Announcements: Thank you
for your support through prayer and gifts over the past weeks of lockdown.
Lockdown continues. It is
painful for us clergy and servers to celebrate the sacred mysteries with no one
in the pews, since only those residing at St Mary’s Shrine can take part in our
Easter Sunday Homily, by Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP
How do you explain Easter
to modern man? How do you bear witness of the resurrection when asked by men
whose souls have been allowed to thirst and so far never tasted the true water
of life? They simply don’t know what Easter is about.
I will venture a
comparison for their sakes. Do you have special hobbies, skills? When you learn
to drive, learn to play the piano, learn watercolour painting; learn to swim;
learn mountain climbing… It takes a coach; it takes someone who knows; someone
who’s done it before and who knows the technique perfectly. At first, when our
coach tells us that he can make us proficient within six months, or six years,
we think we will never make it. We fear that we won’t have what it takes; or
that our coach could get fed up with us and might let us down.
So, what are we Christians
doing this morning? What are we training for? Oil painting? Scuba diving? Wine
tasting? None of that. Better than that. This morning we train for eternity. We listen to the One –
Jesus Christ – Who is much more than a coach. He is our guide into eternity. He is truly a man, like we
are human beings. We will die; and Jesus died. Jesus rose from the dead and we…
Well, this is what it is all about it. We can rise from the dead – if… We can
enter blissful eternity – if …. If what? We can enter blissful eternity if we
follow the only One who walked through death successfully. Really, is Jesus the only One who can take us through
death and beyond, to blissful eternity? Did not other people die and rise
again? Like, Lazarus, the friend of Jesus. Or the young man, the only son of
the widow, outside the town of Nain. Or the young daughter of Jairus? Yes,
those were dead, and yes, they came back to life. But no, they did not rise by
themselves. They were raised by another one, mightier than them. The Lord Jesus
raised these dead people and brought them back to life. Furthermore, after
these miracles, they died again some years later. Not so with the Lord Jesus.
He rose from the dead of his own power, because He is not only man, but God
incarnate. Also, He will never die again. The Lord Jesus is alive forever. No
one else every achieved this. Jesus is the only one.
But we need a witness, don’t we? We
A significant clue is the sacred
relic of the Holy Shroud of Turin. What does the Holy Shroud look like? It is a
depiction of Our Lord’s tortured Body (both back and front), spread across a
14.5-feet-long by 1.4-foot-wide linen cloth, with such accuracy that this
sacred relic has been termed ‘The Fifth Gospel’. The Holy Shroud – presently
kept in Turin, Italy – is the most tested object in the world. The scientific
findings, due to their number and complexity, now constitute a distinct branch
of science called sindonology, after the word ‘sindon’, the Greek word for
Let us recall a few sindonological
discoveries. It took nineteen centuries to realise that the Shroud is a
photographic negative: inversing paler and darker areas reveals the actual
picture. Further analysis established that the depiction results from
irradiation, not from the application of pigments upon the linen material.
Later on, the image was found to be three-dimensional, allowing the shaping of
a resin model of Our Lord’s Body as when it was lying wrapped in the Shroud.
Anomalies such as the absence of thumbs on either hand were explained, while
microscopic examination found diverse pollens from the Middle-East stuck in the
fibres of the cloth. The Holy Shroud is a very powerful incentive for our faith
in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And yet, the Shroud is not necessary for us to believe. We
have billions of witnesses: these countless men, women and children who
professed their faith in Christ, who followed his teaching, imitated his
virtues, and often died for his love. They bear witness to the historical reality of the resurrection
If you need witnesses, read the lives
of the saints. If you need witnesses, start with St Paul’s letter to the
Corinthians. St Paul never met Christ until after his resurrection. But he met
the Lord once risen, as he affirms: “if
Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain: for you are yet in your sins. Then
they also that are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only
we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, the
firstfruits of them that sleep” (1 Co 15: 17-20).
If you need witnesses, look around
you for those Catholics in whose lives the virtues of Christ shine with utmost
fidelity, truth, gentleness, firmness, compassion, purity, piety. Look
carefully, because the souls closest to Christ might not know it themselves,
and surely they would not boast of it, so that the world would normally take no
notice of them.
