Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 16 September 2008 - 14:44:50 | by admin
In his books The Stripping of the Altars and Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village, Eamon Duffy uses ancient parish records to demonstrate that the English Reformation was not representative of the popular mindset, but rather a radical rupture from the religious and social consciousness of ordinary folk.
Duffy contends that the Reformation's breach with the societal and individual awareness of the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Mass as the heart of the world, inevitably led to the tragic loss of the sense of God's Presence in the wider realms of selfhood, community, social order, nature and the seasons.
Churches had their altars torn out and their interiors denuded of beauty; sodalities which had bound together disparate interests into the service of the communal liturgy were disbanded; cults of saints were discouraged; and the liturgical calendar waned.
Parish communities that had formerly 'eaten into' the body corporate fractured out into social groups who gave intellectual assent to various beliefs. In worship the intellect was thus sundered from the body. Communion with the successor of St. Peter having been lost, such fractures continued, and indeed continue to this day.
The radical separations of mind and body, religious and secular, community and individual, culture and nature were exacerbated by aspects of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, the various ongoing political revolutions and the so-called sexual revolution. The sacred reality of existence; communion with God and between persons; plus the final destiny of man had all been lost. Or had they?
I am therefore pleased to be able to advertise the Harvest Festival at St. Mary's in Little Crosby (see earlier post) this Sunday; 21st September. As a community which held onto and passed on the 'Torch of The Faith' throughout all of these upheavals, St. Mary's parish is quite unique and historically remarkable. The community there, in union with their faithful priest Fr. Dunstan and dedicated school head teacher Mr. Peter Hennessy, keep alive that same lived faith which touches all aspects of their lives, and both toils with and receives from nature, the good gifts of God's bounty.
A good lady from there called Pat informs me that Sunday's Holy Mass is at 11.15 am and the church will be decorated with farm produce as an act of thanksgiving. Also, the church will be kept open on Monday and Tuesday so that 'others can come and, in admiring the produce, give thanks to God for His provision'. Something well worth doing if ever there was!
Torch of The Faith News on Monday 15 September 2008 - 22:30:34 | by admin
Our good friend Cao from Church has been helping us tonight to get some high quality photographs of Angie's cards.
We are hoping to 'roll out' an online shop soon on this web-site with a pay-pal facility for you to order our handmade Christian cards. As with the coming roadtrip book - watch this space!
Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
Torch of The Faith News on Monday 15 September 2008 - 17:38:59 | by admin
And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, '' Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.''
What is this sword? It is the close unity in suffering between Jesus and His Blessed Mother. Pope Pius XII said it well in his 1956 encyclical Haurietis Aquas;
'In bringing about the work of human redemption, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was, by the will of God, so indissolubly associated with Christ that our salvation proceeded from the love and sufferings of Jesus Christ intimately joined with the love and sorrows of His mother.'
St. Bridget passed on the devotion known as the Seven Dolors (sorrows) of Our Lady. These are
1. The prophecy of Simeon.
2. The flight into Egypt.
3. The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple.
4. The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross.
5. The Crucifixion.
6. The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross.
7. The burial of Jesus.
St. Bridget said that Our Lady would grant 7 graces to souls who daily honour her by saying 7 Hail Mary's whilst meditating on these dolors;
1. I will grant peace to their families.
2. They will be enlightened about the divine mysteries.
3. I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.
4. I will give them as much as they ask for as long as
it does not oppose the adorable will of my Divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.
5. I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.
6. I will visibly help them at the moment of their death, they will see the face of their Mother.
7. I have obtained (This Grace) from my Divine Son, that those who propogate this devotion to my tears and dolors, will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.
Who would not want to console Our Blessed Mother in this way, knowing that she suffered so much for love of Jesus... and for us - for you and for me?
The Biggest Cross in the Western Hemisphere!
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 14 September 2008 - 23:07:36 | by admin
Reflecting on the Triumph of The Cross today called to mind a stop we made to Groom in Texas during our TransAmerican roadtrip pilgrimage in 2005.
This was 'Roadside America' at its very best; the 190ft tall, 110ft wide, 2.5 million lb cross belonging to Cross Ministries, stands right next to Interstate I-40 and attracts around 1,000 visitors every day!
Around the foot of the cross there is a lifesize set of the Stations of The Cross and Calvary in bronze; a lifesize pieta scene; a Divine Mercy prayer garden; stone tablets bearing The 10 Commandments; and a prayer of reparation for abortion.
The lady in the Christian bookstore there informed us that conversions occur when people stop off for a rest and find their hearts touched, opened and healed by Grace. Souls unexpectedly return to God and His peace.
Since it was constructed the Cross has been knocked into 3rd place in the Biggest Cross stakes; a 198ft replica has been raised in Illinois; and an even larger one is now reputed in Spain. The Texan one is still advertised as the biggest; perhaps in peoples hearts it remains so...
Please pray for the people of Texas as they battle through Hurricane Ike and its after effects - Holy Michael the Archangel protect them!
Coming Soon - Rosaries on Route 66!
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 14 September 2008 - 22:57:15 | by admin
Fed up with travelogues that promise much, but then draw your spirits down with all the swearing, secularism, and anti-Christian ideology?
Don't worry... The answer is on the way; the book about our epic Trans-American roadtrip pilgrimage is coming... soon!
The Feast of The Triumph of The Cross
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 14 September 2008 - 00:40:16 | by admin
'... as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.'
