Augustinian friars and parishioners will assemble in the newly-built extension to the Clare Priory church for the first time when they make their annual national pilgrimage to the town on May 11.
Father David Middleton OSA, Clare’s Prior, said: “We didn’t have the pilgrimage last year because of the church building work so it is very pleasing to be able to start again in new surroundings.
“The new church has been making a big impression on all our visitors.
“Pilgrims will be arriving from the nearby parishes and from our Augustinian communities and parishes in Edinburgh, Birmingham, Hammersmith and Hoxton in London, and a former parish in Hythe, Kent.
“We look forward to seeing local people from the surrounding villages too.
“It’s not just a Catholic event, it is an occasion for anyone who would like to come.
“In the course of a year Clare Priory hosts a significant ecumenical mix of people. It will be good to celebrate our Patron’s day together.”
The pilgrimage will start in the Priory’s new church at 11.45am with Rosary and Benediction and a procession to the shrine of Mary, Mother of Good Counsel, for further prayers.
There will be a Service of Reconciliation in and around the church at 12.30pm, followed by picnic lunches in the medieval house and grounds.
The closing mass at 2pm will be concelebrated by friars from throughout the Province of England and Scotland.
Father Paul Graham OSA, a former Prior of Clare who is now Provincial (head) of the Augustinian Order in the UK for the second time, will preach.
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (April 17) Echo.