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Showing posts from June, 2017

Blessed Teofilius Matulionis, Martyr of Lithuania

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Congratulations to all Lithuanians, especially those in my parish, on the beatification of their first martyr, Blessed Teofilius Matulionis. (1873-1962) He was beatified yesterday in Vilnius

After studying in St Petersburg, Blessed Teofilius was ordained priest in 1900. He worked in various Latvian parishes and in the parish of the Immaculate Heart of Jesus in Saint Petersburg.

He was first put in prison in 1923 because the authorities had just passed a law ordering the confiscation of all Churches. In a humiliating touch so characteristic of totalitarian mind-policing everywhere, parish priests were required to sign the order of confiscation of their own Churches. Blessed Teofilius refused.

He was consecrated Bishop secretly in 1929. Not long after that, he was arrested and deported to the Russian camps in the Solovestky Islands. Here he is after his release in 1933 as a result of a prisoner exchange with Lithuania.


In 1943, Blessed Teofilius was named bishop of Kaišiadorys. After i…

One factor in the growing popularity of traditional biblical and liturgical texts

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Several people have noted that the Vatican's page about scripture directs the faithful to their local episcopal conference, saying "The Holy Bible is available in almost every language on earth: the Episcopal Conferences take care of the continuous updating of the translations. In order to have access to the latest Bible version, kindly consult the website of your Episcopal Conference."


In his post on this matter, Fr Z makes various important points, notably about the Church as authentic interpreter of Holy Scripture. (See: Looking for an approved Catholic version of The Bible? Not much help at this site.) In an update, he notes that the Latin version (neo-Vulgate) is hidden away in another part of the website. Actually, somewhere else the New American Bible (NAB) is also tucked away

Those of us in England and Wales will not find online the (utterly dreadful) Jerusalem Bible translation which is currently in use in most Churches for the readings at Mass, or the older Re…

Father Costigan of Margate and Walmer Castle

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Father Thomas Costigan was posted to the Margate Mission in 1829 and died with his boots on in 1860. His grave is at the cemetery of the shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate. He never quite settled to the establishment of a hierarchy and episcopal control.

He used to walk to sick calls and hail down a passing coach driver if he was fortunate. On one occasion, the driver stopped, but the passengers were not keen on accepting such a fellow. Fr Costigan explained that he it was the Catholic missioner and the passenger, the Anglican Bishop of Exeter accepted him, stopping on the way at Walmer Castle. After the sick call, Fr Costigan was received as a guest by the Duke of Wellington, then Warden of the Cinq Ports, staying the night and returning to Margate the following day.

Hence it has been on my list for some time to pay a visit to Walmer Castle to see both the stopping place of my predecessor, and the home for some time of the great Duke. I was pleased to see the eponymous boots and the…

The healthy notion of reparation

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This evening during Benediction, we said the solemn Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as given in the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum. On the feast of the Sacred Heart, the faithful who participate in this act can gain a plenary indulgence. You might have expected that the indulgenced prayer would be an act of consecration, so it is worth recalling what reparation is all about.

We know that Our Lord was wounded by all our sins. In the Garden of Gethsemane, his soul was "sorrowful even unto death" and He sweated blood. St Luke adds the detail that an angel from heaven strengthened Him. When we offer prayers and penances in reparation for our sins and for the sins of others, we are united to the work of the angel in consoling the heart of Christ.

It is not a question of having a spiritual "day of rage" against all the sins of other people that we can work up ourselves to be cross about. When we offer reparation, it is always first of all for our own sins. Wh…

Celebrating St John Fisher

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We celebrate today the feast of one of my favourite saints: St John Fisher. He is, of course, celebrated together with his friend St Thomas More, who naturally receives more attention because of being a married layman and a great statesman. I do agree with Thomas Craughwell at the National Catholic Register that "Fisher needs is his own version of A Man for All Seasons—a big, gorgeously filmed, beautifully written, destined-to-be-a-classic film, with an all-English cast."

I would suggest Mel Gibson, but somebody would have to stop him from reducing it to a piece of anti-English propaganda with gallons of blood spurting from the holy bishop's neck at the crucial point. Perhaps Sir Ridley Scott (Gladiator etc.) could do something, or Peter Weir (Master and Commander.) Now that Russell Crowe is a little old for the action hero role, could he do a gutsy elderly bishop? Or maybe Sean Bean could graduate from his new priestly persona?

To help film directors understand the dra…

Beautiful photos of FSSP Ordinations

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And the prize for best collection of liturgical photos so far this year goes to... John Aron's magnificent Flickr album for FSSP England. The occasion was the ordination to the sacred priesthood of Fr Stewart and Fr Sanetra at St Mary's Shrine in Warrington by Archbishop McMahon last Saturday.



I was very glad to be able to receive Fr Sanetra's blessing on Sunday. He was at the Shrine of St Augustine where we have our Thanet Deanery Blessed Sacrament Procession each year: this year, of course, he carried the Blessed Sacrament. He had also celebrated his first Mass at the Shrine in the morning. Father has a particular love for the shrine at Ramsgate which was influential on his vocation.

Congratulations to the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter and thanks be to God for two new priests.

Recommended: Calloway's "Champions of the Rosary"

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Fr Donald Calloway in "Champions of the Rosary" gives a substantial account of the history of the Rosary, a collection of briefer chapters on champions of the Rosary, including various saints, blesseds and popes. The third part (which I have not yet read) is a guide to praying the Rosary.

Fr Calloway is a priest of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. His conversion story is action-packed, and he is a tireless promoter of devotion to Our Lady and especially the Rosary.

In the book, he takes some definite positions on controversial matters which was partly what influenced me to buy it when a brother priest recommended it to me. Fr Calloway defends the historical value of the tradition that the Rosary as we know it, with meditations on the mysteries, was revealed to St Dominic by Our Lady. He also defends the Luminous Mysteries. I am concerned that simply by writing that last sentence, I may have put some of you off buying the book - so let me add that Fr Calloway p…

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