Wednesday, 25 March 2020

The Annunciation

Bangor, Mash and Freddie are learning more each day about our Faith - and lots of other stuff too.  Today is the feast of the Annunciation, and so they are finding out about Our Lady and her part in the Big Story. They are also learning about something very close to my heart - pilgrimages. I have been involved in leading a group to different places every year since 1990, and actually the Annunciation links three of these pilgrimages.
On five occasions the September Pilgrims have been to the Holy Land - fantastic, and the favourite of many, including myself. One of the "musts" is, of course, Nazareth. Here is the group celebrating Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in front of the grotto, where tradition says the sacred event happened.
In 2002 we visited the shrine of Loreto in Italy, to where tradition says the Holy House of Nazareth, formerly in front of the grotto, was moved when the Moslems occupied the Holy Land. The ancient house is now encased in marble in a beautiful church. Here is Pope Francis praying inside the tiny house.


In 2016 we  went ro Walsingham in Norfolk, where a replica of the Holy House was built in the early Middle Ages. It became one of the great pilgrimage sites of the country, and is now the National Shrine of Our Lady for England. Here is the interior of the Holy House in the Anglican shrine, built to the same specifications as Loreto.

Lastly - a painting and some music. The painting is in Palermo in Sicily, and is by Antonello da Messina. Painted in 1476, it is one of my very favourites. It depicts Mary just after the Annunciation, and to me is a stunning depiction of the mixture of emotions that must have swept over her.

And here is a short but beautiful piece by Italian composer Pergolesi, who died aged 26. It is "Inflammatus" from his setting of the great Marian reflection, the "Stabat Mater". This performance is in the Frauenkirche or Church of Our Lady, in Dresden. Destroyed in World War II, it has been completely and immaculately rebuilt. I visited it on holiday in 2017.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Canon Matthew,

    some great shots from the various sites.

    What are you plans to celebrate the re-dedication of England as Our Lady's Dowry on Sunday. Given the mention of Walsingham, the English Shrine to Our Lady, I wondered what your thoughts were.

    I'm a little conflicted as Wales was (say it quietly) considered part of England in 1395 (Llewelyn the last having died at Cilmeri in 1282) when Richard II dedicated England the first time.

    So do we celebrate with our English neighbours on Sunday - or mind our own business??