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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.
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.
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“.
‘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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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).
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“.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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!
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.
(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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
Click here to read the poems.
On 27 December 2015, Feast of the Holy Family, Pope Francis raised the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham to the status of a minor basilica. English Catholics were delighted to have their National Shrine recognised by Rome but quite what the honour entailed was not known by many.
In Ancient Rome, the term Basilica denoted an official administrative building having a large rectangular central nave with an aisle on each side and an apse at one end. Many early churches were built in this style. In the Catholic Church, Basilica is a title of honour given to certain churches because of their antiquity, dignity, historical importance or significance as centres of worship.
There are four Major Basilicas, all of them in Rome: St. John Lateran, St Peter’s, St Mary Major and St. Paul outside the Walls. All of these have a papal throne and a papal altar (at which only those with the Pope’s permission may say Mass), and a Holy Door which remains cemented up, except during Jubilee Years when it is opened and becomes part of the ritual of obtaining a Jubilee indulgence. (It was a break with tradition when Pope Francis suggested to the Bishops of the World that they designate one or more local Holy Doors during the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, so Catholics could gain the plenary indulgence without having to travel to Rome.)
In April 2016 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
On the Feast of Christ the King, seven of us from the Isle of Wight (six from St. Mary’s Parish) joined 100 others for the Diocesan Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, led by His Lordship Bishop Philip Egan, assisted by Monsignor Vincent Harvey and Fr. James McAuley. The first visit was to Bethlehem.
After breakfast, we visited the School of Joy in Beit Sahour, the town of the shepherds. The school was founded in 1993 to support and educate children with special needs and is the only such one in the region. It is run by Father Mamdouh Abu Sa’da with the help of six teachers and currently caters for 58 young people. It is run entirely on donations with no funding from the government. As well as a basic education in reading, writing and mathematics, the boys are taught woodwork, enabling them to make a wide variety of objects from olive wood. The girls are taught needlework and embroidery and we managed to buy many examples of their handiwork during our visit. The school is one of the projects supported by Friends of the Holy Land (FHL).
The image of Veronica wiping the face of Jesus with a towel on the journey to Calvary, is familiar to us all, especially as we pray the Stations of the Cross in Lent. We are pleased to include here an article on Veronica, contributed by Dr. Alison Habens.
“Nothing is known about the ‘real’ Saint Veronica. She’s never mentioned in the bible but appears on the Stations of the Cross, number VI: the woman who wipes Jesus’ face with her veil after he falls for the first time. Her name may just be a play on words. Vera means true in Latin and Icon means image: Vera Icon, the holy face indelibly printed. Early church fathers might have confused the term for the cloth itself with the person who carried it. There may not have been a Veronica at all. Though the way of the cross, along the Via Dolorosa to Calvary, was walked by pilgrims to Jerusalem within a hundred years of the crucifixion’s actual date, it was not until the eighteenth century that a pilgrimage of the fourteen holy sites could be taken around any church nave.
Nobody can say at what stage Saint Veronica took her place on the way of tears; but one thing is certain. The veronica, that legendary vera icon which wiped the blood and sweat off Christ’s face as he carried his cross, can still be found in the Vatican today. This relic is exposed every year on the fifth Sunday of Lent, though when a Jesuit art historian was allowed to examine it in 1907 he saw only ‘two faint rust-brown stains, connected one to the other…’
August 2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the foundation of St. Dominic’s Priory at Carisbrooke; – the first monastic institution established on the Island in the Post Reformation era. It was founded by Elizabeth, Countess of Clare, who had a close affiliation with the Dominican Order.
Bishop Thomas Grant of Southwark laid the foundation stone on the feast of St. Dominic (4th Aug) 1865. Co-incidentally, it was this same Thomas Grant who, as a young seminarian in Rome, had given the Countess of Clare instructions in the Faith, before she converted in 1841.
The year 1865 was a very significant year for the Dominican Order. It was 650 years after St. Dominic founded the Order of Dominican nuns, and the establishment of the Order of Preachers by Pope Innocent III.
