Glorious September sunshine set the tone for this afternoon's (Sunday) annual pilgrimage at Harvington Hall in Worcestershire.

Hundreds of people young and old gathered for the annual pilgrimage to The Shrine of the English Martyrs.

The Rt Rev Robert Byrne CO, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, was the principal celebrant, with dozens of clergy and seminarians from Oscott College concelebrating.

The Very Rev Canon David Oakley, Rector of Oscott College, delivered the Homily, which focused on martyrs - past and present - with references to the persecution of Catholics in the 16th and 17th centuries; the recent BBC programme 'Gunpowder' and the current Year of Priests celebration.

Read the full Homily here: Homily Harvington

To get a sense of the occasion the following information is drawn from the website of St Mary's in Harvington:

The four martyrs especially venerated at Harvington, who worked at various times in the area, are:
St John Wall – hanged, drawn and quartered at Red Hill, Worcester on 2 August 1679, and canonized in 1970;
St Nicholas Owen – died under torture in the Tower on 2 March 1606, and was canonized in 1970;
Bl. Edward Oldcorne – executed at Red Hill, Worcester on 7 April 1606 and beatified in 1929;
and Bl. Arthur Bell – executed at Tyburn on 11 December 1643 and beatified in 1987.

The witness of the martyrs here at Harvington Hall is an inspiration to all of us.

When we reflect on their courage and loving steadfastness in the face of opposition and menace we are moved to make apology to our Lord for the comparative weakness of our own faith.

The pilgrimages aren't only a lovely day-out, but fire us again with enthusiasm for the mission that Christ has entrusted to us in our own time.

More information on the parish church is available here

To find out more about Harvington Hall, and its amazing Catholic history, please visit Harvington Hall

Photo album from today's event:

Harvington Hall annual Pilgrimage, September 2018

Photo album from Con McHugh:

Harvington Hall Pilgrimage