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the magazine of Catholic history and culture

A statue of
St Aloysius EDITOR: Lynda Walker Email:
Gonzaga in the EDITORIAL RESEARCHER: Emma Clancy Email:
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CONTENTS March 2010

US Postal Service to honour Mother Teresa with stamp
Catholic Charities - The Society of Our Lady of Lourdes
8 Bagenal’s Castle, Newry: Part 2
12 The Rheims - Douai Bible
20 ART FEATURE: The Sacred made real
• A dream for London
• Holborn’s Holy Ground
• Our Lady of Westminster
• The Adoption Legacy
• Archdiocese news
32 Shroud of Turin exhibition
34 The Eucharistic miracle of Seefeld
36 Pre-history of Shrewsbury Diocese -
Part 3: Wales
41 The Old Spanish Missions of California Part 7:
Mission Santa Barbara, Queen of Missions
44 Catholics societies: Marriage Care
46 An interview with John Polhamus
48 J.S. Bach - Master of music
Lead, Kindly Light The Age of Gothic: French Gothic reaches its peak
54 Newman’s dream fulfilled at the Oxford Oratory 64 Guernsey Island Saints
57 Numerology of Catholicism: Part 3 66 The English College, Lisbon: Part 3
60 10 minute interviews with prominent Catholics: 69 Irish priests’ contribution to the Church in
Pamela Taylor England & Wales
62 Abram Joseph Ryan - Poet-Priest of the Confederacy
02 mother teresa stamp:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 09:52 Page 1


lessed Mother Teresa
of Calcutta will be
among the subjects
depicted on U.S. stamps
issued in 2010.
The 44-cent stamp,
bearing a portrait of Mother
Teresa painted by artist
Thomas Blackshear II of
Colorado Springs,
Colorado, will go on sale on
what would have been her
100th birthday, the 26th
“Her humility and
compassion, as well as her
respect for the innate worth
and dignity of humankind,
inspired people of all ages
and backgrounds to work on
behalf of the world’s poorest
populations,” said the Postal
Service news release on its
2010 commemorative stamp
The release also noted that
Mother Teresa received
honorary U.S. citizenship in
1996 from the U.S.
Congress and President Bill
Clinton. Only five other
people have been made
honorary U.S. citizens –
Winston Churchill, Raoul
Wallenberg, William Penn
and Hannah Callowhill
Penn and the Marquis de
Lafayette – and all but
Hannah Callowhill Penn
have also appeared on U.S.
postage stamps.
Mother Teresa also
received the Congressional
Gold Medal in 1997 for her
“outstanding and enduring
contributions through
humanitarian and charitable
activities,” the release said.
Born on the 26th August,

US POSTAL SERVICE 1910, in what is now the

Republic of Macedonia,
Mother Teresa went to India

at the age of 18 and founded
the Missionaries of Charity
there. She died in Calcutta
on the 5th September, 1997,

TERESA WITH STAMP and was beatified by Pope

John Paul II in 2003.
03 Aid to the Church:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 11:52 Page 1
04-06 charities soc our lady of lourdes:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 09:56 Page 1

Catholic Charities series feature by Tony Galcius

ne cannot but be filled with awe Pilgrimage, the Catholic Association ordinary things for themselves, or
at the amazing vitality of the formed the Society of Our Lady of emotionally confused and anxious. The
English Catholic Church Lourdes (SOLL). It was from this newly response needed for these conditions
following the restoration of the hierarchy founded society that medical attendants, includes medical knowledge, nursing skills,
in 1850. In addition to the proliferation of nurses, doctors and stretcher-bearers physical strength, counselling experience,
church building, many societies and came in numbers. After the 1914-18 war, but above all, a spiritual motivation, deeply
charities were founded, such as the the two groups split and SOLL became an rooted in a fervent devotion to Our Lady.
Crusade of Rescue, the Catholic Union, independent registered charity (1086419) I am sure that members of SOLL can take
the Catholic Association and so on. The and eventually in 1922 took over the their inspiration from Mary’s life, such as
last mentioned started in 1891 with the complete organisation of the National her concerned visit to her cousin, the
enthusiastic support of Cardinal Manning. Pilgrimage. Apart from the obvious break maternal care of her Baby, her protection
It aimed to promote unity and fellowship caused by the hostilities of the Second of him on the journey to Egypt, her
among Catholics and to help and protect World War, they have taken sick pilgrims anguish when looking for her lost Son, her
Catholic organisations and interests. One each May ever since. compassion on the way to Calvary and at
of the first events organised by the Most readers of this magazine will the foot of the Cross.
Association in 1896 was a pilgrimage to probably have been at least once to There is also a material cost in taking the
Rome, followed not long afterwards by a Lourdes. Nowadays, transport by plane, sick to Lourdes. General and specialist
pilgrimage to Lourdes at the turn of the train or coach is relatively straightforward, transport has to be paid for. Once in
1900s which has taken place each year to but not without the normal Lourdes, most of the pilgrims are housed
the present day. The Lourdes pilgrimage is inconveniences that travel abroad brings in the Accueil hospital where their
their main activity. with it. However, it takes little imagination expenses have to be met as well as hotel
In March 1912, arising out of the need to realise how much work is involved bills incurred by the rest of the pilgrims.
to provide specialist care for those sick when the pilgrims are ill, wheelchair Then there are the obvious costs of food
persons going on the English National bound, totally incapable of doing the most and drink and medicine.
continues on page 6

“ I was sick and you
cared for Me (Matthew 25)

04-06 charities soc our lady of lourdes:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 09:56 Page 2

We welcome all those who are sick or disabled

wishing to make a Pilgrimage to Lourdes with us
each year during the Marian month of May.
As a Catholic Charity we are able to assist all our sick pilgrims
financially to make their Pilgrimage with us.
THE SOCIETY also wishes to invite all Doctors, Nurses, Helpers,
Carers and Chaplains to assist and become part of its
Annual Pilgrimage for the Sick.

Travel by air from Exeter or from Stansted

For more information, and details of booking
forms and prices
See our website: or CONTACT:
or write, giving your full name and address, to:-
Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Botwell Lane, Hayes, Middlesex UB3 2AB
Telephone: 0208 848 9833

W hilst in Lourdes all our sick and disabled Pilgrims are accommodated
in the beautiful Accueil (Our Lady’s Help) residence immediately facing
the Grotto. This modern building, designed in the form of open arms reminds
us that, in Lourdes, everyone is made welcome and cared for. The spacious
rooms contain from one to six beds (with specially adapted toilets and
showers) allowing every possible comfort. Our own wonderful doctors, nurses,
carers and helpers of the SOCIETY combine a professional attitude to caring
with a friendly, understanding approach to each individual.
During the week you can experience the Eucharistic Procession each
afternoon, the torchlight procession each evening, as well as the rural charm
of the celebration of Holy Mass in the Cathedral of the Trees. You will be able
to visit the Baths next to our Lady’s Grotto, celebrate the International Mass
in the underground Basilica and receive benediction, blessing of the hands
and Holy Mass at many venues around and within the domain of the Lourdes
Sanctuaries including the Grotto itself.
Our Pilgrimage is accompanied by Youth Groups from three Catholic
Schools from Yorkshire and London who work tirelessly to help you enjoy and
make the most of your Pilgrimage to Our Lady’s Shrine. Our travel
arrangements this year are made in co-operation with one of the most
experienced and dedicated Pilgrimage Tour Operators, Tangney Tours.

We also organise a Pilgrimage to The

Friars at Aylesford on August 15th, 2010.
For further details visit our
website Events page:

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Catholic Charities series feature by Tony Galcius

All these can be prohibitive for

anyone desperate to go to Lourdes,
especially if they are sick or disabled.
Hence, it is one of the main objectives
of SOLL, and I quote: “to provide
financial and other assistance to enable
pilgrims who cannot afford the cost to
go to Lourdes”.
The other objectives of the Society
are “to promote devotion to Our
Lady of Lourdes and to organise
pilgrimages and services in Her
honour”. This year the Pilgrimage for
the Sick will take place from the 28th
May to the 4th June, and it is packed
with a programme of Masses and a
myriad other devotions which are the
normal spiritual fare for pilgrims. The
amount of organisation needed to
carry this out is truly astonishing,
particularly when all this work is done
by volunteers. People travel to
Lourdes expecting to see a miracle,
usually of a medical cure kind. I think
however that the work done by
members and helpers of SOLL for
nearly 100 years is a miracle in itself. It
is something truly wondrous in which
the hand of God is clearly visible in
both helpers and those helped. And
all at the behest of his Mother –
something which began at the
wedding feast of Cana when she said
“Son, they have no wine”.
The Society provides extensive
information about Lourdes, and
everything a pilgrim needs to know,
on its website – I leave
them to make the final appeal: “We
would not be able to take sick pilgrims
to Lourdes without our officially
registered helpers who themselves
gain a huge amount of satisfaction
from the pilgrimage. It is very hard
work but most rewarding and fulfilling.
You may start a trip knowing no one,
but you will return with a group of
people who you feel you have known
for a lifetime and in some cases
friendships are formed that last long
into the future”.
To become a Friend or Helper of the
Society contact us at or phone
020 8848 9833 or write to us at the
Church of the Immaculate Heart of
Mary, Botwell Lane, Hayes,
Middlesex, UB3 2AB.
07 Missio:p18-19 king john 19/02/2010 09:38 Page 1
08-10 Bagenal's castle (2) copy:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 10:05 Page 1


agenal’s Castle and the site on by the Cistercians a few years earlier. The may have been granted, but on the
which it is located link the new abbey was situated on the condition that he went to Ireland to serve
thriving City of Newry with its borderlands between the territories of the as a ‘double agent’. Accordingly he came
Cistercian and medieval past. It has been native Irish clans of Ulster and the to Ireland as a mercenary, serving Conn
acknowledged as one of the most Anglo-Norman settlements further to the O’Neill, the first Earl of Tyrone and Chief
interesting archaeological finds in Ireland south. As such it was fertile ground for of one of the major Irish clans, the
in recent years, having the oldest surviving unrest. The Cistercians came into Ireland O’Neills. Bagenal’s fortunes in Ireland
set of original floor plans and perspective with tremendous reforming zeal, driven prospered rapidly. In 1544 he went as part
drawings for a standing building in the by the example and the teachings of of a military expedition to France bearing
country. Given the troubled history of the Bernard of Clairvaux (see below left), and a recommendation on his behalf granted
area in which the castle stood, it is over a relatively short period of time over by the Privy Council. On his return in
remarkable that the drawings survived. 30 monastic settlements were established 1547 he was appointed Marshall of the
The reason they did was due to the fact across Ireland. Over time, however, the Army, one of the great offices of state at
that at some stage they were sent to disciplined lives of the monks became that time. In 1550 he was appointed to
England where they were uncovered later ‘flabby’, the French monks either died out the Irish Privy Council, so his star was
in the Public Records Office at Kew. or moved on to other challenges and were very much in the ascendant. From the
These remarkable drawings are attributed replaced in many instances by laymen terms of the king’s grant it is clear that it
to the English engineer Robert Lythe and who, while they may have adopted the was part of a developing strategy of
are believed to have been produced title of ‘Abbot’, were not unlike the chief ‘plantation’ in Ulster, aimed at reducing
around the year 1568. executives of many of today’s businesses the strength of the native Irish clans in
Newry stands at the head of and corporations. This malaise affected that region. The grant stated that the
Carlingford Lough, an area that has had a the abbey at Newry as much as any of the lands being ‘leased’ to Bagenal were ‘set in
long and often troubled history largely other monasteries. As a result, when the a remote part, far from civil order, a place
because of its strategic importance and, as impact of the Protestant Reformation suitable for the service of the king to plant
such, a region which was continually spread from England to Ireland the a captain with furniture of men for the
being invaded and fought over. As a point monasteries were in no fit state, spiritually reduction of those rude and savage
of sea-entry into south-east Ulster, the or organisationally, to resist. In 1543 quarters to better rule and obedience’.
lough and the surrounding area provided Arthur Magennis, leader of one of the The strategic nature of the area was clearly
an invaluable landfall for travellers and most powerful clans in the region, not lost on the English government in
invaders of all kinds. The Normans used successfully petitioned Henry VIII to making this grant, nor was it lost on
it in the 12th century and it was during allow the abbey to be converted for use as Marshall Bagenal in accepting it. He
this unsettled period, in 1157, that a collegiate church for secular clergy. This quickly set about regularising the terms of
Maurice O’Loughlin, the High King of was clearly an attempt to avoid the the grant in his own favour and in
Ireland, issued a charter granting lands in confiscation of the monastic properties in acquiring adjoining lands which were
the vicinity of the town of Newry to the which the clan would have had an interest clearly outside the scope of the original
Cistercians on which to build an abbey. and it worked, but only for a few short grant of the monastery lands.
This was to be a sister-house of Mellifont, years. In May 1548 the warden, John Given the unsettled nature of the area,
the first monastery established in Ireland Prowle, surrendered all of the monastic Bagenal’s key priority was to establish a
lands and other properties to the Crown fortified dwelling on the Newry site. The
in return for a pension for himself and his surviving plans for the building show that
vicars choral. the design did not have any direct parallel
King Edward VI granted the with any other castle existing in Ireland at
confiscated lands to Sir Nicholas Bagenal, that time. Research carried out by Dr
Marshall of the King’s Army of Ireland in Ken Abraham has identified the design as
1550, a man with something of a ‘shady’ being an Irish variation on the ‘T’-plans
past. He first came to Ireland as a fugitive used in the building of many of the
from justice, having been embroiled in a fortified houses that were being built in
row in which a man was killed. He was a parts of northern England and Scotland
native of Staffordshire where his family at that time, particularly in areas where
had land and influence. He petitioned the control by central government was weak.
king for a pardon on the basis that he had These ‘tower houses’ as they were called,
only been in the company of those who were generally built by lesser magnates in
had killed the man and it seems as if this order to withstand attacks by relatively
08-10 Bagenal's castle (2) copy:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 10:05 Page 2

series feature, part 2 of 2 - by Gerry Burns

small groups of local raiders. They were

rectangular in shape, sometimes with
subsidiary turrets housing flights of stairs,
toilets and other small chambers. In some
cases the tower house and any of its
important subsidiary buildings would
have been enclosed by a bawn. The
houses were usually three to five storeys
in height with at least one storey being
vaulted, usually the ground floor. The
upper chambers would have been the
main living quarters and would have been
fitted out with fine windows and
Historical records provide us with some
tantalising glimpses of a lively social life at
the castle. In 1575, for instance, Sir
Henry Sidney, the Lord Deputy of Ireland
reported that one of the native chieftains,
Turlough Luineach O’Neill, had spent
some £400 in three days celebrating the
feast of Bacchus at Newry and that it had
taken some hours to get him sober
enough so that he could be allowed to
enter the castle. No doubt O’Neill’s visit
to the castle was part of the government’s
on-going strategy of trying to ‘woo’ the
chieftains away from their tribal customs
and ways of living. It is suggested that
Turlough Luineach’s visit to Newry was
part of an on-going O’Neill strategy to
form marriage alliances with the Bagenal
family. In his case it proved fruitless.
English rule in Ireland depended on the
establishment and maintenance of an
elaborate system of checks and balances
aimed at neutralising the power of the
Irish chieftains. When it suited, alliances
with certain chieftains would be formed, relationship. Mabel, however, lost her against Hugh O’Neill, the Earl of Tyrone,
other chieftains would be bribed or heart to the dashing Irish Chieftain and during what became known as the Nine
flattered by the award of titles, they eloped and got married. O’Neill later Years War. Henry Bagenal was enraged by
antagonisms between clans would be said that he married her chiefly in order the marriage of his sister to Hugh O’Neill
fomented where necessary and the rule of ‘to bring civility into my house and and in a letter written at the time he
law was based always on shifting ground. among the country people’. Sadly for poured out this anger and grief:
But it was frequently a two-way situation. Mabel it was a childless and deeply “I can but accurse myself and my
Arguably the greatest of the Irish unhappy marriage. She died four years fortune that my blood, which is in my
chieftains, Hugh O’Neill, the Earl of later at O’Neill’s stronghold in father and myself, hath so often been
Tyrone, tried to utilise diplomacy to his Dungannon, reputedly of a broken heart. spilled in repressing this rebellious race
own advantage. As the successor to Nicholas Bagenal died in 1590 at his and should now be mingled with so
Turlough Luineach he courted Mabel other residence at Greencastle, further traitorous a stock and kindred.”
Bagenal, Henry’s sister and on occasions along the County Down coast, but before Perhaps as a result he let emotion rule
would have visited her and her father at his death he had successfully petitioned his head. Certainly he underestimated
the castle in Newry. She was described as the Crown to have his son Henry O’Neill’s skill as a military tactician and he
‘the Helen of the Elizabethan wars’ but appointed as his successor as Marshall of paid the price with his life at the Battle of
almost certainly Hugh O’Neill saw her the Army. From this point on Henry the Yellow Ford in County Armagh in
simply as a pawn in the game of Bagenal played an increasingly important 1598, the most crushing defeat ever
neutralising her brother’s growing power and influential part in late 16th century suffered by an invading army in Ireland. It
in Ulster. Henry Bagenal certainly saw it Irish government and politics, taking a was a victory that established O’Neill as
as such and he strongly opposed the leading part in the military campaigns continues on page 10
08-10 Bagenal's castle (2) copy:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 10:05 Page 3

series feature - by Gerry Burns

© Newry and Mourne Museum.

the undisputed leader of the native Irish cause. alterations were carried out over the years, disguising the
Bagenal’s Castle was attacked and badly damaged during origins of the building, and for many years the only clue to
the ravages of the war but it survived and became re- the building’s significance lay in the stone carvings which were
established as the centre of the Bagenal estates, forming an preserved in the bakery walls.
integral part of the great Ulster Plantation. Despite the defeat The official rediscovery of Bagenal’s Castle came in 1996 after
and the subsequent departure of the Native Irish Chieftains the bakery was sold. The building was visited by officials from
into exile, known as ‘The Flight of the Earls’, many parts of the town’s museum committee who wished to examine the stone
Ireland remained unsettled. Rebellion broke out again in 1641 carvings. Their visit uncovered the remarkable fact that the shell
led by an Irish Catholic Confederacy. Bagenal’s Castle in of the original castle had been preserved within the bakery
Newry was attacked during the rebellion but survived. From buildings. Subsequent aarchaeological restoration work further
that time on, however, historical information about the castle discovered that substantial parts of the castle had survived almost
becomes extremely scarce, making it difficult to know how far to their original height. Restoration work began in December
the Bagenals maintained the castle as an important residence. 2000 and continued until April 2003, and the castle and the
By the time of his death in 1712 Nicholas Bagenal, the great- adjoining warehouse have now been restored and developed as
grandson of Sir Nicholas, had a well-appointed house on Pall an interesting Museum and Visitor Centre. Three of the original
Mall in London and his County Down estates, including the floor levels and many of the building’s surviving features are
lands in Newry, passed to his cousin, Robert Nedham. In highlighted throughout the exhibitions. Surprisingly, the
1746 Nedham leased the castle to Robert Hutcheson, a Newry extensive excavations failed to uncover any remains or artefacts
merchant and a map accompanying this lease would appear to dating from the period when the Cistercian monastery occupied
indicate that the castle was to be developed as a commercial the site.
enterprise. Subsequent alterations to the castle were carried
out around 1770, including the creation of a cellar and the
demolition of the central stairwell and a turret. These
demolitions were carried out using gunpowder. Bagenal’s
Castle was not marked on any of the 19th or 20th century
Ordnance Survey maps and it was presumed to have been
demolished at some stage during subsequent renovations.
However, the Ordnance Survey Memoirs of 1834-36 did
indicate that the castle was still there, albeit being occupied as
two dwelling houses. It also described how fragments of carved
stone from the Cistercian Abbey buildings had been built into
the fabric of the surrounding buildings. These memoirs also
described how large quantities of human bones had been
discovered at the front and rear of the building and that
during the digging of other foundations within the abbey
precincts, remains of shoes and clothing had been found. In
1894 these houses and the surrounding warehouses were
purchased by Arthur McCann and the whole complex
functioned as a successful bakery until the mid-1990s. Major

11 daughters of prov:053885049 19/02/2010 09:39 Page 1

Providence Convent
House of Prayer
“Be Still Before the Lord
& Wait For Him”
For Details Call: 020 8447 8233
Providence Convent House of Prayer
8 Oakthorpe Road, Palmers Green, London N13 5UH

Why not visit?

Opened 1st January 2006 and situated in its own grounds, yet easily accessible by the Underground, British Rail, bus and car, the
Providence Convent House of Prayer offers you a place of peace for quiet reflection or meditation, together with organised
Retreats throughout the year. Open each day of the year, you are able to spend as little or as much time as you want in the
presence of Our Lord. The House can take up to 8 people accommodated in single bedrooms.
Because the House of Prayer is attached to the Convent you are able to take full advantage of the spiritual life of the Sisters if
you so wish.

Retreats & Events for 2010

March 8th-12th: “Dining in the Kingdom of God” (Fr. Peter Dowling SSS)
April 26th-30th: “My Grace is Enough for You” (Fr. Chris Thomas)
May 10th-17th: “Directed Retreats” (Sr. Catherine Quane RSM)
June 14th-18th: “Mary, the First Disciple” (Mary Landucci)

Bookings must be made in advance:
The cost of the Retreats are as follows:
The 5 Day Retreats: £175.00 per person
The Weekend Retreats: £60.00 per person
Days of Recollection: £15.00 per person
A Deposit is required as follows:
The 5 Day Retreats: £50.00 per person
The Weekend Retreats: £20.00 per person
Days of Recollection: £15.00 per person
to be paid at the time of booking.
For Private Retreats a donation is
required towards the House of Prayer.
See address and contact details above.

