Help Keep Northern Ireland Free From Abortion!

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 22 September 2008 - 18:11:28 | by admin

patrick_and_cross_002.jpgOur affectionate friend from the 'Emerald Isle' asks for your help!

The good people of Northern Ireland have consistently and democratically shown that they do not want abortion on their land.

Now some MP's at Westminster are trying to foist abortion on the people against their clearly demonstrated will by adding amendments to impose abortion on Northern Ireland in the proposed HFE Bill.

If you have not yet signed the petition against this amendment and are a British citizen then please click the link below and add your name.

Remember; it often only needs small stones to start a landslide - every name counts.

The link is -

Newflash - Prayer Urgent for Catholics in Vietnam!

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 22 September 2008 - 18:05:47 | by admin

patrick_and_cross_001.jpg!Please pray for the Catholics of Hanoi!

Independent Catholic News is reporting that the authorities in Hanoi have begun to demolish the Apostolic Nunciature building and have laid seige to the Archbishop's Residence, St. Joseph's Seminary and the Convent of the Sisters of The Adorers of the Holy Cross. Government vehicles are also using blocking technology to prevent mobile phone signals to the Archbishop, whilst the seige is imposed by police, militia and security personnel with dogs.

The bells of Hanoi Cathedral are being tolled at intervals to call for prayers and thousands of Catholics have taken part in peaceful, prayer demonstrations on the streets.

Please join our hearts and prayers with our brothers and sisters in Christ in their hour of need!

St. Pio Day of Prayer

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 21 September 2008 - 21:55:02 | by admin

pio_day_004.jpgThe papal flags were flying and St. Pio pulled another glorious sunny day out of the bag for the biggest St. Pio Day of Prayer of the year. This meant that the approximately 400 pilgrims who had travelled from far and wide could enjoy the whole day in the outdoor National Shrine of St. Pio.

pio_day_002.jpgFr. Louis Maggiore OFM Cap. warmed us all up with a hearty and soulful rendition of Nobody Knows the Problems I Have! which he adapted to relate to the help we get from Our Lord, Our Lady and St. Pio.

pio_day_014.jpgThen Fr. Keith Windsor OFM Cap. led us in the Rosary mysteries. Here he is in the entrance to the outdoor National Shrine with the great saint's picture in the background.

Fr. Paschal Burlinson OFM Cap. was the main celebrant at the Holy Mass and he preached about the Hail Holy Queen prayer; which was so dear to both Fr. Paschal and St. Pio.

After Holy Mass, the pilgrims went forward to venerate the relic of St. Pio before breaking for lunch in the pilgrim's hall or out in the beautiful sunshine.

pio_day_011.jpgIn the afternoon I gave the talk about God's love for us and the cross as the way through suffering to the resurrection; the role of St. Pio as shepherd, father and icon of Christ crucified; the need for a good confession and the dangers posed to the spiritual life and growth to Christian maturity posed by misuse of  TV; Christ's knocking on the door of each of our hearts to call us to repentance; and the need for us to take the Bread of Life out into our spiritually starving nation. We also joined our prayers and thoughts with those on the Pilgrimage of Reparation and Prayer for the Sanctity of Life which was taking place under the leadership of Westminster's Bishop John Arnold over in Walsingham at the very hour of our talk.

cao_005.jpgThere then followed a blessed time of Eucharistic Adoration beneath the baking sun with several groups offering individual prayer ministry and several priests hearing confessions. A great sign of communion in the Body of Christ was the presence of Fr. Shaji Punnattu to assist with the large number of penitents. Fr. Shaji is one of the Vocationist Fathers who arrived recently to run the parish of St. Winefride's down the road near to the ancient Holy Well of that great welsh saint and martyr for holy purity. The arrival of the Vocationists represents a real blessing and asset to the Church in these lands.


St Pio - A Great Saint for our Times!

Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 20 September 2008 - 15:47:25 | by admin

pio_books.jpgWell, the research is done, the talk is written and tomorrow is the big day at 2.00pm at the Franciscan Friary at Pantasaph.

During recent days, I've been very moved, challenged and inspired by reading more about St. Pio. All these resources are good. The little prayer and meditation book called Praying in the Presence of Our Lord by Fr. Benedict Groeschel CFR has been very helpful and I recommend it as a support for those seeking more time with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. 

It strikes me more and more that St. Pio truly is a saint for our times and a sure guide for young people today. Hopefully, it wont be too long before we see Catholic churches getting built again in these isles and some of them taking the name of St. Pio. Wouldn't that be something!

Pray, Hope and Don't Worry!

Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 20 September 2008 - 11:16:46 | by admin

pray_hope_dont_worry.jpgPray, Hope and Don't Worry! St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Pilgrimage of Reparation and Prayer to Walsingham

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 19 September 2008 - 11:41:58 | by admin

lil_feet.jpgImage of the feet of a baby at 11 weeks after conception taken from SPUC literature.

I know there is a lot on this Sunday, what with the St. Pio Day of Prayer at Pantasaph in North Wales and the Harvest Festival at Little Crosby, north of Liverpool.

Nevertheless, this is very important; Bishop John Arnold of Westminster Diocese and Fr. Jeremy Davies of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are leading a Pilgrimage of Reparation and Prayer for the Sanctity of Life at Walsingham this Sunday 21st September.

