His Banner over us is Love!

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 07 September 2008 - 01:21:32 | by admin

recusants_017.jpgDuring the afternoon we were refreshed with love and good food at the Bootle home of our good friends Margaret, Phil, and Phil Jnr. Whilst there, we accepted this rainbow over their garden as a sign of God's loving covenant!
Genesis 9:13 - I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Merry Olde England!

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 07 September 2008 - 01:16:05 | by admin

recusants_015.jpgWe also managed to whizz across to St. Mary's Parish in Little Crosby. This is a key location in the defence and handing on of the Catholic Faith in British culture as the local Blundell family were recusants who maintained the Faith throughout the persecutions of the English Reformation. As such, Little Crosby is thought to be the oldest extant Catholic village in England.
This then is the Catholic Parish Church of St. Mary's which was completed by AW Pugin in 1847. Sadly, the Church was locked today which prevented us from praying and admiring the beautiful interior. However, the parish has a web site under development which features the fine ceiling and the historical mural in the side chapel. We prayed across the street and asked for the intercession of the English martyrs for the reconversion of Great Britain back to God and His One True Church.  

The Well Cross

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 07 September 2008 - 01:05:35 | by admin

recusants_003.jpgThis old cross is thought to mark the site of an old holy well. A couple of miles away in the town of Great Crosby another possible well location is marked by a simple wooden cross; which today finds itself in the midst of the hustle of shops, banks and cars! 

The Village Crucifix

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 07 September 2008 - 01:01:32 | by admin

recusants_004.jpgThe village crucifix has an encouraging quote at its base from Matthew 10:32;

So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.

Interestingly, the presence of a crucifix in the village allows locals and passersby the opportunity to do just that!

Secret Chapel

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 07 September 2008 - 00:50:58 | by admin

recusants_009.jpgThroughout the period of the English Reformation the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered in secret in the village up to 1720; this cottage is marked with a white cross above the front door as testimony to the secret chapel which existed therein.

Britain in Bloom!

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 07 September 2008 - 00:44:44 | by admin

recusants_010.jpgrecusants_008.jpgThe village takes part each year in the North West in Bloom competition and has had deserved success in recent years, winning an Outstanding Achievement award in 2005, and 2nd Runner Up in the Small Village category in both 2006 and 2007. That horse is not real, but the flowers are!

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.  

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