How to reach us
By Bus: Take the 121 or 329 from Wood Green to the Library at Palmers Green.
By Train: British Rail At peak times: Old Street to Palmers Green. Off-peak times: Moorgate to Palmers Green.
By Underground: The Piccadilly Line to Wood Green and then the bus.
12-14 THE RHEIMS DOUAI BIBLE:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 10:08 Page 1


t is well known that in their desire to secure the success of and when he died left them everything he possessed. From All
the Protestant Reformation in England, Queen Elizabeth I Souls came Thomas Dorman; from Exeter came Richard
and her advisers hoped that as the older generation of Bristowe and Edward Risden; from Merton came Richard
Catholics died out, then Catholicism would disappear with Smith who had been regius professor of Divinity; from New
them. It is equally well known that the foresight and industry of College came Thomas Darnell, Owen Lewis, John Marshall,
William Allen and his companions, who established seminaries Nicholas Sander, Thomas Stapleton and Richard White who
overseas, was one of the principal reasons for such hopes being had been a professor of Canon and Civil Law. From St John’s
dashed. One of those seminaries was at Douai, a university town came Gregory Martin who died young but whose talent was to
in Flanders, 20 miles south of Lilles which at that time was ensure the survival of the name of Douai among English
among the dominions of Philip II of Spain. Allen received the Catholics long after the seminary was abandoned in 1793. So
immediate co-operation of the University of Douai, as well as Allen’s college was well manned to train the many students who
some excellent Oxford men who for faith and conscience gladly presented themselves, and also able to produce over 40 works
accepted exile. of apologetics, for which Catholics in England were desperate
Allen was an Oriel graduate as was Morgan Phillips, the last in order to combat the vitriolic literature being showered on
Catholic Bishop of St Davids who brought age and experience, them from both home and foreign sources. But in his massive
work The Reformation in England, Philip Hughes says the
crowning glory of their scholarship was the translation of the
entire Bible into English, executed in the college between 1578
and 1582.
One of the accusations of the reformers was that the Church
was the avowed enemy of the Bible, a spurious claim when
before the invention of printing it was often the life-work of
monks and nuns to copy, with the most intense care and skill, so
much of the Bible. St Bede was in the very act of translating St
John’s Gospel into Anglo-Saxon English when he died. Several
copies of the Psalms existed. A copy of the famous Lindisfarne
Gospels contained the text in Latin interspersed with it in
English. In his essay The Old English Bible, Abbot Gasquet OSB
states that he found evidence of near-complete translations of the
New Testament at the London Charterhouse, at Barking Abbey in
Essex, St John’s Clerkenwell, Syon Abbey in Middlesex and at
Holy Trinity church, York. C.S. Lewis writing an introduction to
J.B. Phillips’s Letters to Young Churches, in 1946 offers this
explanation: “Pious people shuddered at the idea of turning the
time-honoured Latin into commo and, as they thought,
barbarous English, a language of the nursery, the inn, the stable
and the street…..a sacred truth seemed to lose its sanctity when
stripped of its polysyllabic Latin.” But parts of scripture were
often read in English to poor, uneducated people who were also
aware of its contents through ritual, drama, stained glass and
pictures in church.
A translation into English by William Tyndale, printed in
Germany in 1526 was condemned by the Church and criticised
by scholars as much for its partisan agenda in prologue, preface
and marginal notes as for the infidelities in translation where
Church became congregation, priest became elder and penance
became repentance. A much earlier version has been attributed
to John Wycliffe, the morning star of the Reformation, but in
1952 Allen Wikgren writing of Wycliffe sympathetically,
admitted that his share in the project is obscure. F.F. Urquhart,
of Balliol College, Oxford, writing in 1912, disputes that he had
12-14 THE RHEIMS DOUAI BIBLE:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 10:08 Page 2

feature - by Brian Plumb

any share in it at all, and says that his of funding, the printing of the Old William Fulke, Master of Pembroke
followers added a Wycliffite preface to a Testament was delayed until 1609, by College to produce an official refutation.
perfectly orthodox translation and thereby which time the college had returned to He was a Puritan whose biographer
established a claim. Douai. Hence, to be strictly accurate, described him as “a man of language
The chief share in making the Rheims- both Rheims and Douai had a part in its unmeasured and conspicuous for the
Douai translation was undertaken by production. virulence of his invective.” But what of
Gregory Martin, a native of Maxfield, The New Testament contained the Gregory Martin’s great work?
near Winchelsea in Sussex, and a friend almost obligatory preface and notes, the He always considered accuracy to be
of Edmund Campion. Although latter so uncompromising and hard- more important than elegance, and
proficient in theology, Hebrew and hitting that it was asserted the work had believed some Latin words had no
Greek, he decided to translate from the only been published as a weapon for suitable English equivalent, so he
Latin of St Jerome, and gave his reasons attacking the reformers. The notes were retained them in anglicised form. So in
for doing so. It had been in use for 1,300 the work of Allen himself, Richard St Matthew’s account of the Lord’s
years. It had been praised by St Augustine Bristowe and Thomas Worthington, a Prayer (VI, v 7) we find “Give us this
and many of the Latin Fathers. It was learned priest from Brasenose College, day our supersubstantial bread.” In St
impartial because it had been made long Oxford who had gone to Douai in 1573. Paul to the Philippians (II, v 7) what we
before the latter-day controversies. It was Allen referred to “The manifold know as “he emptied himself ” appeared
faithful to the Greek, and it had been corruptions of the Holy Scriptures by the as “he exaninated himself.” Other
declared authentic by the Council of heretics of our days, especially the English strange sounding phrases appeared in
Trent. But before he commenced his five Secretaries” and he did not exaggerate Acts (XII, v 3) where the word azymes
year task, on or about St Luke’s Day when he accused them of being
1578, political turbulence and religious intent on destroying every trace of
strife had caused the English seminary to England’s Catholic past and
relocate to Rheims, a period of exile that appealing to their own corruptions
was to last for 15 years. So what for the of Holy Writ to justify it. He later
sake of brevity is often called the Douai said that the notes “threw
Bible was in fact translated entirely in Protestants into a seething ferment.”
Rheims and the New Testament was first They certainly prompted the
printed there in 1582. However, for want Government to advance £200 to

(opposite) Title page from the 1582 Douai-Rheims New Testament.

(right) Portrait of Richard, and below his 1749 revision of the Rheims
New Testament borrowed heavily from the King James Version.

was used for unleavened bread; in St

John (V, v 2) where “the pool at the
Sheep-gate” was called “a pond called
Probatica”; and in St Matthew (XII, v 4)
where “loaves of proposition” was used
to mean “bread set out before God.” But
Martin’s invention of the word
malefactor in St John (X, v 6) was found
acceptable and passed into every-day
vocabulary. Other curiosities appeared in
St Luke (X, v 6) “Our Lord designed
(appointed) another 72,” and in
Philippians (II, v 10) where the great
text that at the name of Jesus every knee
shall bow, reads “In the name of Jesus
every knee shall bow of the celestials,
terrestrials and infernals.” But however

continues on page 14
12-14 THE RHEIMS DOUAI BIBLE:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 10:08 Page 3

feature - by Brian Plumb

cumbersome such peculiarities rendered the work, its overall Fr. George Leo Haydock (1774-1849) and published in
scholarship and accuracy was never doubted. Manchester, in serialised form, between 1812 and 1814. In
It is hardly surprising that original editions of these books are 1847 the entire work was published “enriched with 20 superb
extremely rare. It was almost impossible for secret printing presses engravings”, in polished boards with big brass clasp, an item
to produce them, or for them to be imported easily. A complete of furniture essential to every God-fearing Victorian family
Douai Bible sold for the luxurious price of two pounds, and a parlour. This also contained notes, but by now they were
Rheims New Testament cost one pound. Booksellers and printers curious rather than controversial, with the section in Genesis
spent their fortunes and sometimes sacrificed their lives in (VI, vv 13-22) telling of Noe and the Flood, the most
promoting such literature. In 1583 William Carter, a London remarkable of all. Working from the various species
printer was executed at Tyburn, as was James Duckett in 1602, for enumerated in Pennant’s Synopsis of Zoology it was calculated
their share in circulating this very work. Gregory Martin died on that there were 838 different quadrupeds and reptiles aboard
the 28th October 1582, only a matter of weeks after completing the Ark. This figure contained exotic creatures like the bear
his enormous undertaking. He was buried in the church of St (black and white), elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus, lion,
Stephen at Rheims which was demolished in 1795. Subsequent tiger, rhinoceros and all the common domesticated ones,
rebuilding and street alterations have made it impossible to locate down to the ferret, mouse, rat, shrew and sloth. The birds
the site of his grave. were equally accommodated and fed. It was pointed out that
In 1749 Martin’s work was thoroughly overhauled by the great these figures were in no way incompatible with the available
Vicar Apostolic, Richard Challoner. His removal of many of the space, because the vessel was reputedly 450 feet long and 75
aforementioned archaisms and his bringing, as far as was possible, feet broad, that is, roughly speaking, the dimensions of the
the text to approximate that of the Anglican’s Authorised Version of average medieval cathedral. An artist’s impression was among
1611, made it practically a new work. In that form it achieved the ‘superb engravings’ showing a massive three-decked
many editions, the final one being published by the Catholic Truth structure with 25 square port-holes to each deck, all perfectly
Society in 1956 and reprinted annually until 1963. symmetrical, the whole resembling an enormous floating
One of the most outstanding of the other editions was made by Dickensian-style workhouse. It was stressed of course that all
this was pure conjecture but sufficient to demonstrate the
possibility of arranging all “according to the statements of the
Sacred Historian.” In 2009 a reprint of this extraordinary
work was made available by the Loreto Press, of Fitzwilliam,
New Hampshire, USA and marketed in the UK.
Between 1942 and 1948 an entirely new translation of the
Bible was made by Monsignor Ronald Knox (1888-1957),
who thought most English Catholic literature “still spoke too
loud in the accents of the penal era and of the recent
immigrations.” Cardinal Griffin liked his command of the
English language and limpid style. But Archbishop Amigo of
Southwark, and Archbishop Downey of Liverpool
disapproved – not condemned, there was no questioning
Knox’s competence – but they fervently believed that the
familiar prose of Gregory Martin, refined by Bishop
Challoner and hallowed by three centuries of tradition, should
be sacrosanct. And they were not moved when reminded that
Ronald Knox in 1942, like Gregory Martin in 1582, was an
Oxford graduate.
Today we have the Jerusalem Bible and the New Jerusalem
Bible, produced by a team of experts, clearly influenced by
Knox’s translation, and attempting to be user-friendly by
rejecting stark well-known phrases like “To dig I am not able,
to beg I am ashamed” (St Luke XVI, v 3) and “Take up thy
bed and walk” (St John V, v 8) in favour of longer, but by no
means stronger, statements. It is most improbable that the old
Douai version will ever again be read from the ambo or used
at a Charismatic prayer meeting. But it did have 350 years of
unrivalled authority in the Catholic Church, and it was once
praised, by an Anglican, for its worthy contribution to
English literature.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the Librarian of the

Talbot Library, Preston for access to the vast collection of
Bibles deposited there.
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series feature - by Jack Watkins

Part 2

The Age of Gothic

The nave of Chartres Cathedral.
Gothic architecture, like
Romanesque which preceded it,
was only given its name by a later
generation. It was the Italian
Mannerist architect and historian
Giorgio Vasari (1511-74) who
coined the term in a pejorative
sense, because to Renaissance
thinkers, ‘the Middle Ages’ were
equated with the barbarianism of
the Goths. As it was, to them, a
time of long term decline and
cultural backwardness between
the Fall of Rome and the
rediscovery of classical models and
ideals in the 15th century, the
architecture which emanated from
it was adjudged to be similarly
Yet Gothic architecture is now
synonymous with medieval
building at its finest, and
understood as a style quite distinct
from Romanesque, having
flourished across Europe roughly
between 1150 and 1600. Key
identifying features include the
pointed arch, the flying buttress,
the vaulting rib, the traceried
window and the soaring steeple. In
fact, these characteristics did not
all originate at the same time, and
some had been deployed in earlier
Romanesque buildings. Yet the
fusion of their forms created what
we now understand as the Gothic
style, never more beautifully
realised than in church buildings.
This six part series will look at some
of the finest examples still to be
seen today across the continent.
continues on page 16
15-19 gothic architecture part 2 START RIGHT:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 10:16 Page 2

(left) The beautiful sculptures located over the entrance to the

cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris.
(below) Three portals on the west facade of Laon Cathedral.

Notre-Dame de Paris may still be read as a prototype Gothic

cathedral - the long nave leading to a choir illuminated by rays of
light from the mighty rose windows of the transepts, the high
vaulting and soaring shafts and, outside, the riot of flying
buttresses, sprouting forth in delicate profusion around the apse
like a blossoming flower on the banks of the Seine. Its founding
stone was laid in 1163 by Pope Alexander III, the same year in
which he had consecrated the new Gothic choir of that other
historically significant Parisian church, St-Germain-des-Pres (see
part one).
The wild and romantic crocketed gables of the north transept,
the gargoyles and just about all the statuary formed part of the
le-Duc renovation, so that to a large extent the cathedral is a
19th century interpretation of how Gothic architecture in its
heyday would have looked. Yet the essential plan of the building
remains unchanged, and its edifice and situation – the current
open views afforded of the west front are the result of 19th
century slum clearances and streetscape destruction, and thus
vastly different to the prospects a medieval traveller would have
been afforded - is one of the most moving and powerful in
If Notre-Dame de Paris is beautiful, the west front of Laon
Cathedral has also been rhapsodised by the most demanding
connoisseurs of Gothic. Laon is an unremarkable town in
Picardy, but the west
front of the cathedral
alone makes it worth

t was in northern France that the style
we know as Gothic was forged, and it
was here, too, that its finest cathedrals
were also built. Reims Cathedral, discussed
in part one, as the traditional venue for
royal coronations, was but one among
many. It, along with those in Paris, Laon,
Chartres and Amiens, formed a quintet of
structures so beautiful that, as a group and
as individual buildings, they have been
likened to the Parthenon in Athens,
representing the high point of anything
achieved in medieval architecture up to that making a special visit, for it achieves a quite remarkable sense of
time. the three-dimensional in its form. The triumvirate of gabled
Regrettably, Notre-Dame de Paris, the oldest example, built portals project beyond the walls like triumphal arches. The rose
between 1163 and 1235, was seriously damaged during the window on the next level is, by contrast, set deeply back, as are
French Revolution. Its spire was torn down, its bells removed the pair of arched windows on either side of it. Then comes an
and melted, and its statues mutilated.A decision was actually arcaded gallery, topped by a balustrade with a statue of the
taken to demolish it, until more restrained voices began to speak Virgin, and beyond this level two high towers with curious goat-
up for its historical and cultural value to the nation. It was much like statues peering over the sides, as if looking over the edge of a
due to Victor Hugo’s novel, Notre-Dame of Paris - a love letter to precipitous mountain face. The structure was so revered by
the exquisite detail of Gothic masonry - that the city’s inhabitants contemporaries it was endlessly imitated, and the medieval
were at last roused by the pitiful state of decay into which the architect and artist Villard de Honnecourt claimed that the
building had sunk. This paved the way for its restoration, towers were the most beautiful he had ever seen.
spearheaded by the architect Viollet-le-Duc, in whose workshops Laon’s heavy monumentality was repeated at Chartres, famous
replacement statuary was created. for epitomising the extreme verticality of French Gothic. The
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series feature - by Jack Watkins

(above left) The rose window in Laon Cathedral. (above right) The nave looking west, Amiens Cathedral. (below) Bourges Cathedral.

spire over the south tower was the first to medieval pilgrim must have felt for these hushed interior conjured also deeply
have been built in the country. The incredible, mammoth-like structures, in impressed later romantics like
building’s outline rises up to dominate not an age when most contemporary Chateaubriand, Hugo and
only the market town itself, but the architecture was small-scale and John Ruskin. The
surrounding landscape. Approaching by humdrum. The transcendent imagery
road, the towers are first glimpsed, almost Chartres’s soaring spires and continues
mirage-like, in the far on page 18
distance, thus enabling
the modern traveller
to gain a sense of
the anticipation
and wonder the

15-19 gothic architecture part 2 START RIGHT:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 10:16 Page 4

Rouen Cathedral interior.

15-19 gothic architecture part 2 START RIGHT:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 10:16 Page 5

series feature - by Jack Watkins

continuing modern infatuation with these ancient

cathedrals owes much to the legacy of these men,
who ‘rediscovered’ Gothic and placed it on its
rightful, elevated footing, after years of scorn by
Chartres, in fact, was the most important
Marian shrine in medieval Paris, and thus its
foremost pilgrim destination. When a fire burnt
down the old cathedral in 1194, the relics were
discovered unharmed in the crypt, and this was
read as an expression of the Virgin’s wish for a
new, more spectacular building in which to house
them. The result was the largest, highest Gothic
structure built up to that time, higher even than
Notre-Dame de Paris. Yet while its portals are
laden with sculpture, there is still about the
building a sombre austerity akin to Norman
The last cathedral of the ‘French Parthenon’
quintet to be built was at Amiens. It is something
of a cliché to contrast the harmonious design of
French Gothic cathedrals with the more ‘organic’
style of English ones, since the latter, being built
over longer periods, incorporated wider stylistic
variations. In fact, with almost all medieval
cathedrals, construction was always a matter of
decades, so that most reflect a sense of ongoing
innovation and technical development. Yet
Amiens, which itself took 50 years to finish from
its start date in 1220, is particularly celebrated
for its unity of design. The hall-like interior has
an immediate impact. Outside, it presides over
the town like a magnificent beached galleon. It
represents a significant leap in scale from Paris,
Chartres and even Reims. Amiens at its highest
point is 140 ft, Reims 125 ft, and Paris is 115ft,
but its height seems even more awesome by the
proportional increase in scale between the height
of the nave in relation to its width. Harder,
perhaps, to appreciate is the development of
window tracery, the increased confidence and
plasticity in the handling of masonry, the massed
ranking of sculpture on the walls meaning these
seem almost to dissolve behind the decoration.
Other fine French Gothic cathedrals of the
northern and central regions include those at
Soissons, Noyon, Le Mans and Bourges. Rouen
Cathedral is a fine example of Gothic in its later
phase, though the striking 512ft high fleche is
actually a 19th century addition. The loftiest of
all the French Gothic cathedrals is Beauvais, with
a choir rising to 157 ft. It collapsed in 1284 and
so, much later, did the tower, itself over 450 ft
high, in the 16th century. French Gothic churches
were built to be so high and mighty that they
seemed to be reaching out to God himself. But in
the end, their creators had to accept that there
were limits.

20-21 ART FEATURE:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 10:29 Page 1



s we move through Lent on the inspiration of the curator, Xavier Bray, to
way to Holy Week, our thoughts show the sculptures alongside great
turn increasingly towards Christ’s Spanish Passion paintings of the same
Passion and death on the Cross. Nowhere period. This demonstrated with dazzling
in Europe are the events of Holy Week clarity how the sculptors and the painters
commemorated with greater fervour than of that epoch influenced each other.
in Spain. In cities and towns all over Spain, Accordingly, this month’s Art Feature will
floats weighing up to two tons, and reflect on the lessons of The Sacred made
bearing life-sized painted sculptures, are Real, with particular reference to the
carried through the streets by as many as painting Christ after the Flagellation
30 men ‘penitents’. Each float depicts a Contemplated by the Christian Soul, made
different episode of the Passion, so that by Diego Velasquez in about 1628.
taken together they vividly display the (fig.1.). Incidentally, for the benefit of our
whole Gospel narrative of Christ’s Passion. American readers, the exhibition is
The sculptures are usually carved from presently at the National Gallery of Art, (1576-1636) in Valladolid, and Pedro de
wood, and realistically polychromed. Washington D.C., and will remain there Mena, (1628-1688) in Malaga stand out,
This sculptural art form flourished with until the 31st May, 2010. and later the tradition was maintained by
particular richness in 17th century The 17th century was the Golden Age Francisco Salzillo, (1707-1783) in Murcia.
Spain,and a recent amazing exhibition, The of Spanish art. Sculptors such as Juan The painters include Francisco Pacheco,
Sacred Made Real, at the National Gallery Martinez Montanes, (1568-1649), known (1564-1644), Diego Velazquez, (1599-
in London brought together some of the as ‘the god of wood,’ Juan de Mesa, 1660) and Francisco de Zurbaran, (1598-
finest examples of the genre. What made (1538-1627), and Alonso Cano, (1601- 1664) of Seville, and Francisco Ribalta,
the exhibition unique, however, was the 1667) in Seville, Gregorio Fernandez, (1565-1628) and Jusepe de Ribera,
20-21 ART FEATURE:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 10:29 Page 2

art feature by Lionel Gracey

(1591-1652) of Valencia. The characteristic of both the Spanish

sculpture and painting of this Golden Age was a stark, almost
brutal realism in the depiction of human figures, even in religious
works. This stood in blunt contrast to the idealised humanity of
the Italian Renaissance of the previous century. This Spanish art
was intensely focussed on fostering religious devotion, and above
all devotion to Christ’s Sacred Passion in Holy Week.
The key to understanding the intimate relationship between the
sculptors and painters of that period comes from knowing that
their respective Guilds imposed rigid restrictions on what each
group was permitted to do. Thus the sculptor was never allowed
to paint his work. This had to be done by a member of the Guild
of polychrome artists. The improbable and paradoxical
consequence of this arrangement was that each group learned
directly from the work of the other group what was feasible for
their own art. The exhibition made this point very clear, and it
was illuminating to discover how much the later art of such a
great painter as Diego Velazquez drew on his earlier experience
as an assistant in the studio of his father-in-law, the great
polychrome painter, Francisco Pacheco.
Speaking personally, the exhibition helped me to clarify my
understanding of a painting which I have always found difficult to
interpret. When Christ after the Flagellation Contemplated by a
Christian Soul was acquired by the National Gallery in London,
and first shown there in 1883, it was presented without a title,
and this caused confusion among the British viewers. According
to Lord Napier, one spectator thought it showed a child being
taken to visit his suffering father in prison. In fact, we see Christ (fig.2.) Ecce Homo
slumped exhausted on the ground, held up by only the taut cord (detail)
still tied to the scourging pillar. The great rope noose by which he
will soon de dragged to Calvary is round his neck. His cloak, the
seamless robe for which his guards will later cast lots, lies Scourging, but this was so self-evident to the artist that he felt no
crumpled in the left lower corner of the painting, and the whip need to depict it explicitly. We, who are not part of that Spanish
and birch of the flagellation lie in the middle foreground. Only the Holy Week culture are inevitably puzzled by the painting. Thanks
broken branches of the birch reveal the ferocity of the flogging, to this exhibition, however, everything is now much clearer.
for Christ’s body is almost unmarked. At most, a few flecks of Inevitably the division of sacred art between sculptors and
blood on the left shoulder, wrist, loincloth and thighs indicate that artists led to comparisons and rivalry between the two groups. In
he has even been whipped at all. Despite this, the Christian soul, the Spain of that time sculptors were still considered to be
personified by the blue-clothed child, expresses intense pathos. artisans and taxed accordingly. The competition between them is
Christ makes eye contact with the child, and a ray of light, symbol highlighted in a letter of rebuttal which Pacheco wrote to
of divine grace, flashes from the Saviour’s head towards the Montanes in 1622. He ascribes the superiority of the artist to the
child’s heart. use of colour when he writes: “The portrait of the Emperor
What puzzled me about the painting was what seemed to be a Charles V will be more easily recognised by all when it is
disproportionate reaction of the child. What has moved this strikingly painted with the colours of a Titian than when it is
Christian soul to such depths of sorrow? The first clue is the made of wood or marble by any sculptor of equal calibre.” He
pointing finger of the child’s Guardian Angel. It is directed towards continues: “This is because colour reveals the passions and
Christ’s back, which the child and the angel can see, but which is concerns of the soul with greater vividness.” Curiously,
hidden from us as Christ is turned away from us, and his back is in Velazquez, the son-in-law of Pacheco made this point tellingly,
shadow. Notice, however, that the child’s eyes follow the though perhaps unwittingly, in the portrait he made of Montanes
direction of the angel’s finger, and are fixed on Christ’s back, and in 1653. (fig. 3). This reveals the sculptor as a dignified and
clearly the artist assumes that we all know why this should be so. serious-minded man, with the sensitive hand of the true artist.
Velazquez made this painting in 1628, only five years after he had The sculpted head on which Montanes rests his other hand,
left Pacheco’s studio in Seville to become Court Painter to the however, though recognisable as the likeness of the Emperor
Emperor, Philip IV in Madrid. The memory of many polychromed Philip IV, conveys nothing of the king’s character. In his effort to
sculptures, similar to that of Gregorio Fernandez, (fig. 2), would present Montanes as a creative artist, Velazquez has
have been as fresh in the mind of Velazquez, as it would have unconsciously affirmed Pacheco’s opinion of the supremacy of
been in the minds of almost all Spaniards, familiar as they were painting over sculpture. For us modern spectators, however, the
with the Holy Week processions. Humans bear burdens on their marriage of the two arts achieved by the great masters of Spain’s
backs, and Jesus bore the burden of our sins on his back at the Golden Age is a matter of enduring wonder.
22-23 a dream for London (DIOCESE) :p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 12:54 Page 1


