Wednesday, 24 February 2010


This Homily was preached by Archbishop Bernard Longley at the Ordination of Bishop Mark Davies
On this rock I will build my Church.

As we gather here at St Anthony’s today there is a powerful sense of expectancy. A hope has been born within us that is about to be fulfilled – a promise has been received and it is going to be kept. The foundation for our hope is the word of Christ himself when he assures us: I will build my Church. This building of the Church is first and foremost the work of our Lord himself – nihil sine Christo - and he continues to build up the body of his faithful in each generation and in every place through the power of the Holy Spirit. This hope is fulfilled anew in the Episcopal Ordination of Mgr Mark Davies.

We are aware as Catholics of the way that this promise of Christ’s has been kept faithfully and continuously within the Church from that moment when it was first uttered by our Lord at Caesarea Philippi in front of Simon Peter and the disciples. His promise will have been a source of hope and strength to them as they began the mission that he had entrusted to them. It is a blessing for us that the Evangelist has recorded and highlighted the promise and intention of Christ so that it stands before us in our own day, and continues to strengthen our hope at this important moment in the life of the Diocese of Shrewsbury.

I will build my Church. This is the intention of the Lord both for the Church of this diocese and for the Church that is spread throughout the world. What is to happen here in our presence is central to the life of the local Church but it is also significant within the life of the universal Church. A new bishop will be ordained for the service of God’s people in Shrewsbury diocese and will also take his place alongside the college of bishops who are united with the successor of Peter. We will never forget that our Lord’s words always draw us into the presence of the apostle Peter whenever we hear him say: upon this rock I will build my Church.

For this reason Bishop Brian will ask if there is a mandate from the Holy See when the new bishop is presented – and that is why the presence of our Apostolic Nuncio is precious to us as the Holy Father’s representative on this occasion. As Mgr Mark is ordained bishop he is bound in faith and sacramental life and dedicated service not only to those entrusted to his care but also, alongside the bishops, with the successor of Peter who will support and strengthen him as a brother.

Dear Bishop-elect Mark, in the introduction to our Service Books today you have written about the impact upon yourself of being with all the bishops on our recent Ad Limina visit to Rome, and in particular about what it meant for you and Bishop Brian to meet with Pope Benedict. You highlight the significance of beginning your new ministry on the Feast of the Chair of St Peter - that chair around which we were all so recently gathered on our pilgrimage – and the importance of celebrating that vital bond of faith and loyalty with the Holy See which unites us today in the closest communion with the Successor of the Apostle Peter, our Holy Father, the Pope.

Even before your Episcopal Ordination, during those remarkable days in Rome, you have already experienced the bonds of faith and affection that unite us as bishops together. Now you will share in the same ministry alongside Bishop Brian, maintaining unity among the priests, religious and lay faithful of this diocese as the Word of God is proclaimed and the Sacraments are celebrated for the up-building of the Church.

The Episcopal Ordination is an important symbolic moment for the ordering of the life of the Church of Shrewsbury Diocese. But it is more than that, for it is a Sacramental moment too – a moment in which a gift is offered on our behalf by Christ to his Father and at the same time transformed by the Holy Spirit’s power and returned to us for our benefit. Today the gift that is offered and again transformed is the priestly life and witness of the new bishop himself, as he becomes more fully configured to the Priesthood of Christ.

It is Christ who brings about this change, fashioning a ministry that is new for the service of his people here and a new reality in the life of the man who is being ordained. At the deepest level the Sacrament of Orders re-orients the direction of our lives, setting what the Church has sometimes spoken of as the imprint of a character upon the soul. It is a change that only Christ could bring about within us by the power of his Holy Spirit - a change that reveals itself in the ministry beginning today.

Such a change at the level of identity is also reflected in the familiar and beautiful exchange between our Lord and St Peter in St Matthew’s Gospel. We see a moment of recognition and revelation as our Lord looks not only into Peter’s eyes but surely into his soul. Who do you say I am? It is a question asking whoever answers to search deeply within, and to continue searching until he find Peter’s affirmation: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

When God’s grace enables us to recognise the Christ it also reveals to us our own true identity and mission: So now I say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. In finding Christ Peter now finds himself and sees more deeply into his calling. It belongs only to Christ to bind and loose on earth and in heaven, yet now Peter is to share this influence upon human lives.

The same Christ now calls Bishop Mark to find himself truly in his new ministry and among the priests and people to whom he has been sent. By the laying-on of hands and the prayer of the Church our Lord shares the fullness of his Priesthood so that he can build his Church afresh in this place and for this generation of his faithful – and he builds his Church by sending another shepherd and teacher to lead and nourish his holy people.

In a few minutes time the new bishop will receive from Bishop Brian the pastoral staff as a sign that he is called to keep watch over the whole flock. He may grasp that staff with confidence because he has also been called to follow the Good Shepherd, leading his people Christ-ward. On the Feast of the Chair of St Peter Bishop Mark will be taken to sit upon his chair as teacher of the faith. He may always speak with assurance once he has bowed his head in trust beneath the Book of the Gospels.

