Short of Truth...

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 04 November 2008 - 16:32:45 | by admin

clare_short.jpgHat-tip to Jackie Parkes of Catholic Mom of 10 Revisited for calling attention to this issue.

It seems that Clare Short will be giving out the awards at the Catholic, St. Paul's Girl's School on Friday 14th November. The problem with that is that Clare Short is a public, political figure with a pro-abortion voting record and is also a public dissenter from Church teaching on contraception. Clearly this will cause scandal and will send out a confused message to the girls at the school.

Jackie Parkes is standing up to be counted and is now taking flack over this issue... Please pray for continued strength for her, for the school visit to be stopped, and for the conversion of Clare Short from this anti-life position.
All too frequently people who make such a courageous stand are left feeling isolated and alone. Please send a helpful comment to Jackie on her blog and please write polite but firm letters to the school calling on them to stop the visit from Clare Short for the reasons stated.

Please send letters to -
Mrs. Angela Whelan (Head teacher)
St. Paul's Girl's School
Vernon Road
B16 9SL

Sr. Therese Brown SP (The Chair of the Governors)
St. Paul's Convent
94 Selly Park Road 
B29 7LL

And also to
Archbishop Vincent Nichols
c/o Archbishop's House
8 Shadwell Street
B4 6EY

Perhaps the school in question could invite one of the many orthodox speakers who love Christ and the teachings of His Church in order to encourage the students to grow in the Universal Call to Holiness which is so central to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. 

Whilst we're on this topic Hat-Tip to Mrs. Pat MacDonald, a friend of ours from Crosby, for writing to Clare Curtis Thomas MP regarding her being a Catholic, the Chair of the All Party Pro-Life group and yet still voting in favour of the HFE Bill.

Check out John Smeaton's Blog on our links page for more details...


Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 04 November 2008 - 14:51:40 | by admin

10000_002.jpgThanks to all who have visited our site since it was launched back in August. We've just checked the monthly and total statistics for the number of visitors to the web-site and have been both humbled and amazed by the results!

We've now had over 5,000 visits and the cumulative totals (which include people browsing through the various web pages) are in excess of 10,200!

As we expected most of the hits are from the mainland U.K. However we have been intrigued that we have had several visits from each of the following-

and Poland

And one visit from each of -

New Zealand
and Switzerland

Thank you all for visiting and for reading the site and the news/blog each day. We will keep you all in our prayers and invite you to please keep us in yours.

It's Angie's birthday later in the week so we may just wait until then to pop open this celebratory bottle of champers!!!

Monday - All Souls Day

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 03 November 2008 - 11:25:21 | by admin

bootle_day_002.jpgBootle cemetery north of Liverpool is a place where we used to frequently pray for the dead when we first got married and bought a house for 2 years in a street nearby. 

The above memorial is a particularly poignant one as it commemorates the civilians of Bootle who were killed by enemy bombardment during World War II - and especially in the midst of the horrendous Blitz of 1941. Sadly, one of the persons buried there was never able to be identified.  

Although the Luftwaffe were, in the main, aiming for the city of Liverpool and the docks at Liverpool, Bootle and Seaforth, they did hit civilian areas and devastated homes and communities across Merseyside and on the Wirral peninsula. About a mile from the cemetery my Mum and Dad's home still bears scorch marks in the loft structure from an enemy incendiary device which was meant to guide in the heavy bombers and went somewhat astray!

bootle_day_001.jpgThe Victorian chapel at the heart of Bootle cemetery survived the war intact. Tragically a different variety of vandals are now doing what the Luftwaffe failed to... Every one of the 4 clocks in the tower has now had its face smashed through, the roof has lost a little more of its material integrity each time we visit and the interior has been breached in spite of heavy duty grilles on windows and doors.

Up in Liverpool we have a polite, scouse term for those who carry out this type of destruction of the sacred, the artistic or the civilized... We call them 'Brain donors!'

Let us pray for them... and for all who died in the brutal bombing campaigns of that terrible time.

And perhaps say a little prayer for the cause of Teresa Helena Higginson, the Catholic school teacher and stigmatic, who spent from 1879 - 1887 living and teaching in Bootle during her eventful life. She is now buried in a churchyard in Neston over on the Wirral - a place we visited to pray with some friends during the summer months - and is thought by some to be an important intercessor for the reconversion of England.

Sunday - All Saints Day

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 03 November 2008 - 10:59:26 | by admin

skyyyy.jpgPhoto by Helen Jones.

On Sunday, in England and Wales, we celebrated the great Feast of All Saints - a day when we especially remember all those who have made it home to the Lord and are now enjoying the Beatific Vision in Heaven.