London inevitably he first Order that set itself up upon a hill were
conjures up images of the Passionists, who started their mission in
1858, completing their magnificent church
Big Ben, the Houses dedicated to St Joseph and familiarly referred to as
of Parliament, ‘Holy Joe’s’, in 1888. An article on this church was
Buckingham Palace published in the August 2008 issue of Catholic Life. At
the time, the Passionists were about to celebrate the
and so on - all flat 150th anniversary of their foundation under a cloud
locations alongside of imminent departure, but the decision to hand
or near the River over to the diocese was revoked and they are still
Thames. Surrounding there. Perhaps Cardinal Wiseman might have had a
hand in that!?
London, however, are In 1861, he asked the Dominicans to take over
many hills with Kentish Town and in due course he actually chose a new
stunning views of the site for them to
build their priory on
city. Large verdant parks Haverstock Hill. It was
like Parliament Hill, Hampstead completed by 1867, but the
Heath, Highgate, Richmond Park, priory church was to take much longer.
Shooters Hill, all make perfect The origins of its design make for a
fascinating story. A certain Thomas
platforms for panoramic views of Walmesley had an overriding desire to
the metropolis. It is said that build a church in honour of Our Lady of
from one of these, probably Lourdes “to mark the gratitude of the
Catholics of the United Kingdom for the
Highgate Hill, Cardinal Wiseman, many graces and blessings received
soon after the restoration of the through Our Lady of Lourdes”. The
Catholic hierarchy, looked out Dominicans readily acceded to his
request to make the priory church the
over London and dreamt of the fulfilment of his dreams. Since the
day when a Catholic church Rosary was the most popular devotion
would be built on every hill at Lourdes, his design was of a church
wherein Masses and prayers made up of 14 chapels each dedicated
to a mystery of the Rosary, culminating
would be said for the conversion in the final mystery honouring the
of England. In this context he coronation of Mary depicted in stained
seemed to have Religious in mind glass above the high altar. Building
began in 1878 and was finished five
and indicated his eagerness for years later, although a grotto which was
their special apostolate by also planned did not materialise until
inviting, amongst others, the 1914. For a time the church was
Oratorians, Redemptorists, known as ‘Our Lady’s Shrine in London’
and pilgrimages were made on Rosary
Rosminians and Marists. What Sunday. That these did not persist is of
follows is a brief account of four little consequence, because one cannot
of those London hills on which doubt the amount of prayer and
Religious communities built (above) Cardianl Wiseman.
places of worship, thus fulfilling at (right) Stained glass window of St
least part of Cardinal Wiseman’s Vincent de Paul from St Michael’s
church in Bayswater, London.
dream. © Br. Lawrence O.P.

22-23 a dream for London (DIOCESE) :p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 12:54 Page 2

Westminster Archdiocesan feature by Tony Galcius

devotion manifested over 100 years and which, more

importantly, continues to this day.
Mill Hill saw the arrival of the Vincentians in 1889, who had
been preceded by their co-Religious, the Daughters of St
Vincent de Paul. Both these French orders were founded by St a new periodical of contemporary and nostalgic Catholic
Vincent aided and abetted by Louise de Marillac. Both are living, invites submission of short stories and articles,
committed to working for the poor and the sick and have based around Catholic morals and principles.
houses and hospitals all over the world. Mill Hill for the Sisters Submissions should be no more than 2,500 words
was their Generalate. In 1893, a year after Cardinal Vaughan and the editor reserves the right to edit material.
became the archbishop of Westminster, the parish priest of
Hendon offered the Vincentians the Mill Hill section of his Send all copy, marked clearly, to
parish for them to minister to. As their ministry expanded, a Emma Clancy, Editor, The Catholic Companion,
new church was needed and built and dedicated to the Sacred 4th Floor, Landmark House, Station Road,
Heart. St Vincent de Paul set as a secondary aim for his Cheadle Hulme, SK8 7JH or
Religious a ministry for priests. This became particularly email:
important immediately post-Vatican II, when many priests for
various reasons were leaving the priesthood. The Vincentians
today offer priests retreats and a place for reflection - a very
topical service in this Year of the Priest. house was constructed a chapel to meet the needs of those early
Long before Herbert Vaughan was elevated to Westminster petitioners. Then came the obvious need for a larger purpose built
he had been desperate to go on the Missions. Unable to go church. Benedict Williamson designed it, keeping in mind the spirit
personally, he did the next best thing – he founded a of the Middle Ages but the needs of the 20th century. Started in
missionary order with the lengthy title of St Joseph’s Society of 1903, it was finished in 1909, apart from the interior. Outstanding
the Sacred Heart for Foreign Missions, more commonly mosaic work in the Sanctuary and the Stations of the Cross and the
known as the Mill Hill Fathers. This was established in 1866 in Lady Chapel were only completed in 1925. From the outside the
Holcombe House and then moved to a new building known church is reminiscent of those seen in the lovely town of Bruges.
as St Joseph’s College, Mill Hill. Here students from all over 1909 also saw the new College of St Ignatius built nearby. It had
the UK, Holland and Germany were trained for missionary started humbly in the Lodge until the demand for places outgrew
work, ordained and sent out to every part of the world. Due the space available. The school earned such a reputation for
to financial and other pressures, the college was sold in 2006 excellence that in 1968 it moved to new premises in Enfield. Some
and it is now registered as a Grade II buiding (see below). of its buildings were taken over by the primary
However, St Joseph’s Society is still flourishing. An excellent school, which had also started in 1901. It
website provides more information on its current apostolate. continues to thrive but under the aegis of
Two years after Herbert Vaughan became Archbishop of the diocese.
Westminster (1892 to 1908), thanks to a petition by
some 300 local Catholics, he invited the Jesuits to There are other places in London
found a parish and schools on Stamford with ‘hill’ as a suffix where Catholic
Hill. This was a challenge which churches exist, such as Dollis Hill, Muswell
was taken up in characteristic Hill and Tower Hill. There are also locations
fashion – a large house called without this suffix but which are actually
Morecambe Lodge was bought built on hilly ground. Today nearly 50
and out of its stables and coach Religious orders of men and over 100 orders
of women in the diocese of Westminster
alone carry out their apostolate of prayer
and action. Perhaps Cardinal
Wiseman’s dream has come

24-25 holborn's holy ground (DIOCESE):p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 13:01 Page 1

Westminster Archdiocesan feature - by Tony Galcius


ordering on the western edge of study at a ‘Romish seminary’. Both men guilty and condemned to death. Alice was
the City of London is a large were hung, drawn and quartered on the eventually reprieved and after several years
intersection, called Holborn 28th August,1588, the year of the died in prison. Although her husband,
Circus. It is thought that the name derives Armada. Neither was allowed to speak Swithun, had not been present at the
from the Middle English word ‘Hol’ for before their execution for fear that their Mass, he had been an accessory to the
hollow and ‘bourne’ meaning brook. The words might persuade the crowd to turn crime and suffered the ignominy of
main road passing through it is called back to Catholicism. having to watch the 24 year old Fr.
High Holborn at the western end, then On the other side of High Holborn are Edmund die on a make-shift gibbet
becoming Holborn Viaduct and finishing to be found Gray’s Inn Fields. In 1590, erected outside his own house in Gray’s
as Newgate Street. It was from here that Alexander Blake was condemned for Inn Lane. He then accepted his own
over 100 priests and laymen began their helping the priest Christopher Bayles. butchery with equal magnanimity.
last journey, on hurdles, to die on the Helping a priest by giving him a place to In nearby Clerkenwell, which abuts
Tyburn tree. However, within a half mile rest, to stay or something to eat or Gray’s Inn, two priests and two laymen
radius of Holborn Circus, there were six perhaps assisting him to say Mass spilt their blood for the Lord. The first
other gallows, some permanent, some somewhere and informing others that was Fr. Thomas Holford, also known as
makeshift, where martyrs’ blood flowed such a Mass was available were all Acton, who died in 1588. In the early
during the reign of Elizabeth I. described as an act of felony. This good 1580s Thomas had been a teacher who
At the western end of the Holborn man thus fell foul of an iniquitous law had then decided to study for the
highway, located to either side, are two of and, ironically, died in the grounds of the priesthood and was ordained in Rheims.
the four famous Inns of Court, which Inn of Court, where others were learning Back on the mission, he was arrested
consist of precincts built around green about justice and the law. once, but escaped, thanks to a hiding hole
swards or ‘Fields’. It is here, since the A year later, in 1591, also at Gray’s Inn at the foot of the stairs. His second arrest
1400s, that barristers have been, and still Fields, two of the Forty Martyrs met their resulted in death. Two years later in the
are, trained in the law and practise their fate – Fr. Edmund Genings (aka same place, Fr. Antony Middleton died.
trade in chambers. These Inns reached Jennings) and Swithun Wells. The story He had ministered to the people of
their full potential during Queen of their capture unfolded dramatically one London and owing to his diminutive
Eliazabeth I’s reign. It was in one of them, day when the young priest was saying build and young looking appearance had
Lincoln’s Inn Fields, that a Yorkshireman, Mass in Mr. Wells’ house. Among the been able to delay arrest. Few suspected
Fr. Robert Morton who had prepared for company present were two other priests, a him of being a priest.
ordination in Rheims, was sentenced to number of men and Alice Wells –
die for being a seminary priest. His Swithin’s wife. No less a person than the
co-martyr Hugh Moor also studied for a notorious priest hunter himself, Richard
time in the same Douai college in Topcliffe, battered down the door of the
Rheims, but was not ordained. Hugh’s room where Mass was being offered, at
crime was that he had gone abroad to the very moment of consecration. The
men in the tiny congregation of ten
Fr. Edmund
“Wherever a people, sprang up to confront the
intruders. Whoever engaged with Genings
martyr has given Topcliffe, fell with him down the stairs as
they wrestled. One of the other priests, Fr. Jennings).

his blood for Plasden told Fr. Edmund to carry on with

the Mass and then went to the stricken

Christ, there is Topcliffe to make a deal that if he

allowed the Mass to be
completed they would all give
holy ground and themselves into his custody.
This was agreed and Fr.
the sanctity shall Edmund, still vested, was
taken with the whole
not depart from household, to Newgate
prison. All were found
it”. - T.S.Eliot
24-25 holborn's holy ground (DIOCESE):p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 13:01 Page 2

To the east of Holborn Circus, one arrives at Smithfield

Market, one of London’s largest and oldest markets and still in
operation to this day. Here, on the 4th March, 1590, a layman
called Nicholas Horner was hanged for making a jerkin for a
priest, Fr. Bayles, of whom more later. Nicholas had previously
been imprisoned for contravening this law and, thanks to the
extremely damp conditions of the prison, contracted what must
have been gangrene in one leg, which had to be amputated.
Elizabethan surgery was performed without an anaesthetic;
however, Nicholas was spiritually anaesthetised by a vision which
distracted him from the pain. Similarly, on the day before he
died, he received another sign of God’s favour - in the form of an
intangible crown over his head – thus alleviating his fear and
dread of execution.
On the same day, but about a half a mile away, where Fetter
Lane joins Fleet Street, Fr. Christopher Bayles also met his
death. He had been racked and forced to hang for 24 hours by
Topcliffe, because he refused to reveal who had attended Mass
and where. At his trial, he told the judge that he was no different
from St Augustine, who had also been ordained abroad and sent
to preach the Catholic Faith in England. Two months later,
Edward Jones, a Welsh priest and eloquent preacher, was
betrayed by priest catchers, feigning to be Catholic and
attending Mass. He was hanged in Fleet Street, as was his fellow
priest, Fr. Middleton, without trial, outside the house in which
he had been captured.
On the 6th May, 1591, two more died a most brutal death in
Fleet Street, one a Norfolk man – Montford Scot and the other
a Lancastrian – George Beesley. Fr. Montford attended Douai
College before it moved to Rheims and began his missionary
work in 1577. He is one of the few priests who was able to work
for more than a year before being arrested. Over a period of
Tyburn Nuns
seven years he ministered in Kent, Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincolnshire
and Yorkshire where he was taken and sent to London. For the
Life of
next seven years, he languished in prison. He was known for his
intense piety, prayer and mortification. Onlookers remarked on
his calloused knees as his legs were torn from his body after
execution. Fr. George came to England in 1588 and was As Tyburn Nuns our
described by his biographer as ‘a man of singular courage, young, work is to pray for the
strong and robust’. But after being frequently and cruelly Church and the world.
tortured by Topcliffe in prison, he was reduced to a skeleton. Our special joy is to hold
Both were beatified in 1987 by Pope John Paul II. the people of England and
T.S. Eliot whom I have quoted in a previous article, claimed Wales in prayer.
that “wherever a martyr has given his blood for Christ, there is
holy ground and the sanctity shall not depart from it”. Walking If you have a special intention let us know! Or,

through Lincoln’s Inn and Gray’s Inn Fields, Clekenwell, if you feel a calling to join our community send us
Smithfield, Fetter Lane and Fleet Street, in this small area of this coupon, or write to the Vocations Directress,
Tyburn Convent, 8 Hyde Park Place, London W2 2LJ.
Holborn, I felt a very real sense of treading on holy ground.
■ Please send free booklet on Tyburn Martyrs
■ Iʼm interested! Send vocations information
“I pray God make you of a ■ My intention is:...........................................................
Saul a Paul, of a persecutor a .......................................................................................
Catholic professor. ” Please print name and address:.....................................
- Swithun Wells
26-27 our lady of westminster (DIOCESE):p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 11:56 Page 1


© Br. Lawrence O.P.

n 1955 at an Antiques Dealers Fair in London, an
ancient three foot statue of Our Lady, made out of
alabaster, was exhibited. It had been bought by an
English ecclesiastical art dealer the year before, but it
had been up for sale in Paris in 1930, when it was
owned by a French art dealer who, in turn, had
acquired it from Baron de Saint Leger Daguerre. Apart
from the name, nothing of the historical details are
Cardinal Griffin, Archbishop of Westminster, in 1955
was very anxious to buy the statue. However he was
beaten in his bid by the Dean of York, who,
unfortunately, for him, but not for the cardinal, was
unable to raise the funds. In a lovely ecumenical
gesture, the Dean said that Westminster Cathedral
should have it, and so on the 8th December 1955, the
feast of the Immaculate Conception, it was welcomed
at a Solemn High Mass in the cathedral in the presence
of a representative from York Minster.
But how old is this statue of Our Lady of
Westminster? Herein lies the mystery. Educated
guesses can be made by comparing it to other similar
statues that have been found and whose historical
details are better known. There are about 40 surviving
statues, most of them in France. Twelve of them have
the Child Jesus sitting on Mary’s right knee. Art and
Church historians, therefore, consider that the
Westminster statue dates from between 1440 and
1525, because it has the characteristics of alabaster
statues that were mass produced in England during that
period. It has a remarkable similarity to one of two
statues found buried, behind All Saints church in
Broughton-in-Craven, in 1863. The fact that they
were defaced would indicate they must have existed in
Edward VI’s time when his Act for the putting away of
divers books and images (1549) was enforced. Although
there was a wide European market for these statues,
by far the biggest buyers were the French. So, the
Westminster statue was probably carved for a place of
worship somewhere in France and venerated until the
French Revolution, when it passed into private
ownership to protect it from French iconoclasts.
Our Lady’s statue is aptly positioned below Eric Gill’s
sculpture of the 13th Station of the Cross, depicting
Mary holding the dead body of her Son. To the right
and behind is the magnificent Lady Chapel. The
juxtaposition of modern art and the medieval statue of
Our Lady, also holding her young Child on her knee,
as he gazes intently at his mother, I am sure, is not lost
on the many who pray at this shrine every day. The
cathedral historian, Patrick Rogers, helps us to imagine

26-27 our lady of westminster (DIOCESE):p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 11:56 Page 2

Westminster Archdiocesan feature by Tony Galcius

The installation and blessing of the

shrine of Our Lady of Westminster.

the even greater beauty of this statue when he writes in the

cathedral magazine that: “Traces of paint indicate that Our
Lady’s crown, (broken) sceptre and mantle fastening were
gilded. Her garments were edged with gold with interior folds
painted blue and red. Her dark brown throne stood amidst
daisies in a dark green field”. (v. Oremus, May 2007 edition).
Half a mile away, in Westminster Abbey, is a statue called
Our Lady of the Pew (see right). It too is carved out of
alabaster in the image and likeness of the one at the cathedral.
However its origin dates back but 55 years and how it came visit to the abbey was during the same year that the medieval
about makes quite an amazing story. Albert Joseph Freeman alabaster statue was enshrined in the cathedral.
was gassed in the trenches during the Great War, and as he lay In a way, this story is about Our Lady linking the old
dying in a field hospital in France, he promised to dedicate his pre-Reformation Catholic devotion to her in the abbey, the present
life to Our Lady if he made a full recovery. It was many years veneration of her in the cathedral and the Anglican revival in marian
later, in 1955, that he visited the abbey and was extremely sad devotion in the Chapel of the Pew. Is this not evidence of her
to see an empty niche in the Pew chapel. He discovered that wishes for unity of all Christians? Is she not reminding us vividly of
an ancient statue of Our Lady, carved in alabaster, had been Christ’s prayer to the Father at the Last Supper when he prayed “ut
donated by the Countess of Pembroke in 1377 to the abbot Unum sint – that they may all be One”?
and it was to be venerated in the chantry chapel given by her
to have Masses said for her dead husband and herself when
she died. It was, of course, around this time that the concept
of England as Mary’s Dowry began and was eventually fully
The Church needs religious sisters
mandated by Richard II in 1399 as follows: “The URGENTLY (ministers of religion) to
contemplation of the great mystery of the Incarnation has bring Christ to others by a life of prayer
brought all Christian nations to venerate her from whom and service lived in the community of
Ignation spirituality. Daily Mass is the
came the beginnings of redemption. But we, as the humble centre of community life. By wearing the
servants of her inheritance, and liegemen of her especial religious habit we are witnesses of the
consecrated way of life.
dower - as we are approved by common parlance ought to
If you are willing to risk a little love and
excel all others in the favour of our praises and devotions to would like to find out how,
her.” The statue was later destroyed at the Reformation. contact Sister Bernadette
Without hesitation, Albert Joseph Freeman commissioned the Mature vocations considered.
sculptor, a Sr. Concordia Scott, OSB to reproduce one as CONVENT OF OUR
close as possible to that of Our Lady of Westminster. It was LADY OF FIDELITY.
finally completed and installed in 1971. Central Hill, Upper Norwood, LONDON SE19 1RS
The most striking aspect of this story is that Albert Freeman’s Tel: 0044 (0) 7760 297001 Fax: 0044 (0) 208 766 6579 090999784

28-30 the adoption legacy:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 12:02 Page 1

Westminster Archdiocesan focus by Jim Hyland

From its early origins in the 19th century, until the present time, the
Catholic Children’s Society, (Westminster) has been involved in
providing a range of care services for children and families including,
for much of that time, an adoption service.

n the 19th June 2009, the Society announced that it some only won after the Society went to the highest courts in the
would cease to assess and approve people who wish to land, to establish the parents right to ensure that Catholic
become adopters. The Society had been forced into this children were not deprived of a Catholic upbringing. This role of
position because it did not consider that, as a Catholic agency, it ensuring that the rights of the Catholic community were
could comply with all the requirements of the Government’s respected imposed pressure on the Society to provide the foster
Sexual Orientation Regulations. This would have meant that it and adoptive placements for children, although they were not
would have been forced to assess same-sex couples; this would not always able to do so.
meet their existing criterion that as far applicants who are couples
are concerned they must be married as man and wife. Adoption Act 1926
This decision will bring to an end the long and fruitful Adoption had not been placed on a proper legal footing until
involvement of the Society in selecting would be adopters for the Adoption Act 1926. This was prompted largely by the
approval and undertaking the delicate process of placing the demand to have the protection of a legal status both for the child
children. and for the adopter.
From its beginnings, the Society had seen as one of its major Fostering was often the prior step on the way to adoption,
objectives the ‘rescue’ of children, not only from unsafe and although the majority of fostered children were not adopted but
uncaring situations, but also from the peril of losing their either returned to their families, remained with their foster carer
Catholic faith. This in turn had led to some fierce legal battles, or went on to residential care.
Canon George Craven, (later Bishop Craven), the
1 Administrator of the Crusade between 1920 and 1948, struggled
to find the fostering and adoptive placements to meet the
child’s best interests, including the preservation of their religious
faith. There was a long tradition of placing children in need of
care into foster families from soon after the onset of the Crusade,
but such families were few and difficult to find and therefore a
major emphasis had been placed on establishing good residential
homes for the children.
It was difficult to recruit families, even for babies, and as a
result many infants were placed in residential nurseries, some
being fostered as they became toddlers, but many progressing
through the Society’s range of homes.
In the Annual Report for 1935 it was noted that a home for
45 girl toddlers (15 months to 5 years of age) had been opened.
As the report proclaimed: “We are now able to provide for girls
from zero plus until they leave school and earn their own living.
These homes are helping very much solve the problem of the
shortage of foster mothers. The capable and devoted foster

1. Awaiting Adoption photo from Waugh Rev. N (1911)

These My Little Ones.

