Bishop's Journal

1st November – Month of prayer for the Holy Souls

 

God has made man for immortality.

Do not invite death by the error of your life

or bring on destruction by the works of your hands;

because God does not make death,

and he does not delight in the death of the living.

For he created all things that they might exist,

and the origins of the world are wholesome,

and there is no destructive poison in them

and the dominion of Hades is not on earth.

For righteousness is immortal.

Book of the Wisdom of Solomon 1:12-15 ESV/CE

 

Receive, Lord, in tranquillity and peace, the souls of your servants who have departed out of this present life to be with you.

Give them the life that knows no age, the good things that do not pass away; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

S. Ignatius Loyola

Friday 30th October         

 

The celebratory Mass was live streamed from the Cathedral to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the canonisation of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales by St. Pope Paul VI on 25th October 1970 in Rome. The Mass was a celebration of part of our Catholic heritage in Wales. The six Welsh martyrs are Richard Gwyn (HDQ Wrexham 1584), John Jones (HDQ Southwark 1598), John Roberts (HDQ Tyburn 1610), Philip Evans (HDQ Cardiff 1679), John Lloyd (HDQ Cardiff 1679) and David Lewis (HDQ Usk 1679).

25th October      Feast of The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales

 

Fifty years ago today, 25th October, Saint Pope Paul VI canonised Forty English

and Welsh Martyrs of the 16th and 17th Centuries (1535-1692).

The ceremony was the culmination of a process which had begun more than

a hundred years earlier. It has been recognised that, in total, there were nearly

four hundred men and women who had been martyred in that period, and the

last execution took place in 1680.

 

In the following two hundred years, by 1880, all but forty-three had been

declared ‘Venerable’.

Of those declared Venerable, sixty-three were Beatified in two groups,

in December 1886, and May 1895. Then, in December 1929, a further

135 Martyrs were beatified. Of the 158 remaining ‘Venerable’ martyrs,

some have now been Beatified, that is, raised to the state to be declared

‘Blessed’.

 

The first two to be canonised, and declared Saints were St John Fisher,

and St Thomas More, in a ceremony conducted by Pope Pius XI on

19th May 1935. Thirty-five years later the Six Welsh Martyrs and their

companions were canonised. (Saints Richard Gwyn, John Jones, John Roberts,

Philip Evans, John Lloyd and David Lewis).

 

Among those from North Wales whose cause for canonisation is yet to be made are:

Blessed William Davies (executed in Beaumaris in 1593);  Blessed Edward Jones from the Vale of Clwyd, (Fleet Street, London, in 1590);  Venerable Richard Flower, from Anglesey, (Tyburn in 1588);  Venerable John Goodman  from Bangor (died in Newgate Prison in 1642);  Venerable Edward Morgan, from Flint (Tyburn in 1642) and Venerable Charles Mihan (Ruthin in 1679).

Apart from Venerable John Goodman, all were Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered, in the respective place of execution.

 

You may wish to pray for the canonisation of the remaining Blessed Martyrs of England and Wales, with these prayers:

 

I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which thy held; and they cried with a loud voice, saying ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, do You not judge and vindicate our blood from them that dwell on the earth?’ (Rev. 6:9ff)

 

℣.  Beneath the throne of God all the saints cry aloud.

℟. Vindicate our blood, O Lord our God.

 

Let us pray.

Grant, we beseech You Almighty God, that we, who admire in Your Martyrs the courage of their glorious confession, may witness in ourselves the power of their loving intercession.

O God, who glorifies those who glorify You, and who are honoured in the honours of Your Saints,

grant we beseech You, by the solemn judgement of Your Church, to glorify the blood of the Martyrs who have been put to death in England and Wales for the testimony of Jesus.

Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.                ℟. Amen.

 

Our Father…                       Hail Mary…         Apostle creed – I believe …

 

St. David, pray for Wales.               St. Winefride, pray for Wales        St. Richard Gwyn and Saints of Wales, pray for Wales

 

Pope Paul said:

‘To all those who are filled with admiration in reading the records of these Forty Martyrs,

it is perfectly clear that they are worthy to stand alongside the greatest martyrs of the past;

and this is not merely because of their fearless faith and constancy,

but by reason of their humility, simplicity and serenity,

and above all the spiritual joy and that wondrously radiant love

with which they accepted their condemnation and death.’ 