Something that is really encouraging about this day is that we do not just turn our thoughts to those whom the Church has officially proclaimed as saints. We also contemplate the truth that there are many unknown, ordinary men and women who have lived their earthly life for the Lord and are now praying for us from their heavenly home - this can encourage us to reconsecrate our own ordinary lives and seek to live them for God.

Another great truth about these first days of November is that from Nov 1st to 8th we can gain a plenary indulgence, and apply it to the holy souls in purgatory, by praying (even in silent mental prayer) in a churchyard or cemetery. This helps us to remember that the Church is in communion with the souls in heaven and the souls being purified after death for heaven. It is a profound act of charity, and indeed a work of mercy, to be able to pray for the dead in this manner and help them now that they can no longer help themselves. It is also a most consoling doctrine which gives hope to us in the loss of our own friends and loved ones.

2 Maccabees 12:45 teaches -

'Therefore Judas Maccabeus made atonement for the dead, that they may be delivered from their sin.'

Last night we prayed in the cemetery of a Welsh chapel amongst tall and majestic Victorian graves bearing great Welsh names like Davies, Roberts, Thomas, and Williams.

Eternal rest grant unto them dear Lord and may they rest in peace. 

HFE Bill gets through...

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 03 November 2008 - 10:38:47 | by admin

300px-house_of_lords.jpgWe've been up in Liverpool over the weekend and were sad to learn after our return, by reading John Smeaton's Blog (from where this picture comes), that the House of Lords have voted to accept the dreadful HFE Bill...
Sacred Scripture teaches us that 'If God does not build the house, in vain do the builders build' (Psalm 127). Great Britain is continuing to build an edifice of error, confusion and death on a foundation of metaphysical sand. 

Please continue to pray for the conversion of all involved and indeed for our country to regain its moral and ethical sense.

Christ is the Light

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 31 October 2008 - 20:50:45 | by admin

all_saints_day.jpgHat tip once again to Jackie Parkes at Catholic Mom of 10 for this extra cute little one dressed as Mother Teresa for an early celebration of All Saints over in America! (The full story is on the Blog called Journey to Therese linked to Jackie's story).

Check out Jackie's story at -

This puts us in mind of a memorable episode of Mother Angelica Live! where Mother spent the evening of Halloween surrounded by innocent, little children dressed as saints for a little alternative party which focused on the light of Christ present in our world, rather than dressing children up as demons or lost souls.

3 John 11 teaches -
'Beloved do not imitate evil but imitate good. He who does good is of God; he who does evil has not seen God.' 

It therefore seems very appropriate for Catholic families to choose to have a party anticipating the great Feast of All Saints. We know of several families and groups who celebrate this date in this manner, giving lots of fun to the kids, whilst helping them to learn more about their faith, and at the same time learning to resist some of the worst examples of the glorification of evil manifested by contemporary culture.  

Of course now that this feast day has been moved to the Sunday things fall a little out of step...
but that's another story!

Petition against Sex Education for Primary School Children

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 31 October 2008 - 13:28:11 | by admin

dscf0739.jpgWell done to Jackie Parkes over at Catholic Mom of 10 for keeping this issue in the public eye (see links page).

About 10 years ago I remember reading a book from the 1970's which explained that groups at the extreme radical edge of society where intent on spreading pornography and destroying the family - and that a key way to fulfill their ambitions was to employ so-called sex education in primary schools.

Back then this sounded ridiculously far fetched and most mainstream groups would have opposed it. It is a sign of the collapse of British society that such measures are now being openly pursued. It is also downright disturbing that organizations like the 'Catholic' Education Services CES are promoting them against Magisterial teaching and without being corrected by the Bishops.

Happily we  noticed today that Catholic Action UK have a link to an on-line petition to 10 Downing Street asking that sex education for primary children be opposed. Catholic Action UK is at - 

Or the petition can be accessed directly at -

Please support this very important initiative to protect the innocent from this latest anti-family move.

And please pray that families will find the strength and support to protect their children.


The Reliquary at Ladyewell

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 30 October 2008 - 21:02:20 | by admin

layewell_010.jpgThe reliquary at Ladyewell House deserves a special mention because of its importance as a place of prayer, devotion and Catholic history.

The centrepiece is the remarkable Burgess Altar which is flanked by statues of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher. The altar was constructed by John Townley in 1560, to be disguised as a side cabinet at Townley Hall when not in use, during the days of the persecution of Catholics to avoid detection by priest hunters... 

