Wednesday, 28 March 2012




Chaplet of the Divine Mercy
Blessing of the Image
Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
Veneration of the Relic of St Faustina


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Our gospel presents us with 2 striking ways of thinking about the events that we are about to celebrate in Holy Week and Eastertide. The first is the image of a grain of wheat falling into the ground then yielding a rich harvest.

The second way of thinking about the events of the Lord’s Passover comes from the end of our gospel reading. It is a thought we also had last week from much earlier in St. John’s Gospel, so it must have been something our blessed Saviour said throughout His ministry. “When I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all men o myself.” Last week the Lord said to Nicodemas, “The Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life.”

This striking image of lifting up makes the same point as the grain of wheat. The grain of wheat is planted in the ground and apparently dies and then it sprouts up with a new green shoot growing up to a rich harvest. Despite appearances, something positive is happening. Our Sweet Saviour says the same thing when He describes His Passover as a lifting up. It looks like a series of failures leading to one great tragedy. The crowds that shout “hosanna” at the start of next Sunday’s Mass will shout “Crucify” before we even get as far as the Creed. Jesus seems to fail to win the hearts and minds of the Pharisees and the Temple authorities. One of His own disciples, one of the Twelve, sells Him out. Peter denies Him. Pilate washes his hands of the so called Christ from Galilee and sends Him to His cross. After a gruesome execution the Son of Man is hastily buried in a borrowed grave.

Yet in advance of all this human suffering and pointing us firmly beyond Good Friday to Eastertide, Jesus Christ talks about these events as His Lifting Up. This must become a lens through which to look at the Christian Passover, the Lens of the Lifting Up. We must learn to see that apparent tragedy is only part of a bigger picture. We must see that it is not just on the saving wood of the Cross that this upward movement is to be sought. It is still there as the body is laid in the tomb and Christ’s soul and divinity descend to the realm of the dead. This is the harrowing of hell, ploughing open the graves of people of faith who had not lived to see the Messiah come. The drawing of people to Himself is going on unseen during the quiet hours of Holy Saturday. He is extending His Passover mystery back through time as well as establishing it to endure through time.

Once we learn to look through the Lens of the Lifting Up we can see this same dynamic continuing beyond the resurrection to embrace the Ascension and Pentecost. But we can also turn this Lens upon ourselves and our experience of living the Christian life. We are on an upward journey towards heaven, and the apparent failures and tragedies we encounter must be looked upon as part of our lifting up to join the Lord. The deaths of loved ones are painful and immensely difficult for us, but death is a necessary part of each Christian’s journey towards heaven. The Lens of the Lifting Up helps us to see this through our tears.

Through our tears for the Good Shepherd’s passion, we can sing, “Glory be to Jesus, Who in bitter pains”. We can and we will celebrate His suffering and death as Good Friday, a day not so much of red blood and black looks but of purple and gold., a king lifted up to draw us towards Himself.

We must learn one other thing from this gospel and that is simply to lift up the crucified and risen Christ through our lives so that this upward movement of salvation can be extended to other people also. I do not mean that we must wave crucifixes or statues of the risen Lord at people on soap boxes at the corner of Manchester Road. What I mean is that our living of the Catholic Faith must proclaim Christ as our King and our hope and patience in the face of suffering must reveal to others the unique view we gain through the Lens of the Lifting Up. AMEN.


Last Saturday saw an historic event in the life of te Diocese of Shrewsbury and for the Church in England and Wales - the Opening of a Shrine Church dedicated to devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the celebration of the Sacrament in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Over 1,000 people gathered in the church of St Peter, Paul and Philomena for Solemn High Mass celebrated by Mgr Gilles Wach, the Founder and Superior of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in the presence of the Rt Rev Mark Davies, Bushop of Shrewsbury.

It was a truly memorable day and enjoyed by all who participated.

There is a much fuller report of the days events on Fr. Simon Henry's blog, Offerimus Tibi Domine  Do have a read.  As i didnt take my camera to this event I am grateful to the photos on Father Henry's blog that I post here.

Bishop Davies in prayer with his deacons:
Canon Olivier Meney, Rector of the Shrine
and Fr. Moore Parish Priest of the Parish of English Martyrs
 in which the new shrine is located

Mgr Gilles Wach at the Ecce Angnus Dei

The Deacon preapres for the Chanting of the Gospel

At the Gloria in Excelsis

The Bishop of the Diocese: Rt Rev Mark Davies
(former Vicar General of Salford Diocese)

The Sisters who accompanied the Mass with their singing

A joyful Canon Meney processes put of the church

Thursday, 22 March 2012


This year the Easter Triduum will take place at St Joseph's Church unless indicated otherwise.  The various ceremonies are outlined below

Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper,
Mandatum, Procession to Altar of Repose,
Stripping of the Altars and Watching

3:00pm Solemn Celebration of the Lord's Passion

Stations of the Cross
at St Marie's Church

10:30-12:00 in St Marie's Church

W sobotę 7ego kwietnia o godzinie 12:30 odbędzie się świecenie pokarmów Wielkanocnych w kosciele naszym. Gorąco zapraszamy państwa i prosimy o rozpowieddzeniu znajomym. Bóg zapłać!
The Traditional Blessing of Easter Food will take place on 7th April at 12:30 in St Marie’s. All welcome.

Blessing of New Fire, Exsultet, Blessing of Font and Firs Mass of Easter

9:15am Mass St Joseph's Church
11:30am Mass St Marie's Church


Recently the Vicar General, Canon Anthony Kay asked that each parish in the diocese hold an An Act of Reparation for the act of desecration of the Blessed Sacrament that took place in Nelson when thieves broke in and stole the tabernacle containig the Blessed Sacrament.

Our day at St Marie's began with a Mass of Reparation at lunch time to which over 100 people came.  This was followed by a procession of the Blessed Sacrament and Adoration until the evening Mass offered  'Coram Sanctissimum' in the Extraoridnary Form of the Roman Rite followed by Benediction.