On the weekend of 5 – 8 July 2019, the Miraculous Relic Image visited St Joseph’s Church, Aldershot. The Parish Priest, Fr Anthony Glaysher, and Deacon Craig Aburn, welcomed Our Lady with great enthusiasm and reverence to their beautiful church.
On the Friday evening the celebrant and preacher at the Mass of Reception was the Rt Rev Monsignor Keith Newton, PA, Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and three former parish priests and friends from our neighbouring Anglican parish were among those celebrating with us. The Mass included many parts in Latin, which lent a special solemnity and dignity to the liturgy, which also included a Welsh choir and music composed especially for the occasion. Following Mass, a wonderful social was had in the parish hall.
On Saturday a Votive Mass of Our Lady was celebrated by Fr Anthony. A chalice (commemorating the silver jubilee of his priesthood) belonging to Canon Francis O’Farrell who built the church in 1912, which had been used at Wembley during the Papal Visit of Pope St John Paul II in 1982, was used at the Mass. That afternoon, Fr Anthony and Fr Tomy Chirackalmanavalan celebrated an International Mass in English and Malayalam followed by a procession of Our Lady through the streets.
On Sunday Mass was celebrated in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite and also in Polish. Following a talk about the history of the image, a Holy Hour for Vocations to all states of life and ministry but especially to the Sacred Priesthood was led by Deacon Craig. The new Portsmouth Diocese Rosary for Vocations was used in the parish for the first time.
On Monday morning Guardians Barbara Kay and Donna Gardner welcomed some 150 primary school children and a small group of secondary school students, who had come to learn more about the Image. They watched a PowerPoint presentation and had a chance to place a petition to Our Lady in the box. The Mass of Departure followed on from this, during which specially commissioned pictures of the Image were given to Fr Anthony and to Deacon Craig. Following the Mass of Departure, another Rosary for Vocations was offered before Our Lady left the parish.
Deacon Craig was our main point of contact in planning the Visit and his help was invaluable.
Millie Fernandez, who worked so hard at the Pilgrimage Visit of the Image to Slough in June, very kindly helped out again at Aldershot and took some wonderful pictures which are shown here. Special thanks are also due to Guardian Dick Gardner, who stayed for the whole duration of the Visit and staffed the repository. We are grateful also to the Knights of St Columba and their Provincial Grand Knight, Brother Michael Gallagher from Province 14, who we previously met at Portsmouth who helped make the weekend such a success.
Our warm thanks go also to Guardians Keith and Petrit who loaded and drove the van to and from Aldershot.