Monday, 29 October 2007

Honouring the Martyrs

After holding the 'Friends with Christ' Retreat last weekend with Fr Julian in Birmingham, where we focussed on Christ in some of the classical methods of prayer, and in which we were joined by about twenty five young people, I headed for Valladolid in Spain where I had trained for the priesthood.

My penny-each-way Ryanair flight to Valladolid was marvellous, landing me 20 minutes from the English College, its staff and the twenty pre-seminary students who are taking part in the formation year that the College now offers. (More on

I don't know of a house in this land where our martyrs would have been more honoured than in the English College Valladolid this year. The chapel was decorated to honour the six canonised, thirteen beatified and one venerable, martyrs of the College during the Penal days. Their relics and their images lay before the altar during all the liturgies. Before High Mass, the relics were venerated and carried in procession through the college in which they had trained, and from which they left to return to the Mission in England and Wales.
Mgr Kujac, the Rector, spoke beautifully about the lives and the deaths of these ordinary young men who gave their lives for the Faith in our land, willingly paying a terrible price that many others might have the fullness of Christ available to them. Their witness feeds the Church still. They show us what it is to be a Christian, they show us what it is to be a priest, and they light the way powerfully for the Church in England and Wales.

Their memory has not dimmed in the College since I was ordained, rather, they seem to be powerfully present in the conciences of the young men who are training for the priesthood today. These are the heroes of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; not the great and the powerful, but these ordinary humble men who let the light of Christ shine in their age. With such great advocates, our enterprise too cannot fail.

Our Lady Vulnerata, the image of Our Lady which was defaced by English soldiers in Spain in 1586, enthroned in the College chapel still leads the College in its life and work. She will keep us on the main road.
St Henry Walpole
St Thomas Garnet
St John Roberts
St Ambrose Barlow
St John Plessington
St John lloyd
Bl Mark Barkworth
Bl Thomas Plasar
Bl William Richardson
Bl Roger Filcock
Bl Ralph Ashley
Bl Robert Drury
Bl Richard Reynolds
Bl Richard Cadwallader
Bl Thomas Holland
Bl Willaim Southerne
Bl Ralph Corby
Bl Thomas Bullacker
Bl Thomas Benstead
Bl Arthur Bell
Bl Edward Bamber
Bl Thomas Wittaker
Ven Edward Morgan Pray for us in the New Evangelisation

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