6th Annual G.K. Chesterton Pilgrimage in London


Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 30 July 2016 - 10:30:06 | by admin

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We invite readers to please pray for the success of the 6th annual G.K. Chesterton pilgrimage, which is now underway in London.

Every year, the pilgrimage is held on the anniversary of Chesterton's conversion to the Catholic Faith. It is held to pray for the Diocese of Northampton's discernment over opening the cause of G.K. Chesterton for Beatification. Many of those who participate in the annual pilgrimage have received favours after praying to G.K. Chesterton, particularly for the conversion of lapsed Catholics and non-Catholics. Each year, they take a prayer list along with them to pray for the conversion of many souls and for the good health of those who are sick.

The pilgrimage begins at 8:00 am outside St. George's Anglican church in London's Aubrey Walk. This is the old church where Chesterton was baptized as a baby. The pilgrimage next prays outside the abortion centre at 87 Mattock Lane in Ealing at approximately 9:45 am. From there, the group heads to Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Michael's Catholic Church on Osborn Road, Uxbridge for the Sung Traditional Latin Mass at 1:30pm. The music for this Mass is sponsored by the Latin Mass Society. After Holy Mass, the pilgrims eat the packed lunch that they have brought along with them, before setting off to Beaconsfield. It was there that Chesterton lived, was converted to the Catholic Faith, died and is buried. The annual walk always concludes with a prayer at Chesterton's graveside.

The total distance covered by the walkers is 27 miles. The good Stuart will again be walking on this event in part to raise sponsorship money for the excellent Good Counsel Network, which continues to help mothers, and to save hundreds of babies from abortion, in the London area. Donations can be made payable and sent to The Guild of Our Lady of Good Counsel, PO Box 46679, London, NW9 8ZT.

One of the highlights of the event, which always gives us a chuckle, is the fact that you might get sight of Stuart wearing one of those trendy red Che T-shirts.
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Che-sterton that is!

Please do pray for the success of this year's pilgrimage, which marks the 80th year since Chesterton's death in 1936. (The special prayer can be accessed via the website at the address on the above publicity poster).  

Shocking Corruption of the Young at World Youth Day


Torch of The Faith News on Friday 29 July 2016 - 14:36:33 | by admin

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Gravely Flawed

LifeSiteNews has provided a typically thorough critique of a Vatican programme which is being presented this week to young people at the World Youth Day in Poland.

The programme has been released under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for the Family and is called The Meeting Point: Course of Affective Sexual Education for Young People.

LifeSiteNews' Pete Baklinski has exposed the fact that the Vatican programme contains a number of grave problems.

These include the facts that it: hands over the sexual formation of children to outside educators, whilst leaving parents out of the equation; teaches sensitive matter to mixed groups of boys and girls in the same class; completely ignores the 6th and 9th Commandments; fails to mention sexual sins or the sacrament of confession; neglects to mention the warnings of Our Lady of Fatima on impurity and the danger of Hell; makes uncritical use of the homosexualist icon Elton John as an example of a ''gifted and famous'' person; fails to mention Christ's teaching on marriage; suggests that ''heterosexuality is something to be discovered''; mentions only the psychological harm caused by abortion, with no mention at all of its intrisically evil nature or the spiritual consequences for the soul; and uses sexually explicit images and immoral videos as springboards for group discussion. 

Although Baklinski does point out some positive elements in the course, such as its promotion of chastity in later modules and its avoidance of gender theory and radical feminism, the above mentioned problems should rule this programme out for any use with young people whatsoever. 

Indeed, Baklinski also demonstrates how the new programme represents a clear departure from the Magisterial teachings expressed by Pope Pius XI in his much ignored encyclical Divini Illius Magistri, Pope Pius XII's address to the fathers of families, Pope St. John Paul II's apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, and the 1983 Educational Guidelines in Human Love which were issued by the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education.

The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality

One of the other key texts that we have particularly drawn from, in Torch of The Faith's catechetical presentations over the years, is The Pontifical Council for the Family's 1995 teaching document, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality - Guidelines for Education Within the Family.

We have used this as a guiding template for giving catechesis on chastity and marriage; as well as for equipping parents to educate their own children correctly and to be able to resist the atheistic forms of ''sex education'' which, sad to relate, prevail in many so-called Catholic schools in England.
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For the most part, this marvellous document has been both overlooked and much resisted in England. We know a good grandfather who, armed with his own copy, was banned from even entering a meeting for priests, parents and teachers at a Catholic school on Merseyside. We've also heard that a priest-director of education had suggested that being a Roman document, it did not apply in the English situation. And this was years before Jorge Bergoglio and Reinhard Marx were on the scene with their decentralization theories...

The Spirit of Secularisation

From Pete Baklinski's careful dissection of The Meeting Point: Course of Affective Sexual Education for Young People, it is clear that this new programme itself stands in grave contradiction to the standards enunciated in The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality and other key teachings. 

That there is therefore something very wrong at the Pontifical Council for the Family in the days of Pope Francis, means that Christian families can no longer trust it or its work.

Indeed, this is not news...

As long ago as the 26th August, 2015, Voice of the Family's John Smeaton was warning that the spirit of secularisation now presides at the Pontifical Council for the Family.
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Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the present head of the Pontifical Council for the Family. ''Nuff'' said...

Recalling that the Council's former head, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, operated under the motto Veritas in caritate, John Smeaton noted by way of contrast that, under the new leadership of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the Pontifical Council for the Family had hosted three workshops to look at ''the possibility of an evolution of the ecclesiastical doctrine of marriage''.

