Monday 25 October 2010

Forty Years of the Forty Martyrs

Chapel of the English and Welsh Martyrs, Aylesford Priory
On this day, 25th October 1970, Pope Paul VI canonised 40 men and women from England and Wales who had been martyred for their Catholic faith. They came from all walks of life and diverse vocations. They loved their faith and were prepared to pay the ultimate price for their faithfulness. Over the years many people would gather at Aylesford, aroiund the relics of these holy man and women, and through prayer and simply being together would have their faith renewed. These pilgrimages were a strong part of my own childhood and one of my earliest memories is coming to Aylesford with my father and being part of the thousands of people walking in torch lit procession in praise of God and in thanksgiving for the martyrs.

Altar piece of the Shrine of the Martyrs of England and Wales, Tyburn Convent
God our Father,
you raised up martyrs - saints among our countrymen
from every walk of life.
they vindicated the authority of your Church
in teaching and worship.
Through their prayers
may all people be gathered once again
to celebrate the same sacraments
under one Shepherd, Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.

The Roman Missal

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