ECHA Visit to Princes Risborough, 5 May 2018

SATURDAY 5 MAY 2018 – St Teresa’s Catholic Church, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire. Mass at 10.15am, followed by coffee.  Tour of the church with Dr Liz Duffy.  Talk by Mrs Margaret Osborne, former Northampton archivist, on Bishop Youens.  Bring your own lunch or walk to pub/cafes.  Afternoon:  Talk by Lindsay & John Mullaney on the latest from the Reading Abbey project.  Cost £8.50 per morning or afternoon, or £15 for the whole day.
Click here for the Programme and Booking Form for this visit

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ECHA visit to Arundel, West Sussex, 19 April 2018

Thursday 19 APRIL 2018 – Arundel, West Sussex.  Meet at Arundel Cathedral at 11am for guided tour.  Lunch in the town, or bring your own.  2pm Meet at Arundel Museum for guided tour of the town with Catholic interest.
Cost: £14 per head excluding lunch (bring your own or buy locally)
Click here for the Programme and Booking Form for this visit

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ECHA Newsletter for December 2017

Please click on the link below to read our latest newsletter.  Also below is a Subscription Reminder for 2018 for our members.

ECHA Newsletter for December 2017

Subscription Reminder – 2018

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St Alphege: Saint of Bath and Saint for our Times by Dr Giles Mercer

ECHA Podcast Artwork v2St Alphege was born near Bath in 954 and died a martyr 1011.  Little known today, his life is however an example and inspiration.  Dr Giles Mercer, former headmaster of Stonyhurst and Prior Park Schools and author of a recent biography of Bishop William Brownlow, became interested in St Alphege when he became a parishioner of St Alphege Catholic Church in Bath.  In this talk he gives interesting background information on Anglo-Saxon Britain and then outlines the life of St Alphege from his birth into a relatively well to do family, his call to the contemplative life, his becoming a monk of Deerhurst near Tewkesbury, his move to the monastery at Glastonbury, his promotion to Abbot of Winchester and then to Archbishop of Canterbury.  His martyrdom at the hands of the vikings took place as he refused to allow the ransom money asked for his life to be raised from the poor of his diocese.  St Anselm said of him ‘He who dies for justice, dies for Christ’.

Click on the arrow to listen to this talk or go to the image above to find the talk in our free iTunes podcast    64 minutes



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The English Dominican Province by Fr Richard Finn OP

ECHA Podcast Artwork v226 Fr Richard Finn OP, a member of the Dominican house in Oxford, gives a lucid and informative account of the establishment of the Dominican Order in England. He covers their growth up to the time of the Reformation, their years in exile on the continent and their return to England in the early 1800s, fleeing persecution there. The support of the wealthy convert William Leigh enabled them to found a flourishing noviciate house in Gloucestershire, in addition to houses in London, Newcastle, Leicester and Oxford. Eventually they were able to establish daughter houses in South Africa, Granada, Edinburgh and Cambridge. They continue today to pursue their charism of preaching and teaching.

Click on the arrow to listen to this talk or go to the image above to find the talk in our free iTunes podcast    46 minutes

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ECHA AGM and Day Conference – Saturday 21 October 2017

All are welcome to join us at our annual day conference and AGM which this year will take place on Saturday 21st October at St John the Evangelist Catholic Church, South Parade, Bath, BA2 4AF


10.30 a.m: Coffee
11.00 a.m: Dr Giles Mercer: St Alphege: A Saint of Bath and a Saint for our Times
12.30 p.m: Annual General Meeting
1.15 p.m: Buffet lunch
2.30 p.m: Dom Geoffrey Scott
Title of presentation will be announced on the day
3.30 p.m (approx): Tea
5.45 p.m. Saturday Vigil Mass in St John’s
Charge: £20 (including buffet lunch, coffee and tea)

Click here for the booking form for this event

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ECHA Newsletter for September 2017

Please click here for our latest newsletter

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Buckfast Abbey: Book launch and Conference – 7 October 2017

There will be a special one day conference at Buckfast Abbey to launch a new book on the history, art and architecture of the Abbey ahead of their millenium year in 2018.

The date will be Saturday 7th October. It promises to be a fascinating day with a range of eminent speakers, and the opportunity to buy the new volume at a discounted price. Full details can be found on the following link:



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Downside Lectures 2017

Please click here for information on then2017 Downside Lectures



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ECHA Newsletter June 2017

Please click on the links below to access our latest newsletter, and the booking forms for our next visits.