Whilst the reports of those workshops were not publicised, their nature can perhaps be discerned from the fact that the dissenting homosexualist, and sacrilegious communion promoting, Fr. Eberhard Schockenhoff was among the participants. Also present was Fr. Gianpaolo Dianin, who suggests that traditional Church discipline ''understands little'' of the hardships faced by contemporary families...

Grave Scandal - Grave Consequences

Paragraph CCC 2353 of The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that it is a grave scandal to corrupt the young in the area of fornication.

It is gravely imperative that Archbishop Paglia and his minions are reminded about the intrinsically evil nature of key elements of their new programme, the danger it poses to the souls of young people, and of the clear danger it poses to their own souls as potential corrupters of the young on a massive scale.

For the sake of the salvation of all involved, this new programme should not be tolerated or promoted by Pope Francis, Archbishop Paglia or the many other bishops, priests and catechists taking part in Poland's World Youth Day.

Now is the Time to Repent!

As the following warning from St. John Vianney's Little Catechism of the Cure d'Ars makes clear, it is time to take off the sunglasses, put down the Kool Aid and start getting serious about faith and morals...

So, my children, of all sins, that of impurity is the most difficult to eradicate. Other sins forge for us chains of iron, but this one makes them of bull's hide, which can be neither broken nor rent; it is a fire, a furnace, which consumes even to the most advanced age.

See those two infamous old men who attempted the purity of the chaste Susannah; they had kept the fire of their youth even till they were decrepit. When the body is worn out with debauchery, when they can no longer satisfy their passions, they supply the place of it, oh, shame! by infamous desires and memories!

With one foot in the grave, they still speak the language of passion, till their last breath; they die as they have lived, impenitent; for what penance can be done by the impure, what sacrifice can be imposed on himself at his death, who during his life has always given way to his passions?

Can one at the last moment expect a good confession, a good Communion, from him who has concealed one of these shameful sins, perhaps, from his earliest youth - who has heaped sacrilege on sacrilege? Will the tongue, which has been silent up to this day, be unloosed at the last moment? No, no, my children,; God has abandoned him; many sheets of lead already weigh upon him; he will add another, and it will be the last...

Please Note: This is not meant to make anyone despair, because God is always merciful to those who sincerely repent. What is implied is that we must repent TODAY whilst there is still time and begin again with God's grace. It is not a discouraging condemnation of those who sincerely engage in the grace-aided struggle to be chaste, but a warning to those who refuse to change and who even corrupt others as well as themselves   

St. John Fisher: The Fort is Betrayed Even of Them That Should Have Defended It


Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 28 July 2016 - 10:31:26 | by admin

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Tolkien's fictional Grond the Warhammer Battering Ram - Just how obvious does the threat have to be before leaders in Church and State wake up?

Absurd Denial

It should have been obvious that the sacrilegious slaying of Fr. Jacques Hamel in France two days ago changed everything for the safety of Christians in Europe. After all, what could be more in-your-face evil than two Islamist soldiers entering the very sanctuary of God to slaughter a priest of Jesus Christ as he offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

Whilst politicians and mainstream media outlets hid behind their typically kneejerk reactions regarding the supposedly ''unclear motives'' of the killers (!), one would have hoped for something more from Church leaders.

Instead, the first day after the killing was noteable only for the ineffectual responses of Pope Francis and Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen.

It was bad enough that these leaders failed to express with sufficient gravity the really demonic nature of that attack on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the holy sanctuary or the sacred priesthood.

It is sad to have to say it, but Pope Francis' generic denouncement of ''all forms of hatred'', and his lamentation over the ''absurd violence'' just did not cut it. Neither did Archbishop Lebrun's effete invitation to non-believers to join in the crying. The Islamists must be laughing into their Erk-Soos...

And frankly, what a disgrace that Justin Welby, the faux Archbishop of Canterbury, recently welcomed Muhammed Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman to Lambeth Palace. These two Pakistani clerics have been allowed to enter Britain to tour mosques in Birmingham, Leeds and Newcastle, even though they have led a high-profile campaign in Pakistan in praise of an Islamist assassin.

This would all be bad enough if it were not for last night's news that Pope Francis had given another (!!!) problematic in-flight interview en route to the irreverences of World Youth Day in Poland.

It seems that Pope Francis said: ''When I speak of war, I talk about it seriously, but it's not a war of religion. It's a war for money, for resources, for nature, for dominion. This is the war... Could one think of a religious war? No. All religions want peace. Others want war. Is that clear?''

Erm... abundantly!

Thoughtful people can only respond to that concluding question by considering the actual life history and actions of Mohammed, those of his immediate followers and the general trajectory of Islam throughout history.

In the immediate circumstances, those of the very recent slaughter in France, one can only ask: Did the two Islamic soldiers who murdered Fr. Jacques Hamel believe they were in a war for money, resources, nature or domination?

Exactly!

Clearly, these characters believed they were in a war for religion.

You see, you can sit there all day and say you believe the moon is made of cream cheese. But it ain't so.

And you can sit there all day and say that all religions want peace and that mass immigration of Islamic hordes into Europe is a good thing, but that is not going to diminish the very real existential threat that Catholics now face after the barbarous events in Sainte-Etienne-du-Rouvray two days ago.
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Instead of facing this threat, and using the opportunity to teach the world about the central importance of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Universal Kingship of Jesus Christ and the need to be converted to Him, Pope Francis has just opened his visit to Krakow with calls to the Polish to open their borders, as well as their hearts, to the mass influx of Muslims.

Bet that's going down well with the Poles...

