Our Lady of La Vang

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 01 October 2008 - 15:21:25 | by admin

gao_trip.jpgPlease pray for Cao as he leaves for a period in Vietnam, during which he will visit the Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang.

During the harsh persecution which left over 100,000 Vietnamese Catholics martyred Our Lady appeared at La Vang in 1798. A group of Catholics were hiding in the jungle and they gathered together to pray the rosary for protection. Our Lady appeared to them with the child Jesus in her arms and two angels at her side. She told the people to boil leaves for medicine and promised to answer the prayers of souls who came to the spot. Over the years the pilgrims came until a church was opened by Bishop Gasper there in 1901 with 12,000 pilgrims in attendance.

In 1961 the Bishops of Vietnam selected La Vang's church as the National Marian Centre, and the following year it was elevated to Basilica status by Pope John XXIII. Tragically it was destroyed during the Vietnam War in 1978. Pilgrims continued to flow however, and in 1988 Pope John Paul II drew fresh attention to its importance as a recognized shrine whilst canonizing 117 Vietnamese martyrs.

We pray that Cao will be kept safe in his travels and will have a blessed pilgrimage.

bootle_day_005.jpgInterestingly we discovered that Cao and I were both born in 1972. And Cao recently bought a classic Honda 350 which had been imported from America. It's year of manufacture? 1972. Yep, it was a vintage year! 

(Although I'm not sure which is creakier; me or the bike!)

Thank you for the Masses and Prayers

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 30 September 2008 - 13:02:45 | by admin

pope_pius_ix_011.jpgThank you to everyone who has been praying for the soul of our friend Laura and for her poor parents and family at this tragic time. Special thanks to the two priests who contacted us to say that they had offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for Laura's eternal repose. Please continue to pray for her poor family in their grief and sorrow.

May God Bless you all for your kindness.

Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 30 September 2008 - 12:43:57 | by admin

lil_feet.jpgThe United Nations will celebrate 60 years of the Declaration of Human Rights on December 10th this year. As we know this declaration includes the right to life in its list of fundamental rights.

Tragically pro-abortion groups including IPPF and Marie Stopes International are intending to 'celebrate' this anniversary by presenting the UN with a petition calling for the so-called 'right to abortion'.

C-Fam (the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute) are launching an opposing petition which calls on the UN to respect and protect life in the womb. They need to gather at least 50,000 names and they need to do this fast!

Please click the link and add your name to be part of this vital petition;



Send Your Angel to Mass

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 29 September 2008 - 18:04:01 | by admin

holy_michael_2.jpgFr. Alessio Parente OFM Cap. used to assist St. Pio in his daily sufferings and duties. He has written several devotional works over the years. This delightful little book has a poem inside which is worth pondering for its simple truths; if work, distance, or illness make attendance at daily mass difficult its verses provide grounds for hope;

O holy Angel at my side
Go to the church for me
Kneel in my place at Holy Mass
Where I desire to be.

At Offertory, in my stead
Take all I am and own
And place it as a sacrifice
Upon the altar throne.

At holy Consecration's bell
Adore with seraph's love
My Jesus hidden in the Host
Come down from heav'n above.

Then pray for those I dearly love
And those who cause me grief
That Jesus' Blood may cleanse all hearts
And suffering souls relieve.

And when the priest Communion takes
Oh, bring my Lord to me
That His sweet Heart may rest on mine
And I His temple be.

Pray that this Sacrifice Divine
May mankind's sins efface;
Then bring me Jesus' blessing home-
The pledge of every grace.

Simple, yet profound... Ask the Lord to impart a special blessing to your guardian angel. After all their help and protection it's the least we can do in gratitude! And we can cooperate with them and give them profound joy by making visits to the Blessed Sacrament in our spare time.

The Feast of St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael - Archangels

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 29 September 2008 - 17:42:55 | by admin

holy_michael.jpgOnly last week, we were introduced to the Chaplet of Holy Michael the Archangel. We have prayed it twice now and highly recommend it as a powerful spiritual work. 

We were given this special set of beads to pray it on. Ordinary rosary beads can of course be used, but as each portion of the chaplet consists of an Our Father and three Hail Mary's, it is perhaps easier to get a set of dedicated beads. I noticed today that wooden sets are available from www.cenacle.co.uk for less than £6. If you wish to begin on your rosary beads, the prayers of the chaplet, which invoke the nine choirs of angels at each section, can be downloaded from EWTN's prayer page at 

With our times being so perilous, both spiritually and temporally, this is a good day to increase our use of the Holy Michael prayer of Pope Leo XIII; perhaps as a part of our period of thanksgiving after Holy Mass and when commencing the day, journeys, jobs, meetings, etc. Let us also renew our efforts by making fresh acts of the will to cooperate with God's Grace, avoid the occasions of sin, and open our hearts more to sincere prayer.

It is a great truth of our faith that we have the protection of God's good angels under the powerful leadership of Holy Michael and the Archangels. Let us invoke their help often,

Holy Michael the Archangel
defend us in this the day of battle.
Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him we humbly pray
and do thou o' prince of the heavenly host,
thrust down to Hell, Satan and all the wicked spirits
who prowl through this world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen 

Now you are the Body of Christ! (1 Cor 12:27)

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 28 September 2008 - 15:55:34 | by admin

As is so often the case, St. Paul says it best;

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:26-27).

