. 

Those Baptised & Confirmed: Makayla Marshall 

Those Confirmed: Louise Boer, Jorja Bradshaw, Ellie Jordan 




The Institution by The Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich 

and the Induction by The Venerable Ian Bentley, Archdeacon of Lynn 

of The Revd Dr Harri Williams 

as Vicar of Walsingham Benefice: 

Walsingham, Houghton and the Barshams 

on 6th May 2021 at S. Mary & All Saints, Little Walsingham 



Confirmation at All Saints Church, East Barsham

On a very chilly Friday 12th February 2021, Bishop Norman visited 

All Saints Church, East Barsham to celebrate a Pontifical Mass 

with the Confirmation of James & Hattie Goodley. 





























Fr Alfred Hope Patten's Memorial Mass 

On Tuesday 19th January 2021 a Solemn Mass in thanksgiving for the 100th Anniversary 

of Fr Patten's Induction as Vicar of Walsingham was celebrated at S. Mary's. 

The chasuble warn by Fr Harri and the Chalice and Patten used belonged to Fr Patten. 



Confirmation at S. Mary's

Congratulations to Zac, Mel and Charlie on their confirmation at St Mary's on 23rd August 2020, 

by The Rt Rev Norman Banks, Bishop of Richborough.


Charlie                               Zac                            Mel 

For more photos of the Confirmation please click on Photo Albums (above left) 

Benefice Eucharist with Baptism & Confirmaton 

Bishop Norman Banks, Bishop of Richborough, was the Celebrant and Preacher 

at a well attended service at S. Peter's on 17th July, 

when Joseph Gould and Andrew Rodgers were Baptised and Confirmed 

together with Zinnia-Claire Booty, India Davies and Arthur Woodhouse. 


Fr Harri Williams SSC         


On Monday 3rd December 2018  Fr Harry Williams SSC was licensed as Priest-in-Charge         

 of the Benefice by The Rt Revd Jonathan Meryck, Bishop of Lynn and the Archdeacon of Lynn,         

The Ven Ian Bentley; the Preacher was The Rt Revd Norman Banks, Bishop of Richborough.         


A full set of images of the ceremony may be seen here




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