Legitimate Self Defence

When I was 18 years old, my late father and I were waiting in my car next to a railway station in a dicey part of Liverpool. It was after work, so we were wearing smart business suits and ties. We had parked there to await and protect my mother, who was shortly due to arrive at that station.

Perhaps we looked comical sitting there so dressed in that neighbourhood in a bright red Austin Mini.

In any case, after just a few minutes, a gang of thugs passed the car and began to taunt us through the windows. That was when they suggested that we were a pair of ''queers''. With natural disgust about this accusation, and with typically youthful impetuosity, I began to snarl and shout back that we were not ''queers''.

At that point things took a dramatic turn for the worse. The gang suddenly surrounded the car and attempted to drag me out from the driver's seat. Thankfully, I had already locked the doors! Not to be thwarted so easily, they began to rock the car from side to side, whilst chanting such niceties as ''Get him out and kick his head in'' and ''Waste him!'' My father and I quickly realized the full gravity of our situation and I worriedly fumbled for my car keys.

It was then that my father suddenly opened his door, scrambled out and demanded that these thugs back off and show us a little respect!
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As this picture from those times shows, my dad was a man of faith, family and business, not of violence. Yet, there he stood in his smartest clothes surrounded by a violent mob. The ringleader thrust his face and his forefinger right into Dad's face and announced that, whilst he had never hit a man with glasses before, he was about to make an exception if Dad didn't just sit down, shut up and let them get on with dragging me out and kicking my head in!

I'll never forget the deep surge of love and pride that I felt for my father when he refused to back down in his defence of his own son against seemingly impossible odds.

With righteous indignation on his face, he stated that he was old enough to be this gangster's father, that this entitled him to some respect, that we were not ''queers'' but father and son, that we had been minding our own business when they came along and that it would be wisest for them to just let the whole thing drop and move along.

I was amazed when the gang leader, perhaps moved by the tremendous capacity of my father's raised voice to instill fear into even the boldest of men, suddenly shrugged and told his gang to come away with him. In a few seconds this hard-knock thug had been reduced to the state of a hunch-shouldered puppy.

We were not quite out of the woods yet though.

As the gang leader's initial humiliation subsided, I suddenly noticed the gang's collective realization that there was but one exit from the railway station car park. Perhaps the leader spotted a chance to restore his own authority with the gang, maybe his anger had flared again; whatever it was, he and his mates began to run towards this exit to block us in. At this point, I made some judicious use of the accelerator and steering wheel to get us out past them before they could stop us and do any likely damage to the car.

My lessons were not over that day: after swooping in to pick up my mother, Dad also had some sharp words in reserve for me about learning to control my impetuousity and learning to be more prudent. God bless Dad!

The point here can be summed up in the words of CCC 2265 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. These state: ''Legitimate defence can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another's life, the common good of the family or of the state.'' 

The erudite Fr. George Rutler has written an insightful article at FaithZette. Entitled A Christian Duty in the Face of Terror, his article recalls: ''A father is culpable if he does not protect his family. A bishop has the same duty as the spiritual father of his sons and daughters in the Church, just as the civil state has as its first responsibility the maintenance of the ''tranquility of order'' through self defence.'' 

Conclusion

After 26 years, I still experience feelings of love and pride for my father whenever I think of that far-off incident. It would be nice to be able to feel it for our Pope and other leaders in the hierarchy today.
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Then again, we're grown men now and clearly must look to protect our own families. 

At least Cardinal Sarah continues to face generally in the right direction. I'll conclude with his words on the whole matter: ''How many deaths does it take, how many severed heads, for Europe to understand the situation in which the West is?'' 

ICKSP in England - Important Events This Week


Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 27 July 2016 - 11:28:50 | by admin

There are some important events for the ICKSP in England this week. Please pray for the success of these and join in where possible.

1. Mini Pilgrimage to Honour the Martyr-Priest St. John Plessington at Chester.
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Regular readers will recall our recent article on the Holy Well of St. Winefride in North Wales. From 1663, the priest St. John Plessington served the covert Catholics, who kept the Faith throughout the penal times, in the areas around Holywell and Cheshire. In the scare which followed in the wake of the fabricated Titus Oates plot, St. John Plessington was captured and arrested at Chester.

St. John Plessington was sentenced for violating the unjust ban on the presence of Catholic priests in the kingdom. On the 19th July, 1679, after two months of imprisonment, he was hung, drawn and quartered at Gallow's Hill in Boughton, Cheshire.

To honour the memory of St. John Plessington and to pray for more holy priests like him, the ICKSP community will travel from the Shrine of Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena in New Brighton today at 12:30 pm. At 1pm they will meet with other pilgrims, opposite the site where St. John Plessington was tried, at the Capuchin Franciscan Friary Church of St. Francis in Chester.

From there, the group will pray the Rosary whilst following the route along which St. John Plessington was dragged to his cruel execution.

All are welcome to join this important event. Although we cannot make it, we join our hearts to this pilgrimage and invite our readers to do the same. In the wake of yesterday's slaying of Fr. Jacques Hamel during Holy Mass in France, we see just how important it is to pray for priests.

2. Don't Miss the Shrine of Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena on BBC 2 at 6:30pm Today!
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Canon Amaury Montjean with the ''Hairy Builder'' Dave Myers and parishioners in New Brighton. God bless you friends!

At 6:30 pm today, the ICKSP Shrine of Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena will feature on BBC 2's show The Hairy Builder.

In this series, the ''Hairy Builder'' Dave Myers travels around the country looking at interesting buildings and methods of construction. Today, the ''Dome of Home'' is featured.

