Christ is the Light

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 31 October 2008 - 20:50:45 | by admin

all_saints_day.jpgHat tip once again to Jackie Parkes at Catholic Mom of 10 for this extra cute little one dressed as Mother Teresa for an early celebration of All Saints over in America! (The full story is on the Blog called Journey to Therese linked to Jackie's story).

Check out Jackie's story at -

This puts us in mind of a memorable episode of Mother Angelica Live! where Mother spent the evening of Halloween surrounded by innocent, little children dressed as saints for a little alternative party which focused on the light of Christ present in our world, rather than dressing children up as demons or lost souls.

3 John 11 teaches -
'Beloved do not imitate evil but imitate good. He who does good is of God; he who does evil has not seen God.' 

It therefore seems very appropriate for Catholic families to choose to have a party anticipating the great Feast of All Saints. We know of several families and groups who celebrate this date in this manner, giving lots of fun to the kids, whilst helping them to learn more about their faith, and at the same time learning to resist some of the worst examples of the glorification of evil manifested by contemporary culture.  

Of course now that this feast day has been moved to the Sunday things fall a little out of step...
but that's another story!

Petition against Sex Education for Primary School Children

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 31 October 2008 - 13:28:11 | by admin

dscf0739.jpgWell done to Jackie Parkes over at Catholic Mom of 10 for keeping this issue in the public eye (see links page).

About 10 years ago I remember reading a book from the 1970's which explained that groups at the extreme radical edge of society where intent on spreading pornography and destroying the family - and that a key way to fulfill their ambitions was to employ so-called sex education in primary schools.

Back then this sounded ridiculously far fetched and most mainstream groups would have opposed it. It is a sign of the collapse of British society that such measures are now being openly pursued. It is also downright disturbing that organizations like the 'Catholic' Education Services CES are promoting them against Magisterial teaching and without being corrected by the Bishops.

Happily we  noticed today that Catholic Action UK have a link to an on-line petition to 10 Downing Street asking that sex education for primary children be opposed. Catholic Action UK is at - 

Or the petition can be accessed directly at -

Please support this very important initiative to protect the innocent from this latest anti-family move.

And please pray that families will find the strength and support to protect their children.


The Reliquary at Ladyewell

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 30 October 2008 - 21:02:20 | by admin

layewell_010.jpgThe reliquary at Ladyewell House deserves a special mention because of its importance as a place of prayer, devotion and Catholic history.

The centrepiece is the remarkable Burgess Altar which is flanked by statues of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher. The altar was constructed by John Townley in 1560, to be disguised as a side cabinet at Townley Hall when not in use, during the days of the persecution of Catholics to avoid detection by priest hunters... 

St. Edmund Arrowsmith, St. Edmund Campion, and Blessed John Woodcock are amongst the great priests who are thought to have celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at this altar during the heights of the persecution.

layewell_011.jpgAnother fascinating relic in here is the part of the cranium of St. Thomas a Becket (who was of course martyred during an earlier period of trouble between the state and the church in 1170 A.D. in Canterbury Cathedral). St. Thomas has been a hero of mine since I used to pray, many years ago as a student at Ushaw College, in a side chapel which depicted his martyrdom in its beautiful stained glass window. 

layewell_020.jpgThis attractive little set up includes a relic of the True Cross in the crucifix and relics of no less heroes of The Faith than St. John of God and St. Gerard Majella.

Other relics - with authentication documents - include those of great saints such as - 
St. Gregory the Great
St. Edward the Confessor
St. Paul (Apostle)
St. Peter (Apostle)
St. Joseph
St. Charles Borromeo
St. Matthew (Apostle)
St. John (Apostle)
St. James (Apostle)
St. Philip (Apostle)
St. Thomas (Apostle)
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Martin de Porres
St. Peregrine
St. Pope Pius X - (a piece of his flesh!!!)

A set of vestments thought to have been worn by Fr. Edmund Campion and another set (which were definitely worn by Blessed John Woodcock before his arrest and move to Lancaster Castle) flank the reliqury in individual glass cases.

