Posted by: catholicrelics | September 29, 2009

‘Proud Preston’ welcomes St Therese

Soldiers sharing 43 medals between them carried St Therese into Preston Carmel

Soldiers sharing 43 medals between them carried St Therese into Preston Carmel

Preston lived up to its reputation and proudly welcomed the relics into its Carmel. More than 2,000 people lined the road to greet their arrival and, with the Carmelite friars and nuns of several communities, led them into the chapel for their veneration. It was a short visit lasting only three hours, but the warmth and enthusiasm equalled that of every other venue.

The word ‘Preston’ is derived from ‘Priests’ Town, so strong has been the faith and commitment across many centuries. In fact the ancient Marian shrine of Ladyewell, or, to give it its full name, the Shrine of Our Lady and the English Martyrs is virtually on the same road as Carmel. During the Reformation, many priests, some of them future martyrs, visited the shrine, a memory of which Preston is justifiably proud.

Not only did Bishop Ambrose Griffiths speak about Therese, her relics were carried into Carmel by a detachment of soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment who shared no fewer than 43 medals between the eight men. The courage that they have displayed over their years of service is surely an echo of the courage shown by Therese and so the military presence had a particular relevance.

Once again, it was inspiring to see the number of individuals who had overcome limitations of health and, wheelchair-bound, managed to come to the church. Yet their very presence was also suggestive of the kindness of others who had made that visit a possibility. Once again, the overwhelming impression was of sheer generosity in service.

‘Proud Preston’ deserved its name!

Bishop Ambrose Griffiths … Click to listen

Major Mark Stevington … Click to listen

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