But dear friends, if you need witnesses, perhaps other people need them even more
urgently than you do. So, why not becoming a witness yourself? Why not bearing witness of the resurrection of the Lord?
I know, we think ourselves too lazy, too selfish, too incredulous, too heavy,
too tired… But witnessing Christ is not about our own capacity. It is all about
His divine power performing wonders through our emptiness. Becoming a witness
of the resurrection takes a while. It does not happen in one instant. It is
like unfolding the Holy Shroud. We know the full picture of Christ is impressed
upon the cloth, but it takes our entire lives to unfold it in our mind and in
Let us fly back to Jerusalem. This
Easter morning, St Peter, St John and St Mary Magdalene found the empty linens
wrapped together in the empty tomb. Some time on that day, they took with them
the precious relic. Back home in the Upper Room, with what emotion they slowly
unfolded the linens, gradually displaying the Master’s silhouette: first his
shoulder, then his elbow, now his foot and then his Head… Everywhere, their
eyes would meet so many wounds, all endured for their redemption. For my redemption.
For your redemption. For the redemption of all men.
I imagine St Peter alone at last in
the Upper Room. Simon had unfolded the long strip of cloth, nowhere more
fittingly than across the trestles of the Last Supper table. Three nights
earlier, upon another cloth, the Lord had made Himself truly present under the
Eucharistic species at the first holy Mass. The apostles had walked with the
Lord to Gethsemane. Before cockcrow, Simon had thrice denied his Lord. Since
then Jesus had died and was risen.
Back in the Upper Room on Easter day,
today, Simon was on his knees at the far end of the long narrow linen
rectangle. His eyes slightly higher than the level of the cloth swollen in
successive waves upon the trestles, the fisherman would look at the maculated
Shroud as a seaman looks at a vast archipelago spread across a limitless map.
Wide or tiny, each bloodstain was an island, mystically bearing the name of
each and every sinner, redeemed through the wounds of the Lamb.
Which stain bore Simon’s name? It
could not be less than three, one for each denial – and so many more… Dear
friends, which stain bears my name, your name? In St Peter’s soul, contrition
connected the reddish shapes of various sizes like the stars under which he was
reborn, as in a new constellation named Absolution.
It was probably no surprise to Simon then, when he became aware of Christ’s
bodily presence, standing at the other end of his unfolded Shroud. The contrite
Vicar had opened his soul to the Saviour already. Christ confirmed his pardon
and left, until they met again by the Sea of Galilee.
His Vicar remained on his knees
looking across the bloodied sheet, while on either side of the table of
redemption, hundreds of men, of women, of children materialised, imitating his
posture. Billions of them. Billions of us. All the way down to us, my friends,
and beyond, and further. All those who would believe in this extraordinary
event are gathered in faith around this sacred cloth and bear witness to the
One who lay in it no more, because
He is risen, forever alive! Such is our glorious training for eternity.
May the Immaculate Mother of the Risen One, the Blessed Virgin Mary whose Sorrowful heart begot us to grace in union with Our Lord on Calvary two days ago, may she lead us to Jesus, our Resurrection and our Life, into bliss eternal.
To download the full liturgical texts for Tenebrae, three booklets are available by clicking on the link right under each image below.
Please note, all these prayers, without the chant notation, are also available in the Baronius Hand Missal [for sale at St Mary’s Shrine] on pages 1778, 1811 & 1842 for the respective days of the Triduum.
Follow the choral singing of Tenebrae from St Mary’s Warrington via LiveMass.net on 9th, 10th and 11th April 2020, from 10am to 12noon.
Our FSSP Warrington weekly Men’s Group will meet via LiveMass this evening, Wednesday 8th April, at 8:00pm (Warrington UK time), for a Lenten meditation by Fr de Malleray, FSSP on ‘The Cross and the Mass’ followed by choral singing of Compline. 😇 https://www.livemass.net/
Our LiveMass equipment has been working satisfactorily daily for years, but your prayer will help! Our apologies to any viewers for the loss of sound for the first part of holy Mass on Palm Sunday; we were having technical issues following a loss of power earlier in the week which meant that we had to restart the equipment during holy Mass. Some of our local people were communicating live on WhatsApp and, finding that all of them had lost the sound simultaneously, decided to pray the Prayer to St Michael, soon to hear the sound was back… We blessed the LiveMass control room and the three cameras after Vespers yesterday (picture).
