Tuesday, 2 October 2012
The Batley Torchlight Procession
I'll begin again. I had a lovely summer and yesterday was the first day of term. In the evening a gang of us went in a minibus to the Batley Torchlight Procession. This dates from 1951 when the then parish priest decided to introduce a bit of the spirit of Lourdes into West Yorkshire. We gathered before the handsome frontage of Batley Town Hall and listened to a reading of the Annuncation and then a sermon by one of our own priests, Fr Paul Redmond, about the handsome frescos in the apse of the Catholic church in Batley, St Mary's. Then we were off, hundreds and hundreds of us, holding lighted candles, saying the rosary and singing "Immaculate Mary" as we processed through the streets of this handsome mill town behind the statue of Our Lady born aloft by parishioners - while children pressed their faces to upstairs windows in houses we passed and an Asian shopkeeper stood by his door to take a photograph of us - before gathering in the said church for Benediction, followed by a pie and pea supper and a pint of beer in the parish social club. The students, many of whom have just arrived at Leeds Trinity, looked like they enjoyed themselves. Here we are just before setting off.