Funeral portrait of St Angela Merici

angela merici

A funeral portrait of St Angela Merici (1474-1540).  It is thought to be a copy of the painting by Alessandro Buonvicino (1498 circa – 1554), more commonly known as Il Moretto da Brescia.  Painted in 1540, it was believed to have been destroyed in an aerial bombardment during the Second World War.  There is a copy in the sacristy of the Cathedral of Desenzano del Garda, in Brescia, northern Italy.

St Angela Merici, pray for us

Stations of the Cross oil painting restored

We had the first of our mid-week parish Lenten Stations of the Cross this evening at 7 o’clock.  We have Stations through Lent on Sundays at 5pm too, just before the evening Mass at 6pm.  I like Lent.

station of the cross


An oil painting of one of the Stations of the Cross found in the sacristy of the Floriana Parish Church, in Floriana, Malta has been restored.  The painting had a 10cm long tear and extensive previous in-fills covering part of the original paint layer.  It’s deterioration had been put down to the ravages of World War II and amateur restoration attempts.

The window is muted and suggests crosses

lent stained glass window

The season of Lent is expressed in traditional Lenten colours.  The window is muted and suggests crosses.  We are invited to enter into the seriousness of the Christian journey into the mystery of death and the Resurrection.  The window is in the sacristy of St Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Creve Coeur, Missouri, USA.

Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory! (Gospel Acclamation)

Salve, radix, salve, porta, ex qua mundo lux est orta

Ave Regina Coelorum

Salve, radix, salve, porta, ex qua mundo lux est orta (Root of Jesse! Gate of morn! Whence the world’s true light was born)

I put this altar cloth on the high altar yesterday, Ash Wednesday.  I’m not 100% sure where it came from, possibly the Poor Clares convent in South Woodchester that closed down a few years ago.  It’s a couple of lines from Ave, Regina Coelorum (Hail, Queen of Heaven), a prayer used especially after Compline (said or sung) on the Feast of the Purification to Maundy Thursday, exclusively.

Happy Lent.

Louis XV rocaille style

wood panelled sacristy

A great looking oak wood panelled sacristy in the Louis XV rocaille style, in the 12th century Valloires Abbey.  The Cistercian abbey, consecrated in 1226, is in Argoules, northern France.

Rocaille?  I’m sure we all know what that is . . .

‘Rocaille,  in Western architecture and decorative arts, 18th-century style featuring elaborately stylized shell-like, rocklike, and scroll motifs. Rocaille is one of the more prominent aspects of the Rococo style of architecture and decoration that developed in France during the reign of King Louis XV (1715–74). The Rocaille style has been defined as a reaction both to the classic rigidity of the waning Baroque style and to the new interest in nature and the natural sciences. In French, rocaille means “rubble,” or “pebbles,” and style rocaille is synonymous with Rococo.’  (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Yeah, I knew that.

Marvellous marble in Monte Cassino

montecassino monastery

The beautiful sacristy floor of Monte Cassino Abbey church, just west of the town of Cassino, Italy.  There are more than 60 colours and varieties of marble throughout the church.

Monte Cassino, about 130 km south east of Rome, is where St Benedict of Nursia established his first monastery, the source of the Benedictine Order, around 529.

St Benedict of Nursia, pray for us

Miniature grotto

our lady of lourdes shrine


Next to the sacristy door in the Oxford Oratory Church of St Aloysius Gonzaga, in Oxford, UK, is a miniature version of the grotto in Lourdes where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St Bernadette Soubirous.  The statue was set up in memory of Fr McMullen in 1954, witnessing to the parish Lourdes Association.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us

St Josephine Bakhita, an outstanding example of Christian hope

St Josephine Bakhita

The life of St Josephine Bakhita, a former slave born in Darfur, Sudan, in 1868, gives hope to all as a statement against the brutal history of slavery.  She was kidnapped as a 9 year old girl and sold into slavery, first in Sudan and later in Italy.  Her life gives hope to those suffering today through human trafficking that they will also experience the freedom of God’s love for them through it all.

