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Saturday 8th February: – A day with Mary

1virgin

See  here for details for what promises to be a day of Blessings and spiritual growth through Our Lady.

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A fitting ‘BIG society’ award for the St. Vincent de Paul Society:- they turn concern into action.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink;

I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me!

I was ill and you comforted me; in prison and you came to me!”

Matthew 25: 35-36

St Vincent de PaulREAD  at  CHRISTIAN TODAY

David Cameron today recognised the work of the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) in the Big Society Awards of 2014.

“The St Vincent de Paul Society turns concern into action,” he said. “The society’s incredible number of volunteers build on a 200-year history of lending a practical hand to support those in need.”

“I’m delighted to recognise all 10,000 St Vincent de Paul volunteers, and the staff who support them to do their vital work, with this Big Society Award.”

Adrian Abel, National President of the SVP, said: “It is so appropriate that this award has come in the bicentenary year of our founder’s birth. The award recognises the work of our 10,000 volunteers who give around one million hours of voluntary service, by befriending people with needs in our community.”

“The SVP provides practical opportunities for people to turn their concern into action, truly a Society with a big heart.”

The SVP is open about being motivated by faith in God.  It primarily works to support the lonely and people in need of practical assistance, and its giving includes befriending and providing food parcels, clothes and furniture.

In 2013, SVP volunteers made over half a million visits to nearly 90,000 individuals and families across England and Wales.

Those helped included the housebound, older people, hospital patients, those in residential care homes, travellers, the homeless, refugees and people with mental health disorders.

They also co-ordinate school and university volunteer groups, provide debt advice, and run over 40 shops in economically disadvantaged areas.

One volunteer gave an example of their work.

“We arrived, half an hour after our usual visiting time, rang the bell and waited. After a few minutes, Mr Mercer, frail and in his late eighties, opened the door,” they explained.

“I thought he looked rather upset and I was afraid we were interrupting something. Then, to my surprise, Mr Mercer leaned his forehead against the wall of the hall and with his shoulders shaking he started to sob quietly.

“I could hear the TV somewhere and I didn’t know what to do. I said ‘are you alright Mr Mercer?’ He replied ‘Yes, yes. I just thought that no-one was going to come to see me tonight.’

“Our visit may be the only contact someone has had with another person since the previous week. We may feel we don’t do much during a visit, but this is an extraordinary testimony to how much it is appreciated.”

Fitting recognition for a Society who work tirelessly for the benefit of the marginalised, forgotten and downtrodden. Fitting too as the feast day for  St. Vincent de Paul is 22nd of January.

stvincent

Saint Vincent De Paul Society provides clothing, food, household goods, transportation, and utility emergency assistance to the poor and needy in the community.regardless of religion, race, or nationality

  • Do you support the SVP Society at your parish? You may be doing so without even knowing that you are.
  • Do you know which causes the SVP is supporting?
  • Do you know anyone on the SVP committee at your parish? If not , make it your job to find out.

dePaul

Not until the Baptism of the Lord!..and then Spiritually until Candlemas.

imgae@

imgae@orthodoxcatholicism.com

Christmas does not  begin in October,November or in December but at Midnight Mass on the 24th of December. So when does Christmastide come to an end then? Judging by some reactions, pretty much 3 days after Christmas, when all the decorations are put back in the loft and ‘duties’ around Christmas festivities are over. Sadly though this is not the case at all.

Christmas falls on 25th December. We mark the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth. Church and ancient custom then add a twelve-day follow-up season up to Epiphany, which in 2014 was celebrated on 5th January. However, liturgically speaking, the season of Christmastide lasts until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (today ,12th January) and “Ordinary Time” does not commence until after this day. In some traditions, Christmas further continues until the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple  (Candlemas) on 2nd February . 

Simeon takes Jesus in his arms and praises God: “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation...

Simeon takes Jesus in his arms and praises God: “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation…

The entire Christmas Cycle is a crescendo of Christ’s manifesting Himself as God and King — to the shepherds, to the Magi, at His Baptism, to Simeon and the prophetess, Anna (Luke 2).  

