The Biggest Cross in the Western Hemisphere!

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 14 September 2008 - 23:07:36 | by admin

texas.jpgReflecting on the Triumph of The Cross today called to mind a stop we made to Groom in Texas during our TransAmerican roadtrip pilgrimage in 2005.

This was 'Roadside America' at its very best; the 190ft tall, 110ft wide, 2.5 million lb cross belonging to Cross Ministries, stands right next to Interstate I-40 and attracts around 1,000 visitors every day!

Around the foot of the cross there is a lifesize set of the Stations of The Cross and Calvary in bronze; a lifesize pieta scene; a Divine Mercy prayer garden; stone tablets bearing The 10 Commandments; and a prayer of reparation for abortion. 

The lady in the Christian bookstore there informed us that conversions occur when people stop off for a rest and find their hearts touched, opened and healed by Grace. Souls unexpectedly return to God and His peace.

Since it was constructed the Cross has been knocked into 3rd place in the Biggest Cross stakes; a 198ft replica has been raised in Illinois; and an even larger one is now reputed in Spain. The Texan one is still advertised as the biggest; perhaps in peoples hearts it remains so...

Please pray for the people of Texas as they battle through Hurricane Ike and its after effects - Holy Michael the Archangel protect them!

Coming Soon - Rosaries on Route 66!

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 14 September 2008 - 22:57:15 | by admin

texas_2.jpgFed up with travelogues that promise much, but then draw your spirits down with all the swearing, secularism, and anti-Christian ideology?
Don't worry... The answer is on the way; the book about our epic Trans-American roadtrip pilgrimage is coming... soon!

The Feast of The Triumph of The Cross

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 14 September 2008 - 00:40:16 | by admin

golden_day_007.jpgJohn 3:14-15
'... as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.

By His cross and death, Jesus Christ has smashed the powers of the devil, of hell and of all evil. He has destroyed death and the power of sin. He has opened wide the door of the Church and into Heaven. Repent this day! Turn away from your sins, confess them and hurry through the open door of Mercy all the way to His Altar to receive Him in Holy Communion. Die with Him to rise from the dead with Him!

Happy Feast Day!

Golden Day for St. John of the Golden Tongue!

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 14 September 2008 - 00:15:18 | by admin

golden_day_001.jpgThe Feast of St. John Chrysostom (golden tongue) dawned cheery and bright in Wales today! We received Holy Mass at Bryn Mair; the convent opposite Pantasaph Friary (from where this picture looking back to the friary is taken). 

There is much we can take from the teachings of St. John 349 - 407 A.D. (who gained his name due to his eloquence and effectivity in preaching). Some of his major themes include; the good of marriage, Christian responsibilities towards the poor and the dangers of secular entertainment. He is also a great link in the attainment of unity between the Church in the East and the West.  

We need preachers like him with the courage to proclaim the Truth of Jesus Christ in season and out of season!

St. John Chrysostom - Ora pro nobis! 

'Catholic Lancashire'

Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 13 September 2008 - 01:17:08 | by admin

lancs_005.jpgWe were over in St. Helens today where we went to midday Mass in the parish of Holy Cross. This is a splendid Church which could very easily be adapted for the celebration of the Classical Roman Rite, because the original sanctuary, High Altar, and altar rails are extant beyond the present raised forward platform and altar table. The Mass began 15 minutes after this picture was taken, by which time a fairly large congregation had gathered.
If one walks a few buildings down from the Church and looks up at the right hand side of the Town Hall, this statue of St. Helen holding the True Cross may be viewed;
lancs_004.jpgThis is because the town is reputed to have grown at the place where St. Helen was encamped at the time her son Constantine (then at York) discovered that he was to be the new Roman Emperor!

St. Helen's town also has a rich history due to its glass industry. However, like much of Lancashire, its Catholic heritage is a key element and indeed Blessed Dominic Barberi, Fr. Ignatius Spencer (from the same Spencer family as the late Diana, Princess of Wales), and Sr. Elizabeth Prout are all buried at the site of the former Passionist monastery at St. Anne's and Blessed Dominic Church.  

Each of these souls is very important in the story of the evangelization of England. Blessed Dominic came from Italy to evangelize England and was blessed to eventually receive the great Cardinal John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church. Fr. Ignatius Spencer was a convert from Anglicanism and devoted himself to his Crusade Prayer for the Conversion of England. Sr. Elizabeth Prout was another Anglican convert and she founded the Daughters of the Passion and Cross in Manchester. The causes for canonization of all these amazing people are with the Church.

We were in St. Helens today to visit our good and loyal friend Fiona;
fiona_001.jpgFiona has been one of our greatest pro-life and Christian supporters down the years; praying and working behind the scenes and even ending up with me on a late night TV debate a few years back regarding chastity and young people! She is a wife, mother of two fine daughters and a Third Order Franciscan involved in a prayer and healing ministry. As a close part of the history and development of our ministry we all spent a day together today to pray for the unfolding work and direction of Torch of The Faith.  

Call a Holy Fast and Gather the People! (Joel 2:15-16)

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 11 September 2008 - 20:55:26 | by admin

bernadette_smyth.pngI first met Bernadette Smyth of Precious Life, Ireland during one of her visits to England in 2003. I went to pray outside the abortion mill in Liverpool with her and a few others. Bernadette convinced me that day that we must do this, however uncomfortable it makes us feel. In short; babies are being killed, mothers maimed spiritually and physically, and God offended.

