Hundreds of UCM members gathered in Walsingham at the beginning of July for our 74th annual national pilgrimage. We enjoyed a beautiful sunny outdoor Mass presided by Bishop Alan Williams, our national chaplain, and we prayed for all members and their intentions and for all the clergy who serve us as UCM chaplains.
One of these chaplains is Canon Aidan Prescott of St Clare's, Liverpool, who – for the first time for many years – was unable to join us at Walsingham because he was marking the 25th anniversary of his ordination. Along with his own UCM members, Canon Aidan invited our diocesan committee who were delighted to be present at a wonderful celebration in his parish, which was also attended by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon and many priests from the Archdiocese, together with his parents. It was a marvellous occasion, and we give thanks to Canon Aidan for the unfailing support that he has offered the UCM over the years.
The month of August brings the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady on the 15th, which reminds me of the excellent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, organised this past June by Northern Star Travel, for my parish of St Margaret Mary. There were many amazing experiences, such as visiting the Church of the Nativity built over the site of the birthplace of Jesus; a wonderfully peaceful service in the middle of the Sea of Galilee; visiting the House of the High Priest Caiaphas; the Stations of the Cross on the busy, narrow Via Dolorosa; and the very moving Church of the Dormition of Our Blessed Mother, which celebrates the place where Our Lady was taken up to heaven. If you ever have the opportunity to go to the Holy Land, I would say take it with both hands, because our trip was so rewarding and spiritually refreshing.