The church of St Mary Pietà has stood in Kersey for 1,000 years. It has always cared for the needs of its parishioners; but for about three hundred years it was also a focus of pilgrimage with its Shrine drawing people who wanted more faith, hope and peace in their lives
In 1464 Pope Pius II issued a Papal Bull regarding the Shrine to our Our Lady of Kersey:
To all Christ's faithful, Pius II, having learned that to the parish church of St Mary Kersey de Pietà in the diocese of Norwich, there was a great resort of the faithful on account of the infinite miracles
With the rise of puritanism and iconoclasm during the 17th Century the Shrine was destroyed, the statues were smashed, the decorations ripped away, angels in the roof had their heads sawn off and the carvings on the walls were broken up and turned to rubble.
A unique place of prayer, wonder and inspiration was lost
In 2018 the church began the work necessary to re-hallow the North Chancel as a Shrine to our Lady of Kersey. On Sunday March 8th 2020 the space is to be re-hallowed by Bishop Martin in a service beginning at 10.30am at the Splash in Kersey village before processing to St Mary'
The North Chancel was the focal point of the ancient Shrine. It is a place that is a Shrine and so each new temporary installation must be sensitive to that space. For a short time there will be a large prayer bowl; take a pebble and write the word that sums up the prayer of your heart and place it in, stay for a few moments and reflect on the beauty of simple prayer. Then take another pebble, write that word of prayer on it as well and take it with you. Let it remind you to look for God's answer and return one day to place the pebble back in the basket and give thanks.
Following the prayer bowl there will be labyrinth of trees which lead you through prayers of reconciliation. When you visit we can't guarantee that what is in the Shrine will be the installation you were hoping for. But God will be there, He will hear your voice and will speak to you, bind up your wounds and whilst you are in the Shrine, He will hold you
From mid June onwards there will be a video link to the Shrine in anticipation of our churches re-opening.
We can still go on pilgrimage, but for now it will be using the internet! Still the old adage goes that a pilgrimage - whether it’s of 500 yards or 50 miles - is best undertaken with an open mind. Don’t plan exactly what to do, plan to be open to what God might whisper to you
Travel matters. Pilgrimage of just 100 yards can be as meaningful as one of a 1000 miles. Be aware and conscious that the journey and the arrival are one.
As you plan your pilgrimage to Kersey Shrine, plan in a small way the next part of the pilgrimage. As you’re there in the Shrine, wonder what new truth you will take with you, what forgiveness you will offer someone, what act of hope you will make