Bernadette has been a fervent advocate for the preborn and has done more than many Christian leaders to fight the HFE Bill. She is now calling people to fast and pray for 40 days (beginning earlier this week on Our Lady's Birthday) with particular emphasis on keeping abortion out of Northern Ireland; in light of attempts by pro-abortion MP's to force abortion on the people of Ireland this coming autumn against the clear majority of the people there. Hence, the Rally for Life;

We gladly share Bernadette's poster here and invite readers to pray and fast for this intention and against all the grave evils of the proposed HFE Bill. In Bernadette's own words, taken from her latest literature; 'Prayer and fasting have always been an absolute necessity for the success of all Precious Life's vital front-line action.' And as Pope John Paul II said 'Woe to us if we do not defend life!'

We firmly believe that this is a crucial moment in British history. While the pro-abortion powers have been gathering through the summer the eyes of Christians have been on other things... Now is the time to look to it before it is too late. Let us pray and let us fast for God is with us!

Way to Go... Mary Jo!

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 11 September 2008 - 13:06:07 | by admin

mary_jo.jpgWe first saw Mary Jo Copeland being interviewed on EWTN several years ago. A reclusive housewife and mother of 12, she found the courage at age 38 to go out to spread the love and compassion of Jesus to the poor and homeless of Minneapolis, USA. The last 20 years has seen her ministry expand from a small store providing food and hot drinks, and washing the feet of the homeless to show them dignity and respect; into a multi-million dollar complex which now helps 20,000 poor people per month to access food, clothing, shelter, medical and dental care, plus transport. None of this comes from government funding, but relies totally on the Providence of God and the support of 1,000 willing volunteers! It is notable that, whilst Mary Jo has to employ a few staff; 93% of all money donated goes straight to the poor.

Devoted to her prayer life, Mary Jo is in Church at 5am every day to hear what God has in mind for her, before 7am Mass. With childlike trust, she places all her daily decisions and actions into God's Will, saying; 'I get up in the morning and run to Jesus' arms.'  This is the key to understanding her whole life and ministry, she does not stop at caring for the temporal needs of folk; she cares for their eternal souls.

Mary Jo is a real inspiration and witness to what God can do when we are open and trust Him. Check out her web-site at

The Crucifixion Scene at Pantasaph

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 10 September 2008 - 19:35:43 | by admin

pope_pius_ix_003.jpgIn an earlier post I mentioned the life-sized Calvary Scene at the top of the Stations of The Cross at Pantasaph, and the fact that an Indulgence is granted for devoutly praying for the conversion of England whilst looking at the cross. This devotion firmly links the prayers of the English and the Welsh.

The famed poet Francis Thompson paced beneath this cross, reciting snatches of his poem
'Ode to the Setting Sun'.

However, I would like to quote a cheery poem written by a friar in the 1920's to describe a visit from Josephine Monogue from Eccles. (The said lady led a group of pilgrims up the Stations when the poetic friar was delayed).

You have heard of Julius Caesar
And of Great Napoleon too,
And of how the English general
Beat the French at Waterloo.
But there is a page of history
That is not yet in vogue.
Of how the Eccles Pilgrimage
Was led by Jo Monogue!

(Extract taken from the wonderful Margaret Swarbrick's The Story of Pantasaph )

The Indulgence

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 10 September 2008 - 19:23:40 | by admin

pope_pius_ix_005.jpgHere is the plaque on the rear of the cross confirming the details of the Indulgence.
When Viscount Fielding and his family converted to the Catholic Faith, Pope Pius IX also gave them the newly discovered relics of St. Primitivus. This great and hallowed treasure was stored in a reliquary beneath the Lady altar. His Holiness also granted an Indulgence to those who honoured the relics of the Roman saint on his feast day; the 27th September. All of which confirms the importance of Pantasaph as another key place in the New Evangelization of Great Britain. 

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 08 September 2008 - 20:52:28 | by admin

our_ladys_birthday_003.jpgWe went over to Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral today to celebrate the Feast of the Birth of Our Blessed Lady. Fr. Ian O'Shea preached about Our Lady under the title 'Cause of our joy', explaining that she enjoys this title because she is more than a mere recepticle of the Incarnation; she is rather the Mother of Jesus Christ. As such she truly is the long awaited cause of our joy as Christians. Fr. Ian also wisely pointed out the harmony between Catholic doctrine and experience which both point to the reality that authentic love of Our Lady only, and always, increases devotion to Her Son.

Although I am not normally a fan of modern architecture I do love this particular view across the Cathedral's sanctuary. This is because the broad band of red light from the long window at the left surges from above and down to the confessionals in the Reconciliation chapel. Not only do the blue and red bands call to mind the Precious Blood and Water flowing from Christ's Sacred Heart, but the sheer scale of them in relation to the confessionals and indeed the approaching penitent speak to me of Christ's superabundance of love gushing down to lovingly overwhelm the repentant sinner. Isn't that the kind of Saviour we all need? 

Interestingly, Fr. Mike Williams tells me that often times these windows are brightly lit from behind when the sun is high in the sky behind and above them around 3pm.

Why not approach the Mercy seat of God and make a good confession while you may? If we only knew what the Lord offers us in the way of mercy, gentleness and renewal of heart, mind, body, soul, memory and intellect we would run to Him. Tell a friend!

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