Father Werenfried on Advent

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 02 December 2008 - 22:11:06 | by admin

b2830d05934f53aa.jpgThe late, great Fr. Werenfried, who gave us Aid to the Church in Need, once said,

Soon it will be Christmas. The brightness of the crib and the old familiar carols will remind you of the unforgettable story of Mary and Joseph, who travelled in winter through trackless mountains to Bethlehem, where there was no room for them at the inn. So began the story of our salvation. 

These simple, yet powerful, words remind us that this is a season of fasting, penance and prayerful preparation to cultivate in our hearts a longing to receive Jesus Christ. Let us ask the Lord for a fruitful Advent, spent well in His service. 

St. Edmund Campion

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 01 December 2008 - 19:30:00 | by admin

tyburn.jpgDivine Providence intervened in 2004 when we had to go to London to apply for study visas for the U.S.A. It was our second wedding anniversary and we had nowhere to stay until we discovered the Tyburn Convent in Marble Arch. This convent is run by the nuns from the Benedictine Adorers of the Sacred Heart and is dedicated to the English martyr's who died for the Catholic Faith at the infamous Tyburn gallows which used to stand in the area. The above picture shows the convent's Martyr's Altar and its inbuilt replica of the original gallows.

We mention this because on this date, the first day of December in 1581, the great priest Edmund Campion was hanged, drawn and quartered on the original gallows for the Catholic Faith and for his sacred priesthood.

After his capture, St. Edmund Campion had been visited in the Tower of London by Queen Elizabeth I. She offered him wealth and titles if he rejected his Catholic faith. He refused and was ill treated during several months in the Tower. In response to his eventual sentence of death for being a 'traitor', St. Edmund replied;

In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors, all our ancient bishops and kings, all that was once the glory of England; the island of saints, and the most devoted child of the See of Peter. 

St. Edmund spent his final days in prayer and intercession. 

Some vestments reputed to have been worn by him to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass prior to his capture are kept in a glass case in the reliquary room at Ladyewell near Preston. We recently blogged from there, but could not get the image of the vestments to come out clearly. Thankfully this problem can now be overcome by clicking on our links page to Fr. Richard Aladics' Friends with Christ blog; where an excellent article and picture of the vestments has been posted today. (Fr. Richard is presently serving 'down under' at the marvellous Campion College in Australia).

What a great way to begin Advent by contemplating one of Great Britain's greatest martyr saints. This would be a good season to read Evelyn Waugh's Edmund Campion - Priest and Martyr. It's on our 'To Do' list!

St. Edmund Campion - Pray for us and the re-conversion of Great Britain in the New Evangelization!

Advent Begins

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 30 November 2008 - 20:11:46 | by admin

advent_001.jpgWe made the annual pilgrimage today through the 'outer darkness' of the loft to dig out the Advent wreath. You would think that we would have learnt by now to keep it in a clearly marked bag to avoid the inevitable dimly lit rummage! 

advent_002.jpgIn any case, it was well worth the hunt to allow us to illumine the candle for the First Sunday of Advent. We picked our wreath up across the Atlantic Ocean in Ohio a few years ago, when we had to stay in Steubenville for Christmas due to financial and study pressures. A kind friend who was returning to her family in Canada loaned us her miniature Christmas tree and lights to allow us to have a thoroughly Dickensian Christmas!

The theme of this holy, penitential season of Advent seems well expressed in the third antiphon for Evening Prayer of the First Sunday of Advent;

Behold I am coming soon to reward every man according to his deeds, says the Lord. 

Torch of The Faith - Blogging for Jesus!

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 28 November 2008 - 19:55:25 | by admin

bloggin_for_jesus_002.jpgWe love to blog because we're doin' this whole thing for Jesus!

A Family Tree Bearing Wonderful Fruit!

