Sir John Simeon – Catholic M.P. for the Isle of Wight


New booklet – Written by Dr. Paul Severn. Reviewed (here) by Fr. Jonathan Redvers Harris

 

Only last month,150 years after the death of Sir John Simeon, the memorial cross erected in his honour, at the junction of Carisbrooke Road and Castle Road in Newport, was sadly defaced by graffiti. Happily, however, this act of vandalism is more than compensated for by the publication of this fitting tribute to the life and times of this great Victorian liberal country gentleman, penned in characteristic style by Dr Paul Severn.

 

This Sesquicentennial Anniversary Essay, written with charm and an eye for detail, illuminates the contribution made by Sir John, especially to our Island’s civic life. Sir John was a “convert” from Anglicanism to Catholicism, and his life intertwined with that of Cardinal – now Saint – John Henry Newman, who was a visitor himself to the Island. His principled resignation of his parliamentary seat upon his reception into full communion with the Church of Rome was an act of graciousness and honour, and his subsequent re-election by the Island people eloquently speaks of the esteem and respect in which he was held. Nor were Sir John’s interests and contribution confined to the political and civic spheres, and Dr Severn reminds us of his friendship with Alfred Lord Tennyson and the literary circles of Island life.

 

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Early Bishops of Portsmouth


Written by Dr. Paul Severn
Reviewed by Monsignor Canon Nicholas France MBE

 

(former Vicar General of the Portsmouth Diocese)

 

The story of our diocese is the story of our bishops. For in every case their leadership created a particular form of cultural Catholicism and guided us in how to be a Diocesan Church in fidelity to the Pope. This book marks the different eras in which from small beginnings they led the Diocese of Portsmouth.

 

Over the years I have visited the graves of each of our bishops. Their place of rest indicates where they found their inspiration and fulfilment. Thus, Bishop Vertue is buried in a public cemetery within city of Portsmouth, as was appropriate for a man who had a distinguished career in both the Royal Navy and in becoming our first Bishop. Bishop Cahill is buried with his two brothers in the churchyard of his beloved Ryde, a parish to which he had devoted a great many years of his life. Bishop Cotter was laid to rest among his favourite Irish nuns in their cemetery in Waterlooville. Later, Bishop King was buried in the ancient Catholic cemetery of St James in his beloved Winchester.

 

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Monsignor Antony Conlon R.I.P.


Your charitable prayers are requested for the eternal repose of the soul of Monsignor Conlon who died on Low Sunday at the Sue Ryder Hospice in Reading, where he had been receiving end of life care. He had been suffering with cancer for some time.

 

Father was born in Dublin, Ireland on 14 July 1949 and ordained to the Holy Priesthood at Westminster Cathedral by Cardinal Hume in May 1979.

 

He was at one time chaplain at the Oratory School, Reading, and latterly served as Parish Priest at Goring on Thames and Woodcote.

 

He came to the Island on several occasions both for a holiday and to assist with Masses. In 2008 he conducted a wedding and celebrated a Nuptial Mass at St. Mary’s, Ryde and in 2012 he assisted Fr. Glaysher with the Holy Week / Easter Triduum Services. A wonderful, caring and inspiring priest, he loved his vocation and gave a life of service to others.

 

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Angela Emily Moran R.I.P.


Born in London 1936, Angela moved to Luccombe in 1974 and then to Shanklin, where she lived with her sister, Margaret, until she died five years ago.

 

The two sisters travelled to Switzerland, Israel and went on several pilgrimages to Lourdes, Fatima, San Sebastián and Rome, where she met Pope John Paul II.

 

Angela was a talented musician and shared her gift with her many pupils, to whom she taught piano, organ, violin, ‘cello, double bass and guitar.

 

Although she and her sister were spinsters, as teachers they both felt their countless pupils were their children. She had enormous success at the Isle of Wight Music Competition Festival.

 

Angela was a devout Catholic and dedicated music teacher. She was also the choir-mistress and organist at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Shanklin, for many years and she made a valuable contribution to the liturgy.

 

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First Fridays of the month


The First Friday of each month was designated by our Saviour Himself as a day to be consecrated to honouring His Sacred Heart. The object of this devotion is to make our Saviour Jesus Christ ardently and perfectly loved, and to make reparation for the outrages offered to Him in the past. Jesus Christ merits our love at all times, but alas, so many in the world today simply do not recognise His redeeming love for mankind. We should remember that He is truly present in every Catholic church. We should then adore Jesus Christ in this Sacrament, make a fervent act of love to Jesus in the tabernacle, thank Him for having instituted this Mystery of love, express our sorrow at seeing Him so abandoned, and resolve to visit Him as soon as possible and love Him unceasingly. Attendance at Mass is assuredly the best means of honouring and loving the adorable Heart of Jesus.

 

First Friday devotions in honour of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus:

 

  1. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
  2. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
  3. Act of Consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
  4. Act of Reparation
  5. The Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
  6. The Sacrament of Reconciliation

 

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The Story of Fatima


On May 13, 1917, in Portugal, Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three children in a place called Cova da Iria.

 

Our Lady of Fatima spoke to the children and told them not to be afraid. “I come from Heaven,” she said. The oldest of the children was Lucía who was ten years old. She asked Our Lady of Fatima,

 

“Will I go to Heaven?” “Yes,” Our Lady of Fatima answered. “And Jacinta,” who was her seven-year-old cousin, “Will she go to heaven too?” “Yes,” answered Our Lady of Fatima. “And Francisco,” the brother of Jacinta who was nine years old, “Will he go to Heaven?” “Yes,” answered Our Lady of Fatima, “but he will have to say many rosaries.”

 

Our Lady of Fatima asked the children if they would pray and make sacrifice for sinners, and if they would come to this same place on the thirteenth of each month for five months. The children agreed and Lucía said “Yes.” Only Lucía spoke to Our Lady of Fatima, the others listened.

 

This was the beginning of a new life for the children, for their sole purpose in life was to pray and make sacrifices for sinners. They would give their lunch to the sheep as a sacrifice, and perform other acts of mortification.

 

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Pilgrimage to Poland, 2010


Tenth anniversary memories – By Peter Clarke

 

Poland is a land steeped in Catholic tradition. This is testified to by the glorious cathedrals, churches and shrines which we shall be able to visit.

 

Krackow, where we were based, is, arguably, the most beautiful of Poland’s cities with its ancient cathedral and castle at its heart. The Corpus Christi Procession on Thursday was probably one of the finest in Europe. We will visit the beautiful Shrine of Jasna Gora, where the Black Madonna is enshrined, and the Shrine of Divine Mercy. In addition, we will visit Auschwitz to honour the martyrs St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Edith Stein.

 

It was hoped that this pilgrimage, led by Fr. Andrew Southwell and organised by the Latin Mass Society, would be a reflection of that greater pilgrimage which we are making through this life towards our heavenly home. As we journey, we do so with others, supporting each other by our prayers and encouragement. We hope we can do this on our pilgrimage and really form a good community over these coming days. At the heart of any pilgrimage is the Mass and each day we will have the traditional Mass and our daily prayers and devotions, as well as Sung Compline each evening. God willing, these days will be full of many graces and blessings to sustain us and help us as we draw closer to Our Blessed Lord.

 

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Mass at Island Martyrs’ memorial


Mass was offered by Fr. Jonathan Redvers Harris on the Third Sunday of Easter outside St. Thomas of Canterbury Church at Cowes. Taking the place of the usual 9am Mass in the church building, this Mass (Ordinariate) was outside the church at the memorial to the two Isle of Wight Martyrs, Blessed Robert Anderton and Blessed William Marsden. The day was significant as it marked the anniversary of their martyrdom in 1586.

 

 

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Good Shepherd Sunday Sermon, 2020


Preached on 25th April 2020 at St. Mary’s Priory, Warrington

 

[Full text below of homily by Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP:]

 

Watch Father deliver the sermon by clicking on this link:- https://vimeo.com/412857044

 

INTRO: “I – am the good shepherd.”

 

Our Lord emphasises the I.

 

Meaning: I only am truly and fully the good shepherd. Other shepherds are good inasmuch as they act in me and through me.

 

Christ is the Good Shepherd.

 

Christ is the only truly good shepherd. No pope, bishop or priest is a good shepherd, unless Christ speaks and acts through him. Christ always meant to be the one acting through his clergy. Some would betray Him. Some would remain faithful.

 

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From a barn to a chapel


The story of a Ryde family who converted a small barn into a family chapel.

 

When the CBCEW designated 2020 as the Year of the Word of God, I don’t think any of us ever imagined how prophetic that would be. It is, now, all we are left with during this unprecedented time in which we are unable to attend Mass or receive the sacraments. Even now, as Lent has ended, we must continue our prolonged spiritual fast until the threat of Coronavirus has ended.

 

Many people are naturally very upset because their normal routines have been disrupted. While this is completely understandable, St Teresa of Avila warns us about getting too stuck in a particular routine or spiritual practice. The danger is that we become passive, and the comfort of the routine becomes more important to us than the spiritual practice itself. So in effect, the routine itself becomes a false idol.

 

I think it’s a huge blessing, however painful, that we have had our routines disrupted. It is easy to fall into taking these wonderful and amazing things for granted. I hope that when we return to normal, we will all have a greater appreciation for the Eucharist, and the Mass. The longing that we feel is a good thing. It gives great glory to God.

 

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Caedwalla – an Isle of Wight saint?


Written by Veronica Nevard of Ryde

 

From St. Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, we learn that Caedwalla was a nobleman of the West Saxons, exiled from his country, who returned with an army and killed the reigning monarch. After much plunder and bloodshed, he became the new king. Caedwalla then conquered the pagan Isle of Wight and did his best to exterminate all the natives and replace them with settlers from his own province. Although not yet baptised, Caedwalla is said to have vowed that, should he conquer the Island, he would give a quarter of all the land and his spoils to the God of the Christians. This promise was honoured when he gave the promised bounty to Bishop Wilfrid. Wilfrid appointed a priest to preach on the Island and to baptise all who wished to convert to the Christian faith.

 

Two young princes, brothers of the former king, when Caedwalla invaded the Island, escaped across the Solent. They were eventually betrayed however and ordered to be put to death. Caedwalla, at this time, was living in seclusion while he recovered from wounds received while fighting on the Isle of Wight. The Abbot of Redbridge petitioned him to allow the young princes to receive instruction in the Christian Faith and to receive Baptism before their execution. Caedwalla consented to this request and they were duly instructed, baptised, and then executed.

 

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Easter Sermon (2020) by Fr. Emmanuel Odoemene


(Lost in the contemplation of an empty tomb)

 

Sermon for Easter 2020 by Fr Emmanuel ODOEMENE
(Parish Priest of St. Thomas’s, Newport and St. Saviour’s, Totland)

 

Depending on what time you arrive, but generally speaking, the long queue is off-putting; expect overzealous stewards of the Greek Orthodox Church scurrying you; anticipate a tight space to venerate the hallowed platform on which the body of Jesus was prepared for burial; but nothing compares with the bliss and satisfaction for all your troubles. Enter the empty tomb of Christ! Welcome into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem! You are in the holiest place on earth for us Christians. And every adult Christian should endeavour to visit there. Someone made a little joke – putting words into the mouth of the wealthy man who donated this tomb, Joseph of Arimathaea. Asked why he gave his newly built tomb in a beautiful garden to Jesus, he responded that he only leased it for the weekend.

 

Yes, the tomb has since remained empty! Because Jesus is NOT there.

 

He is truly risen, Alleluia!

 

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Cardinal George Pell at Quarr Abbey


It was tremendous news hearing about the acquittal of Cardinal George Pell from the charges against him by the Australia High Court. One wonders why the charges were ever brought, as the evidence appeared so flimsy. The Island Catholic History Society is pleased to remind everyone of happier times in the Cardinal’s life, when he visited the Isle of Wight in January, 2008, at the invitation of Abbot Cuthbert Johnson OSB.

 

On the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, His Eminence George Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney ordained Brother Brian Gerard Kelly OSB to the Holy Priesthood. His family came from Ireland for the ceremony and there was a good congregation of the faithful from all parts of the Island. His Eminence called Bro. Brian forward after the gospel and in answer to the question “Do you know this man to be worthy of ordination“.

 

The abbot replied: “After enquiry among the Christian people, and upon recommendation of those concerned with his formation, I testify that he has been found worthy“. Having questioned Bro. Brian, the Cardinal laid his hands upon him and all the other clergy precent did likewise. The intercession of the saints was sought in the Litany and after the prayer of Ordination, Bro Brian was invested with his stole and chasuable while the monks sang “Veni Creator Spiritus“.

 

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What England’s rededication to Mary should mean for us all


By Edmund Matyjaszek

 

England will be rededicated to the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ, on March 29th, 2020. This renews a formal public dedication in 1381 by Kind Richard II. His Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Arundel spoke of the tradition of England being the Dowry of Mary as being even then “of common parlance”. We know of this idea of the country being dedicated to Mary – this reality indeed – as a matter of deeply held devotion, of historical continuity with England before the Reformation, of poetry and picture and song. The beautiful Wilton Diptych in the National Gallery (picture – below) is the most marked representation of this we have and a miraculous survival from those times.

 

 

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Walsingham – Re-Dedication


There’s no better time for England’s re-dedication to Our Lady

 

Written by Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth

 

Over the past decades, a religious revolution has taken place almost akin in its significance to the Reformation. The British have been quietly dropping their Christian faith, practices and church connections. A new secular culture, atheist and indifferentist, has been embedding itself. In the past when you asked someone their religion, they were likely to say they belonged to the Church of England; today, they are more likely to say they don’t believe at all. Half of the population now say they are “nones”, meaning they do not identify. This cultural shift is having a huge impact on Catholics. True, it makes our mission to spread the Gospel even more urgent. Millions of souls are religiously and spiritually adrift. Furthermore, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has pointed out, the loss of religion dissolves the foundations of ethics, making a “dictatorship of relativism” increasingly inevitable.

 

The loss of faith also destabilises reason. In promoting busyness and having a good time, secularism fosters scientism: the false belief that scientific reasoning alone is valid, and that religion and ethics are therefore just a matter of personal taste.

 

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St. Jerome


Written by Dr. Paul Severn

 

This year we keep the seventeen hundredth anniversary of St. Jerome’s death. He is one of the Latin Doctors of the Church.

 

Are you plagued by sexual temptation, is your libido in overdrive? Do you frequently see yourself in the midst of a crowd of young women dancing? If so, then you have much in common with St Jerome (c. 345 – 420) who was prone to the temptations of the flesh, but he had a remarkable method of coping with these temptations: he taught himself Hebrew! And of course this is what led to his fame for his translation of the Bible into Latin, known as the Vulgate and recognised in 1942 as the authoritative Latin Biblical text of the Catholic Church.