The Shrine of Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena was constructed in 1935 and has long been nick-named locally as the ''Dome of Home''. This is because it was one of the first landmarks to be seen by seafarers returning from the hazardous Atlantic convoys as they sailed back home towards the port of Liverpool. It is said that the formidable Fr. Mullins used to pray inside the church during air raids to ask for St. Philomena's protection. Although a few windows were broken, the church's 100-foot tall and 37-foot diameter dome survived the heavy air-raids on the Merseyside docklands unscathed. 

The vast church was closed up for a while but, thanks to the leadership of Bishop Mark Davies, it was re-opened by him as an ICKSP Shrine for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the provision of the sacraments in the Traditional Form in 2012. At the time, Bishop Davies proclaimed the shrine as a ''Beacon of Hope'' for future generations.
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Since then, the shrine has gone from strength to strength, with daily Low Mass, weekly High Mass, the growth of a joyful and welcoming community, groups for catechesis, the support of married couples and young people, positive outreach in the local area, and the reception of a couple of new converts into the Catholic Church. We have not been able to get there as much as we used to due to Mum's care needs, but our hearts are often there.

In an interview about today's programme with the Wirral Globe, Canon Amaury Montjean has said: ''We hope that the show will encourage even more local people to wander up the hill and discover the beauty at the church. It is an oasis of peace and prayer that is open every day for everyone.''

We encourage readers in England to view this show today! International readers are invited to pray that it will help others to find God's truth, love and peace.

3. First Solemn High Masses of Canon Cosme Montjean
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Readers are reminded that the recently ordained younger brother of Canon Amaury Montjean - Canon Cosme Montjean - will be visiting England this weekend to offer his First Solemn High Masses at Preston and New Brighton.

The details are as follows:-

Saturday, 30th July, 2016 at 10:30am - Shrine Church of St. Walburge, Weston Street, Preston, PR2 2QE. Followed by reception in the presbytery.

Sunday, 31st July, 2016 at 10:30 am - Shrine Church of Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena, Atherton Street, New Brighton, CH45 9LT.  Followed by a social in the hall.

Immediately after both of these First Masses, Canon Cosme Montjean will offer First Blessings. Those receiving these blessings may also receive a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions.

Please pray for the success of these events and attend where possible.   



Breaking: French Priest Murdered by Islamists During Holy Mass!


Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 26 July 2016 - 12:31:20 | by admin

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Please pray: Le Point reports that two armed men burst into the Catholic Sainte-Etienne-du-Rouvray church in France during Holy Mass this morning. According to Le Point, the pair shouted ''Daesch!'' - thus associating them with ISIS - and then attacked the priest.

Reuters reports that the elderly priest had his throat cut in the attack. Sadly, he has died of his injuries. Update: Sky News and other outlets report that Fr. Jacques Hamel was actually beheaded! Whilst Le Point suggests that one of those worshipping at Holy Mass was also murdered, other sources claim that this poor person is between life and death.

Although there had then been a hostage situation, with religious sisters and laity held captive in the church, it seems that both of these sacrilegious invaders have now been killed by French police.
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Fr. Jacques Hamel who was sacrilegiously murdered in church by Islamists this morning. 

Only last night, as I typed up our previous article, I feared that this type of thing would start happening to churches soon. This is the worst form of sacrilege.

And still, the mainstream media continues its hideous fudging operation of claiming that the motives of these killers is unclear. The liberal elites in government, media, education and even the Church, together with the unthinking hordes of so-called liberals, will just not face up to the Islamist threat in our midst. Indeed, this growing pressure on settled populations, and the increasing division among peoples, is itself serving a higher agenda for those seeking to bring chaos and then a new atheistic order from that chaos. 

From a spiritual perspective, the sheer number and extremity of the many violent attacks around the world this month certainly make it seem that many demons have now been unleashed on earth.

We must all stay close to Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Mother. Having rejected Christ, our civilization is unraveling into a real dark age. In practical terms, this means that bishops and parish priests must now consider ways to make their churches secure during liturgies to protect the reverence due to Almighty God, and those worshipping Him, from being harmed by this filth of evil.

May the Precious Blood of Jesus protect us all. Pray the Holy Michael prayer often each day. Have your homes properly blessed by an orthodox priest. Mark your property boundaries with blessed salt and Holy Water. Pray the Rosary every single day.

We must wonder whether all those who quickly identified themselves as ''Je suis Charlie'' will be as quick to join us in announcing ''Je suis Catholic!'' 

The Precious Blood of Jesus - Light in the Darkness


Torch of The Faith News on Monday 25 July 2016 - 23:26:36 | by admin

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The rapid decline of our civilization seems to be reaching a critical point with so many outbreaks of nihilistic violence. This July has certainly been punctuated with much pointless bloodshed in so many places. As well as the many examples of Islamist aggression in Europe, there have been multiple shootings of US police officers, multiple shootings at three American night clubs/bars, a multiple shooting in Munich and a couple of multiple shootings here in England.

Just twenty years ago, such occurrences in England would have been so rare as to dominate the news for days; now we are all so desensitized to the growing violence that many folks don't even seem to blink about it.

Then, since first writing this last night, we awake to hear of a mass killing at a care home in Japan.

In such a situation, it would be all too easy to fall prey to discouragement and fear. It is therefore essential to keep one's eyes on Jesus.

Last summer we were given a small prayer of Consecration to the Precious Blood of Jesus by a kindly man in Ireland's Shrine of Knock. As July is the month dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus, let us remember that human suffering can only find meaning in light of His redemptive suffering and Blood. May we each learn to place our trust in Him and to ask for His protection and encouragement in these times.