The days from the Feast of the Nativity to the Epiphany are known as “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” with Christmas itself being the first day, and Twelfth Night — 5 January — being the last of the twelve days. Christmastide liturgically ends on 13 January, the Octave of the Epiphany and the Baptism of Christ. But Christmas doesn’t end spiritually – i.e., the celebration of the events of Christ’s life as a child don’t end, and the great Christmas Cycle doesn’t end — until Candlemas on 2 February.

candlemas1

The Presentation

In this way, just as From Ash Wednesday on, we commemorate Christ in the desert for forty days, and just as after Easter we celebrate for forty days until the Ascension, after Christmas we celebrate the Child Jesus for forty days — all through the season of Time After Epiphany — until Candlemas.

The delineation of those Christ Child celebrations looks like this:

  • Christmas
    Christ is born
  • Feast of the Holy Innocents
    Herod slaughters the baby boys in order to kill the Christ Child
  • The Circumcision (the Octave of Christmas)
    Jesus follows the Law
  • Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
    After He is circumcised, He is named and becomes a part of the Holy Family
  • Twelfth Night 
    The Twelve Days of Christmas as a Feast come to an end
  • Feast of the Epiphany
    Jesus reveals His divinity to the three Magi, and during His Baptism, and at the wedding at Cana
  • Baptism of Our Lord/Octave of the Epiphany
    Christmas liturgically ends with the Octave of the Epiphany.
  • Feast of the Holy Family
    Jesus condescends to be subject to His parents
  • Feast of the Purification (Candlemas)
    40 days after giving birth, Mary goes to the Temple to be purified and to “redeem” Jesus per the Old Testament Law of the firstborn. Christmas truly ends as a Season with Candlemas.

Let friends and family know about this and continue to celebrate the Nativity of our  Lord and Saviour until the 2nd of February.

Are YOU brave enough?

Image@cathypeasefacebookpage

Image@cathypeasefacebookpage

 

‘ Kolbe’s Gift.’ Valuable nuggets of Faith, shared centre-stage.

 

‘KOLBE’S GIFT’ is a play that is challenging and thought provoking. I booked thickets to see it way back in July, as I knew that the demand for tickets would be great.  I was not mistaken. The demand to see this production forced the provision of another showing .

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Blessed Maximillian is one of my favourite saints and the play forced me to look at his life from a different perspective:  How did his gift of life to Franciszek Gajownicek  (his fellow prisoner in the concentration camp at Auschwitz) impact on the survivor’s lfe? And more importantly:- How is his gift of life to Franciszek Gajownicek impacting on my life?

imageHere is a summary of his story at Auschwitz as written at Courage.net

To discourage escapes, the Auschwitz had a rule that if a man escaped, ten prisoners would be killed in response. In July 1941, the Nazis thought a man from Kolbe’s bunker had escaped. (After this incident, the “escaped” prisoner was found drowned in the camp latrine.)

“The fugitive has not been found!” the commandant Karl Fritsch screamed. “So ten of you will die in his place in the starvation bunker.”  Ten men were selected, including Franciszek Gajowniczek, who had been imprisoned for helping the Polish Resistance.  When he was selected, Franciszek could not help but cry out, “My wife! My poor children! What will they do?”

Suddenly and silently, Maximilian Kolbe stepped forward. Astounded, the Nazi commandant asked,“What does this Polish pig want?”  Maximilian took off his cap, and stood before the Commandant and requested, “I am a Catholic Priest from Poland; I would like to take this man’s place because he has a wife and children.”

The Commandant remained silent for a moment, then accepted the request. The Nazis had more use for a young worker than for an old Priest. So Franciszek Gajowniczek was returned to the ranks, and Maximilian took his place.

Soon after Kolbe was thrown with 9 other men into the starvation bunker and left to die.  One by one, the men died of hunger and thirst.  After two weeks, only four were left alive.  But since the cell was needed for new prisoners, the camp executioner came in and injected a lethal dose of carbolic acid into the left arm of each of the four remaining men. And soon it was all over…

So Father Maximilian Kolbe was executed on August 14, 1941, at the age of forty-seven, a martyr of charity.  His body was removed to the crematorium, and without dignity or ceremony, disposed of.