St Matthew’s Gospel tells us that our Lord put his question to Peter and the disciples in the region of Caesarea Philippi. Opinions vary as to the exact location and perhaps it doesn’t matter very much. Even so, at the spot known today as Banias and often identified with the scene, a rock-face that is sheer and imposing towers up to a great height. At its foot many springs pour out and become one of the sources of the River Jordan.

The rock on which Christ builds his Church is not only firm but it is life-giving, the source of grace pouring out like living waters to refresh and heal. As sacramental grace now changes Bishop Mark’s life may his ministry as bishop always be dependable as he confirms the faith of others – may it also be the source of refreshment and healing, bringing Christ’s life and light to the flock entrusted to his care throughout the years that lie ahead.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


The final installment of photos from Bishop Davies Consecration.

Monday, 22 February 2010


Photos from the Ordination today - 22nd February - The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter.

Sunday, 21 February 2010


Please for Monsignor Mark Davies who will be consecrated as coadjutor bishop of Shrewsbury tomorrow.

Monday, 8 February 2010


It's that time of year again!!! As usual there will be a Deanery Pilgrimage (as part of the Diocesan Pilgrimage) to Lourdes this summer.
Friday 30th July—Friday 6th August

As usual there will be a Deanery Pilgrimage (as part of the Diocesan Pilgrimage) to Lourdes this summer. The cost is: £645.00 per person. For those wishing to have a single room, the single room supplement is £190.

We are travelling with Options Travel—and the price includes scheduled flights—Manchester to Toulouse (with BMIBaby), coach transfer to and from Lourdes and full board at the Hotel Paradis. In addition to the above cost there will be a coach from the Bury area of the Deanery to Manchester Airport and back (costings yet to be finalised depending on numbers).

For booking forms and full details please contact Guardian Angels Parish Office on 0161 764 1630 as soon as possible.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


At our lunchtime Mass today we were joined by staff and pupils from St Ambrose College in Hale Barn. Some of the students sang at the Mass and all participated in the traditional Blessing of Throats in honour of St Blaise.
After Mass we went to the local Italian Restaurant ''Verona'' for lunch. Unfortunately the photos taken during Mass are too small to put on the blog. I include here some photos taken over lunch.


This morning I celebrated Mass at St Joseph and St Bede Primary School. The Mass was part of the Year Three children's preparation for First Holy Communion. Today being the Feast of St Blaise we concluding our Mass withthe traditional blessing of Throats.
Included in this post are some pictures of our celebration.

Monday, 1 February 2010


The traditonal blessing of throats in honour of St Blaise will take place after the 12:15pm Mass at St. Marie's on Wednesday.

At this Mass we will also welcome students and staff from St Ambrose College, Altrincham who will be singing at the Mass.


Of your charity please pray for the happy repose of the soul of:
Michael Brown
who died recently.
May he rest in peace


On Sunday 24th January we marked the end of the Week of prayer for Christian Unity with a service at St. Marie's church.

Opening Hymn
Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy scepter claim,
All in Heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign.

Hark! the loud celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord.

Holy Father, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit, Three we name Thee;
While in essence only One,
Undivided God we claim Thee;
And adoring bend the knee,
While we own the mystery.

Spare Thy people, Lord, we pray,
By a thousand snares surrounded:
Keep us without sin today,
Never let us be confounded.
Lo, I put my trust in Thee;
Never, Lord, abandon me.

Introduction and Renewal of Baptismal Promises

Our service tonight begins at the font where the Sacrament of Baptism is celebrated. As we come to the close of this Unity week we reflect on what unites, rather than divides us.

Priest: Dear friends in Christ,
we are united as brothers and sisters in the Lord
by our common baptism
let us renew the promises we made at baptism
when we rejected Satan and his works.
And so I ask:

Priest: Do you reject sin,
so as to live in the freedom of God's children?
All: I do.

Priest: Do you reject the glamour of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin?
All: I do.

Priest: Do you reject Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness?
All: I do.

Priest: Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
All: I do.

Priest: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?
All: I do.

Priest: Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
All: I do.

As a reminder of the waters of baptism the priest now goes through the church sprinkling the people with baptismal water

Priest: Almighty God
who anointed Jesus at his baptism with the Holy Spirit
and revealed him as your beloved Son:
inspire us your children,
who are born of water and the Spirit,
to surrender our lives to your service
that we may rejoice to be called children of God.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord.
All: Amen.

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading – A reading from the Prophet Ezekiel 36:24-28

The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want.
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth meT
he quiet waters by.

My soul He doth restore again;
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
Even for His own Name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill;
For Thou art with me;
and Thy rodAnd staff my comfort still.

My table Thou hast furnishèd
In presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.

Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me;
And in God’s house forevermore
My dwelling place shall be.