Consecration to the Precious Blood

O Precious Blood of Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I consecrate myself and all the days of my life to Your love and worship. I place myself and my loved ones in a special manner under Your powerful protection, begging that Your blessing may always rest upon us.

Most Precious Blood, be our light in darkness, our strength in temptation, our consolation in sorrow, our passport to Heaven, and the eternal object of our praise and love. Amen.

Keep Safe and Keep the Faith!  

A Whole Week of the Traditional Latin Mass at Pantasaph Friary


Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 24 July 2016 - 22:27:37 | by admin

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Photo of High Mass in St. David's Church, Pantasaph, in July 2014 taken by Dr. Joseph Shaw.

We were delighted to read at the Latin Mass Wrexham blog that the Traditional Latin Mass will be offered every single day this week in St. David's Church at Pantasaph Franciscan Friary in North Wales. This is because the St. Catherine's Trust Summer School and the Latin Mass Society Latin Course are holding their annual week-long meetings at the friary.

Even if you are not attending these courses, all are welcome to attend St. David's Church for the Holy Masses.

The details for these Masses are: Sunday 24th July 5:30pm; Monday 25th July - Saturday 30th July inclusive 11:30 am; and Sunday 31st July at 11:00am. There will also be Sung Compline in the church at about 9pm each evening. The address is Pantasaph Friary, Monastery Road, Pantasaph, CH8 8PE.

We highly recommend these opportunities to any readers who can get to them.

Happy Memories
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Pantasaph Friary (at left) with St. David's Church (to the right). The forested hill behind includes a marvellous Stations of the Cross with an indulgenced Crucifix at the summit; a splendid Rosary Walk; and a pleasant Lourdes Grotto cut into the craggy rock of the hillside. Rabbits often hop across the pathways, whilst Buzzards soar above the trees overhead.

As well as memories of some very painful crosses, Pantasaph Friary will always hold happy memories for us. From 2007 - 2009, we rented a bungalow in a nearby Welsh village to be close to the monastic prayer and the evangelization team which was then reaching out from the friary into North Wales and Cheshire. In fact, Torch of The Faith was launched during a Day of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, at the friary, in the summer of 2008.

Earlier this year, we wrote an article about the hillside Stations of the Cross at Pantasaph as part of our Favourite Calvaries series. I noticed today that there are a couple of aspects in that article which need correcting. I had suggested that the founders, Lord and Lady Fielding, were married in 1849. I must have inverted my ''6'' and my ''9'' keys, because it was, in fact, 1846! I also said that St. David's was designed by A.W.N. Pugin. It was a little more nuanced than that: the original plans were designed by T.H. Wyatt; and Pugin later adapted and developed them for Catholic worship. The earlier article has now been corrected with these details.

As I explained in that earlier article - here is how it happened.

Lord Rudolph Fielding, later the 8th Earl of Denbigh, and his wife Louisa Pennant, were devout Anglicans at the time of their wedding. To celebrate their marriage, they commissioned the design and construction of St. David's in the rolling green countryside above the Dee Estuary. When they converted to the Catholic Faith in 1850, the planned church converted with them!
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St. Francis of Assisi window - One of the fine stained glass windows in St. David's Church at Pantasaph.

Under Cardinal Wiseman, Lord Fielding took an active part in many charitable enterprises. In 1852, Lord and Lady Fielding established the community of Capuchin Franciscans next to St. David's Church. Their capacious friary was eventually completed in the 1860's. 

One of the highlights of a visit to Pantasaph is the St. Pio garden shrine. Since the feast of Pentecost in 1999, Pantasaph has been designated as the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio. The shrine garden includes a stone outdoor altar and fine statues of St. Pio and Our Lady of Fatima.
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When I mentioned the other day that we used to attend outdoor Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in the grounds at Pantasaph, this was the place I was referring to!

A couple of the friars, who have sinced moved on to pastures new, kindly invited us to give catechetical talks to pilgrims at the shrine on three occasions.
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In September 2008, baked by the sun and flanked by the papal banners, we spoke to a couple of hundred Catholics, after Holy Mass, on the theme of St. Padre Pio - Father, Shepherd and Icon of Christ Crucified. In June 2011, we returned to Wales to speak to another gathering on the theme of Jesus, Our Divine Guest in Holy Communion. Then, on Ascension Sunday 2012, we spoke about the importance of The Ascension in the Daily Life of Catholics.

During the 1870's, the Capuchin monks developed the outdoor Stations of the Cross, which still zig-zag up the forested hillside behind the St. Pio garden to this day.
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In a clearing at the very top of the hill is found the large crucifix, which featured in our Favourite Calvaries article in March.

When Lord and Lady Fielding converted to the Catholic Faith, Bl. Pope Pius IX granted an Indulgence to those who devoutly visited this Calvary scene, made the Stations of the Cross, or looked from a distance at the Cross whilst praying a ''Hail Mary'' for the re-conversion of England.

His Holiness also gave the Fieldings the, then, newly discovered relics of St. Primitivus. These sacred relics still repose beneath the Lady Altar in St. David's Church today.

Several years ago, some of the friars that we were friends with at Pantasaph restored the Tabernacle and Big Six candles to the centre of the sanctuary. For years before this, the Tabernacle had been relegated to a side chapel...

One of these friars told us that a couple of monks had searched in the grounds for Pugin's original wooden raredos from the High Altar - which he had learned had been buried there decades earlier! - but it seemed to have disintegrated in the interim.

Apparently, during some of the iconoclastic vandalism which broke throughout the Church in the years after the Second Vatican Council, some of Pugin's classical art work was destroyed and lost forever.

That raredos and the original High Altar were really national treasures; having even been displayed in the themed ''Medieval Court'' at the Great Exhibition of 1851. More than that, they were treasures in God's House.