An excellent portrait of the people surrounding Blessed Kolbe’s life at the concentration camp was meticulously painted, line by line, details that would come together as a unified whole as the meaning of the gift of his life, for Franciszek Gajownicek’s played out in front of us. My heart went out to Franciszek and his wife as they struggled with the doubt and derision of acquaintances as he told the story of  Fr. Maximillian’s sacrifice over and over again.

Franciszek Gajowniczek

   

Franciszek Gajowniczek lived a full life, dying on March 13, 1995, in Poland at the age of 95… 53 years after Kolbe had saved him from execution.  Franciszek never forgot the priest. After his release from Auschwitz, Gajowniczek spent the next five decades paying homage to Father Kolbe. Every year on August 14 he went back to Auschwitz and honoured the man who died on his behalf.

The nuggets which I took away with me: 

  • Stand up for what you know to be true, proudly and without faltering.
  • Live out your Faith. Even unto death.
  • You are either a Christian with convictions, or you are an empty vessel, worth little. Truth will endure.
  • The blood of the martyrs is the seed of Faith.
  • You have nothing to fear if you believe in Jesus.
  • I too have a job to do. I will play a part in a story that I do not know is unfolding, however small.
  • God will use me.

The story of Blessed Maximillian Kolbe can be bought from CTS publications. It is based upon his writings and first-hand testimonies from people who knew him., many of whom the author Fr. James E. McCurry, has known and interviewed.

The release of this play this week is not coincidental. This story marries beautifully with the readings of today.

(Readings taken from Universalis- emphasis mine)

Second reading 2 Timothy 1:6-8,13-14 ©
I am reminding you to fan into a flame the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. God’s gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power, and love, and self-control. So you are never to be ashamed of witnessing to the Lord, or ashamed of me for being his prisoner; but with me, bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News, relying on the power of God.
Keep as your pattern the sound teaching you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. You have been trusted to look after something precious; guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

 

A ‘must-have’ read.

I purchased this book last year as a digital copy and then almost immediately purchased a hard copy because is is such a wonderful book to ‘have and to hold close’ (in your hands and in your heart!) This is a book I will be purchasing as gifts  for friends and family.

THE BETTER PART, buy Fr John Bartunek

image@http://live.regnumchristi.org/

image@http://live.regnumchristi.org/

is a’ Christ-centred resource for personal prayer.’ It is changing my relationship with Jesus and is helping me through the most difficult time of my Journey to Christ to date. My prayer life is becoming deeper and more meaningful. I feel prepared and eager for a meeting  with the Lord every day.

It’s the only book that has shared with me a 4 step structure to personal meditation, making my prayer life more intimate and meaningful for me.

Here are some titbits to whet your appetite:

  1. ‘ Jesus has made the appointment to meet  with you in prayer’ –  In other words it’s no accident that I am yearning to be closer to Jesus and that a deeply personal relationship is one that I want so much with Him, because he yearns for the same relationship with me. He is the one calling me to prayer.
  2. ‘ Among the most basic prayer commitments is one that can have more bearing on your life that any other, because is is more personalised: the daily meditation.’ - I do much spiritual reading to find out more about my Faith and my Lord and Saviour, I need to keep a daily meeting with my Lord for the sole purpose of getting to know Him better and to recommit myself to uncovering His will for my life. I realise that there is a difference between spiritual reading and meditation in that even the readings of the day can become spiritual reading, and not so much a meditative reading if I merely read them as part of a routine day in and day out. In order to get to know the Lord more intimately and to unwrap His will for my life, His messages for me alone, I need to excavate what’s in the Gospel with tenacity and purpose. This is done through meditation and prayer over the Gospels.
  3. ‘Prayer is similar to walking. To walk everyone has to follow the same principles of physics- friction, gravity, muscle propulsion, momentum. And yet, even though the principles are the same, everyone’s walk is a little bit different. When babies learn to walk, they start out clumsy and awkward, until they develop the rhythm and style proper to their body type, personality, and environment. Meditation follows a similar pattern: the same principles for all, activated uniquely by each. The Better Part can help you wherever you happen to be on the spectrum.’ 

images

If any one of you have read this amazing book please comment on how you have found it deepening your relationship with Jesus. I intend to post more on this book as I read on.

the Story of Mary and MArtha: Mary is doing 'the better part', listening to the Lord's teaching.

In the Story of Mary and Martha: Mary is doing ‘the better part’, listening to the Lord’s teaching.