Support St Mary’s Shrine as a broadcast site via bank transfer:
For FSSP Warrington Bank Name: Lloyds Bank Sort Code: 30-80-27 Account number: 30993368 Account name: FSSP Warrington
For international transfers, you may also need:
Bank Branch: Palmerston Rd Southsea Bank Address: Ariel House, 2138 Coventry Road, Sheldon, B26 3JW IBAN: GB97LOYD30802730993368 SWIFT code: LOYDGB21721
More feedback from First Passion Sunday:
29 March 2020, USA
Thank you for broadcasting the traditional Latin Mass
from Warrington, England. When you mentioned a musical rosary in the
announcements today, you piqued my interest. Not only did I watch the Mass but
followed along for the rosary. The organ accompaniment and chant were
29 March 2020
Blessed Passion Sunday, I am a lifelong Catholic senior watching your mass online everyday from USA! I love your church and wish I could visit in person sometime. The Tridentine mass is as important to me as it was to St. Pio. With much gratitude to you all+++ Can you tell me how it would be best to donate to your FSSP church in Warrington? I am not sure what method is best.
29 March 2020
Deo Gratias! I am writing from Canada during
the corona virus pandemic. I thank God for leading me to your church so that I
can join in the celebration of the Eucharist! I have wept during the
celebration and will always remember your beautiful church and priests in my
29 March 2020
Dear Dear Fathers,
Sincere thanks to you from the United States for your
beautiful celebrations of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and for your profound
and stirring homilies. I can’t wait to
get up in the morning to hear Mass online!
In announcing the most far-reaching restrictions on personal freedom in the history of our nation, Boris Johnson resolutely followed the scientific advice that he had been given. The advisers to the government seem calm and collected, with a solid consensus among them. In the face of a new viral threat, with numbers of cases surging daily, I’m not sure that any prime minister would have acted very differently.
But I’d like to raise some perspectives that have hardly been aired in the past weeks, and which point to an interpretation of the figures rather different from that which the government is acting on. I’m a recently-retired Professor of Pathology and NHS consultant pathologist, and have spent most of my adult life in healthcare and science – fields which, all too often, are characterised by doubt rather than certainty. There is room for different interpretations of the current data. If some of these other interpretations are correct, or at least nearer to the truth, then conclusions about the actions required will change correspondingly.
The simplest way to judge whether we have an exceptionally lethal disease is to look at the death rates. Are more people dying than we would expect to die anyway in a given week or month? Statistically, we would expect about 51,000 to die in Britain this month. At the time of writing, 422 deaths are linked to Covid-19 — so 0.8 per cent of that expected total. On a global basis, we’d expect 14 million to die over the first three months of the year. The world’s 18,944 coronavirus deaths represent 0.14 per cent of that total. These figures might shoot up but they are, right now, lower than other infectious diseases that we live with (such as flu). Not figures that would, in and of themselves, cause drastic global reactions.
Initial reported figures from China and Italy suggested a death rate of 5 per cent to 15 per cent, similar to Spanish flu. Given that cases were increasing exponentially, this raised the prospect of death rates that no healthcare system in the world would be able to cope with. The need to avoid this scenario is the justification for measures being implemented: the Spanish flu is believed to have infected about one in four of the world’s population between 1918 and 1920, or roughly 500 million people with 50 million deaths. We developed pandemic emergency plans, ready to snap into action in case this happened again.
At the time of writing, the UK’s 422 deaths and 8,077 known cases give an apparent death rate of 5 per cent. This is often cited as a cause for concern, contrasted with the mortality rate of seasonal flu, which is estimated at about 0.1 per cent. But we ought to look very carefully at the data. Are these figures really comparable?
