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.

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 24 September 2008 - 21:57:37 | by admin

fully.jpgWe were meant to be up in Preston today helping Fr. John Delaney OFM Cap. at the University of Lancashire Catholic Chaplaincy. However, our best laid plans were put asunder by us both catching a nasty throat infection.

So, I decided to use the enforced bed rest wisely and catch up on some 'Fully'! The late, great Archbishop of Rochester, New York is eminently quotable. Here are a few classics from Way to Happiness;

On tolerance -

There are some people who love to boast of their tolerance, but actually it is inspired by egotism; they want to be left alone in their own ideas, however wrong they may be, so they plead for a tolerance of other people's ideas. But this kind of tolerance is very dangerous, for it becomes intolerance as soon as the ego is disturbed or menaced. That is why a civilization which is tolerant about false ideas is on the eve of a great wave of intolerance and persecution. (p.69)

On Person and State

The family... is a potent reminder of the most important of all political principals: the state exists for the person, and not the person for the state. (p.76)

On Education

Without education of the mind a child could be a stupid devil. With education of the mind, but without love of goodness, a child could grow up to be a clever devil. (p.89) 

That book is the best 5 quid I've ever spent!!! Let us pray that dear old 'Fully' will one day be raised to the altars.

Our Lady of Ransom/ Our Lady of Walsingham

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 23 September 2008 - 22:20:48 | by admin

walsingham_feast.jpgToday is a major feast for the reconversion of Great Britain in the New Evangelization!

Most of us know the story; Our Lady appearing to Richeldis de Faverches in 1061 and taking her in spirit to the Holy House of the Annunciation in Nazareth and asking her to build a replica at Walsingham; the building of the Slipper Chapel (above) in 1340 as the last wayside chapel on the road into the town; the destruction of the monastery and use of the Slipper Chapel as a barn after Henry VIII plundered the Church through the English Reformation; the first Holy Mass to be offered post-Reformation in the Slipper Chapel by Cardinal Bourne in 1934 and the subsequent restoration and reconsecration of the Slipper Chapel.

And indeed most of us know the important role Walsingham has in the history of England and indeed Europe; being at one time right up there with Spain's Santiago de Compostella as a key pilgrimage site.

walsingham_feast_01.jpgBut how many of us are familiar with the iconography of the fine statue? Our Lady of Walsingham sits on the Throne of Wisdom; she is in the midst of two pillars which represent the Church as the gate of heaven; the seven rings on these pillars signify the seven Sacraments and the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit; the arched back of the throne represents the rainbow which is God's sign of His Covenant; the lily has three blooms to witness that Our Lady remains the Blessed Virgin before, during and after the birth of the Saviour Jesus Christ; she crushes beneath her feet a toadstone which represents the power of evil; and finally she is crowned with an Anglo-Saxon crown because she is the true Queen of England. 

England is traditionally thought of as the dowry of Our Lady and for this reason the famous Catholic speaker, apologist and evangelist Raymond de Souza has launched the Walsingham Project to pray for the reconversion of England as a foundation for the reconversion of Europe. The Walsingham Project is furthering the work of Venerable Fr. Ignatius Spencer and his Prayer Crusade for the Conversion of England.

Please check out Raymond's website at for more information and to download the prayer that you can say to join this important mission.

May God Bless England and may Our Lady of Walsingham - Pray for us! 

Please Pray for the Faithful in India!

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 23 September 2008 - 22:03:54 | by admin

walsingham_feast_02.jpgPlease remember our suffering brothers and sisters in India in your prayers and Masses.

As we know, since December last year scores of parishes have been attacked and many laity, religious and priests beaten and murdered. In the Orissa state where more violence erupted in the last few weeks, we have now heard that in the last day or so another two Catholics have been brutally murdered and their bodies mistreated.

Let us pray that the faithful will have God's blessing and protection at this time and that the world will not remain indifferent to their plight. Lord have mercy on them and their persecutors.

The Feast of St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 23 September 2008 - 12:55:45 | by admin

st_pio_oremus.jpgAfter the anticipation of the St. Pio Day of Prayer during Sunday, now the Feast of St. Pio of Pietrelcina has arrived! With what joy may we celebrate the feast of this powerful saint for our times!

Such is his greatness that when we think of St. Pio we each have a favourite aspect to reflect on. There are of course his sacred stigmata; the wounds of Christ which he bore for 50 years of silent suffering. Then there are his bilocations during which he mysteriously helped many, obtained healing for others and even confessed and absolved the dying in their own homes without leaving the friary at San Giovanni Rotundo! There is his mysterious perfume sent all over the globe to encourage, strengthen and warn his spiritual children in the midst of trials and temptations, or to call them to his presence. There are the countless miraculous healings, accurate prophecies and mysterious knowledge. There are his long hours every day in the Confessional; reading souls and bringing countless individuals to genuine repentance, reform and renewal of their life as Christians.