Second Reading - A reading from the Letter to the Romans 6:1-11

Gospel (please stand)
Priest: The Lord be with you
People: And also with you
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
People: Glory to you Lord

At the end of the Gospel

Priest: This is the gospel of the Lord
People: Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ



These prayers are taken from the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom and form part of the Byzantine Liturgical Tradition of the Church. In accordance with that tradition the intercessions are sung.

Priest: In peace let us pray to the Lord.
People: Lord have mercy.
For the peace from on high and for the salvation of our souls,
let us pray to the Lord.
People: Lord have mercy.
For the peace of the whole world, for the well being of the holy Churches of God and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.
People: Lord have mercy.
For His Holiness, our Universal Pontiff Benedict, the Pope of Rome,
let us pray to the Lord.
People: Lord have mercy.
For our primate, the most eminent and most reverend Lord, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, Cormac; for our most reverend Archbishop and Metropolitan Patrick; for our God-loving Bishop, Terence, for the reverend Priesthood, the Diaconate in Christ, for the clergy and people, let us pray to the Lord.
People: Lord have mercy.
Priest: For our Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth and all the royal family, for the High Court of Parliament, for our present government, and for all the armed forces of the crown, let us pray to the Lord.
People: Lord have mercy.
Priest: For this town, for every city and countryside, and for the faithful who live in them, let us pray to the Lord.
People: Lord have mercy.
Priest: For favourable weather, for an abundance of fruits of the earth and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord.
People: Lord have mercy.
Priest: For those travelling by land, sea or air, for the sick, the suffering, the imprisoned, and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord.
People: Lord have mercy.
For the souls of those who throughout the ages have fallen asleep in the true faith, and in the hope of resurrection and eternal life: our forebears and brethren, the founders and benefactors of this holy church, our parents and families, those who lie buried or who are listed here, and all true Christians everywhere, and for their blessed repose, let us to the Lord.
People: Lord have mercy.
Priest: That they may stand blameless before the fearful judgement seat of Christ, and may gain entry into the land of the living, the place of light, where the just repose, let us pray to the Lord.
People: Lord have mercy.
Priest: That we be delivered from all affliction, wrath and need, let us pray to the Lord.
People: Lord have mercy.
Priest: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and protect us, O Lord, by Your grace.
People: Lord have mercy.
Priest: As we remember our most holy, immaculate, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, the righteous ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna, together with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.
People: To You, O Lord.
Priest: For to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is due all glory, honour and adoration, now and always and unto the ages of ages.
People: Amen.
Priest: Obedient to the words of our Saviour and formed by his divine teaching we are bold to say:
Our Father...

Priest: Lord
hear the prayers of your people
and bring the hearts of believers together in your praise Heal all divisions among Christians
that we may rejoice in the perfect unity of Your Church and move together as one to eternal life in Your kingdom
We ask this through Christ Our Lord.
All: Amen.

Blessing and Dismissal

Final Hymn

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!
Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice;
Tender to me the promise of His Word;
In God my Savior shall my heart rejoice.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of His Name!
Make known His might, the deeds His arm has done;
His mercy sure, from age to age the same;
His holy Name, the Lord, the mighty One.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of His might!
Powers and dominions lay their glory by;
Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight;
The hungry fed, the humble lifted high.

Tell out, my soul, the glories of His Word!
Firm is His promise, and His mercy sure.
Tell out my soul, the greatness of the Lord
To children’s children and for evermore!


Am still waiting for the go ahead from the insurance to begin work on the roof. I understand the cost of the work will be in the region of £5,000 plus VAT. The parish will have to pay the first £1,000 of the claim.
If you know any rich, lapsed Catholics who might want to assauge their consciences for not having been to Mass in sometime then tell them to make their cheques payable to St. Marie's.


I returned from my break on the evening of Friday 22nd in time to offer the Extra Ordinary Form of the Mass. I went into church to prepare for Mass to find the carpet area near the tabernacle saturated through. When I asked my friend who was looking after the place what had happened he told me that some ruffians had stolen the lead from the roof.
Not only was the carpet by the tabernacle wet through, but the kitchen and bolier room of the parish centre were also sodden due to the ingress of water from the hole left by the missing lead (see picture).
On the Monday morning I contacted the insurance people who sent round a loss adjustor to have a look and write a report. To cut a long story short I am in the process of getting quotations to have the roof fixed. In the meantime it continues to rain...


I managed to have a few days break at couple of weeks ago. I went down to see a friend of mine in the Diocese of Clifton. As is becoming the norm these days, my friend Fr. Philip Thomas also serves two parishes. One in the lovely Cathedral City of Wells and the other eight miles away in Shepton Mallet.

Using his parish as a base I was able to visit some of the surrounding areas: The Benedictine Abbey at Buckfast (no I didn't sample their famous tonic wine), the village of Morebath made famous by a book entitled ''The Voices of Morebath'' by the church historian, Eamon Duffy. We also had a trip to Oxford where we spent more money than sense on books and cd's.

All in all I had a lovely time and came back to the parish refreshed ready to take up my duties once again.

In this post there are pictures of Wells Cathedral and Morebath Parish Church.