This Week's Light Reading

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 05 September 2008 - 16:00:16 | by admin

fr._aidan_nichols_op.jpgI am presently reading Fr. Aidan Nichols' excellent book Christendom Awake; which should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in the reform and renewal of the Church! Fr. Nichols hits the nail squarely on the head so many times that I'm constantly calling out 'Absolutely!' before reading out nifty quotes to Angie. If anyone is pondering getting a copy here are a few chapter headings by way of a taster; 
Rerelating Faith and Culture; Re-enchanting the Liturgy; Reviving Doctrinal Consciousness; Relaunching Christian Philosophy; Resacralising Material Culture; Rescuing the Holy Innocents; Reclaiming the Bible and Renewing Priestly Mission.

I like the fact that Fr. Nichols has dedicated this tome to England's Holy Patrons, Our Blessed Lady, and St. Edward, and to the Protector of the Realm, St. George. 

As Fr. Nichols is so articulate and his ideas are so in tune with those of Pope Benedict XVI, wouldn't it be good to see him soon receive a purple skull cap... if not red?

Great Week for Britain!

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 05 September 2008 - 15:35:54 | by admin

st.cuthbert.jpgThis has been a great week for the Church in these isles with the Feast of St. Gregory the Great; who sent St. Augustine of Canterbury with a band of monks, around 595 AD to evangelize the 'Angles'. The good saint and his brethren were fervently loyal to the Holy Father and overcame initial trials to spread the Catholic Faith with much joy and eventual success. 

The second great feast this week was for the legendary Northumberland monk and bishop; St. Cuthbert. The picture above was taken by me in 1999 at Benediction in the chapel dedicated to him at Ushaw College near Durham where I was, at that time, a seminarian. The original St. Cuthbert's chapel, designed by AWN Pugin, was extended in 1884 by the Newcastle architects Dunn and Hansom. The final work remains as a magnificent edifice with soaring ceilings, a beautiful marble raredos and altar plus a crystal studded, gold tabernacle. Above the inward facing choir stalls, the words of the Magnificat stand out in golden lettering. The incredible lectern and paschal candlestick were both featured at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

It is to be hoped that with the advent of Pope Benedict's 2007 Motu Proprio that this splendid chapel will be thrown wide open and used to full effect!

Happy memories I have of the place include; singing the solo of the Litany of Saints over the deacons as they lay prostrate at their ordination at the end of the summer term of 1998; praying night time novenas by torchlight before the High Altar with friends during dark, winter nights and returning after a four year absence to attend Fr. Mike Williams' ordination to the Diaconate in 2003.

St. Gregory the Great and St. Cuthbert - Pray for us!

From Triffids to The Trinity!

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 02 September 2008 - 21:44:01 | by admin

trinitas_002.jpgWhat's this? An attack by Triffids on Chateux Houghton? A secret field of illegal Welsh fauna and flora? Not a bit of it! The wonders of modern science have made it possible for me to take a close up and contemporary look at St. Bonaventure's teaching on Creation.  

For Bonaventure, all Creation was rich with meaning because it had been loved into existence by the Blessed Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He therefore saw that all Creation must speak of its Creator; it was loaded with truth, and in the sense that it pointed beyond itself to God was thus sacramental. St. Angela of Foligno even said Creation was pregnant with God. That is frequently the wonder of Catholicism; everyday things such as oil, water, bread, wine, words, gestures, relationships, architecture, art and natural elements are laden with meaning as signs pointing heavenward. Of course, because of the Fall, it is much harder for us to recognize this.

The answer is Grace which builds on our nature and leads us to accept and return God's free gift of Divine Charity; God's Love! The more we respond in love to this superabundant and unmerited gift, the more we can see properly the way things really are, and so recognize once again the Trinity at the heart of all things.

And so the above giant poppy! At the centre I am pointing to the reproductive sternum which looks a lot like the Trinitarian symbols used in ancient Celtic Christian imagery (see an example below holding together the three circular images at the top of the quilt banner). Perhaps those Celts were on to this; a closer look reveals that at the centre of this beautiful instance of God's creativity there is the element that gives new life, and this is made as one element which seperates out into Three. So in the flower, we can see an icon pointing to God, the Three in One who freely creates life and beauty.

All of this reminds us of the words in Genesis 1v31 '
And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good'.

Background Banner

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 01 September 2008 - 13:55:03 | by admin

helens_photos_036.jpgThe sharper eyed amongst you will have noticed the faint image in the background of Our Lady and the Child Jesus. The original banner as it appears here was kindly made for me by my sister Michelle for Christmas 1999. It is a quilt wall hanging to represent stained glass and has taken pride of place in the various places we've called home over the years; in Liverpool, Warrington, oversees in Ohio and now here in North Wales. It is also helpful as a catechetical tool and has enhanced talks we've given on subjects such as the Rosary. Michelle, who has displayed quilt work in Manchester (where she lives and is part of a craft group), finds rich inspiration for her work during annual holidays in the Isle of Skye. We thank God for her and her artistic gifts, which have enhanced our website.  