Most of the UK testing has been in hospitals, where there is a high concentration of patients susceptible to the effects of any infection. As anyone who has worked with sick people will know, any testing regime that is based only in hospitals will over-estimate the virulence of an infection. Also, we’re only dealing with those Covid-19 cases that have made people sick enough or worried enough to get tested. There will be many more unaware that they have the virus, with either no symptoms, or mild ones.Any testing regime that is based only in hospitals will overestimate the virulence of an infection
That’s why, when Britain had 590 diagnosed cases, Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, suggested that the real figure was probably between 5,000 and 10,000 cases, ten to 20 times higher. If he’s right, the headline death rate due to this virus is likely to be ten to 20 times lower, say 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent. That puts the Covid-19 mortality rate in the range associated with infections like flu.
But there’s another, potentially even more serious problem: the way that deaths are recorded. If someone dies of a respiratory infection in the UK, the specific cause of the infection is not usually recorded, unless the illness is a rare ‘notifiable disease’. So the vast majority of respiratory deaths in the UK are recorded as bronchopneumonia, pneumonia, old age or a similar designation. We don’t really test for flu, or other seasonal infections. If the patient has, say, cancer, motor neurone disease or another serious disease, this will be recorded as the cause of death, even if the final illness was a respiratory infection. This means UK certifications normally under-record deaths due to respiratory infections.
Now look at what has happened since the emergence of Covid-19. The list of notifiable diseases has been updated. This list — as well as containing smallpox (which has been extinct for many years) and conditions such as anthrax, brucellosis, plague and rabies (which most UK doctors will never see in their entire careers) — has now been amended to include Covid-19. But not flu. That means every positive test for Covid-19 must be notified, in a way that it just would not be for flu or most other infections.
In the current climate, anyone with a positive test for Covid-19 will certainly be known to clinical staff looking after them: if any of these patients dies, staff will have to record the Covid-19 designation on the death certificate — contrary to usual practice for most infections of this kind. There is a big difference between Covid-19 causing death, and Covid-19 being found in someone who died of other causes. Making Covid-19 notifiable might give the appearance of it causing increasing numbers of deaths, whether this is true or not. It might appear far more of a killer than flu, simply because of the way deaths are recorded.
If we take drastic measures to reduce the incidence of Covid-19, it follows that the deaths will also go down. We risk being convinced that we have averted something that was never really going to be as severe as we feared. This unusual way of reporting Covid-19 deaths explains the clear finding that most of its victims have underlying conditions — and would normally be susceptible to other seasonal viruses, which are virtually never recorded as a specific cause of death.
Let us also consider the Covid-19 graphs, showing an exponential rise in cases — and deaths. They can look alarming. But if we tracked flu or other seasonal viruses in the same way, we would also see an exponential increase. We would also see some countries behind others, and striking fatality rates. The United States Centers for Disease Control, for example, publishes weekly estimates of flu cases. The latest figures show that since September, flu has infected 38 million Americans, hospitalised 390,000 and killed 23,000. This does not cause public alarm because flu is familiar.
The data on Covid-19 differs wildly from country to country. Look at the figures for Italy and Germany. At the time of writing, Italy has 69,176 recorded cases and 6,820 deaths, a rate of 9.9 per cent. Germany has 32,986 cases and 157 deaths, a rate of 0.5 per cent. Do we think that the strain of virus is so different in these nearby countries as to virtually represent different diseases? Or that the populations are so different in their susceptibility to the virus that the death rate can vary more than twentyfold? If not, we ought to suspect systematic error, that the Covid-19 data we are seeing from different countries is not directly comparable.
Look at other rates: Spain 7.1 per cent, US 1.3 per cent, Switzerland 1.3 per cent, France 4.3 per cent, South Korea 1.3 per cent, Iran 7.8 per cent. We may very well be comparing apples with oranges. Recording cases where there was a positive test for the virus is a very different thing to recording the virus as the main cause of death.
Early evidence from Iceland, a country with a very strong organisation for wide testing within the population, suggests that as many as 50 per cent of infections are almost completely asymptomatic. Most of the rest are relatively minor. In fact, Iceland’s figures, 648 cases and two attributed deaths, give a death rate of 0.3 per cent. As population testing becomes more widespread elsewhere in the world, we will find a greater and greater proportion of cases where infections have already occurred and caused only mild effects. In fact, as time goes on, this will become generally truer too, because most infections tend to decrease in virulence as an epidemic progresses.