The date chosen (4th August), was also significant in Catholic history as this was the date of desecration of the Medieval shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham in 1538. At the request of the Countess of Clare, the foundation stone of the new Dominican Priory at Carisbrooke was to be dedicated to Our Lady and St. Dominic, as the bishop stated, “as a fitting act of reparation for the destruction of the Shrine at Walsingham 327 years ago to this very day. We must hope and pray that faithful Catholics will find peace and consolation at this priory here on the Isle of Wight, as our spiritual ancestors did at the ancient Priory of Walsingham in Medieval times“.
Sunday, 21st June, 2015 marked the golden jubilee of this church in, Bembridge. A Solemn Mass was held to celebrate the event and to give thanks for the blessings received from Almighty God over the past fifty years. In his sermon at the Mass, the parish priest Fr. Glaysher spoke about a church as a House of God, different to any other building. He also asked the congregation to remember “those who have gone before us, who made the building of this church possible, not only by their labour, determination and generosity, but by their commitment to the Faith and the desire to have amongst them the reassuring presence of Our Blessed Lord in the Holy Eucharist“.
Before 1965 Catholics of Bembridge worshipped in the former Methodist church, which they purchased in 1935.
The following day (22nd June) there was a historical OPEN DAY (afternoon) attended by about sixty people. There were colour slides depicting the past eighty years of Catholic life in Bembridge and in particular the celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the church ten years ago. People were able to reminisce about Catholic life in Bembridge during the past fifty years.
These two parents of St. Therese of Lisieux were a shining example to their renowned daughter and still inspire Catholics today.
Bishop Egan welcomed the relics of these two holy people to the cathedral on 21st May. Quite a few people from the Island attended to hear Holy Mass and to venerate their relics.
The bishop has encouraged the faithful to ask the prayers of Blessed Louis and Zelie for the intentions of the family synod in October.
Blessed Martin and Zelie were the parents of St Thérèse of Lisieux, affectionately known as the Little Flower. Pope Francis has indicated that he may canonize Blessed Louis and Zelie during the Synod on the Family in Rome in October.
The bishop has recommended this prayer:- “God our Father, I thank you for having given us Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St Therese. United and faithful in marriage, they have left us an example of Christian living and evangelical virtue. In raising a large family through trials, suffering and bereavement, they put their trust in you and always sought your will.”
The Diocese of Portsmouth announced that the motto of the relics’ visit will be “united and faithful” in order to “recall the virtues of Christian marriage and to meditate on the Church’s call to remain united and faithful to Christ and His teachings.”
In a quiet corner of the Surrey countryside near Windsor, called Runnymede, with the River Thames quietly flowing by, a document was signed by a king of England and his barons in June 1215, which rings down through the centuries in importance and significance: Magna Carta.
The king was John (1166 –1216), son of Henry II and brother of Richard the Lionheart. The barons were some of the great men of the realm, earls and barons including “the best knight that ever lived” William Marshall.
In the year’s previous to 1215, John had proved an unpopular king. His nickname was “lackland” (Norman French sanz terre) meaning “without land”. He was despotic and money grabbing, ruthlessly exhorting fines and raising taxes. He took hostages at will and deprived barons of their lands without legal process, always acting in an arbitrary manner. Even in a cruel age, he could be cruel to those who threatened him.
Gary May, from the Parish of Ryde, will be ordained to the permanent Diaconate on Saturday, 10th January at St. John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth. This is the first permanent Deacon that Ryde has produced, so it is a time of joy and celebration for Gary and the parish and the whole Island.
Fr. Glaysher, parish priest of St. Mary’s, Ryde, welcomes Deacon Gary to this ministry and he is delighted that he will be assisting him in his parish ministry.
