PARISH MAGAZINE-Sadly, this Christmas 2019 issue will be the final printed edition. A ‘Huge Thank you’ to Astrid, our Editor for the sheer amount of time, energy and devotion she has spent over the years to create a really interesting read and also thank you to everyone who has been a regular contributor. On sale at 30 pence.
We hope to continue to still include articles past and present on this page…
The Medaille Trust: Response to Modern Slavery
The Times newspaper recently reported on the lengths to which organised crime gangs will go in order to trap young foreign nationals into modern slavery in the UK: investigative journalists found that teenage girls from Vietnam have been brought into the UK legally under the “Private School Visa” scheme only to mysteriously disappear from their new boarding schools before the end of their first term.
Reading that news article led me to think about the Medaille Trust, a charity with strong Catholic roots and connections which has been supported by parishioners in the past and could now enter into our thoughts again.
Medaille is the largest provider of supported accommodation for victims of modern slavery in the UK. It is based close to Salford Cathedral, in the diocesan Caritas office that provides generous administrative support thereby enabling donations to Medaille to go nearly 100% straight to the “front line”.
Significantly, Medaille’s Salford address is the charity’s only location whose postcode can be published: all of Medaille’s residences are safe houses whose addresses must remain hidden from the crime bosses who might otherwise come after the residents to recapture them. All that can be said is that there are seven houses distributed across Britain, of which one is for male guests: of the six residences for women, two cater for those who have young children with them.
Founded in 2006 by Sister Ann Teresa SSJA, Medaille started by establishing a house for women trafficked into prostitution. Although sex trafficking remains significant today, it is rapidly becoming eclipsed by other modern slave labour that exists across a number of sectors: for example farm work, construction and various consumer services such as car washes and nail bars.
The term “slavery” is not to be taken lightly: wages are held back ostensibly to cover food and accommodation but these are usually appalling. Breaking free is not easy. Medaille recently told journalists at the Sunday Times “… traffickers use the tactic of rolling up a debt … and telling the trafficked person that if that isn’t paid, they will harm their families”.
New guests arriving at Medaille are severely psychologically traumatised and patient love and care over many months are needed to enable the beginnings of recovery to take place. Confidence and self-reliance is engendered through fulfilling cultural activities such as arts and crafts and dance workshops, while one guest recently took up marathon running and incidentally raised a significant sum for the charity from people sponsoring her kilometres.
In the past year, clients numbered 385 including 70 child dependents. They began their lives in 45 different countries across the world.
Medaille’s safe houses will always tend to be regarded as the charity’s principal focus but it believes that justice and awareness are also vital. It therefore co-operates closely with law-enforcement authorities to support them in their work. This can take the form of providing training to help officers become proficient in detecting organised crime: as well as police from various parts of Europe as well as the UK, Medaille has supported the UK Border Force in this way.
The Justice & Peace Group at St Joseph’s have chosen Medaille Trust to be supported by the Penny Collection next year. Meanwhile you can find out more on the charity’s website: http://www.medaille-trust.org.uk
Christmas Edition 2019
A Word from No.3
‘It is the second week of November and the first of the television adverts from the big chain stores has just hit my television screen- very cute I must say, BUT as far as I can see, nothing to do with the Christmas I know; but you would perhaps expect me to say that, being a priest!
I love Christmas and always have. I love receiving Christmas cards, especially the two that I always get from my Jewish friends- such kindness and courtesy in sending that message to me each year. Nothing can really dilute Christmas once it has entered your heart. I always remember my Mother, who was one of identical twins, celebrating their birthday on December 20th, still remembering late in life the relatives who used to send one present labelled’ For Nancy and Betty for Birthday and Christmas!’ But Mum was one of the greatest devotees I have known: fun, food,fun, food, celebration and family!!
i suppose it is the balance that is most important to me. The midnight Mass, the morning Mass, then the drinks and the meal, the exchanging of presents and, vital I find nowadays, the SNOOZE!
For 2,000 years we have celebrated the coming of God into the world. A journey that offers peace and love. For 2000 years the Christian community has striven, sometimes fitfully and brokenly, to continue to bring that message to those among whom they live. may that message fill your hearts this Christmas.
And, by the way don’t forget that before you eat that mince pie, gently prise off the lid, spoon in a wee tot of brandy and teaspoon of double cream, pop the lid back on and only then eat!’
An article written by Aphrodite O’Sullivan – Christmas edition 2019
Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Lady Chapel, Church of St Joseph and the English Martyrs
The focal point of the Lady Chapel at St Joseph’s is a gold-ground icon depicting the Virgin Mary holding the infant Christ, the two central figures framed by small-scale, half-length depictions of the Archangels Michael (on the left) and Gabriel (on the right), bearing the instruments of the Lord’s Passion on their covered hands. Known in the Greek Orthodox tradition as The Virgin of the Passion, the present work, which is a copy of a fifteenth-century Cretan icon now in Rome, formally acquired the Latin title of Mater de Perpetuo Succursu (or ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Help’) on the 23rd of June 1867, when Pope Pius IX also granted the original icon its Canonical Coronation.