St. David's had also contained altar rails and a pulpit. There are no altar rails today and, according to some sources, the pulpit was removed and actually destroyed during the post-Vatican II re-ordering...
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In spite of this religio-cultural vandalism, St. David's Church is still a beautiful place of spiritual sanctuary.

Pugin's original Madonna and Child statue, together with the Lady Chapel raredos, are still in the sublime Lady Chapel. There is also a fine central Crucifix, a great deal of beautiful stained glass, carved wood, painted script and colourful wall-stencilling. The above statue of St. Padre Pio is a welcome recent addition.
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There are many good people in the local area and evangelization, prayer, healing and conversions still grow from the friary.

Amazingly, even as I was gathering the photos for this post during the afternoon, Angie bumped into our old friends Anne and Gwyn, who were visiting on Merseyside.
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Here we are in the Pantasaph Pilgrims' Hall with Anne and Gwyn on the day that they were received into the Catholic Church, at St. David's Church, in September 2008. Since then, they have been helping others to find the True Faith. God bless you guys!

It struck me today that, due to its architectural importance, the scale of the buildings, the support of some very committed people, its proximity to the A55 road link, and the annual week of Latin Masses each July, that St. David's has a lot to recommend it as a permanent location for a Traditional Latin Mass parish in the Wrexham Diocese.

Just a thought...

Anyway, in the meantime, the message to anyone wanting to attend St. David's Church for the above-mentioned daily Traditional Latin Masses, and/or the evening Sung Compline this week, is that the door is open and All are Welcome!
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Don't miss this great opportunity!

St. David of Wales - Pray for us!

Grace, Tradition and Interiority - Part 2 of 2


Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 23 July 2016 - 18:38:00 | by admin

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Full and Active Participation

Our previous article must not be understood as an argument in favour of passive quietism.

To the contrary.

There is a certain irony in the fact that we, like so many other people, have found the Traditional Latin Mass to be such a fertile soil to support the kind of full and active participation which is described by the documents of the Second Vatican Council.

And although there is a certain irony to this, the fact should not be ignored by Pope Francis or any bishops and priests who genuinely wish to support their flocks.

Low Mass and High Mass

Then again, yesterday's article must not be taken, either, as any kind of playing off of the Traditional Low Mass against the Traditional High Mass.

The splendour and music of the High Mass are certainly different than the almost monastic silence experienced in the Low Mass. However, the essence of this splendour and music is so in tune with the mysteries being celebrated that these, too, facilitate prayerful participation in ways proper to their own respective natures.

In any case, there are many ways for the faithful to participate at the level of the heart, mind and will in the Traditional Liturgy.

Whether it be High Mass or Low Mass, we have personally found it both helpful and beneficial to pray along with the priest, by reading through the English translations at the side of the Latin texts in the Traditional Missal. 

The red booklets provided by the Latin Mass Society are also particularly helpful in this regard. These have the added benefit for families with small children, or for adults caring for elderly and confused parents like us with Mum, of including some nice pieces of traditional artwork at various stages of the Mass texts.

The Work of Prayer

The silences and chants in the Traditional Latin Mass are anything but prissy or quietistic.

When the bell rings and the priest and server enter from the sacristy, there is a real sense that, as you fall to your knees for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, there is a job of worship to be got on with. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that the Traditional Liturgy is so appealing to men. 

It's kind of like you roll up your sleeves, get your eyes down, and put your back into the hard graft of adoration, thanksgiving, praise and intercession.

And because the traditional prayers are so richly theological, the rubrics so Trinitarian-Christocentric, and the whole atmosphere so reverent, you know that this ''workspace'' for God's grace to move won't be obstructed or hindered by any crazy man-made novelties.

Taken together with yesterday's article, we see that the Traditional Liturgy facilitates a participation that is at once interior and exterior. Put simply: it engages the whole person.

Perhaps we can best conclude by quoting from Pope St. Pius X's reflections on praying the Holy Mass. What follows is taken from the introductory pages of the Latin Mass Society's booklet for praying the Traditional Mass.

Pray the Holy Mass - St. Pope Pius X

The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the Sacrifice dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the Altar. If you wish to hear Mass as it should be heard, you must follow with your eye, heart and mouth all that happens at the Altar. Further, you must pray with the priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens on the Altar. When acting in this way you have prayed Holy Mass... Don't pray at Holy Mass, but pray the Holy Mass.

Conclusion

We encourage anyone who reads this to attend and pray the Traditional Latin Mass. If you are not used to it, go along anyway with an open heart and mind.

Don't expect to be able to understand or follow everything straight away. Anything as deep as this will take a lifetime and more to comprehend. Although we have been going to the Traditional Latin Mass for several years now, we well remember that it initially took us a couple of months just to be able to keep up with the priest at the various stages of the liturgy.

As with anything worthwhile, perseverance is the key here. That, and asking Our Lord and Our Lady to help you!

To any priests who read this we urge you to learn to offer the Traditional Latin Mass. So many priests who have done this have been amazed at the transformation it has brought to their personal walk with Christ, their ability to minister effectively to their people and the strength it has brought to their priesthood. 

We promise that you will not look back. Well, except perhaps to say Dominus Vobiscum!

Grace, Tradition and Interiority - Part 1 of 2


Torch of The Faith News on Friday 22 July 2016 - 13:36:26 | by admin

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Speaking into Silence

I was recently in conversation with a Catholic lady in her early 80's, as to why we drive so far on Sundays to get to a Traditional Latin Mass.

