CATHOLIC CHURCH IN OXFORD (NORTH) DEANERY
Burford: SS John Fisher and Thomas More
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Families through Adoption.
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Filipino Community of Oxford
Pope Benedict XVI
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DEUS CARITAS EST (Benedict XVI)[Christian Love]
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CARITAS IN VERITATE
St Thérèse of Lisieux in Oxford - October 2009
Service for Sick: Fr Aldo Tapparo - St Therese of Lisieux Oxford
Cofton Park photos - Pope's visit
Pastoral Letter : How can we best plan for our Mission together?
Discussion Paper - Following the Lent 2012 Pastoral Letter
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St Therese's Relics - Opportunity to venerate in Oxford
Why a visit of her relics?
'The veneration of relics is an expression of the Church's respect for the human body. Following baptism the body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit and a means through which God touches the lives of many people with his love. When the person has led an exceptionally holy life God continues to bless others through the person's mortal remains and draws them towards him. Relics therefore only have a value insofar as they lead us to God and draw us to imitate the saint in their love for God. It is in this spirit that the Carmelite nuns in Lisieux have agreed to allow the relics of St Therese to visit England and Wales.'
Therese of Lisieux - On the visit of her relics to Great Britain. CTS Essentials. For further click below:
St Therese of Lisieux (1873 - 1897)
'I wish to pass my heaven in doing good on earth'.
God, Our Father,
You promised Your Kingdom
to the little ones
and the humble of heart.
Give us the grace
to walk confidently in the way
of St Therese of the Child Jesus,
so that helped by her prayers,
we may see Your glory
and share in Your Kingdom.'
(The Catholic Herald presents this prayer)
A Thérèsian Mystery Play will be performed at the Oratory Church of St Aloysius in Oxford on the
1st October and
2nd October at 8.00pm.
Tickets are £5 each (£3 concessions) and are available through the Oxford Playhouse (01865 305305) as well as the Oratory itself.
Divine Comedy Rehearsals - latest pictures!
Thérèse makes her first Confession
St Therese of Lisieux - Oxford Visit Report (Oxford Mail)
ROSE petals were left scattered in their thousands at an Oxford church last night after more than 6,000 pilgrims paid tribute to an “inspirational” saint.
For 22 hours, the Oxford Oratory, in Woodstock Road, was home to the relics of Roman Catholic St Thérèse of Lisieux – and the spectacle drew people from far and wide.
St Thérèse was a French Carmelite nun who died of tuberculosis in 1897, aged 24.
She was described by Pope Pius X as the greatest saint of modern times. Her best known work is A Story of a Soul, which inspired millions of Catholics with its account of her relationship with God.
Hundreds prayed throughout the night and joined long queues for their chance to see the glass-enclosed casket, which contains part of an arm and leg.
Parish priest Father Daniel Seward said: “It’s been the day more people will have visited our church than at any time in the 130 years it has been here.
“St Thérèse shows us that we can be heroic in our love of God just by living an ordinary life. She is inspirational.”
The relics arrived in Britain for a tour of England and Wales last month.
Last night, the casket moved on to St Joseph’s Church in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire.
Father Seward said: “It has gone extremely well, a lot of people were very moved by St Thérèse.
“We had a lot of people visiting from places like Ireland and Gibraltar and people praying through the night. St Thérèse has touched their lives and they are friends.”
Mother-of-five Sophie Bale, 38, of Barton Lane, Headington, bought a group of toddlers carrying rose petals to see the relics at 7am yesterday.
She said: “They got the sense that something special was going on – it was beautiful with all the candles.”
Stratford Caldecott, 54, of Wol-vercote, said: “My wife and I have had a devotion to St Thérèse for years and we have been to Lisieux.
“It was a wonderful prayerful atmosphere and there were hordes and hordes of people we never see in church, just coming to get close to her. They seem to relate to her, it’s very strange and profound I think.
“They see something in her, even though she is culturally so alien. They love her spiritually.”
Paul Raja, 35, came from Caversham, in Reading, to see the relics after he learned that a family member had once received a letter from the saint.
He said: “My great-grandfather wrote a letter to St Thérèse and she replied to him.
“I don’t know what it was about but as soon as my mother told me, I knew I had to come down. I am hoping to see a copy of the letter soon.”
Pilgrims flock to visit relics of St Therese of Lisieux
THEY came in their hundreds for a chance to pray and worship in the presence of the remains of a 19th century nun.
Crowds queued beneath umbrellas in the pouring rain along Oxford’s Woodstock Road for the 6pm arrival of the relics of Roman Catholic St Thérèse of Lisieux at Oxford Oratory tonight.
The bells of the neighbouring Anglican church St Giles’ were rung to welcome the 132kg glass-enclosed casket, containing part of an arm and a leg, before pilgrims filled the Oratory.
The relics of the Carmelite nun arrived in Britain for a tour of England and Wales at the beginning of September. Oxford is one of 28 locations where St Thérèse’s remains will visit.
Anne Morgan, 44, of St Bernard Road, Jericho, Oxford, said: “I was so excited to see the relics, and a little bit overwhelmed to see so many people who have such great faith in her. It’s more emotional than rational.”
Bernadette Downs of Temple Cowley, Oxford, said: “It was an honour to be here, she is my favourite saint.