One pretty clear indicator is death. If a new infection is causing many extra people to die (as opposed to an infection present in people who would have died anyway) then it will cause an increase in the overall death rate. But we have yet to see any statistical evidence for excess deaths, in any part of the world.
Covid-19 can clearly cause serious respiratory tract compromise in some patients, especially those with chest issues, and in smokers. The elderly are probably more at risk, as they are for infections of any kind. The average age of those dying in Italy is 78.5 years, with almost nine in ten fatalities among the over-70s. The life expectancy in Italy — that is, the number of years you can expect to live to from birth, all things being equal — is 82.5 years. But all things are not equal when a new seasonal virus goes around.
It certainly seems reasonable, now, that a degree of social distancing should be maintained for a while, especially for the elderly and the immune-suppressed. But when drastic measures are introduced, they should be based on clear evidence. In the case of Covid-19, the evidence is not clear. The UK’s lockdown has been informed by modelling of what might happen. More needs to be known about these models. Do they correct for age, pre-existing conditions, changing virulence, the effects of death certification and other factors? Tweak any of these assumptions and the outcome (and predicted death toll) can change radically.
Much of the response to Covid-19 seems explained by the fact that we are watching this virus in a way that no virus has been watched before. The scenes from the Italian hospitals have been shocking, and make for grim television. But television is not science.
Clearly, the various lockdowns will slow the spread of Covid-19 so there will be fewer cases. When we relax the measures, there will be more cases again. But this need not be a reason to keep the lockdown: the spread of cases is only something to fear if we are dealing with an unusually lethal virus. That’s why the way we record data will be hugely important. Unless we tighten criteria for recording death due only to the virus (as opposed to it being present in those who died from other conditions), the official figures may show a lot more deaths apparently caused by the virus than is actually the case. What then? How do we measure the health consequences of taking people’s lives, jobs, leisure and purpose away from them to protect them from an anticipated threat? Which causes least harm?
The moral debate is not lives vs money. It is lives vs lives. It will take months, perhaps years, if ever, before we can assess the wider implications of what we are doing. The damage to children’s education, the excess suicides, the increase in mental health problems, the taking away of resources from other health problems that we were dealing with effectively. Those who need medical help now but won’t seek it, or might not be offered it. And what about the effects on food production and global commerce, that will have unquantifiable consequences for people of all ages, perhaps especially in developing economies?
Governments everywhere say they are responding to the science. The policies in the UK are not the government’s fault. They are trying to act responsibly based on the scientific advice given. But governments must remember that rushed science is almost always bad science. We have decided on policies of extraordinary magnitude without concrete evidence of excess harm already occurring, and without proper scrutiny of the science used to justify them.
In the next few days and weeks, we must continue to look critically and dispassionately at the Covid-19 evidence as it comes in. Above all else, we must keep an open mind — and look for what is, not for what we fear might be.
John Lee is a recently retired professor of pathology and a former NHS consultant pathologist. WRITTEN BYDr John Lee
Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who created the highly-cited Imperial College London coronavirus model, which has been cited by organizations like The New York Times and has been instrumental in governmental policy decision-making, offered a massively downgraded projection of the potential deathtoll on Wednesday.
Ferguson’s model projected 2.2 million dead people in the United States and 500,000 in the U.K. from COVID-19 if no action were taken to slow the virus and blunt its curve.
However, after just one day of ordered lockdowns in the U.K., Ferguson is presenting drastically downgraded estimates, revealing that far more people likely have the virus than his team figured. Now, the epidemiologist predicts, hospitals will be just fine taking on COVID-19 patients and estimates 20,000 or far fewer people will die from the virus itself or from its agitation of other ailments, as reported by New Scientist Wednesday.
Ferguson thus dropped his prediction from 500,000 dead to 20,000.
Author and former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson broke down the bombshell report via Twitter on Thursday morning (view Twitter thread below).
