Trip to Ladyewell

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 30 October 2008 - 18:39:24 | by admin

layewell_021.jpgAfter the Divine Mercy prayer group Ray and Maryla suggested that we join them, and their son Phil, on a day trip up to the ancient shrine of Ladyewell near Preston.

layewell_023.jpgThe area around Ladyewell is called Fernyhalgh and was once settled by Romans and subsequently by Anglo-Saxons.

Around 1100 A.D. an Irish merchant called Fergus Maguire was caught in a storm in the Irish Sea. He prayed to God to deliver him and promised to perform some pious action if he were spared. He heard a heavenly voice saying -

'Go to Fernyhalgh and there where thou shalt find a crabtree having coreless fruit hanging over a shrine, build me a chapel.'

After landing at Liverpool (then a small port) he travelled through the northwest in search of such a place. When he eventually came to Fernyhalgh, and found everything as it had been described by the voice, he saw a stone bearing a tracery of Our Lady and the Child Jesus and realized that this must have already had some history as a Marian shrine.

layewell_022.jpgDocumentary evidence exists to prove the existence of a chapel on the site by 1349 A.D. Although this was destroyed in 1547 during the Protestant Reformation, the faithful continued to travel on pilgrimage to the Holy Well at the site. 

In 1685 A.D., after the Catholic King James came to the throne, Ladyewell House was built as a Mass centre with a priest's accomodation and a chapel. In 1687, Bishop Leyburne confirmed 1,099 souls at the house whilst the Catholic Faith could be practiced openly. Sadly of course, the king had to flee England and the persecution of Catholics began again. 

In 1715, the resident priest Fr. Tootle had to hide in a nearby barn whilst pursuviants ransacked Ladyewell House, which today houses a little chapel, cafe, museum, reliquary, book stall and piety shop.  

HFE Bill in The House of Lords - Today!!!

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 29 October 2008 - 01:17:02 | by admin


Please pray today-

The HFE Bill is now being rushed to the House of Lords for the final stage of its passage to becoming law.

Today - Wednesday 29th Oct 2008 - This Bill is to be considered in the Lords - TODAY!!!

If you haven't done so yet - check out SPUC's website for e-mail details to give a last minute call for the Lords to reject this Bill.

Above all - Please PRAY!!!

Torch of The Faith Book Stall

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 29 October 2008 - 00:50:18 | by admin

books_stall_002.jpgWe've just spent a peaceful evening over in Chester again at the Divine Mercy Prayer Group run by Ray and Maryla.

They very kindly let us set up our Torch of The Faith book stall in their dining room and we sold several items. A large part of our ministry is to spread the faith through quality, orthodox books and media.

books_stall_001.jpgThis was the third time we've set the stall up since starting our new ministry back in July. Our first stall was in the Franciscan Friary at Pantasaph in North Wales on the day of the consecration by Bishop Edwin Regan of the new statue of Our Lady of Fatima in the outdoor shrine there. The second stall was at the Youth 2000 retreat in Walsingham in August.

We have established a range of orthodox titles to choose from and a selection of Angeline's Christian, Christmas cards which we hope to soon have on sale on a new online shop page on this website. 

Our book titles this evening included -
The Diary of St. Faustina
Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI
The Ratzinger Report by Vittorio Messori
Mother Angelica by Raymond Arroyo
Priest by Michael S. Rose
Catholic and Christian by Dr. Alan Schreck
John Paul II - We love You by Fr. Peter Mitchell
Go in Peace - Guide to Confession by EWTN's Fr. Mitch Pacwa

And our media selection included -
Karol - The Man Who Became Pope - DVD
Narnia - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - DVD
The Song of Bernadette - DVD
Chant - Music for Paradise - CD

To name just a few of the titles...

Thanks to all who purchased books, DVD's and cards and remember that our selection of Christian cards will soon be available online!

Pick up the Torch!

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 27 October 2008 - 19:48:43 | by admin

faith_family_future_014.jpgSometimes it can be hard when trying to establish an apostolate like Torch of The Faith in contemporary society.

We therefore found it rather moving and encouraging when Fr. Aidan Nichols OP said twice during his talk that it was time for Catholics to 'pick up the torch' in the reconversion of England. 