‘So here I stand, one girl among many…’

Malala Yousafzai (16) made a speech at the UN, asking world leaders to ensure every child’s right to an education.
This was the first-ever set of education policy recommendations written for youth, by youth.
“So here I stand… one girl among many.
I speak – not for myself, but for all girls and boys.
I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.”
Hero_Malala_QUOTE

Below is the full text of Malala Yousafzai’s speech at the United Nations

In the name of God, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.
Honourable UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-moon,
Respected President General Assembly Vuk Jeremic
Honourable UN envoy for Global education Mr Gordon Brown,
Respected elders and my dear brothers and sisters;
Today, it is an honour for me to be speaking again after a long time. Being here with such honourable people is a great moment in my life.
I don’t know where to begin my speech. I don’t know what people would be expecting me to say. But first of all, thank you to God for whom we all are equal and thank you to every person who has prayed for my fast recovery and a new life. I cannot believe how much love people have shown me. I have received thousands of good wish cards and gifts from all over the world. Thank you to all of them. Thank you to the children whose innocent words encouraged me. Thank you to my elders whose prayers strengthened me.
I would like to thank my nurses, doctors and all of the staff of the hospitals in Pakistan and the UK and the UAE government who have helped me get better and recover my strength. I fully support Mr Ban Ki-moon the Secretary-General in his Global Education First Initiative and the work of the UN Special Envoy Mr Gordon Brown.  And I thank them both for the leadership they continue to give. They continue to inspire all of us to action.
Dear brothers and sisters, do remember one thing. Malala day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights. There are hundreds of Human rights activists and social workers who are not only speaking for human rights, but who are struggling to achieve their goals of education, peace and equality. Thousands of people have been killed by the terrorists and millions have been injured. I am just one of them.
So here I stand…    one girl among many.
I speak – not for myself, but for all girls and boys.
I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.
Those who have fought for their rights:
Their right to live in peace.
Their right to be treated with dignity.
Their right to equality of opportunity.
Their right to be educated.
Dear Friends, on the 9th of October 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends too. They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed. And then, out of that silence came, thousands of voices. The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.  I am the same Malala. My ambitions are the same. My hopes are the same. My dreams are the same.
Dear sisters and brothers, I am not against anyone. Neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorists group. I am here to speak up for the right of education of every child. I want education for the sons and the daughters of all the extremists especially the Taliban.
I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hand and he stands in front of me. I would not shoot him. This is the compassion that I have learnt from Muhammad-the prophet of mercy, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha. This is the legacy of change that I have inherited from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. This is the philosophy of non-violence that I have learnt from Gandhi Jee, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa. And this is the forgiveness that I have learnt from my mother and father. This is what my soul is telling me, be peaceful and love everyone.
Dear sisters and brothers, we realise the importance of light when we see darkness. We realise the importance of our voice when we are silenced. In the same way, when we were in Swat, the north of Pakistan, we realised the importance of pens and books when we saw the guns.
The wise saying, “The pen is mightier than sword” was true. The extremists are afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them. And that is why they killed 14 innocent medical students in the recent attack in Quetta. And that is why they killed many female teachers and polio workers in Khyber Pukhtoon Khwa and FATA. That is why they are blasting schools every day.  Because they were and they are afraid of change, afraid of the equality that we will bring into our society.
I remember that there was a boy in our school who was asked by a journalist, “Why are the Taliban against education?” He answered very simply. By pointing to his book he said, “A Talib doesn’t know what is written inside this book.” They think that God is a tiny, little conservative being who would send girls to the hell just because of going to school. The terrorists are misusing the name of Islam and Pashtun society for their own personal benefits. Pakistan is peace-loving democratic country. Pashtuns want education for their daughters and sons. And Islam is a religion of peace, humanity and brotherhood. Islam says that it is not only each child’s right to get education, rather it is their duty and responsibility.
Honourable Secretary General, peace is necessary for education. In many parts of the world especially Pakistan and Afghanistan; terrorism, wars and conflicts stop children to go to their schools. We are really tired of these wars. Women and children are suffering in many parts of the world in many ways. In India, innocent and poor children are victims of child labour. Many schools have been destroyed in Nigeria. People in Afghanistan have been affected by the hurdles of extremism for decades. Young girls have to do domestic child labour and are forced to get married at early age. Poverty, ignorance, injustice, racism and the deprivation of basic rights are the main problems faced by both men and women.
Dear fellows, today I am focusing on women’s rights and girls’ education because they are suffering the most. There was a time when women social activists asked men to stand up for their rights. But, this time, we will do it by ourselves. I am not telling men to step away from speaking for women’s rights rather I am focusing on women to be independent to fight for themselves.
Dear sisters and brothers, now it’s time to speak up.
So today, we call upon the world leaders to change their strategic policies in favour of peace and prosperity.
We call upon the world leaders that all the peace deals must protect women and children’s rights. A deal that goes against the dignity of women and their rights is unacceptable.
We call upon all governments to ensure free compulsory education for every child all over the world.
We call upon all governments to fight against terrorism and violence, to protect children from brutality and harm.
We call upon the developed nations to support the expansion of educational opportunities for girls in the developing world.
We call upon all communities to be tolerant – to reject prejudice based on cast, creed, sect, religion or gender. To ensure freedom and equality for women so that they can flourish. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.
We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave – to embrace the strength within themselves and realise their full potential.
Dear brothers and sisters, we want schools and education for every child’s bright future. We will continue our journey to our destination of peace and education for everyone. No one can stop us. We will speak for our rights and we will bring change through our voice. We must believe in the power and the strength of our words. Our words can change the world.
Because we are all together, united for the cause of education. And if we want to achieve our goal, then let us empower ourselves with the weapon of knowledge and let us shield ourselves with unity and togetherness.
Dear brothers and sisters, we must not forget that millions of people are suffering from poverty, injustice and ignorance. We must not forget that millions of children are out of schools. We must not forget that our sisters and brothers are waiting for a bright peaceful future.
So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons.
One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world.
Education is the only solution. Education First.”