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 28 November 2008 - 19:44:32 | by admin

divine_mercy_group_002.jpgOur friend Ray from Chester (pictured here with his wife Maryla) has been tracing his family tree as a hobby. His research has unearthed a beautiful history about his father's saintly Catholic cousin; Dorothy Loseby. This is even more remarkable as Ray is himself a convert to the Catholic Faith.

In 1921 Dorothy, then aged 14, went to live in South Africa. In 1926 she became a Catholic with her mother, sisters and brother. As she grew to maturity, relatives, friends and colleagues noted that she was a person of integrity and sincerity, with the rare power to see below the surface of matters and a keen sense of humour.
She went to study medicine at the fine Stellenbosch University; where she became a conscientous student. This is a picture of the picturesque Stellenbosch region taken from Wikipedia;


During her studies Dorothy became an active member of the University Catholic Society and the Catholic Women's League. The Group President of the latter said;

Our group is definitely the poorer, for characters of Miss Loseby's fine calibre are rare in these days of pleasure seeking and selfishness. Quiet and unassuming in manner, there burned in her soul the fire flame that lights the way to great deeds for God and suffering mankind. To see her, praying before the Blessed Sacrament, was to realize that there was a soul most dear and beloved of God.

Towards the end of her studies, Msgr. Demont came to the university seeking help at the Mission of Aliwal North, in the wake of the death from typhus of the brilliant Dr. Pattis. When no fully qualified doctor was forthcoming, Dorothy was excited to be allowed to volunteer for a long vacation working at the mission.

She quickly learned the Sesuto language and the work that she was required to do. The children, the poor and the elderly soon came to love her deeply. At Christmas she gave the youngsters all her sweets and the hospital received her Christmas table wine. She baptized several dying babies and adapted swiftly to the privations at the mission, whilst seeking ways to work effectively within them. 

During conversations with the German doctor Miss Heukamp, Dorothy came to realise that she need not become a nun to follow Christ. Instead, she could live a religious life as a missionary doctor under spiritual guidance. 

Towards the end of her tour she wrote in her diary that she thought she had come down with the flu. Tragically she had actually contracted typhus fever.

When a priest came to administer the Last Sacraments, Dorothy was surprised and whispered 'Then I am going to die?' The priest asked if she would offer her life to God for the cause of the Catholic Church in the Garip mission. Dorothy answered fervently 'Gladly, gladly, gladly!' 

When Doctor Heukamp asked if she was resigned to die, she replied 'Oh how happy I am. I'm so happy!' At one point, in the midst of great pains, she whispered to one of the nuns 'Jesus suffered so much more.' One of the missionaries said that she died the death of a saint and, after her death, many people wrote touching accounts of her personality and loving actions.

Dorothy Loseby had a beautiful Catholic funeral and was buried next to Doctor Pattis. The ceremony touched the hearts of non-Catholics who were present. As her biographer wrote, in a fine old booklet which is now in Ray's possesion; 'They never die who die in a good cause and surely the propagation of the Faith is the greatest of causes.' 

It just shows what you can turn up when doing your family tree! May Dorothy Loseby be an example to encourage us in our own daily trials and infirmities; in our attempts to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ; and as we each continue to face the persecutions against Christians, which seem to increase by the day in contemporary British life.  

Catholic Mom of 10 Comes to Wales!

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 27 November 2008 - 19:29:13 | by admin

st_winefrides_guest_house.jpgWe've had an amazing day today, because we were able to meet the famous Catholic Mom of 10, Jackie Parkes on her retreat at the Bridgettine convent in Holywell!