St Josephine died in 1947 and was canonized by St Pope John Paul II on the 1st October, 2000.  In Spe Salvi, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI related her life story as an outstanding example of Christian hope.  He noted that from the time she took her religious vows, she not only worked “. . . in the sacristy and in the porter’s lodge at the convent, she made several journeys round Italy in order to promote the missions: the liberation that she had received through her encounter with the God of Jesus Christ, she felt she had to extend, it had to be handed on to others, to the greatest possible number of people.”

Today, the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita, is the International Day of Prayer and Reflection Against Human Trafficking, a day promoted by Pope Francis, dedicated to prayer for survivors and victims of human trafficking.

St Josephine Bakhita, pray for us

Blessing of Throats

Yesterday, on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we had the Blessing of Candles.  Today, on the feast day of St Blaise, Father used two of the candles for the Blessing of Throats straight after Mass.

st blaise

Through the intercession of St Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness.  

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.  


Might have to go to plan bee tomorrow

St Ambrose

It’s Candlemas tomorrow so we will have blessing of candles and a procession tomorrow morning.

St Ambrose 2

On an ‘ordinary’ Monday morning we get about 75 people for Mass.  Tomorrow it will be more like 100.  If I can’t find enough processional candles I’ll have to go to plan bee . . .

St Ambrose 3

Pictured above, the lovely St Ambrose stained glass window in the baptistery of St Gregory’s Church, Cheltenham, UK.  Just the one lone bee there, bumbling around outside the hive.

St Ambrose, patron saint of candlemakers, pray for us

A wonder worker

st john bosco 1

Today is the feast day of St John Bosco (1815-1888), founder of the Salesian Society, and a patron saint of children and young people.

“It is an embarrassing problem when there are not enough hosts to give everyone Holy Communion. Possibly it was Fr. John Bosco’s fault, but more likely it was another priest who said Mass before him and left an almost empty ciborium in the tabernacle. There should have been a note taped to the door of the sacristy.

If there was a note, Fr. Bosco did not see it. He was a busy man. When he went into the sacristy that morning, he saw the vestments neatly arranged, and he assumed that everything was under control. It was only at the time of Communion, when he opened the tabernacle, that he found the nearly empty ciborium. There were 500 boys in the pews and only a few hosts.

If a priest is aware of the need, it is not hard to set an extra ciborium on the altar, to be consecrated during Mass. However, if this is not done, there is one option. The hosts that are in the ciborium may be broken once or twice. Jesus is really present in the smallest particle, but there is still a need for reverence. The hosts could not be broken enough to satisfy this crowd.

Fr. Bosco bowed his head and offered a silent prayer of resignation. This was not something he could deal with at the moment. It would be best to give Holy Communion to a few boys and then tell the others to wait for another priest to offer Mass. As he walked along the communion rail, Fr. Bosco kept his calm. He gave Holy Communion to the kneeling boys, and then he walked back across the church to start on another row until the hosts ran out.

st john bosco 3

Fr. Bosco looked into the ciborium. There were still some hosts left, so he continued to distribute Holy Communion. Each time the priest reached the end of the row he looked down and made a quick count. It looked like there were enough, so he kept going. It takes half an hour for one priest to give Holy Communion 500 times. As the minutes passed, the altar boys became aware that the ciborium should be empty.

John Bosco smiled. Jesus was working a miracle, just like the multiplication of loaves and fishes. The crowd had come to be with Jesus and to honor Him. He was not willing to send them away hungry.

Only at the end of the line did the number of hosts really begin to diminish. When the last boy had received Holy Communion, there was one host left. With joy in his heart, Fr. Bosco went back to the altar and finished Mass.

st john bosco 2

Later, the boys in the sacristy asked him how he did it. Again, he just smiled. There really was no way to explain what had happened. He had not done anything; God had worked the miracle in front of his eyes.

The boys were not too surprised at this. They seem almost gullible in the accounts, but that is what happens when miracles take place too frequently. The human mind can accept almost anything as normal if it happens often.”  (The Angelus Online)

St John Bosco, pray for us

Lego pallium

Lego pallium


From left to right.  A priest wearing a cope.  A metropolitan archbishop wearing a pallium and a deacon wearing a dalmatic.

Lego pallium 2


Left to right from behind, the deacon’s dalmatic, the archbishop without his pallium so we can see the back of the chasuble, and the priest’s cope.