 

St Jerome revised texts of the psalms and New Testament, but translated much of the Old Testament, from the original Hebrew into Latin. It is important to note that the very early Douai translation of the Bible and the Knox English translation were both translations of St Jerome’s Vulgate. It is partly for this reason that perhaps the most authoritative, single volume commentary on the Bible is known as the Jerome Commentary (1968), revised and updated as the New Jerome Biblical Commentary in 1989.

 

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St Dominic – 850th anniversary


Written by Dr. Paul Severn

 

For many saints, the day on which they are commemorated is the day on which they died, sometimes referred to as their ‘heavenly birthday’. This is only a rule of thumb and there are exceptions. In particular we celebrate the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary (8 September) as well as her Assumption (15 August) and we celebrate the Birth of St John the Baptist (24 June) as well as his beheading (29 August). Also of note is the recently canonised St John Henry Newman who is kept on 9 October, neither the day of his birth nor his death, but the date on which he was received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church (by Blessed Dominic Barberi in Oxford in 1845).

 

I say all this since this year we celebrate the eight hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the birth of St Dominic, in 1170, but we do not know the date of his birthday! By contrast we do know the date of St. Dominic’s death: 6 August (1221) and this was the date of St Dominic’s day in the ‘old calendar’ but it was transferred to 8 August in the calendar reforms following the Second Vatican Council. St Dominic’s influence is not insignificant on the Isle of Wight for there was a community of Dominican nuns at Carisbrooke Priory from 1866 until 1989 and there was a small community of lay Dominicans based at Weston Manor until very recently.

 

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REMEMBER, REMEMBER the 5th of NOVEMBER


In our society’s 18 years we have received many articles, reports, photographs etc for publication. This is the first time, however, that we have received a report of a school assembly. See below. This is very topical and relevant at this particular time.

 

Guy Fawkes Day last week gave an ideal opportunity for Priory School of Our Lady of Walsingham to explore Catholicism in England and the Canonisation of John Henry Newman earlier on October.

 

There was the chance to examine the way in which, after the Reformation, Catholics became associated with a perceived threat to England that the Gunpowder plot of 1605 only gave force to. Reduced to a hunted and persecuted minority, the continued patriotism of English Catholics was noted via the picture that hung in a Spanish seminary that showed Our Lady casting arms of protection over English seminarians, with the inscription “Anglia Dos Maria” – England the Dowry of Mary. This has been a repeated theme at Priory School this year as the church prepares for the rededication of England as Our Lady’s Dowry scheduled for next March at Westminster Cathedral. This is interwoven with the required teaching on Fundamental British Values all schools must promote, as the values “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.” are of course derived from our Judaeo-Christian heritage. The life and thought of St John Henry Newman showed the various divisions in Christianity in the 19th Century and how, beginning with Catholic Emancipation in 1829, Catholics began to take a greater part in public English life, enhanced of course by Newman’s own reception into the Catholic church in 1845. A highlight of the assembly was the 12 minute video “An Introduction to Newman” that had the compelling testimony of Melissa Villalobos whose miraculous healing was the second miracle required for canonisation, the steps of which were fully explained as they are not necessarily well known to Catholics never mind in general. This clearly enthralled the senior pupils, especially the girls, and made a deep impact. This led on to the institution in 2009 of the Ordinariate which bridges the separation of the Church of England and the Catholic Church in this country.

 

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Pilgrimage to Manchester


Contributed by Peter Clarke

 

In November 2019 I returned to Manchester for a golden jubilee university reunion. I had not been there for almost fifty years. I was amazed and shocked at the change in the university, the city and the whole environment. However, the two churches (St. Mary’s – “Hidden Gem” and the Holy Name) with which I was most familiar, had somehow escaped the liturgical vandalism prevalent since the 1970s.

 

Manchester may seem an unusual place for a pilgrimage, but it has been a place of veneration of the Mother of God for many years. How many of us aware of the Marian title “Our Lady of Manchester“? This originated as long ago as 1422, when King Henry V granted permission for the collegiation of Manchester’s parish church, dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin of Manchester. Papal confirmation was given by Martin V in 1426, and the document of confirmation may still be seen in the Vatican archives.

 

The pre-Reformation title of “Our Lady of Manchester” (see image – left) was restored in St Mary’s in Mulberry Street in the mid 1800s, with the establishment of the Shrine of Our Lady of Manchester.

 

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Newman – Ahead of his time?


Address by Fr. Jonathan Redvers Harris for “Saint Newman Morning” – 19th October 2019, the Priory School of Our Lady of Walsingham at Whippingham

 

First, all the usual caveats and disclaimers. I don’t pretend to be a Newman scholar, as would become rapidly apparent should anyone subject me to penetrating questions at the end. What follows, is drawn from my limited reading of Newman, in the course of some canon law studies a few years ago. I was exploring the notion of sensus fidei – the sense or instinct of faith possessed by all the baptised, by which we, as Christ’s sheep, recognise the voice of the Good Shepherd. I was looking at this in relation to the Church’s teaching authority in the First and Second Vatican Councils, and more recently. And I was considering how teaching is given to, and received by, the People of God with this supernatural appreciation of the faith, and doing so with a kind of “Newmanian” lens.

 

Newman (1801-1890) spanned almost the entire nineteenth century, and while not physically present at Vatican I (1869-1870), he was closely involved with its deliberations. He wasn’t, of course, physically present at Vatican II, but he can be seen to have anticipated some of its direction, and is sometimes referred to as an, if not the, “invisible father at Vatican II”.

 

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Josephine Ward and Maisie Ward Sheed: a mother & daughter


Contributed by Julia Courtney (parishioner of St. Patrick’s, Sandown).

 

Members of the Isle of Wight Catholic History Society will be familiar with the life of William George Ward, convert from Anglicanism, associate of John Henry Newman and, through an unexpected inheritance, owner of large areas of the Island including much of the town of Cowes. Although the most celebrated Ward, this brilliant and larger than life theologian was not the only member of the family to make a huge contribution to Catholic life. In the next generation his daughter in law Josephine Ward and his granddaughter Maisie Ward Sheed were widely- known and fearless apologists for their Faith; and both had strong ties with the Island. Born in 1864, Josephine Hope was orphaned by age eight and brought up by her grandmother the Duchess of Norfolk and her aunt Lady Mary Howard. In 1887 she married Wilfrid Philip Ward (picture – left), a younger son of W. G. Ward, thus allying traditional aristocratic Catholic mores with the world of the intellectual, influential and eccentric Ward family. Wilfrid Ward edited The Dublin Review from 1903 until 1915. He was a close friend of Friedrich von Hugel, a neighbour of Thomas Huxley and a prolific biographer and writer. Josephine Hope was already a published novelist before her marriage; she then chose to write as Mrs Wilfrid Ward despite the confusion this caused with the successful novelist Mrs Humphry Ward. Having grown up on the Island, Wilfrid Ward brought his new wife to live near Totland, where the elderly Alfred Tennyson was a close neighbour. In January 1889, Josephine went to Shanklin for the birth of her first child, a girl christened Mary Josephine but always known as Maisie. On her return to Totland, the baby was proudly displayed to Tennyson who commented, ‘She looks exactly like Henry VIII’ which may have been quite appropriate as Maisie was of solid build throughout her life.

 

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Pilgrimage to Minster and Faversham


Minster Abbey (Benedictine)

 

Pilgrims from the Island visited Minster Abbey in September, 2019. They were familiar (to some extent) with the Benedictine way of life because of Quarr and St. Cecilia’s Abbey. Life today at Minster is deeply rooted in prayer. Interior prayer and liturgical prayer lie at the heart of the contemplative life. It is through the celebration of the liturgy, reflection on the scriptures (lectio divina) and silent adoration that the nuns are called to grow into a deep intimacy with Jesus Christ who is the centre of our lives.

 

The pilgrims joined the nuns for None (afternoon prayer) and once again were given a guided tour, tracing the history of the abbey, which goes back to the 7th century. It was dissolved, like all the others, at the time of the Reformation and then re-founded in 1937. It has a long and fascinating history:- Click on this link below to learn more:- www.minsterabbeynuns.org

 

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Pilgrimage to West Grinstead, Aylesford & Ramsgate


Church and Shrine of Our Lady at West Grinstead

 

Ten pilgrims from three different Island parishes set off by minibus for Ramsgate and Canterbury on September 9th. The first stop was at the Church and Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, West Grinstead.

 

This was an important centre for the Church during penal times. The faith was never lost thanks largely to the Caryll family who were a wealthy landowning Sussex family who built the “priest’s house”, (now the presbytery) in the mid 16th century. During penal times most priests who secretly returned to England from abroad, headed for this West Grinstead House, ideally situated deep in the wooded area of West Sussex. Our own two Island martyrs, Blessed Robert Anderton and Blessed William Marsden, were probably heading for West Grinstead when they were caught and executed in 1586.

 

The end of the penal days brought an obvious end to the secrecy surrounding the place and the present magnificent church was built in 1876. At the same time a statue of Our Lady at W. Grinstead was crowned by the Papal Delegate, representing Pope Leo XIII. This solemn crowning at the shrine in the Sussex countryside, in thanksgiving for the preservation of the faith in penal times, was the first such crowning since the Reformation.

 

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Pilgrimage to Canterbury


Returning from a pilgrimage to Ramsgate, pilgrims from the Isle of Wight stopped en route at Canterbury cathedral. Founded in 597, as the seat of the first archbishop, St. Augustine, the cathedral was completely rebuilt between 1070 and 1077. There has always been a steady flow of pilgrims to Canterbury. This increased after the martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket in 1170.

 

Before the Reformation the cathedral was part of a Benedictine monastic community known as Christ Church, Canterbury, as well as being the seat of the archbishop.

 

Pope John-Paul II came to Canterbury cathedral in May, 1982. Pilgrims saw the spot where both the Pope and Archbishop Runcie knelt and prayed at the spot where Becket was believed to be martyred.

 

After a guided tour, Fr. Jonathan Redvers Harris offered Mass for the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary in All Saints Chapel (picture – left and below). Father reminded the pilgrims of the unique history of this mother church of Christianity in England, and, also of the significance of this Marian feast which was instituted by Pope Innocent XI as a yearly act of thanksgiving for the victory of Christian forces against the Turks at Vienna in 1683.

 

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Fr. Michael John Purbrick R.I.P.


Father was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on the Feast of St. Patrick, 1957. He had been parish priest of St. Thomas of Canterbury Church, Cowes 1988 – 2014. Those who knew him will remember a humble and unassuming man; a holy and devoted priest who had great care for his flock and for their spiritual development. He was well respected and admired by everyone.

 

Fr. Jonathan Redvers Harris was joined by Fr. Roy Bennett in welcoming Fr. Purbrick’s mortal remains into St. Thomas’s. Fr. Bennett gave a brief eulogy and recalled their first meeting in 1950 as teenagers entering the seminary together. They were both ordained in March, 1957. Fr. Bennett on 16th March and Fr. Purbrick the following day. He remembers Fr. Purbrick as a “quiet, unassuming man, but bubbling with humour beneath the surface. He had a great faith which was built on solid foundations. He loved his Priesthood, which he held in great esteem. During his illness he never complained or made a fuss.”

 

Bishop Egan was the chief concelebrant at his Funeral Mass on Thursday (4th) at St. Thomas’s, Cowes, where he had been parish priest for 26 years. Nine other fellow priests were present. Fr. John Catlin delivered the eulogy. He described Fr. Purbrick as “an astute person of sound judgement, a merciful man and a generous and deeply committed pastor. “

 

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Pilgrimage to Santiago


By Dr. Paul Severn

 

I think it was me who suggested it, but really in jest … however the idea took hold and so it was that on the Friday before the May Day Bank Holiday I found myself on an aeroplane to Spain, with four of my fellow final year deacon students form St Mary’s College Oscott. We landed at Santiago de Compostela and took a coach to Lugo, where after a few drinks and some delightful Galician (the local region) tapas we settled down for a first night.

 

The significance of Lugo is that it is 100km from Santiago on the Camino Primitivo. For the pilgrimage to ‘count’ one has to walk 100km (about 63 miles), or it’s 200km on a bicycle or on horseback, although, of course, many people travel much further. Furthermore, in order to get the certificate of completion – the compostela – you have a pilgrims’ passport or ‘credencial’ which is stamped along the way to show you have really made the journey. Having collected my first stamp at my real starting point, St David’s Church, East Cowes, I collected my first Spanish Stamp (or sullo) at Lugo, before setting off through the Camino gate in Lugo city wall. Navigation is easy since all along the way, every couple of hundred meters, is a way mark, adorned with a shell and a yellow arrow pointing the direction. Additionally, the distance to Santiago, in kilometres (to three decimal places!) was shown, so as we journeyed, we could see ourselves getting ever closer.

 

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Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form)


Contributed by Blake Everitt

 

‘Flumina plaudent manu; simul montes exsultabunt a conspectu Domini: quoniam venit judicare terram.’ 1

 

This exultant playfulness of nature is mirrored in the Latin Mass, where heart and soul are lifted up into an ineffable flow of exultation. The liturgy demonstrates humanity in ‘supernatural childhood before God.’ 2

 

The pristine glasswork of the language – receptive to the inpouring of Divine light – provides a staying refuge for the miseries of being: a ‘locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis.’ 3

 

Vessels of transcendence, intimations of Otherness, the words make crystalline incisions in the darkness, guiding us to a place of rest and expectation of Home. God, the ‘liberator and helper of human beings, flavour and beauty of angels’ 4, rewards us with what Samuel Beckett described as ‘gently light unfading on that unheeded / neither / unspeakable home.’

 

This experience of the sacred transforms the human heart into an altar: altar of flesh responds to the numinous symbolism of the altar of stone.

 

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Pilgrimage to Medjugorje


by John Ochai

 

I made my third pilgrimage to Medjugorje this year from 6-13 May in the company of 30 other pilgrims and 2 priests one an Augustinian from Hammersmith London and the other a New Zealander living and working in Krakow. They acted as Spiritual Directors.

 

Briefly, Our Lady first appeared under the title of Queen of Peace to 6 children on the Feast of St John the Baptist on 24 June 1981. The children were Ivanka, Mirjana, Vicka, Ivan, Marija, and Jakov who was aged 10 and the youngest. Of the 6 only 3 now still receive daily apparitions at 5.40pm. They are Vicka, Ivan and Marija.

