The last few weeks have been very eventful. After a beautiful London Festival Mass at the Ordinariate Church of Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory, Warwick Street, I was able to take a week’s holiday with friends in northern Cyprus. We were staying in the beautiful port of Kyrenia and St Barnabas is buried not far away there on the outskirts of the city of Salamis on the east coast. This meant that we were able to visit his tomb and pray there for the Society and its work. The last time I did this was shortly before taking up my appointment as Director and a great deal has happened since then. There was so much to thank the “Son of Consolation” for and so much more to entrust to his on-going intercession. I have always felt him to be especially close to us and his selfless sacrifice for the sake of Christ and His Gospel which culminated in a martyr’s death continues to inspire us in the mission we exercise under his patronage.

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Just days after our return we heard the joyful and not entirely unexpected news that Blessed John Henry Newman is to be canonised in Rome on Sunday 13th October by Pope Francis. It will be a wonderful moment in the life of the Church and a special blessing for those who have followed Newman upon his journey of conversion. Since the story of our Society is so closely connected with his, it is our intention to be present at the Canonisation Mass and to bring back from Rome a lamp which will burn beside the icon of Newman and Blessed Dominic Barberi in our chapel. We are now eagerly awaiting the visit of His Grace The Archbishop of Birmingham on Saturday, July 27th, when he will bless the icon and our new crucifix.

The day of the announcement of Newman’s canonisation was a day of mixed emotions. As a family we received the sad news that my father, Barri Martin, has entered end of life care and is unlikely to live very much longer. He is a retired Master Mariner and a former Harbour Pilot and during the course of his long life he has travelled the world and enjoyed many amazing adventures. Despite many years of failing health he has remained astonishingly alert and his memory has remained as clear as ever. He has never been happier than when sharing his salty tales with visitors but now at 89 years of age the time has come for him to set sail for his eternal home. I mention this only to ask you all to pray for him, for my mother, Joy, and for all of us as a family at this sad time. In particular, I entrust my dear old Dad to the intercession of Our Blessed Lady, Star of the Sea, and Blessed (soon to be Saint) John Henry Newman, that they will help him steer a steady course as he prepares to journey from this world toward the harbour of Heaven.

Hail, O Star that pointest

Towards the port of Heaven,

Thou to whom as maiden

God for Son was given.

Bound by Satan’s fetters,

Health and vision needing,

God will aid and light us

At thy gentle pleading.

So, as now we journey,

Aid our weak endeavour,

Till we gaze on Jesus,

And rejoice for ever.