2. Babies Dormitory. Annual Report 1937.

3. Front Cover of 1931 Rescue Society Annual Report.

28-30 the adoption legacy:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 12:02 Page 2

mother provides, in my opinion, the ideal form of infant care

for these motherless waifs; but the number of such women is
not commensurate with our need, and Babies’ Homes are
therefore absolutely necessary.”
Canon Craven reported in the 1938 Annual Report that over
100 infants, particularly boys, were with foster mothers. Despite
this, there was still a demand for more places so he arranged for
the places for infants at St Anthony’s Feltham to be doubled to
40 and for 40 new places for boy toddlers to be provided in the
new St Vincent’s home near by.
It was also decided to buy the house adjoining St Nicholas’
Home for Mothers and Babies in order to double the
accommodation there. St Nicholas’s, at 31 Highbury Hill, had
been opened in 1931. The home had places for 12 mothers and
their babies.

Great Pressure on Places Needed

The number of infants and young children needing placements
remained high into the 1960s. These numbers were
continues on page 30

28-30 the adoption legacy:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 12:02 Page 3

Westminster Archdiocesan focus by Jim Hyland

substantially added to by applicaants increase in the number of placements for their babies and having them adopted
coming to England from Ireland. adoption. This figures takes no account of under Irish legislation. During the
In 1938 the Crusade had received 356 the number of Irish girls who were helped operation of this facility, mothers of 821
applications from unmarried Irish to place their children through St. Anne’s infants took up the option. Speaking at
mothers. Some mothers and babies were adoption society in Cork…31 mothers the Annual Meeting of the Crusade in
helped to return to Ireland, either through used it during 1956. 1982, Fr. John O’Mahony, then
their parish priests or their own families. “We shall not, and cannot, relax the Chairman of the Central Council of
Some of the children were placed by the standards required of adopters, and some Catholic Adoption Societies in Ireland
Rescue Society of Ireland. Some were old friends coming back for another child and Secretary of St. Anne’s Adoption
admitted to the care of the Crusade, have remarked with dismay that formalities Society Cork, acknowledged the benefits
which made grants to enable the mother get more exacting. We must always do our that his Society had gained from contact
to pay a foster mother. best to safeguard the children. This is the with the high professional standards
In 1957 Canon Flood, the then primary purpose of an adoption society.” practiced by the staff of the Crusade. He
administrator, wrote, “1956 adoption The Cork scheme offered Irish mothers also noted that the first Irish Adoption
statistics show that there has been a 25% the option of returning to Ireland with Act only came into force in 1953.

Changing Attitudes approved up to 20 sets of would be adopters.

In the later part of the 20th century attitudes to single The Society’s Post Adoption and Care Service team has
parenthood and the introduction of new abortion laws led to provided access to records to adoptees who were placed for
changes of view on adoption. Now very few babies are placed adoption by the Society. It also provides statutory counselling
for adoption but increasing numbers of older children, some with and mediation services to those seeking birth relatives.
a disability, are being placed. Adoption is now a much more The Society has said it will continue to operate its adoption
open process and adopted people have been given the right, support and counselling services for the many thousands of
with certain safeguards for all involved, to trace their birth family. adoptions they have facilitated over the years. They view this
The Society has been the official adoption agency for the work as an historical legacy which must be honoured even
dioceses of Westminster and Brentwood, as well as having a though the era of its direct adoption work has had to end.
national remit in matching children with adoptive parents. In a (below) Adoption Chart, Catholic Children’s Society,
typical year, in recent times, it has placed up to 20 children and (Westminster).

31 westminster DIOCESE NEWS:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 12:03 Page 1

Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate school community. the poor and the marginalised.
School’s £47 million Learning Village The Learning Village project, a The Learning Village and the school’s
project in Tower Hamlets was officially collaboration between the Department of development make Bishop Challoner one
opened on the 22nd January 2010 by Education, the Archdiocese of of inner city education’s great success
Archbishop Vincent Nichols in a Westminster and Tower Hamlets Council, stories. The school has achieved
ceremony attended by Bishop George has transformed the school's site which outstanding levels of excellence inside and
Stack, local civic and faith leaders and the now offers outstanding facilities for outside the classroom, which has meant
students and local residents alike. fine exam results and an enviable range of
extra-curricular activities, reflecting the
State of the art energy and enthusiasm of staff and
The new development includes state of students. Exam results for both the boys’
the art buildings – including a sports hall, and girls’ schools put them high up in
library and Village Club - for both the national measures of academic
school and local community. Close links performance.
with the local Church of St Mary and
St Michael and the primary school are High attainment
being created, as a result of which parents Executive Head, Catherine Myers said:
will be able to educate their children from “We hope the Learning Village will be a
age 3 to 18 on one campus. beacon for high attainment and prove a
landmark in the school’s growing
Poor and marginalised relationship with its Tower Hamlets
The school, which has over 1,700 community. On behalf of the governors,
pupils, is named after Richard Challoner, staff, students and their families, I should
an influential 18th century Catholic like to thank the diocese and everybody
bishop – a scholar who worked involved with making this project happen
tirelessly, through education, to help the and to Archbishop Nichols for finding
The new development includes poor and disadvantaged. The school time in his busy schedule to join us for
state of the art buildings. today continues its mission of educating the opening ceremony.”

Society’s love for children

lays foundation for book
This year, the Catholic Children’s Society, Westminster is celebrating upon children and families to
its 150th anniversary. Founded in 1859, it provides child care the response of the Church to
services to assist children and families in need, irrespective of race or these,” society chief executive
faith, in the diocese of Westminster. Dr Rosemary Keenan
A number of events are planned to mark this special year. commented.
Prominent among them is a book the society has published, called “It portrays a remarkably
Changing Times, Changing Needs, A History of the Catholic Children’s moving picture of the
Society (Westminster). commitment of the Catholic
Written by Jim Hyland, the book draws from the extensive community to improving the
archives of the society. It documents not just the society’s 150-year lives of children and their
history, but places it within the wider context of developments families, a commitment that we greatly
within the Church itself, including the impact of the restoration of appreciate and value as we face the ongoing challenge of
the hierarchy and the influence of the Second Vatican Council. transforming young lives for the better.”
Running alongside this are the changes taking place within the
secular world and government The book is available from the Catholic Children’s Society
legislation. (Westminster) for £10 inclusive of post and packing.
“This publication to mark our 150th anniversary year weaves a For more details, email or visit
fascinating historical tapestry, from the social pressures impacting
32-33 shroud of turin:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 12:05 Page 1

Shroud of Turin:

he Shroud of Turin, which many transferred to the linen cloth, although
Christians believe to be the burial The pilgrims come to witness with their experts have put forward theories ranging
cloth of Jesus, goes on public own eyes what they may have read about from enzyme reaction to solar imaging.
display this spring, at a time when experts or glimpsed on TV. Most go away The shroud has been studied from
are debating new claims about the 14- impressed with what they see: a faint virtually every scientific angle in recent
foot-long piece of linen. image of a bearded man who appears to years. Its weave has been examined, pollen
Pope Benedict XVI has already made have been whipped, crowned with thorns grains embedded in the cloth have been
plans to view the shroud during a one-day and crucified. inspected, and red stains have been
trip to the northern Italian city of Turin in Carbon-14 tests in 1988 dated the cloth analysed for haemoglobin properties. One
early May. Many observers are wondering to the Middle Ages, and seemed to particular sub-category of debate focuses
how the Pope will refer to the cloth: as a confirm the theory that the shroud was a on enhanced images that, in the opinion
sign, an icon or – as Pope John Paul II pious fraud. But since then, some experts of some scientists, reveal the impression of
once characterised it – a relic. have faulted the methodology of the first-century Palestinian coins placed on
The shroud’s last showing was 10 years testing, and said the tiny samples used the eyes of the shroud’s figure.
ago, when more than a million people may have been taken from areas of the The ‘jury’ on the shroud includes
lined up to see it in the cathedral of Turin cloth that were mended in medieval times. hundreds of experts, some of them self-
in northern Italy. Officials are predicting The shroud has also been chemically appointed. They do not split neatly into
similar crowds for the exposition April analysed, electronically enhanced and believers and sceptics, however. The latest
10th-May 23rd, and visitors are being computer-imaged. So far, no one has been controversy, in fact, involves a Vatican
urged to book their visits online at able to fully explain how the image was archivist who claims to have found

2 3

32-33 shroud of turin:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 12:05 Page 2

evidence of writing on the shroud – a closing the cathedral for three months. It to consider the Shroud of Turin in a
hypothesis that has drawn sharp criticism will take that long to set up the viewing different category.
from other Catholic scholars. area and the information exhibit for In his book, The Spirit of the Liturgy,
The archivist, Barbara Frale, said in a visitors as they wait in line. then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote that
new book that older photographs of the Pope Benedict’s arrival is a big event for the shroud was “a truly mysterious image,
shroud reveal indications of what was organisers of this year’s shroud exposition. which no human artistry was capable of
essentially a written death notice for a Many Catholics look to Rome for producing.”
Jesus Nazarene. The text, she said, employs direction on how to evaluate the shroud, In his meditations on the Good Friday
three languages used in first-century as Pope John Paul II discovered en route Way of the Cross in Rome shortly before
Jerusalem. to Africa in 1989, when he called the his election as pope in 2005, he wrote
The book immediately prompted a shroud a ‘relic.’ When excited reporters regarding the 11th station, ‘Jesus Is Nailed
website war in Italy. Several sites dedicated asked whether this meant it was the to the Cross’: “The Shroud of Turin
to the shroud ridiculed Frale’s hypothesis, authentic burial cloth of Christ, the Polish allows us to have an idea of the incredible
saying it bordered on Dan Brown-style pope conferred with an aide before cruelty of this procedure.”
fantasy. Vatican Radio, however, featured answering more cautiously: “The Church The Pope then offered a prayer inspired
an interview with Frale about her has never pronounced itself in this sense. by the figure of the shroud: “Let us halt
‘important discovery.’ No doubt the world It has always left the question open to all before this image of pain, before the
will hear more about this scholarly spat those who want to seek its authenticity. I suffering Son of God. Let us look upon
when the shroud goes on display. think it is a relic.” Clearly, Pope John Paul him at times of presumptuousness and
It will be the first public showing of the was personally convinced, although when pleasure, in order to learn to respect limits
shroud since it underwent a restoration in he went to see the shroud in 1998 he and to see the superficiality of all merely
2002, which removed repair patches and a carefully avoided using the term ‘relic.’ material goods. Let us look upon him at
large piece of linen of a later date. To Pope Benedict has long been cautious times of trial and tribulation, and realise
prepare for the exhibit, the Archdiocese of about the value of private signs, that it is then that we are closest to God.”
Turin has taken the unusual step of apparitions and revelations. But he seems ©

1. A life-size reproduction of the Shroud of Turin. 2. An example of a crown of thorns 3. Examples of Roman whips used to scourge.
4. A bronze statue, titled ‘The Body of the Man of the Shroud’. All from a permanent exhibit at
Regina Apostolorum University in Rome. Although the Shroud of Turin has been studied from virtually
every scientific angle, no one has been able to fully explain how the image was transferred to the linen cloth.

34-35 the eucharistic miracle of seefeld:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 12:09 Page 1

The name of its parish church, the
Pfarrkirche St Oswald, gives us a clue as it
is named after the seventh century Martyr
King of Northumbria who died fighting
the pagan King of Mercia in 642. Later,
he was canonised for his role in
promoting Christianity in the north-east
of England and it was his followers who
then spread Christianity throughout
various areas of Europe, including the
land we now know as Austria.
In the 14th century, though, another
Oswald was to bring the town further
prominence. He was Oswald Milser, Lord
of nearby Schlossberg Castle. This castle
had a strategic military and defensive
position as it guarded an important
mountain pass and thus provided
protection and security for the population
of the surrounding area. This Oswald,
however, was almost the exact opposite of
the man whose followers brought the
word of Christ to the people here. He was
vain, arrogant and full of his own
importance, traits which were to bring
him a very unpleasant surprise on Holy
Thursday of 1384.
On that day, Oswald and his followers
went to the church in Seefeld to attend
Mass but Oswald had already decided that
the small Host normally given to the
congregation was too ‘ordinary’ for a man
of his standing and importance.
According to the Golden Chronicle of
Hohenschwangau, during the Mass,
Oswald surrounded the priest with his
armed soldiers and demanded the large
Host for himself. To refuse any such
request from the local nobleman could
have meant death and the terrified priest

o many people, the fame of Olympic Games of both 1964 and 1976. handed him the large Host.
Seefeld in Austria’s Tyrol region, But, to the faithful, the town has a much Immediately, the ground on which
lies in its importance as a winter greater significance as a pilgrimage centre Oswald Milser was standing gave way and
sports centre as it has hosted the Nordic and a pilgrimage centre which has links the blasphemer sank into the ground up
Skiing Competitions in the Winter with England. to his knees. Terrified, Milser grasped the
34-35 the eucharistic miracle of seefeld:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 12:09 Page 2

travel feature - by Peter M Smith

altar rail with both hands, leaving imprints which can still be during the French Revolutionary wars. Two years after its
seen today as he implored the priest to remove the Host from his closure, the monastery was bought by the Seyrling family who
mouth. As soon as this was done, the ground became firm once turned it into a hotel. Now one of the town’s most prestigious
again. The humiliated knight then rushed away seeking refuge at establishments, this five star hotel continues the traditions of the
the monastery of Stams where he confessed and repented his sin earlier monks by feeding and accommodating 21st century
of pride. The velvet mantle he had worn during that Mass was pilgrims.
later made into a chasuble and presented to the monks of Stams. Yet another man of noble rank who was impressed by the
In the remaining two years of his life, Oswald Milser performed Seefeld pilgrimages was Archduke Ferdinand II of the Tyrol. In
penance for his sacrilege and, in accordance with his own last 1574 he was responsible for the building of the Chapel of the
wishes, was buried close to the entrance of what is now the Holy Blood within the new church. Here the miraculous Host
chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. was kept for a short time though, at present, the monstrance
When the Host that had been retrieved from Milser’s mouth with the Host is kept in a tabernacle near the High Altar on the
was examined later it was found to have been saturated with south wall of the sanctuary.
blood, the Blood of Christ. Not long afterwards, Knight Parseval Today’s visitors and pilgrims can still see the site of the
von Weineck of Zirl gave the priest of Seefeld a silver Eucharistic Miracle. The spot where Oswald Milser sank up to
monstrance, designed in the Gothic style, to be used as a his knees is near the south side of the Altar of the Miracle and, in
reliquary for the exposition of the miraculous Host. Some have accordance with today’s ‘health and safety’ regulations, it is
claimed that this monstrance was actually the gift of Oswald normally covered by a grating, though this can be removed by
Milser but as he died just two years after the miraculous event, the authorities for those who wish to see and examine the spot in
this seems unlikely. Inevitably, news of the events of Eastertide more detail.
1384 brought pilgrims to the village, so many of them that a The stone Altar of the Miracle remains in its original position
hostel had to be built to accommodate them all. As their in the sanctuary and the impression Oswald Milser’s hands made
numbers increased even further, the church itself became too in the stone can still be clearly seen. A new altar slab, supported
small and, in 1423, construction of a larger church, on the same by pillars, is directly above the stone altar, the whole structure
site, was begun thanks to the generosity of Duke Frederick and arranged in such a way that the Altar of the Miracle can be
the new building was finally completed in 1472. clearly seen by all. This construction is some way from the
Almost 50 years later, in 1516, a monastery was built behind elaborately decorated High Altar which was added when the
the church financed by the Emperor Maximillan I who had been church was enlarged
greatly impressed by the piety of the Seefeld pilgrims. For almost Throughout the church there are numerous reminders of the
300 years, pilgrims and hunting parties were provided with food miracle. The events are recorded in stained glass, in a painted
and accommodation by the Augustinian monks who lived and panel of 1502 on the south wall and on the tympanum above the
worshipped there until the monastery was closed down in 1807 main entrance. In the Chapel of the Holy Blood (The
Blutskapelle) itself, is a splendid fresco depicting Oswald Milser
in his velvet cape receiving Communion along with hovering
angels holding the reliquary monstrance.
Strangely, although there is mention of the church of St
Oswald in Seefeld in a document of 1320, it is not known
exactly when it was first built. To ecclesiastical architects, the
current building is considered to be the best example of north
Tyrolean Gothic architecture in Europe. Another claim to fame
is that it is the only remaining building which was constructed
by the Innsbruck Builders Guild.
The 600th anniversary of the Eucharistic Miracle was
celebrated with due reverence and pomp in 1984 and the church
is now one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in
Austria, where the faithful can renew and express their faith in
Christ through his true presence in the Eucharist.

There are frequent flights to both Innsbruck and Munich
from where Seefeld can be reached by public transport.
Those with their own vehicles can take the 177 road from
Innsbruck and from Munich by the same road or the 181
to Jenbach and then the 171 to Innsbruck and then the 177.
There are several hotels and guesthouses along with private
houses which offer simple accommodation.

36-40 pre-history diocese (3):p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:09 Page 1

Diocesan pre-history

ow many of our priests or layfolk Christianity, adopted by a whole nation, The Reformation:
are aware that Shrewsbury long before St Augustine landed from Throughout the penal days St Winefride’s
Diocese has had a ‘Welsh Rome to convert the pagan shrine at Holywell (re-built by Henry
connection’ since its earliest days? We have Anglo-Saxons. Wales has a long litany of VIII’s grandmother, and bartered away by
seen how Cheshire and Shropshire were heroic missionary saints, among whom we him in 1537) was regularly visited by
carved out of the former Lancashire and must mention St David and St Beuno, pilgrims. Two inns provided more than
Midland districts to form our diocese in Winefride’s uncle, the great evangelist of liquid refreshment for the faithful – one
1850. But we must not forget that the six North Wales. Everywhere in Wales one belonged to the Jesuits (The Star), the
historic counties of North Wales, once a comes across the names of these Welsh other to the secular clergy (The Cross
remote area of the Western district, were saints, often associated with holy wells, Keys). Our own Wirral martyr, St John
entrusted to us at the same time as the two sources of spiritual and bodily healing. Plessington, cared for the spiritual needs
English counties, and for 45 years formed Winefride lived at Holywell in the first of the pilgrims, until he settled at
an integral and important segment of the part of the seventh century: devotion to Puddington Hall as chaplain to the
Diocese of Shrewsbury. her memory became widespread in the Massey family. He was executed at
Why else was St Winefride chosen, Middle Ages and her shrine developed Chester in 1679, and his body is thought
together with Our Lady Help of into a major pilgrimage centre. In 1138 to have been buried in Burton
Christians, as one of the two principal her relics were translated to the abbey at churchyard.
patrons of the new diocese? Her name Shrewsbury, and she became the patron We also inherit from those dangerous
evokes the memory of early Celtic saint of our cathedral town. days three of the six canonised martyr
36-40 pre-history diocese (3):p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:09 Page 2

shrewsbury feature by Mgr Christopher Lightbound

saints of Wales, all born in the northern on the traditions of the Celtic saints,
counties: St Richard Gwyn (martyred at reached North Wales in the Middle Ages,
Wrexham, 1584, see left), St John Jones and we can still wander pensively among
(m.1598) and St John Roberts (m.1610); the ruins of the Cistercian abbeys of Valle
plus Venerable William Davies, martyred Crucis (Valley of the Cross) near
at Beaumaris (1593); and an Irish Llangollen (see above); of St Mary’s
Franciscan, Ven Charles Mahoney Basingwerk by the Dee below Holywell;
(Mihan), martyred at Ruthin (1679). and of Penmon Priory near Beaumaris in
The last Catholic bishop of St Asaph, Anglesey. But religious life flourished once
Thomas Goldwell, was deposed and exiled again in the early days of our diocese. The
by Elizabeth I, and lived at the English Jesuit fathers, never absent from Holywell,
and Welsh College in Rome. He ordained established St Beuno’s College near St
several of the future martyrs who were Asaph in 1848 as a seminary for their
students at the college. He died in 1585, theologians – now in modern times a
the last of the Catholic pre-Reformation prestigious retreat centre. Gerard Manley
bishops of England and Wales. Hopkins spent several contented years at
St Beuno’s, where he fell in love with all
Welsh religious life, ancient and new
The Roman monastic tradition, building continues on page 38
36-40 pre-history diocese (3):p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:09 Page 3

Penmon Priory.

things Welsh, and wrote some of his best- founded diocese of Shrewsbury? We are ordained for the diocese, even before the
known poetry. He composed an ode in told that in 1851 the bishop had “neither bishop had been nominated, was Fr.
celebration of our first bishop’s 25 years of church nor chapel nor priest” in the three William Hilton: his ordination took place
episcopal ministry in 1876: counties of Anglesey, Merioneth and on the 21st December, 1850 at Lisbon
Though no high-hung bells or din Montgomery, and in Flint and where he had studied. He served first as
Of braggart bugles cry it in – Caernarfon only one chapel. However, chaplain to the staunchly Catholic
What is sound? Nature’s round Mass centres and parishes served by Mostyn family at Talacre, Flintshire; then
Makes the Silver Jubilee. Shrewsbury priests soon appear in the as parish priest in Cheshire at Bollington,
Bishop Brown elected to be buried at records: Holyhead is mentioned as soon as Stalybridge and Hooton; and at Wrexham
Pantasaph Friary, where the Franciscans 1855, Talacre 1857, Bangor 1860, from 1877 to 1883. He was Vicar General
settled in 1852 and established a long Welshpool 1879, Wrexham 1880, Mold of the whole diocese and Provost of the
tradition of pastoral ministry. and Barmouth 1884. Chapter while at Wrexham. He returned
Priests for the diocese were ordained by to the English College, Lisbon as Rector
Shrewsbury Diocese takes over: Bishop Brown at St Beuno’s in 1859 and from 1883 until his death in 1911.
What of parish life in Wales in the newly 1873. However, the very first priest Many of our diocesan priests had

Corpus Christi Church at Tremeirchion, The chapel of St Eilian.

near St Beuno’s.