 

Homily of Pope Paul VI at the Canonisation of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, 25th October 1970

26th October  

 

Apostolic Nuncio

We welcome Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti as Apostolic Nuncio in Great Britain appointed by Pope Francis. He said  he is honoured to undertake that Mission in these countries and looks forward to working in the service of the Church here.  He will represent the Holy Father to the Catholic Church in the UK, and is an important link between ourselves and the Holy See. As Papal Ambassador to the United Kingdom, he will represent the Holy See to government authorities in England, Wales and Scotland.  He was previously Papal Nuncio to the Ukraine.

He is expected to present his credentials to her Majesty the Queen at the Court of St. James when COVID restrictions allow. 

In assuring him of a warm welcome, he also has an assurance of prayer for his important work.

23rd October

At the Wednesday General Audience Pope Francis concluded a two part catechesis on

the Psalms which he had begun the previous week. In summary, he said that the Book

of Psalms can be considered a great treasury of prayers. The Psalms teach us to pray

to God in words that He Himself has given us.

In them, we encounter the entire gamut of human emotions, from praise, petition and

joyful thanksgiving to anguished supplication for deliverance from life’s bitter

disappointments and sorrows. The Psalms are a guide to growth in the practice of prayer.

They open our hearts to ever deeper hope in God’s providential care; they confirm our

trust in his promises, and they inspire us to persevere on our life-long journey of

faith in his word.

Each day the Church prays the Psalms in the Liturgy of the Hours, which ordained clergy

and some religious  are obliged to pray in full or in part. It is wonderful that an increasing

number of lay people pray at least part of the Liturgy of the Hours daily.

It is worth remembering that this is the prayer of the whole Church and that as the sun sets on one part of the world, it rises on another so there is a raising of hearts and minds and voices to God in one single prayer. With live streaming, mobile phone, or ZOOM you can pray this prayer in common with others. To join in this great prayer you could buy the books, but that would cost upwards of £50. Alternatively, it is possible to purchase (£19.99 direct) a Universalis registration code. That gives the whole of the Liturgy of the Hours, daily Mass texts, daily lives of Saints and a selection of other prayers and spiritual readings in perpetuity. Once the registration is obtained it can be  downloaded onto PC, tablet, or ’phone at no further charge.

Following the inspiration of the ‘God who Speaks’ project, praying with one another -on our own or in communication with one another- in God’s words is a great and supportive part of our Christian life,  especially at this time when we are unable to be together in prayer in our churches.  Already a number of people join me when I live-stream Morning, Evening or Night Prayer on Facebook.

While I am not in the habit of endorsing any products, I do commend Universalis. It is even possible to have a month’s free trial. Just search www.universalis.com

To read in full what Pope Francis said about The Prayer of the Psalms go to www.vatican.va  ‘Audiences’ and look at the dates of 14th and 21st October.

Friday 23rd October        

 

On the Friday following the feast (18th October)  of St. Luke, Apostle and named the ‘physician’ I have regularly celebrated a Mass for all Medical and Health Care staff, especially those working in the hospitals, hospices and care homes in the Diocese and not forgetting those who work in the community and domiciliary setting. I have done so again this year when the need for intercession and prayer for our health care worker is all the more pertinent because of COVID-19. I invite you to continue to join with me in that prayer. The Mass was live streamed from the Cathedral.

St. Richard Gwyn

The Feast of St Richard Gwyn, a teacher,  is a reminder of the important place of Catholic

teachers and parish catechists in the handing on of the faith to the next generation. Equally

important is the hugely significant role of on-going adult formation. Who is going to do it? In

order to offer opportunities for volunteers to undertake this vital task, the Diocese has become

a partner in the ‘Liverpool Archdiocesan with the Dioceses of the Northern Province’ Adult

Formation Courses, run from Loyola University, Chicago, USA.

I commend these on-line courses, which have been adapted for the British Church. All those

who are interested in developing their faith knowledge in a formal way are invited to express their

interest. 

