St Chavara - St Euphrasia




God's love is the “source” and “destination” of all holiness, said Pope Francis on Nov. 24, speaking of India's newly declared saints ahead of a Mass of thanksgiving in the Vatican.

The Mass was celebrated at the high altar of Saint Peter's Basilica, and attended by pilgrims from India who have come to Rome to celebrate the canonization of  Saints Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Euphrasia Eluvathingal on Nov. 23.

Greeting the congregation before the celebration, the Pope expressed his gratitude for the Church in India. He said the country's Kerala region, which is the birthplace of Saints Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Euphrasia Eluvathingal, is “fertile” with vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

The Pope reminded the pilgrims who are in Rome for the canonization that, amid the celebrations and “intense spirituality,” they should also “contemplate the glorious work accomplished by the Lord through the lives and works of the new saints.”

Members of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate and the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel, Saints Kuriakose and Euphrasia serve as reminders “that God's love is the source, destination, and support for all holiness,” Pope Francis said. He added the this love is manifested most clearly in “love of neighbor.”

He recalled how Saint Kuriakose, who founded the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate in 1836 as the first male congregation of the Syro-Malabar Rite, spent his life working for the Church according to the maxim: “sanctification of self and salvation of others.”

For her part Saint Euphrasia, who served as superior general for the congregation of sisters also founded by St. Kuriakose, “lived in profound union with God,” becoming an example to those around her who referred to her as “Praying mother,” the Pope said.

The pontiff concluded his greeting by calling the faithful to follow the examples of Saints Kuriakose and Euphrasia, especially in their “love for the Eucharistic Jesus and the Church”, thereby advancing along “the path of sanctity.”


               Walsingham - ‘England’s Nazareth’

            by Fr Peter Clarke.

Deep in the Norfolk countryside is the lovely village of Walsingham that, once again, has become the Centre of Pilgrimage to what has been described as England’s Nazareth. The story behind Walsingham is this:- Richeldis, a Saxon noblewoman, married to the Lord of the Manor of Walsingham, had a deep faith in God and devotion to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. In 1061 she had a vision in which she was taken by Mary to be shown the house in Nazareth where the angel Gabriel had announced to her that she would bear a son and that his name would be Jesus. Mary asked Richeldis to build an exact replica of that house in Walsingham, and that’s how Walsingham became known as England’s Nazareth. A Priory was built between 1146 - 1174 and in it was housed the simple wooden structure that Richeldis had been asked to build. It became the focus of pilgrimage, receiving royal patronage and visits from many English monarchs, including Henry 111. Edward 111. Henry 1V and Henry V111(who, at the time of the Reformation in 1538, brought about its destruction).

After nearly 400 years, the 20th century saw the restoration of pilgrimages. In 1897 there was a Roman Catholic pilgrimage to the 14th century Slipper Chapel just outside the village. In mediaeval times this chapel had been the stopping off point for pilgrims, where they shed their shoes and walked barefoot for one mile to the original Shrine in the Priory. During the 1920’s the then Anglican Vicar of Walsingham, Fr. Hope Patten, ignited Anglican interest in the pre-Reformation pilgrimage. In 1931 he erected a new Holy House encased in a small pilgrim church, adjacent to the Priory ruins, containing a statue of Mary, based on the image depicted on the seal of the mediaeval Priory.

I first went to Walsingham in the late 1940’s as a young teenager on a pilgrimage organised by the Anglican church of Christ Church, St. Leonard’s-on-sea where I had been brought up. Since then I have made repeated visits. At my last Anglican parish of All Saints, Weston-super-Mare (where I was Vicar from 1994 - 2006), Ann and I organised an annual pilgrimage of five days with as many as 50 people, including several Catholics. After Mass and breakfast at 8.00am. we travelled by coach to Walsingham, arriving around 4.30pm. Over the years, the Anglican accommodation has improved tremendously - unlike my first one or two visits when local villagers put us up in their own homes. If you ever go to Walsingham do visit the Anglican shrine, because many people say that it’s more Catholic than the Catholic one! Walsingham has a very special place in my heart, because it was there that I first developed my love for Mary.

We became Catholics through the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and I was ordained a Catholic priest in 2011. The Ordinariate now numbers getting on for 100 priests and several thousand laity. Each year since its inception we have gone on pilgrimage to Walsingham, led by our Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton (a former Anglican bishop). Our pilgrimage is based at the Catholic ‘Chapel of Reconciliation,’ adjacent to the Slipper Chapel. While spending the weekend together, we always have the mile procession from the Catholic Shrine to the Anglican Shrine for prayer and meditation. ‘Shall we not love thee, Mother dear, whom Jesus loved so well? And to his glory year by year Thy joy and honour tell?’