St. Richard Gwyn (1537 - 1584)

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 17 October 2008 - 06:46:32 | by admin

st._richard_gwyn_001.jpgHere in the Welsh calendar St. Margaret Mary shares the day with St. Richard Gwyn.

Born in Llandiloes, he spent time at Oxford and Cambridge. His education was interrupted when his sponsor Dr. Bulloch was dismissed from the university after the accession of Queen Elizabeth I (because he was a Catholic...)

Gwyn returned to Wales as a schoolteacher in the Wrexham area, married Catherine and had 6 children with her.

Under pressure he attended a Protestant service but was harangued by crows as he left the door! He suffered such a troubled conscience that he fell ill. After being reconciled to the Catholic Church, he grew in his faith and in his stature as a schoolteacher. He had to move school and home several times to avoid fines and arrest for his Catholic faith.

Eventually, he was caught and taken in chains to a Protestant service. During the sermon he rattled his chains so loud that the preacher could not be heard! Another time a Protestant minister came to his cell and dangled some keys in his face, whilst claiming to have the same 'powers of the keys' as did St. Peter. Gwyn wittily replied 'There is this difference, namely, that whereas Peter recieved the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, the keys you received were obviously only those of the beer cellar!'

st_richard_gwyn_2.jpgSt. Richard Gwyn was hanged, drawn and quartered for the One True, Holy and Apostolic Catholic Faith in the Beast Market at Wrexham in 1584. His last words were spoken in Welsh;

'Iesu, trugarha wrthyf - Jesus have Mercy on Me.'

What a great Welsh saint to pray for us in our present trials and battles - and what a glorious example of why and how we must keep the faith and not compromise with false teaching, evil or sin. We must have Christ in our hearts who brings us that deep sense of love, hope and joy.

St. Richard Gwyn - Holy Martyr of Wales - Pray for the reconversion of Wales and all of Great Britain back to Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church!

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 17 October 2008 - 06:31:38 | by admin

saint_margaret_mary.jpgServer trouble means that these posts are a whole day late - Still, better late than never!

Another great woman of Christ is celebrated today - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. From childhood she had intense love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. In her youth she fell ill and vowed to the Blessed Virgin Mary to join a convent if she recovered. She was thus healed. However, she attended a ball with her brothers and had a vision of Christ crucified, reproaching her for forgetting her promise and telling her how much He loved her in His Heart.

She became a nun and suffered many trials. She began to receive visions of Jesus, Who revealed to her the Devotion to the Sacred Heart under the form of the Holy Communions on the First Friday of each month; a Holy Hour on Thursdays; and the Feast of the Sacred Heart. 

St. Margaret Mary was opposed by superiors, theologians, and her fellow sisters. In time, her confessor Blessed Claude de Colombiere, declared that her visions were genuine and her community accepted them. 

It was not until after her death however that the Jesuits fostered the devotion and only after 75 years was the form of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus officially recognized by the Catholic Church.  

St. Margaret Mary - Pray for us and for the conversion of Great Britain back to God! 

A Call for Reparation and Protest!

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 15 October 2008 - 14:34:05 | by admin

america_fatima.jpgMany of you will have heard of the diabolical attacks on the Most Holy Eucharist which have been posted on YouTube with some 40 sets of images.

This is a most grave sacrilege of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most August Sacrament.

Please pray and make Holy Communions of reparation. Please also click the following link arranged by America Needs Fatima and make an on-line protest, calling for these wretched films to be withdrawn.

The link is -

St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of The Church, (1515 - 1582)

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 15 October 2008 - 14:11:46 | by admin

teresa_1.jpgAn exciting day in the Church calendar this - the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila; mystic, powerful reforming religious sister, spiritual writer, and Doctor of the Church.

After 20 years as a Carmelite, Teresa experienced a call to radical holiness, through deep conversion to Christ, when praying before a statue of the Lord's scourging.

In the face of serious opposition she brought much needed reform to the Carmelites; opening her first discalced convent in 1563. Teresa grew into a true mystic and integrated her sufferings and joys in an ever deeper union with Christ. When she died, she had founded many reformed Carmelite convents and written several classical spiritual works, including The Interior Castle.

Her love of God and ensuing wisdom, insight, humour and strength encourage us as we all hope in the Lord in the midst of many trials. She had particular devotion to St. Joseph and called upon him often: Senor y padre mio: My Lord and my father! (A practice we would do well to imitate with regards to him - the greatest saint after Our Blessed Lady and foster father of all).