The importance of this image within Roman Catholicism is further underlined by the fact that it has its own feast day (on the 27th of June) and is the subject of an eponymous novena originally published in 1899 and prayed weekly at the Church of St. Alphonsus De Liguori in Rome, where the original icon has been enshrined since 1866. The image is of particular significance to the Redemptorist Order as the Church of St Alphonsus De Liguori, built between 1855 and 1859, is dedicated to the Order’s founder, and the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is twice reproduced within the building, including as a mosaic in the tympanum above the central door in the facade. More recently, it has become the subject of its own website, which can be accessed at www.iconoflove.org.
Official copies of the icon began to be produced soon after its relocation to the Church of St Alphonsus, in response to Pius IX’s request that the icon be made known throughout the world, and several of these were sent to Redemptorist parishes where, as is the case at St Joseph’s, these images are prominently displayed in churches.
The original icon is believed to be of Cretan origin, for stylistic reasons datable to the 15th Century, and is thought to have been taken by a Roman merchant from the Holy Monastery of Kera-Kardiotissa on the island, for which it would have been commissioned. The icon had arrived in Rome prior to 1499 when, in response to the appearance of the Virgin in a dream, the merchant’s family gave it to the Church of St Matthew the Apostle, then located between the basilicas of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Lateran. St Matthew’s was destroyed in the French Revolutionary Wars of 1798, so when in 1855 the Redemptorist Order came to build the Church of St Alphonsus on the very same street as St Matthew’s, the decision was made by Pius IX that responsibility for the icon should be bestowed upon the Redemptorists, thus ensuring the picture’s return to the original site of its veneration.
In St Joseph’s, the icon is part of an iconographic scheme for the east wall of the Lady Chapel, as the events foretold in the painted picture below come to fruition in the apsidal mosaic of the Crucifixion above. The picture panel is physically built into the wall above the altar, encased in a white marble frame conceived as a row of four pilasters each decorated with carvings of vases of lilies, the latter a reference to the Virgin’s purity. The icon must have arrived in the parish soon after, if not before, work on the building of St Joseph’s commenced, as some of the very earliest photographs of the Church show the icon already installed in its present setting, even before work on the mosaic had commenced.
The prominence given to this icon in St Joseph’s is unsurprising given both the history of the original upon which it was modelled, and the particular properties of icons which set them apart in the canon of Christian images. Although it is possible to attribute certain icons to particular makers, and of course they can be appreciated as works of art for their aesthetic qualities, with icons there is an understanding that such considerations are secondary in importance to what (or, rather, who) is being depicted. The particular motifs included in a picture, the way in which the image is laid out, and even the colours of the clothing worn by the figures, were more or less ‘set in stone’ and repeated, with very limited variations, down the centuries. In the case of icons of the Virgin and Child, which have been particularly prolific in both the Eastern and Western Churches, the reasons for this adherence to tradition may be the attribution of an original to the Evangelist Luke, or, as in the case of the Nicopeia icon (now in San Marco in Venice), the belief that a divine sanctioning of the image enabled it to intercede effectively on behalf of its community at times of war or plague. It is also true that the relative absence of physical relics of the Virgin Mary gave the images that were made of her, whether in paint or three-dimensional materials, a greater and compensatory significance.
The combination of word (however abbreviated) and image in icons is another of the art form’s distinctive characteristics which has made it a particularly effective bearer of theological meaning. So, for example, we might look at the pairs of initials which frame, and indeed crown, the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help – M[HTHP] Θ[EO]V (Mother of God) – and see the outcome of the Council of Ephesus in 431 which established the Virgin’s title of Theotokos (‘Mother of God’), in order to reinforce the view that Christ’s divine and human natures were inseparably joined in one person – a response to the Nestorianist heresy. And other ‘versions’ of this icon (for example, in the Rena Andreadis Collection) sometimes include a rather lengthy Greek inscription to the right of the Christ Child offering a verbal explanation of the interaction between the Former and the Archangel Gabriel: “He who previously greeted the all-pure maiden now displays the symbols of the Passion, and Christ, having taken on mortal flesh, timorously fears His fate when He sees them.” In his Sketch of the Miraculous Image and the Confraternity of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St Alphonsus: Also a Practical Method of Making a Novena, published in 1927, the Reverend Joseph A. Chapoton gave a fuller account of this incident, based on a traditional story of Christ’s childhood:
As the vision of His future sufferings and death unfolds itself before his tender eyes now suffused with tears, he clings fervently to His Mother’s breast, clasps her hand with trembling fingers, and seeks in her arms comfort and succor. Though terrified he feels perfectly safe and secure in her sheltering arms. Thus ever and always, was the Mother the child’s consoler and Perpetual Help. Jesus turned to her, ran to her, cast himself into her arms, resting His head on her virginal bosom and there found sympathy and sweet refuge. . . . This then is the primary idea of the picture and the noble conception of the pious artist.