The ministry of the deacon in the Catholic Church is described as one of service in three areas: the Word, the Liturgy and Charity. The deacon’s ministry of the Word includes proclaiming the Gospel during the Mass, preaching and teaching. The deacon’s liturgical ministry includes various parts of the Mass proper to the deacon, including being an ordinary minister of Holy Communion and the proper minister of the chalice when Holy Communion is administered under both kinds. The ministry of charity involves service to the poor and marginalized and working with parishioners to help them become more involved in such ministry. Deacons, like priests and bishops, are ordinary ministers of the sacrament of Baptism and can serve as the church’s witness at the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, which the bride and groom administer to each other (though if the exchange of vows takes place in a wedding Mass, or Nuptial Mass, the Mass is celebrated by the priest and the deacon acts as another witness). Deacons may preside at funeral rites not involving a Mass (e.g., the final commendation at the gravesite or the reception of the body at a service in the funeral home), and may assist the priest at the Requiem Mass. They can preside over various services such as Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and they may give certain blessings. However, they cannot hear Confession and give absolution, anoint the sick, or celebrate Mass.
These paintings were blessed by Fr. Anthony Glaysher after Mass on 21st May, 2014; the anniversary of the consecration of St. Mary’s by Bishop Thomas Grant, in 1863. They depict the following:-
These watercolours were sponsored by our society and painted by Catholic artist, Madeleine Sarah Beard, M.A. Litt (Cantab), from Petworth. Madeleine is one of our society’s mainland members. She held an exhibition of her paintings at St. Mary’s, Ryde on the Feast of the Annunciation, 2003. You can visit her web site and see the Marian watercolours that she painted if you click here
Fr. Glaysher, accompanied by four parishioners from Ryde, was delighted to be present in the cathedral sanctuary on the Feast of Christ the King for Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Rt Rev Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth, presided from the throne and preached the sermon.
Traditional High Mass was the first at the cathedral for four years and joins the weekly Sunday morning Low Mass (8-00am) that has begun at Portsmouth’s mother church in recent weeks. Despite warnings of dire weather conditions and the imminent storm, the Mass was well attended. The celebrant was Fr Phillip Harris, who flew from Jersey at lunchtime especially for the Mass. The deacon was Rev Stephen Morgan, and the sub-deacon was Fr John Maunder of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, based at St Agatha’s, Portsmouth. Music (Gregorian Chant and a polyphonic Communion motet) was provided by the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, directed by Christopher Hodkinson.
Fr. Anthony Glaysher was the bishops assistant at the throne, and Fr. Robert Mercer (Ordinariate) was in the congregation. In addition 15 servers were present in the sanctuary. It was interesting to see that the average age of these servers was late 20s. Whilst at Ryde, I am usually the youngest person for many Latin Masses, on this day I was (I think) the oldest altar server participating. It was also good to see many young people in the congregation, including a good number of Ordinariate folk.
On the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila, Mass was offered by Fr. Gerard Flynn at the historic former family chapel of the Ward family at Weston Manor, Totland Bay. Organised by our society, this unique and unspoilt Victorian Catholic family chapel is one of the finest in the south of England. A class of children from St. Saviour’s Catholic Primary school attended the Mass, and the choir of St. Michael’s Church, Bembridge (under the direction of Muriel Moss) led the singing. Afterwards there was a history talk on the Ward family and the chapel given by Yvonne Rowles of Bembridge and by Peter Clarke of Ryde.
Read about the history of this beautiful Victorian chapel in the Places / Pilgrimages. Photographs can be seen in the Gallery – Churches page.
Father was pleased to be able to attend the celebrations in Rome on the occasion of the silver jubilee of the canonical establishment of the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). This is a priestly fraternity and a clerical society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical right, which has two main aims:- the formation and sanctification of priests to offer the traditional liturgy of the Roman rite (E.F. Mass); and secondly, the pastoral deployment of priests in the service of the Church.
It was especially joyous for Father to visit the Eternal City as we conclude this Year of Faith; and in the year of the 150th anniversary of the consecration of our beautiful church in Ryde. 2013 also marked the 20th anniversary of Latin (E.F.) Masses in Ryde, and the 10th anniversary of the first (Post Vatican II) Missa Cantata (Sung Latin Mass) in the parish.