In this sacred place, so filled with tangible connections to the heroes of The Faith and our rich heritage as British Catholics, we all prayed for the reconversion of Britain and for the defeat of the HFE Bill which was being discussed that day in the House of Lords. We asked for the intercession of the martyrs of Douai College and of all the English Martyrs and Saints and prayed the Rosary decade of the Resurrection. Ray then read out a moving piece which included the last words of Blessed Fr. Peter Wright who was executed for his Catholic priesthood at Tyburn in 1651 and who forgave his oppressors.

All in all a very moving and enjoyable day which we highly recommend!

The Grounds at Ladyewell

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 30 October 2008 - 20:37:25 | by admin

layewell_028.jpgOf course the central focus of the grounds is the Holy Well of Our Lady of Fernyhalgh which is pictured below. This is Ladyewell House from the rear - the chapel can be seen upstairs at the left.

layewell_024.jpgThe chapel of the English Martyrs features the names of the martyrs around the interior walls. On warmer days the doors get thrown back to allow the Holy Mass or Benediction to be celebrated for an outdoor congregation gathered on the wooden benches.

layewell_025.jpgSt. Margaret Clitherow has a special place of honour in the garden. A hand from Canon Bamber's collection of relics, and thought by oral tradition to be St. Margeret Clitherow's, is kept in the reliquary in the main house.

layewell_029.jpgThe first 15 mysteries of the Holy Rosary are depicted on Portuguese tiles in a secluded spot with a couple of benches to allow private prayer.

layewell_031.jpgSt. Pio is honoured here with a little garden all of his own for people to pray and ask for his intercession.

layewell_033.jpgHere Angeline walks through the set of Stations of the Cross which meander through the trees and down into a hollow. At the centre a small scene depicts Christ rising victorious from the dead!

St. Mary's Church at Ladyewell

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 30 October 2008 - 20:14:37 | by admin

layewell_009.jpgSt. Mary's church on the approach lane to Ladyewell was consecrated in 1795. The church was constructed with monies inherited by Fr. Anthony Lund who was eventually buried before the altar in 1811. Fr. Lund also gave money to the building of Ushaw College near Durham after a meeting was held in Ladyewell House about the construction of the seminary. (The room where this discussion occured is now the piety shop!).

layewell_008.jpgIn the churchyard, close to the front door, lie the mortal remains of Fr. Thomas Cookson - a former theology professor at Ushaw College and Domestic Prelate of His Holiness Pope Leo XIII - he died in 1878, at the age of 75 and after serving 50 years as a priest.

layewell_004.jpgThe interior of the church is very splendid and an incredible place for silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

layewell_001.jpgHaving survived the demolition of sanctuaries which has all too frequently characterised the past 40 years, St. Mary's surely offers a perfect setting for celebrating the Sacred Mysteries in the Extraordinary Form.

layewell_005.jpgThe tabernacle features the imagery of the pelican which was once thought by ornotholigists to be a bird which fed its young from its own blood by pecking at its breast near its heart. This iconography was popular to Catholic sensibilities because it suggested Christ feeding His own little ones from his own Heart - from His own flesh and blood - which is of course what happens during Holy Commnion at Mass. The High Altar at Ushaw College is another beautiful setting which features the imagery of the pelican and its young.

layewell_006.jpgHalf way down the central aisle the ceiling is dominated by this majestic ceiling boss which recalls in latin the words of the Glory be to The Father and to The Son and to The Holy Spirit.

layewell_007.jpgMaryla and Angeline pray before the Lady Altar.

The Great Father Ruscillo

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 30 October 2008 - 19:49:39 | by admin

layewell_r.jpgThe trip to Ladyewell dovetails quite nicely with our recent posts. The uncle of Fr. Luiz Ruscillo (who spoke so well at The Faith, The Family, The Future conference last weekend in St. Albans) is none other than the great Canon Benedict Ruscillo. 

Father Benedict is another priest who had a big impact on me when I used to visit Ladyewell as a young man. He was the chaplain at Ladyewell from 1987 until 2005 and in that time worked very hard with a team of lay people to develop the house and land into a renewed place of prayer and pilgrimage giving a special place of honour to the cult of the English Martyrs.

He is pictured above in Ladyewell House beneath the image of the Divine Mercy on the day he was made a Canon by Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue in 2002.

