flock to May Procession at Belmont
the night of Wednesday, 11th May, the annual Torchlight Procession
in honour of Our Lady was held at Belmont Abbey. This was the 31st
May Procession to be held at Belmont since the event started on the second
Wednesday in May 1985. The very first to preach on that occasion was the late
Fr Francis McKenna, while the second procession was led by Fr Antony Tumelty. In
1987, at the suggestion of Abbot Alan Rees, it was decided to hold a torchlight
procession, beginning at 9pm. Initially a celebration in honour of Our Lady for
the pupils of the Abbey School, gradually more and more parishioners and
friends joined in until it became the popular regional event we now witness
every year with pilgrims of all ages coming to Belmont from the Dioceses of
Birmingham, Cardiff, Clifton, Menevia, Shrewsbury and Wrexham and further
year around 600 pilgrims took part, led by Abbot Paul Stonham and the monks of
Belmont. The preacher was the Prior, the Very Revd. Nicholas Wetz, and we were
pleased to welcome Canon Peter Collins, Cathedral Dean, and Canon William Isaac
of St Teilo's, Whitchurch, joining us on the sanctuary.
the Procession, the Rosary was said and hymns to Our Lady sung. Once in the
church, the celebration continued with readings, the homily, the Litany of Our
Lady and more hymns, all well established favourites.
climax always comes with the dramatic showering of rose petals floating down on
the statue of Our Lady of Fatima from the church tower, accompanied by the
smoke of the incense and the intensity of love and devotion for our Blessed
Mother in the resounding singing of the pilgrims.