This day we sorrow in our hearts and suffer with Laura's parents and family over her tragic, young death yesterday. Through the evening, night and early hours we shed heavy tears. A priest friend has already kindly offered a Holy Mass for her this morning. Thank the Lord for the gift of the Catholic Faith which helps us to carry such otherwise unbearable crosses. Please do continue to pray for Laura's eternal repose with the Lord and for her family in the midst of their grief.

And yet, such is the mystery of communion in the Body of Christ that we are also sharing in the rejoicing of some other good friends of ours who kindly asked us to stand as their Confirmation sponsors. Anne and Gwyn were brought into the Catholic Church today, received Confirmation and made their First Holy Communion at St. David's in Pantasaph this very morning. Here we all are after the Holy Mass;

anne_and_gwyn_reception_002.jpgAs St. Paul concludes above; Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it!

anne_and_gwyn_reception_009.jpgHere they are outside St. David's with our good mutual friend from the parish, Cao. Please pray for him as he prepares to travel to Vietnam to visit the National Shrine of Our Lady there.

anne_and_gwyn_reception_006.jpgPlease also keep these newest Catholics, our brother and sister in Christ in your prayers. They have sincerely sought Truth and the Lord has led them to this day. Please pray too for Jan and Mario who were also received into full communion today.

Laura's passing and Anne and Gwyn's reception remind us that this life is but a pilgrimage... and a brief one at that. Jesus Christ opened His arms and His heart on the cross so that the doors of His Church could be opened to you and I. Come home to Christ and His Catholic Church this day - in Him will you find the only lasting hope; the only true rest for your souls, and that peace which the world cannot give.

Laura May You Rest in the Peace of Jesus Christ

Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 27 September 2008 - 20:16:17 | by admin

laura_rip.jpgWe ask for your prayers this night as we have had most devastating news.

Our dear friend Laura has tragically died today. She is a young woman, still only in her late 30's. We humbly ask that you pray a Divine Mercy chaplet for her and remember her in your Masses this weekend.

Please also pray for her mum, dad, sister, brother-in-law, niece and auntie who are having to bear this most heavy of crosses. 

Oh Blood and Water which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, we trust in you.

Eternal rest grant unto her, dear Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon her
and may she rest in peace

Thank you for your prayers for this beautiful friend and her family.

One in Christ

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 26 September 2008 - 23:24:11 | by admin

acn.jpgThe annual Aid to the Church in Need Mass and Event takes place this Saturday morning (27th Sept) at Westminster Cathedral and Hall. The Sung Latin Mass is at 10.30 and at 12.00 the Carmelite Archbishop Jean Sleiman of Baghdad, Iraq will give the talk.

The Archbishop has been courageous in his leadership and his standing up against the persecution from Muslim extremists which has caused the Christian community of Iraq to fall from 800,000 to 300,000 since the deposition of Saddam Hussein. The Christians are still fleeing in their thousands because of attacks which include murders, torture, heavy fines and evictions. 

During this Saturday, let us join our hearts and prayers with this event and all our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ in Iraq.  

The Aid to the Church in Need Christmas catalogue is now out to help their great work across the globe. Check out the link on our Links Page. 

Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 26 September 2008 - 10:52:31 | by admin

saints_cosmas_and_damian_01.jpgThis being their feast day, I thought I would share a picture of the Saints Cosmas and Damian centre at Franciscan University of Steubenville. I took it during our second autumn over there (or Fall as the Americans have it), when the tree colours are remarkable!

The building on the left is the Pope John Paul II library, with the Ss. Cosmas and Damian building in the centre.

Several happy memories of that building give an idea of its orthodox flavour;

1. Attending a packed classroom to hear a lecturer joyfully expounding the teachings at the heart of Humanae Vitae, and witnessing the thoughtful and enthusiastic reception of the young students.

2. Seeing intelligent young nuns in full habits happily mixing amongst youthful students in classrooms and corridors.

3. Passing a group of teenagers in bright T-shirts having a deep discussion of the finer points of Aquinas' exposition of the theology of Transubstantiation.

It's just a shame you have to go 3,500 miles for it...

Another highlight of the Ss. Cosmas and Damian centre for me was the presence in the basement of a vending machine which sold Mrs. Freshley's Sticky Honey Buns! You just can't get 'em over here either!

saints_cosmas_and_damian_02.jpgThis picture shows my daily commute from our flat (apartment!) along Route 22 into Steubenville. As the old song says;

Oh me oh, Oh my oh, Why did I ever leave Ohio!!!

saints_cosmas_and_damian_03.jpgWhile we're reminiscing about America, here's one for the car buffs...

I tried to convince Angie that this blue Caddy was the ideal 'college hack', just what every English international student needed, and a snip at just $3,000 (that was £1,500 at the time!).

Sadly, Angie would have none of it...

Saints Cosmas and Damian - Pray for us!

A Nice Surprise Visit!

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 25 September 2008 - 21:12:45 | by admin

fr_delaney_004.jpgWe had a lovely surprise today when we learned that Fr. John Delaney OFM Cap. from Preston was down here in Wales and was en route to our house. We had been sad that we had to miss helping him up at the University Chaplaincy yesterday due to our throat infection; so it was a double blessing! 

Fr. John was visiting Pantasaph and very kindly came over to give us some Holy Water from Banneux in Belgium, to pray over us for healing from the Lord, and to give us his priestly blessing. At times like this one is reminded of the great gift that being a Catholic is and the grace of being a member of the community of the Church. Let us pray for the sick and lonely, the housebound and all souls who will die this night; especially commending to the Divine Mercy those who are far from God's Law, but not His love.

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