 

Medjugorje is a small village in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the former Republic of Yugoslavia. You can fly from most UK airports but easiest from London Heathrow to Split, Zagreb or Dubrovnik and from there take a coach ride to Medjugorje. It is roughly 6 hour trip from London.

 

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Early Monasticism in the West of Ireland


Contributed by Peter Clarke

 

We can’t escape the subject of monasticism here on the Isle of Wight and we certainly have no desire to do so. We are familiar with the story of Medieval monasteries here at Quarr, St. Helens and Carisbrooke.

 

Gill and I were visiting family in Kerry recently and were fascinated by the story of early Medieval monastic life. Many of the islands of the west coast of Ireland contain the remains of early Christian Monasteries. They were the favoured sites due to both their isolation, and the abundance of rock for construction. A strong concentration can be found off the coast of County Kerry, with nine in total found on islands off the Iveragh and Dingle peninsula.

 

These monasteries are usually positioned on a terraced shelf high above sea level, and contain beehive shaped cells, oratories, small early medieval churches, a cemetery, crosses. (See pictures – left). The cells and oratories were of dry-built corbel construction.

 

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Knights of St. Columba – 70th Anniversary on the IoW


Contributed by David Cooper

 

The Knights were founded in Glasgow in 1919, a time of new hope in the wake of the Great War but also a time of great poverty and religious bigotry. The founders saw a need for Catholic men to become organised in order to face up to the many challenges facing society and the Catholic Church.

 

The main aims of the Order were (and still are):

 

  1. To be an organised body of practising Catholic men who give entire loyalty to the Pope, the Hierarchy and the Clergy in everything that concerns the faith.
  2. To co-operate in all works concerning the Lay Apostolate.
  3. To promote the Spiritual and Material wellbeing of members, especially the sick and unemployed, and to make provision for the widows and families of deceased brothers.
  4. To foster the interest of Catholic Youth and to help young people develop in the likeness of Christ.

 

The Order has constant regard for the Fundamental Virtues of CHARITY, UNITY and FRATERNITY.

 

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Catholic gifts and vestments


The Island CHS is pleased to introduce Clare Short. She says:-

 

“I am a 39 year old Mother of three children. I’ve been married for 19 years. I am also a secular Carmelite. I began by making one set of vestments for a priest friend, and then suddenly started receiving other orders! My priest friend told me I should start a business.

 

Today Di Clara offers a whole range of Catholic gifts and vestments. Di Clara’s main aim is to help restore beauty and reverence to the Liturgy through beautiful vestments, and also to share the beauty and joy of Catholicism through the products we sell”.

 

This picture (right) shows Clare presenting vestments that she made to Pope Emeritus Benedict two years ago on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

 

Why not visit Clare’s web site and see the wide selection of gifts, mantillas, vestments etc that she makes, which are suitable for all Catholic occasions:- www.diclara.co.uk


Dowry Tour of the Statue of Our Lady of Walsingham


On Saturday, 6th April about thirty people went from the Island to St. John’s Cathedral in Portsmouth for the visit of the Statue of Our Lady of Walsingham. This statue from England’s National shrine to Mary, the Mother of Christ in Norfolk is visiting all the Catholic cathedrals of England. Walsingham ranked alongside Jerusalem, Rome and Compostella in Medieval times as a major pilgrimage destination for Christians. It also resonates with our Island in that the only secondary school in England to be dedicated to Our Lady of Walsingham is here on the Island at Whippingham. Ed Matyjaszek, the school’s Principal, gave an interesting, impassioned and informative talk in the cathedral on the origin of the shrine, its development and its significance today, especially in light of the re-dedication of England as the “Dowry” of Mary – a land consecrated to her alone – that is to take place in Spring 2020 in Westminster Cathedral in London. It is the first such re-dedication since the original dedication by King Richard II in 1381, which has never been revoked.

 

There were four days of celebration and veneration in the cathedral, alongside a very informative exhibition detailing the history of the Marian shrine and the meaning of England as Mary’s “Dowry” or Dower land.

 

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Catholic Holocaust


Contributed by Fr. John Ryder (All Saints Church, Godshill)

 

In February 1586 two boyhood friends from Lancashire were executed horribly in Cowes before a crowd of islanders. Robert Anderton and William Marsden, both recently ordained Catholic priests, were on a ship to England when a storm blew up in the Channel. Someone on-board ship had overheard their prayers for the safety of the vessel and had reported them to the authorities. They were among the many hundreds of English and Welsh Catholics executed during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Elizabeth I and James I.

 

Among the victims were the 18 Carthusian Monks, led by John Houghton, hung drawn and quartered or starved to death by Henry VIII, the nun Elizabeth Barton hung and beheaded, Margaret Pole the 67 year old Countess of Salisbury, Franciscan friar John Forest burned to death at Smithfield, hundreds of the Northerners who had risen in the Pilgrimage of Grace and been promised clemency, including lawyer Robert Aske, Sir Thomas Percy and MP, Thomas Moigne, and 200 in Elizabeth’s reign including the gentle scholar and poet Edmund Campion who was tortured before public execution.

 

Altogether at least 600 people, including women such as Margaret Cheyney and Margaret Stafford, and many priests were executed in our country in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. While the 274 Protestants martyred in Mary’s reign were long remembered in Britain (largely due to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs), the Catholic and the Anglican martyrs such as Archbishop Laud, were often forgotten.

 

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First Saturday Devotions


On 13 July 1917, Our Lady appeared for the third time to the three children of Fatima and showed them the vision of hell and made the now famous thirteen prophecies. In this vision Our Lady said that “God wishes to establish in the world devotion to Her Immaculate Heart and that She would come to ask for the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.” Eight years later, on 10 December 1925, Our Lady did indeed come back. She appeared (with the Child Jesus) to Lucia in her convent. The Child Jesus spoke first: “Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, which is covered with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce It at every moment while there is no one to remove them with an Act of Reparation.

 

The great promise

 

Our Lady then said: “My daughter, look at my heart surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, try to console me, and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the First Saturday of five consecutive months go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making Reparation to Me.”

 

Why are there five First Saturdays and not seven, or nine?

 

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Queen Victoria and Carisbrooke Priory


150th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s visit to Carisbrooke Priory

Talk by Peter Clarke

 

50 years ago, Neil Armstrong uttered the immortal phrase: “One Giant step for man, one huge step for mankind“. What a step for Science, astronomy, space travel and human endeavour.

 

150 years ago. Queen Victoria made such a huge step in terms of relations between the Crown, the Established Church in England and the Catholic Church and it took place here in this priory at Carisbrooke.

 

Maybe, not regarded as such a giant step as that which Neil Armstrong made, nevertheless it was significant in many other ways ……. It was significant because Queen Victoria, to the surprise of many at the time, accepted an invitation to come here to this newly established Dominican Priory, which at the time was only just over two years old.

 

The building of this priory was the result of the conversion to the Catholic Faith and the dedication of one person.

 

Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul on the Road to Damascus.

 

Today at this celebration, we remember another conversion, – that of Elizabeth, Countess of Clare.

 

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Via Francigena – The Road from Canterbury to Rome


By Paul Severn (January, 2019)

 

The Via Francigena (hereafter VF) was originally a Roman road, and more latterly a pilgrim way from Canterbury to Rome. The majority of it is in France, hence the name. In recent weeks my life has ‘intersected’ with the VF on three occasions and I took this to be a sign that I should write something about it for IoW CHS.

 

My first encounter was in book form. For Christmas, I was given The Crossway by Guy Stagg which is an autobiographical account a man’s 5500km walk to Jerusalem via Rome, and on the first part of the route he follows the VF. The book is not only a travelogue but also deals with mental illness from which the writer has suffered. The writer is not a religious man but he stays mainly at monasteries and has (and reports) many conversations with monks, nuns and others. It is a good read which I would recommend to CHS members (published by Picador).

 

My second intersection with the VF is connected to booking a few days away in the summer in Continental Europe. It is a place to which I have wanted to go for a number of years, a sort of place of pilgrimage, and just happens to lie on the VF. Look out for VF part II in the autumn when I will report on my visit.

 

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Chapel and Shrine of Our Lady of Ryde


1893 marked the Centenary of the birth of Elizabeth, Countess of Clare, foundress of St. Mary’s, Ryde; and also, the 50th Anniversary of the start of the Ryde Mission. In the same year Pope Leo XIII requested that the English Hierarchy consecrate England to Our Lady and St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles. This duly took place on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, 1893 at Brompton Oratory.

 

It was reputed to be Edward the Confessor who offered England to Mary following her appearance at Walsingham in 1061. Three-hundred and twenty years later, King Richard II re-dedicated England to Our Lady in a solemn ceremony in Westminster Abbey on the Sunday after Corpus Christi, 1381, and consequently Marian shrines gradually appeared throughout the kingdom, which became known as the ‘Dowry of Mary’.

 

Originally, St. Mary’s had been built without a Lady Chapel, as this was the custom at the time for churches dedicated to Our Lady. However, with encouragement of the parish priest, Father John Baptist Cahill [a future Bishop of Portsmouth who had great devotion to Our Lady] and following Pope Leo’s request to the English Hierarchy, and a keen desire by parishioners to mark the centenary of the Countess’ birth, permission was eventually given and the beautiful shrine was built at the front of the south aisle of the church.

 

Designed by Canon A.J. Scholes; altar by Augustus Pugin; murals painted by Nathaniel Westlake R.A.

 

Blessed and dedicated to Our Blessed Lady on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 1893 by Mgr. John Vertue, 1st Bishop of Portsmouth.

 

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OUR LADY of KNOCK PILGRIMAGE


Contributed by Veronica Nevard of Ryde

 

In August, 2018 five parishioners from St. Mary’s, Ryde attended the Divine Mercy Day of Retreat at Portsmouth Cathedral. The day was very worthwhile. As well as Mass and the Divine Mercy Hour there were two talks concentrating on the love of God for each one of us and the graces He offers us in order that we may open our hearts to cultivate an intimate relationship with Jesus.

 

Mention was made of a 5 day pilgrimage to Knock in November. It would be led by the same priest from the Marian Fathers and it would focus on praying for the Holy Souls. (The Apparition at Knock by Our Lady together with St. Joseph and St. John, in 1879 occurred on the last day of 100 consecutive days’ Masses offered for the Holy Souls by the Parish Priest, Fr Cavanagh). The Church approved these apparitions in 1971. Five years later a new Shrine church was built holding two thousand people. In 1979 to mark the centenary of the apparition, Pope John-Paul II visited Knock as a part of one of his first overseas papal visits.

 

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Day of Recollection at St. Mary’s, Ryde (2018)


On Tuesday, 27th November Fr. Seth Phipps FSSP came to Ryde from reading for a Day of Recollection with the theme:-

 

“The glories of Mary, and our interior life”.

 

This was a very successful and spiritually rewarding event. Father gave three talks on:-

 

“Divine Motherhood and Immaculate Conception”;
“Assumption of Our Lady”; &
“Our Lady at the foot of the Cross”.

 

It was a joy to welcome Fr. Seth Phipps FSSP to the Island for this Day of Recollection. Father was ordained at St. Mary’s Priory in Warrington in June. (This was the venue for a pilgrimage from the Island two months earlier). Father is now based at Reading with Fr. Matthew Goddard FSSP. This was his first visit to the Island since childhood and his first Day of Recollection.

 

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Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman


Bishop Philip Egan wrote recently on Newman:-

 

“When I was in Rome recently for the Ad Limina, there was talk that the announcement of Newman’s canonisation is imminent. Let us pray for that. Newman was a great intellectual genius, thoroughly English, a poet and controversialist, a Christian apologist, an historian, a true gentleman and above all a very holy man. As an Anglican (1801-45), he helped the Church of England recover its Catholic heritage. As a Catholic (1845-90), he stood for the principles of historical development and for moderation against Ultramontanism. Newman’s thought has had a profound influence upon both the Anglican and Roman Catholic communions. At Vatican II, Bishop Butler said that he felt “Newman’s spirit brooding over the Council.” Indeed, Newman’s ideas are still very much current. Newman’s motto was cor ad cor loquitur (“heart speaks to heart”). His epitaph reads ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem (“from shadows and images into the truth”). In an obituary, the Daily Telegraph said he was “one of the most distinguished and highly gifted Englishmen of the nineteenth century.” At his death, twenty thousand people gathered around the Oratory alone. Today, Newman’s stature remains undiminished, his influence on contemporary theology still growing”.

 

Fr. Jonathan Redvers Harris read from an extract from Newman’s Apologia pro Vita Sua at Mass to celebrate his feast on 9th October at St. David’s, East Cowes.

 

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Two mini Pilgrimages – Oxford and Reims


(Contributed by Dr. Paul Severn)

 

I have recently made two mini-pilgrimages. The first was to Oxford. It is the city in which I was born and where I went to school, it is home to the University where I briefly studied and is the place which for most of my life I called home. These days I visit regularly to see friends and maintain contacts. So why go there on pilgrimage? What was I seeking?

 

I was lucky to arrive, with seconds to spare in time for the 10 am Mass at the Oxford Oratory (picture – right) on the Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul (29 June). The church was packed but I squeezed in and I was treated to Sung Mass with a splendid homily about the Church (One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic) and a solemn blessing. I left the church with a spring in my step and walked south down St. Giles (following the route that Sue Mawson recently took on the Corpus Christi procession, reported in an earlier edition of this newsletter) but then I turned east and headed along Broad Street to Radcliffe Square dominated by the splendid Radcliffe Camera, built in the first half of the eighteenth century to a design by James Gibbs. It is now part of the Bodleian library. But this was not the goal of my quest. I was headed for the adjacent Brasenose College. I arrived at the Porter’s Lodge to read ‘College closed to visitors’. I fully respect that Oxford Colleges are principally places of study not tourist attractions but on this occasion I was not to be deterred! I went into the Lodge and flashed my Oxford University Alumni Card – which I had guessed I might need – announced my intention and asked to visit the chapel. The porter could not have been nicer and waived me in.

 

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ACT OF CONSECRATION of England to the Immaculate Heart of Mary


2018 marks the 70th anniversary of this important event. Read below the Act of Consecration which was read by His Eminence Cardinal Griffin, Archbishop of Westminster, within the abbey grounds of Walsingham on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 16th July, 1948

 

This Act of Consecration is as relevant now as it was in 1948. It is of particular significance to those in St. Mary’s Parish in Ryde, as this was the first church in England to be dedicated to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary (1846).

 

“Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, refuge of the human race, Mother of the Church, we turn to you, confident that we shall receive mercy, grace, assistance and protection, through the great goodness of your Maternal Heart. To you and your Immaculate Heart, in this centenary year of the Apparitions at Fatima, we re-consecrate ourselves in union not only with the Church, the Mystical Body of your Son, but also with the entire world.