36-40 pre-history diocese (3):p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:09 Page 4
36-40 pre-history diocese (3):p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:09 Page 5

shrewsbury feature by Mgr Christopher Lightbound

periods of ministry in the growing

number of Welsh parishes. This will have
given them a special affection for and
understanding of Welsh culture and
history. Perhaps they will have stumbled
across and admired some of the humble
pre-Reformation churches which abound
in the Welsh countryside. My three
favourites are: 1. Corpus Christi at
Tremeirchion, near St Beuno’s, with its
medieval churchyard cross. 2.
Llaneilian church, near Amlwch in
Anglesey, with its very rare original
rood-screen, the carving of a bagpiper
in the chancel roof, and the adjacent
chapel of St Eilian (who sailed there
from Rome!). 3. St Dyfnog’s church at
Llanrhaeadr (see above), off the main
road from Ruthin to St Asaph, with its
superb stained-glass ‘Tree of Jesse’.
At least two of our priests elected to
remain in the new Welsh diocese when it
was founded as a separate entity in 1895.
Their first bishop was none other than Fr. Postcript Stanley, the 12th and last Baronet of
Francis Mostyn, born in 1860, son of Sir The very name of St Winefride’s church Hooton, who built St Mary of the Angels
Pyers Mostyn and Lady Frances Mostyn, in Neston, see above (1843) underlines church. He married Barbara, the
of Talacre Hall. He had been educated at the spiritual links between our diocese daughter of Sir Edward Mostyn of
Oscott and Ushaw, and ordained priest and Wales. So too does its fine stained- Talacre. Thus the two senior Wirral and
for the Shrewsbury diocese at Our Lady’s glass window of St Charles Borromeo, Welsh Catholic families, Stanley and
Birkenhead in 1884, where he stayed as arrayed in the splendid robes of a Mostyn, were linked together in a
curate and then as parish priest until cardinal, blessing his namesake Charles Deeside marriage which encapsulates the
1895, when he was appointed Vicar Stanley of Denhall (below Ness Gardens) history of Shrewsbury Diocese, together
Apostolic of Wales (and later in 1921 who died on the 22nd November, 1859. with its significant Welsh Catholic
Archbishop of Cardiff ). He was the uncle of Sir John Massey background and traditions.
41-43 spanish missions of california (7) :p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 12:15 Page 1

The Old Spanish

Missions of California:

xcited at the prospect of made preparations for the new mission. The devastating effect of the 1925
founding his latest mission, Fr. At the last minute a messenger arrived earthquake on the Mission.
Serra arrived at the newly from Governor Felipe de Neve, who
established Presidio of Santa Barbara on had been present at the dedication of Fr.
a warm spring day in 1782. He Serra’s latest mission of San
celebrated Mass, planted a cross and Buenaventura, and presented the
startled priest with an order expressly
forbidding him from establishing any
more missions in his territory.
According to de Neve there were
already enough missions in the area but
a more plausible explanation was the

41-43 spanish missions of california (7) :p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 12:15 Page 2

series feature by Stella Uttley

governor’s displeasure at the growing power and influence of the

Franciscans in Alto California. Worried that his authority could be
under threat, the governor took the easiest option and exercised
his own considerable power to veto any further plans for another
Unable to persuade the governor to change his mind, the
disappointed priest returned to Carmel where he stayed until his
death two years later. Coincidentally Governor Neve also died
that same year and the idea of a tenth mission, which had
hitherto remained in administrative limbo, was reborn. Fr. Serra’s
successor finally gained permission to establish a new mission
from the newly appointed Governor, Pedro Fages, and a site was
selected in the hills overlooking the Presidio close to the homes
of the local Chumash people.
On the feast day of St Barbara on the 4th December, 1786, Fr.
Lasuen formally dedicated Mission Santa Barbara and Fr. Antonio
Paterna was appointed its senior missionary. The new governor
attended a second dedication 12 days later and everyone,
particularly the Chumash people, whose leaders were eager to
convert to Christianity, readily accepted the mission. By the end
of 1832 over 5,500 baptisms had been performed at the mission
followed by an equally high number of weddings. A large,
well-planned residential area was established to cater for the
increasing local population next to the northwest side of the
mission quadrangle. Under the expert tuition of the missionaries
the Chumash, who had traditionally been
hunter-gatherers, worked hard at becoming skilled farmers.
With the mission’s success came the need for additional
accommodation and in 1786 work began on the latest wood and
adobe mission buildings as well as what was intended to be the
permanent church. This phase of the development was finished in
1794 but was followed by the addition of more structures until Kitchen at Santa Barbara.
the mission quadrangle was complete. The church remained the
focal point of the mission centre until it was almost completely
destroyed by an earthquake on the 21st December, 1812. Unlike
the church at San Juan Capistrano, which was left as a ruin, Santa
Barbara was rebuilt with a façade that was based on a Roman
building designed in 27BC by Vitrivius. The cornerstone was laid
in 1815 and the church, which still stands today, was formally
dedicated on the 10th September, 1820.
The ‘Golden Age’ of the California Mission System had dawned
and for the next year Santa Barbara, along with the other
missions, continued to flourish. In 1821, however, Mexico
declared its independence from Spain and the government
subsidies to the missions ground to a halt. The consequences for
the mission system in general were dire but, unlike the other
missions, Santa Barbara managed to escape the worst of the
decline. While most of the other missions would become parish
churches and lose their Franciscan priests, Mission Santa Barbara
retained its Franciscan presence and over the next two decades,
against all the odds, continued to thrive. Mission Santa Barbara continued to prosper as a recognised
When the American government handed back the missions to centre for Franciscan activities in the west and many important
the Franciscans in 1865 the priests at Santa Barbara fulfilled a people went out of their way to see the thriving mission. Princess
dream when it opened its doors to students at the newly Louise, the daughter of Queen Victoria, visited the mission in
established high school and junior college. In 1896, the School of 1882 and just over a century later the mission received a royal
Theology for the Franciscan province of Santa Barbara, a visit from Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II.
seminary for training priests, was also founded. This well known Three presidents also travelled to Santa Barbara, perhaps the
school, known today as the Franciscan School of Theology, most famous being Theodore Roosevelt who was apparently
resides in its comparatively new location at Berkeley, California. continues on page 43

41-43 spanish missions of california (7) :p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 12:15 Page 3

The chapel interior and the gardens.

fascinated by the many Indian artefacts

preserved in the mission’s museum.
The early decades of the 20th century
saw a great deal of restoration work taking
place at the mission following another
earthquake in 1925. The idea was to
maintain as much as the original
appearance of the church as possible and
architect Ross Montgomery supervised the
two year programme. Unfortunately this
was not the end of the story as in 1950
cracks suddenly appeared in the
restoration work and the façade had to be
removed. Eventually the whole of the
exterior had to be rebuilt and some years
later further construction followed, which
altered the west wing and added a second
Today the Franciscan province of St
Barbara has its headquarters in Oakland,
California and priests from here live and
work in places that serve the needs of
many people from diverse ethnic, cultural establishing remains the only mission to paintings on the walls but the walls
and economic backgrounds including the have a continuous Franciscan presence themselves that reflect the mission’s rich
Native Americans from the southwest. from the day it was founded until the heritage.
Mission Santa Barbara, although no longer present time. This enabled Mission Santa It is no wonder that Mission Santa
the headquarters of the Franciscans, Barbara, with its world-famous twin bell Barbara, poised beneath the Santa Ynez
retains a retreat centre and the mission towers, to retain much of its original interior Mountains, overlooking wide sweeping
church is now the centrepiece of the appearance, due in large part to the loving lawns and beautiful gardens is recognised
Franciscan parish of St Barbara. care it has received over the centuries. as one of the loveliest in the Californian
It is ironic that the only mission Fr. As the afternoon sun filters through the system and fully deserves its other title of
Junipero Serra was actually forbidden from windows it is not only the beautiful ‘Queen of Missions’.
44-45 catholic societies marriage care:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 13:24 Page 1

Marriage Care

arriage Care is a Catholic that usually existed before the war were in known for her reputation for devotion to
marriage support organisation. a state of flux. It was no surprise that a lot her husband and children. A statue of her
It was formed in 1946, as a of couples found communication difficult stands in the London headquarters of
response to the pressures on the family and many marriages underwent Marriage Care and a prayer is always
brought about by the Second World War. problematic periods. offered to her at official meetings.
Many couples had been separated during Cardinal Bernard Griffin was particularly However, the need for a Catholic
the period of the war and, as men began concerned with the sanctity of marriage, marriage support centre is as strong as it
to return home from the Forces, many defending it in his 1943 installation Mass, ever was and today, there are over 50
found that this much longed for event and he believed that people could be centres throughout England and Wales.
brought several unexpected problems. encouraged to stay happily together if they Today, it is not essential that couples are
Couples had to get used to living together were given help with their problems. It married in order to benefit from the service
again and, quite often, children found it was this deeply held belief that led him to that Marriage Care provides and although
difficult to relate to a father whom they be instrumental in establishing Marriage the service has a Catholic outlook in its
had not seen for many years. In some Care. It was decided that St Margaret belief that marriage is a sacramental union
cases, women had started to work outside Clitherow, the Pearl of York, would be the blessed by the Church, non Catholics can
the home and the clearly defined had roles patron saint of the organisation, as she was also attend. Marriage Care ideally aims to

Left: Terry Prendergast, Chief Executive of

Marriage Care meets Pope Benedict XVI.
Centre: Giovanni Giacobbe,
President of the Italian Forum.

44-45 catholic societies marriage care:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 13:24 Page 2

series feature

encourage couples to stay together but they are become a relationship counsellor, training takes two years, including some
realistic enough to know that, in certain residential weekends and is accredited by York St John University. For those who
circumstances, this may not always be possible. The are interested in working on marriage preparation courses, training takes place
organisation offers a holistic approach and tries to over three days and entails a probationary period. Volunteers who wish to man
reflect the attitude of the gospels in its approach to the helpline are assessed on an individual basis. However, not everyone who
counselling. There is also a helpline which people would like to help would like to become a counsellor but luckily, there are lots of
can use in an emergency. In addition, materials are other opportunities to assist with this very valuable work ranging from
available on the website, which a couple can look at administrative work to acting as a chaperone and lots more in between.
together and try to pinpoint where and why conflict Volunteers have the satisfaction of knowing that they are doing something
or problems might be an issue. Those who wish to enormously worthwhile and that as well as hard work, there is also the
attend counselling sessions are usually given their opportunity to socialise and have fun, both on a local level and at the annual
first appointment within a month and, although national conference. As training and running centres is extremely expensive, gift
there is no fixed charge, donations are always aid donations can also be made.
gratefully received. If you would like to find out more about Marriage Care, a list of local
An important aspect of the services that centres can be found on the website and these can be approached directly.
Marriage Care provides is Marriage Preparation However, enquiries can also be dealt with through headquarters:
courses. Sometimes, priests suggest that a couple
planning to marry in their parish attends a course Marriage Care National Office, Clitherow House,
but gradually, as these courses become more and Blythe Mews, Blythe road, London W14 0NW.
more successful, word of mouth recommendation Tel: 020 7371 1341. Helpline Tel: 088 389 3801.
means that many couples are very eager to
undertake a course. During the course, a couple is
encouraged, in a positive way, to explore their
relationship and their hopes for it. They are also
helped to develop the skills that are needed in
order to maintain a successful and loving marriage.
Couples who want to attend can either take part
in a group situation with others who are also
preparing for marriage or they can fill in a
questionnaire and have private sessions, discussing
any issues that their answers might highlight.
These courses are very popular and Marriage
Care receives much praise for them. The
Church’s research has found that those who think
about their forthcoming marriage in such a way
are much more positive about dealing with any
problems that may crop up during the marriage.
Marriage Care is also active within the Catholic
education system. They aim to show young
people in secondary schools that relationships do
not work simply by themselves and the emphasis
is firmly on communication. Every couple needs to
work at their relationship at some point and every
couple needs to learn to listen and communicate
and have the patience to work through their
problems. The programme is called Foundations
for a Good Life and lesson material is freely
available for teachers, either as a web download
or as a bound folder. The programme has
attracted much praise amongst educators and
young people. For parents who may be
experiencing marital problems because of the
strain of parenting or who may be finding it difficult
to adjust to new parenthood, help is also available.
Marriage Care relies on volunteers to help it
provide its hugely important service. Obviously,
for those who feel that they would like to become
counsellors with the organisation, training at
different levels is involved. For those who wish to
46-47 interview with john Polhamus:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 14:40 Page 1

An interview with
John Polhamus
Beach neighbourhood of San Diego. St Brigid’s, built in 1948 is,
John says, “truly an artist’s church”, with remarkable Stations of
the Cross, painted in fresco by Dom Gregory de Wit, OSB, as
well as fine sculptures and stained glass. It was here that John
came under the formative influence of an organist who played
Bach every Sunday. An early memory is “being held by my father
at the end of Mass, and looking backwards over his shoulder up
at the choir loft, and seeing Jerry R. Witt in cassock and surplice,
hunched over the console, weaving tapestries of musical
architecture, proportion, and logical, wordless rhetoric in the air.”
On Christmas Eve 1982, having sung in the choir for Midnight
Mass at St Brigid’s, John was at home listening to the local classical
music station. He heard an unfamiliar choral sound “which
sparkled in my ears in a way that I had never experienced”. It was
a Mass by the 16th-century English composer Thomas Tallis. “It
was my first experience of sacred polyphony, and I was hooked
from the start.”
John began to study singing with a view to a career in music.
He trained privately in the studio of Robert H. Farris, another
native of San Diego. Under Farris’ experienced direction, John
made steady progress. “Bob taught me bel-canto technique: low
breath, open throat, and head resonance. And after eight years in
his studio, it has never failed me.” While at Junior College, John
passed an audition to sing as a bass with the San Diego Opera
Chorus, which was run by Tito Capobianco – “the consummate
‘pater familias’ to the whole company”. With international
experience and connections, Capobianco brought some of the
biggest names in opera to San Diego in the early 1980s. John
remembers standing in the wings watching Dame Joan Sutherland

ew musicians have had as varied a career as John Burt singing Carlo vive! from Verdi’s I Masnadieri: ‘stock still, statuesque,
Polhamus. The Californian baritone has sung in London, sword in hand … the perfect exemplification of solo artistic
Mexico City and Tokyo, in repertoire as diverse as opera, heroism and virtuosity’.
musicals and Gregorian chant. “I have been musical from my By 1992, John needed a change of scene, and moved to
earliest waking memories,” John recalls. “My mother sang to me, London. Since hearing the Tallis Mass a decade before, he had
my sister played the piano, my father played guitar, and we had a become increasingly interested in the traditional Latin Mass – the
wonderful record collection and a stereo system on which my liturgy for which Tallis had been writing. John became a regular at
father played everything from jazz to bossa-nova to classical.” By the Monday evening Latin Mass at Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane
the time he was five, John was copying his sister’s piano exercises near Covent Garden. Here he learned Gregorian chant from the
by ear: “The piano just sort of ‘made sense’ under my fingers.” late Richard Hoban, and later volunteered to direct the chant
His friends took his music in their stride. “We used to take breaks schola himself. He also sang in Hoban’s polyphonic choir Schola di
from basketball, or hockey in the driveway, or football in the Chiesa. He occasionally deputised in the London Oratory Choir,
street, so that I could come in and play the piano. My friends and was deeply influenced by Oratorian spirituality and romanità.
would come in and listen and watch, and when I’d let out enough At the same time, John was working in West End musicals. His
music we’d all go back out and play some more.” proudest moment came when he performed the role of
As a boy, John attended Mass at St Brigid’s Church in the Pacific Monsieur Lumiere – the chef who was transformed into a

46-47 interview with john Polhamus:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 14:40 Page 2

interview by Ben Whitworth

candlestick – in the original London stage all”, John reflects). As this suggests, the cricket tests and football matches; we have
production of Disney’s Beauty and the Chorus is not interested merely in the the liturgies of classical music, opera and
Beast, with his parents in the audience. aesthetic qualities of the chant; like St Philip theatre; we have the liturgies of first dates,
“After all the encouragement they showed Neri, they recognise that music has an courtship, marriage and family; we have
me in such a variety of ways, all the faith important role to play in inspiring devotion the liturgies of our morning ablutions and
they put in me, for them to see me and charity. our daily commute; we have the liturgies
making a living right at the centre of one of John Polhamus has a compelling vision of birthday bumps and New Year’s toasts;
the biggest stage numbers in one of the of what liturgical music is and should be; we have the liturgies of college and
most popular shows in the history of and he draws on his own professional university. Our liturgical inventiveness is
musical theatre, gave them much experience to explain it. “Opera”, he says, manifold, subtle and endlessly varied, and
satisfaction. I’m very grateful to have been “comprises a theatre of reality (the singers yet we miss our personal liturgies when
able to give them that memory.” doing this amazing thing), and a theatre of they are not there.” In the light of this,
Having returned to San Diego early in drama (the roles the singers are John believes that the liturgical
the new century, John has been expanding portraying). It also draws together all art discontinuities of the late 20th century
his repertoire further by singing solo parts forms, including vocal music, and have been injurious, not only for
in the great oratorios. “I think the best fun orchestral music; choral music, and solo self-declared traditionalists, but for the
I’ve ever had in a single piece of music was singing; balletic dance, painting, sculpture, Church and civilisation as a whole. “The
singing all of the bass soli roles in poetry – you name it, opera incorporates Catholic liturgy is a fundamental reality
performances of Haydn’s Creation with the it.” He goes on: “One can say exactly the against which even those who reject it
San Diego Chamber Orchestra and the same thing about traditional Catholic define themselves. Without it, all of us
choir of the Bach Collegium San Diego – a liturgy, which incorporated all the artistic know our true selves the less. The
marvellous and very dynamic young forms and demanded the very best from imbalances of the last 40 years have
group.” John loves the way that Haydn them … except that the Mass as an robbed us of identity and continuity, and
pays tribute to past masters of the eclectic sacred art-work is transcendently that is what is going to be recovered and
oratorio, such as Purcell and Handel, real, in a way that Wagner’s Parsifal can built upon, though it take a thousand years
before he “stamps his own classical never achieve. The traditional liturgy is or ten.” And in its first ten years, the
signature onto it and lights Oratorio off fundamentally theatrical in all the best Chorus Breviarii has made a valuable
into the future like a Saturn V rocket”. He senses, and I say that without apology. Like contribution to that recovery and
notes that: “the Catholic Haydn prayed Shakespeare, the traditional liturgy keeps rebuilding in San Diego.
humbly on his knees every morning for bringing people back because of the depth Photographs (opposite)
the inspiration to finish it; Creation is a of its meaning.” John Burt Polhamus. Portrait by John
profoundly Christian expression of faith.” “Human existence,” John points out, “is Clark Photography (London).
In addition to his work as a soloist, John fundamentally liturgical. It is in our nature (below) Members of the Chorus Breviarii
has recently been appointed director of as human beings to create order out of singing the office of Tenebrae at St John
the La Jolla Renaissance Singers. He is the chaos. Life itself is full of secular liturgy: we the Evangelist, Normal Heights, San Diego
first trained vocalist to lead this amateur have the liturgies of our baseball games, in Holy Week 2009.
choir, which was founded 45 years ago as
the UCSD (University of California at San
Diego) Madrigal Singers.
The project closest to John’s heart is the
Chorus Breviarii, a Gregorian chant choir
that will next month be singing its tenth
consecutive annual Tenebrae (morning
prayer for Holy Week) in the traditional
Latin rite. “That evidence of perseverance
means everything to me,” John declares.
‘It means we’ve changed the landscape
locally with a contribution that wouldn’t
have happened if we weren’t there.” As
well as the regular Tenebrae services, the
choir has sung at Vespers and Mass, from
St Joseph’s Cathedral to the historic
mission church of San Juan Capistrano, to
the Mercy Hospital. The Chorus has sung
Pontifical Vespers with Bishop Salvatore
Cordileone (“a very special memory”);
and Christmas carols at a half-way house
for men with HIV (“sometimes the
humblest occasions are the grandest of
48-50 JS Bach:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:13 Page 1

J.S. Bach
MASTER OF MUSIC Commemorative
statue of J.S.
Bach in Leipzig.