Sometimes you only need a word or two like that to keep you going. Deo Gratias!

The talks from the conference will soon be available to purchase on CD. To keep post of this and future developments check out the website at -  

Quality Talks!

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 27 October 2008 - 15:24:07 | by admin

faith_family_future_017.jpgThe weekend was chaired by Richard Marsden who will be familiar to many readers as the author of the blog Bashing Secularism. It was great to see a young and capable man using his gifts and talents as a journalist in the service of the Church.

Everyone at the conference will have a 'best bits' selection from the notably high level of quality talks. Some of our favourites (in alphabetical order) include -

davies.jpgFr. Jeremy Davies who spoke in one of the lounges about the Catholic Evidence Guild and its work at Speaker's Corner in London. Fr. Jeremy said something which hit a chord with things I have been saying, praying and researching for some time, when he said that the T.V. actually prevents us being really present to God, others and ourselves. His desire for the ancient tradition of street preaching to be continued and even revived also impacted on things we have both been discerning together for some time...

langridge.jpgHow great to hear that a man like Fr. Stephen Langridge is the Vocations Director for Southwark Diocese. A man with maturity, clarity of thought and sound insight into contemporary culture. Fr. Stephen encouraged us with his distrust of attempts to 'baptize youth culture' (including such oddities he had encountered as a 'teenagers Stations of the Cross' made with images of The Spice Girls and 007...); his promotion and practice of Adoration with young people; and his call to remain open to evangelising contemporary society - in short by seeing our efforts to build Christian homes and communities not as ghettos to which we may retreat, but rather as bases from which we may grow in order to reach out and bring people outside to Christ. He used the witness of Sacred Scripture to show that all things work together for those in Christ Jesus and that God often chooses the ordinary in life - and chooses them in their regular secular worlds - for example St. Matthew the tax collector! The key? Prayer and openness to God's Will and inviting and supporting young people to consider priesthood and religious life.

Over the midday dinner Fr. Stephen said something that deeply impressed me, when he explained 'I've never tried to be trendy with young people.' We have nevertheless seen him at Youth 2000 events at Walsingham surrounded by gaggles of young people. In his talk he had spoken of youth work as too often falling into entertainment or on the other hand exploitation of young people's desire to raise money for causes and had called for these tendencies to be replaced by inspiration to prayer and love of Jesus Christ. This connects to something we've said in earlier posts; that young people aren't looking for trendiness from the Church and her leaders but for God, truth, integrity, honesty, interest and understanding. All of which perhaps suggests the reasons for Fr. Stephen's noticeable attraction to young people and those considering a call to the priesthood. 

martin.jpgMrs. Martin's story touched us a lot. Like us, she has not been blessed with children of her own. God's healing of her heart in this matter at one propitious Easter Vigil led her to acceptance and the ability to seek new ways to respond to God's call to be open to life. She and her husband eventually adopted a family of children and have grown in the love of Christ through their sufferings and joys as a family.

faith_family_future_016.jpgFr. Aidan Nichols has been a theological hero of mine since reading some of his work while we were in America. To me his thought is deeply in tune with that of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. He also has a lot of very worthwhile things to say about the reconversion of England; a country which, he reminds us, came into being at the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon world to Christianity and subsequently had a key role in the development and growth of Christendom. He made a key, and often overlooked point, that the idea of secular society should be reclaimed because in fact all the world belongs to God and there should be no real split between the sacred and creation in this way. He suggested the word Civic as more proper in place of secular when speaking of the outside world which is governed by civil leaders. It is actually secularization - or even more properly De-Christianization - which seeks to marginalise the sacred in this manner. Fr. Aidan invited us to grow in the practice of family prayer and setting aside an altar or icon corner to create the sense of the sacred in the home. For all these reasons, and his monastic background, I suggested in a post a couple of months back that he (like Fr. Tim Finigan) should be seriously considered as a future bishop, or even as the next Cardinal of Westminster.