 

May the sight of the widespread material and moral destruction, the sorrows and anguish of countless fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, and innocent children, and the souls in danger of being lost eternally move you to compassion.
O Mother of Mercy, Queen of Peace, through your intercession obtain peace for us from God through His grace; peace in truth, justice and charity, that the Kingdom of God may prevail.

 

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Feast of Corpus Christi (in London)


Two members of the Island Catholic History Society attended a special event at Corpus Christi Church, Maiden Lane, London in May, 2018, which included the Forty Hours Exposition and a Corpus Christi Procession. The church, near Covent Garden, has now been officially designated as the Westminster Diocesan Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament by Cardinal Vincent Nicholls. Veronica Nevard of Ryde contributes this report of the ceremonies.

 

This year the Feast of Corpus Christi was marked in a very special way in the heart of London. The Church of Corpus Christi in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden was opened in 1874 by Cardinal Manning (the first Church in England since the reformation to be given the dedication of ‘Corpus Christi’). He wanted the Church to be specifically devoted to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as an act of reparation for the sins against the Holy Eucharist during the Reformation and since.

 

The present Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Nichols, expressed his wish that the Church should be restored as a fitting shrine to the Blessed Sacrament and, for the past four years, under the direction of the Parish Priest, Fr. Alan Robinson, and with the help of patrons, sponsors and many skilled craftsmen, it has undergone a transforming restoration. The slate roof was renewed, underfloor heating installed and for the first time, disabled access was provided. The brick walls of the Sanctuary were gilded and seven Sanctuary Lamps were hung, restoring the original designs and replacing those ripped out in the 1990s. New chandeliers hang from specially designed angel brackets. The original statues have been restored and there are new statues: one of Padre Pio and another of St. John Vianney, (appropriately standing outside the Confessional where a priest is always ready to hear Confessions for the 30 minutes preceding each Mass).

 

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History of Devotion to the Sacred Heart


June is the Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was on 15th June, 1675, that Our Lord appeared to the French Visitation nun, St. Margaret Mary Alocoque. Our Lord said to her:

 

Behold this Heart, which loves men so much. Yet in return I receive ingratitude, irreverence, sacrilege and a coldness and contempt which they exhibit for me in this Sacrament of love.

 

It was through St. Margaret Mary that Christ instituted the “Holy Hour” of devotion and prayer to the Sacred Heart in reparation for the three apostles who fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane. Our Lord told her to, “encourage people to make reparation for the ingratitude of men. Spend an hour in prayer to appease divine justice, to implore mercy for sinners, to honour Me, to console Me for my bitter sufferings when abandoned by my apostles when they could not watch and pray for one hour with me“.

 

It was Pope Pius IX who added the feast of the Sacred Heart to the Roman Calendar in 1856 in order to “stimulate the faithful to honour with greater devotion and zeal the love of Jesus Christ under the symbol of the Sacred Heart“.

 

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Pilgrimage to Holywell and Lancashire


In April, 2018 ten members of our society went on pilgrimage to stay at the Convent of the Bridgettine Sisters at Holywell in North Wales. The Bridgettine Sisters was founded by Saint Bridget of Sweden in 1344 Their chief obligation is liturgical prayer, the regular daily Divine Office. They attend daily Mass and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

 

(See picture of their chapel – left).

 

Central to the Sisters’ work is the “Guest House” in Holywell. The Sisters welcome to their house all who seek stillness and quiet. Their “Hospitality” is an answer to the needs of many pilgrims. The Bridgettine Sisters are established in three continents, in 65 houses.

 

Holywell has been a place of pilgrimage since the seventh century. It is the only shrine in Britain that can show an unbroken history of pilgrimage to the present day. The town gets its name from the shrine. We know not when the place first began to be called Holywell, probably very soon after the Saint’s death. The first mention of the place is about 1150. All through the middle ages, we are told, “devotees from all parts of Christendom” were in the habit of coming to the Well.

 

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Holy Week / Easter Services explained


THE MASS OF CHRISM

 

The blessing of oil is very ancient – there is documented evidence of this liturgy from the fourth century, but it is certainly of earlier origin. On this day the People of God, bishops, priests, deacons and the lay faithful, assemble at the cathedral for the Chrism Mass with the Bishop as the main concelebrant. There is a long standing tradition that it takes place on the morning of Maundy Thursday, where the bishop is surrounded by the priests of his diocese, whose presence demonstrates their unity with him. Maundy Thursday is the day on which both the Mass and the priesthood were instituted. Pope Paul VI introduced the renewal of the priestly commitment into the liturgy. This is followed by the blessing of oils and the consecration of Chrism. In some Diocese it is not convenient for all clergy to assemble at the cathedral and then return to their parishes in time for the Mass of the Last Supper; hence the Chrism Mass is often celebrated on the Tuesday of Holy Week.

 

The Oil of the Sick and the Oil of Catechumens are plain olive oil – the Oil of Chrism is perfumed with balsam.

 

The Oil of the Sick is blessed with the bishop praying: ‘May your blessing come upon all who are anointed with this oil, that they may be freed from pain and illness and made well again in body, mind and soul’.

 

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Yvonne Rowles 1943 – 2018


Yvonne was a stalwart member of St. Michael’s community at Bembridge, an enthusiastic member of the choir, a reader and a former member of St. Mary’s Parish Council. She was a good friend and colleague to us all.

 

It is a feature of any Christian church, that amongst its community, there are always a few people totally dedicated to its mission and work and an inspiration to others. Yvonne was such a person here at St. Michael’s in Bembridge. These attributes are even more important in places like Bembridge, where a Catholic community exists, without a resident priest as its leader and focal point.

 

Yvonne was born in 1943 in India under British rule. In 1949, due to the rising troubles and Indian independence, the family moved to Cardiff.

 

She met her husband Ian at Swansea University and they married in 1966. They subsequently moved to Southampton, where Yvonne became Head of History at St Anne’s Catholic School for girls, before moving to the Island in 1976 following the birth of their son Dominic.

 

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Yvonne Rampton 1938 – 2018


Yvonne Lisa Marina Rampton was born in Newport on 10th March, 1938. Her parents were not Catholics, but nevertheless, they wanted their only child to have a convent education. So they sent her to the convent school next to St. Mary’s Church in Ryde High Street. At the time this was run by the Sisters of the Cross. When they moved to Springhill at East Cowes, it was the Presentation Sisters, who moved in and took over the school. Yvonne formed a deep affiliation for the Sisters, especially the Headmistress, Sr. Baptist; also Sr. Raymond and Sr. Rosario, with whom she was to have a sixty year friendship.

 

It was through the Presentation Sisters that Yvonne developed a love of the Catholic Church and as a teenager, she told her parents that she wished to convert. They persuaded her to wait until she was twenty one. She agreed and in 1959 she was received into the Church by Fr. (now Canon) McDermot-Roe at St. Mary’s, (Pictured here with him on his diamond jubilee in 2011). She found real joy in her new Faith and embraced Catholicism with great enthusiasm.

 

Whilst in Ryde Hospital for an operation, soon after her schooling, she met Sr. Marie-Columba McGrath from St. Cecilia’s Abbey and they struck up an immediate friendship. She persuaded Yvonne to visit the Abbey. She was immediately impressed with their Benedictine way of life. After a meeting with Mother Bernadette, she entered the abbey as a postulant. However, within a few weeks, after much prayer and advice, it was decided that Yvonne’s first priority, as an only child, was to care for her elderly parents. So, she left the abbey, but remained on very good terms with them for the rest of her life.

 

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Ecumenical Rosary Day – February, 2018


An ecumenical Rosary Day was held at St. David’s Church, East Cowes, on Saturday 24 February. Parish priest, Father Jonathan Redvers Harris, welcomed everyone and explained the day, which began with the singing of the Stabat Mater. This was followed by the appropriate Gospel reading from Saint John. The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary were led by Fr. Jonathan. Each decade was introduced by a short, appropriate meditation. After a coffee break we returned to the Church for the Angelus and Midday Prayer, recited antiphonally. This was followed by the five Luminous Mysteries, led by Deacon in training, Paul Severn. To introduce each decade Paul chose some moving meditations from Praying the Rosary by Denis McBride.

 

After lunch, generously provided by Wendy Redvers Harris, Father John Ryder from All Saints Church, Godshill, led the Sorrowful Mysteries, separating each Hail Mary with a brief biblical quotation and following the mysteries with a moving consideration of Our Lord’s words from the Cross, giving his mother to us (in the person of John). The Glorious Mysteries were led by Deacon Corinne Smith from St. Alban’s Church, Ventnor, who provided intentions for each mystery.

 

After tea, we closed with Benediction. The day was relaxed and prayerful. It is, however, disappointing that, in Lent, more people did not avail themselves of the opportunity to spend time in quiet meditation with Our Lady. It is to be hoped that more will attend the next ecumenical Rosary Day, which is at All Saints, Godshill on Saturday, 12th May (the month of Our Lady) from 11-00am to 3-00pm.


A ‘Two Holy Doors’ Day of Pilgrimage


Written by Monica Knight of Ryde

 

“To reach the Holy Door, in Rome or in any other place in the world, everyone will have to make a pilgrimage. This will be a sign that mercy is also a goal to reach and requires dedication and sacrifice. May the pilgrimage be an impetus to conversion: by crossing the threshold of the Holy Door, we will find strength to embrace God’s mercy and dedicate ourselves to being merciful with others as the Father has been with us.” (Pope Francis – ‘Misericordiae Vultus 14)

 

One day in early March, before cock-crow, I set off for Abingdon with a friend. Bishop Philip Egan had nominated the Church of Our Lady and Saint Edmund, Abingdon, as the second church in the Diocese of Portsmouth, after the Cathedral, to have a Holy Door (see picture – right) in this special Jubilee Year of Mercy inaugurated by Pope Francis.

 

We were travelling by car and ferry via Portsmouth and arrived at the church well in time for 9.30 am Mass. In order to gain the Plenary Indulgence attached to the pilgrimage, we had the opportunity to fulfil the requirements: go to sacramental Confession, hear Mass and receive Holy Communion, and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father for March 2016; namely,

 

“that families in need may receive the necessary support, and that children may grow up in healthy and peaceful environments’ and ‘that those Christians who, on account of their faith, are discriminated against, or are being persecuted, may remain strong and faithful to the Gospel, thanks to the incessant prayer of the Church’.

 

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St Francis of Assisi


(article contributed by Dr. Paul Severn)

 

The Church celebrates St. Francis (1182-1226) on 4th October. In this year dedicated to the consecrated life we might consider St Francis a little more closely and if we do we might be surprised that the concerns of a man who died almost eight hundred years ago are not so different to our own concerns.

 

Francis went into his father’s successful cloth business, but one day he was so busy he neglected to notice a beggar who entered their shop. Later he reproached himself and went and found the beggar and gave him alms. How often do people say how busy they are? How often is being ‘o so busy’ considered a modern thing? But it is not! Even St Francis was busy and too busy to notice a beggar! But having overlooked the beggar Francis was seized by remorse. Like St. Francis we probably cannot avoid being busy, but if and when we are, perhaps we can learn from him that we can go and repair the situation later.

 

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30 years of Latin (E.F.) Masses on the Island


In 2016 there was no shortage of choice in terms of the liturgy in Ryde, as three Forms of the Roman Rite of Mass (Ordinary, Extraordinary and Ordinariate) were celebrated. Fortunately, the re-ordering of St. Mary’s in the wake of Vatican II, has not unduly affected the sanctuary. It was 30 years ago that the E. F. Mass returned on an occasional basis to the Isle of Wight; mainly in Ryde and Newport.

 

At the time, it was visiting priests who offered these Masses, with the support of (mostly) sympathetic local clergy.

 

Those attached to the Old Mass on the Island have seen it all; the highs and lows; the successes, frustrations and disappointments. At one time, only four weekday E.F. Masses were permitted in the year and these were in Holy Cross, Seaview (a Chapel of Ease) just outside Ryde and not in the main Parish Church. Associates had to go virtually “cap in hand” to beg for an increase in the number of Masses. They asked for a monthly Mass. They eventually got six; later raised to eight. The bishop at the time, delegated responsibility for the local E.F. Masses to the Deanery clergy. Hence, they had to agree to the provision and number of the Masses. Much diplomacy had to be used to build up goodwill and convince some clergy that they were not “schismatics”, nor causing division by trying to turn the clock back to Pre-Vatican II days. There was once a mini crisis when it was reported that a young family turned up for an E.F. Mass; parents with four young children. Shock! … horror! … three young girls were wearing mantillas! “Is this where the LMS is leading the Church”, one exasperated religious sister exclaimed to some of the clergy!

 

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The Feast of Corpus Christi


Corpus Christi Procession with Benediction in St. Mary’s Church garden, 2012

Looking back through our church history, it is easy to see that the focal point of parish life was always First Communion Day and the annual Corpus Christi procession, – a public manifestation of our belief in the real presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Many of us still have photographs of the procession going around the local streets with the Blessed Sacrament carried by the priest beneath the canopy; marshalled by the Guild of the Blessed Sacrament, with children dropping flower petals as a floral carpet, and the singing of the time-honoured hymns “Sweet Sacrament Divine” and “O Bread of Heaven”. These annual processions lost their impetus after Vatican II, but, thankfully, there is evidence of a gradual restoration of late.

 

We are pleased here to re-produce an article contributed by Jim Malia of Totland, reminding us that Jesus gave himself for us and he longs for us to come to him in this Sacrament of love.

 

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Two Victorian Ladies


(Our society is always pleased to receive historical articles from members. On this occasion we are delighted to re-produce an excellent article on the Venerable Frances Taylor and Lady Georgiana Fullerton, written by Sheila Macrae and Veronica Nevard, two of our Ryde members. Their story and their conversion to the Faith, has similarities with that of the Countess of Clare and Charlotte Elliot here in Ryde).

 

On the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, 13 June 2014, Pope Francis declared Venerable, Mother Magdalen of the Sacred Heart (Frances Taylor). The story of this early Victorian lady may be of interest to readers as there are parallels to be drawn between her life and foundations, and those of Elizabeth, Countess of Clare who founded St. Mary’s Church in Ryde.

 

Fanny Taylor, born on 20 January 1832, was the youngest of 10 children of the Church of England Rector of Stoke Rochford, Lincolnshire. When her father died in 1842, the family moved to London. Mrs. Taylor had spent the first nine years of her married life in Kensington, so had many connections in London society. A friend at this time remembered the happy, devoted family and the enjoyable holidays (to the Isle of Wight, among other places) they all spent together. The atmosphere of the household was deeply religious, with a strong High Church leaning and at age 16 Fanny followed her elder sister into an Anglican sisterhood. Not feeling the life was for her and, despite working through an outbreak of cholera, she returned home within the year and resumed, from there, her work with the London poor.