n 1723 the town councillors of he was in more trouble. The church
Leipzig were discussing the officials had given him four weeks
appointment of a new leave of absence to hear the eminent
choirmaster for the church of St organist Dietrich Buxtehude at Lubeck
Thomas. It had been a long meeting but Bach stayed away four months.
during which their first choice, The best thing to happen to him at
Teleman, had turned down their offer Arnstadt, he said, was his marriage to
of the position and their second Maria Barbara but further difficulties
choice, Graupner, had been unable to with an unruly and mediocre choir
negotiate his release from his persuaded him to look for another
employer, the Darmstadt Court. post and he moved to Mulhausen,
Eventually one councillor declared “As where the organ in the church of St
the best musicians aren’t available, I Blasius was built to Bach’s own design.
suppose an average one will have to His stay at Mulhausen was short and
suffice” in 1706 he accepted a post at the
The ‘average’ one they chose was Ducal Court of Weimar with a larger
none other than Johann Sebastian salary, part of which included 30 pails
Bach, born 325 years ago on the 21st of beer from the local brewery. As
March 1685, the man who once said concert master, part of his job was to
that “the aim and final reason of all compose a new piece of music each
music should be none else but the month, amongst which was his famous
glory of God”. And, for a merely Hunting Cantata. Here, his reputation
‘average’ musician, he really didn’t do grew when he wrote a book on organ
too badly considering his output music which the great Albert
included 276 organ works and over Schweitzer was later to describe
400 other items, the majority of which as being “one of the greatest
were produced during his 27 year stay events in music”. His status was
in Leipzig. further enhanced when a
Born at Eisenach, Bach had lost both contest was arranged in
his parents by the time he was ten and Dresden between himself and
had moved to Ohrdruf to live with his the celebrated French organist
brother Johann Cristof. At 15, he won Louis Marchand. When the
a scholarship to study at Lunenburg appointed day arrived, Bach
and actually walked the 100 miles from was there ready and waiting
his brother’s house to Lunenburg to but his opponent failed to
begin his studies. Once these were appear. Only later did Bach
completed, he obtained a position as learn that Marchand had left
organist at Arnstadt, where various Dresden on the early morning
members of the Bach family had coach for an “unknown
served before, but it wasn’t to be a destination”
very happy time for him. When, in 1717, Bach
Certain church officials criticised him accepted a far more
for inserting ‘curious variations’ in his prestigious position at the
organ playing which, they said, Court of Anhalt-Cothen, his
confused the congregation when they patron at Weimar, Duke
were singing. Then, so incompetent William Ernst, refused him
was one of the bassoon players that permission to leave. The
the pair eventually came to blows in duke even had him
the market square. Shortly afterwards imprisoned for a month

48-50 JS Bach:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:13 Page 2

feature by Peter M Smith

for “too obstinately requesting his Bach’s final resting place,

dismissal” and when he finally allowed him St Thomas’ Church, Leipzig.
to leave it was with “notice of his
unfavourable discharge”.
Bach was to claim later that the six years
he spent at Cothen were amongst the
best of his lfe. His patron, the Margrave of
Brandenburg, had a fervent and educated
love of music and he often took his new
Director of Music with him on his travels.
Bach’s output at this time was certainly
more secular than ecclesiastical and
included such masterworks as The Well
Tempered Clavier and the Brandenburg
Concerto dedicated to his patron.
But this was also a time of sadness for,
whilst on a visit to Karlsbad with the
Prince, his wife, Maria Barbara, who had
borne him seven children, died. Within
two years, the 36 year old had remarried.
His new wife was 20 year old singer Anna
Magdelena Wilken who was to bear him a
further 13 children and to whom he
dedicated the famous Little Piano Book for
Anna Magdelena Bach.
Then came his final position at Leipzig.
‘Average’ he may have been to those who
appointed him but when the congregation
at St Thomas’s church heard his newly
composed Magnificat on his first Christmas
Day there, they realised that this man was
certainly more than any ‘average’ musician.
However, just as at Arnstadt, there were
struggles with those in authority who Bach
regarded as “strange people with small
love of music” and such petty officials
appeared intent on making his life a misery. complete with his own marginal notes. In addition, Bach left us the Christmas
At that time, the Cantor of a choir Whenever he began anew piece of music, Oratorio and four short Masses consisting
school was considered its undisputed head the first letters on his manuscript were J J of the Kyrie and Gloria along with a
but at Leipzig, Bach found his authority for ‘Jesus Juva’ meaning ‘Help me Jesus’ complete setting of the Latin Ordinary of
constantly being challenged by the Rector, and every item ended with S D G for ‘Soli the Mass, now usually known as the B
particularly after Bach had claimed that Deo Gloria’, ‘to God alone the Glory’. minor Mass. There was also his most
only 17 of the 55 boys in the choir were Despite living ‘under almost constant famous organ work, the Toccata and fugue
“usable”. The Rector, Johann August vexation, jealousy and persecution’, Bach in D minor which still stirs the soul.
Ernesti, frequently promoted the still managed to produce many of his most As if professional problems weren’t
unmusical sons of wealthy parents and famous works in Leipzig. Reputedly, he enough to cope with, there was a great
after making one such boy ‘Prefect’, a produced five Passions, only two of which tragedy in his personal life. In the 1740s,
position which allowed him to conduct the have survived, the St John Passion and, his Anna Magdalena fell sick with an illness her
choir, Bach ejected the boy ‘with great longest work, the St Matthew Passion, both doctors were unable to diagnose, let alone
commotion’ before the morning service. marathon works dealing with the last cure. In 1742 she gave birth to their last
But Ernesti had the boy back for the weeks of Our Lord’s life. Both include solo child, Regina Susanna, who contemporary
afternoon service only for Bach to force arias, narrative recitative, instrumental accounts described as a ‘beautiful child’.
him out once again “with much shouting interludes and, above all, magnificent and Sadly, Bach was unable to see her as she
and noise”. It was only the intervention of powerful choruses. Yet music experts grew up as his eyesight began to fail. A
the King of Saxony that brought about an claim that both are ‘different’, whilst the St number of horrendously painful operations
uneasy truce between the pair. John Passion has been described as failed to arrest his condition though it has
Without doubt, Bach was a devout “vehement” in nature, the St Matthew been claimed that on the 18th July 1750
Christian with a large library of Passion produces an atmosphere of
ecclesiastical works and a personal Bible “tenderness and love”. continues on page 50

48-50 JS Bach:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:13 Page 3

feature by Peter M Smith

his sight was miraculously restored. But, musical training. Not all can stand the pace As was said at the time, ”Two hands are
even if this were true, it was to no avail for though as, in recent years, the lead figure necessary to carry a candle and protect it
within a few hours he suffered a stroke in one of Germany’s favourite ‘pop’ from being extinguished, so you cannot
and died ten days later. groups was expelled for ‘lack of discipline’. carry stones or clubs at the same time”
Those petty officials who had tormented Visitors can normally hear the choir Before long, the ring road was closed
him for so long during his lifetime even perform most Fridays at 6pm and Sundays and those in authority “became engaged in
managed to insult him in death by placing at 9am though it is best to check these conversations and then withdrew”. Within
him in a grave so carelessly marked that times with the church or tourist office. days, the government fell and within
for many years no one knew exactly The town’s other famous church, that of weeks the Berlin Wall was down. To this
where it was located. Only in 1894, after St Nicholas (Nikolaikirche) has its own day, peace prayers are said on Monday
extensive research by German scholars, place in history, for it was here that Bach’s evenings.
was his grave properly identified and his Christmas Oratorio was heard for the first
mortal remains moved first to the time and more recently it was the focus of
churchyard of St John’s, then re-interred in people’s protest against 40 years of Fittingly, on the 325th anniversary of
the church itself before being moved to St Communist dictatorship. What began as a Bach’s birth, the town of Leipzig will
Thomas’s church after the Second World regular Monday ‘Prayers for Peace’ re-open the Bach Museum, close by St
War. meeting, developed into a massive protest Thomas’s church, complete with new
This church is best known as the home organisation. On the 9th October 1989, multi-media and interactive displays which
of one of Europe’s most celebrated boys’ after the prayers had ended with the make the life and work of the composer
choirs, the Thomaner, whose members bishop’s blessing, more than 2,000 left the come alive for all, both young and old.
attend a boarding school and receive both church to be met by thousands of others Visit for
an academic education and a rigorous waiting outside with candles in their hands. more information

51 subs form:p61 subs form 18/02/2010 15:14 Page 1

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52-53 history of hymns:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:16 Page 1

History of
Hymns in
the Church

n this final article of the series, I consider one of the most popular
hymns of Catholic authorship: Newman’s Lead, Kindly Light. These
words have been printed in hymn books, and sung in church
services, since early in the reign of Queen Victoria. Victoria herself
described it as her favourite hymn; so too did Mahatma Gandhi. No
hymnal printed today, for any Christian denomination, would omit Lead,
Kindly Light. The literary critic Stuart Curran called it “probably the greatest
English hymn of the 19th century”. Archbishop Bernard Longley,
preaching at his enthronement as Archbishop of Birmingham on the 8th
December 2009, made this assessment of John Henry Newman’s
importance today:
1. Lead, kindly Light, “In the remarkable year ahead when we prepare for his beatification,
amid the encircling gloom, we will be influenced by the way that Cardinal Newman responded both
Lead thou me on; within the Church of England and in the Catholic Church to the call from
The night is dark, God: “Where are you?” His Apologia Pro Vita Sua makes plain his diligent
and I am far from home, and unselfish search for truth in his own life and for the world, and his
Lead thou me on. hymn Lead Kindly Light sums up his complete confidence in the guiding
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see hand of God.”
The archbishop, in this timely homily, takes it for granted that Lead,
The distant scene;
Kindly Light is a hymn – but it was not ever thus. In 1874, Newman wrote
one step enough for me. in a letter that ‘these verses are not a hymn, nor are they suitable for
singing’. So what exactly were these verses, in the opinion of their author?
2. I was not ever thus, nor prayed that What, then, did Newman mean by ‘a hymn’?
thou shouldst lead me on; For the origins of this great expression of trust in the invisible ways of
I loved to choose and see my path; divine providence, we must travel back to the early 1830s, and to Sicily.
but now Lead thou me on. Newman, then the Vicar of the University Church of St Mary’s, Oxford,
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears, had spent the winter on a Mediterranean tour with his close friend
Richard Hurrell Froude and Froude’s father. They visited Gibraltar, Malta,
Pride ruled my will:
Sicily and Rome, where they met Nicholas (later Cardinal) Wiseman. In
remember not past years. April 1833, Newman chose to leave the Froudes in Rome, and he
returned alone to Sicily. Here he fell seriously ill from typhoid fever, and
3. So long thy power hath blest me, was close to death. Sustained through the ordeal by a vague but
sure it still will lead me on compelling sense that God had given him ‘a work to do in England’, he
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, hastened to Palermo. However, it took him three weeks to find a boat
till the night is gone; that would take him homewards, and even then the ship was becalmed in
And with the morn those the Straits of Bonifacio (between Corsica and Sardinia).
It was there that Newman wrote his famous verses, expressing all the
angel faces smile
pain and frustration of his situation. Even in the ‘encircling gloom’,
Which I have loved long since, however, the poet trusts in God’s plan, in the ‘path’ which is leading, by
and lost awhile. some unguessable route, to a brighter ‘morn’. When he finally got back to
52-53 history of hymns:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:16 Page 2

series feature by Ben Whitworth

Oxford, in July, Newman was just in time editors of hymnals wished to adopt objective, founded on the truths of sacred
to hear John Keble’s famous sermon on Newman’s verses. Scripture and orthodox teaching. Hymns
‘National Apostasy’, which he later There was, however, a practical obstacle are about God, not about me. For this
recalled as the moment when the Oxford to the use of this poem as a hymn. It was reason, he was drawn to the hymns of the
Movement began. This Movement, which not written in any of the recognised hymn Catholic tradition, and especially the
sought to recover Catholic doctrines and metres, and new music had to be ancient and medieval Latin hymns found in
practices within the Church of England, composed before it could be sung. Many the Breviary – the Liturgy of the Hours. He
was the ‘work’ for which Newman had tunes have been written for Lead, Kindly translated nearly 50 of these hymns, and
been spared in Sicily; ultimately, it would Light, but no one melody has established a helped to inspire a whole generation of
draw him and many of his admirers into monopoly. Thus, one might hear the great hymn translators, including Edward
the Catholic Church itself. words sung to Lux Benigna by J.B. Dykes, Caswall, J.M. Neale and Gerard Manley
The lines beginning ‘Lead, kindly Light’ Bonifacio by David Evans, Sandon by C.H. Hopkins. After his conversion, Newman
were not conceived, therefore, as a hymn, Purday, Alberta by W.H. Harris, or Patmos wrote a number of hymns that are still in
but as a poem – and a poem with very by S.S. Wesley. use, including the beautiful hymn for
personal motives and allusions. This is not When Newman said that Lead, Kindly departed souls, Help, Lord, the Souls that
to say that the poem was intended to be Light was not a hymn, he was probably Thou hast Made. Two lyrics which
strictly private. While in Rome, Newman referring both to its unusual metre and to originally formed part of the verse drama
and Froude had decided to submit a series its subjectivity. Newman took a keen The Dream of Gerontius were fittingly
of poems to the British Magazine, under interest in hymns throughout his Anglican adopted as hymns: Praise to the Holiest,
the collective title Lyra Apostolica. The and Catholic ministries. As an Anglican, he and Firmly I Believe and Truly.
poem written in the Straits of Bonifacio objected to the use of evangelical hymns As we await Newman’s beatification
was, in due course, submitted as part of such as John Newton’s Amazing Grace, later this year, we should certainly sing the
the sequence; it was printed in 1834 with which expressed in effusive language the hymns he wrote, including those poetic
the title Faith. Subsequently it appeared in author’s own religious experience. compositions of his that have evolved into
the 1836 volume which collected the Lyra Newman was happy to put such popular hymns. We should also follow
Apostolica poems together. At the foot of sentiments into poems, but what he Newman’s example in rediscovering the
the poem, Newman gives the date and wanted from a hymn was something more rich treasury of hymns that have been
circumstances of composition: ‘At Sea.
June 16, 1833.’ It is the heartfelt prayer of
a man who was literally and figuratively ‘all

at sea’, yet trusting in the inscrutable
providence of God. The last two lines

were so much a product of immediate

circumstance that Newman, in later life,
claimed to have forgotten what they
meant. Probably, he intended to suggest
that children have an awareness of angelic
presences which they lose as they grow
up; in his autobiography Apologia pro Vita
Sua, Newman recalls that as a child he prayer card
imagined other people (and even himself)
to be angels in disguise. According to
another interpretation, the ‘morn’ refers to Catholic Life is offering readers a free
life after death, and the faces are those of high quality Cardinal Newman prayer
our lost loved ones. card. This full colour card features the
Newman was writing out of a particular
experience, at a particular moment in his
famous W.W.Oules portrait of Newman
own life. Nevertheless, the poem’s idea of and his much loved prayer
faith as a guiding light in the darkness, “God created me to do him some definite
rather than as a blaze of daylight, found an service.” It measures 85mm x 55mm and
echo in the hearts of many readers. As the will fit easily into purses and wallets.
19th century progressed, and traditional
Christian belief was challenged by new
scientific, political and theological To obtain your card please send a stamped
movements, the dark night of Newman’s addressed envelope to:
poem seemed to be encroaching. What Catholic Life, Cardinal Newman Prayer Card,
had been so personal to Newman 4th Floor, Landmark House, Station Road,
seemed now to be the universal crisis of Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire. SK8 7JH
the age. It is not surprising, then, that the
54-56 oxford oratory:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:27 Page 1


Oxford Oratory
Cardinal Newman will be
ohn Henry Newman, Oxford’s - and England’s - most famous Victorian
convert to Roman Catholicism joined the Oratorians, a religious institute of
beatified this year and the secular priests and brothers founded by St Philip Neri in 16th century Rome.
Oxford Oratory is Oratorians live together in community without taking vows and focus on a lay
apostolate, music and traditional liturgy. There are three oratories in this country,
appealing for five million each is autonomous.
pounds for its campaign of Following studies for the priesthood in Rome, Newman founded the first English
Oratory in Birmingham in 1848 and a London Oratory was established by Fr. Faber.
reaffirmation, renewal and Newman hoped for an Oxford Oratory but his plans were thwarted both by the
restoration of Oxford’s Catholic hierarchy and a suspicious university. At that time Catholics could not
graduate at the university and there was concern that Newman would attempt to
parish church of St open a Catholic college alongside an Oratory. It was not until the centenary of
Aloysius to its original Newman’s death that his dream was realised.
Following Newman’s failed overtures to Bishop Ullathorne, the Jesuits were given
Victorian splendour. The the task of reviving the Oxford mission. Ullathorne wrote to the Jesuit Provincial “I
church was designed by am pledged to the Holy See not to allow any college or school to be established in
Joseph Hansom, architect Oxford ... and as the express reason against the establishment of an Oratory in
Oxford was, lest it should attract Catholic youth there for education; I should
of Arundel Cathedral and require a similar pledge from the society.”
famous for creating the In 1871 a wealthy benafactor, Jane Charlotte Winterbottom, bequeathed £7,000
for a Roman Catholic church to be built. Lord Bute gave land adjacent to the
Hansom cab. Radcliffe Infirmary and, on the 20th May 1873, the foundation stone was laid by
Bishop Ullathorne. Oscar Wilde, then an undergraduate at Magdalen College,
attended the service and was impressed by him “By Jove,..that little old gentleman
with the big silver spectacles certainly spoke like one
having authority.” Two years later the church was
opened by Bishop Ullathorne and Cardinal
Manning preached, as Newman declined an

invitation to do so. Manning upset the university
The Oratory in by implying they had betrayed the light of truth
in their motto Dominus illuminatio mea. He also
Oxford and the disappointed Oscar Wilde who “came away
feeling rather depressed.”
memory of Cardinal In 1876 Lord and Lady Bute donated £1,000 for the
Newman are great black marble high altar. In 1878 the arcaded reredos was
erected and and each of the three rows gradually filled
riches in the life of with 13 statues, of early British medieval, Tudor and

and patristic saints. Twenty roundels above the left
the Church and right screen similarly depict the heads of
- Archbishop cardinals, saints and beati.
Vincent Nicols A presbytery was erected in 1878,

A statue of
St Aloysius
Gonzaga in the
Oxford Oratory.
54-56 oxford oratory:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:27 Page 2

feature by Amanda C Dickie

The altar in the Relic Chapel.

and Gerald Manley Hopkins was appointed

curate. During his year at Oxford he wrote
nine poems including Binsey Poplars, The
Buglers’ First Communion, inspired by his
visits to Cowley Barracks, and Duns Scotus’
The Catholic Club was also founded
that year to meet the spiritual needs of
those Catholic gentlemen who had
matriculated, meeting at either St Aloysius
or a member’s rooms.The club was
renamed the Newman Society in 1888
and Fr. Hopkins addressed them at one of
their first meetings. The marble holy water
stoop was donated by friends of Hopkins,
as a memorial to him.
Newman was created a cardinal in
1879. The following year his former
college honoured him by making him a
Fellow of Trinity College.The next day was
Trinity Sunday and he preached at St
Aloysius’ twice “with something of his
wonted fire and sweetness.”
Two years later he donated a painting of
the church’s interior to the Jesuits, which is
now in the Oratorians’ house. The picture
is inscribed “From Cardinal Newman in
grateful memory of the warm welcome,
and the various kind services, which they
showed him,on his visit to Oxford, on
Trinity Sunday 1880, JHN.” Between 1898
and 1903 the church was gradually
Margaret Fletcher, founder of the
Catholic Womens’ League, who studied
art in Paris, painted altar panels and the
Lady chapel with lilies. Her sister, Phillippa,
died in 1914 and is commemorated in a
memorial by Gabriel Pippet. His floral and
scroll motifs embellished the church and
side chapels. A fine marble statue of St
Teresa by Mervyn Lawrence, given in
1907, is now in a chapel dominated by a
painting of St Philip Neri by Maria Giberne,
a copy for Cardinal Newman of Guido
Reni’s picture in Rome.
Convert Hartwell de la Garde Grissel, a Aloysius’ on condition that a suitable sent a signed photograph to the parish.
founding member of the Newman Society, chapel be built. The picture became a In 1954 the Jesuits modernised the
became a friend and chamberlain to focus of devotion as Our Lady of Oxford church, painting over mosaics and
Blessed Pius IX. He was granted and is the relic chapel’s centrepiece. stencilling in grey - it was later painted
indulgences for a painting of Our Lady of In June 1914 Mgr. Achille Ratti, the cream and brown and the fine marble
Mercy and built a private chapel in the Vatican’s librarian visited the Bodleian, but pillars whitewashed. It was not
High Street to accommodate the picture on twisting his ankle at Oxford’s railway uncommon before more recent
and his large collection of relics, station stayed overnight at St Aloysius’ and appreciation of Victoriana and conservation
manuscripts and religious ephemera. He celebrated Mass the next morning. He
died in 1907 and left this collection to St became Pope Pius IX eight years later and continues on page 56
54-56 oxford oratory:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:27 Page 3

feature by Amanda C Dickie

for churches to be so neutralised.

