The Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome


Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 09 November 2008 - 18:59:06 | by admin

hp_lateran_basilica_08.jpgPicture from EWTN's Website.

Today the Universal Church celebrates a Catholic cathedral which is a sign of authentic, Christian unity throughout the whole world and a call to all Christians to return to the source and fount of that unity.

This day marks the anniversary of the event in 324 A.D. when the Lateran Basilica was dedicated as the Cathedral Church of the Pope, (the successor of St. Peter as the Bishop of Rome and Head of the Universal Church under Jesus Christ). It was dedicated as a Domus Dei; a House of God. And this was one year before the Catholic Church at the Council of Nicaea gave to us the creed of the Christian faith, which formulated the teaching on Jesus Christ as being fully God and fully Man, whilst being of 'one being with' and 'equal to' God the Father; the source of all unity, communion and equality.

Matthew 16:18
Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church.

Let us pray that this feast will help restore unity in the fullness of the True Faith amongst Catholics themselves, and that aided by authentic ecumenism rooted in truth, all Christians will be returned and restored to full communion with the Pope, the Vicar of Christ on earth, in the One, True, Holy, and Apostolic, Catholic Church.  

Feast of All Saints of Wales


Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 09 November 2008 - 18:21:52 | by admin

st_asaph_008.jpgIn the local calendar, yesterday was the Feast of All the Saints of Wales. This being the case, we decided to drive over to the ancient city of St. Asaph in the beautiful Llanelwy countryside. We prayed there for the re-conversion of Great Britain back to Jesus Christ and His One, Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church and also prayed for the dead in the churchyard to gain the indulgence for the souls in purgatory on that last day of the Octave for the Holy Souls.

st_asaph_001.jpgSt. Asaph has a remarkable Catholic history. In 560 A.D. St. Kentigern founded a church nearby on the banks of the River Elwy. When he moved on to Glasgow, he appointed St. Asaph as his successor. The present cathedral was begun in the 13th Century and served as the centre of local Catholic worship until the tragic breach and rupture from the True Faith at the Reformation. In the Victorian era, the famous architect Gilbert Scott was called in to restore and add elements to the edifice. (Our own generation has added its own touch in the form of the outdoor, plastic porta-loos pictured above!).    

st_asaph_004.jpgThe ancient church of St. Kentigern and St. Asaph stands lower down the hill, near the river bank and provides a further example of the Denbighshire double-naved church structure (for another example check out St. Mary's, Rhuddlan which was constructed 700 years ago and appears in an earlier blog post). Indeed, in common with both the cathedral and St. Mary's Rhuddlan, this ancient church was also lost to Catholic worship during the Reformation and it too was given the Gilbert Scott treatment during the Victorian era.

st_asaph_007.jpgBack in the cathedral we were intrigued by this beautiful little ivory statue of the Madonna and Child Jesus behind a glass-fronted wall niche; it is reputed to have been taken as booty off one of the wrecked ships of the Spanish Armada... Perhaps Our Blessed Lady brought the seeds of the True Faith across the seas with her after all, and is just preparing the way for the restoration of Her great dowry!

Another interesting Catholic link is that of the great poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. He studied theology a couple of miles away at Tremeirchion after his conversion and reception into the Catholic Church by Venerable Cardinal John Henry Newman, and before his subsequent ordination as a Jesuit priest.

During his time in the St. Asaph area Hopkins wrote some of his inspiring poems; including God's Grandeur and Spring.  

All Saints of Wales - Pray for Us!

Birthday in Llandudno


Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 08 November 2008 - 13:22:00 | by admin

cakes_018.jpgThe champagne was uncorked today for Angeline's birthday!

cakes_031.jpgFirst, we motored over to Llandudno for a celebratory day out, which included a brisk walk along the chilly, promenade in the fading light of the late afternoon.

cakes_030.jpgA major part of our day was spent in visiting the Catholic Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea; which dates to 1893.

cakes_025.jpgThe beauty of the original interior is largely intact and we were blessed to spend an hour in Eucharistic Adoration.