 

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Priest and Poet – Gerard Manly Hopkins and the Isle of Wight


By Edmund Matyjaszek

 

Of all the Victorian writers and poets associated with the Isle of Wight – the poet Tennyson at the head of course, for his eminence as Poet Laureate and his long residence on the island, and the novelist Dickens who wrote part of David Copperfield at Bonchurch – the story of Gerard Manley Hopkins is perhaps the most unusual as the first edition of his poems did not appear until 1918, nearly 30 years after his death in 1889 at the young age of 45.

 

His association with the island is an early one though, and a crucial one. While at Oxford, in 1863, he spent 2 months at Shanklin in the summer vacation and wrote enthusiastically about the island:

 

“The sea is brilliantly coloured and always calm, bathing delightful, horses and boats to be obtained, walks wild and beautiful, sketches charming, walking tours and excursions, poetic downs, the lovely chine, fine cliffs….”

 

Scenes not unfamiliar today.

 

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Year of Mercy Walsingham Pilgrimage


In April our society arranged a pilgrimage to Walsingham. 45 pilgrims (mainly from the Island) were accompanied by Fr. Jozef Gruszkiewicz and Fr. Jonathan Redvers Harris.

 

En route the pilgrims stopped at Oxburgh House, about 30 miles south west of Walsingham. This quintessential Tudor house, with its magnificent gatehouse and accessible priest’s hole, was built in 1482 by the Bedingfeld family. The present family still reside in the house and it has been in Catholic hands throughout the penal times. After a tour of the house and a visit to the priest’s hiding hole, Mass was offered in the family chapel by Frs. Jonathan and Jozef.

 

After settling into their accommodation in the village of Walsingham, the pilgrims were joined another pilgrim group from Manchester for Evening Prayer

 

In England it is Walsingham which has a special place in the hearts of all traditional Catholics. The history of this wonderful Marian Shrine, (England’s Nazareth) reminds us of our glorious past when piety and devotion were prominent in the Church and the faithful found hope, inspiration and consolation in Our Blessed Lady. By tradition, pilgrims went to Confession here and removed their shoes before embarking on the final leg of their pilgrimage to the Shrine in Walsingham village. To show affiliation with those Medieval pilgrims, the Isle of Wight group walked from Walsingham, carrying the statue of Our Blessed Lady along the holy mile, whilst reciting the rosary and litany of Our Lady and singing Marian hymns. See picture – right.

 

At the heart of any pilgrimage is the Mass. This in itself is a means of bearing witness to our Catholic Faith; for the truths of our Faith are all contained within and flow from the Sacrifice of the Mass and we joined in the mid day Pilgrim Mass at the Chapel of Reconciliation and both Island priests concelebrated.

 

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“Summorum Pontificum” – 10th anniversary


Sermon given by Fr. Martin Edwards at Missa Contata on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross at St. Mary’s, Ryde, to mark the 10th anniversary of Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio “Summorum Pontificum”

 

“We should give thanks today on this 10th anniversary for the results of Pope Benedict’s “Summorum Pontificum”. It freed us from the constraints and restrictions that were imposed on the celebration of the E.F. Mass and it placed an obligation upon bishops to provide this form of the Roman Rite where it was requested. It also emphasised that this Mass was never abrogated.

 

A few weeks ago we had the Gospel on the Ten Lepers. We are reminded of the one leper who returned to give thanks to God. This Gospel invites us to think about “thank you” that we offer to others vin our lives. We have so much to thank Almighty God for …. Our health, our families, our parish here in Ryde, our priests …. The list is endless.

 

There are periods of silence in the Mass when we are invited to make a thanksgiving. The Preface at Mass is all about thanksgiving. Likewise, the Gloria is a hymn of thanksgiving.

 

If we take the one leper (out of the ten) as an example, then it could follow that only 10% of us give thanks to God; or we ourselves only give thanks for 10% of what He has given us.

 

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Day of Recollection


St. Mary’s Church, Ryde,
Monday, 9th January, 2016

 

Theme:- “Friends and foes in the spiritual life” . Led by Fr. Matthew Goddard FSSP

 

Fr. Matthew Goddard FSSP made a welcome return to the Isle of Wight, in January, at the invitation of Fr. Anthony Glaysher, parish priest of St. Mary’s, Ryde.

 

He gave three conferences during the Day of Recollection at St. Mary’s. In the first he concentrated mainly on “Temptation”; reminding us that everyone is tempted. Christ Himself was tempted in the desert by the devil. The apostles and many of the saints were also tempted.

 

There are three aspects to temptation which we should consider, – namely – suggestion, pleasures and consent.

 

The first two are not sinful. Various thoughts and suggestions come into our mind spontaneously on a daily basis. It is only sinful if we consent to these temptations and keep them in our minds for pleasure or enjoyment. We must remember that it is sinful to keep impure and uncharitable thoughts in our minds. It is the devil that frequently stimulates immoral thoughts in us. This often leads to a period of shame and further, to an alienation from Almighty God. The devil is always seeking to break our relationship with God.

 

Father reminded us of the necessity to express due sorrow for our sins with an Act of Contrition and by availing ourselves of the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) on a regular basis.

 

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50th Anniversary of “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem”


By Dr. Paul Severn

 

In the Acts of the Apostles (chap 6) we read that as the number of disciples increased the Apostles appointed
seven ‘helpers’ to assist them and these are generally considered to be the first deacons. Foremost among them
was St. Stephen who was also the first Christian Martyr (feast day 26 December). Deacons were common in the
early Church and another notable deacon was St. Laurence (10 August) who was one of the seven deacons of the
Church in Rome. He was possibly a Frenchman and was martyred on a gridiron under Emperor Valerian in about
258. Deacons are mentioned in the medieval period in the writings of Peter Lombard and St. Thomas Aquinas,
and St. Francis of Assisi was a deacon too.

 

By the sixteenth century there had been something of a decline in the permanent diaconate although the Council
of Trent (1545-63) attempted unsuccessfully to revive it. In time, the diaconate simply became a stage on the way to ordination to the priesthood. Some four hundred years later, two priests imprisoned at Dachau started an effort to restore the permanent diaconate and their efforts bore fruit as the permanent diaconate was restored to the Church hierarchy by The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). The broad principles are to be found in Lumen Gentium and the further details are set out in the document Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem, which is fifty years old this year. Notably, these documents teach that whilst priests and bishops must normally be celibate, it is possible, and indeed common, to confer diaconal order on men who are married.

 

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St. Boniface


The Medieval Church of St. Boniface is one of the oldest churches on the Island. The original is reputed to have been founded by St. Boniface who stopped off at Bonchurch on his way to Germany in the 8th century. He is further reputed to have endeared himself to the local people by updating their methods of fishing.

 

The present church dates from about 1070. It is noted for its calm simplicity, set in peaceful and tranquil surroundings in this beautiful old village. As it became too small to meet the needs of the population in Victorian times, a fine, replacement was built in a cruciform shape in 1848, a little further up the hill.

 

This great apostle of Germany was born in Wessex, England, between the years 672 and 680. When he was small, some missionaries stayed a while at his home. They told the boy all about their work. They were so happy and excited about bringing the Good News to people. Boniface decided in his heart that he would be just like them when he grew up. While still young, he went to a monastery school to be educated. Some years later, he became a popular teacher. When he was ordained a priest, he was a powerful preacher because he was so full of enthusiasm.

 

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Fatima Relics at Portsmouth Cathedral


Sermon by Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth at Solemn Mass in the presence of the Fatima Relics. (August 2017).

 

It’s a huge privilege during this Centenary Year of 2017 to welcome to our Diocese, the national Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, and the sacred relics of Saints Jacinta and Francisco. Our Diocese is dedicated to Mary Immaculate, and only last night we returned from our annual pilgrimage to Lourdes. Given the call to the new evangelisation, both of ourselves and of others, these days we’re spending with the Blessed Mother at the end of August have never been so urgently needed. So in this Mass let’s turn to Mary the best loved member of the Church, and to the shepherd-children Jacinta and Francisco, to ask them to help us, as we heard in the Gospel, bring all people to Jesus in the Temple of His Body the Church.

 

The message of Fatima is extraordinarily relevant to us today in this early 21st century. It’s summed up in the Fatima prayer we say in the Rosary: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Your mercy”. It is a splendid prayer, a positive and beautiful prayer, a powerful prayer, expressing our hope and total dependence on Jesus our Saviour. It is a prayer that sums up today’s Gospel, that everyone, all of us, all whom we know, might one day, their sins forgiven, be united with Jesus forever, in the Church triumphant in heaven.

 

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Chapel of St. Elizabeth of Hungary


This chapel is unique in the diocese. It is a rare example of a private chapel within a Catholic parish church. It was built at the same time as the church in 1844-46 by Elizabeth, Countess of Clare and although it is popularly known as the Countess’ chapel; it is officially, the Chapel of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (the patron saint of the Countess). St. Elizabeth was born in 1207, the daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary. She married Louis IV of Thuringia. After his death on the Crusades in 1227, she gave the remainder of her short life to charitable works. She died in 1231 and was canonised in 1235. This is the only chapel, or church, dedicated to her in England.

 

It was here in this private family chapel (pictured left) that the Countess of Clare would hear Mass with her family and household servants in Victorian times, where she would be out of sight of the congregation, but she would be able to see the priest at the high altar, in the pulpit and seated at the sedilia, as she looked through the window, on the south side, to the sanctuary below. At other times, she would recite the rosary, study the bible and make her private devotions. The chapel was solemnly blessed by Bishop Thomas Grant of Southwark on 22nd May 1863, (the day after he consecrated the church).

 

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Sister Mary David Totah OSB


Sister Mary David Totah OSB Sister Mary David was born on March 26, 1957. She died of cancer on August 28, 2017, aged 60.
Obituary from the “Times” of 16th September 2017

 

Sister was one of the first female scholars to enter Christ Church when the Oxford college opened its doors to women students in 1980. In August 1984, after doctoral supervision, she decided to go on a retreat to St Cecilia’s Abbey, a Benedictine community on the Isle of Wight.

 

The enclosed Benedictines there normally left the abbey only for medical emergencies. “I was drawn to it like a magnet,” she said of the soaring Gregorian chant and community life at the abbey. Friends, noting the sparkle in her eyes when she returned to the US after the retreat, asked her if she had just got engaged. Nine months later she left a post teaching literature at America’s second-oldest university, the College of William & Mary, Virginia, and returned to England to join the nuns. Flying into Heathrow in May 1985 she was asked at passport control: “How long do you plan to remain in England?” “For ever, I hope,” she replied, only to be ushered into a group of suspected illegal passengers. “I said for ever,” she later explained, “not because I thought it would all work out, but because love is like that.”

 

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The Priory School of Our Lady of Walsingham


The Priory School at Whippingham is an independent co-educational day school for boys and girls from 4-18 years, founded in 1993, and, although non-denominational, is run with a distinct Christian ethos.

 

Built by the Queen of England: dedicated to the Queen of Heaven” is one of the statements of Priory School, founded in 1993, with origins in the junior school of Upper Chine. The school at Whippingham was built by Queen Victoria in 1864. The independent school moved to the Whippingham site, in East Cowes parish, in 2012, and seeks to maintain a Christian ethos. To help nurture this Christian nature, the School, from this September, is to have its name extended to:- “The Priory School of Our Lady of Walsingham”.

 

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Raising awareness of the Catholic history of the Island


Welcome to the web site of the Isle of Wight Catholic History Society, established on the Feast of St. Wilfrid, Patron of the Island, in 2001 by Fr. David Buckley, Dean of the Isle of Wight, and with the approval and the blessing of His Lordship Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth. The patron of the society is Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton, a former Vicar – General of the Portsmouth Diocese, and a native of Cowes, who is familiar with the Catholic history of the Island.

 

The society seeks to raise awareness of the Catholic history and culture of the Island. We welcome contributions from anyone who can assist with this objective.

 

As our society is keen to promote the history of Catholicism on the Island, you will find relevant information on the various pages of this website. At Quarr Abbey and at St. Mary’s, Ryde there are regular guided tours at different times of the year. For further information contact us on 01983 566740 or mobile 07790892592; or email iow-chs@outlook.com.

 

For other Island churches contact the individual parish office / presbytery. These can be found on the Island website http://www.iowrcchurch.org.uk/pastoralarea.htm.


Future Events with Catholic Historical Interest



England – the Dowry of Mary. What does this mean?


Ed Matyjaszek examines here the meaning of this phrase familiar to English Catholics

 

For Catholics, the search for England’s heart brings to mind the phrase, “Dowry of Mary”. To understand why this phrase is so important, we must go back to the beginnings of our nation. Legally speaking, there was no England until the 10th century, when official documentary recognition appeared.

 

However, all history proclaims that there was an England before this. It was an ecclesial England, a spiritual entity and reality. Schoolchildren still learn of the Synod of Whitby A.D. 665/6, which ensured that the Roman, rather than the Celtic method of church administration prevailed.

 

In 673, Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury summoned all the bishops of the seven English kingdoms, – East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Mercia, Northumbria, Sussex and Wessex, – and established common canons and Church disciplines. This means that the Mass, the priesthood, the scriptures and the prayers were the same. Hence, England became an ecclesial realm before it was a physical kingdom. Its spiritual identity pre-dates its political existence. Thus, England existed in the before it took flesh.

 

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Fatima Relics Coming to Portsmouth Cathedral


(Written by Veronica Nevard of Ryde)

 

In February of this year, 2017, Cardinal Nichols welcomed to Westminster Cathedral the National Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. This statue was blessed by Pope Paul VI in Fatima in May 1967 and given to this country, by the Bishop of Fatima the following year. It was also blessed by Pope St. John Paul II when he visited England in 1982.

 

In celebration of the Centenary of the Apparitions of Our Lady to the three children in Fatima, the statue will visit Cathedrals and Abbeys in England and Wales until October. In a similar manner, we have in St. Mary’s Parish, a Pilgrim Statue depicting Our Lady showing her Immaculate Heart (the formal title of St Mary’s is The Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary), which travels to homes in the Parish at fortnightly intervals.

 

The National Pilgrim Statue is accompanied by relics of Francisco and Jacinta Marto, canonised in Fatima by the Pope on 13 May this year. These two seers of the Apparitions are the youngest (non-martyr) saints ever to be canonised. Francisco died in 1919 aged ten and Jacinta died in 1920 aged nine.