Monsignor Knox on revisiting the church
remarked on seeing the grey roundels, “It
looks as if the cardinals are being sick out
of portholes.” The relics were dispersed
along with antique vestments and mitres.
In 1981 the Jesuits handed over
responsibility for the church to the
archdiocese of Birmingham. During the
next decade several clergy, including
Bishop Crispin Hollis, then auxiliary in
Birmingham became incumbent.
In 1990 Archbishop Couve de Murville
asked the Birmingham Oratory to take
over St Aloysius’. The week before their
arrival, the last diocesan priest discovered
the death mask of St Philip Neri and a
signed book of his favourite poems, which
he carried about him, in a locked
A painting in the Sacred Heart chapel
depicts Newman and St Philip Neri with
Our Lady and Child against a backdrop of
Oxford’s dreaming spires.
In 1993 an independent Oxford
Oratory was formed, providing chaplains
for hospital, local schools, Bullingdon prison
and Campsfield Detention centre. In 2008
restoration began with the sanctuary and
chancel’s enhancement.The Lady chapel,
painted vibrant blue, was stunningly
decorated with gold stars and gilded Marian
monograms and fleurs de lys.
Walter Hooper, CS Lewis’ secretary,
auctioned a set of Lewis’ first editions to
raise funds. Last year he visited Narni, in
Italy, donating Lewis’ atlas; the town’s
name was circled by Lewis as inspiration
Detail of the Altar Cross in its newly-restored alabaster tabernacle
for his fictional country of Narnia. Hooper
in St Aloysius' church in Oxford. © Br. Lawrence O.P.
was given a relic of the local saint, Blessed
Lucy of Narni, a 16th century visionary
Dominican tertiary. The relic is now in Archbishop Vincent Nicols says,“the converted into a library for public and
one of the reliquary cupboards in the Oratory in Oxford and the memory of academic use to house the Oratory’s
restored chapel, completed last Cardinal Newman are great riches in the collection of Newman’s works, important
November. The ceiling has been life of the Church.” Supporters include the 16th and 17th century manuscripts, parish
decorated with symbols and images seen Duchess of Kent. records and the private library of Thomas
in early Christan catacombs and closely Mark Thompson, BBC Director Gainsford, Dean of Christ Church and
resembles Grissels’ original oratory. Some General, chairs the campaign committee curator of the Bodleian Library whose son
of his collection was recovered but many and the University Chancellor, Lord was a disciple of Newman.
of the present relics came from the Patten, is Honorary President. “The The Oratory hopes to incorporate the
Chichester Carmel when it closed. The Oratory has a well-earned reputation as a Chesterton Library, at present in storage,
newly gilded screen was the convent spiritual and cultural centre alongside its but needs a major benefaction to establish
grille. Catholic counterparts in the university”. he this unique project. The university is
Parish priest , Fr. Daniel Seward, a says, calling the campaign an “inspirational expanding at the adjacent Radcliffe
graduate of Trinity, Newman’s college, says vision.” Infirmary site, so the Oratory will be
that the visit of the relics of St Thérèse last Further accomodation for the growing centre stage in meeting the needs of town
year enhanced the Oratory’s profile and number of Oratorians is needed. A and gown, so fulfilling Newman’s idea of
awareness of the appeal. Funds have now Newman chapel with baptistry and cloister an Oxford parish providing a spiritual,
reached £750,000. Appeal patron, garden is planned. The upper hall will be cultural and academic centre for all.
57-59 Numerology of Catholicism (3) RIGHT:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:29 Page 1

Numbers drawn from Sacred

Scripture have become a part of
the Church’s rich tradition of faith
and, in varying degrees, are found
everywhere in her liturgy, art and
literature. This month we look at
the numbers four, five and six and
attempt to shed some light on their series feature by Gerry Burns
various meanings.

he Church has always been very careful to distinguish The Number Four
between the use of numbers to illustrate particular The Four Characteristics or ‘Marks of the Church’ can be traced
theological concepts and their use to conceal hidden directly to the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament and
meanings or aspects of arcane knowledge, such as will often they’re expressed most explicitly in the Nicene Creed. We
occur in alchemy or magic. The early Church Fathers, for repeat the Creed each time we attend the Holy Sacrifice of the
instance, repeatedly condemned the magical use of numbers Mass and with repetition will often come an element of
which had originated in the Babylonian period and which was inattentiveness to the words being said. Each word is rich with
subsequently further developed by the Pythagoreans and meaning, however. The Church is One, the Church is Holy, the
Gnostics of their times. Many passages from the writings of St Church is Catholic and the Church is Apostolic. As the Catechism
Chrysostom and many of the other great Christian teachers of of the Catholic Church teaches, the Church is one because of her
the early centuries could be cited as displaying caution and source, her founder and her soul. Within this unity of the people
showing their reluctance to overemphasise the mystical of God a rich multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered
significance of numbers in the Scriptures. Nevertheless the together, but this is not a threat or challenge to the Church’s
Church Fathers clearly regarded numbers in Scripture as being full unity. The gift of unity, however, is constantly threatened by sin
of mystical meaning, and they also considered the interpretation and the burden of its consequences. The Church is held, as a
of these mystical meanings to be an important branch of exegesis. matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy. It is in the Church that the
This, after all, was a period when Christian teachers saw mystical ‘fullness of the means of salvation’ has been deposited and it
meanings underlying everything which had to do with is through the Church that ‘by the grace of God’ we acquire
numbers. Influenced mainly by biblical precepts, but holiness’. The Church is catholic or universal because the
also in part by the prevalence of this philosophy completeness of Christ’s body, united with its head,
of numbers which was all around them, they subsists only within the Church. In other words Christ is
undoubtedly paid close attention to the sacredness ever-present within the
and mystical significance, not only of certain Church. The Church is
numbers in themselves, but also of the numerical continues on page 58
totals given by the constituent letters with which
words were written. It can hardly be doubted,
therefore, that a similar symbolic purpose would have
influenced the repetition of acts and prayers in the
liturgy of the early Church, for instance in deciding
upon the number of the repetitions of the Kyrie
Eleison, of the number of the Signs of the Cross made
over the oblata in the canon of the Mass, of the
number of the unctions used in administering the last
sacraments, of the intervals assigned for the saying of
Masses for the dead, of the number of the lessons read at
certain seasons of the year, and so on. So numbers are
important within scripture and within the Church in general,
on a whole range of levels. So let us look, therefore, at
another group of numbers as they occur in the Sacred
Scriptures and try to tease out their meaning and their

Pope John Paul II raises the book of the Gospels at an

outdoor Mass he celebrated in Poland in 1991.

57-59 Numerology of Catholicism (3) RIGHT:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:29 Page 2

series feature by Gerry Burns

toward charitable living in this life.

Four also symbolises the four
evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and
John, the authors of the Gospels. Four is
also the number of the Cardinal Virtues,
prudence, justice, temperance and
fortitude. The number four is sometimes
represented as three plus one (3+1=4),
and as such is used to denote that which
follows the revelation of God in the Trinity,
namely, His creative works. The written
revelation commences with the words, ‘In
the beginning God created.’ Creation is
therefore the fourth thing, and the number
four is emphatically seen as the number of
creation, of man in his relation to the
world as created.
Four are the regions of the earth -
north, south, east, and west. Four are the
divisions of the day - morning, noon,
(above) This is the cover of The Four evening, and midnight. Or in the Lord’s
Gospels, a study guide recently released words, when he speaks of his coming at four plus one format. We have the three
by Little Rock Scripture Study in evening, midnight, at cock-crow, or in the persons of the Godhead and their
Arkansas. It can bought at morning (Mark 13:35). Four are the manifestation in creation. There follows a priced at £17.99. seasons of the year, spring, summer, further revelation of a people called out
autumn, and winter. In Genesis 2:10, 11, from mankind, redeemed and saved. So
(right) The new Compendium of the the one river of Paradise was divided, redemption follows creation. Inasmuch as
Catechism of the Catholic Church is “an forming four rivers of which ‘the fourth in consequence of the fall of man, creation
authoritative, certain and complete text river is the Euphrates.’ Here, as so often came under a curse, necessitating the
regarding the essential aspects of the elsewhere, the number four is made up redemption of both man and creation.
faith of the Church,” according to of 3 + 1, for three of these rivers are This gives us the Father, Son, Spirit,
Pope Benedict XVI, who unveiled the unnamed, while one is still known by its Creation and Redemption, the five great
volume in June 2005. original name, the Euphrates. This is an mysteries.
example of where four is sometimes Five is also the symbolic number of
Apostolic because she is founded on the used to symbolise division, the river being ‘Grace’. Grace means favour, but what
foundation of the Apostles and continues split into four parts. Four is the first kind of favour? Favour shown to the
to be taught, sanctified and guided by the number which is not a prime number, the downtrodden we call mercy, favour
Apostles through their successors in first which therefore can be divided. It is shown to the poor we call pity, favour
pastoral office. the first square number also, and shown to those who are suffering we call
Dwelling on the concept of the ‘Four therefore it marks a kind of completeness compassion, while favour shown to the
Last Things’ may be considered unduly as well, sometimes called ‘material obstinate we call patience, but favour
morbid in this increasingly superficial age completeness’. shown to the unworthy we call grace. This
where unpleasant realities such as illness In the four Gospels of the New is favour indeed, favour which is truly
and death are never to be mentioned or Testament we have the record of the life Divine in its source and in its character.
considered. It is a ridiculous ‘head-in-the- of Jesus and his obedience to his Father’s The Catechism of the Catholic Church
sand’ posture. As Benjamin Franklin was will unto death. Once again these are teaches that the ‘Five Precepts of the
saying as far back as 1789 death is one of divided into the three plus one format, Church’ ‘are set in the context of a moral
the only two certainties in this life, the three being similar, and hence called life bound to and nourished by liturgical
other being the payment of taxes. The ‘Synoptic Gospels’, while the fourth stands life’. They would be considered the bare
Catholic Church on the other hand alone, written after the Churches had all minimum for active Church membership
teaches that there are four certainties at failed, and presenting Christ not merely as and for spiritual growth. They are:
the end of lives, death, judgement, heaven offered and rejected by Israel, but as the • you shall attend Mass on Sundays and
and hell. They are taught, not as one and only centre of union and unity holydays of obligation and rest from
fear-inducing principles as some might say, after his rejection, and in the midst of all servile labour.
but rather as reminders to us as Christians the failure, confusion, and corruption. • you shall confess your sins at least
of the highest and final end deriving from once a year.
our hope and faith, to enjoy eternal bliss in The Number Five • you shall receive the sacrament of the
the presence of God. That end should be The use of the number five follows the Eucharist at least during the Easter
the strongest of motivators guiding us same pattern, being utilised frequently in a season.
57-59 Numerology of Catholicism (3) RIGHT:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:29 Page 3

(above) An archaeological replica of the cross of Jesus stands in

the Scripture garden of Biblical Resources in Tantur, Israel.
The penitential season of Lent, culminates on Good Friday
and reflection on the suffering of Christ.
(left) A church window depicts God’s creation
of the heavens and the earth.

and therefore the number is significant of secular completeness.

Six is also the symbolic number for the principal attributes of God,
these being power, majesty, wisdom, love, mercy and justice.
But both man and the serpent were created on the sixth day,
and therefore the number is sometimes portrayed as
representing both humanity and rebellion. Six, therefore, also
stands as the number of man in his opposition to, and
independence of, God. Moreover, six days were appointed to
him for his labour, while one day is associated in sovereignty with
the Lord God, as His day of rest. Six, therefore, is also regarded
as the number for work. From this is derived the division of the
natural time-spaces which measure man’s labour and rest, each
multiple and subdivision being stamped by the number six. A day
consists of 24 hours (4x6), divided into daylight and night hours of
• you shall observe the teaching of the Church in relation to 12 hours each. The number of months is twelve, while each
those days of fasting and abstinence established by the hour consists of 60 minutes (6x10), and each minute of 60
Church. seconds (6x10).
• you shall help to provide for the needs of the Church. The Sixth Commandment relates to the most terrible sin of all,
The number five is symbolic of the five wounds Christ suffered the taking of another human life. The sixth clause of the Lord’s
on the cross, the savage nails driven through his hands and feet, Prayer treats of sin. Other notable occurrences of the number six in
the spear driven into his side. By extension, therefore, it can also the New Testament are when the world turned dark at the sixth
represent sacrifice and this is indicated by the five grains of hour as Christ hung on the cross. It is also recorded that Jesus
incense that are inserted cross-wise into the Paschal Candle as suffered in agony on the cross for a total of six hours.
part of the Easter liturgies. The number six is regarded as representing mankind’s inability
to achieve perfection and sinlessness. Six has often been seen,
The Number Six therefore, as the number of evil. At its extreme, rebellion against
Six represents creation, because God created the universe in six God will run its full course with the man of sin identified by the
days. As such it marks the completion of Creation as God’s work, sinister number, 666.
60-61 pamela Taylor :p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:31 Page 1

Pamela Taylor

Pamela Taylor has recently retired

as Principal of Newman
University College, Birmingham,
a Catholic Higher Education
Institution. She is also the
current chair of the newly
launched Cathedrals Group of
Universities, which compromises
15 universities and university
colleges in England and Wales
and which serves almost 10, 00
students. Pamela’s views and
thoughts on religion and
education are sought by a wide
range of bodies.

60-61 pamela Taylor :p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:31 Page 2

series feature by Mairead Mahon

What is your Confirmation name and have you a particular historic main church at Farm Street in London. It is where I
reason for choosing that name? was received into the Church and it has a special place in my
My Confirmation name is Mary. I converted to Catholicism 20 heart. My own parish church, St Joseph’s in Malvern, was the
years ago and was received into the Church on the 7th first Catholic church in Malvern to be opened over 100 years
October, a date which also happens to be my birthday. Since ago. It was rebuilt in 1908 and is a beautiful building. Newman
this date is of particular significance in relation to the Rosary, University College possesses a striking chapel. It was designed
Mary seemed to be the most appropriate name. When I came in the 1960s and has a wonderful sense of tranquillity. A shrine
to Cardinal Newman University College, I was very pleased to which is dear to me is Walsingham.
discover that our chapel is called St Mary’s Chapel.
Do you have a favourite piece of church music?
Do you have a special affinity with any particular saint? I am always grateful to Harry Christophers and the Sixteen,
I am very interested in the life of St Thomas More. He was a one of the world’s greatest ensembles. They have brought so
man of faith and controversy, who was always willing to much wonderful early Church music back to us and, at the
question received wisdom; something which all of us in higher moment, I am constantly playing their Devotions to Our Lady,
education should be willing to do. More knew that knowledge which is very moving. I also enjoy the work of James
was power but also knew that, as such, it had to be used Macmillan, who has written a beautiful contemporary setting
wisely. This is something which I hope our graduates will do for the Mass, which is also one of my favourite pieces.
by behaving ethically and wisely.
Is there any religious art that you would like to own?
What is your favourite reading from the Bible? I wouldn’t want to own them but I think the series of paintings
I have a number of favourite readings, including the first of The Holy Family by Hans Memling, a 15th century painter,
chapter of the Gospel of John. I particularly value the are very touching. I also find the Salvador Dali painting entitled
emphasis on God as the Word because of the significance of Christ of St John of the Cross (see below), very powerful and
language in human experience. I am also fond of intriguing. I am interested in religious symbolism in art and
Corinthians1:13 which seems to be the essence of how we enjoy listening to Professor Martin O’Kane speaking about this
should live our lives as Christians. huge subject.

Which Catholic figure, either historical or living, do you most How do you use your talent to reflect your faith?
admire? I try to ensure that my faith infuses my life and work. A
It is almost impossible to choose one figure. I am always comforting thing about being a Catholic is that even when we
impressed by people who cling to their faith in very difficult fail, we can constantly try again to get it right!
circumstances, such as the recusant families in history, who
gave up wealth, social status and power in order to continue The Vatican recently introduced a list of “new” mortal sins:
going to Mass. I also admire priests in Eastern European environmental pollution; genetic manipulation; accumulation of
countries, who risked their lives during excessive wealth; inflicting poverty; drug
the communist regime, in order to ensure trafficking; debatable experiments and
that they could still celebrate Mass. violation of basic human rights. Which of
However, if I had to settle on one these do you think is the worst sin and are
individual, I would have to choose there any which you would add to the list?
Cardinal John Henry Newman. He was a Inflicting poverty, which seems to
member of the Victorian elite at Oxford include many of the others such as
University and his conversion caused him environmental pollution, trafficking and
to be ostracised by many who he had excessive wealth. It is a source of shame
thought his friends. However, he to me that many live in comfort while
remained true to his conscience and millions live in dire poverty. I think I
retained his integrity. His writings show would add not caring about others,
him to have been a remarkable man, particularly the poorest, to the list.
with a huge intellectual capacity who was
determined to search for the truth. If you had the opportunity to ask the Pope
Personally, it has been an enormous one thing, what would it be?
privilege to be the principal of a I’m going to cheat and ask two! I would
University College named after him. want to know on which, if any, of the big
moral questions, he thinks the Church
Do you have a favourite church or shrine? needs to reconsider its position. I would
I have always found St Peter’s Basilica in also ask if he would come and celebrate
Rome absolutely inspirational. However, Mass for the students, staff and alumni of
there are some places in England which Cardinal Newman University College.
mean a great deal to me. The first of What an unforgettable moment that
these is the little chapel above the would be!
62-63 Fr abram Ryan:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:33 Page 1

Father Ryan Catholic High School, Nashville, Tennessee. A tradition of faith, knowledge and service since 1925.

Abram Joseph Ryan

‘Furl that banner,
Roman Catholic priest and nature and mystical quality enabled
one of the leading preachers, him to put into words the many
softly, slowly! orators and poets of the 19th conflicting emotions felt by everyone
Treat it gently-it is holy century, Fr. Abram Joseph Ryan was a
staunch and active supporter of the
involved in the terrible war. It was this
talent, plus his gentleness and courage
For it droops above the dead. Confederate States of America. Born as a priest, that marked him out from
to Irish immigrants, Matthew Ryan and all other men.
Touch it not-unfold it never, Mary Coughlin Ryan of County Unlike most southerners, Fr. Ryan
Let it droop there, Tipperary, Abram moved with his actually came to terms with the
parents to St Louis, Missouri where he Confederacy loss. After the war,
furled forever, attended the Academy of Christian without regard to any political
For its people’s hopes brothers. Fulfilling his ambition to motivation or personal bitterness, he
become a priest he enrolled at travelled extensively through
are dead.’ Niagara University in New York State Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia
and on the 1st November, 1856, he preaching and writing about
was ordained a priest in the Vincentian reconciliation between North and
The Conquered Banner order. South. On the 19th May, 1866 he
By Abram Joseph Ryan For the first few years of his won the heart of the whole nation
(1838-1886) priesthood Fr. Ryan taught theology when his poem, The Conquered
at the university and then at the Banner, first appeared in the Freeman’s
diocesan seminary in Cape Journal.
Girardeau, Missouri. He was a Taken from one of the Gregorian
successful teacher and had a magnetic hymns the poem’s rhythmic pattern
quality about him that endeared him fitted perfectly the role of a hymn of
to his students but, when civil war defeat. Thirteen months after the
broke out, Fr. Ryan forsook his surrender of General Robert E. Lee at
teaching career to join the Appomattox the people of the South
Confederate Army as a chaplain on were on the crest of a wave of
the 1st September, 1862. sentimentality and martyrdom. Fr.
Denied a formal commission, Fr. Ryan’s poem epitomised the nation’s
Ryan served in an unofficial role for the feeling of loss and it was read or sung
duration of the war. As well as saying in almost every household.
Mass and delivering the sacraments to As well as writing poetry Fr. Ryan
soldiers on both sides of the conflict,he spent some time in New Orleans as
helped to care for the sick and editor of The Star, a Catholic weekly
wounded offering them physical and publication before moving to Augusta
spiritual comfort whenever he could. It in Georgia, where he founded The
was the death of his brother on the Banner of the South, a religious and
battlefield that inspired Fr. Ryan to pen political weekly in which he also
his first poems, In Memoriam and In published his poetry. To facilitate his
Memory of My Brother. His spiritual writing Fr. Ryan eventually retired to St
62-63 Fr abram Ryan:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:33 Page 2

feature by Stella Uttley

Mary’s parish in Mobile, Alabama, where he continued to write many speaking engagements and religious events across the north
poetry mainly in the Lost Cause style, centred round the themes east, the midwest, Canada and Mexico. As a public speaker Fr.
of heroic death on the battlefield. Ryan was always interesting and, on occasion, even brilliant but
Certainly, in the South and the Catholic Church in the United generally speaking his tour was not as successful as he had hoped
States there was no other poet as popular as Fr. Ryan. Drawing and after only a few months he returned home to the South.
increasing attention his writings gained him the title of Poet Priest Fr. Ryan’s restless spirit never left him, however, and he
of the South and numerous editions of his collected poems continued to roam the southern states until his death on the 22nd
were published nationally. By the end of the century President April, 1886 at a Franciscan monastery in Louisville, Kentucky. His
William McKinley was reading his poetry aloud in the White body was taken to St Mary’s in Mobile and buried in Mobile’s Old
House and many of Fr. Ryan’s poems were set to music, at least Catholic Cemetery (see right). Newspapers, including the New York
four of them becoming popular songs. Such was the Poet Times, carried his obituary across the nation.
Priest’s enduring popularity that Margaret Mitchell, author of In recognition of his poetry and service to the Confederacy, a
Gone With the Wind (1936), one of the most popular novels of stained glass window was placed in the Confederate Memorial Hall
all time, included him in her book. in New Orleans. In 1912 a local newspaper led a campaign for a
In 1880, when Fr. Ryan was in his early forties, he took to the statue to be erected to his memory. The appeal succeeded and the
road again and embarked on a promotional and lecturing tour statue was dedicated in July 1913. It bears a verse from the poem,
covering several northern cities including Baltimore in Maryland The Conquered Banner, which sits below an inscription that reads:
where his volume, Poems: Patriotic, Religious, and Miscellaneous, Poet, Patriot and Priest.
was published. He made his home with the Jesuit fathers at Few American poets have garnered such a following as Fr. Abram
Loyola College where he gave a public poetry reading and Ryan. His readership has persisted and more than a century after
donated $300 to establish a poetry medal at the college in his death his life and works continue to be themes of articles and
recognition of the Jesuits’ hospitality. discussions in America’s popular press and scholarly publications.
By now Fr. Ryan had become a popular lecturer, attending His most famous poem, The Conquered Banner, remains one of the
greatest memorials to the Lost Cause, exemplified by the South’s
failed efforts in the Civil War.