Perhaps the role of the icon in devotion was best and most succinctly explained by the eighth-century theologian St John of Damascus when he wrote: “We worship God and [venerate] the Saints through or across their images.” Similarly, in the above passage, we see how the author used the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help as a starting point for his contemplation of Christ, His sacrifice and the role that His Mother played in the story of salvation. This is made possible by the fact that, for all their almost-supernatural appearance, gold-ground icons, particularly from the later Middle Ages, harnessed the expressive power of Classical art to elicit empathy in the viewer – for the want of a more elegant expression, spiritual insight through feeling. Thus, in the present icon, we are aware of the fact that this Mother and Child are exalted above all others, through the prominent and exquisitely worked haloes, the gold ground, highlights and stars on the Virgin’s maphorion, the Christ-Emmanuel dressed as a Prophet, and the right hand of the Mother who gestures (guides) the viewer to Him; and yet, simultaneously, the hand which guides is also a safe resting place for the hands of her Child, to steady Him as He sits in the crook of her left arm, her chin almost touching the top of His head in that most universal and touching of gestures – the maternal embrace.
Sculpture by Jonathan Clarke at Ely Cathedral – Christmas 2019 edition
This sculpture, made of cast aluminium, which is situated on the wall to your left as you enter Ely Cathedral can easily be missed, as you walk in, your eye is immediately drawn to the length of the nave, and you are overwhelmed by the varied history and architecture of the cathedral which lies ahead.
It is called ‘The Way of Life’ and is best viewed from a distance so that you can appreciate the full impact of its 11m height. There is a large stained glass window to the left and three smaller windows above through which sunlight floods at various times. The cathedral website states it “reminds us that life is far from straightforward. Along its many twists and turns Christ travels with us from darkness to the light of the cross”.
If you look carefully you will see that the cross and the path write out the numbers 1, 2 and 3 which represent Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It makes one think of how straightforward the path of life should be but how easily we can be diverted and, that we are helped by each aspect of God in the Trinity to turn back towards the light.
The following prayer, also on the website, is for the work of the cathedral – but applies equally to us all:
We praise and thank you, God of the journey, for all your gifts to us in the past.
We look to you as fellow-traveller and faithful companion on the way ahead.
Shelter and protect us from all harm and anxiety:
give us grace to let go of all that holds us back
and grant us courage to meet the new life you have promised us in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Biography of Fr. Carlos – Autumn 2017
My name is Fr. Carlos. I am 27 years old and hail from the city that never sleeps – New York City. My parents come from Ecuador and Cuba, although living in New York means that you pick up the cultural aspects of other nations (Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and others). I have three sisters and two brothers.
Before entering the seminary, I was completing my secondary studies in a High School in the Bronx while working as a bank cashier in my free time. But it was also during these years that I discerned to enter the seminary.
My discernment began in a World Youth Day Pilgrimage to Köln, Germany, along with my involvement with the Neocatechumenal Way, a recent movement in the Catholic Church that helps Catholics deepen their faith. For three years I contemplated on God’s call to enter the priesthood while living the life of a high school student. I also was preparing for university in order to become a Mathematics teacher. I even had the privilege to meet Pope Benedict during his visit to New York. I graduated with honours and had secured a place in university on a scholarship. God, however, had different plans.
I went to another World Youth Day pilgrimage to Sydney, Australia, and it confirmed my call to enter the seminary. It was also different than entering the seminary in my local diocese. I offered to be a priest anywhere around the world, and in a meeting in Italy, I came to the Diocese of Westminster in October 2008. I trained with the Diocese with the help of Allen Hall Seminary and the Redemptoris Mater House of Formation, which continued from the nourishment of the early years of my vocation.
I underwent philosophical and theological studies in seminary. But I did not just study. I also was involved in pastoral training in various areas. I began by helping at Sunday Masses in St. Thomas More, Swiss Cottage. I also helped at a Confirmation programme at Ealing Abbey, helped teach English to immigrants at the Cardinal Hume Centre, Horseferry Road, assisted a hospital chaplain at St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, and participated and helped at an Alpha Course in Holy Cross, Parsons Green. In addition I did missionary work with the Neocatechumenal Way in the North, Midlands, and West of England, Ireland, and Vicenza, Italy.
I was ordained a deacon on 11 June 2016 at Westminster Cathedral and served in the parish of Our Lady of the Annunciation, Burnt Oak, being involved in catechesis, visitations, praying with people with learning difficulties, and even helping at social events, especially the Christmas Bazar and the Carol Singing in the neighbourhood.
I was ordained a priest on 24 June 2017 and was appointed an assistant priest here at Bishop’s Stortford.
I enjoy to travel and am open to exploring new things. I also enjoy the arts, especially the cinema. As you may have seen, I really enjoy dining out and having a good meal. I must confess, however, that I am not involved so much in sports, but I enjoy walks in the countryside.
I am happy to know more of you, as you will do with me.
Fr. Carlos Quito
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