St. Edmund Arrowsmith, St. Edmund Campion, and Blessed John Woodcock are amongst the great priests who are thought to have celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at this altar during the heights of the persecution.

layewell_011.jpgAnother fascinating relic in here is the part of the cranium of St. Thomas a Becket (who was of course martyred during an earlier period of trouble between the state and the church in 1170 A.D. in Canterbury Cathedral). St. Thomas has been a hero of mine since I used to pray, many years ago as a student at Ushaw College, in a side chapel which depicted his martyrdom in its beautiful stained glass window. 

layewell_020.jpgThis attractive little set up includes a relic of the True Cross in the crucifix and relics of no less heroes of The Faith than St. John of God and St. Gerard Majella.

Other relics - with authentication documents - include those of great saints such as - 
St. Gregory the Great
St. Edward the Confessor
St. Paul (Apostle)
St. Peter (Apostle)
St. Joseph
St. Charles Borromeo
St. Matthew (Apostle)
St. John (Apostle)
St. James (Apostle)
St. Philip (Apostle)
St. Thomas (Apostle)
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Martin de Porres
St. Peregrine
St. Pope Pius X - (a piece of his flesh!!!)

A set of vestments thought to have been worn by Fr. Edmund Campion and another set (which were definitely worn by Blessed John Woodcock before his arrest and move to Lancaster Castle) flank the reliqury in individual glass cases.

In this sacred place, so filled with tangible connections to the heroes of The Faith and our rich heritage as British Catholics, we all prayed for the reconversion of Britain and for the defeat of the HFE Bill which was being discussed that day in the House of Lords. We asked for the intercession of the martyrs of Douai College and of all the English Martyrs and Saints and prayed the Rosary decade of the Resurrection. Ray then read out a moving piece which included the last words of Blessed Fr. Peter Wright who was executed for his Catholic priesthood at Tyburn in 1651 and who forgave his oppressors.

All in all a very moving and enjoyable day which we highly recommend!

The Grounds at Ladyewell

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 30 October 2008 - 20:37:25 | by admin

layewell_028.jpgOf course the central focus of the grounds is the Holy Well of Our Lady of Fernyhalgh which is pictured below. This is Ladyewell House from the rear - the chapel can be seen upstairs at the left.

layewell_024.jpgThe chapel of the English Martyrs features the names of the martyrs around the interior walls. On warmer days the doors get thrown back to allow the Holy Mass or Benediction to be celebrated for an outdoor congregation gathered on the wooden benches.

layewell_025.jpgSt. Margaret Clitherow has a special place of honour in the garden. A hand from Canon Bamber's collection of relics, and thought by oral tradition to be St. Margeret Clitherow's, is kept in the reliquary in the main house.

layewell_029.jpgThe first 15 mysteries of the Holy Rosary are depicted on Portuguese tiles in a secluded spot with a couple of benches to allow private prayer.

layewell_031.jpgSt. Pio is honoured here with a little garden all of his own for people to pray and ask for his intercession.

layewell_033.jpgHere Angeline walks through the set of Stations of the Cross which meander through the trees and down into a hollow. At the centre a small scene depicts Christ rising victorious from the dead!

St. Mary's Church at Ladyewell

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 30 October 2008 - 20:14:37 | by admin

layewell_009.jpgSt. Mary's church on the approach lane to Ladyewell was consecrated in 1795. The church was constructed with monies inherited by Fr. Anthony Lund who was eventually buried before the altar in 1811. Fr. Lund also gave money to the building of Ushaw College near Durham after a meeting was held in Ladyewell House about the construction of the seminary. (The room where this discussion occured is now the piety shop!).

layewell_008.jpgIn the churchyard, close to the front door, lie the mortal remains of Fr. Thomas Cookson - a former theology professor at Ushaw College and Domestic Prelate of His Holiness Pope Leo XIII - he died in 1878, at the age of 75 and after serving 50 years as a priest.

layewell_004.jpgThe interior of the church is very splendid and an incredible place for silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

layewell_001.jpgHaving survived the demolition of sanctuaries which has all too frequently characterised the past 40 years, St. Mary's surely offers a perfect setting for celebrating the Sacred Mysteries in the Extraordinary Form.

layewell_005.jpgThe tabernacle features the imagery of the pelican which was once thought by ornotholigists to be a bird which fed its young from its own blood by pecking at its breast near its heart. This iconography was popular to Catholic sensibilities because it suggested Christ feeding His own little ones from his own Heart - from His own flesh and blood - which is of course what happens during Holy Commnion at Mass. The High Altar at Ushaw College is another beautiful setting which features the imagery of the pelican and its young.

layewell_006.jpgHalf way down the central aisle the ceiling is dominated by this majestic ceiling boss which recalls in latin the words of the Glory be to The Father and to The Son and to The Holy Spirit.

layewell_007.jpgMaryla and Angeline pray before the Lady Altar.

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