ECHA Newsletter for June 2017

ECHA Visit to Little Malvern and Blackmore Park, Thursday 6th July 2017

ECHA Visit to Museum of the Order of St John and/or London Charterhouse, Saturday 8th July 2017

ECHA Visit to Blackfriars and Campion Hall, Oxford, Thursday 14th September 2017








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Catholic History Day, Bar Convent, York, Saturday 3rd June 2017

This year’s programme:
Exile and Return: The Bar Convent and the English Catholic Story  

Dr. James Kelly:  Rendering unto Caesar? The secular, the sacred and the formation of an English Catholic identity c.1558-1793

Dr. Cormac Begadon:  Exile and Mission: the English Catholic Clergy 1568-1793

Dr. Hannah Thomas:  From Exile to Integration? English Convents across the Channel c.1597 – 1794

Dr. Caroline Bowden:  “We must have a school for our daughters” – What were the Choices? 

Cost £15, including refreshments. Students half price. Lunch is available at additional cost at The Bar Convent Café – please call 01904 464 910 to book a table.

The day will conclude with the vigil Mass of Sunday in the historic chapel at 5pm. For more information and to reserve a place please contact Judith Smeaton on 01904 704 525 or at

Click here for the poster advertising this event – please download and display if you are able – thank you!

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ECHA Newsletter for March 21

Click here to read our newsletter for March 2017

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Visit of the Fatima Pilgrim Statue to Westminster Cathedral on 18 February 2017, and UK tour following

Article by Donal Anthony Foley, Secretary, World Apostolate of Fatima, England and Wales

One hundred years ago, from May to October 1917, Our Lady appeared to three young shepherd children, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, and Lucia dos Santos, at Fatima in Portugal. We are thus now in the Centenary year of the Fatima apparitions, and the World Apostolate of Fatima (WAF) in England and Wales will be commemorating this special event by means of a programme of Visitations to Cathedrals by the National Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, together with Relics of Blessed Jacinta and Francisco. This statue of Our Lady was blessed by Pope Paul VI at Fatima in May 1967, and given to this country by the Bishop of Fatima in 1968, and it was also blessed by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Britain in 1982.

The WAF programme will start with a Visitation of the Statue and Relics to Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 18 February 2017, from 1:45 pm onwards, when Cardinal Nichols will bless the statue and crown it with a new silvergilt Centenary Crown that is being specially made in Portugal by the same firm that made the richly bejewelled crown that is only worn on the 13th of May to October. You may read the Programme for this event by clicking here. The Cardinal will then preside at Mass and renew the consecration of England and Wales to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that was made by Cardinal Griffin at Walsingham on 16 July 1948, whose image was installed in a new shrine in the chapel of St George and the English Martyrs, at a wonderful ceremony on 8 December 2016.

The Centenary Crown will be presented to Cardinal Nichols by Mr Jorge Leitao, whose grandfather made the original crown, and it is being offered to Our Lady by his company in return for whatever items of gold or silver, or jewellery with gold or silver, that people may wish to bring to the cathedral to offer to Our Lady after the Mass. This is how the original crown was made in Portugal in 1942. A receipt will be given to the donor, and the items will be transferred to the offices of Leitao e Irmao in Portugal. People can also bring prayer petitions to Our Lady and the WAF will arrange for them to be placed under her statue at the exact location of the apparitions in the Chapel of the Apparitions in Fatima.

After Mass people will be able to venerate the relics of Blessed Jacinta and Francisco, and this will be followed, at 4:00 pm, by a Fatima Symposium in Westminster Cathedral Hall. The National Pilgrim Virgin Statue and Relics will be present in the Cathedral until 2:30 pm on Sunday 19 February.

The Symposium will include talks and discussion on the Centenary celebrations at Fatima by Nuno from the WAF Secretariat in Fatima, the famous crown of Our Lady at the Capelinha by Mr Jorge Leitao, the significance of the Fatima Message for the Family, and the importance of the Five First Saturdays devotion and the Rosary.

Please note that seats for the Fatima Symposium are very limited, so please book and pay in advance, £5 per seat, stating “Your name + Symposium” as the reference, directly to:

Apostolate of Fatima Swindon Cent Acc
Barclays Bank
Sort code: 20– 84–58
Account number: 83539490

To secure your seats, please then send an email to Jerry Rivera on; contact number: 07919052207. And then we will send your tickets via post to your nominated postal address, if there are still seats available for you.

The Visitations will continue between May and October with visits to 18 of the Cathedrals in England and Wales, according to the schedule attached herewith, and we are delighted to inform you that Pope Francis has imparted his Apostolic Blessing “to all those persons who participate in the organised celebrations in the Cathedrals and churches gathered around the National Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima”.

In recognition of the significance of Our Lady’s apparitions, Pope Francis is travelling to Fatima on 13th May, for the one hundredth anniversary day of the first apparition in 1917. And the Pope has granted a special Fatima Centenary Plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, from 27 November 2016 to 26 November 2017, for those who go on Pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Fatima, or visit an image of Our Lady of Fatima which is being publicly venerated on the 13th of each month from May to October 2017. Those who cannot travel can fulfil the conditions in front of a small image of Our Lady of Fatima.

