Dear Friends in Christ,
Dear Readers of this Bishop’s Blog
Lancashire is rich in Catholic history, not least in the story of our many martyrs and recusant Mass centres whose endurance ensured that the ancient Catholic faith was passed on through extremely trying times.
Another small but significant part of that history was marked last Sunday morning with the unveiling of a monument in the cemetery of St. Mary’s, Newhouse, (Newsham) honouring Thomas Haydock (1772-1859) who with his priest brother, George Leo Haydock (1774-1849), were members of an old English recusant family, an earlier member of the same family was the martyr, Blessed George Haydock.
Thomas Haydock was responsible for the financing and publication of the ‘Haydock Bible’ which enjoyed considerable publicity and popularity during his lifetime, most especially in the United States of America. His brother, Father George, annotated the bible, by way of what we might call a commentary, and was surely somewhat ahead of his time in this regard.
President John F. Kennedy used a copy of this bible when he took the presidential oath 0n 20 January 1961. Thomas Haydock’s family have a vault in the cemetery adjoining St. Mary’s church, and it was there that the impressive and fitting monument was beautifully placed, blessed and unveiled.
The monument was paid for and erected by a generous American bibliophile, and collector of bibles, who felt that Thomas Haydock should be remembered for his publication of the bible. Many distant members of the Haydock family, from far and near, processed after the Mass of Pentecost to the blessing of the monument which, I thought, was quite a moving little ceremony.
The benefactor, with his sister, had travelled all the way from the United States to be present, and the Diocese of Lancaster is indebted to him for highlighting an important part of our Catholic heritage in such a tangible and enduring way. The memory of the Haydock brothers has indeed been refreshed! The Parish Priest of St Mary’s, the committee responsible, and the people of St. Mary’s parish for all their hard work to make this auspicious occasion possible.
A greater part of my week was taken up with Confirmations, beginning with that of the Lancaster deanery in the Cathedral on the Sunday evening, appropriately the evening of Pentecost. Young people from Lancaster, Morecambe and the surrounding parishes were joined by a congregation of parents, families, and friends for what was a happy celebration.
To see the Bishop, gathered with his priests and deacon, in a full cathedral was an embodiment of the local Church, and a powerful ecclesial reminder of the wonderful gift of the Catholic faith which brings us all together.
Other Confirmations took place during the week in Sacred Heart church, Ashton, part of the parish of St. John Paul II, the historical St. Francis church, Hill Chapel, where I felt the children were joining a long line of Lancashire Catholics in receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. May this new generation of Catholics carry the torch of faith into the future as loyally as did their Catholic ancestors!
It was the turn of another Preston parish, Our Lady and St. Edward’s, to have their young people Confirmed on Thursday night. This was another grace-filled occasion, and it was a pleasure to see so many happy parents and grandparents, delighted at the important step in faith their young people were now taking. The Holy Spirit continues to be alive and active!
Until next week – may God bless you all,
As ever in Christ,
+Michael G Campbell OSA
Bishop of Lancaster