A convivial time is had by all after the morning Mass on Wednesdays at St Joseph's. As our Cardinal, St John Henry Newman, wrote in September 1862, "What a sad thing one cannot live on biscuits."
This year marks the 1,300th anniversary of the death of St John of Beverley, secondary patron of the Diocese of Middlesbrough. Yesterday Bishop Drainey celebrated Mass in Beverley Minster to mark this.
St Bede tells us that John was blessed with the gift of healing and he records many accounts of his miracles including the time he spent with a deaf and mute boy: "He cured a youth of dumbness, even though the boy had never uttered a single word. On the second Sunday of Lent, John made the sign of the cross upon the youth’s tongue, and loosed it."
Bede explained how John patiently taught the boy the alphabet:
"He taught him to say “gea,” which signifies in Saxon Yea, then the letters of the alphabet, and afterwards syllables. Thus it was a combination of prayer, personal devotion and hard work that led the youth miraculously to obtain his speech."
Blessed Thomas Thwing is the last of the York martyrs to be executed - on 23rd October 1680.
Thomas Thwing’s father was George Thwing, Esq. of Kilton Castle, Brotton, and Heworth Hall. His mother was Anne, daughter of Sir John Gascoigne and his wife Anne Ingleby, and sister of Sir Thomas Gascoigne, 2nd Baronet, of Barnbow Hall, Barwick in Elmet. Both parents were Yorkshire recusants. The martyr Blessed Edward Thwing was his great-uncle, and he is also related to the fourteenth-century Saint John of Bridlington.
Thomas was educated at St Omer and at the English College, Douai, ordained a priest and sent to minister at the English Mission in 1665, which he did for roughly fourteen years. Until April 1668, he was chaplain at Carlton Hall, the seat of his cousins, the Stapleton family. He opened a school at Quosque, the Stapletons' dower-house. He lived on Hepworth Lane, in Carlton, Selby.
In 1677 Mary Ward's Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary began its foundation in the house given to the order by Thomas' maternal uncle, Thomas Gascoigne, at Dolebank, where three of Father Thwing's sisters were members. Thwing became chaplain and it was there that he was arrested in early 1679.
At the time of the Titus Oates scare, or ‘Popish Plot’, two servants, Bolron and Mowbray, who had been discharged from Sir Thomas Gascoigne's service for dishonesty, sought vengeance and reward by revealing a supposed plot by Gascoigne and others to murder King Charles II. At first the informers made no mention of Thwing. Nevertheless, Gascoigne, his daughter Lady Tempest, Thwing, and others were arrested on the night of 7th July 1679, and removed to London for trial at Newgate.
Gascoigne sensibly demanded to be tried by a Yorkshire jury, whom the judges admitted were better equipped to decide on the credibility of witnesses, most of whom they knew personally, than were the judges themselves. The trial was postponed to the summer assizes. Thwing was brought to the bar on 29th July, and Gascoigne's former servant, Robert Bolron, testified against him. All of the accused were acquitted except Thwing, who was brought back to York, where he was arraigned at York on 17th March 1680, along with, among others, a kinsman, Sir Miles Stapleton. The prosecution played upon a list of Catholics which had been found on the night of the arrest. In reality they were not conspirators but supporters of the new convent at Dolebank which Gascoigne's daughter Lady Tempest had recently founded. At her father's trial the Court had heard much evidence about the convent, but the judges apparently did not regard her actions as treasonable, since at her own trial she was acquitted. Sir Miles Stapleton was also acquitted, as was another alleged conspirator, Mary Pressicks: the judges, showing far more impartiality than in earlier Popish Plot trials, ruled that her statement that "we shall never be at peace till we are all of the Roman Catholic faith" was not treasonable, but a simple expression of opinion.
Despite the acquittal of Stapleton and Mrs. Pressicks, Thwing was promptly found guilty on the very same evidence upon which his relatives had been acquitted. Upon hearing the sentence, he humbly bowed his head, saying in Latin, "Innocens ego sum" (I am innocent).
The King at first reprieved him, but owing to a remonstrance of the Commons the death-warrant was issued on the day after the meeting of Parliament. Thwing was hanged, drawn, and quartered at the Tyburn in York on 23rd October, 1680. His friends interred his quartered body.
In our Chapter Room at the Oratory we have a relic of St John Paul II's visit to York: it is the water glass used by the Holy Father at the Knavesmire on 31st May 1982. It was presented to us by the late Mrs Joyce Kilmartin, and we use it for the cards with penances given in our chapters of faults.
Please click here for a list of the Mass Intentions for the week beginning Saturday, 23rd October.
Pope St John Paul II came to York in 1982, and spoke to a huge crowd on the Knavesmire, on that ground hallowed by the blood of the martyrs:
"I am happy to be with you in this historic city of York. We are in the shadow, as it were, of the beautiful Minster, and in the spiritual company of so many saintly men and women who have graced these northern counties."
The Pope's message on marriage and family life can be seen as prophetic nearly four decades later:
"The love of husband and wife in God’s plan leads beyond itself and new life is generated, a family is born. The family is a community of love and life, a home in which children are guided to maturity."
Our Lady's altar at St Joseph's, decorated with flowers in the Month of the Holy Rosary.
Congratulations to Hayley and to Ciaran, who were confirmed by Bishop Terence Patrick yesterday evening, taking the confirmation names Mary Magdalene and Joseph.