Trip to Ladyewell

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 30 October 2008 - 18:39:24 | by admin

layewell_021.jpgAfter the Divine Mercy prayer group Ray and Maryla suggested that we join them, and their son Phil, on a day trip up to the ancient shrine of Ladyewell near Preston.

layewell_023.jpgThe area around Ladyewell is called Fernyhalgh and was once settled by Romans and subsequently by Anglo-Saxons.

Around 1100 A.D. an Irish merchant called Fergus Maguire was caught in a storm in the Irish Sea. He prayed to God to deliver him and promised to perform some pious action if he were spared. He heard a heavenly voice saying -

'Go to Fernyhalgh and there where thou shalt find a crabtree having coreless fruit hanging over a shrine, build me a chapel.'

After landing at Liverpool (then a small port) he travelled through the northwest in search of such a place. When he eventually came to Fernyhalgh, and found everything as it had been described by the voice, he saw a stone bearing a tracery of Our Lady and the Child Jesus and realized that this must have already had some history as a Marian shrine.

layewell_022.jpgDocumentary evidence exists to prove the existence of a chapel on the site by 1349 A.D. Although this was destroyed in 1547 during the Protestant Reformation, the faithful continued to travel on pilgrimage to the Holy Well at the site. 

In 1685 A.D., after the Catholic King James came to the throne, Ladyewell House was built as a Mass centre with a priest's accomodation and a chapel. In 1687, Bishop Leyburne confirmed 1,099 souls at the house whilst the Catholic Faith could be practiced openly. Sadly of course, the king had to flee England and the persecution of Catholics began again. 

In 1715, the resident priest Fr. Tootle had to hide in a nearby barn whilst pursuviants ransacked Ladyewell House, which today houses a little chapel, cafe, museum, reliquary, book stall and piety shop.  

HFE Bill in The House of Lords - Today!!!

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 29 October 2008 - 01:17:02 | by admin


Please pray today-

The HFE Bill is now being rushed to the House of Lords for the final stage of its passage to becoming law.

Today - Wednesday 29th Oct 2008 - This Bill is to be considered in the Lords - TODAY!!!

If you haven't done so yet - check out SPUC's website for e-mail details to give a last minute call for the Lords to reject this Bill.

Above all - Please PRAY!!!

Torch of The Faith Book Stall

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 29 October 2008 - 00:50:18 | by admin

books_stall_002.jpgWe've just spent a peaceful evening over in Chester again at the Divine Mercy Prayer Group run by Ray and Maryla.

They very kindly let us set up our Torch of The Faith book stall in their dining room and we sold several items. A large part of our ministry is to spread the faith through quality, orthodox books and media.

books_stall_001.jpgThis was the third time we've set the stall up since starting our new ministry back in July. Our first stall was in the Franciscan Friary at Pantasaph in North Wales on the day of the consecration by Bishop Edwin Regan of the new statue of Our Lady of Fatima in the outdoor shrine there. The second stall was at the Youth 2000 retreat in Walsingham in August.

We have established a range of orthodox titles to choose from and a selection of Angeline's Christian, Christmas cards which we hope to soon have on sale on a new online shop page on this website. 

Our book titles this evening included -
The Diary of St. Faustina
Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI
The Ratzinger Report by Vittorio Messori
Mother Angelica by Raymond Arroyo
Priest by Michael S. Rose
Catholic and Christian by Dr. Alan Schreck
John Paul II - We love You by Fr. Peter Mitchell
Go in Peace - Guide to Confession by EWTN's Fr. Mitch Pacwa

And our media selection included -
Karol - The Man Who Became Pope - DVD
Narnia - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - DVD
The Song of Bernadette - DVD
Chant - Music for Paradise - CD

To name just a few of the titles...

Thanks to all who purchased books, DVD's and cards and remember that our selection of Christian cards will soon be available online!

Pick up the Torch!

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 27 October 2008 - 19:48:43 | by admin

faith_family_future_014.jpgSometimes it can be hard when trying to establish an apostolate like Torch of The Faith in contemporary society.

We therefore found it rather moving and encouraging when Fr. Aidan Nichols OP said twice during his talk that it was time for Catholics to 'pick up the torch' in the reconversion of England. 

Sometimes you only need a word or two like that to keep you going. Deo Gratias!

The talks from the conference will soon be available to purchase on CD. To keep post of this and future developments check out the website at -  

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