 

 

Catholic England.

I came across this video clip on Catholicism Pure and Simple and thought it deserves to be shared in this space. I’m not a follower of Michael Voris, but this clip made me stop in my tracks and think about the implications of what he is saying about Catholicism in England and world-wide. Off the bat, I admit to being downhearted and filled with dismay at the sad picture he is painting about Catholicism generally. I proceed, sharing my thoughts and feelings about his  brush strokes.

Mr. Voris claims that there is a ‘philosophical and ideological war’ being waged between faithful Modernists and a growing  following that are proud to be known as Traditionalists on this English Isle.  He goes on to say that the contemporary Modernist, trendy Liberalist Christians  are dying away and that there is no sign of growth or vitality within modern day Catholicism here in England, other than a slow trickle of those  who are moving towards Traditional  Masses. I believe this trickle towards Traditionalism it’s a good sign.

He points to the article from the Economist to support his views

I quote from the Economist article Michael Voris refers to; 

…the congregation is young and international. Like evangelical Christianity, traditional Catholicism is attracting people who were not even born when the Second Vatican Council tried to rejuvenate the church. Traditionalist groups have members in 34 countries, including Hong Kong, South Africa and Belarus. Juventutem, a movement for young Catholics who like the old ways, boasts scores of activists in a dozen countries. Traditionalists use blogs, websites and social media to spread the word—and to highlight recalcitrant liberal dioceses and church administrators, who have long seen the Latinists as a self-indulgent, anachronistic and affected minority. In Colombia 500 people wanting a traditional mass had to use a community hall (they later found a church).

This ‘movement of young Catholics who like the old ways’ is to me  an encouraging sign , in that the youth are not easily swayed. They think for themselves and see right through farcical arguments. They recognise Authenticity for what it is:- Right and True. They wear their knowledge on their sleeves and are proud to share it.

Looking back over the last 12 years, my family and I have been blessed to be members of a strong and established parish, thanks to the dedication and foresight of our parish priest. He is a stickler for doing everything properly, which has led to undue criticism from those who feel  as though they are being spoken to in a ‘condescending manner’ after being reminded that:

  1. the at Mass it’s unacceptable to walk in after the Gospel has been read,
  2. or that it reflects poor manners to leave Mass straight after Communion,
  3. that when you enter the Church building you should do so in a quiet manner because it is a place set aside for prayer and worship,
  4. and that after Mass you should leave in silence out of consideration for those who are remaining behind  in prayer.