And on this special day; how about another of the Church's daughters called Teresa to make you happy!


Jesus We Trust In You!

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 15 October 2008 - 13:58:34 | by admin

divine_mercy_group_002.jpgWe drove over to the ancient Roman town of Chester last night to attend the Divine Mercy prayer group run by Ray and Maryla; a lovely Christian couple (and parents of three fine young men) that we met several months ago. Maryla's mother was actually the translator of St. Faustina's Diary from Polish into German!  

The prayer group, and each of the faithful souls who attend each week, bear witness to the Holy Spirit spreading the light of Christ in our troubled times. The basic structure of the meeting, including the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, a reading from St. Faustina's Diary, prayers of intercession and hymns could well be taken up by groups across the land. 

Jesus we trust in You!  

Pope John Paul II's Prayer for Life

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 14 October 2008 - 13:50:40 | by admin

jp_ii.jpgDear friends in Christ - the battle is upon us. Next week the wicked amendments to the already evil HFE Bill are to be debated in the House of Commons. 

Something struck us when praying up in Liverpool with that faithful, little band of pro-lifers at the weekend; their deep inner joy and the gentle kindness in their eyes, faces and demeanour. This surely is the light of Christ shining in His little ones as they face seemingly overwhelming odds against them. We learn from them that prayer is the surest way to fight this spiritual battle. 

For this reason we are sharing here Pope John Paul II's closing prayer from Evangelium Vitae

O Mary,
bright dawn of the new world,
Mother of the living,
to you do we entrust the cause of life:
Look down, O Mother,
upon the vast numbers
of babies not allowed to be born,
of the poor whose lives are made difficult,
of men and women
who are victims of brutal violence,
of the elderly and the sick killed
by indifference or out of misguided mercy.
Grant that all who believe in your Son
may proclaim the Gospel of Life
with honesty and love
to the people of our time.
Obtain for them the grace
to accept that Gospel
as a gift ever new,
the joy of celebrating it with gratitude
throughout their lives
and the courage to bear witness to it
resolutely, in order to build,
together with all people of good will,
the civilization of truth and love,
to the praise and glory of God,
the Creator and lover of life.

Please pray and write again to your M.P.'s and to the House of Lords. This is a key time for the good or ill of our nation!

Indifference to Evil...

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 13 October 2008 - 11:33:34 | by admin

eggy.jpgElie Wiesel, the famous survivor of the Jewish Holocaust once remarked;

'Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.'

These words ring particularly true when considering the above scene; the very picture of sleepy, leafy suburbia.

And yet, this is the street in Liverpool where the abortion mill is situated...

On Saturday we joined the little group of faithful souls who have prayed there for years in all weathers and seasons. We prayed with them fifteen mysteries of the Rosary and joined our hearts to the babies being killed inside. We also prayed for the Rosary Walk of Reparation taking place later on in the day through the streets of London. The group happily reported that a week earlier they had been joined by some 15 young women who had prayed with them before setting off on a long pro-life walk of witness over to Thornton.

The matter of indifference struck home when seeing local neighbours watching their TV's in their bay windows overlooking the abortion mill area, or just pottering about the street. The postman bringing the mail which makes this evil trade possible. Girls sauntering up to the front door with I-Pods to their ears. The many taxis which come in and out of the facility; latter day death camp transit wagons...

In 2007 I witnessed two particularly stressful aspects of indifference when praying outside with a student for the priesthood.

1. A lad bringing his girlfriend to have an abortion in a car with a yellow sticker on the window which bore the legend A dog is for life and not just for Christmas. Clearly pets now have more rights and protection than innocent humans.

2. A lad leaving his girlfriend inside to have an abortion and crossing the street to recycle his empty lemonade bottle -  and carefully picking out the correct colour bin for the plastic bottle. And so we see how environmental concerns have trumped the right to life.

Who could argue that Elie Wiesel had a point? Indeed, Wiesel went on to say that the 'opposite to life is not death... but rather it is indifference.' 

St. Winefride's Well

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 10 October 2008 - 18:27:33 | by admin

holywell.jpgOne of the great blessings about living in this part of North Wales is the proximity of St. Winefride's Well over at Holywell; a great place to pray for the reconversion of Great Britain!

The tradition of St. Winefride's Well states that, during the 7th Century, the saint was beheaded whilst defending her purity against an attack by a local nobleman called Caradog. The original well sprung at the place where her head fell. St. Beuno, a local priest who was her uncle, miraculously restored her head and brought her back to life (leaving a scar on her neck which is often depicted in images of the saint). For the next 22 years until her death St. Winefride lived as a nun, for some time serving as prioress. 