Fr. Luiz Ruscillo is a man we had heard many great things about - dynamic, bags of energy, hilariously funny, great with young people, orthodox and on fire for God - and they all turned out to be true! His talk encouraged families that they are fulfilling the true goals and measure of life by worshipping God and letting Him be the measure of their success and lifestyle rather than the world. He reminded us that God's Law is not a matter of doing things in order to achieve God's Love but of accepting an unmerited and free gift and co-operating with Him in responding to its blessings and requirements. He reminded us that some people who struggle with the Church's teachings need help to live them - not rejection - whilst also upholding those teachings with humility and integrity. He also called us to make parishes welcoming places for young people and encouraged fathers in their role of family leadership in parishes -saying that it makes a BIG difference when 'dad' leads his family to Mass. He called us to frequent confession, regular - even daily Mass - and family prayer. Fr. Ruscillo's work under Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue in the field of education just may yet turn out to make Catholic education and its schools a key and viable player in the re-evangelisation of British culture and the individuals in it. Let us pray for him and all those involved in this important work.

waldstein.jpgMr. Waldstein delivered an excellent talk written by his father (who was formerly a professor at the International Theological Institute at Gaming in Austria and now teaches at the inspirational Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida, USA). We knew of the Gaming institution because our alma mater Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio had an exchange programme there and the faculty provide an excellent MA specializing in Marriage and the Family. Mr Waldstein was introduced by a good man called Bob who recently graduated from Gaming and has 7 children with his wife Helen. He struck us as someone whose gifts, training and experiences could, and should, be usefully employed by the English Church in the evangelisation and pastoral care of families.

Mr. Waldstein's father's talk drew on John Paul II's Theology of the Body to underscore the importance of fathers in the role of bringing up solid families and thus helping to save Western society and bring it back to building the Civilization of Love. Particular highlights included the need to transcend the post-modern preoccupation with dominating nature and the making of things just for use in economics and entertainment, by a receptivity to God and other persons in humility and love. Such a world view would need fathers to spend time loving, listening, reading with and being really present to their children and wives and shunning contraception and utilitarian work ethics which are based in use of persons rather than in love. He also warned how modern youth culture and rock music have been antithetical to love and order in the home and thus in wider society. In all this Mr. Waldstein came across as a humble man who realised that such ideals are not achieved overnight but as gifts of God's Grace which nevertheless require much prayer, time and effort to realize.   

Highlights of the Conference

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 27 October 2008 - 14:10:03 | by admin

faith_family_future_003.jpgWe arrived late on Friday in time for a brief walk around the grounds of the All Saints Pastoral Centre. Perhaps a little star struck by meeting Fr. Aidan Nichols for the first time we had a sudden shock when Angeline thought she had lost her handbag... An unfruitful search, in the failing evening light, of all the places we had visited earlier resulted in me bordering on a Basil Fawlty moment, before we were inspired to return to the dinner table where the aforementioned Fr. Nichols and a few guests were gathered. Hanging innocently on the chair we had previously fled to begin the panicked hunt was the said handbag! Stress over, we found our room and crashed out for the night!


An early walk on Saturday morning yielded this shot of a most unusual tree; looking for all the world like some giant, spooky hand pushing up from the depths of the earth through the crisp frost and shrouds of mist!


During the day we saw this beautiful painting in the quadrangle cloisters before taking a breather in the fresh air of the inner quad itself.


A highlight of the weekend must have been the family Rosary after lunch in the crisp, fresh autumn air. faith_family_future_010.jpg

Another blessed experience was the nightime Blessed Sacrament procession through the grounds to a nearby chapel for overnight hours of Adoration. The whole scene brimmed with priests, altar boys, and young families; whose gleeful children bore sumptuous banners - and all was made awesome and majestic with the chant of hymns, the flicker of candles and the rich aroma of incense.

The Faith, The Family, The Future

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 27 October 2008 - 13:43:55 | by admin

faith_family_future_011.jpgWe've just returned from a blessed and uplifting weekend at The Faith, The Family and The Future conference held near St. Albans at the All Saints Pastoral Centre.

The Treloar family deserve special mention for all their enthusiasm, hard work, team effort and humility in pulling together this great work for the Lord. Many others gave of their time and gifts to make this both a very positive conference and deeply prayerful retreat. Clare Underwood and her family are also to be thanked for their sacrifice of time, for behind the scenes work and for organizing rooms, registration lists and getting name badges united to people!