While my better half and I have grown to love and appreciate ‘Fr. Brown’s’ direct approach to how things are to be respected planned and executed, others have decided that his ‘nit-picking’ has driven them to leave the parish for ‘greener pastures.’  We’re proud of  our Pastor for being strong and unafraid of upholding  basic principles of behaviour expected in a Catholic church anywhere in the world.’ Fr. Brown’s ‘ tenacity and strength of character are the attributes that the thinking Catholic will be drawn to.

Portrait of G.K. Chesterton by Timothy Jones--see more of his art at http://timothyjones.typepad.com/timothy_jones_daily_paint/ This painting was used on the cover of "In Defense of Sanity", a collection of essays by G.K. Chesterton.

Portrait of G.K. Chesterton by Timothy Jones–see more of his art at http://timothyjones.typepad.com/timothy_jones_daily_paint/
This painting was used on the cover of “In Defense of Sanity”, a collection of essays by G.K. Chesterton.

I take offence at Voris’s claim to the lack of growth or vitality  within Catholicism here: he is obviously unaware of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal which is alive and well, boasting growing numbers  at annual  Catholic week-long conferences such as ‘New Dawn‘ and ‘Celebrate’the excellent work done by the Catholic theatre group TEN TENthe wonderful work of the SION community; the tireless work done by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal during the annual  Spirit in the City faith Festival in the heart of London’s West end over 4 days and every other day of the year; the popularity of Youth 2000the growing numbers of youth from England attending World Youth Day celebrations (which includes both those from the Modern and Traditional ‘persuasions’); the birth of  a new Catholic radio station (Heart gives unto Heart) available 24/7; the 80 000 + Catholics who joined the Holy Father in Hyde Park alone not to mention the development of the Catholic Voices organisation developed especially before the Holy Father’s visit to improve the image of Catholicism in the press here in England.

Sure things are changing in Catholicism, but I think, for the better. Papa Francisco points clearly in a new and fresh direction.

Not JUST a Saxon church, but an ancient treasure.

This is the Parish church at Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire, England. It is Warwickshire’s oldest church boasting a ‘Saxon Sanctuary’ Exhibition showing the development of the community over the centuries. An entire Millennium of English church architecture can be seen in this building which is an organised jumble of the interesting and quirky. A ‘must see’, top-ten church.

Stratford Upon Avon May 2013 032

Dating back to the first decades of the eighth century as is proved by the charter of Aethelbald (Saxon king) which mentions the minster which then existed in the area and founded by Aethelric. Its tower dates back to the 900s, if not earlier. It was first established as a missionary church for spreading the Christian faith to the surrounding areas and was inhabited by Benedictine monks at that time. This church was built on the “Wudu Tun” (Wootton) estate near the river Alne which still meanders through the tranquil countryside.

The preservation of historical buildings is paramount in the UK.

The preservation of historical buildings is paramount in the UK.

Today, the remains of this stone church forms the heart of the parish church of St. Peter’s, including the lower two- thirds of the tower and the four arches enclosing the Saxon Sanctuary. As it stands today, St. Peter’s represents almost every stage of English architecture, and its medieval congregation was the first in a long line to raise funds to safeguard the building.

In the barn-roofed Lady Chapel an acclaimed exhibition explores Wootton’s mysterious past, including how it got its very odd name. Wagen (‘Wawen’) was the Saxon lord of the manor a thousand years ago.

 

The  barn roofed Lady Chapel.

The barn roofed Lady Chapel.

Stratford Upon Avon May 2013 085 Visible inscriptions made by past pilgrims to St Peters. Some of these inscriptions are known to have been made by Crusaders.

As we walked in the church spoke loudly of a Catholic past, and as we moved from one part of the church to the next, I felt a deep sadness about all the Catholic churches that were either destroyed or repatriated during the Reformation. I certainly felt a connection with those Catholics who had been there before me.

Ring-fence this Festival in your diaries!

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The Spirit in the City festival is just around the corner…… If you’ve never attended, join in the celebrations on any day from the  12th to the 15th of June. Be part of a growing mass of Catholic Christians who come together to celebrate our Faith in the centre of London.  Not to be missed.

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