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64-65 Guernsey island saints:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:35 Page 1


ituated just 30 miles from the French indeed be zealous in converting the pagan
coast, the channel island of Guernsey locals to Christianity and would not tolerate
was a natural stopping point for local islanders carrying out their pagan rituals of
evangelising Welsh and Cornish monks bound worshipping the sun and dressing up as
for Brittany during the sixth century. Up until animals.
then, the Channel Islands were mostly Magloire’s mission spread far and wide and (left) St Samson.
inhabited by pagans and the pioneering monks eventually he crossed to nearby Herm and
took it upon themselves to zealously spread Jethou islands, where he also built a chapel (opposite) St Tugal’s
the word of God wherever they went. One of on the Pierre Percee Reef, which was then Chapel, Herm
the most notable pioneers was Welsh saint situated about sea level. The holy man was Island.
Samson who during his voyage to France came held in the highest regard: ‘At the bidding of
upon the Channel Islands. He was made our Fr. Samson thou didst leave thy native
Bishop of Dol in 521 AD and as the diocese Wales to serve God in Lanmeur’s Monastery,
included the channel islands of Guernsey, O Father Maelor. Having pleased God with
Herm and Sark, he decided to lead a the sweet fragrance of monastic struggle,
missionary expedition and landed on the main thou didst grace the island of Sark with
island in 550 AD, at Braye du Valle, where St thy godly repose…’
Sampson’s harbour now stands. There, Tributes to his part in the
Samson and his fellow monks, including Herm establishment of Christianity continued
holy man, St Tugual, built a chapel on the site of down the centuries up until
the current St Sampson’s Church. comparatively recent times. One
The successor to St Samson as Bishop of Dol chronicler wrote: “This excellent
was St Magloire, also known as Maglorius or man passed here many years of his
Maelor, who was a cousin of Samson. Magloire life, occupied in prayer and in the
was born to Afrella, the wife of Umbrefel, who instruction and preparation of
was Samson’s paternal uncle. Like St Samson, these young men for the
he was educated by Illtyd at Llantwit in south ministry of the gospel. It may
Wales and thereafter, the learned saint is said to truly be called holy ground, a
have taken him to Brittany. After his ordination, spot sanctified to God, for the
Magloire was appointed abbot of a monastery aim and object of St Maglorius
at Lanmeur in Brittany, which he ruled with was holy, he laboured solely for
prudence and holiness for the following 52 the good of men and God’s glory.
years. When Samson died, Magloire, From there he rose to enter the
somewhat reluctantly, succeeded him at Dol Holy City, where he now enjoys
and it was around that time that he became the fruit of his labours.”
inextricably linked with the small island of Sark. St Magloire is believed to have died
Magloire’s reputation as a holy man and on the 14th October, 575 AD and his
something of a healer was known throughout remains interred on Sark. Another
the Channel Islands. On one occasion, he was report though, suggests that his body
visited by a Seigneur of Jersey, by the name of was taken to rest in a church in Paris.
Count Lois Escon, who was suffering from The ruins of his chapel are said to
leprosy. When Magloire cured him of the have survived into the 19th century.
terrible disease, the Count showed his Topographer Samuel Lewis was to
gratitude by granting him the rights to much of record seeing: “portions of an ancient
the isle of Sark. Magloire is said to have first building, thought to have been a
visited the island in 565 AD along with 62 of his chapel belonging to a hermitage
monks and set up a religious house in a valley, existing there in the sixth century.”
which today is still called La Moinerie. The Another report said: “It was here
community of monks cultivated the land, built a that the holy St Maglorius lived
water mill to grind their corn and prospered in when he came to Sark in the year
their new surroundings. They were said to 565…On this spot he built a
64-65 Guernsey island saints:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:35 Page 2

feature by David Jones

humble dwelling for himself and cells for his companions. Down land and Pabu meaning father. Tugal made many missionary trips
even to the year 1835 the foundations of this small house were and it is believed one was to Herm where his influence was
still visible…” great, leading to a chapel later being founded in his name. Tugal
The first recorded inhabitants of Herm Island, which is situated died in 564 AD and in the ninth century, when Norsemen sacked
just three miles of the coast of Guernsey, were monks seeking Treguier, the local bishop took the saint’s body and transported it
solitude in their pursuit of God. It has been suggested that the to Chartres. According to one report, when Treguier was finally
name ‘Herm’ is derived from hermits who settled on the island, rebuilt, the body was returned and when the cathedral was being
however an alternative interpretation derives the name from the reconstructed, a carpenter fell from some scaffolding but was
Norse language, with ‘Erm’ referring to an arm-like description of saved from certain death by the intervention of the saint.
the island. Certainly, in medieval times Herm held great spiritual The beautiful little Church of St Tugal can be found on Herm
appeal for those seeking the monastic life. Most prominent of today. It is situated in the heart of the Manor Village, probably
missionary monks was St Tugal, a friend and follower of St close to the spot where the saint established his community. The
Samson. current building, which dates from between 1028 and 1035 AD
Another Welsh holy man, St Tugal was born in 490 and like when it was constructed by Norman monks, retains much of the
Samson and Magloire was also brought up at St Illtyd’s monastery peace and tranquility from Tugal’s time. Non-denominational
at Llantwit, in South Wales. Around 520 AD he is believed to services are held most weekends and island residents have their
have made the hazardous sea crossing to Brittany in the company weddings blessed there. Special services are held at Easter and
of his mother and 72 monks. The house established by him there Christmas and the children of Herm School perform their annual
is believed to have been named Lan Pabu - Lan denoting church Nativity play within the chapel.

66-68 english college in lisbon (2):p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 16:12 Page 1

Part 3


Conflict and Crisis

rom the college’s foundation in 1622 to the Restoration, not want the job, but as a champion of the Chapter and the
the missionary college of SS Peter and Paul, a ramshackle rights of the secular clergy he swallowed the pill.
collection of tenements in the Bairro Alto, struggled from White was appointed second president in 1630. English
crisis to crisis. President Matthew Kellison of Douai (1561 - Catholic historiography has not been kind to him - like Blacklow
1642) told the first ‘colonists’, specially selected by himself and he suffered alienation and vilification. At his appointment White
President Joseph Haynes to populate Coutinho’s new foundation had been showing signs of Gallicanism and had nascent plans for
that they were, ‘set aside for a new work, new stones for the tower a tolerated English Catholic minority under a Protestant crown.
of David.’ This championing of the Church particular amidst the
This was the project that was set to consolidate secular gains gargantuan sea of Tridentine universalism was certainly not in
within the English Mission. Lisbon was an embodiment, set in vogue. White’s later philosophical and theological works would
stone, of the resurgence of the English secular clergy and this was turn him from an over zealous defender of secular rights to a fully
not lost in Kellison’s sending off speech. The Mission had been blown heretic which later had repercussions for Lisbon itself. His
engaged for half a century - this was a second wave, a new appointment was a shrewd move: as secular agent in Rome,
initiative and one that had the highest backers amongst the White had earned his ecclesiastical spurs defending secular claims
secular clergy. The sense of expectation was palpable: Remember it at the Lateran in Rome. He was a man who could get things done
is not the harvest but the sowing that you are called to. What sort of and was not afraid to upset people in doing so. He revised the
autumn we can look forward to depends on what kind of seed you college’s constitution (though it was not actually printed until a
sow; the plating you make will decide the quality of the vintage. successive administration), he ordered that collegians were to
The English Chapter needed Lisbon to work - its own relations wear a distinctive habit (one that survived unaltered throughout
with Coutinho had been difficult at best but the desire to keep the college’s 350 year history).
the momentum was unfailing. Kellison continued: “Always keep The college’s Constitution was, for all purposes, a carbon copy
before your eyes the fact you are the first builders of a new work, of Douai’s. In the spirit of the Chapter, and all it represented
the first alumni of a new college. The eyes of all, whether well within the Mission, the college’s administration was more akin to
wishers or enemies, are turned towards you; hasten to give the an Oxbridge college than the colleges established by Persons. The
former cause to rejoice and see to it the latter are disappointed. president was primus inter pares and sought advice from his
Today it is usual (I think because of the wickedness of the times) council of superiors. Though this model of harmonious
that things deteriorate by weakly falling away from their collegiality was often ignored by later administrations this model
beginnings and after a lapse of a few years the zeal of founders of government had echoes of the Chapter and less of the more
grows cold in their successors”.1 hierarchical regimes of Ignatian and Jesuit colleges. White’s
The message was clear: Lisbon was earmarked to support the second most important act was the establishment of a school of
Chapter and Bishop Richard Smith - it was not to fail. Humanity in imitation of Douai. Coutinho, who had a deluded
understanding of the English Mission, shared by many in the
‘There was a shortage of everything except poverty.’ Iberian aristocracy and encouraged by the Pax Hispanica and the
The early collegians faced a future far Spanish Match, designed his college as a missionary power-house
removed from the stoic heroism of - a house of higher studies - of Philosophy and Divinity. This
Kellison’s rhetoric. Their was, however, totally impractical. Throughout the college’s early
president was dead, exhausted years, Coutinho’s promised cash had been slow and sporadic in
and harassed. No one in the appearing. Royal grants from the Habsburg dual monarchy were
college wanted to take his a pittance; college accommodation was poor and, as one
place forcing the Chapter Lisbonian pointed out, ‘There was a shortage of everything
to appoint Thomas except poverty.’
White (better known by There were two issues that struck White - firstly, in order to
his alias and later alleviate the economic duress of the foundation, a school of
notoriety of Blacklow) as Humanity (essentially a grammar school - with a view to
Haynes’ successor. This nurturing vocations to the Mission) would bring in much needed
was a bail out - not the funds. Secondly, as was the view of the Chapter, a school for boys
first or the last. White did would encourage support from the English Catholic community

Left: (Portrait) President Thomas White, (1630 – 33).

Opposite: ‘De Fundatore Collegii Anglorum Ulyssiponensis.’

66-68 english college in lisbon (2):p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 16:12 Page 2

series feature - by Simon Johnson

and aid the college’s (and thus the Chapter’s) mission and the Constitutions to interfere in college affairs only, ‘for the
development. White, returning to Lisbon from England, having spiritual progress of the English clergy and the promotion of the
finalised the deal with the Chapter, evoked the founder’s rage. Catholic faith.’
Coutinho, a man not best known for his humility or reason, flew The alumni of the college (those who were funded by the
into a rage. He threatened to close the college and defenestrate college) took a college oath, sometime before studying Divinity.
those behind the project. White, unperturbed by the rage of this The oath (distinct from the missionary oath) effectively bound
increasingly irritable Portuguese aristocrat, called his bluff. the student to the president (in loci episcopi) in the direction of
Coutinho came round to the plan but the relationship between the Mission. As it stood, the college oath became a simple
the founder and the president had deteriorated to such an extent contract that promised obedience to the president and the
that White decided he had to go. English Chapter - guaranteeing a source of missioners directly
answerable to the secular powers in England.
Reform and Transition The effective collapse of Bishop Richard Smith’s episcopacy in
White’s resignation left a vacuum in the college’s administration England - forced into exile at the French Embassy in London,
that came at a particularly necessitous time. Bishop Richard later to Paris itself, did little to stunt the growth of the College.
Smith, now in exile in Paris, appointed an internal candidate as The Constitutions stated that the president was encouraged (but
White’s successor with a view to stimulating the college’s nascent not obliged) to negotiate with the episcopal authorities in
independence. Coutinho refused the candidate and William England as to directing his administration. This was a clever
Hargrave took up the reigns of administration (1634 - 37). This move by the authors of the Constitutions - there was no real
pleased the Founder: Hargrave was a high flyer and a prominent episcopal authority in England after Smith’s collapse, which
Chapter man. The College was sorely in need of a period of made the presidents at Lisbon extremely influential and
stability were the reforms of White’s administration ever to bear powerful.
fruit. Coutinho, acutely aware of this necessity, saw in Hargrave The missionary oath obliged the Lisbonian priest to promote
a man whose administrative skills could guide his foundation the interests of the college and the community at every
through a critical period of transition. opportunity; subject to the bishop (in hiding) and his Chapter,
Hargrave was an able man and set about consolidating White’s each priest swore to act according to the instructions of the
reforms. It was Hargrave (despite White being the author) who
continues on page 68
codified the Regula and Constitutions of the College. He had
them approved and printed. He was also a true Chapter man -
no less a figure than George Leyburn praised Hargrave for his
defence of secular episcopacy and the rights of the Chapter on
the Mission. Hargrave was representative of continuity - he, like
Haynes and White before him, came from that strand of secular
clergy who were the intellectual and ideological heirs of the

The Constitutions and Government

Twelve years after the college was canonically erected, Hargrave’s
was the first administration to put the diplomatic wrangling and
machinations to rest and get on with the business of sending
secular missioners to England - the prophesied ‘Autumn’ of
President Kellison at Douai. The Constitutiones et Regulæ Collegii
Anglorum Ulyssiponensis, the amended constitutions of Douai
(revised by White) were published in (1635). The mission of the
college was stipulated as to train young men, ad fidei Catholicæ
propagationem spiritualem animarumque ducatum - not an
unusual mission statement for such a foundation. It should not
be overlooked that the college had been functioning for many
years without any formal structures - before the Constitutions and
Regula were codified it would not be far off the mark to suggest
that the first collegians continued ‘Douai practice’ until formal
rules were completed.
The internal governance of the college was typical of the other
colleges within the English Catholic Diaspora: a president, vice
president, lector of Sacred Scripture, two lectors of Scholastic
Theology and, ‘as many lectors of Philosophy as the time and
condition of the college necessitated.’ White’s collegiate style of
government survived the editors and made it to print. The
college’s Protector, despite being one of the highest ranking
ecclesiastical dignitaries in the kingdom maintained the right in
66-68 english college in lisbon (2):p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 16:12 Page 3

series feature - by Simon Johnson

Above left: Constitutions and Rules (Lisbon, 1635).

Above right: The Protector of the English College Lisbon.

secular clergy in his missionary activities. The text of the oath Roman universalist interference.
had been written in 1640 during a period when, though Bishop Lisbon’s defence of the Chapter and the spirit of the
Smith was technically alive, there was no effective residential Appellants that had flowed through the blood of its founding
head of the secular clergy in England. A separate formula was fathers began to be noticed as being rather out of concord with
taken, the rubric in the document noted in a different hand, the direction of the Tridentine papacy and most of the English
when the bishopric fell sede vacante (which it did when Bishop Mission. This came to a head when, with the Restoration of
Smith died in 1655). Lisbonian priests onwards swore to be Charles II to the throne, the English Chapter found itself
obedient to and observe the jurisdiction of the Dean and increasingly divided between those who looked to Rome for
Chapter as representative of the Bishopric of Chalcedon (though guidance on the English Mission and those who looked
sede vacante and unlikely to be restored). elsewhere. The cause behind much of this division was a man, a
The fortunes of the college had rested on the survival of product of both Douai and Lisbon, whose Gallican views
Bishop Richard Smith and the authority granted to him by the threatened to destroy all the progress made by the secular clergy
Congregation of Propaganda. Despite several false starts, the since the Appellant Controversy. His philosophy would haunt
college at Lisbon soon found its independence - this was the the secular clergy well into the 19th century. Unfortunately he
beginning of over a century of fiercely guarded independence. had been instrumental in Lisbon’s foundation and had a large
Lisbon had been, from its conception to its youth, an oddity - it and influential discipleship amongst its alumni.
was conceived as a Jesuit college to mould missioners for the He was Thomas White.
Tridentine Church Militant - it became the backbone of the All photos copyright of the Lisbon Collection.
English secular clergy, increasingly Gallican and desirous of
‘cosying’ up to the Protestant authorities; it had been a
1 President Matthew Kellison, President of Douai, to President Joseph Haynes
foundation of Douai but found its relationship sour and, when
and the Douagian colonists of Lisbon, 24 August, 1628. Given the night before
Douaigians were warming to another Vicariate Apostolic model, their departure from Douai to Lisbon.
Lisbonians were championing the rights of the Chapter against

69-71 irish priest in eng & wales:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:39 Page 1

“Their Song needs to be sung”


was a 16 year-old long haired, Church (in ‘Scottie Road’), a mile from the
As the feast of St Patrick, leather-jacketed vicar’s son. My city centre became known as the ‘Irish
(March 17th) approaches passion was my rock band. Church’. Its congregation (then served by
and here in Britain Unbelievably my life was changed by an
Irish Catholic priest, Fr. John Bergin. I was
English priests) was 76% Irish. From 1845-
1852 a million Irish fled their native land to
millions celebrate all struck by this saintly priest from Dublin, escape the starvation brought about by the
things Irish, it seems walking the streets of Blackley, in ‘Great Famine’. Liverpool was (literally)
Manchester. He seemed to be constantly their first port of call. Many continued their
appropriate, in this Year visiting and helping the poor and needy. I perilous voyage towards the US, Canada
for Priests to salute the approached him for a chat - two people and Australia but thousands stayed in
from different worlds. Our chats turned to Liverpool hoping to earn money for their
thousands of Irish priests instruction and eventually I was received passage. However, the conditions they
who have, over the into the Catholic Church. After a few later faced in the sectarian ghettos of
years, thanks to Fr. John’s Victorian Liverpool led a lot of them to
last century and a encouragement, I was ordained succumb to typhoid, dysentery and
half, helped to a priest.” Thus, Fr. Simon starvation and consequently, early death.
Stamp (now private secretary In 1847 alone, over 10,000 people were
build and to the Bishop of Salford) buried from St Anthony’s, including ten
enhance the speaks of the major influence English priests.
Church in in his life and vocation.
The tradition of Fr. Bergin is
Clergy from Ireland were badly needed
but there was only a trickle at first. Among
England and still alive today. Fr. Sean Sheils, those was Canon Bernard O’ Reilly, a
Wales. from Ennis, County Clare was survivor of the famine who became the
ordained in 1954. and has 3rd bishop of Liverpool. By 1915 over half
ministered in the Brentwood diocese the 650 priests in the Archdiocese of
all his priestly life (see left). When I tried to Liverpool were either native Irish or of
contact Fr. Sean on a cold winter’s day, he Irish parentage. This continued through
was “out on his rounds”. Later he was the late1940s into the early 1960s.
scheduled to make an urgent visit to the According to Dr. Ian Keane of the Centre
local hospice and would then be free to for Irish Studies in Liverpool University:
talk with me. He has spent 33 years in his “The Irish Catholic priest helped to form a
present parish, Corpus Christi, Collier structure for the emigration of the single
Row, Romford, where he is dearly loved Irish. The priest was a conduit, a link with
by many generations. Recently he was home, helping with letters, messages,
decorated with the Mayor’s Civic Award welfare and employment.”
by the London Borough of Havering but is “In the early 20th century and
embarrassed by such honours. In his throughout the post war years, the
earlier days he was chaplain to the influence of Irish priests in Liverpool was
Catholic Nurses Guild in a large hospital profound,” says Bishop Tom Williams,
and took huge inspiration from the Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool. “In
“incredible faith of young Irish nurses.” priesthood, teaching, nursing - in all
Now, decades later, one of the joys of his vocation areas, this city would not have
ministry is still with young people - as sixth coped without the Irish influence.”
form chaplain in a local Catholic School. After the war, thousands of Irish workers
From 1815-1845 about a half a million flocked to the cities in the West Midlands:
Irish came to England. Most came to
Liverpool and its surrounds. St Anthony’s continues on page 70

69-71 irish priest in eng & wales:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:39 Page 2

Liverpool Christ the King Cathedral. “I am glad that tribute is

being given to the
thousands of Irish priests
who have ministered in
England and Wales over
the past 150 years since
the Restoration of the
hierarchy in 1850.
Many of those priests
worked in very difficult
situations but their faith
and perseverance helped
form and develop the
Catholic Church in this
country. They deserve our
warmest thanks.”
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-

tirelessly building communities through

education, training, and welfare.” When
Canon Pat arrived from his native Offaly in
1974, half of the 375 priests in the
archdiocese were Irish. “That number is
greatly reduced now but the missionary
spirit of the Irish priest is a lasting legacy.
“Priests from Ireland have played a
significant role in Wales too,” says
Parishioners at St James Church, Monsignor Robert Reardon, Vicar General
Peckham Rye. of the Archdiocese of Cardiff. “They are an
integral element of our heritage, part of
our story, intertwined in our history. Their
song needs to be sung.”
I spoke with three Irish born parish
priests, Canon Kerrisk ordained in St
Kieran’s College, Kilkenny, Canon Daley,
St Peter’s, Wexford and Canon O’ Regan,
St Patrick’s, Carlow. They are part of the
30% of Irish clergy still in the Archdiocese
of Cardiff. They came here in the
late1940s and early 1950s. They are self
effacing and dedicated men whose faithful
ministry is continuing way beyond
‘retirement age’. Their parishioners are no
longer first generation Irish but their Welsh
sons, daughters and grandchildren, now
Birmingham, Coventry and St Chad’s cathedral, said that in the early joined by Catholics from countries further
Wolverhampton. Consequently dozens days, the priority of the Irish priest was afield - India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
and dozens of Irish priests came to the “outreach” to their fellow country men and Over 130 miles away, in south east
Archdiocese of Birmingham. Canon Pat women. “They were, in effect, emigrant London, another Irish priest ministers to a
Browne, the administrator of Birmingham’s chaplains. They did a tremendous job, thriving global community.
69-71 irish priest in eng & wales:p18-19 king john 18/02/2010 15:39 Page 3

dioceses in England and Wales over the

years. In the early1960s it had so many
applications that it had to refuse entry. The
other, St Patrick‘s College, Maynooth, was
founded in 1795 to supply priests for
home dioceses. In 1961 it had over 600
students on roll. There were so many
newly ordained that dioceses in England
and Wales took them on loan until there
were vacancies in Ireland.
Both colleges have reinvented
An exterior shot of All-Hallows College, Drumcondra (c. 1900). themselves and are flourishing today but
not as seminaries. All Hallows hasn’t had
any students studying for the priesthood
for the past 10 years. Maynooth had just
five priests ordained in 2009. The well has
run dry!
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor
(see below. Photo credit:
Mazur/ took time out
before he set off to conduct a bishops’
retreat in Canada to record these words of
gratitude: “I am glad that tribute is being
given to the thousands of Irish priests who
have ministered in England and Wales over
the past 150 years since the Restoration of
the hierarchy in 1850. Many of those
priests worked in very difficult situations but
their faith and perseverance helped form
and develop the Catholic Church in this
Chapel interior at at country. They deserve our warmest thanks.”
Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

I sat in the presbytery kitchen of St mind-boggling stories of trekking through

James, Peckham Rye, chatting with parish the deserts of Africa or the exotic sites and
priest, Fr. Tom Mc Elhone about his sounds of China, the difficulties they had to
ministry. Visiting is his top priority. He had face in the post war slums of many British
just returned from a class of seven year cities were sometimes far greater. “The
olds. “It’s what’s keeps me sane,” he genius of the Irish priest,” wrote Fr. PJ
chuckles! He came to the archdiocese of Brophy, former President of St Patrick’s
Southwark, intending to stay for a year - College, Carlow, “has been essentially
that was in 1974! He spoke movingly practical, concentrating on teaching the
about his nine years as a prison chaplain essentials of the faith, bringing people to
where he learned the importance of the Mass and the Sacraments and
“making a connection.” His parishioners, providing churches and schools for their
as well as English and Irish, are from flocks.”
Africa, West Indies and Vietnam. As a In the 1950s and 1960s, Irish seminaries
fellow emigrant he feels a deep were full. There were eight colleges,
“connection” with them. ”We’re all away devoted to the formation of the secular
from home and yet, here in the parish, clergy alone. Such were the numbers, in
we’re all home.” 1959, in St Patrick’s College, Thurles that a
Ever since the sixth century when St priest (now in the Brighton & Arundel Throughout the centuries it has been
Columba set forth on his mission from the diocese) said that his bed was out in the the wonderful faith and fervour of Irish
shores of Ireland, countless young Irish corridors for a term! Today only two of parents that produced so many Religious
missionaries, secular and religious have left these colleges remain open. One, All (women and men) and secular priests
their native shores and gone to the far Hallows, founded in 1842 to follow the whose dedicated mission has become part
corners of the world. While those in Irish diaspora throughout the English of the heritage of the Church in these
Britain may not have had the speaking world, has sent 1000 priests to islands.
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