 

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Father Brian Coogan – 70th Anniversary of his Ordination


Congratulations to Father who celebrates the 70th anniversary of his Ordination to the Holy Priesthood on 6th July, 2007. Very few priests achieve this milestone; and, on top of this, at the grand age of 93, he is still active as a priest, assisting at Sacred Heart Church in Shanklin. Fr. Brian was born in St. Helen’s, Lancashire. At the age of 10 he won a place at St. Bede’s Grammar School where many of the teachers were priests. He enjoyed his schooldays. The school had a Scout troop and the boys were taken camping all over Yorkshire. There were lots of sports including swimming -still enjoyed today – football and cricket and his father taught him how to skate on the frozen ponds and lakes of Yorkshire. He was an altar server both at the parish church and St. Bede’s school chapel.

 

In 1940 during the early days of the Second World War, aged 15, he made the decision to join the Junior Seminary of the Mill Hill Missionaries at Freshfield, in Formby, Lancashire. Here he gained his Higher School Certificate in French, Latin and English. He also enjoyed tennis, cricket and football but was only too aware of the German Luftwaffe’s bombing raids on nearby Liverpool.

 

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Isle of Wight Catholic Poems



Abbot Cuthbert Johnson OSB


1946 – 2017

 

A Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated at Quarr on Monday 30th January for the eternal repose of the soul of Abbot Cuthbert Johnson (abbot of Quarr from 1996 to 2008) who died peacefully on 16th January, aged 70, in Holy Cross Care Home, at Sunderland, where he had been admitted after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

 

His Funeral Mass was offered at St. Aloysius Church, Hebburn, Northumberland, followed by the burial at Hebburn cemetery, according to the wishes of Abbot Cuthbert and his family.

 

The Solemn Requiem at Quarr Abbey was attended by Abbot Xavier, Abbot Cuthbert Brogan of Farnborough Abbey and Abbot Finbar Kealy, (former Abbot of Douai and Prior – Administrator of Quarr), together with twelve priests.

 

In his homily, Abbot Xavier told the congregation that, when visiting Abbot Cuthbert recently, he found him at peace both with God and with himself. It was providential in many ways that this Solemn Requiem was on the anniversary of the death of Dom Prosper Gueranger, the first Abbot of Solesmes, who died on this day in 1875. Abbot Cuthbert was greatly inspired by Dom Prosper, ever since he completed his doctrinal thesis on him as a young monk. It was this that inspired his love and interest in liturgy and worship.

 

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September 2020 Newsletter


This September, 2020 Newsletter contains articles and information on past and future events associated with the Island’s Catholic history.

 

  • September – Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary
  • Six new booklets from the society
  • Annual Walk from Ryde to Quarr Abbey
  • St. Michael the archangel
  • Dates & Anniversaries
  • Feast of Exaltation of the Cross

 

Click on this link to view this (shortened) newsletter. A complete version (hard copy) can be obtained from the society e-mail iow-chs@outlook.com.


Obituaries


Click on a link below to jump to a specific article.

 

Monsignor Antony Conlon R.I.P.

Angela Emily Moran R.I.P.

Fr. Michael John Purbrick R.I.P.

Yvonne Rowles 1943 – 2018

Yvonne Rampton 1938 – 2018

Sister Mary David Totah OSB

Abbot Cuthbert Johnson OSB

Fr. David Buckley R.I.P.

Gloria Minghella

Joan Sherry R.I.P.

Fr. John Edwards S.J. 1929 – 2012

Fr. Henry Donnelly R.I.P.

Fr. Hugh Thwaites

Fr. John Dunne, Parish Priest of Ryde 1989-95, R.I.P.

A Tribute to Elizabeth Foley

Lydia Jackson, R.I.P.

Fr. Peter de Curzon OSB (1924 – 2006)

The Right Rev. Mother Bernadette Smeyers. 1903 – 2005. R.I.P.


Fr. David Buckley R.I.P.


1947 – 2012
Obituary by the Isle of Wight Catholic History Society

 

Parishioners will be sorry to hear of the death of Fr. David Buckley, (Parish Priest of Ryde 1995 – 2002), Father died on the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux following a recent heart attack. Requiescat in pace.

 

Fr. Buckley was ordained to the Holy Priesthood at St. John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth on 7th June 1975; together with Fr. Declan Lang, a native of the Isle of Wight and now Bishop of Clifton and Patron of the Island Catholic History Society. Members and supporters of that society have much for which to be thankful to Fr. Buckley, as it was he, who, as Dean of the Island, inaugurated the CHS, almost exactly 13 years ago.

 

Father’s first ministry was a a curate at St. James’, Reading, followed by St. Mary’s, Alton, and Sacred Heart, Bournemouth. After a short spell as Parish Priest of Twyford, he served for eleven years as Parish Priest of the Immaculate Conception Church, Sandhurst, before being appointed to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Ryde in September 1995, replacing Fr. John Dunne, who left Ryde for Southbourne. Like Fr. Dunne, he declared himself “over the moon” on coming to Ryde. “I had believed that Ryde”, he said, “with its great history and tradition, would have been reserved for someone more important than I am in the Diocese. I am very pleased to be here and I look forward to my ministry among you”.

 

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Gloria Minghella


1930 – 2014

 

The much-loved, well-known and highly respected Islander, Gloria Minghella, passed away at the Mountbatten Hospice on 27th March, 2014, having been fortified by the Last Rites of Holy Mother by Fr. Anthony Glaysher, parish priest of St. Mary’s Church, Ryde.

 

Gloria and Eddie married at St. Mary’s on the Feast of St. Francis, 1950. Since then they have been stalwart parishioners, giving welcome support to all the priests of the parish. Best known among their five children was the late Anthony Minghella, the film director and oscar winner. The gallery and former convent chapel at St. Mary’s was dedicated in memory of Anthony by Bishop Egan of Portsmouth last year.

 

Both Gloria and Eddie were pillars, not only of the Catholic community, but the Isle of Wight in general, as councillors, charity workers and community leaders. She was also a former Isle of Wight Deputy Lord Lieutenant. Both Gloria and Eddie founded the, now famous, Minghella Ice Cream. Gloria was often affectionately referred to as the ‘Queen Mother of the Isle of Wight’. Her love for the Island shone through to everyone she met.

 

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Joan Sherry R.I.P.


We regret to announce the death of Joan Sherry, one of the founder members of our Catholic History Society. Joan was a talented lady, a committed Catholic and an enthusiastic member of our society. She came to the Island to live at Brading in 1956 and was a prominent member of St. Patrick’s Parish in Sandown, where she formed Children’s choir to sing at Masses. Music and singing were Joan’s life. He was a talented opera, jazz and classical musician, with a keen interest also in church music. She wrote a book: “Dancing with the Lord”.

 

At the Funeral Mass at St. Patrick’s on 3rd March, Fr. P.J. Smith reminded the congregation that Joan had “a deep faith. She brought much joy to parishioners through her desire to celebrate and to share her faith”.

 

Concelebrating the Requiem Mass were Fr. Brian Coogan and two former parish priests of Sandown, – Fr. Claro and Fr. Tibor.

 

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Fr. John Edwards S.J. 1929 – 2012


Fr. Edwards was a well known Jesuit priest who died in December at the age of 83. The best description that I have heard about him is that he had “a zeal for souls”. He did all that he could to bring back lost souls to God and His Holy Church by inspired preaching and through the promotion of the Sacraments; in particular, the Sacrament of Confession.

 

Fr. John was born at Bexhill-on-Sea on 2nd June 1929, and was educated at Ampleforth and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. He served in the Royal Navy from 1946, serving for a time in the Korean War and achieving the rank of Lieutenant until he left in 1953 and was adtiited to the Society of Jesus in 1954. He was ordained a priest in 1964, and joined the Jesuit Mission team, spending almost the whole of his priesthood preaching Missions in parishes up and down the country, as well as retreats to religious and seminarians. He also wrote some books, the most popular being “Ways of Praying”, and just republished by Gracewing two days after his death.

 

Some older parishioners will remember the Mission at St. Mary’s, Ryde that he preached in 1990, and more recently the Mission which he gave in the Spring of 2009

 

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Fr. Henry Donnelly R.I.P.


Please pray for the repose of the soul of Father Henry Donnelly, a priest of the Portsmouth Diocese, who died in Jersey on 10th August, 2010 at the age of 101. Father was the eldest priest in the Diocese. Ordained to the Holy Priesthood at the cathedral in 1936 by Bishop Cotter, he was for a short time curate at Newport, then at St. Joseph’s, Aldershot. During the war he served as an army chaplain in France and was mentioned in despatches for his bravery during the Dunkirk evacuation. He was then sent to North Africa and then on to Malta. After the war he was sent to St. William of York, Reading as parish priest. After twenty years, he was sent to Shanklin, where he remained until his retirement in 1985. He returned a few years later to serve as chaplain to the Sisters of Mercy at St. Anthony’s Convent.

 

Fr. Donnelly had a close association with Quarr Abbey and he was a member of our Catholic History Society. In fact he was most regular in paying his subscriptions. He gave considerable help and support to our society in its early days.

 

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Fr. Hugh Thwaites


The well known Jesusit priest, Fr. Hugh Thwaites died on 21st August. He converted to the Catholic faith as a result of his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II. He never bore resentment for his treatment, reasoning that the Japanese guards did not have the benefit of the Christian faith. His approach to evangelisation was direct and simple because he understood the truth and beauty of the Christian faith and wished others to benefit from it.

 

Father Thwaites always spoke in a kindly and gentle manner while firing off spiritual advice that could blow you off your feet; he was a priest who made many converts almost instantly by his sincerity and holiness, and converted countless lukewarm Catholics to a deeper following of Christ. He was passionately devoted to the Rosary, loved the Old Latin Mass, and remained faithful to the traditional Jesuit daily spiritual exercises

 

Father Hugh Thwaites was one of those giant figures who had laboured zealously in the service of the church amidst the great storm in which he found himself. He had a great love for his flock; seeing the good in everyone. He promoted the family rosary and the name of our blessed Mother was forever on his lips.

 

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Fr. John Dunne, Parish Priest of Ryde 1989-95, R.I.P.


The death has occurred of Fr. John Dunne. Father died at Kiln Green Convent, near Reading, where he had been staying since his retirement last year as parish priest of Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church, Southbourne.

 

Fr. Dunne came to St. Mary’s, Ryde in April 1989 with an instruction “to restore the church” after it had endured several poorly executed re-ordering projects in the wake of Vatican II. Within five years he had restored the interior of the church to its original Victorian beauty (in so far as the liturgical changes of Vatican II would permit). The Lady Chapel had been re-painted and the Countess of Clare’s Chapel was restored as a place of prayer and devotion.

 

The parish hall consisted of several classrooms and was unsuitable as a parish centre. Fr. Dunne had the interior walls demolished to make one large hall. All this work was not in place of the spiritual development of the parish. He made it clear that parishioners’ spiritual nourishment was his first priority, and to this end, he arranged a Mission soon after his arrival. It was only a few days ago that the parish received a letter from Fr. Dunne accepting an invitation to the Requiem Mass to mark the centenary of the death of Bishop Cahill (a former parish priest of Ryde). Fr. Dunne loved his priesthood. He was a kind, humble and gentle man. He always had time for people. No one ever spoke unkindly about him. He had great respect from his parishioners and was held in high esteem by everyone.

 

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A Tribute to Elizabeth Foley


Your charitable prayers are requested for the eternal repose of the soul of Beth Foley, a prominent supporter of the Latin Mass Society, who died on the Feast of the Annunciation 2010. In seems most appropriate that Beth should depart this life on a feast day of Our Blessed Lady, as she had a great devotion to Christ’s mother. She loved St. Mary’s and did all she could to increase devotion to Our Lady. This included sponsorship of “Our Lady’s Light” with the large candle burning at the statue of Mary at the church door. For over twenty years she and her husband Peter, welcomed people into their house every Tuesday afternoon for the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet and other devotions. We have all benefited from Peter and Beth’s prayers. Beth was a founder member of the IoW Catholic History Society, a member of the Faith Study Group and a flower arranger at St. Mary’s. She had a close association with St. Cecilia’s Abbey. One of the nuns, Sister Bede, had been a friend since their days at Surrey Art School. In 1953 she was a bridesmaid at Beth and Peter’s wedding on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Beth lived her life for the Faith. She had a great concern for the future of the Church and in particular for Catholic education and the passing on of the One True Faith to future generations. She had a great devotion to Our Blessed Lord in the Holy Eucharist, and she would be frequently observed in prayer and meditation at Exposition especially at the First Friday Holy Hour. She believed that the most efficacious prayer is that in the Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament which releases the power, blessings and graces of Almighty God. She would have delighted in being present at the recent 40 Hours Exposition; both in quiet meditation and in joining others making a fervent act of love to Jesus exposed on the altar for all to see.

 

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Lydia Jackson, R.I.P.


Members of the IoW Catholic History Society were all saddened by the news of the death of Lydia Jackson in June 2009. Lydia bought a property in Ryde five years ago. Conveniently for her, it was almost equal distance from the St. Mary’s Church, St. Cecilia’s Abbey and the ferry across the Solent to Portsmouth. She grew to love the Island as there was ample opportunity for walking and sailing; activities which she enjoyed immensely. On several occasions she took part in the Paris/Chartres walk held annually in May. She remarked on various occasions how she considered life to be a pilgrimage, with heaven as the final destination. In fact there were not many Catholic shrines in she had not visited at some time. She was always keen to promote the story or the history of each place. Several of us went with Lydia on her final pilgrimage, or rather retreat, given by Father John Edwards, S.J., in Llantarnum Abbey, near Newport in Wales, last November.

 

Lydia made many friends among the Catholics of Ryde and she was a dedicated member of the Island Catholic History Society and the Faith Study Group. Both groups benefited from her vast knowledge of the Faith and church history. For almost a year she led a discussion group on the history and the development of the Mass. She gave several talks to the Catholic History Society and she helped to arrange a successful three-day visit to Ryde by the English Catholic History Association, during which she gave another talk on the “Signs and Symbols” in the Christian Church. On several occasions she assisted with guided tours of St. Mary’s; showing how quickly she could learn and recall details of St. Mary’s history.

 

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Fr. Peter de Curzon OSB (1924 – 2006)


The death of Fr. Peter de Curzon OSB is sad news for all those who knew and loved this devout, sincere man and holy priest. A Benedictine monk at Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight, Father remained faithful to the Old Rite Mass until the end. LMS supporters on the Island had great consolation in the knowledge that the Tridentine Mass was offered daily here on the Island, although it was not available to the public. Nevertheless, Fr. de Curzon often remembered us in his prayers and at Holy Mass which he said early in the morning in the abbey crypt. When one of our members / supporters died, Father always offer a Requiem Mass for the repose of their soul.