As there are so many angles from which to come at this, I decided to focus on the one that most resonates at present. And so, I explained how the silence and order of the Low Mass are almost monastic.

Contrasting this with the various jokes which are delivered from the ambo at the start and conclusion of some local Novus Ordo Masses, I tried to convey something of how the Traditional Low Mass allows participants the space for a deep encounter with the living God.

In that gently expressed relativism, which one so often finds among the English of a certain generation, this lady smiled sympathetically and remarked, ''Well...if that is what makes you happy.''

Well, indeed...

A Bitter Trial
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About four years ago, in fact during a Pontifical High Mass with an exquisite choir, I experienced a great sense of distress at just how much our generation, and the one following, had been denied by the hierarchy. I remember whispering out loud, ''How could you have got rid of all of this?''

Becoming increasingly concerned about what it must have been like for those Catholics who, less relativistic in their outlook than my above-mentioned friend, did not want to go along with the, excuse me saying, New Order, I began to scout around.

I distinctly remember my late Dad, who converted to the Faith two decades after the Second Vatican Council, telling me that the late Canon Michael Culhane had once admitted that many local Catholics just could not cope with the liturgical changes and stopped coming to Mass in their distress.

I guess they were left in that spiritually perilous state of still having the Faith, but not its practice. But how does that preserve the state of grace? And how long would the gift of Faith itself remain secure without the sustenance of the Sacraments? Especially in such a secularizing age.

Perhaps, too, some used the changes as an excuse to lapse. After all, one local man told us that, even before the Second Vatican Council, a number of local men used to pop outside during the Sunday sermon for a sly smoke...

Still, Canon Michael's assessment is backed up by that clear acknowledgement in Dominicae Cenae (DC 12), which expresses nothing less than a papal apology for any post-Conciliar scandal and disturbance concerning the interpretation and veneration due to the Holy Eucharist.
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During my scouting in the summer of 2012, I came across the book A Bitter Trial. This gathers together the correspondence about the sweeping liturgical changes, which passed between Evelyn Waugh and John Carmel Cardinal Heenan.

This book provides some pretty deep insights into the experiences and feelings, at least those encountered by some of the intellectual Catholics, at the time of the radical changes.

Although Waugh's background and education mean that this book cannot give us a complete picture of what it might have been like for the average working-class punters who used to fill the pews, there is something universal in the themes which he so clearly expresses.

For me personally, this book was a conduit of grace, which seemed to tear my heart more open for God and leave a new tenderness for Him there. I recommend it to anyone seeking to go deeper in the Faith.

Fr. Bryan Houghton

It was around that time that I was intrigued to also discover a convert to the Faith, who shared our familial surname. His writings would have a similarly faith-deepening influence on me.
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Fr. Bryan Houghton was a remarkable character who served in the military and trained in the field of international banking but, having converted to the Catholic faith, became a priest and used his inheritance to build schools and churches.

Fr. Houghton had been selected for the episcopate, but when he refused to affirm the orthodoxy of Teilhard de Chardin, he was passed over...

During the distressing period of ''liturgical experimentation'' before the close of the Second Vatican Council, Fr. Houghton wrote to his bishop to say that, the moment that the Canon of the Mass was tampered with, he would retire from active parish ministry.

Although his bishop suggested - with hindsight perhaps naively - that the Canon of the Mass would never be changed, Fr. Houghton's resignation came into effect five years later, when this very thing happened.

And so, the day that the Novus Ordo officially came into effect, Fr. Houghton left the leadership of his parish.

Tired of a decade's worth of squabbling between bishops, priests, revolutionaries and traditionalists, he hit the road and purchased a house in the south of France.

As a retired and ageing priest he was ''permitted'' to continue saying the Traditional Latin Mass alone or for a small group in private. He thus found himself feeling rejected and left alone to a life of quietude in a foreign country. In this situation he became the author of three erudite and witty expositions of the overall situation.

In the last decades of his life, Fr. Houghton's practice of silence, solitude and daily offering of the Traditional Mass enabled him to become something of a contemplative. Those who knew him recognized his deep love for God. It is interesting to note that Fr. Houghton claimed that it had been the contemplative silence of the Traditional Latin Mass that instilled in him the discipline necessary to survive for so many years in secluded retirement. Gradually, a local bishop allowed him to offer a weekly Sunday Mass in a 12th-Century chapel and a congregation of around 100 souls gathered around him each week. Many of them, like him, had been bruised by the radical changes and the nature of their enforcement.

Concluding Reflections
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There are two things in Fr. Bryan Houghton's writings which particularly speak to today's theme about grace, tradition and interiority. For both of them, I am indebted to R. Michael McGrade's moving tribute Rejected Priest. Let us conclude with these.

1. When Fr. Houghton was but a boy of nine, his parents sent him to a boarding school in France. As a Protestant he used to go every day to the local Mass and watch from the back.

One day, he told a teenaged lad from the chapel that he was an English Protestant, and that he found the Protestant services to be beautiful because they always spoke about Jesus. He then asked the teenager to explain the Catholic Mass to him.

The teenager had replied: ''That's it. There, they talk about Jesus. They are surely very beautiful. But it is not the Mass. The Mass, you see, IS Jesus.''

After hesitating for a moment, the teenager continued: ''You see, God was made flesh in order to redeem us on the Cross. At the Last Supper, He left us His Body and Blood, under the appearances of bread and wine, as pledges of our redemption. That is the Mass: the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. Before such an act, there is nothing to do, or to say. One can only be silent. I would love to join you at the back of the chapel.''