By His cross and death, Jesus Christ has smashed the powers of the devil, of hell and of all evil. He has destroyed death and the power of sin. He has opened wide the door of the Church and into Heaven. Repent this day! Turn away from your sins, confess them and hurry through the open door of Mercy all the way to His Altar to receive Him in Holy Communion. Die with Him to rise from the dead with Him!
Happy Feast Day!
Golden Day for St. John of the Golden Tongue!
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 14 September 2008 - 00:15:18 | by admin
The Feast of St. John Chrysostom (golden tongue) dawned cheery and bright in Wales today! We received Holy Mass at Bryn Mair; the convent opposite Pantasaph Friary (from where this picture looking back to the friary is taken).
There is much we can take from the teachings of St. John 349 - 407 A.D. (who gained his name due to his eloquence and effectivity in preaching). Some of his major themes include; the good of marriage, Christian responsibilities towards the poor and the dangers of secular entertainment. He is also a great link in the attainment of unity between the Church in the East and the West.
We need preachers like him with the courage to proclaim the Truth of Jesus Christ in season and out of season!
St. John Chrysostom - Ora pro nobis!
Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 13 September 2008 - 01:17:08 | by admin
We were over in St. Helens today where we went to midday Mass in the parish of Holy Cross. This is a splendid Church which could very easily be adapted for the celebration of the Classical Roman Rite, because the original sanctuary, High Altar, and altar rails are extant beyond the present raised forward platform and altar table. The Mass began 15 minutes after this picture was taken, by which time a fairly large congregation had gathered.
If one walks a few buildings down from the Church and looks up at the right hand side of the Town Hall, this statue of St. Helen holding the True Cross may be viewed;
This is because the town is reputed to have grown at the place where St. Helen was encamped at the time her son Constantine (then at York) discovered that he was to be the new Roman Emperor!
St. Helen's town also has a rich history due to its glass industry. However, like much of Lancashire, its Catholic heritage is a key element and indeed Blessed Dominic Barberi, Fr. Ignatius Spencer (from the same Spencer family as the late Diana, Princess of Wales), and Sr. Elizabeth Prout are all buried at the site of the former Passionist monastery at St. Anne's and Blessed Dominic Church.
Each of these souls is very important in the story of the evangelization of England. Blessed Dominic came from Italy to evangelize England and was blessed to eventually receive the great Cardinal John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church. Fr. Ignatius Spencer was a convert from Anglicanism and devoted himself to his Crusade Prayer for the Conversion of England. Sr. Elizabeth Prout was another Anglican convert and she founded the Daughters of the Passion and Cross in Manchester. The causes for canonization of all these amazing people are with the Church.
We were in St. Helens today to visit our good and loyal friend Fiona;
Fiona has been one of our greatest pro-life and Christian supporters down the years; praying and working behind the scenes and even ending up with me on a late night TV debate a few years back regarding chastity and young people! She is a wife, mother of two fine daughters and a Third Order Franciscan involved in a prayer and healing ministry. As a close part of the history and development of our ministry we all spent a day together today to pray for the unfolding work and direction of Torch of The Faith.
Call a Holy Fast and Gather the People! (Joel 2:15-16)
Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 11 September 2008 - 20:55:26 | by admin
I first met Bernadette Smyth of Precious Life, Ireland during one of her visits to England in 2003. I went to pray outside the abortion mill in Liverpool with her and a few others. Bernadette convinced me that day that we must do this, however uncomfortable it makes us feel. In short; babies are being killed, mothers maimed spiritually and physically, and God offended.
Bernadette has been a fervent advocate for the preborn and has done more than many Christian leaders to fight the HFE Bill. She is now calling people to fast and pray for 40 days (beginning earlier this week on Our Lady's Birthday) with particular emphasis on keeping abortion out of Northern Ireland; in light of attempts by pro-abortion MP's to force abortion on the people of Ireland this coming autumn against the clear majority of the people there. Hence, the Rally for Life;
We gladly share Bernadette's poster here and invite readers to pray and fast for this intention and against all the grave evils of the proposed HFE Bill. In Bernadette's own words, taken from her latest literature; 'Prayer and fasting have always been an absolute necessity for the success of all Precious Life's vital front-line action.' And as Pope John Paul II said 'Woe to us if we do not defend life!'
We firmly believe that this is a crucial moment in British history. While the pro-abortion powers have been gathering through the summer the eyes of Christians have been on other things... Now is the time to look to it before it is too late. Let us pray and let us fast for God is with us!
Way to Go... Mary Jo!
Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 11 September 2008 - 13:06:07 | by admin
We first saw Mary Jo Copeland being interviewed on EWTN several years ago. A reclusive housewife and mother of 12, she found the courage at age 38 to go out to spread the love and compassion of Jesus to the poor and homeless of Minneapolis, USA. The last 20 years has seen her ministry expand from a small store providing food and hot drinks, and washing the feet of the homeless to show them dignity and respect; into a multi-million dollar complex which now helps 20,000 poor people per month to access food, clothing, shelter, medical and dental care, plus transport. None of this comes from government funding, but relies totally on the Providence of God and the support of 1,000 willing volunteers! It is notable that, whilst Mary Jo has to employ a few staff; 93% of all money donated goes straight to the poor.
Devoted to her prayer life, Mary Jo is in Church at 5am every day to hear what God has in mind for her, before 7am Mass. With childlike trust, she places all her daily decisions and actions into God's Will, saying; 'I get up in the morning and run to Jesus' arms.' This is the key to understanding her whole life and ministry, she does not stop at caring for the temporal needs of folk; she cares for their eternal souls.
Mary Jo is a real inspiration and witness to what God can do when we are open and trust Him. Check out her web-site at www.sharingandcaringhands.org