 

Father Peter de Curzon was born on the Feast of the Transfiguration 1924 and as a young man he served in the French Resisitance movement during the Second World War. He came to Quarr in 1945 and was professed as a monk on 19th August (Feast of St. John Eudes) 1946. He was ordained to the Subdiaconate (with Dom Paul Ziegler) by Bishop Beck of Brentwood in August 1949. Two years later he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul by Archbishop John Henry King. He was presented to the Lord Abbot of Quarr, Dom G. Tissot OSB and the monks and the congregation sang “Veni Creator” after the bishop, abbot and priests laid their hands upon him and he was presented with his chalice and paten. His first Mass was offered the following morning at the little side-altar (now removed) in the public part of the chapel. Father Peter was immensely proud of his ancestry. St. Louis IX and St. Margaret of Scotland were both direct ancestors. He was widely read and he was a real expert on “Medieval fortifications”. Two parishioners of Ryde who knew Father for many years are Grace Burke and Yvonne Rampton. Grace knew Fr. Peter for 58 years. She remembers “a kind and lovely priest; such a good and unassuming man“. Similarly, Yvonne who knew Father for over 50 years regarded him as “a sincere and honest man; a holy and devout priest who loved his priesthood and his monastic way of life“. In recent years he would be found at Quarr manning the porter’s lodge and it was here that many people would take a de-tour to spend a few moments in the company of this saintly priest.

 

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The Right Rev. Mother Bernadette Smeyers. 1903 – 2005. R.I.P.


The Right Reverend Mother Bernadette Smeyers, who has died aged 102, was, as Abbess of St Cecilia’s Abbey on the Isle of Wight.

 

The fifth of a Belgian civil servant’s eight children, she was born Marie-Madeleine Elise Eugenie Smeyers at Louvain on August 5 1903. She was educated by the Paridaen sisters at Louvain until the family followed the Belgian Government into exile after the outbreak of the First World War. She was next sent to St Mary’s Abbey, Mill Hill, in London, then became a boarder at the Benedictine community of Pax Cordis Jesu, which gave up its school at Ventnor, on the Isle of Wight, and transferred to St Cecilia’s.

 

Marie-Madeleine could recall the great Solesmes plainchant authority Dom Mocquereau giving lessons in a faster chant to the community and girls, and she remembered being told to try again when she got wrong the Terce for Pentecost. After a period at home she followed her elder sister, Alice, into the community aged 23. As Sister Bernadette, she taught philosophy, served in the sacristy and the refectory, worked on the poultry farm and became an excellent calligrapher. After seven years she was made prioress, and became secretary to both the chapter and Abbess Ambrosia Cousin, whom she succeeded in 1953. During her 34 years as St Cecilia’s second abbess, the community was particularly lively, with much laughter in the parlour and conversation conducted in a mixture of English, Irish and French accents. Mother Bernadette threw herself into everything, ensuring that St Cecilia’s avoided many of the traumas experienced by other monastic foundations in the aftermath of the Vatican Council. Her twice-weekly conferences for the community were practical and unsentimental. Always ready to listen and to take the initiative, she showed a prudent interest in the making of altar bread, bookbinding and art work; she also introduced courses in Greek and Hebrew. She also presided over the redesigning and reordering of the abbey church, the introduction of vernacular readings and the abolition of dress distinctions between lay sisters and choir nuns. But she never wavered in the conviction that the Latin chant should be retained. In response to the repeated requests by conciliar documents, and to Pope Paul’s issue to bishops of a booklet of simple chants for parish use throughout the Church, she increased the singing of chant at the Divine Office and at Mass. This led her to arrange for a weekly practice for the congregation with two nuns, as well as the launch of the community on its recording career.

 

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Talks / Sermons


Click on a link below to jump to a specific article.

 

Good Shepherd Sunday Sermon, 2020

Easter Sermon (2020) by Fr. Emmanuel Odoemene

REMEMBER, REMEMBER the 5th of NOVEMBER

Newman – Ahead of his time?

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman

ACT OF CONSECRATION of England to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

“Summorum Pontificum” – 10th anniversary

Day of Recollection

Fatima Relics at Portsmouth Cathedral

Putting CHRIST Back into Christmas

Catholic Oxford

In Search of Mary, the Mother of God

Medieval Pilgrimage on the Isle of Wight

May – the Month of Mary

Corpus Christi Processions in Ryde

The Return of Friday Abstinence

Catholic Views from the Solent

England: Don’t Forget Your Mission as Mary’s Dowry

St. Mary’s Church, Ryde – Catholic Parish Life in Victorian England

The Feast of Corpus Christi

Feast of Corpus Christi

Sermon given by Fr. Benjamin Durham FSSP at Holy Cross Church, Seaview, Isle of Wight, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross – (Patronal Feast of the Church), 2006

Homily by Fr. Jonathan Redvers Harris on the Holy Souls in Purgatory at Mass in St. Michael’s Church, Bembridge in November 2011

Sermon given by Fr. Benjamin Durham FSSP at St. Mary’s, Ryde, on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, 2006

Sermon given by Fr. Jonathan Redvers Harris at The Ecumenical Service at St. Michael’s, Bembridge during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 2012

Day of Recollection at St. Mary’s Church, Ryde

Articles Written for the Bembridge Village Magazine by Members of the Catholic Community


Putting CHRIST Back into Christmas


Take a look through the selection of Christmas cards in your local shop and you will find it hard to find a Nativity scene. In our secular world Christmas has almost become a pagan celebration of everything Christ rejected. Commercialism has hijacked Christmas. Christ seems to have been airbrushed out of most Christmas celebrations and replaced by the all-consuming materialistic nature of society. For the young Christmas tends to be a time for alcohol and parties in the pursuit of selfish pleasure. Mr. Scrooge in the Dickens novel, a Christmas Carol, responded to the paraphernalia that surrounds Christmas with one word, “humbug”. The enforced jollity and the excess that surrounds Christmas should force us to think again about the cause of this celebration. It is interesting to study the celebration of Christmas at a Victorian Catholic Church and school. There is much that we could learn from our Victorian spiritual ancestors concerning Advent and Christmas. The season of Advent was recognised as a time of repentance, when the faithful renew their desire for the coming of Christ. “Listen to the words of John the Baptist,” the congregations would have been told. “Do penance for the Kingdom of God is at hand“.

 

If only we could turn the clock back we would find that CHRIST was very much at the centre of CHRISTMAS for the Victorians. Bishop John Baptist Cahill (second Bishop of Portsmouth. 1900-10) reminded the faithful that “the ethos of our Christian customs and moral attitudes are formed by our religious doctrines and practices, of which Christmas and Easter are duly celebrated with the emphasis on the Christian message of Our Lord’s redeeming love for mankind. It is essential that we prepare our hearts and minds for these two great feasts“. G. K. Chesterton once wrote an essay on “The dangers of celebrating Christmas before it comes“. What would he have thought of Christmas celebrations today? He would certainly have warmed to most Victorian Catholic schools. There were no Advent calendars, wreath or candles, no Christmas dinner or parties, no Fr. Christmas or fairy lights etc. Only minimal decorations would have been evident. Despite the fact that Prince Albert introduced the Christmas tree into England and it soon found its way into the family sitting room, there is no evidence of a tree being decorated in our schools and certainly not in the church. Nevertheless there was a spiritual preparation in encouraging the children to look forward to Christmas Day, when we remember that Christ came into the world to save mankind.

 

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Catholic Oxford


Oxford, the City of Dreaming Spires, is famous the world over for its university and place in history. For over 800 years, it has been a home to royalty and scholars, and since the 9th century an established town, although people are known to have lived in the area for thousands of years. My wife Gill and I spent a few days in the city in March. Among the places that we visited was the Oxford Oratory

 

The first Oratory in England was founded by John Henry Cardinal Newman in 1848 in Birmingham. The London Oratory started soon after, and quickly gained independence. For almost 150 years, these were the only two Oratories in England. However, Newman had always wanted to establish a house in Oxford, and had indeed considered no fewer than three sites in the city for the purpose; at the time, though, his ideas came to nothing. In 1990, the Archbishop of Birmingham, Maurice Couve de Murville, asked the Birmingham Oratory if it could spare some of its members to take over the running of the Church of St Aloysius in Oxford. Two priests arrived soon afterwards. Numbers increased sufficiently that in 1993, the Oxford Oratory was established as an independent Congregation in its own right. Its priests are involved in a variety of works, including the running of the parish, and school, hospital, and prison chaplaincy.

 

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In Search of Mary, the Mother of God


To find out about events in the life of Our Blessed Lady in pictorial form, one could do no better than spend 15 minutes at the Lady Chapel in St. Mary’s, Ryde. The murals contain the Old Testament prophets forecasting the birth of Jesus; the ceiling panels depicting the Litany of Our Lady; and beautiful paintings of the first and last two decades of the Holy Rosary. Pugin’s beautifully carved altar (thankfully, still used weekly for Mass) contains the image of Our Lady of Walsingham; one of the earliest (post Reformation) churches where this ancient Marian image can be seen. This image of Our Lady is certainly appreciated by our friends and fellow Catholics in the Ordinariate, as Our Lady of Walsingham has been adopted as their patron.

 

The month of May has traditionally been acknowledged as Mary’s month. Schoolchildren looking for the reason often suggest that if you take the R out of Mary you are then left with her special month. Gerard Manley Hopkins, the Jesuit poet reminded us in the first line in one of the greatest poems of the English Language, that May is Mary’s month. He offers no idea how this arose, but Cardinal Newman suggests a more positive reason. “May is a time when the earth bursts forth into its fresh foliage after the frost and Winter snow. The blossoms are on the trees and the flowers in the garden. With the sun rising early and setting later, the days are longer. For such gladness and joyousness of external nature is a fit attendant on our devotion to her who is the Mystical Rose and the House of Gold“. Remembering that May is a time of frequent alleluias and with the great feasts of the Ascension, Pentecost and the Blessed Trinity, the Cardinal goes on to say, “Mary is the first of the creatures, the most acceptable child of God, the nearest and dearest to Him. It is fitting that this month should be hers, as we celebrate these feasts that enable us to glory and rejoice in His great providence to us, in our redemption and sanctification in Almighty God“. Since Saxon times people have used fresh flowers to adorn the statues and grottoes of Our Lady. Those of us who live in the northern hemisphere will more readily notice the harmony between nature and grace that accompanies the arrival of Spring and Easter, – new life in the earth and new life in our souls. In the month traditionally devoted to Our Blessed Lady, the Dowry of Mary literally springs to life again. In England in May we notice the change from the Winter months of cold, damp and darkness to the vitality and freshness of the various shades of green. There is inevitably new life and vigour all around. The natural life that we see in abundance should encourage us to reflect on whether we have life in our souls. To have that life is to be in a state of grace and in full union with Almighty God and His Holy Catholic Church. Many will remember with great affection the wonderful processions in Our Lady’s honour, which were once a memorable part of our English Catholic heritage. In Ryde these processions started in 1869. The town commissioners at the time insisted upon a silent outdoor procession. Later it was permitted to sing hymns and recite the rosary publicly. Today sadly such processions are a rarity and the Children of Mary and the Legion of Mary are no longer seen or mentioned in our parishes. In pre-Vatican II days however they proudly followed the statue of Our Lady, which was crowned by a child in May and in many instances it was solemnly carried around the streets of our towns and cities. Present day traffic congestion often prevents this but nevertheless processions (where convenient) are, thankfully, making a comeback. We are beginning to hear clergy reminding the faithful of the many graces and blessings which are bestowed upon us when we ask Our Lady to intercede for us once again with her Son Jesus.

 

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Medieval Pilgrimage on the Isle of Wight


(contributed by Ralph Hodd of Ventnor)

 

Pilgrimage was an integral part of Medieval piety; for some this would mean partaking in devotions at a local shrine, whilst for others it might involve a lengthy and potential dangerous journey to a distant pilgrimage centre, either in another part of England or even as far away as Jerusalem. Often such an undertaking would be in response to a perceived need to obtain forgiveness for sins committed that might be an obstacle to a person’s eventual admission to heaven. On the Isle of Wight pilgrimage was certainly a familiar aspect of Medieval Christian life, but it is unlikely that apart from the local veneration of images in some of the parish churches, there were any significant pilgrimage locations that would have drawn pilgrims from further afield. It is, however, likely that the experience of pilgrimage over longer distances was not entirely uncommon among the people of the Island.

 

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a suggestion was actively promoted that in earlier years pilgrimage took place to a shrine of Our Lady of Whitwell. The village, as its name suggests, was the location of springs that fed wells of clear water, and such places have been noted locations of devotion stretching back to pre-Christian ages. A trackway leading from a well near to the church to the coast at Puckcaster Cove is known as the Cripple Path and this has been interpreted to mean a pilgrim trail. At the height of the Anglo-Catholic movement during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, there were pilgrimages to Whitwell with the intention of making devotions to the Blessed Virgin. The parish church there is jointly dedicated to her along with the German saint, St Rhadegunde, and pilgrims from districts beyond the Island visited here in organised pilgrimages. However, it has not yet been shown from surviving archival or archaeological sources that Whitwell was a medieval pilgrimage centre. No church records exist today that refer to devotion to Our Lady of Whitwell. A will made by Andrew Payne in 1524 does record a bequest of £13 6s 8d to buy a bell for the chapel of Whitwell and a further £5 ‘to bye a vestment of Our Ladye to sainte Radigunde awlter in the chapell‘, but no specific mention of a Marian shrine is made. Archaeology has, as yet not produced any location or artefact clearly associated with pilgrimage at Whitwell. The existence of an ancient well, and the Cripple Path are perhaps the strongest suggestions of pilgrimage related activities and these certainly may be relevant in a wider interpretation of pilgrimage in the southern part of the Island.

 

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May – the Month of Mary


The Church dedicates May to Mary, the mother of Jesus, although this devotion has lost some of its impetus in recent years. However many of us will remember the traditional May processions and the crowning of the statue of Mary which used to be a prominent feature in parish life in England, – the dowry of Mary. At Ryde there was an outdoor procession in honour of Our Lady as early as 1869. The town commissioners stipulated that it had to be a silent procession, so the rosary was recited quietly by the congregation as they processed around the streets (we are not sure of the route) and concluded with the Salve Regina sung aloud as they re-entered St. Mary’s.

