Each year the OMV takes part in the Order of Malta’s pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. Recently the OMV’s participation in this has grown, and now around half the participants are from the OMV.
Walsingham is a favourite activity of many, because it is famously relaxed, and very easy to fit in to people’s professional or student lives, as it is just Friday to Sunday away. In addition, it is a cheap pilgrimage as it is kindly subsidised by the British Association. It is the only time all of the Order of Malta’s ‘branches’ in the UK come together on pilgrimage, and it is a great opportunity to meet volunteers from all Order backgrounds; from occasional soup kitchen goers to Sovereign Council members. Many of the helpers are ex-OMV, and now members of the Order.
One of the best features of Walsingham is that there is something for everyone, guests and helpers alike. We cater for all types of charity, spirituality and sociability: if you want to share a room with a guest or make cups of tea; if you want to sing Lauds in Latin or chat with a priest over dinner; if you want to stay up for a pub lock-in or enjoy the afternoon tea picnic in the picturesque Priory grounds – you can do as much or as little as you like.
In addition, the weekend is one of the culinary highlights of many people’s years. Friday fish and chips, Saturday afternoon tea and Sunday lunch share the responsibility for the Norfolk countryside being littered with shirt buttons at the end of the September weekend!
Finally, after the OMV activities in July and August, the chance to have a wonderful time with OMV friends and guests always seems very far off. Walsingham provides the perfect antidote to “post-Lourdes blues”.
So if you are an experienced helper looking to find out more about the Order in the UK, if you have been to Lourdes and are looking for a simple activity to expand your OMV horizons, or if you have never experienced volunteering with disabled people, Walsingham is the perfect weekend away! For more information please email [email protected].
Walsingham Shrine: http://www.walsingham.org.uk/home
Companions of the Order of Malta: http://www.orderofmalta.org.uk/companions/
British Association of the Order of Malta: http://www.orderofmalta.org.uk/the_british_association.asp
Grand Priory of England: http://www.orderofmalta.org.uk/the_grand_priory_of_england.asp