Regular readers will recall that we recently suggested Jackie for Catholic Woman of the Year after her courageous, and successful, stand against the proposed visit of the pro-abortion MP, Clare Short to St. Paul's Catholic Girl's School.

jackie_011.jpgHere's Jackie at the entrance to her 'pile in the country'! (Really the peaceful guest house run by the Bridgettine Sisters).

jackie_005.jpgWe enjoyed a lovely lunch together and had a good old natter in the lounge.

jackie_009.jpgThe Bridgettine Sisters positively shine with the love of Jesus. It is great to see religious sisters happily wearing their habits and thus bearing public witness to the presence of Christ in our world today.

jackie_010.jpgJackie is having a well earned rest but she will be back blogging after her retreat ends in a couple of days. In the meantime check out her recent posts on -


Visit from Fr. Harris

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 26 November 2008 - 21:38:54 | by admin

fr._harris_008.jpgWe were very blessed today with a visit by Fr. John Harris from Holy Spirit parish in Netherton, which is north of Liverpool. Over the years Father has ministered to us with the Sacraments of the Church, his wise counsel, and good sense of humour.  

After a spot of lunch we headed down to the ancient St. Winefride's Well to pray and get a few photographs.

fr._harris_004.jpgThis display, in the shrine museum, portrays St. Beuno restoring St. Winefride's head, (and therefore her life!), after she had been killed defending her purity against Caradoc in 660 A.D. at this site. In the foreground is a representation of St. Beuno's stone; the actual stone is in the outdoor pool at the holy well itself. If you look closely you will notice the scar on St. Winefride's neck; which is also seen on stained glass images of this great Welsh saint. (For the full story check out page 6 of this blog).  

fr._harris_001.jpgAbout a mile down the road from the ancient shrine at Holywell, in the area called Greenfield, stand the remains of Basingwerk Abbey. 

fr._harris_017.jpgThese atmospheric ruins are all that remain of this, once great, abbey; which originally dated from 1131/2. The first monks were Benedictines from Savigny Abbey in France. In 1147 the community came under the control of the Cistercians, and Basingwerk thus became a daughter house of the remarkable Citeaux Abbey in France. The monks continued here and ministered to the pilgrims to St. Winefride's Well for a further, incredible 389 years, until 1536 when the community was plundered in the wake of King Henry VIII's Dissolution Act.

fr._harris_019.jpgFr. Harris inspects the ancient structure; hopefully good enough to still be going strong for another Christian millenium... and the walls too!  

Christ the King

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 24 November 2008 - 17:31:13 | by admin

christ_the_king01.jpgWe found this prayer card of Christ the King a few years ago in America. The Book of Revelation proclaims Jesus Christ as the 'ruler of kings on earth' (Rev 1:5). In his encyclical Quas Primas, which introduced this great feast in 1925, Pope Pius XI stated that; 

Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for his kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education (QS para 32).

It is worth pondering these words in our times when the 'rights of God' and His Church, and therefore of the innocent, are being increasingly denied by prideful governments throughout the world.

It is also important to recall the words of our present Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, who reminds the people of our time that Christ's reign is a reign of love, humilty and self sacrifice in the service of others; Christ is a king who empties Himself and comes to save poor sinners; His crown is therefore expressed in thorns and His throne is a cross. 

Pope Benedict teaches;

The feast of Christ the King is therefore not a feast of those who are subjugated, but a feast of those who know that they are in the hands of the one who writes straight on crooked lines. 

Psalm 28: 10-11 confirms our hope;

The Lord will reign forever and will give His people the gift of peace. 

We drove back to Liverpool to attend the Tridentine Mass which priests of the Latin Mass Society offer each Sunday afternoon in St. Anthony's on Scotland Road.
christ_the_king_002.jpgAs you can see the splendid interior of the Church provides a worthy setting. The Mass was deeply prayerful and the LMS Mass books helped us to maintain that full and active participation of the heart which the Second Vatican Council so desired.

Afterwards we visited our good friends the Rushton family in Bootle where we were treated to a sumptuous lamb dinner, followed by delicious banana and toffee deserts!

(Thanks to the person who texted us to let us know that the pro-life story we recently posted about Bootle's home-grown, football hero, Jamie Carragher was also featured in the Catholic Times on page 7 as the main subject of  Fr. Francis Marsden's column for this week).

In My Liverpool Home!

