Friday, 16 May 2014

The Tabernacle Treasury – Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane

For most of its history, the League ran a Tabernacle Fund, set up by Fr Fynes Clinton to assist Anglican parishes with the purchase of eucharistic vestments, monstrances and tabernacles as a means of promoting the spiritual life and Catholic faith in the sacraments, all directed towards the corporate reunion of the Church of England and the Catholic Church. Until a few years ago, we maintained a register of monstrances owned by the League and lent to parishes and clergy unable to maintain possession of their own. About five years ago, we were able happily to complete the work of the Tabernacle Fund by donating the remaining monstrances out on loan. Then a new opportunity emerged and we reopened the Tabernacle Fund one more time, for an exceptionally good cause close to the League’s heart.

Corpus Christi Church on Maiden Lane in London’s Covent Garden will be known to many. It was established by Cardinal Manning, but not many now remember why. He built it as a National Shrine in honour of the Blessed Sacrament, in reparation for the blasphemies occasioned upon the Most Holy Eucharist in the 16th century and since, and the physical and religious destruction visited upon the Church and its unity as the Body of Christ. This relates directly to work on reparation for the damage of the Reformation era and on reconciliation through honouring the Anglican, Protestant and Catholic martyr traditions, which the League undertook under four successive Priest-Directors - Frs Philip Gray, Robert Farmer, Brooke Lunn and Mark Woodruff.

Corpus Christi Church is currently being restored to its former glory as a Victorian gem. It will become once more the National Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, where there will be all-day adoration and a new Guild founded for union of prayer and ever greater conversion to faithfully following our Lord. The needs and intentions of the Members of the Guild across the world will be remembered daily at a special Mass. We very much hope that members of the League will wish to join.

The one thing that Corpus Christ Church lacked was a monstrance of the size and design suited to the Church and its new work. Thanks to Fr Graeme Rowlands, we have purchased a beautiful monstrance, now engraved with the Emblem of the League, that will always stand as a witness to the League’s hopes for the union of all Christians, and especially the reconciliation of Anglicans and Catholics in fullness of communion at the Altar of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

The members of the Executive will attend the Vigil Mass of the Holy Trinity at 1800 on Saturday 14th June to present the Monstrance that will henceforth serve at the centre of the Shrine. Fr Mark Woodruff will preach at the 1130 Solemn Mass and Procession the following week on the Sunday of Corpus Christi, 22 June 2014, when the Monstrance will be used for the first time. All members of the League are warmly invited to take part in these magnificent ways to conclude our Centenary Year.

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