“This is a remarkable turn from Neil Ferguson, who led the [Imperial College] authors who warned of 500,000 UK deaths — and who has now himself tested positive for #COVID,” started Berenson.
“He now says both that the U.K. should have enough ICU beds and that the coronavirus will probably kill under 20,000 people in the U.K. — more than 1/2 of whom would have died by the end of the year in any case [because] they were so old and sick,” he wrote.
To put this number in context, there are usually thousands of deaths from the flu each year in the U.K. Here is some information from the University of Oxford on deaths ranging from 600-13,000 per year:
Influenza (flu) is a very common, highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It can be very dangerous, causing serious complications and death, especially for people in risk groups. In rare cases flu can kill people who are otherwise healthy. In the UK it is estimated that an average of 600 people a year die from complications of flu. In some years it is estimated that this can rise to over 10,000 deaths (see for example this UK study from 2013, which estimated over 13,000 deaths resulting from flu in 2008-09). Flu leads to hundreds of thousands of GP visits and tens of thousands of hospital stays a year.
Berenson continued: “Essentially, what has happened is that estimates of the viruses transmissibility have increased — which implies that many more people have already gotten it than we realize — which in turn implies it is less dangerous.”
“Ferguson now predicts that the epidemic in the U.K. will peak and subside within ‘two to three weeks’ — last week’s paper said 18+ months of quarantine would be necessary,” the former reporter highlighted.
“One last point here: Ferguson gives the lockdown credit, which is *interesting* — the UK only began [its] lockdown 2 days ago, and the theory is that lockdowns take 2 weeks or more to work,” stressed Berenson. “Not surprisingly, this testimony has received no attention in the US — I found it only in UK papers. Team Apocalypse is not interested.”
Ferguson’s change of tune comes days after Oxford epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta criticized the professor’s model.
“I am surprised that there has been such unqualified acceptance of the Imperial model,” Gupta said, according to the Financial Times.
Professor Gupta led a team of researchers at Oxford in a modeling study which suggests that the virus has been invisibly spreading for at least a month earlier than suspected, concluding that as many as half of the people in the United Kingdom have already been infected by COVID-19.
If her model is accurate, fewer than one in a thousand who’ve been infected with COVID-19 become sick enough to need hospitalization, leaving the vast majority with mild cases or free of symptoms.
3/ Essentially, what has happened is that estimates of the viruses transmissibility have increased – which implies that many more people have already gotten it than we realize – which in turn implies it is less dangerous.
Correction: The original title of this article incorrectly suggested that Neil Ferguson stated his initial model was wrong. The article has been revised to make clear that he provided a downgraded projection given the new data and current mitigation steps.
Tell your friends and colleagues. This is a great opportunity to make the beauty and depth of the traditional Latin Mass better known, especially by people who might not visit these churches in ordinary circumstances.
In this times of pandemic, St Mary’s Warrington is one of the very few places where five clerics are able to perform a traditional Missa Cantata behind closed doors (since we live as one household in the same presbytery; pray that we don’t fall ill, or it will have to be a Low Mass every day!).
Messages of thank are sent to our priests from various countries for our LiveMass.net apostolate allowing thousands to attend the Holy Sacrifice from a distance.
Examples: “Dear Fathers, thank you for the Live Mass today [Sunday 22 March] on Internet! I was able to follow the Mass in Warrington from W. this morning. Good to know you’ve been prepared with this website for a few years. Also happy to see you both, even in such circumstances.”
“Dear Fathers, I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful initiative in live streaming the Holy Mass. These are difficult times for us all and as your said in your sermon, we should be not satisfied with attending the Mass in this way. However, you are providing great comfort for many families globally in doing so. And what a beautiful church! God Bless, A., M. and …family.”
“Dear Fr …, A quick message to thank you for the amazing LiveMass transmissions. I followed for St Joseph, St Benedict and now Laetare – quite surreal (and sad) to see you sprinkling row upon row of empty pews! I must say the quality is superb and it is a wonderful resource to have in these extraordinary times (I’ve sent a small donation to LiveMass.net). God bless, J.”