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 23 November 2008 - 00:39:26 | by admin

our_ladys_birthday_001.jpgThe 'Lantern' at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool.

We've been over the border and up in Liverpool today to visit family and friends.

Liverpool has many world famous streets;

There is Hope Street which links the Anglican and Catholic Cathedrals and houses the renowned Philharmonic Hall and Pub, the Everyman Theatre and the old College of Art where John Lennon once studied.

Scotland Road is the home to the beautiful, St. Anthony's Catholic Church.

Dale Street is first mentioned in documents dating to 1330, and it takes its name from the dale through which a brook flowed into the original Pool of Liverpool!

Penny Lane was immortalised by The Beatles and is today home to the Sergeant Peppers Bistro. After leaving school in 1988, I worked for nearly a decade in various branches of a leading high street bank. A colleague of mine, who was due to retire, used to work at the bank's Penny Lane branch in his youth; he was convinced that he was the 'banker' mentioned in the song!

You remember it -
On the corner is a banker with a motor car
The little children laugh at him behind his back
And the banker never wears a mack in the pouring rain
It's very strange!

There is however one street which the 'City of Culture 08' guide books omit to mention. That is Parkfield Road in Liverpool's L17 district.


With its pleasant Victorian homes, tall trees and 'blue, suburban skies' this could be just another street in just another town. However, it is also the location of the BPAS Abortion mill.

We were there again today to join the faithful and humble little band of pilgrims who have prayed there in all weathers every Saturday morning for many years.

Whilst we were there today, one young lad and girl came outside laughing after the girl had aborted her child. They then got into their car, wound the windows down, lit up some cigarettes, scanned their CD through until finding the song 'Too late to worry now!' and then drove out past the small group of prayers whilst trying to drown out their prayers with this song.

Now that's very strange...

Please pray for these souls and all involved. The Culture of Death is becoming more hardened and more 'in your face' than ever before. We must pray for the conversion and repentance of these and all such souls who do not seem to know what it is that they do.

In spite of the sadness caused by such destruction of lives and souls, it is always very encouraging to meet this little group whose eyes twinkle with hope and good humour in spite of all the odds against them. Their personalities bear witness to the wonder of Grace working in souls and the power of the Sacraments of the Catholic Church and the Holy Rosary.

They cause us to proclaim once more - Be not afraid little flock - for your God is with you!   

Torch of The Faith Catechism Evenings

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 21 November 2008 - 21:53:32 | by admin

ccc_2.jpgIn his Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendae, His Holiness Pope John Paul II taught that the object of authentic catechesis is to put people in communion with Jesus Christ.  

Naturally, this first requires evangelism; the initial proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ and His invitation to a life of discipleship and union with Him. Pope John Paul II explained that 'there is no separation or opposition between catechesis and evangelisation' (CT. 18). Nevertheless, they do represent two distinct and complementary 'moments' in the 'movement' towards union with Christ.

ccc.jpgWith so much confusion and dischord in the wider culture and even in the Church, Torch of The Faith has been very happy to be helping to lead a series of catechism evenings in Chester. Two of these evenings have now been held and have each attracted eleven souls, including our hosts Ray and Maryla; who also run the Divine Mercy prayer group mentioned in an earlier blog post.

During these evenings Alan follows the organic and structured presentation of the Faith in the Catechism of the Catholic Church to expound on the truths contained therein. At the end of the talk there is a time for questions, reflections and discussion. Then a video is shown of the powerful preacher Fr. John Corapi hosting a questions/answers period based upon the main themes of the evening. At the end we close with prayer before moving into a time of socialising with the chance to purchase orthodox, Catholic books from the Torch of The Faith bookstall.

So far these evenings have proved a great success and people have been confirmed in their faith against the many challenges posed today.

If anyone would like us to come and do a similar evening/day in their home or parish, please do contact us at info@torchofthefaith.com

Go to page  1 2 3 ... 150 [151] 152 ... 162 163 164