From the cleanliness, warmth and attention to detail it is obvious that this church is maintained with much love and devotion.

The positioning of the newer altar on the edge of the sanctuary steps would make celebrations of the Holy Sacrifice in the Extraordinary Form difficult. However the majesty of the original, High Altar surely invites some lateral thinking to assist in the liturgical reforms and possibilities opened up by Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of 2007. In any case, the church is blessed with two splendid, side chapels with original high altars still extant; one is dedicated to Our Lady, and one to St. Joseph.  

p4180019a.jpgAs a convert from Anglicanism (in 1993) I was saddened to discover the fate of St. George's in Church Walks when we went over to pray, and gain the indulgence, for the dead in the churchyard there. St. George's was opened in 1840 and was a place we attended on Sundays during childhood holidays.

We learned that the church died away in 2002 and has now become the latest victim of the post-modern secularisation of British society. St. George's is now called Church Walks Data Storage, having been reinvented as a storage depot to keep electronic data with 24 hour camera surveillance! Nevertheless, the graves remain, and so we went in to say our prayers for the dead. We're not sure what the security camera personnel would make of us standing around the graves in the failing light! As we left, I mentioned to Angie how post-Christian it all seemed and how much it reminded me of weird futuristic movies we'd watched years ago; such as Bladerunner! or Freejack!

That sense of a post-Christian (and even post-civilised culture) was continually brought home as we browsed the stores and were reminded just how much impurity, violence and rampant individualism now dominates the economic, marketplace. And then, when we encountered a couple of retired ladies kissing in the street we decided it was high time to return home to leave the moral wasteland and head back to the 'desert' of the Welsh countryside and villages and have a bit of birthday cake and some champagne! 

cakes_039.jpgNow, here is a philosophical question; Why have a small, pink Mr. Kipling's French Fondant Fancy...

cakes_038.jpg...when you can have a BIG pink, Mr. Kipling's French Fondant Fancy?!!!

You Aint Seen Nothin' Yet!


Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 06 November 2008 - 12:28:27 | by admin

father-frank_shadow.jpgWhen a man of great integrity like Fr. Frank Pavone speaks out - you need to listen to what he has to say.

Fr. Frank is the National Director of Priests for Life in America, the founder of the Missionaries for the Gospel of Life, Director of Rachel's Vineyard (the largest ministry for healing after abortion in the world), and host of EWTN's series Defending Life. He has saved countless babies from abortion, reconciled broken mothers to God and His Church, held funerals for infants whose remains were rescued from the dumpsters outside abortion mills, and provided leadership in key political battles against abortion and its advocates.

In the wake of Barack Obama's landslide victory, which many Catholics shamefully voted for, Fr. Pavone has typically provided a voice of sense amidst the cacaphony of misled rejoicing.

Fr. Frank, who reminded voters back in September, that it would be immoral to vote for Obama, has now said 'This is one of the biggest mistakes that the American people have made in the entire history of our nation... Senator Obama, when asked at the Saddleback Church forum, when he thought that a child gained human rights, answered that the question was 'above my pay grade.'

Perhaps this should not surprise us unduly, as President Obama has voted twice against the Born Alive Infants Law, which would have protected children who survived abortion.

The new President has promised to sign in the Freedom of Choice Act, which has been calculated as likely to add 125,000 aborted babies to the casualty list of 1.3 million babies murdered in the wombs of American women per annum. This misnamed Act will strike down the abortion-limiting efforts of individual states provided by such safeguards as their requirement for parental involvement, informed consent, prohibition of local government funding for most abortions, and (most disturbingly) the removal of the ban on the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion.

It seems that behind the smug grins and charismatic speeches of the new President that something more sinister is on the way. To quote the much overused political Americanism - 'You aint seen nothin' yet...'
 
On the other hand that concept works both ways and, with true Christian hope, Fr. Pavone acknowledges that, whilst this is a tragic situation, it is also a clarion call for the pro-life movement to mobilize and renew its efforts in prayer and action!

