Message from Canon Cristofoli

You will find here a message canon Cristofoli send to the people of Saint Walburge’s and English Martyrs ( at Preston ) last 1st May. Our Lady of Fatima pray for us !

Dear friends,

Here is the month of May which is the month of Mary.

Since the resumption of public Catholic worship will apparently not take 
place immediately, I wanted to give you a few words of encouragement and 
consolation. My place as pastor of our Shrines obliges me to strongly 
encourage you not to give in to discouragement or anger. There is a 
situation here that we can only deplore with all our strength but we 
must above all learn to sanctify it. The beginning of lockdown was not 
too hard for Catholics because it fell during Lent, a time of effort and 
penance, of suffering offered and of assiduous prayers. The joy of 
Easter is almost over now and it seems that neither Ascension nor 
Pentecost can be celebrated with dignity, that is to say with all the 
splendour that Christian ceremonies which take into account the bodily 
character demand: spiritual and social of the human being.

It could rightly bring us down or revolt us. We have better things to do.

Providence places at our disposal to better offer to God this long time 
of sacramental emptiness, through devotion to the Most Holy Virgin Mary. 
Let us come closer to Mary through prayer:
– Let us contemplate in our prayer the wonders that God has done in his 
soul and his life;
– Let us pray our rosary as a family or individually;
– Let us sing or recite the Regina Caeli (it replaces the usual verses 
of the Angelus in Easter time);
– Let us sing a hymn to Mary;
– Let us recite the litanies of our Lady of Loretto.

Let us learn about the Blessed Virgin Mary to imitate her better. Learn 
more about the life and teaching of Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de 
Montfort, Apostle of Mary: Mary’s secret (short); The true devotion to 
the Blessed Virgin (longer), but also the worship of the Virgin Mary by 
St John Henry Newman. Or the writings of St Alphonse Marie de Liguori. 
And how many more! We cannot quote them all but I would be remiss if I 
did not remind you of the great devotee to the Virgin that was St. 
Bernard! Without counting the innumerable texts of the Magisterium of 
the Church on the subject.

Do not forget also to flower your statues and images of the Blessed 
Virgin. It is a delicate attention to Mary and spring lends itself 
largely to it. What beautiful flowers in the gardens right now! But 
there is nothing like loving the Virgin Mary than getting into the 
school of her virginal husband, Saint Joseph, whom we celebrate today at 
the same time as Saint Walburge: Saint Joseph Worker and Husband of the 
Blessed Virgin Mary.

O glorious Patriarch Saint Joseph, humble and just craftsman of 
Nazareth, who gave to all Christians, but especially to us, the example 
of a perfect life in constant work and in admirable union with Mary and 
Jesus, assist us in our daily task, so that we, too, Catholic artisans, 
may find in it the effective means of glorifying the Lord, of 
sanctifying ourselves and of being useful to the society in which we 
live, the supreme ideals of all our actions.

Obtain from the Lord, O our beloved protector, humility and simplicity 
of heart, taste for work and benevolence towards those who are our 
fellow workers, conformity to the divine will in the inevitable sorrows 
of this life and joy in their support, consciousness of our particular 
social mission, and feeling of our responsibility, spirit of discipline 
and prayer, docility and respect towards our superiors, fraternity 
towards equals, charity and indulgence for our subordinates. Be with us 
in our moments of prosperity, when everything invites us to honestly 
taste the fruits of our fatigue; but support us in the hours of sadness, 
when the sky seems to close for us and the instruments of work 
themselves seem to rebel in our hands.

Make that, following your example, we keep our eyes fixed on our Mother
Mary, your very sweet wife, who, in a corner of your modest workshop,
was spinning silently, letting the most gracious smile wander over her
lips; Also make sure that we do not look away from Jesus, who toiled at
your carpenter’s workbench, so that we can thus lead a peaceful and holy
life on earth, a prelude to the eternally happy one that awaits us in
heaven for centuries. So be it.

Let us remain united in prayer like Our Lady with the Apostles in the 
Upper Room. To do so, I suggest that you take a day in the month to pray 
especially for our apostolates and all its members. It will be a fine 
work of fraternal charity.

I wish you a blessed month of May. Let’s be united in prayer, In Christo 
Rege and Maria.

Canon Gwenaël Cristofoli, rector of Saint Walburge’s and Saint Thomas of Canterbury and the English Martyrs.

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