Hundreds of pilgrims flock to Arundel for feast day

BLISSFUL sunshine blessed this year’s Corpus Christi commemoration procession in Arundel on Thursday evening (June 19).

About 700 pilgrims from across the country had journeyed to Arundel Cathedral to take part in the religious feast day.

The procession underway from Arundel Cathedral   L25613H14

The procession underway from Arundel Cathedral L25613H14

The weather was in stark contrast to last year’s, where the procession from the cathedral to the town’s historic castle looked to be under threat of being washed out by heavy rain.

Thankfully, Thursday’s march was bathed in warm summer sunshine occasionally blocked by a slight spattering of cloud.

The cathedral’s secretary, Louise Sharp, said: “We were very lucky this year. The weather was lovely.”

A special mass was the focal point of the religious feast day, and brought to an end the two-day flower festival, during which a spectacular, 93ft-long carpet was on view in the central aisle of the cathedral.

Thousands of people visited the cathedral over the two days of the festival to see the floral carpet, which was designed and made by members of the congregation.

Each year there is a different design for the carpet and this year’s marked the centenary of the First World War.

A total of 40 people worked on the carpet throughout last Tuesday but the entire planning process had taken months of meticulous work to organise.

And the detailed planning and work was clearly evident for all the visitors to the cathedral.

The carpet had everything from giant poppy wreaths made up of a variety of flowers to memorial crosses.

It also paid tribute to the town’s heroic soldiers killed during combat with all the names of Arundel’s roll of honour being displayed.

Louise added: “The carpet was really well received by all the visitors. It was our way of paying tribute to those killed during the war.”

Following tradition, at the end of the mass, celebrated by the archbishop Antonio Mennini The Papal Nuncio of Great Britain, the Rt Rev Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, the clergy, choir, congregation and pupils from St Philip’s Catholic Primary School walked out of the cathedral over the carpet of flowers and then processed to the quadrangle of Arundel Castle, where a short service of benediction was held.

Along the route from the cathedral to the castle, flower girls scattered petals at the head of the procession.

Arundel’s Corpus Christi celebration is thought to be the largest of its kind in the country.