Ever since, the well has been a place of Christian pilgrimage. 

holywell_001.jpgEven the Reformation failed to prevent pilgrims; which means that Holywell is the only such place in Great Britain with a continuous history of public pilgrimage lasting over 13 centuries! Records of healings at the well are extant from the 12th century through to the present, and in the shrine museum visitors may witness a collection of discarded wooden crutches.

holywell_002.jpgAbove the well stands this 2 storey, late perpendicular Gothic chapel dating from the early 16th century. (This is now an Anglican church - the present Catholic parish church of St. Winefride stands a few hundred yards further up the hill).

Several years ago, we went though the well waters three times in honour of the Blessed Trinity as an act of the will towards a more sincere conversion. Although it was 9 a.m. on a sunny August day it was very c-c-cold! As an act of penitential prayer which is also cathartic I highly recommend it!

Holywell is named as the Lourdes of Wales because of the spring of water, the numerous healings and the profound sense of holiness and prayer with which the air down by the well is, quite literally, soaked.

holywell_003.jpgPotential visitors may be interested in this recently refurbished and opened guest house a little further up the hill which is run by the faithful Bridgettine Sisters. A priest friend of ours has just been there for a few days of silent retreat and highly recommends it!

A Dose of Sea Air!

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 09 October 2008 - 22:10:11 | by admin

copy_of_rhuddlan_001.jpgWe had a long walk along Kinmel Bay today to let the sea air refresh our souls. It was one of those times when the tide was out and the beach deserted, thus allowing us time to think and to be present to God.

copy_of_rhuddlan_019.jpgWe even managed a bit of 'sand evangelism'!

copy_of_rhuddlan_028.jpgThen we headed along the coast to King Edward I's Rhuddlan Castle which dates back to the 13th Century.

copy_of_rhuddlan_030.jpgJust across the River Clywd from the castle stands the ancient church of St. Mary's. The old parish church was constructed in 1301 A.D. and remains intact as the southern nave. During the next two centuries the remainder of the church was constructed to follow the classical Clwydian double naved church style. The structure was restored in 1870 by George Gilbert Scott.

Although the busy main road crosses the river on a concrete fly-over to the left of this picture, the view from this footbridge remains picturesque, as does the view from the churchyard out across the open countryside towards Colwyn Bay.

Men of the Match!

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 08 October 2008 - 17:52:58 | by admin

 If there was an award for 'man of the match' to be given to powerful Christian witnesses in contemporary British society, our nominations would include these two men;

1. Bishop Patrick O'Donohue of Lancaster Diocese 


The bishop is to be applauded for his courageous and accurate articulations of the crisis in the Church and how to respond to it in the documents Fit For Mission - Schools and Fit For Mission - Church. At last British clergy and laity who have been scandalized by radical dissent and inaction in the face of misrepresentaions of the faith have a powerful advocate.

Please pray for Bishop Patrick who has once again this week demonstrated his strong leadership by writing to the Catholic Caring Services in Lancaster to call on them to uphold Catholic teaching on marriage and the family regarding homosexual adoption or face 'tragic consequences.' H/T to Jackie Parkes over at Catholic Mom of 10 Revisited (see links).

Please write to Bishop Patrick in Lancaster to offer your prayers and support, as he must surely take a lot of flack for his loyalty to Christ in the face of much opposition.

Our second nomination for 'Man of the Match' must go to -

2. John Smeaton of SPUC.

man_of_the_match_2.jpgMr. Smeaton has consistently offered strong leadership of SPUC, and in the pro-life movement in general, by acknowledging that the battle against the Culture of Death is primarily spiritual. He has courageously called the enemies of life to account and reminded Christian leaders of their duties in this regard. He is to be particularly thanked for keeping the issue of Mr. Tony Blair's 'conversion' to Catholicism in the limelight; let us recall here Mr. Blair's constant anti-life and anti-family voting record and values which he has refused to publicly recant. Although many have harshly and misguidedly criticised Mr. Smeaton for this stance, he has once again been vindicated by breaking the latest news that Mr. Blair's Faith Foundation is joining the Faith Act Fellowship in its promotion of the Millenium Development Goals which include increasing access to abortion.

Once again, please pray for Mr. Smeaton who must come under immense pressure and attack.

We thank the Lord for such strong witnesses and ask that He strenghten and protect them and those close to them. Amen.

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