11.00 - 11.45 - Confessions (Chapel of Reconciliation)

12.00 - Angelus and Holy Mass (Chapel of Reconciliation)

1.30 - Picnic Lunch and private visits to the Slipper Chapel

2.30 - Stations of the Cross - (Chapel of Reconciliation)

3.00 -3.45 - Eucharistic Adoration and Rosary

4.00 - Holy Mile walk in silence

5.00 At the priory - Prayer for England, Rosary and the Salve Regina

5.20 - Tea in the Pilgrims Hostel

6.00 - Departure

Even though we will all be separated across the miles, let us join our hearts for the intentions and trust the Lord to make up for what we lack.

High Flyers!

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 18 September 2008 - 12:31:41 | by admin

flying_saints_003.jpgHonestly - the lengths we go to for this Blog! Today is the Feast of another  great Franciscan monk and saint; Joseph of Cupertino (1603 - 1663). This gentle and kind soul was nicknamed the 'Flying Saint' after entering an ecstatic state, and soaring above the crowd during the procession on the Feast of St. Francis during his 27th year! From then on he would be raised from the ground during Holy Mass; on hearing the holy names of Jesus or Mary; or when singing hyms on the feast of St. Francis. He had a similar experience when bending down in humilty to kiss the feet of Pope Urban VIII. Only the order of his superiors could bring him out of the ecstasy and back to earth!
St. Joseph was not by any means a natural scholar, but was infused with supernatural knowledge whenever called upon to answer intricate questions. For these reasons students and aeroplane passengers frequently implore his intercession. (Indeed, he is named as patron saint of air travellers). Being blessed with the odour of sanctity, he experienced the offensive stench of souls who were not living in the State of Grace and would encourage them to repent and make a good confession.

flying_saints.jpgOur other 'high flyer' for today is Piers Shepherd whom we have learned is back in England safe and well after completing and graduating from his 3 years of study at Franciscan University of Steubenville. A fellow Brit, one of Piers' years of study overlapped with one of ours; meaning that we could keep up the British side together in the Sacraments class!

Piers has, as we say over in Liverpool, a lot of bottle (read courage). A classic story is his hosting of a pro-life stand at the freshers week at his English university some years ago. He was ejected from the building by the powers that be. Undeterred he pitched his stall outside the main entrance and continued there quite amicably. That is until some 'open minded' sort tried to ignite his display. Ah, the wonders of free speech...

Piers would be an asset to any potential employers; he has a BA in Film and Media, the MA in Theology and Christian Ministry and is a truly committed Catholic.

Welcome back Piers old chap; Blighty sure needs you!  

The Feast of the Stigmata of St Francis

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 17 September 2008 - 10:42:33 | by admin

san_francisco.jpgIn the wider Church, today is the feast of that great Italian, cardinal and theologian, St. Robert Bellarmine. My mum and dad's parish in Bootle is named for him and today is a special feast for them (which is celebrated by the singing of a hymn specially written by one of the parishioners).

With our parish being the Franciscan friary at Pantasaph we are keeping the alternative feast of the Stigmata of  St. Francis. The above stained glass window is found in the friary church of St. David of Wales.

The first time I encountered the stigmata of St. Francis was in a Catholic bookshop that I had wandered into when I was a teenager. I was not a Catholic back then (indeed I was very anti-Catholic), but I was squeemish.I angrily fled the shop thinking Catholics were sick and wierd!

All of which shows the effects of Grace on a poor sinner! Today I love the Church and I think that little St. Francis must be one of the greatest saints in history. He has also profoundly effected the direction of my life at key moments. I now understand the stigmata as a rare gift given to chosen souls to be so intimate with Jesus that they become so like Him as to share even the sufferings which He bore out of love to redeem us from sin. 

This weekend I am giving the talk at Pantasaph at the St. Pio Day of Prayer on Sunday at 2pm. St. Pio is a faithful son of St. Francis who also bore these miraculous wounds of Christ to suffer souls into the Kingdom with the Lord. A few coaches are coming along and we will have the Rosary in the morning, followed by Mass, Lunch, the talk and then a Eucharistic Holy Hour in the Church. You are warmly invited to come along. 

Ethel Dickinson R.I.P.

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 17 September 2008 - 10:27:19 | by admin

ethel.jpgOf your charity please pray for the repose of the soul of Ethel who died recently aged 83. To her friends she was known as 'Eth' or even occasionally as 'Ma Dicko' in true Liverpool humour. Ethel was a neighbour of my mum and dad for several decades and was as much a part of their street scene as the road name signs!

Ethel was a long term member of English Martyr's parish in Litherland, where she was popular in the Union of Catholic Mothers. She helped the Union there to raise large sums of money to send to Sr. Mary Paule of the Bethany Home Charity for babies suffering from AIDS in Africa.

Eternal rest grant unto her dear Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon her
and may she rest in peace

Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Seaforth

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 16 September 2008 - 15:23:07 | by admin

altar.jpgI've been asked to advertise the three Heritage Open Days at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Seaforth;

Wed 17th Sept - 11.00 - 13.00
Thus 18th Sept - 11.00 - 13.00
Sat 20th Sept   - 10.00 - 12.00

The address is 1 Crescent Road, Seaforth, L21 4LJ

With the church being opened to the public I am not sure whether the Blessed Sacrament will be reserved or not. However, it is well worth popping over to say a prayer there for the conversion of Britain and to have one's mind, heart and soul lifted heavenward by the architecture which resonates with goodness, beauty and truth.

When we first got married we joined this parish for the 2 years before going to America; during which time I snapped this picture one Christmas Day! Fr. Tom Wood has done a lot of work to restore and maintain this beautiful church in its original integrity. It is another gem, whose original altar, altar rails and all round splendour would make it ideal for the celebration of the Classical Roman Rite now that Pope Benedict has encouraged its widepsread use after the 2007 Motu Proprio.

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