Practical reminders: On every location, you can watch the ‘Mass of the Day’ for 24hrs and the ‘Mass of the Sunday’ for 7 days. Just click on the relevant link under the name of location. Again, you do not need to watch live always, but on demand when you like.
If streaming is slow, click on the ‘HD’ icon on the bottom righ corner of the screen and select a lower definition.
EDUCATION MEETING WARRINGTON Sunday 26 April 2020, 12:30pm-3:30pm St Mary’s Church, Buttermarket Street, Warrington WA1 2NS FREE church car parks accessed via Smith Street and Buttermarket Street
WHAT: A number of families meet weekly at St Mary’s Shrine in Warrington for half a day of educational activities (about 25 children). In addition to this, we have been observing with interest the formation of the Regina Caeli Academy (RCA) in Bedfordshire over the past 18 months and have invited them to present their educational model in Warrington. With a spacious building just acquired next to our church, we now actively welcome educational initiatives and we pray God that we may answer them very soon.
WHO: Anyone with interest in education is welcome to attend. This includes not only parents wishing to support such an academy in Warrington, but also home educators eager to compare their methods with the RCA ones, parents whose children are in full time school education and are curious to hear what RCA can bring, as well as benefactors open to funding reliable Catholic education.
AHEAD: The innocence of our children is in danger. Next autumn, even Catholic schools will have young children subjected to lessons on sexuality delivered in a way which is very likely to harm their innocent souls and twist their understanding of natural law, while depriving their parents of their inalienable rights as their primary educators. Even if this concern did not exist, the fact that most teenagers educated in Catholic schools lapse demonstrates enough that more must be done to teach and form the next generations of Catholics.
BUT: Many parents agree with this assessment, but feel they can’t home educate, though. They don’t have the training, the time, the resources. They fear that home education might hinder socialising their children. They doubt whether home education would enable their children to enter the universities and get good jobs.
ASK: Regina Caeli [https://www.rcahybrid.org.uk/] is a private, independent tutoring centre operating in the Catholic tradition. It offers two full days of taught lessons in school (Mondays and Thursdays) and lesson plans for three days of lessons taught at home, for boys and girls aged 4-18. The two taught days comprise the majority of academic work and there is significant support for the homeschooling element. The organisation has grown rapidly since its launch in 2003, now operating in 16 locations in the United States (with 8 more in planning) and, of course, now also in Bedfordshire in the UK.
Regina Caeli is a response to the need for affordable, authentic, classical education taught in light of the Catholic tradition. Its primary goal is to aid the students in knowing, loving, and serving God by providing them with a “classical style” of education so they learn how to think critically and become life-long learners. The mission is both educational and apostolic combining high educational standards with faithful adherence to the Magisterium of the Church.
Leaders of Regina Caeli UK will give a presentation about the hybrid academy and answer any questions families may have.
TIMETABLE: 12:30pm Teas and coffees / lunch (please bring your own packed lunches) 1:30pm Brief introduction, followed by a talk by Regina Caeli Academy UK representative 2:30pm Coffee and cake 2:45pm Talk by the Trustees of the Bedfordshire RCA on how it works in practice 3:00pm Q&A’s, and next steps for interested parents
If you can, arrive earlier and attend our 11:00am Solemn High Mass (confessions from 10:30am). There is an other 6:00pm Sunday Mass.
There is a separate room to occupy the children. We’re aiming to get some help to entertain the children (tbc).
INTERCESSORESS: The Servant of God Elizabeth Prout, Foundress of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion (the female branch of Bl. Dominic Barberi’s Passionists in England), chose and founded St Mary’s school in Warrington. Our current building stands on the very footprint of the one she knew and where her order taught children from 1899 until 1967. Her order asks us to inform them of any favour received through her intercession. Let us ardently ask her for success for this initiative as we prepare for the bicentenary of her birth on 2nd September 2020.
CONCLUSION: The great step of the re-dedication of England to Our Lady of Walshingham on 29th March calls for renewed creativeness in Catholic education. Now is the time; 26 April is the date and St Mary’s the place. Please come, tell your friends, and pray. We look forward to meeting you soon.