Saturday, March 25, 2023

Greyfriars to leave Walsingham

The Greyfriars

The Greyfriars (Order of Friars Minor Conventual of Great Britain and Ireland) have announced that they are leaving the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham at the end of July. 

They moved there in 2017.

Citing "a number of pressing issues" that led to the decision, the Provincial, Fr Maximilian Martin OFM Con, said in a statement: "We did not decide to leave Walsingham but rather other circumstances within our wider order… made the decision for us."

Fr Martin said there was a shortage of friars in parishes, friaries and houses. Some friars were coming very close to "burnout" due to the demands placed upon them as a result of low staffing levels.

"In order for us to live in an authentic fraternal life, in line with our Constitution, three friars is the minimum number that enables this fraternity to be realised."

Fr Martin concluded by saying that the experience of being at Walsingham had been a time of great blessing. "Change always comes along with a degree of anxiety and concern for the future," he said. 

"However let us all be in no doubt that the life and ministry of the Shrine is completely under the mantle of Our Blessed Lady and she who stays constantly so close to Her Son, will assuredly guide the staff, trustees and pilgrims safely and steadily through this time of transition."

A message on the Walsingham Shrine website says: "This news will bring great sadness to many. Our thoughts, gratitude and prayers are with them and the Franciscan Order at this time of momentous change."