The beautiful shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham in the nave of St Andrew’s Church points to the importance of the Blessed Virgin Mary for all Christians. Mary presents to us her baby son, whom we know to be the Saviour of the world.

Mary offers us an example of Christian discipleship, and assists us by her prayers. We can ask her to pray for us, just like we can ask any Christian friend to pray for us.  We know Mary is now in heaven in her son’s presence, and that she can make petition for us with her son.

Amongst all the followers of Jesus, only she was privileged to carry the redeemer of the world in her womb. She had clearly been part of God’s plan for redemption before she was ever born. At the end of her life, she was taken into the glory of heaven.  She experiences there the fullness of God’s kingdom, which is what all Christians hope for.

Many services and devotions are available through the year to help us pray with Our Lady.  The Saturday Mass is usually a votive Mass of Our Lady when the calendar permits it. In addition to this, we pray the Rosary at St Andrew’s regularly. Our parish also makes pilgrimage each year to Our Lady’s Shrine in Walsingham.

One way of praying with Our Lady is to light a candle before her image.  In this way, we show through action rather than words the trust we have in her son, the Light of the World. By leaving a candle burning there, we know our intentions and concerns have been entrusted to Our Lady’s prayers.  Even when we have gone, that candle continues to burn as a sign that Our Lady continues to pray for us to her son. She holds him out to us in as our only hope for salvation.

Mary helps us to be better Christians.  Her example points us to the ways in which we can make a difference as Christians in Leicester. She gives us inspiration as we work to make more disciples of Jesus Christ, her Son.