Brentwood's VG Set to Take Over at Walsingham.

Mgr John preaching on The Feast of the Immaculate Conception this year.
Mgr John Armitage, one of Brentwood Diocese most loved priests has been appointed as the Rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham by Bishop Alan Hopes. 

He will take up his appointment on Ash Wednesday, February 18th 2015. Monsignor Armitage is currently Parish Priest of the Royal Docks in London’s East End and has served for the last 11 years as Vicar General in the Diocese of Brentwood. He comes to this appointment with tremendous pastoral and practical experience, He has a great devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham and is keen to help Walsingham to play its part in the New Evangelisation, particularly among young people and young adults.

Fr. John is well known for being one of the busiest men in the country, so I can't help wondering if this is an almost perfect appointment for him. Although he will be far away from his beloved London (he was born and bred in Newham), where he has been a priest all his life to the best of my knowledge, Walsingham offers a mix of very busy times and quieter times out of pilgrimage season. This will allow Fr. John to continue with his many projects including Youth 2000, UK Vocations Group, Caritas Anchor House and the Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society.

I think it is very interesting that the previous Rector of the national shrine at Walsingham is now Bishop of Brentwood and Brentwood is giving back to Walsingham of its most loved and respected priests. Walsingham has never had rector made bishop before Bishop Alan, but could that now change and could Walsingham become one of those jobs that becomes a staging post for the episcopacy? Certainly Mgr John has long been mooted for the episcopacy.

Whatever the case, Brentwood's loss will be Walsingham's gain. Fr. John has a great love of Christ and His Church, he orthodox and a lover of beautiful liturgy. I am excited to see how he develops the Shrine, which has so much untapped potential!

I certainly would like to offer my own congratulations and wish him every happiness in his new ministry.


  1. I'm afraid if the Shrine at Walsingham is to have a future the new Director will have to give it 100% of his attention, there is a lot of work to be done there.


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