“I have had a lot of tragedy in my life and have suffered a great deal. I turn to her and things become easier for me.”
The first to arrive was a man who had travelled from Munich and arrived at 7.15am – waiting 11 hours for the casket, which was carried by six pupils from the Oratory School in Woodcote, near Wallingford.
Some worshippers were planning to stay up all night to stand vigil over the relics, while others pressed flower petals to the casket – believing they had been sanctified by the saint’s presence.
Fr Richard Duffield, of the Oratory, said: “It is a very exciting, unifying and prayerful time for all the community of Oxford, not just the Catholics.”
St Therese's Relics - Service for the Sick
Homily given by Fr Aldo Tapparo [reproduced here for easy cut and paste].
Not infrequently, as one works in the hospital wards you hear some people say, indeed, some here this afternoon might also have thought it, if not said it, “I don’t know what I have done to deserve this, Father!” They are speaking, of course, of the sickness that confines them to their beds or causes them some incapacity or incessant pain, as if their affliction was visited upon them from God as some punishment for wrongdoing. One has to admit that disease, disharmony, dysfunction and death all entered into the world as a result of sin, but to think that God wishes to inflict punishment upon us in this way is totally out of keeping with the God who loves us into existence and sustains us with that love, and thoughts such as these, I’m sure, emanate from the Evil One in order to undermine our faith in God’s love of us and his providential care. And I say this with some confidence for we only have to look into the pages of Scripture, we only need to have listened to the readings of our Service today to see that when the Word became Flesh and dwelt amongst us and when he entered into his public ministry, the curing of the sick was a large part of his mission and when he sent his disciples out in pairs, not only were they to preach the Good News but also to cure the sick. Healing, then was an essential element of Christ’s mission which he has entrusted to his Church and elevated it to the dignity of a sacrament. And this is something that we should never forget because it enables us to turn our weaknesses into strength and use our infirmities for the benefit of our Church and our world as we unite them to the sufferings of Our Blessed Lord. It is through God’s grace that we are enabled to add our prayers, our labours and our trials, particularly the trial of sickness and infirmity, to those of our Lord "and fill up those things that are wanting in the sufferings of Christ" as St Paul says in his letter to the Colossians ( 1:24). Now this phrase may cause us to question whether Christ’s passion alone was insufficient to save us. It was, but we understand that phrase of St. Paul more fully when we listen to Pope John Paul II who wrote in his Encyclical Salvifici doloris (27), and he should certainly know, that when a person suffers “in the spiritual dimension of the work of Redemption he is serving, like Christ, the salvation of his brothers and sisters.”
We are privileged this afternoon to be present at this Service for the Sick before the Relics of a great Saint who experienced in her short life time, the affliction of ill heath and more besides. As you know, her health was never robust and she died from tuberculosis at the early age of 24. She nevertheless had the capacity which enabled her to see that the fragility of her emotional and physical state, which caused her so much suffering, enabled her to enter, in a very real way, into the passion of her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
In the great poem of the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, the ‘Dream of Gerontius’ he speaks of the emptying out of each constituent of the old man Gerontius as he comes to die. This ‘emptying out’, as Newman puts it, could be similarly applied to St. Therese when, at an early age, she lost her mother which resulted in the family leaving the home she loved in order to move to Lisieux. Then losing her second mother Pauline when she entered Carmel, Therese lapsed into an illness which almost killed her, and only upon seeing a statue of the Blessed Virgin smiling at her was she cured. Having entered Carmel, herself, against great odds, her dearly beloved father became ill and lost his mind. In the convent she often felt lonely or passed over in favour of others; there were sisters in the community she found hard to love; prayer was often so dry and in the last two years of her life she suffered a great deal of darkness, even feeling that she had lost her faith. But all these hardships she experienced, all these things she suffered, none of them mattered to Therese. ‘Everything is a grace’ she learned to say and she grew to realise that everything was a gift from God and could be used to love him more. There was nothing too small for her to turn into an act of love. She said it was like unpetalling roses before him.
The statues that we have of St. Therese frequently portray her as holding a crucifix surrounded with roses. This portrayal may cause us to picture her as a sentimental saint. But the crucifix that she clasps to her breast depicts the closeness that she had to the cross and passion of Christ by the glad acceptance of her sufferings and the rose buds are surely the sign of those constant acts of love that she describes as rose petals offered to her Lord and her God.
For those who are sick and have come to celebrate this Sacrament of Healing we are privileged to be able to seek the intercession of St. Therese in the presence of her relics. And we ask her that she might help us to accept more willingly those things which afflict us so that when we are anointed we may experience, in addition to the healing and strengthening presence of Our Blessed Lord, the consecration of our suffering to Him, so that we, like Therese, may offer it to Him as a continuous act of love and by so doing become with her a power of love at the heart of the Church.
At the Mass last night after Father Robert had addressed us, he concluded with a prayer of St. Therese. In imitation of him I conclude this short homily also with a prayer:
St Therese, teach us to follow your way of confidence and trust. Help us to realise that a Father’s love watches over us each day of our lives. Obtain for us the light to see, in sorrow as in joy, in trials as in peace, the loving hand of our Father. Give us your own faith and trust so that we may walk in darkness as in the light holding fast to the way of love, knowing as you did, that everything is grace. Amen
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