 

 In a recent letter to the clergy, I wrote: 

“Two recent documents from Rome, ‘The Pastoral Conversion of the parish community in the service of the evangelising mission of the Church’ and ‘The Directory for Catechesis’ remind us of the need for ongoing adult formation. Through the partnership we enjoy with the Archdiocese of Liverpool these Diploma and Certificate courses are available to our Diocese.

One of the elements of parish pastoral life we have to look to more and more is the sound formation of the lay-faithful based on a parish, or a cluster of parishes. I commend these courses to you for the benefit of your parishes. While there is no direct payback, it is a legitimate parish expense to subsidise those who subscribe to either course in the hope that in due course they will take on a greater supportive role in the service of the parish or cluster. To have a network of formed lay-faithful across the Diocese would be a great blessing now and in the future.

Please make the details of these courses available to your parishioners and even approach parishioners you think would benefit from completing such a course and who would benefit our parishes having completed it. In conversation with your priest and deacon neighbours you may be able to support candidates together and share the cost and opportunities.”  

 

Enrolment for either course is by 8th December 2020 and a number of information webinars begin at the end of October. Please look at the brochures for details and pass the information on. A group of three or four going forward from the Diocese would be a great asset, as well as being encouragement and support to each other. We have at least half-a-dozen graduates in the Diocese already, from previous years.

file:///C:/Users/PeterBrignall/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/2XX2ZLYZ/Diploma%20Information%20Booklet%20Final%20(003).pdf   or/and file:///C:/Users/PeterBrignall/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/2XX2ZLYZ/IPS_Spring_2021_Online_Courses_England_Archdiocese_of_Liverpool_4%20pages.A%20(002).pdf

Congratulations on Episcopal Ordinations

We extend congratulations, best wishes and prayers to Canons David Evans and Stephen Wright of the Archdiocese of Birmingham whose Episcopal Ordination took place in the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Basilica 

of St. Chad. They are to be Auxiliary Bishops in Birmingham

St John Henry Newman

St John Henry Newman was canonised just a year ago, so this is the first opportunity for a full

liturgical celebration. He is the most recently canonised saint, and since a considerable time,

he is the first who was not martyred.

 

I found the following prayer in one of his sermons:

Support us, Lord, all the day long 

Until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes,

The busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over

And our work is done,

Then Lord, in your mercy

Grant us safe lodging, a holy rest,

And peace at the last,

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

St Jerome

We have just celebrated the 1600th anniversary of the death of St. Jerome. As the leading biblical scholar, Jerome was given the task of translating the Bible from the Hebrew and Greek originals into the common language (Vulgate), i.e. Latin.  He is seen in many ways as the father of biblical scholarship though it has to be said he is building on a foundation laid by others in both the eastern and western church.

More recently, just ten years ago, Pope Benedict XVI gave his Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, as his response to the work of the Synod of Bishops in 2008 on the ‘Word of God in the life and mission of the Church’. The celebratory year ‘2020 The God who Speaks’ was inspired by this double anniversary.  

A new Apostolic Letter SCRIPTURAE SACRAE AFFECTUS has unexpectedly been issued to mark this occasion.

 

It begins, ‘Devotion to sacred Scripture, a “living and tender love” for the written word of God: this is the legacy that Saint Jerome bequeathed to the Church by his life and labours.’ The 2020 project is all about that devotion to sacred scripture in the life of the individual, the Church and the world. Most of all, it is a great boost as we approach the beginning of a new liturgical year on the first Sunday of Advent   – the year of Mark.

No doubt I shall write more about this letter and ‘The God Who Speaks’ project. Another topic will be the encyclical from Pope Francis ‘Fratelli Tutti’.

 

During the next few weeks, amid the lockdown and restrictions caused by Covid -19 there will be plenty to reflect upon.

The Apostolic letter is short and can be found on http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_letters/documents/papa-francesco-lettera-ap_20200930_scripturae-sacrae-affectus.html

Another text to look at is the new Directory for Catechesis which renews and refreshes the emphasis on the place of Scriptures as the foundation of personal renewal, formation and worship.

A constant is reading the Bible to find its function in the role of evangelisation.

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