God handles me with prayer

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Source: www.duluthbenedictines.org

“Purifying and cleansing the sacred vessels after Mass is a silent, holy time for me.  The cool metal of the vessels and the warmth of the water cascading down upon them – these sensations still my mind, slow me down, and evoke wordless prayer.  In the stillness and in the action of my hands, I become aware of God’s presence to me.  I am the one who is being purified.  I am the one who is being cleansed, polished, and made new.

benedictine sacristan 2

Source: www.duluthbenedictines.org

When I approach the altar to receive Communion, I am mindful of the role I played behind the scenes in preparing for the celebration of the Eucharist.  At Communion time when I raise the chalice to my lips, my heart is being raised to God.  Even if there were only one droplet left to consume, it would be enough for my salvation.  Every crumb of a Communion host, every drop of consecrated wine, reminds me that, in my weakness and frequent distraction, I am become an offering in and through Christ – just as I am – that quenches God’s thirst for me.

benedictine sacristan 3

Source: www.duluthbenedictines.org

God is the Ultimate Sacristan.  To God I am a fragile, earthen vessel of infinite value.  God handles me with prayer.” (Sr Ann Marie Wainwright, Sacristan)

Sr Ann Marie is the sacristan at the Benedictine St Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, Minnesota, USA).

St Scholastica, pray for us

St Benedict, pray for us

Last Supper fresco shows disciples kneeling

last supper

This depiction of the Last Supper is apparently the only one in the world which shows Jesus at the head of the table with the disciples all kneeling in front of him.  The fresco is by JC Hackhofer (1716) and is in the sacristy of Vorau Abbey, the Augustinian monastery in Vorau, Austria.

Oblates of Mary Immaculate

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A rather full but lovely looking sacristy press in the sacristy of the Oblate Community Oratory, Mary Immaculate Parish, Inchicore, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.

The stoles on top of the sacristy press have a symbol of the religious community – the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI).  It’s quite common for Religious to have sets of stoles or vestments with the crest or a symbol of their community.

A closer look at the OMI stoles.

An OMI deacon (Sacred Heart, Kilburn, London) wearing a white stole.  The Cross is particular to the OMI and is a copy of the profession Cross that all oblates receive at final vows and which form part of their religious habit.


Interested in the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Ireland?  Find out more here.

Cardinal Raymond Burke . . . again


A hive of activity . . .


. . . in St Peter’s Basilica sacristy a couple of weeks ago.


Ah, now who is that?


It;s Cardinal Raymond Burke.  Again.  I met him in St Peter’s Square last October.  And now here he is in the sacristy.



Anyway, I couldn’t stop to chat.  As much as I’m sure he would have liked that.  We were booked in for Mass at the altar of St John Paul II.  So much to say and so little time.  Another time perhaps.


Imagine my suprise when that was the altar we actually got.  Pictured, Fr Joseph Akono, chaplain to the Ghanian community in London, on the feast of St Barnabas, apostle.

St Peter, pray for us

St Paul, pray for us

St Barnabas, pray for us

I hope for all things from Thy goodness

June is traditionally the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This lovely stained glass window is in the sacristy of All Saints Catholic Church, St Peter’s, Missouri, USA.  June is nearly over, but it’s never too late to post a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sacred Heart of Jesus

O Heart of love, I put all my trust in Thee; for I fear all things from my own weakness, but I hope for all things from Thy goodness. Amen.  (St Margaret Mary Alacoque)

A young St John the Baptist


A young St John the Baptist is depicted in the stained glass window (on the right), along with Zachariah and St Elizabeth.  The window is in the sacristy of Grace and St Peter’s Church, Baltimore’s traditional Anglo-Catholic Parish, in Maryland, USA.  In the left hand window is the Holy Family.

St John the Baptist, pray for us

I got to see the letter ‘asking’ Pope Clement VII to annul Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon

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A quirky view of the sacristy of St Thomas More Catholic Church in Oxford, UK.  An English lawyer (Lincoln’s Inn) and social philosopher, St Thomas More was tried for treason for refusing to condone Henry VIII’s bigamous marriage to Anne Boleyn.  Convicted, he was beheaded on 6th July 1535.

I was very happy to be in Rome recently, and was fortunate to see the letter signed by 81 English members of parliament, noblemen, clergy and abbesses, delivered in 1530 to Pope Clement VII asking (or is that ‘threatening’) the pope to annul Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn.

The 3ft wide parchment, with 81 wax seals attached to red silk ribbons, is in the Vatican Secret Archives, ‘secreted’ away in a cupboard, behind glass, in an office.  The parchment was only found in 1926, hidden in a chest built under a chair.  The alleged chair just sits on the landing outside the office where this priceless document of such great historical significance lives in a cupboard.  Don’t I just love Rome.


