The national shrine of Walsingham has launched a £10 million appeal to pay for new buildings and to expand its role in the Church.
The shrine, which dates back to the 11th century, is looking for £6 million to spend on upgrading buildings and accommodation. This would pay for a new cloister, refectory, conference and retreat centre, and new accommodation for the disabled.
Another £4 million would be spent on developing the work of the shrine. This would include a livestream of daily Mass and other events by a media centre provisionally called “Walsingham TV”.
Other parts of the plan include a national family pilgrimage and a pilgrimage for young people.
Mgr John Armitage, who became rector of the shrine last December, said: “When I was appointed it became clear to me we needed to improve accommodation and facilities.”
Mgr Armitage said he hoped to provide en suite twin rooms for pilgrims and to build a new cloister for the Slipper Chapel. He said his aim was to raise money from across the globe.
He said: “This is a national shrine, and we’re seeing how we can fund it nationally. But we get groups from all over the world, and in the past week we’ve had Melkites from the Middle East and the ordinariate on the same day, a Punjabi group from the Midlands and a group from the Caribbean.”
Mgr Armitage said the shrine had also received enquiries from the United States from people wishing to help.
Another part of the plan, he said, was to commission a canvas for a series of artworks depicting the history of England through the saints, which would be hung in the cloister.
The shrine hopes to raise the money in the next three years. Anyone wishing to donate should visit walsingham.org.uk.