Our Lady of Guadalupe - Patroness of the Americas and of the Unborn - Pray for us!  

Creative Culture of Life


Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 05 November 2008 - 11:09:39 | by admin

250px-carragher.jpgImage of Jamie Carragher from Wikepedia.

A few days ago we blogged about Bootle on Merseyside. A friend from Liverpool has now sent me an amazing little piece taken from Jamie Carragher's life story.

Carragher is the Liverpool FC Vice-Captain and European Cup Winner. He also originally hails from Bootle.

In the opening pages of his book, he has this to say -

'My book of Revelations begins with the most dramatic:
if my mum hadn't been a Roman Catholic,
I might have been aborted.
Paula Carragher was given the option of a termination
due to complications halfway through her pregnancy.
She was told I had spina-bifida- a birth defect that affects
the spinal cord.  She was too religious to consider abortion,
no matter how disabled I'd be.
'Our Lord told me to have the baby', she still claims.
She's the rock on which my family is built.
I owe everything to that decision
she took thirty years ago'.
 
As our friend from Liverpool says -

'Let's continue to give thanks for a creative culture of life and pray for an end to the culture of death.'
 

Short of Truth...


Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 04 November 2008 - 16:32:45 | by admin

clare_short.jpgHat-tip to Jackie Parkes of Catholic Mom of 10 Revisited for calling attention to this issue.

It seems that Clare Short will be giving out the awards at the Catholic, St. Paul's Girl's School on Friday 14th November. The problem with that is that Clare Short is a public, political figure with a pro-abortion voting record and is also a public dissenter from Church teaching on contraception. Clearly this will cause scandal and will send out a confused message to the girls at the school.

Jackie Parkes is standing up to be counted and is now taking flack over this issue... Please pray for continued strength for her, for the school visit to be stopped, and for the conversion of Clare Short from this anti-life position.
 
All too frequently people who make such a courageous stand are left feeling isolated and alone. Please send a helpful comment to Jackie on her blog and please write polite but firm letters to the school calling on them to stop the visit from Clare Short for the reasons stated.

Please send letters to -
Mrs. Angela Whelan (Head teacher)
St. Paul's Girl's School
Vernon Road
Birmingham  
B16 9SL

Sr. Therese Brown SP (The Chair of the Governors)
St. Paul's Convent
94 Selly Park Road 
Birmingham
B29 7LL

And also to
Archbishop Vincent Nichols
c/o Archbishop's House
8 Shadwell Street
Birmingham
B4 6EY

Perhaps the school in question could invite one of the many orthodox speakers who love Christ and the teachings of His Church in order to encourage the students to grow in the Universal Call to Holiness which is so central to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. 

Whilst we're on this topic Hat-Tip to Mrs. Pat MacDonald, a friend of ours from Crosby, for writing to Clare Curtis Thomas MP regarding her being a Catholic, the Chair of the All Party Pro-Life group and yet still voting in favour of the HFE Bill.


Check out John Smeaton's Blog on our links page for more details...


Milestones!


Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 04 November 2008 - 14:51:40 | by admin

10000_002.jpgThanks to all who have visited our site since it was launched back in August. We've just checked the monthly and total statistics for the number of visitors to the web-site and have been both humbled and amazed by the results!

We've now had over 5,000 visits and the cumulative totals (which include people browsing through the various web pages) are in excess of 10,200!

As we expected most of the hits are from the mainland U.K. However we have been intrigued that we have had several visits from each of the following-

Australia
Canada
Croatia
Italy
and Poland

And one visit from each of -

America
Belgium
Germany
Netherlands
New Zealand
Sweden
and Switzerland

Thank you all for visiting and for reading the site and the news/blog each day. We will keep you all in our prayers and invite you to please keep us in yours.

It's Angie's birthday later in the week so we may just wait until then to pop open this celebratory bottle of champers!!!