And central to all of this were his beautiful celebrations of Holy Mass, during which he experienced the Passion of Christ, his wounds bleeding and his heart and soul bursting with the love of God. He taught that 'A day without the Holy Mass is like a day without the sun'.

st_pio_mass.jpgSt. Pio gave himself to God during his youth as a victim soul to respond to the call of the great Pope St. Pius X for such souls to repay and defend against the errors of Modernism; which, as the Saint and Pontiff accurately prophecied still dog the Church today. He is truly a saint for our times and a powerful icon of the love of God, redeeming the world in Jesus Christ. He is a sign of contradiction to a world which rejects God's Law of Love. St. Pio presented the 20th century and beyond with a living, praying, teaching, bleeding, Crucifix. He confounded the limits of science, won the hearts of sinners and showed forth the power of the Church and her Sacraments as the means to a happy and blessed earthly life and eternal peace and beatitude with God.


St. Pio makes us laugh because he teaches the way of true happiness. His appeal is thus universal and shines as a light to young people, the aged, the lonely, the misunderstood and the suffering. He teaches us that there is nothing more miserable than sin and that true joy and liberty only come from repenting and confessing all our sins with sincerity and walking forwards as children of God. He told us to pray, hope and not to worry; God has the last word of love over sin, limitations, suffering, persecution and death.

Because he loves us so much and we love him back, we are going to develop and launch a St. Pio page on this website which we will add soon. Please pray that St. Pio will help us with this so that more souls may be reached.

St. Pio; priest, monk, shepherd, spiritual father, confessor, healer, and alter Christus who taught that prayer is the key to the heart of God - pray for us! 

Help Keep Northern Ireland Free From Abortion!

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 22 September 2008 - 18:11:28 | by admin

patrick_and_cross_002.jpgOur affectionate friend from the 'Emerald Isle' asks for your help!

The good people of Northern Ireland have consistently and democratically shown that they do not want abortion on their land.

Now some MP's at Westminster are trying to foist abortion on the people against their clearly demonstrated will by adding amendments to impose abortion on Northern Ireland in the proposed HFE Bill.

If you have not yet signed the petition against this amendment and are a British citizen then please click the link below and add your name.

Remember; it often only needs small stones to start a landslide - every name counts.

The link is -

Newflash - Prayer Urgent for Catholics in Vietnam!

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 22 September 2008 - 18:05:47 | by admin

patrick_and_cross_001.jpg!Please pray for the Catholics of Hanoi!

Independent Catholic News is reporting that the authorities in Hanoi have begun to demolish the Apostolic Nunciature building and have laid seige to the Archbishop's Residence, St. Joseph's Seminary and the Convent of the Sisters of The Adorers of the Holy Cross. Government vehicles are also using blocking technology to prevent mobile phone signals to the Archbishop, whilst the seige is imposed by police, militia and security personnel with dogs.

The bells of Hanoi Cathedral are being tolled at intervals to call for prayers and thousands of Catholics have taken part in peaceful, prayer demonstrations on the streets.

Please join our hearts and prayers with our brothers and sisters in Christ in their hour of need!

St. Pio Day of Prayer

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 21 September 2008 - 21:55:02 | by admin

pio_day_004.jpgThe papal flags were flying and St. Pio pulled another glorious sunny day out of the bag for the biggest St. Pio Day of Prayer of the year. This meant that the approximately 400 pilgrims who had travelled from far and wide could enjoy the whole day in the outdoor National Shrine of St. Pio.

pio_day_002.jpgFr. Louis Maggiore OFM Cap. warmed us all up with a hearty and soulful rendition of Nobody Knows the Problems I Have! which he adapted to relate to the help we get from Our Lord, Our Lady and St. Pio.

pio_day_014.jpgThen Fr. Keith Windsor OFM Cap. led us in the Rosary mysteries. Here he is in the entrance to the outdoor National Shrine with the great saint's picture in the background.

Fr. Paschal Burlinson OFM Cap. was the main celebrant at the Holy Mass and he preached about the Hail Holy Queen prayer; which was so dear to both Fr. Paschal and St. Pio.

After Holy Mass, the pilgrims went forward to venerate the relic of St. Pio before breaking for lunch in the pilgrim's hall or out in the beautiful sunshine.

pio_day_011.jpgIn the afternoon I gave the talk about God's love for us and the cross as the way through suffering to the resurrection; the role of St. Pio as shepherd, father and icon of Christ crucified; the need for a good confession and the dangers posed to the spiritual life and growth to Christian maturity posed by misuse of  TV; Christ's knocking on the door of each of our hearts to call us to repentance; and the need for us to take the Bread of Life out into our spiritually starving nation. We also joined our prayers and thoughts with those on the Pilgrimage of Reparation and Prayer for the Sanctity of Life which was taking place under the leadership of Westminster's Bishop John Arnold over in Walsingham at the very hour of our talk.

cao_005.jpgThere then followed a blessed time of Eucharistic Adoration beneath the baking sun with several groups offering individual prayer ministry and several priests hearing confessions. A great sign of communion in the Body of Christ was the presence of Fr. Shaji Punnattu to assist with the large number of penitents. Fr. Shaji is one of the Vocationist Fathers who arrived recently to run the parish of St. Winefride's down the road near to the ancient Holy Well of that great welsh saint and martyr for holy purity. The arrival of the Vocationists represents a real blessing and asset to the Church in these lands.


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