Pilgrimage of Reparation & Prayer for the Sanctity of Life

2024 Walsingham Pilgrimage

Saturday 3rd August 2024

As we journey to Walsingham, England’s Nazareth, let us ask the Holy Family to bless our families today’. (Bishop David Oakley)

‘The angel had warned (St Joseph) to flee with the Child, because he was threatened by mortal danger.  … Joseph of Nazareth, who saved Jesus from the cruelty of Herod, is shown to us in this moment as a great supporter of the cause of the defence of human life, from the first moment of conception to natural death. In this place, therefore, we wish to commend human life to Divine Providence and to Saint Joseph, especially the life of children not yet born, in our homeland and throughout the world.’
Pope Saint John Paul II

Homily at the Shrine of St Joseph, Kalisz, Poland June 1997

O Mary bright dawn of the new world, Mother of the living, to you do we entrust the cause of life: Look down, O Mother, upon the vast numbers of babies not allowed to be born, of the poor whose lives are made difficult, of men and women who are victims of brutal violence, of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy. Grant that all who believe in your Son may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time. Obtain for them the grace to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together with all people of good will, the civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life.
Pope Saint John Paul II


Rt. Rev Dr David Oakley, Bishop of Northampton

In 2024 the Pilgrimage will be led by Bishop David Oakley (Northampton).

David Oakley was ordained on 5 July 1980 for the Archdiocese of Birmingham and served in several parishes. He has always suggested that the parish is his natural habitat.

Fr Oakley studied catechetics at the Maryvale Institute and was awarded a Master’s degree in Education. He was appointed Pastoral Director and Procurator at Oscott Seminary in 1994. During this time he researched for his PhD thesis in Pastoral Theology, which was later published.

As Parish Priest at Maryvale, Fr Oakley directed the diocesan Department for Parish and Family Catechesis, developing resources in collaboration with CaFE (Catholic Faith Exploration). At the same time, he undertook licentiate studies at the Pontifical University of St Patrick’s, Maynooth and was awarded the STL degree.

He served as the twenty-third Rector of St Mary’s College Oscott – a seminary in Birmingham for training priests for ministry in England and Wales.

He was ordained the thirteenth Bishop of Northampton in the Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate and St Thomas of Canterbury on Thursday 19 March 2020.

Bishop David recently said, ‘Pope Francis has a beautiful way of expressing the heart of the marriage relationship. He writes, ‘With a gaze of faith and love, grace and fidelity, we have contemplated the relationship between human families and the divine Trinity. The word of God tells us that the family is entrusted to a man, a woman and their children, so that they may become a communion of persons in the image of the union of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.’” (AL 29) These words encourage us to appreciate the vocation of the family and the importance of valuing all life from conception to natural death. As we journey to Walsingham, England’s Nazareth, let us ask the Holy Family to bless our families today.’

He has also said that our challenge as disciples of Christ is to reach out compassionately, to those who are suffering, including those mothers and parents who are considering the desperate decision to abort, while upholding the precious nature of life from the moment of conception. ‘ It is a tragedy that so much human life is lost to abortion…’

Please follow either of these links to watch the pilgrimage live at Walsingham – Walsingham Shrine Live Stream or Walsingham Shrine YouTube Channel

Outline of the day

Built around the midday Holy Mass, celebrated by Bishop David with other visiting priests concelebrating, the day will also include opportunities to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament. This time will include the Holy Rosary, Stations of the Cross, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Litany of Life and Benediction.

Mid-afternoon will herald the change of location from the Shrine to the Priory in the village, walking the Pilgrim Way, to the original site of the Holy House of Nazareth.  This is the now traditional silent walk, a prayerful walk with Jesus to Calvary. The Pilgrimage concludes in the Priory grounds with the final prayers. More details here

While the focus is prayer and reparation for sins against life, the pilgrimage is also a chance for those attending to spend time in the peace and quiet of England’s Nazareth

In 2025 the pilgrimage will be on 2nd August and will be led
by Bishop John Keenan