Wednesday, 27 June 2007


Our Lady of Laydewell.

The Bishop of Burnley and the two deacons leave.

Some of the 450 people who attended.

Our Lady is carried from the Church to the Shrine.

Last month, I and about 449 other people from the North West went to laydewell, in Fernyhalgh near Preston for what has become the annual festival organised by both Forward in Faith and The Society Of Mary, two Catholic societies within the Church of England which I am a member of. We had glorious weather, thank goodness, as we traditionally gather in the nearby RC church and have a short service before the Bishop starts the procession by leading us in the Angelus and then we make our way with Our Lady (a gift from Archbishop Patrick Kelly, RC Metropolitan of Liverpool), to the shrine whilst reciting the Rosary. The shrine authorities are always so kind to us and as welcoming as can be. We have a Mass in the garden chapel of the shrine, followed by lunch and then a 'sprinkling' at the well, the water really is superb to drink, well, it would be, as it comes up from under Our Lady's feet! The day concludes with Benediction given by the shrine director, and, wonderfully, as he lifted the Monstrance containing Our Lord in Blessing, the tame peacocks in the grounds opened their wings and cried out! I checked that they were not stuffed animatronic toys later, being from the North of England and they were , indeed, not.

Bless the Lord all birds of the air:

bless the Lord you beasts and cattle;

bless the Lord all people on earth:

sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

O people of God bless the Lord:

bless the Lord you priests of the Lord;

bless the Lord you servants of the Lord:

sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

Bless the Lord all you of upright spirit:

bless the Lord you that are holy and humble in heart;

bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit:

sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
I realise that ecumenism is not as popular as it once was, and we all have much part to play in it's current failings. but days like this, and our day out to Stonyhurst College (my old school, maybe more of that later...) last year really lifts the spirit and the Spirit, to help our hearts and our minds to see the grace that comes through the salvation which Christ brings in the Holy Eucharist, to all men (and women) of good will. Maybe this is our charge - to be men and women of goodwill, together, but maintaining our natural differences and looking, together, towards the Kingdom of Heaven.