Today we are privileged to be travelling to Walsingham, site of an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1061. The great priory church and shrine were demolished during the Reformation, but popular devotion, unlike buildings, was impossible to destroy, and Walsingham is once again a place of pilgrimage. As well as the Catholic Shrine, there are also Anglican and Orthodox Shrines. On this, the transferred feast of the Annunciation, will be premiering a new work by Colin Mawby I sing of a maiden at both the Catholic and Anglican Shrines, doing our small part to strengthen the ties between the two.
Alongside the Mawby we are singing Byrd’s Mass for four voices. Surely no other composer expresses so profoundly the sadness and turmoil of the Reformation and the destruction of the great monuments of the faith. It is inspiring, then, to be singing music that both tells of the turbulent past of the Shrine and, in light of the Catholic Shrine’s elevation in status to Minor Basilica by Pope Francis in 2015, sings of its bright future.