2. Fr. Harrison elsewhere explained how necessary it was for the priest to lose himself before the Real Presence.

He said: ''The Mass is a divine act; it is a liturgy in which God acts, and not men. It includes generous bands of silence in order to permit adoration of the ineffable Presence. What is said in a loud voice is said in Latin to limit intrusions by the personality of the priest... The priest is barely a craftsman. Basically, he operates the altar like a plumber with his apprentice. Once the water is connected, the tap of Eternal Life opened, he leaves again carrying his tools.''

Like I said to the Catholic lady in her 80's, the silence and order of the Low Mass are almost monastic.

And that is worth driving a long way for.   

The Catholic Faith Stands Tall in Preston


Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 21 July 2016 - 10:40:14 | by admin

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Encouragement for Catholics

Catholics in Lancashire have been encouraged by Bishop Michael Campbell of the Diocese of Lancaster, who offered a Pontifical Low Mass with music at the ICKSP Shrine of St. Walburge in Preston last Sunday. His Lordship was assisted at the High Altar by Canon Altiere and Canon Poucin. 

In addition to Gregorian chant, the regular choir's music for the Holy Mass included the O Sanctissima in traditional Sicilian melody; Kastorsky's O Salutaris Hostia; Casciolini's Panis Angelicus; and Bach's Tantum Ergo. The hymn Praise to the Holiest was sung for the recessional.

An Important Church

St. Walburge's is a remarkable and historically important Catholic church, built in the Gothic revival style with a gigantic limestone spire.
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As this picture suggests, St. Walburge's 309-foot tall spire dominates the skyline of the city of Preston. In fact, it is the third tallest church spire in the country; only the medieval spires at Norwich and Salisbury cathedrals stand taller.

There is no doubt that the Jesuit priests who oversaw its construction between 1850-1854 were making a bold statement about the resurgence of Catholicism, which was at that time shining brightly in this country.

The level of their confidence, we might almost say audacity, can be glimpsed when we remember that Catholic Emancipation had only been achieved in 1829; and that the restoration of the Hierarchy in England was only approved by Pope Pius IX in 1850.

Whilst the first Catholic churches to be built in Britain in the post-Reformation era had been understandably low key, St. Walburge's practically shouted out, ''We're Back and We're Here to Stay!'' The Catholic recusants who had always kept the light of the True Faith burning in Lancashire must have felt some vindication.  

Amid the tensions of the time, the extreme grandeur of the immense edifice did not win universal approval. The Ecclesiologist criticised it as, ''the flaunting off-spring of the unhappy nuptials of Oratorianism and true Christian ecclesiology''.

None of that prevented some 8,000 locals from subscribing £1 per year - a healthy sum for the mostly working-class parishioners to commit to in those times - to help with the costs of construction. Indeed, many Irish immigrant workers helped with the actual work of building in order to keep the costs down. St. Walburge's was big, but it had sufficient parishioners to fill it.
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We've visited St. Walburge's several times over the years and agree with Pevsner's exclamation that, ''nothing prepares you for the shock of the interior''. It is indeed a spectacularly vast space.

The architectural boldness of J.A. Hansom, who was also famous for the invention of the Hansom cab so often seen in Sherlock Holmes movies, continues inside with the enormous hammerbeam roof, raised side-pulpit and the brightly coloured statuary gazing down on the congregation from crocketed niches up in the heights. In 1873, the church's enormous polygonal apse was added by S.J. Nicholls; pushing the tall east windows outwards into an almost semi-circle. 

New Life

As you can imagine, in these modern times of widespread lapsation, liturgical deconstructionism, demographic movement and spiralling costs, St. Walburge's was, for a while, in a somewhat precarious position.

In 2011, we gave some catechetical presentations on chastity and marriage in the Victorian presbytery at St. Walburge's. At that time, the Capuchin Franciscan Friars were running the presbytery as a centre for Catholic students at the university, and the diocese was opening the giant church up each Sunday for a small congregation.
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Torch of The Faith in November 2011 with Fr. John Delaney OFM Cap. during one of our catechetical presentations on chastity and holy matrimony at the university chaplaincy in Preston.

By God's grace, and some inspired leadership by Bishop Campbell, St. Walburge's was re-established as a Shrine of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP) early in 2014.
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The key mission of the shrine is to establish a centre for the provision of Eucharistic Adoration and the celebration of Holy Mass and the other sacraments in the Traditional Rites.

Already the shrine has gone from strength to strength with daily celebration of the Traditional Low Mass, weekly Traditional High Mass, the reception of a few new converts into the Church, the Confirmation of some other locals, prolonged periods of Eucharistic Adoration with priests available to hear Confessions and some splendid retreats. We attended one of these in Advent 2014 and were heartened to meet a lady who was joyfully discovering the richness of the Sacred Tradition of the Church through the presence of the ICKSP.

Also, the newly ordained Canon Cosme Montjean, younger brother of Canon Amaury Montjean, will be visiting the shrine to offer a First Mass with First Blessings of a New Priest on Saturday, 30th July, 2016 at 10:30 am. There will also be a social with refreshments in the presbytery afterwards.

Conclusion

It was encouraging for many Catholics in Lancashire, and far beyond, when Bishop Campbell opened the new shrine in 2014. And again, when he offered the Traditional Latin Mass there on Sunday.
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Bishop Michael Campbell assisted at the Altar by Canons Poucin and Altiere.

It's a nice image of Christ Crucified on His Lordship's chasuble too!

Please pray for the ongoing success of the Shrine of St. Walburge's; and for the souls being ministered to by the good canons there. By God's grace, the young ICKSP priests are helping Catholicism to keep on standing tall in Lancashire well into the 21st-Century.

St. Walburge - Pray for us!

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