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.

Hope in the Resurrection

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 08 October 2008 - 13:04:39 | by admin

Picture courtesy of Helen Jones 

The darkest hour comes just before the dawn...

On this new day, we raise our hearts to heaven for Laura, firm in the knowledge that Jesus Christ proclaimed;

'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'
(John 11:25-26).  

May these words give comfort to all of us who continue to mourn Laura's passing. May they also be a source of constant hope to us as we go forward into the light of Christ, full of confidence and hope in the resurrection.


Laura - May the Lord Enfold You in His Mercy

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 07 October 2008 - 23:30:07 | by admin

lauras_funeral.jpgDear Laura Hart -
May the choirs of angels come to greet you.
May they lead you to paradise.
May the Lord enfold you in His mercy.
May you find eternal life.

Laura has now been laid to rest and we ask you to continue to pray for the eternal repose of her soul with the Lord. May she rest in peace.

Please, especially this night, continue to pray for her parents; Jim and Pat, sister Donna, niece Mya and brother-in-law Ian, and all her aunties, uncles, cousins and wider family members and friends.

May they know the Lord's comfort and be given strength, hope and peace.

Prayer for Laura Hart

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 06 October 2008 - 23:08:03 | by admin

laura_rip.jpgPlease pray for Laura Hart, our beautiful friend whose funeral will be tomorrow, and that her family and friends would know God's peace, strength and love -

Let our prayer come into your presence, Lord,
as we humbly ask for mercy:
and as in your love
you counted your handmaid Laura Hart, among your people in this world,
so bring her now to the abode of peace and light,
and number her among your saints.

We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ
Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, world without end

(Prayer from the Psalter of the Divine Office - Office for the deceased).

Rosary for Life

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 05 October 2008 - 17:09:21 | by admin

baby.jpgAs they say in the 'blogosphere' Hat-Tip or H/T to Catholic Mom of 10 (see links) for reminding us all that today is the National Day of Prayer for Peace and the Sanctity of Life - during which we are asked to pray a rosary for these intentions.

I also noticed on the National Director of SPUC, John Smeaton's blog a reference to Fr. Morty O'Shea unveiling a monument to the victims of abortion at St. Mary's in Carmarthen. 

Fr. Morty said that this memorial is a 'solitary and prophetic witness to the abortion holocaust that continues in our midst.' He also said that 'There is no reason why such a memorial could not be erected outside the front of any church.'

On the campus of Franciscan University of Steubenville, next to the replica of St. Francis' Portiuncula chapel (where 24 hour Adoration takes place), stands the Tomb of the Unborn which contains the mortal remains of Clare, Francis, Agnes, Jeremiah, and Michael - all victims of abortion. A couple of miles away on the grounds of Holy Family Catholic Church one finds the following memorial, (complete with American spelling);

pro_life_monument.jpgFr. Morty is right; such solid and tangible witness is needed to draw attention to this most silent of holocausts as there are no well known graves in the UK for the victims. Could British parishes not set aside a small area like this and include a mention of the mothers, fathers, and families broken by abortion. If so, then babies may be saved and many women may find a place of reference to point them towards full reconciliation and healing.
Could your parish?

First Saturday

Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 04 October 2008 - 11:20:13 | by admin

helens_photos_030.jpgOur Lady of Fatima asked that we make reparation to her Immaculate Heart for all the sin and blasphemies against her and against the Most Blessed Trinity.

She asked that on the first saturday of each month, the First Saturday devotion be kept, which includes -

Holy Mass and Holy Communion of Reparation

Praying of the Holy Rosary

Meditating for 15 minutes on one of the rosary mysteries

And all of this in a spirit of reparation to the Immaculate Heart and to the Blessed Lord. Our Lady warned that God was already much offended, and that humanity had lost the sense of sin - that was in 1917! Let us make this day out of love for our Heavenly Mother and her Son Jesus Christ who suffered so much because of sin, and to redeem us from it. Let us make it as reparation for our own sins and the sins of our brothers and sisters in Great Britain who do not realize the peril of these times.

The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 03 October 2008 - 19:51:25 | by admin

cao_004.jpgThe solemnity begins tonight at the Pantasapsh Franciscan friary in anticipation of tomorrow's feast day. At 6.00pm the friars are sharing their Evening Office in public and then at 6.30pm celebrating the Transitus (or Passing) of St. Francis which is a time of readings and prayers recalling this beautiful saint's last words to his friars before passing from this transcient world, with all of its suffering, into everlasting glory. At 10.00am tomorrow the Holy Mass for the feast day will be offered in the friary church of St. David.

First Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 03 October 2008 - 19:14:26 | by admin

first_friday.jpg'Behold the heart that has loved mankind so much and received so little love in return.' The words of Our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Margaret Mary.

This being the First Friday of the month (the day on which Jesus encourages us to go to Holy Communion for nine consecutive months to love, honour and make reparation to His Sacred Heart), I thought I'd share this little prayer card that I picked up when I was in America. It was produced by Shepherds of Christ Ministries in Morrow, Ohio. On the reverse is the following Prayer for Union with Jesus which may be helpful to making a short thanksgiving after Holy Communion and Mass.

Come to me, Lord Jesus, and possess my soul. Come into my heart and permeate my soul. Help me to sit in silence with you and let You work in my heart.

I am Yours to possess. I am yours to use. I want to be selfless and only exist in You. Help me to spoon out all that is me and be an empty vessel ready to be filled by You. Help me to die to myself and live only for You. Use me as You will. Let me never draw my attention back to myself. I only want to operate as You do, dwelling in me.

I am Yours, Lord. I want to have my life in You. I want to do the will of the Father. Give me the strength to put aside the world and let You operate my very being. Help me to act as You desire. Strengthen me against the distractions of the devil to take me from Your work.

When I worry, I have taken my focus off You and placed it on myself. Help me not to give in to the promptings of others to change what in my heart You are making very clear to me. I worship You, I adore You and I love You. Come Lord Jesus, and dwell in me now. Amen.

Imprimatur: Most Rev. Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of Cincinnatti Archdiocese. 

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