What is a Shrine?
According to Church law, a shrine is “a church or other sacred place which, with the approval of the local Ordinary [bishop], is frequented by the faithful as pilgrims by reason of a special devotion”. That is why “certain privileges may be granted to shrines when the local circumstances, the number of pilgrims and especially the good of the faithful would seem to make this advisable”. A shrine therefore is a church entrusted by the local bishop with a special purpose, as opposed to a parish church, which exists to serve Catholics who live in a particular territory.
Why is St Walburge’s a Shrine?
The shrine church of St Walburge, Preston exists especially as a centre of Prayer and Eucharistic Adoration as well as serving as a home for those who wish to discover the traditional Latin liturgy (sometimes called the ‘Extraordinary Form’) in Preston and the wider Diocese of Lancaster.
How does it work?
A shrine, unlike a parish, does not have geographical boundaries. Geographically, the Shrine of St Walburge lies within the territory the Parish of St Walburge and the Sacred Heart, Preston but the shrine exists to serve all interested persons wherever they may live. The pastoral care of the Shrine has been entrusted to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priests.
Everyone is more than welcome at the Shrine. There are no special requirements to be a member of the community – and no need to have any previous knowledge of Latin! The Shrine is fully a part of the Diocese of Lancaster, like any other church. The church is open daily from 8am to 8pm for visits and personal prayer. Holy Mass and Eucharistic Adoration are held in church every day; confessions are available every day before Mass, or at other times upon request.
Is everyone welcome?
Everyone is welcome to attend Mass (on Sundays or any other day) and to go to confession at the Shrine, just as at any other Catholic church. If you wish to receive one of the other sacramental rites usually administered only in a parish – baptism, confirmation, marriage, etc. – it is normally necessary to become a regular congregation member of the shrine, which was established to provide the liturgy and sacraments in their traditional form. On the other hand, if you do not generally come to the shrine but still wish to be confirmed, married, etc., at the Shrine for personal reasons, this is sometimes possible but you will first need to obtain the permission of your local parish priest.
The Mass & the Sacraments
The Mass is offered in Latin, the Church’s sacred language. The Latin tongue not only unites Catholics of all races, languages and backgrounds, but it also unites us across time with our distant ancestors in the faith going back two thousand years to the time when St Peter, the first pope, planted the seat of the universal Church in Rome. The beauty of the music and ceremonies is intended to lift our minds and hearts to God and to express his unspeakable majesty. The use of a special liturgical language like Latin reminds us that – although the Mass is offered for the people – it is above all an act of adoration offered to God alone, even if we do not perfectly understand every word.
At the back of church you will find booklets containing English translations of the texts of the Mass for you to follow. The major parts of the Mass (called the ‘Ordinary’ of the Mass) remain the same from day to day: after attending the Mass a few times, it is easy to get used to the sense and meaning of these prayers. The ‘Proper’ of the Mass consists of the parts that change from day to day. Translations of the Propers of the Mass for each Sunday or feast are contained on a separate sheet at the back of church.