7thJune. Holy Trinity Sunday

Venerabe English College Rome

This is the Martyrs’ picture of the Trinity from the main chapel in the English College in Rome that I have gazed upon during many a Mass. Now cleaned, it looks much better than it used to. In the 16th and 17th centuries, when the students heard that one of their colleagues had been martyred they would come and sing the Te Deum at this picture, which is still done today on Martyrs’ Day, 1st December. It is also one of the patronal feasts of our parish here in Kendal, so the two are coming together for me today. The picture has many memories for me, and reflecting on it also reminds me of times spent wondering at college where I would end up and what kind of priesthood I was stepping into, what sort of communities back in England. Never facing the threat of death as some of my predecessors did, and on much better terms with the Church of England and the government, at least under no personal threat. But in some ways the dangers are more insidious. Not personal anymore, but to the faith generally. In parts of the world Christianity is thriving. But I wonder what one of those priests who was hiding in the priest hole at Dodding Green in the 17th century would make of England today.

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