Wednesday, 27 June 2007

The Translation of St John - 1930

The procession bearing the casket that contains the relics of St John Southworth (as he was then, Blessed John) passes the south elevation of the Cathedral, on 1 May 1930. He had lain in the Cathedral Hall during the night. It was the first occasion of enshrining a saint in London since the Reformation.

The Westminster Cathedral Chronicle records the event:

The solemn tolling of the bell heralded the procession, which was headed by the men of the Blessed Sacrament Guild, in scarlet habits, followed by the choir, the clergy and the Cathedral Chapter, chanting the psalms from the Vespers of a martyr. In the midst was the martyr, in his crystal casket, veiled in white, borne by eight priests. Before him walked bishops in crimson robes and golden mitres. The Cardinal Archbishop followed with his pastoral staff.

The eight priests bearing the casket were two seculars, two Benedictines, two Franciscans and two Jesuits.

The Chronicle continues:

While the procession was passing, a parishioner was standing near Marble Arch, on the very spot where the Tyburn gallows once stood, and her eyes travelled across to the Cathedral tower, undreamed of in those Reformation days. On that day, June 28 1654, as the martyr stood waiting his turn, while five others suffered before him, looking up where 'heaven was opening o'er him', he might have smiled at the thought that his remains would, three centuries later, be borne in state to the site of his past labours, and that the faithful would kneel at his shrine to thank God for his constancy and implore his intercession.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

An inspiring chronicle. May God continue to bless the Church with more martyrs and saints.