Jesus Christ - The Way, The Truth and The Life

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 01 September 2008 - 13:27:58 | by admin

jesus_lives.jpgOh Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fount of Mercy for us, I trust in you!

This in a nutshell is why we do what we do; because God loves each and every one of us, created us in His image and likeness, and calls us to repent of our sins and return to Him through His Merciful Heart. If you've left Him through weakness and sin, come home this very day. He longs for you to return to the haven of peace that is His love. Come home to Him and His Holy Church today and rise again to new life in Christ!

There is a great little prayer in St. Faustina's Diary (no 286) for one's native country;

Most merciful Jesus, I beseech You
through the intercession of Your Saints
and especially the intercession of Your dearest Mother
who nurtured You from childhood, bless our native lands... of Great Britain.
I beg You, Jesus, look not on our sins, but on the tears of little children,
on the hunger and cold they suffer. Jesus, for the sake of these innocent ones,
grant me the grace that I am asking of You for our countries. Amen

The love of Christ for ALL!

Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 30 August 2008 - 13:29:03 | by admin

stations_001.jpgLast evening we did the Stations of the Cross up the 'mountain' behind the Franciscan Friary at Pantasaph. Each Station is housed in a little brick chapel and is portrayed in a beautiful mosaic. We used the meditations of St. Alphonsus de Liguori which are both moving and powerful. The devotion of the Stations of the Cross led my dad into the Catholic Church in 1989, thus bringing in my mum the following year and me in 1993. Angie and I find in them much solace and strength for the journey of faith.

Stations of the Cross by Moonlight

Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 30 August 2008 - 13:16:02 | by admin

stations_003.jpg I know it sounds a bit George Formby, but aren't the nights pulling in? By the time we got to the top of the Way of the Cross it was pitch black! It was worth getting there though as the Stations at Pantasaph have been granted an Indulgence from the Holy See; if one prays for the conversion of England whilst looking at the Calvary scene at the summit. We prayed the Stations for that intention; and of course for Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the outlying isles. If one visits in the day time a fine cup of tea can be purchased from the tea shop and time can be spent in the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio prayer garden - the place where the new statue of Our Lady of Fatima was recently installed. (See earlier post below).

Happy 43rd Anniversary to Mum and Dad!

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 29 August 2008 - 12:42:55 | by admin

mum_and_dad_-_43rd_anniversary_003.jpgWe both went up to Liverpool again yesterday to visit my Mum and Dad to celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary with them. We had a lovely time with a nice tea (which included a slice of lemon drizzle cake!)

We give thanks to God for their witness to fidelity in marriage and for bringing up their family to love God. This photo was taken in front of their family prayer altar which bears testimony to the source of their long marriage. Deo Gratias!

Fr. Godfrey Aloysius Carney R.I.P

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 29 August 2008 - 12:24:28 | by admin

father.jpgI motored up to my home town of Liverpool on Tuesday to attend the funeral Mass at St. John the Evangelist of one of the greatest men I ever knew. 
Born and educated in Ireland, Fr. Godfrey Aloysius Carney served faithfully as a priest in Liverpool for a remarkable 74 years before his death last week at the age of 98.

Faithful, orthodox, humble, hardworking, kind, full of mirth and above all holy; he made a BIG impression on my life since I used to attend his First Saturdays in Bootle in the late 1990's. Fr. Carney's homilies impressed on me the need for holiness and integrity in one's walk with Christ; challenging me as to the importance of purity of heart and helping me to recognize the degrading nature of so much of the rubbish that passes for media entertainment and indeed its offensiveness to our loving Father in Heaven. 

In 2004, Angie and I had a quiet moment with the great man during the reception for his 70th anniversary of priesthood. He spoke of the Holy Spirit at work powerfully in him from the moment of his ordination in 1934 and how he had felt that power through his hands when confecting the Holy Sacrifice every day since; when bread and wine become the Sacred Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Attending his Masses one was profoundly aware of this power and mystery, such was his reverence, devotion and manner of speech.

He was a real shepherd, lovingly tending his flock, leading them home amidst dangers and all the while warning off the wolves. It was just and right that St. John's was so tightly packed for his funeral.  Fr. Carney - May you rest in peace, Oh priest of Jesus Christ!

Youth 2000 @ Walsingham!

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 26 August 2008 - 09:07:51 | by admin

youth_2000_003.jpgOur good friend Fr. Mike Williams processing to the outdoor Shrine Mass at Walsingham from whence we've just returned after an amazing 3 days at the annual Youth 2000 prayer festival!

It was a refreshing weekend with hundreds of young people celebrating the riches of the Faith, wall to wall Adoration, Mass, Confessions, praise and worship, powerful testimonies and quality workshops. We were greatly encouraged to see so many priests from a variety of dioceses and religious communities (including several young men ordained within the last few years).

Thanks again to all who visited our stall, took time out to share with us, offered to pray for our ministry and purchased books, cards, CD's and DVD's. May the Lord richly reward you all and do keep in touch! God Bless.

Our web site is still in the process of being built - an ongoing work! The contact us area still needs linking directly to our e-mail - which is

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