Monday, 21 July 2014

Czarna Madonna

Czestochowa is the famous Marian Shrine in Poland dedicated to Our Lady the Queen of Poland.  The shrine is famous for the icon that is venerated there - The Czarna Madonna.  
For a good few years now, our tradition at St Marie's has been to sing the hymn in honour of Our Lady of Czestochwa at the end of Mass.  Until fairly recently we were only able to do this in Polish.  Now thanks to my Polish Confreres and the skills of a dear cathedral organist friend in the Torrid South we have a singable version of this lovely hymn in English.
On this earth our souls are restless
'til they find that special place
Where there reigns the Queen of Poland
Bearing scars upon her face
Sad but gentle as she gazes
almost begging one and all
that they ask for her protection with this call.
Madonna, Black Madonna
Hear your children, Lady of Grace.
O hide us, Black Madonna
in your gentle loving embrace.
In her arms you'll find protection
and her peace does not depart
For her children will find love
in her Immaculate Heart.
She is always there to help you
when you give your heart to her
and invoke your Blessed Mother's name with love.
Madonna, Black Madonna
Hear your children, Lady of Grace.
O hide us, Black Madonna
in your gentle loving embrace.
When the cares of life oppress us
We can flee to her to hide
To our Blessed Mother Mary
for she calls us to her side
So we ask you Queen of Poland
turn your eyes of love to us
hear the prayers your children offer now with joy.

Madonna, Black Madonna
Hear your children, Lady of Grace.
O hide us, Black Madonna
in your gentle loving embrace.

Here is a You Tube Clip of the unveiling of the Icon together with the
Hymn to Our Lady in Polish



Last Thursday, together with my Polish confreres we visited the Shrine of Blessed John Henry Newman at the Birmingham Oratory. 

We were given a tour of the Oratory Church and the Shrine and were given the privilege of offering Mass at the altar in the Shrine containing the Relics of Blessed John Henry Newman.

One of my favourite passages from the writings of Cardinal Newman is the following.  I have it on a little pray card with his image and sometimes assign the prayer as a penance for people who come to confession.

'God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.

Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.”

The picture in this post has been taken from the website of the Birmingham Oratory.

Servers BBQ

On Sunday afternoon we hosted a Film and BBQ afternoon for all our altar servers as a way of thanking them for coming to serve Mass each weekend and at other times during the year.
It took a little while to get the BBQ going, but with a little help from Hayes and Finch Candle Oil and scraps of paper we were able to make enough heat to cook the food.
My Novice Master once said that there was a biblical reference to BBQ's. 
They were either 'Burnt Offerings, wholly consumed' or they were 'Bloody Sacrifices.'  Thankfully on this occasion we had neither and the children went away happy and well fed.
My thanks to all who helped to make this a successful event.  I hear that another one is planned in the near future.


As you know Pope John XXII and Pope John Paul II were canonised in Rome on Divine Mercy Sunday this year.  We give thanks to God that the Church has seen fit to raise these holy men to the altar and bestow on them the dignity of Sainthood.
Here at St Marie's we have been granted a First Class Relic of St John Paul II.  The relic is a small piece of cloth soaked in his blood.  
We are currently looking for a suitable reliquary so that the relic may be used in public veneration.  If anyone would like to make a donation towards this then please contact the Parish Priest at St Marie's.
Meanwhile we have created a little shrine to St John Paul II at the back of St Marie's Church.
The Relic of St John Paul II

The Shrine of St John Paul II at St Marie's Church

Tuesday, 15 July 2014


Our Children from St Joseph's School entertained us magnificently last week with an excellent production of Oliver.

It was a wonderful production.  The singing and the acting of the children was first class.  Well done to all the children and to all the teachers for their hard work in producing such a high level performance.

Here is a link to some photos that were taken at the performance.


As we approach the summer our schools are busy preparing for the end of term and looking forward to the summer holidays. 

Our Year Six children from both our primary schools are preparing to leave us this year and go to the high school.  We wish them every success and happiness in their new school and in the future.

Masses of thanksgiving were offered in both our primary schools and the Year Six children where presented with a Simple Prayer Book.

Here are a few pictures taken from St Marie's End of Year Mass.  Unfortunately I forgot to take the camera to St Joseph's - my apologies.

Two of the children received prizes in recognition of sporting achievements
and for serving at the altar for Mass

Two children received awards for sporting achievement and for all round academic success

Prize winners pictured with Mrs Robiinson (headteacher)
 and Fr. Francis PP


Please pray Father Paul Vianney Harris who was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood on 28th June at St Edward the Confessor Church, Runcorn. 

We were fortunate enough to be at his ordination celebrated at the hands of the Rt Reverend Tom Williams, Auxillary Bishop of Liverpool.

Our new priest with Polish Seminarians and the PP of Bury


On Thursday 26th June we welcome three seminarians from the Archdiocese of Katowice to our parish.  Two of them (Wojciech and Mateusz) are at the end of their fourth year of study and the other  (Michal) is at the end of his third year.  They are here to improve their English a little and to experience the life of the Church in England.
Please keep them in your prayers as they progress along that path that leads them to the altar of God.
The three students are pictured above by the ruins of a former Benedictine Abbey near Ampleforth. From left to right:  Wojciech, Michal and Mateusz.