Father accompanied a group of English pilgrims to Rome for the FSSP celebrations, led by Fr. Armand de Malleray (Superior of the Fraternity in England). The group visited some of the Roman places associated with St. Peter, i.e. the Mamertine Prison, where St. Peter was held before his crucifixion; the Church of St. Pudentiana, the site of Peter’s captivity when he first came to Rome; St. Peter ad Vincula (St. Peter in chains), a church which contains the chains with which Peter was bound; and St. Peter’s Basilica, built over the tomb of the great apostle. At these places, as well as the Colosseum, where many Christians were martyred, Fr. Armand outlined the history, its significance, and its association with St. Peter.
At the end of September Bishop Egan of Portsmouth came to the Island to celebrate Mass at Sacred Heart Church, Shanklin to marke the 125th anniversary of the parish. (The first Mass in the original church was on 21st August 1888). In the afternoon he went to St. Patrick’s, Sandown for Evening Prayer and Benediction to mark the 75th anniversary of the consecration of the church. (It was consecrated to the glory of God and in honour of St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, 1938, by Bishop William Cotter.
The bishop also went to the cemetery to bless the gravestone of Fr. Henry Donnelly, former parish priest of Totland, Shanklin, and Chaplain of St. Anthony’s Convent, also in Shanklin, Fr. Donnelly died last year. An appreciation of his ministry can be read in the Obituary page.
The annual pilgrimage from Ryde to Quarr Abbey (organised by the IoW Catholic History Society) was held on Sunday 8th September. This annual walk (or pilgrimage) started in 1882 when Catholics walked from Ryde to the Medieval Cistercian ruins to pray for the return of monastic life at Quarr. Little did those people realise at the time, that their prayer would be answered within 30 years, when the Benedictine monks arrived to built the present abbey on the adjacent site. The annual pilgrimage this year attracted a smaller number of walkers due to the weather.
The first stop en route was at the Church of the Holy Cross at Binstead, which has a close historical association with Quarr Abbey. After tea and cakes there was a talk on the history of the church by Hilary Spurgeon (the Church Reader). The next stop was at the Medieval ruins, where walkers studied a map of the Cistercian ruins identifying the various parts of the old abbey.
September 8th is the Patronal Feast at Quarr Abbey (both the Medieval and the present abbey are dedicated to the Blessed Virgin), and this was the main theme of the talk in the abbey church by Fr. Luke Bell OSB. Afterwards, prayers were led by Fr. Jonathan Redvers Harris. The day concluded with the Service of Vespers and Benediction.
See the County Press (13th September) for a brief report and photograph.
The Catholic Herald (which likes to publicise pilgrimages) has also carried a report (with a photograph).
On the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham our society organised a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady at West Grinstead and onto Arundel Cathedral. This day marks the first anniversary of the enthronement of Mgr. Philip Egan as the 8th Bishop of Portsmouth. It is also the first anniversary of the blessing and dedication of the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham in St. Mary’s. It was therefore a wonderful time to ask for Our Lady’s intercession at the shrine in West Grinstead, where the One True Faith was never lost throughout the penal times.
Throughout the day pilgrimage there was Mass, Exposition, the rosary/ devotions, Benediction and opportunity for Confession. Most of those who attended were able to visit the secret chapel above the presbytery (once a hay loft), where priests ordained abroad offered Mass in secret. (See Gallery – pilgrimage page – for photographs).
As always at West Grinstead, there was a warm welcome from Fr. David Goddard (parish priest / custodian). Frs. Anthony Glaysher and Jonathan Redvers Harris concelebrated Mass with him. In the sermon at Mass, Fr. Jonathan reminded those present that Our Lady is a source of unity among the different Christian denominations and an aid to our search for Almighty God. Referring to the shrine at Walsingham, he said “In Mary we find a shrine built for the Creator of the universe. She is the creature made ready as a holy house for our Creator and Saviour”.