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under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman

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Rector of Walsingham Shrine announced
Tuesday 16th December 2014

The Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, Mgr Keith Newton, has expressed his delight at the appointment of Monsignor John Armitage as the new Rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham Norfolk.

Mgr Armitage, who is currently Vicar General of the Diocese of Brentwood, succeeds Marist Father Alan Williams, who left earlier this year to become the Bishop of Brentwood. The Marist Fathers had run the shrine for almost 50 years.

Mgr Newton said: "Mgr Armitage's appointment is excellent news. He is a wonderful priest with a vast amount of experience of pastoral outreach. He loves Walsingham and he is also a great friend of the Ordinariate. In fact he joined us at Walsingham on our first Ordinariate pilgrimage there in 2012".

Cardinal Vincent Nichols said after the appointment was announced: "I am delighted to learn that Mgr John Armitage is to take up this position. His deep devotion to Our Blessed Lady, his remarkable pastoral drive and enthusiasm, make his appointment a moment of great promise not only for the shrine but also for the Church in this country and for our mission".

Bishop Alan Hopes of East Anglia said: "Mgr John Armitage... has been coming to Walsingham since 1976 and has a deep devotion to and love for Our Lady and her shrine. He will bring to this responsibility a huge amount of pastoral and practical experience with a love for people and especially for the most deprived and vulnerable of our society. Building on his predecessors' work, I know that he will bring vision, enthusiasm and boundless energy to the task before him".

Walsingham has been a place of pilgrimage for almost a thousand years, since Richeldis de Faverches was inspired to build a shrine in perpetual memorial of the Annunciation. The original shrine was destroyed at the Reformation. Walsingham is now home to both the Catholic National Shrine and an Anglican Shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham. 

The annual pilgrimage to Walsingham is the biggest event in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham's calendar. Many Ordinariate members gained their understanding of the Catholic faith from pilgrimage to the Anglican shrine in their Anglican days.

Picture: (© Mazur/

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The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
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