Monsignor John Armitage has been appointed the new Rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, in Norfolk.
Mgr Armitage will leave his post as a Vicar General of the Brentwood Diocese.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols said:
“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.
“I thank most warmly Bishop Alan Williams, of Brentwood Diocese, for his generosity of spirit in agreeing to this appointment. Mgr Armitage has long played a vital part in the life of Brentwood Diocese and his loss will be keenly felt by many.”
Bishop Alan Hopes, Bishop of East Anglia, said:
“I am delighted that Mgr John Armitage has accepted the appointment to be the new Rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. He 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.
“I would like to thank the Marian fathers for the ministry they have carried out in Walsingham over these past decades; I would also like to express my gratitude to Bishop Alan Williams for releasing Mgr Armitage from the Diocese of Brentwood for the next five years.”
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. It was one of the greatest Shrines in Medieval Christendom, when travel to the Holy Land was virtually impossible.
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.