Canon Paul Swarbrick a priest of our Diocese has been named as the next Bishop of Lancaster by Pope Francis! His ordination as Bishop will take place at Lancaster Cathedral on Monday 9th April 11:30am. Each Church has been given 2 tickets – so we have 6 tickets available. If you would like to go, please hand in your name which will go in a draw.
The Blessing of Throats took place after Mass on Saturday at The Good Shepherd. A traditional custom on the Feast of St Blaise, Bishop and Martyr.
Saint Blase was the bishop of Sebaste in Armenia during the fourth century. Very little is known about his life. According to various accounts he was a physician before becoming a bishop. His cult spread throughout the entire Church in the Middle Ages because he was reputed to have miraculously cured a little boy who nearly died because of a fishbone in his throat. From the eighth century he has been invoked on behalf of the sick, especially those afflicted with illnesses of the throat.
Details regarding the miraculous healing of the boy vary. One account relates that the miracle occurred during the journey to take Blaise to prison when he placed his hand on the boy’s head and prayed; another that the miracle happened while Blaise was in prison when he picked up two candles provided to him and formed a cross around the boy’s throat.
The use of candles for the blessing of throats stems from the candles that Blaise used while in prison. When an old woman’s pig had been miraculously rescued from a wolf by Saint Blaise, she would visit him in prison, bringing him food and candles to bring him light in his dark cell.
The Canticle of Simeon (Nunc Dimittis) was chanted at the beginning of Mass last night during the procession to the Main Altar.
The Nunc dimittis is a hymn from the Bible. It was sung by Simeon when he saw the baby Jesus.
The story told in the book of Luke was that Simeon, who was a Jew, had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen Jesus. When Mary, and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem for the ceremony of consecration of the firstborn son, Simeon was there, and he took Jesus into his arms and said the words which are now known as the Nunc dimittis. He was saying to God that he could now die happily because he had seen the Saviour.
The Church was full of candles! highlighting the importance and adding to the solemnity of this great Feast of The Presentation of the Lord. The candlelight also gave a calming atmosphere when you entered the Church from the busy world outside.
From the words of The Roman Canon:
In humble prayer we ask you, almighty God:
command that these gifts be borne
by the hands of your holy Angel
to your altar on high
in the sight of your divine majesty,…
so that all of us, who through this participation at the altar
receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son,
may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing.
Thank you to all who attended the Mass and thank you to all who helped in any way the the preparation and tidying up afterwards!
Last night candles were put in place ready for a Solemn Mass which will be celebrated this evening on the Feast of The Presentation of the Lord.
The Mass begins with the traditional Blessing of Candles.
Candlemas marks the closing of the Christmas cycle. In remembrance of the divine gifts bestowed by the Christmas mystery, the Church gives us a candle. The candle’s message is that we always retail Emmanuel – God-with-us.
More photos and text tomorrow!