Monday - All Souls Day


Torch of The Faith News on Monday 03 November 2008 - 11:25:21 | by admin

bootle_day_002.jpgBootle cemetery north of Liverpool is a place where we used to frequently pray for the dead when we first got married and bought a house for 2 years in a street nearby. 

The above memorial is a particularly poignant one as it commemorates the civilians of Bootle who were killed by enemy bombardment during World War II - and especially in the midst of the horrendous Blitz of 1941. Sadly, one of the persons buried there was never able to be identified.  

Although the Luftwaffe were, in the main, aiming for the city of Liverpool and the docks at Liverpool, Bootle and Seaforth, they did hit civilian areas and devastated homes and communities across Merseyside and on the Wirral peninsula. About a mile from the cemetery my Mum and Dad's home still bears scorch marks in the loft structure from an enemy incendiary device which was meant to guide in the heavy bombers and went somewhat astray!

bootle_day_001.jpgThe Victorian chapel at the heart of Bootle cemetery survived the war intact. Tragically a different variety of vandals are now doing what the Luftwaffe failed to... Every one of the 4 clocks in the tower has now had its face smashed through, the roof has lost a little more of its material integrity each time we visit and the interior has been breached in spite of heavy duty grilles on windows and doors.

Up in Liverpool we have a polite, scouse term for those who carry out this type of destruction of the sacred, the artistic or the civilized... We call them 'Brain donors!'

Let us pray for them... and for all who died in the brutal bombing campaigns of that terrible time.

And perhaps say a little prayer for the cause of Teresa Helena Higginson, the Catholic school teacher and stigmatic, who spent from 1879 - 1887 living and teaching in Bootle during her eventful life. She is now buried in a churchyard in Neston over on the Wirral - a place we visited to pray with some friends during the summer months - and is thought by some to be an important intercessor for the reconversion of England.

Sunday - All Saints Day


Torch of The Faith News on Monday 03 November 2008 - 10:59:26 | by admin

skyyyy.jpgPhoto by Helen Jones.

On Sunday, in England and Wales, we celebrated the great Feast of All Saints - a day when we especially remember all those who have made it home to the Lord and are now enjoying the Beatific Vision in Heaven.

Something that is really encouraging about this day is that we do not just turn our thoughts to those whom the Church has officially proclaimed as saints. We also contemplate the truth that there are many unknown, ordinary men and women who have lived their earthly life for the Lord and are now praying for us from their heavenly home - this can encourage us to reconsecrate our own ordinary lives and seek to live them for God.

Another great truth about these first days of November is that from Nov 1st to 8th we can gain a plenary indulgence, and apply it to the holy souls in purgatory, by praying (even in silent mental prayer) in a churchyard or cemetery. This helps us to remember that the Church is in communion with the souls in heaven and the souls being purified after death for heaven. It is a profound act of charity, and indeed a work of mercy, to be able to pray for the dead in this manner and help them now that they can no longer help themselves. It is also a most consoling doctrine which gives hope to us in the loss of our own friends and loved ones.

2 Maccabees 12:45 teaches -

'Therefore Judas Maccabeus made atonement for the dead, that they may be delivered from their sin.'

Last night we prayed in the cemetery of a Welsh chapel amongst tall and majestic Victorian graves bearing great Welsh names like Davies, Roberts, Thomas, and Williams.

Eternal rest grant unto them dear Lord and may they rest in peace. 
Amen.

HFE Bill gets through...


Torch of The Faith News on Monday 03 November 2008 - 10:38:47 | by admin

300px-house_of_lords.jpgWe've been up in Liverpool over the weekend and were sad to learn after our return, by reading John Smeaton's Blog (from where this picture comes), that the House of Lords have voted to accept the dreadful HFE Bill...
 
Sacred Scripture teaches us that 'If God does not build the house, in vain do the builders build' (Psalm 127). Great Britain is continuing to build an edifice of error, confusion and death on a foundation of metaphysical sand. 

Please continue to pray for the conversion of all involved and indeed for our country to regain its moral and ethical sense.

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