 

Gerard Manley Hopkins, the Jesuit poet who spent several family holidays here on the Island reminded us in the first line in one of the greatest poems of the English Language, that May is Mary’s month. He offers no idea how this arose and in many ways it does not matter. Since Saxon times people have used the fresh flowers to adorn the statues and grottoes of Our Lady. In England in May we notice the change from the winter months of cold, damp and darkness to the vitality and freshness of the various shades of green. In this month traditionally devoted to Our Lady, the Dowry of Mary inevitably takes on new life and vigour. Cardinal Newman, writing in England in the late 19th century reminds us that “May is the time when the earth bursts forth into fresh foliage and its green grass after the the hard frost and the winter snow. It is a time when blossoms are on the trees and the flowers are in the garden. For such gladness and joyousness of external nature is a fit attendant to our devotion to her who is the Mystical Rose and the House of Gold“. Many will remember with great affection the wonderful processions in Our Lady’s honour which were once a memorable part of our English Catholic heritage with girls dressed in white with blue veils and ribbons in their hair. Is this pure nostalgia? I hope not. Surely it is a recognition of the Queenship of Mary; as the litany reminds us, – the Queen of Heaven, the Queen of Peace, the Queen conceived without original sin, the Queen of us all, created by Almighty God. Devotion to Mary has long been the hallmark of Englaish Catholics. This was re-inforced in 1893 by the re-dedication of England as the dowry of Mary. This solemn re-dedication took place at the request of Pope Leo XIII and was carried out by the English Hierarchy in Brompton Oratory on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. Six months later our own chapel and shrine to Our Lady in Ryde was solemnly blessed and dedicated by Bishop Vertue on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception 1893.

 

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Corpus Christi Processions in Ryde


We are fortunate that we still have an outdoor procession in honour of the Blessed Sacrament in Ryde at a time when many parishes no longer experience this unique way of worshipping Our Lord n the Holy Echarist. This public manifestation of our belief in the Real Presence was the focal point and highlight of every parish before Vatican II. The procession, usually held on the Sunday after Corpus Christi would includ the First Holy Communion children followed by many the Catholic societies walking together; most notably the Guild of the Blessed Sacrament and the Children of Mary. The late Fr. Robert, (Prior of Quarr Abbey). used to recall the processions in the past, which tested the endurance of most as they went “across the fields, through the woods and along the coast before returning to the abbey church“. St. Mary’s in Ryde has a long tradition of Processions. They started in the town in 1869 and went around the adjacent streets. The Town Commissioners stipulated at the time that there must be no singing in the streets, so the words of the Pange Lingua fell silent as the procession reached the church door and started again when people re-entered the church! These processions went along the High Street, down Star Street, into Warwick Street and up St. John’s Road before turning right again into the High Street and back into the church. They lasted until the late 1960s. Sadly times have changed and a town centre is no longer a suitable venue to process with the Blessed Sacrament, but fortunately the garden next to the St. Mary’s can still be used and it is here that a small procession forms for the traditional Corpus Christi adoration of the Blessed Sacrament while the Tantum Ergo and Adoremus are sung and the usual devotions recited in honour of the Blessed Sacrament. (See St. Mary’s web site www.stmarysryde.org for photographs). There is some evidence to suggest that such processions (although in limited form) are thankfully, making a return.

 

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The Return of Friday Abstinence


From Friday, 16th September 2011 Catholics are to return to the ancient practice of abstaining from meat on all Fridays throughout the year, as a simple but profound act of penance. By the practice of penance every Catholic identifies with Christ in His death on the Cross. We do so in prayer, through uniting the sufferings and sacrifices in our lives with those of Christ’s Passion; in fasting, by dying to self in order to be close to Christ; and in almsgiving, by demonstrating our solidarity with the sufferings of Christ in those in need.

 

All three forms of penance form a vital part of Christian living. When this is visible in the public arena, then it is also an important act of witness. Every Friday is set aside by the Church as a special day of penance, for it is the day of the death of Our Lord.

 

The English Bishops wish to re-establish the practice of Friday penance in the lives of the Faithful as a clear and distinctive mark of their own Catholic identity. They recognise that the best habits are those which are acquired as part of a common resolve and common witness. It is important that all the Faithful be united in a common celebration of Friday penance.

 

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Catholic Views from the Solent


As you journey across the Solent on the ferry from Southampton or Cowes it is always interesting to try to identify the buildings which come into view. As you approach Cowes it is possible to pick out the Church of St. Thomas of Canterbury amongst the other buildings. The central position of this Catholic church in the town and its proximity to the Anglican churches is surprising as there was a determined effort at the time to restrict pre-Victorian Catholic churches to the periphery of a town. The building which is far more prominent is the Convent of the Sisters of Christ at situated on Springhill at East Cowes. The convent grounds offer spectacular views across the Solent and up Southampton Water. This is also the site of the Holy Cross Catholic Primary school. The nuns (originally known as Sisters of the Holy Cross) were resident at the convent next to St. Mary’s in Ryde High St. from 1901 until 1947 when they moved to Springhill.

 

If you take the ferry from Portsmouth you will find Ryde dominated by the two church spires of All Saints and Holy Trinity. The latter was founded largely by the Hon. Lindsay Burrell, brother of the Countess of Clare. The church was built in 1845 and is about a year older than St. Mary’s. The same builder, Thomas Dashwood worked on both churches. The taller Parish Church of All Saints to the right (west) was founded in 1869 and dominates the skyline. At just under 200 feet it is the tallest building on the Island. Between these two churches and just to the right of the town hall is the smaller Proprietary Church of St. James in Lind Street. This was the parish church of the Countess of Clare in her Anglican days. Not far away and clearly visible from mid Solent is the Italianate style block of apartments (built in 1826) where the Countess used to live in Brigstock Terrace. The Former Royal Victoria Yacht Club founded once again by her brother, Lindsay Burrell (just recently upgraded as apartments) is the most prominent building at sea level to the west of the pier. On the east side of the town St. Cecilia’s Abbey can be seen towards Appley with the square pyramid bell tower clearly visible. If you expect to see St. Mary’s from the ferry you will need to use binoculars. The upper part of the red brick convent building can be seen with the stone cross on the north wing but the only part of St. Mary’s that I could identify was the weather vane and the top layer of Portland stone on the steeple.

 

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England: Don’t Forget Your Mission as Mary’s Dowry


By Edmund Matyjaszek, who argues that England was an ecclesial reality before it was a political realm.

 

The Feast of the Assumption, which we celebrate today, marks the taking of Mary body and soul into heaven at the end of her earthly life. The feast reassures us that, as Mary is entirely human, we too can entertain that hope for our eternal destiny.

 

There are many shrines and places where Mary has since made her presence known – in visions and apparitions – and opened a gateway between Heaven and Earth. But there is only one country that entirely, as a country, is considered hers alone: England, the “Dowry” of Mary.

 

The “Dowry of Mary” devotion is still widespread, summarised in the following prayer: “Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gracious Queen and Mother, look down in mercy on England thy Dowry.” On this feast of the Assumption it may be right to ask: where does this devotion come from and what is its meaning today?

 

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St. Mary’s Church, Ryde – Catholic Parish Life in Victorian England


from a talk given by Peter Clarke in 2003

 

In Victorian times the Catholic Church in England depended greatly on wealthy benefactors. A generous patron or benefactor often meant a fine church with interesting architectural features. This is evident in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Elizabeth, Countess of Clare returned from the “grand tour” of Europe in 1841 having been received into the Catholic Church in Rome by Thomas Grant (later Bishop of Southwark). The Countess took the lease on a large town house overlooking the sea. From this attractive, Italianate style terrace house with its panoramic views of the Solent, she would watch from her balcony as the naval vessels and great liners of the day navigated Southampton Water and Portsmouth Harbour.

 

By this time there were already two small Catholic churches at Newport and Cowes. While the Countess travelled to Sunday Mass by pony chaise she would pass people walking from Ryde in all weather and determined to build a church. It was of concern to the Countess that she considered her house to be superior in style and architecture to the two Catholic churches on the Island. “I want the House of God where I attend Holy Mass to be better than my own abode”, she is reputed to have said; and as she possessed a grand and fashionable house, ny church that she built would clearly be a fine edifice which would reflect the sincerity of her conversion. She was thus determined to provide Ryde with a church fitting for Catholic ceremonial and devotion that she had experienced on the Continent, and she acquired a site in Ryde High Street in 1844 where she built and endowed a gothic style church dedicated to St. Mary.

 

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The Feast of Corpus Christi


by Fr. Anthony Glaysher, Parish Priest of St. Mary’s, Ryde. 2008

 

Voltaire the great dramatist, poet and philosopher after receiving his ‘Easter Communion’ (who only did so as an example to ‘his’ parishioners, and thereafter afraid at the ‘astonished ‘concern’ shown by his fellow enlightened ‘deists at his superstitious dalliance with the Church) wrote sarcastically ‘Communion itself is an absurd ritual ‘imitating God, who created man, who in turn creates God with a few words and a handful of flour’. Did Voltaire imagine in his egotistical conceit and arrogance that these words rather than discredit, show in their simplicity the TRUTH in regard to our Lord’s action at the last supper. It is God Himself who wills it to be so. It is God Himself the Creator who desires His creatures – the work of His hands with the ‘few words’ of His Son uttered by His priests on thousands of altars over the ‘handful of flour’ and the juice of squeezed grapes to come to us, to giveHimself to us under the forms of bread and wine. Should we be surprised by this? No!

 

If we come to our Holy Mass and we receive Jesus and we leave satisfied, satisfied in the sense that we have done our bit and all is well there is a problem; our Holy Mass is a reminder for us to be generous to those who are less fortunate than we are, those who have little to eat. If we imitate God in His generosity by His grace it will result in enlarging our hearts. ‘Practice makes perfect’. Some of us still place our hands in God’s good soil and bring to our table ‘What earth has given and human hands have made’. We do the same with the bread and wine for our altar. As we give thanks to God for these gifts it is alsogood to remind ourselves that even though some of our food comes from Mr Marks and Mr Spencer or from the public pantry of Mrs Supermarket it is still through God that who makes it so.

 

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Feast of Corpus Christi


Sermon given by Fr. Martin Edwards, MA, STL, on the occasion of the first Missa Cantata for 37 years at St. Mary’s Church, Ryde, on the Saturday within the Octave of Corpus Christi, 21st June, 2003.

 

My dear people, I am grateful to Fr. John Catlin, the parish priest here at St. Mary’s, Ryde, for allowing us the great privilege of celebrating this Votive Mass of the Holy Eucharist, in this the Octave of the feast of Corpus Christi, in this beautiful church of St. Mary’s, here in Ryde, where the tabernacle containing the Truth and the Reality of the Mystery that we worship today has a fittingly honoured and prominent position, (although slightly obscured today by the central altar card). You have with you the texts today for the Mass and the other devotions prepared carefully as usual by Peter Clarke, your Latin Mass Society representative here on the Isle of Wight, and just one or two further words of thanks before the sermon; firstly to Bishop Hollis of Portsmouth for giving permission for this Mass, which we believe, is the first Missa Cantata, here on the Island for 37 years, and also thanks to the “Schola Nicholai” choir from the mainland and all those who have assisted in any way in organising this historic Mass and in preparing the food for our lunch.

 

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Sermon given by Fr. Benjamin Durham FSSP at Holy Cross Church, Seaview, Isle of Wight, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross – (Patronal Feast of the Church), 2006


Dear Brethren in Christ, first of all it is a privilege to be here in Seaview to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass on this, the patronal feast of the church.

 

In the natural course of the seasons, our Holy Mother the Church has placed today’s feast diametrically opposite the great feast of Easter in such a way that the mysteries of our Faith should find their resonance in the universe created by Almighty God Himself.

 

Today’s feast can better be understood if we consider for a moment the cyclic nature of our universe. Liturgical feasts do not simply recur periodically from year to year, but are better viewed as renewed invitations to follow Christ Our Lord. In Autumn the days grow shorter and the light is rapidly fading. Nature experiences not only a lack of light, but a certain lack of life. From such a lack of life must come new life, for such is the natural order established by God the Creator. A new Advent will mean a new liturgical year and during the long winter nights, we shall be in joyful expectation of the Light who is to come into the world and this light will transform us in a new way that we have yet to experience. It will have renewed meaning for us, and it is in this manner that we shall truly progress in our Faith.

 

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Homily by Fr. Jonathan Redvers Harris on the Holy Souls in Purgatory at Mass in St. Michael’s Church, Bembridge in November 2011


Purgatory doesn’t sit easily with the modern mind. The story is told of the Catholic lady who asked the priest to say mass for the repose of the soul of her dear late husband, and afterwards she complained, “Father, you said he’s in Purgatory!” But, as the priest pointed out, we don’t offer requiems for those in heaven or, for that matter, for those in the other place.

 

In an age when we tend to prefer “celebrations of people’s lives” rather than real funerals, when we excessively eulogise, and often idolise the departed, the idea of needing to be cleaned up, purified, purged, the very notion of indeed sin and the need for the remission of temporal punishment does not readily appeal.

 

And not just today’s age – it didn’t appeal greatly at the Protestant Reformation. According to the Church of England’s Articles of Religion, “the Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory… is a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of the God” (XXII). It depends partly on which Scriptures are in your canon, but in the Catholic Church in 2 Maccabees (12:46) then prayer for the dead is encouraged, to loose the departed from their sins. In Matthew’s Gospel, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, says our Lord, “either in this age or in the age to come” (12:32), suggesting that some sins may be forgiven in the age to come. And St Paul writes of burning away of man’s works, the things we build, but of the soul being saved, purified by fire (1 Cor 3:11-15). So, not a full-blown articulated doctrine of Purgatory, but one or two pointers.

 

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Sermon given by Fr. Benjamin Durham FSSP at St. Mary’s, Ryde, on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, 2006


Brethren, there is only one thing in the world that is definitely your own, and that is your will. All things can be taken from you: your health, honour, possessions; but your will is irrevocably your own, even in hell. What really matters in life is what you do with your will and indeed, we see a drama of wills in the story of the two thieves crucified on either side of Our Blessed Lord.

 

The good thief chooses to accept his sorrows. He takes up his cross and abandons himself to God’s will. From his heart full of surrender to the Saviour, comes this plea: “Remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom“. Immediately there comes the answer, “Amen I say to thee this day, thou shalt be with me in paradise“.

 

At the foot of the Cross Mary witnesses the conversion of the good thief, and her soul rejoices that he has accepted the will of God. Her divine Son’s promise of paradise as a reward for such surrender reminds her of the moment in history when the angel appeared to her and told her that she was to be the mother of him who is now dying on the cross.

 

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