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!

Happy Birthday to Our Blessed Lady

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 08 September 2008 - 20:39:48 | by admin

our_ladys_birthday_004.jpgAfter Mass we had lunch with Fr. Mike in the pleasant surroundings of the Cathedral Plaza Shop. Here he is tucking into his celebratory Feast Day chilli!

Bring flowers of the rarest...

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 08 September 2008 - 20:33:43 | by admin

our_ladys_birthday.jpgBack in the 'domestic church' of our home in Wales, we had a miniature procession with a fresh bouquet of flowers to present to Our Lady for her birthday, whilst singing As I kneel before you. (Those who attended our wedding may remember that we also then processed to present a bouquet at the Lady altar accompanied by the same song).

St Pio Day of Prayer in Wales

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 07 September 2008 - 17:59:08 | by admin

st_pio_day_003.jpgGod bless those Franciscan friars at Pantasaph who've just pulled together another wonderful St. Pio Day of Prayer!

The prayers began in the outdoor shrine, where Fr. Keith Windsor led us in the Mysteries of Light at the foot of the new statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

Gathered in prayer

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 07 September 2008 - 17:54:26 | by admin

st_pio_day_005.jpgPlenty of pilgrims had come from places as diverse as North Wales, Liverpool, Lancashire and even Nottingham.

Holy Mass and Relic Service

Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 07 September 2008 - 17:50:19 | by admin

st_pio_day_001.jpgThe beautiful friary church of St. David was full for the midday Mass at which Fr. Louis Maggiore preached powerfully on the necessity for, and benefits of, individual Confession due to Our Lord's commissioning His priests with the Power of the Keys to bind and to loose sins. He also called on us to get involved in going out and bringing in the lost and lonely; because this is our role in light of the virtue of our Christian Baptism.

After Holy Mass, Fr. Louis invited everyone who wished to pay individual devotion to St. Pio by honouring a relic of his garments to come forwards. Above, Angeline is in the process of doing so.

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