The whole weekend provided a good opportunity to meet with couples, families, priests and religious who have accepted God's gift and offering to work with His Grace in trying to cooperate with His Universal Call to Holiness. 

Goodness, beauty and truth flowed through the various aspects from the Source and Summit of the daily Holy Mass, through the majestic Benedictions and hours of Adoration, to the opportunities for Confession and private prayer, to the excellent speakers, the family fun activities and the many hope filled conversations and chats over tasty meals and piping cups of coffee.

Overall we were struck by the hope for the future supported by people whose experiences, social and cultural backgrounds, and ways of living out the Christian life were diverse and yet unified around a central desire to follow Christ and the authentic teachings of His Church and to re-evangelise Britain whilst building the Civilization of Love.

We thank the Lord that we could have been a small part of all of this and look forward to future events.

All We Like Sheep...

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 24 October 2008 - 00:02:58 | by admin

sheep.jpgA great blessing about living here in Wales is the proximity of the Conway Valley and Snowdonia. A few days ago we were cruising through that beautiful region and we came across the above card in a Welsh gift shop!

In light of all the crazy things happening in post-modern Britain it seems to sum everything up quite well with the words of Mark Twain;

'Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority it's time to reform.'

And now that our society is about to embark on destroying human embryos to pursue so-called 'hybrid' human/animals - or what a priest we know calls The Beasts - then is it possible you'll one day have Dolly for a neighbour? 

'Ewe' never know!'

Oh dear... it would be funny if it were not so grave.

Our Lady of Fatima, and Blessed Jacintha and Francisco Marto - Pray for us!

Rather Odd!

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 23 October 2008 - 23:48:51 | by admin

We've just read John Smeaton's Blog (see links) and he makes an interesting point about the enforcement of sex education on infants and juniors.

Mr. Smeaton notes that the Catholic Education Service seem to have made their press release about primary school sex and relationships education simultaneously with, and in a complimentary manner of, that of the British Government.

Isn't that rather odd - especially in light of our previous post?

And indeed, as Mr. Smeaton adds - should it not rather be their role to defend and uphold Catholic teaching on such matters in education against attempts 'to promote and entrench abortion culture on young people?'

It all seems rather odd... 

Protecting the Little Ones

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 23 October 2008 - 20:05:06 | by admin

Good parents everywhere will be worried to learn today that the British Government is now pressing ahead to make 'sex and relationships education' compulsory in primary schools!  

logo_part2.gifCatholic parents should also be worried - very worried - that the 'Catholic' Education Service for England and Wales has found 'much to support' in the government's review. The CES has supported the priority which it is claimed will be given to establishing a 'values context' for all such education and that SRE in Catholic schools will be allowed to be shaped by Catholic teaching.

Oona Stannard, Chief Executive and Director of the CES says that;

'The statutory rights of parents to withdraw their children from sex education remain but it is our hope that parents will not find the need to exercise this right as children are likely to benefit from experiencing SRE amongst their friends and peers.'

Oona shows her policies to be in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church with that telling statement.

The Catholic Church teaches that;

'Each child is a unique and unrepeatable person and must receive individualized formation.' (Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality - Para 65).

And indeed;

'The years of innocence from about five years of age until puberty... This period of tranquility and serenity must never be disturbed by unnecessary information about sex.' (Para 78).

Let us pray for all parents caught in the headlights of this latest anti-Christian and anti-family intitiative of the British Government. Let us also pray that our bishops, priests and communities will support them. Don't leave it up to the CES as this concerns your family - your innocent ones.

As we said in an earlier post - parents know your rights in this regard. Get a copy of The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality issued by the Pontifical Council for the Family and band together with other concerned parents. Make sure that you see all materials that the school intend to use with your children and do not be cowed by pressure. Know that the rights of the family come before the rights of government in a just and humane society.

And if you are so able we would strongly recommend that this is now the time to consider the home schooling of your children.
St. Richard Gwyn, St. Maria Gorretti, St. Dominic Savio, St. Joseph the Worker and Our Lady of Fatima - pray for all children, parents and families in this matter! 

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