We invite you to sign up for our Newsletter at: so you can be kept informed of future WAF events and initiatives. If you can’t attend the event in person, please join in spiritually on the day at Mass in your parish church, or at home by praying to an image of Our Lady of Fatima. Please email us via: if you would like to obtain one of these, together with the Fatima Prayers, for your personal use at home, or for your friends.

To conclude, we cordially invite as many people as possible to come to the Cathedral on Saturday 18 February to show their love and devotion for Our Lady of Fatima, and their desire to honour her in the country which is her Dowry.

Donal Anthony Foley is secretary of the World Apostolate of Fatima in England and Wales.

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Catholic History Walks, London, 2017

Organised by Catholic History Walks, two Springtime riverside walks along the Thames will be organised in March, starting from the Church of the Most Precious Blood at London Bridge, which is in the care of the Ordinariate.

The Walks are on Sunday afternoons, and all are welcome. There is no need to book – just turn up!

The details are:

Sunday March 5th, starting at 3pm at the door of the Church of the Most Precious Blood, O’Meara Street, London SE1 1TD.The Walk will go along the river to the Tower of London and from there to St paul’s Cathedral and back across the Millenium Bridge.

Sunday March 19th, starting at 3pm at the church door, and walking along the Thames to Westminster, crossing the river at Charing Cross and going along the Embankment to Westminster Abbey.

All along, there will be stops at places of historic interest, with information on the great events that shaped London’s, and Britain’s, history.

A donation of £5 is invited for each walk. Concessions for senior citizens and unemployed. Childen under 16 free. More information from

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ECHA programme for 2017 – dates for your diaries

SATURDAY 1ST APRIL 2017 – BATH, St John the Evangelist Catholic Church
Topic: Reformation 500 

Organiser: Simon Johnson    Details to follow

MAY 2017 – LITTLE MALVERN, Worcestershire.
Organiser: Vincent Burke.  Details to follow.

SATURDAY 3RD JUNE 2017 – YORK.  Catholic History Day, Bar Convent.
Details to follow.

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ECHA Newsletter for December 2016


Please click here to read our latest newsletter

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Downside Library & Archives by Dr Simon Johnson

ECHA Podcast Artwork v2Dr Simon Johnson is Director of Heritage at Downside Abbey, a Benedictine Abbey and school in Somerset, England. Established in the 19th century, Downside is home to one of the best collections of religious manuscripts in the world. A recent Heritage Lottery Fund grant has enabled the library and archives to be modernised. Dr Simon brings us up to date with many interesting insights into the work that has been involved, and gives an outline of future hopes and plans.

Click on the arrow to listen to this talk or go to the image above to find the talk in our free iTunes podcast    46 minutes

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Shakespeare and the English Reformation by Lady Clare Asquith

ECHA Podcast Artwork v2Lady Clare Asquith published her acclaimed book ‘Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare’ in 2005, a study of how Shakespeare secretly addressed the most profound political issues of his day, and how his plays embody a hidden history of England. In this fascinating talk she leads us into this hidden world. With precision and scholarship supported by examples from the texts, we begin to understand something of the terror and sadness in which our Elizabethan forebears lived, a world in which drama was one of the very few mediums which gave the possibility of an outward expression of an interior faith, if one knew how to listen.

Click on the arrow to listen to this talk or go to the image above to find the talk in our free iTunes podcast    62 minutes


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North West Catholic History Society journals now digitised

The North West Catholic History Society has digitised all the volumes of its annual journal dating back to 1969. These are now available to members of the Society for viewing and downloading on the society’s new web site: .

Also available are digitised copies of other publications such as “Arundel to Zabi” – a Biographical Dictionary of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales (Deceased) 1623-2000 by Brian Plumb.

Sample issues of the Journal and other publications are available for free on the web site.

Membership of the Society giving access to all the digitised publications costs £15 per annum.

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The Stained-Glass of Margaret Agnes Rope, Shrewsbury Cathedral, Saturday 24 September 2016, 2pm

Dr Claire Fitzgerald of Warwick University will be giving this free lecture – inside Shrewsbury Catholic Cathedral – in front of the huge stained-glass windows by Margaret Rope that can be found there. The talk is in the afternoon, to ensure the windows can be seen in full light – and all are welcome!

The talk takes place on Saturday 24th September, at 2pm.

Dr Fitzgerald is particularly knowledgeable about the craft techniques used by Margaret Rope; such techniques were important in giving her glass the range of rich colours and the dazzling effect that so characterised this ‘Arts & Crafts Movement’ style.

There will also be a profile of Margaret Rope’s place in the history of stained glass, and a discussion of Margaret Rope’s religious life-journey from convert to Catholicism to entering a convent and how that made its way into her designs.

The talk is one of the activities complementing the Margaret Rope ‘Untold Story’ Exhibtion at the Shrewsbury Art Gallery.

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