The new outdoor altar at the shrine of Our Lady at Stratherrick, was blessed by Bishop Hugh on Saturday 25th March 2017, The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.
The day dawned brightly, with warm sunshine countering the spring chill, and the sun glinting off the snow capped mountains, highlighting the spectacular scenery the area is blessed with.
After a slightly delayed start, the pilgrims gathered for a Rosary walk to the Shrine.
Holy Mass was celebrated by Bishop Hugh with 7 priests from the Deanery, and Fr. Tony Nye. Following the Liturgy of the Word, the altar was blessed. Bishop Hugh invited everyone present to pray. He then incensed, and sprinkled the Altar with Holy Water, saying the prayer of blessing:
Blessed are you, Lord our God,
who accepted the Sacrifice of the Christ,
offered on the altar of the cross
for the salvation of the world.
Now with a Father’s love,
you call upon you people to celebrate his memory
by coming together at his table.
May this altar,
which we have built for your holy mysteries,
be the centre of our praise and thanks giving.
May it be the table
at which we break the bread which gives us life
and drink the cup which makes us one.
May be the fountain
of the unfailing waters of salvation.
Here may we draw close to Christ,
the living stone,
and, in him, grow into a holy temple.
Here may our lives of Holiness
become a pleasing sacrifice to your glory.
Blessed be God forever
The newly blessed altar was then prepared for the celebration of the Eucharist. Music throughout the Mass was provided by Guitar, Clarinet, and Bagpipes. Following the Blessing and Dismissal at the end of Mass, the pilgrims wound their way back to the steading, where Therese and her team had rustled up a superb 3 course lunch.
At 3.00pm the assembly made their way through to the Church for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, where they had a brief but thought provoking address by Fr. Tony Nye SJ, and the opportunity to make their confession. Vespers and Benediction led by Fr. Andrzej Niski followed, and the day concluded with tea and biscuits.
A wonderful day, enjoyed and appreciated by all.