No pictures allowed in the Secret Archives, and there was certainly no opportunity even for a sneaky picture of this historic document, so the picture above is from www.cruxnow.com.

St Thomas More, pray for us

St John Fisher, pray for us

Poor Clare Colettine nuns

‘As far as possible, the activities of the monastery should be arranged so that each sister is able to develop those gifts of grace and nature over which God has given her personal stewardship.  Thus, encouragement and appropriate instruction should be given the sisters in the different areas of service in which they are best equipped to excel.’  (Constitutions)

Poor Clare Colettine 1

Caring for the sacred vessels.

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Poor Clare Colettine nuns, in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.  The Ohio nuns are the first permanent foundation of the Poor Clares in the United States.

Trinity chasuble

Trinity chasuble

Source: www.phillytlm.blogspot.co.uk

A beautiful chasuble depicting the Trinity, from St Paul’s Church, Philadelphia, USA.

Trinity chasuble 2

Source: www.phillytlm.blogspot.co.uk

The Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated at St Paul’s every Sunday at 12 noon and at other times on certain holy days of obligation.

The Liverpool Vatican

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St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church, in Liverpool, UK, was built for the Franciscans (opened in 1910) by Amy Elizabeth Imrie, a Catholic convert and nun, who became an abbes of the Poor Clare Sisters.  She was the heiress of the White Star Shipping Line.  Known as ‘The Liverpool Vatican’ because of the imported Italian marble and its Italian Renaissance architecture.  The tow sets of doors leading into the sacristy came from a Roman palace.  Sadly, the Grade II listed church was closed in 2001.  Reopened in 2009 , it is now Liverpool Philharmonic at the Friary, a recording and rehearsal venue.

St Mary of the Angels, pray for us

1941 air raid bomb


Descent of the Holy Spirit stained glass window, Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church, Cambridge

In tune with today’s feast day of the English Martyrs and the upcoming VE Day 70th anniversary on Friday 8th May, a WWII anecdote.

In a 1941 air raid, a small bomb struck the sacristy of Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church, a large Gothic Revival church in Cambridge, UK.  The bomb blew a 6 foot hole in the roof and another in the wall of the Sacred Heart Chapel, as well as shattering most of the windows and collapsing part of the organ gallery.  The repairs cost more than £35,000.  No mean amount in 1941.

Our Lady of the English Martyrs, pray for us

St Joseph the Worker statue

st joseph the worker

A statue of St Joseph the Worker in the sacristy of Our Lady of the Atonement Church, San Antonio, Texas, USA.  An unexpected find.

Holy Joseph, Intercessor, Unto thee God’s children sing; Be our Patron and Protector, To God’s throne our praises bring.  Faithful Spouse of faithful Virgin, Lover of God’s purity; From thy worthy place in heaven, Pray that we may faithful be.  Guardian of the Word Incarnate, Silent guide of God’s own Son; Guard our hearts and lead us onward, To the life that Christ has won.  Humble man in lofty station, God has shed His grace on thee; Pray such grace to us be given, That we live eternally.  (Text: Fr. Christopher G. Phillips, 1991 / Music: “Stuttgart” adapted by C. F. Witt, 1715)

St Joseph the Worker, pray for us

Gothic looking candelabra

On Saturday mornings we have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament straight after morning Mass until Benediction at 11am.  We have a pair of candelabra on the altar, one  either side of the monstrance.  There’s a hairline crack in the wall over by the Lady Chapel so when it’s windy outside . . .

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It was windy last Saturday morning.  Sometimes, after less than an hour of burning, this is what happens to the candles.

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Very gothic looking.

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This is what they should like like after burning for less than an hour.

The Franciscans know how to celebrate the Easter season

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I love the season of Easter and never get tired of seeing white or gold vestments.  These three gold chasubles are currently spending more time out of the sacristy wardrobe than in.  The Franciscans (OFM) know how to celebrate the Easter season.

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The wardrobe in the sacristy of the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception, Clevedon, Somerset, where the gold vestments usually live.

St Francis of Assisi, pray for us

Spot the flag of England on the cope

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On the Solemnity of St George, Martyr, Patron of England, a close up of the back of  one of our lovely copes.  Spot the flag of England, derived from St George’s Cross.

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On Thursdays we have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament straight after the 9.30am Mass until Benediction at 3pm.  This one was worn to expose the Blessed Sacrament and one of our white copes ( I make it sound like we have lots – we have two) was used for Benediction at 3pm.

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The front of the cope.

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And a close up of the front of the cope.  The ‘pax’ makes sense as the church used to ‘belong’ to the Benedictines at Douai Abbey before becoming a diocesan (Clifton) parish.

St George, Patron of England, pray for us