Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, a Passionist parish for over 125 years.
The Passionists are a Religious Congregation founded in Northern Italy in 1720 by St Paul of the Cross. The main work of the Congregation is the preaching of missions and retreats but parish work has been a regular part of parish life, especially in the UK.
The first Passionist to come to England was Fr Dominic Barberi, an Italian from the town of Viterbo, who had long dreamt of working in this country but who had to wait until he was 50 years old, and not in the best of health, before he arrived. He soon set about the work of preaching and of establishing further communities of the Congregation and became widely known and respected as a true man of God. In 1845 it was to Fr Dominic that the great John Henry Newman came when he felt that the time had come for him to ask to be received into the Catholic Church; Fr Dominic received him in the October of that year. Fr Dominic died in 1848 and such was his reputation for holiness that he was beatified in 1963 and is known now as Blessed Dominic. He is buried in the church of St Anne and Blessed Dominic in Sutton, St Helens, Merseyside.
Fr Dominic was succeeded in the work of leading the Passionist Congregation by another illustrious man of God, Fr Ignatius Spencer C.P., a member of the Spencer-Churchill family who became a Catholic in the 1840’s and gained great renown as a preacher. Among his many notable achievements was his work to help establish a sister Congregation, the Sisters of the Cross and Passion whose foundress was a Midlands woman, Elizabeth Prout. She, like Fr Ignatius, lies in the Shrine in Sutton, St Helens, along with Blessed Dominic, and the great hope is that one day all three will be declared saints.
Passionist men and women now work in 63 countries all over the world and are constantly seeking new ways to express the foundational idea of St Paul of the Cross, to be witnesses to the overwhelming love of God as shown in the Passion and Death of His Son, " the greatest act of God's love." Passionists take a fourth vow at their Profession (the traditional three vows being Poverty, Chastity and Obedience): to keep alive the memory of the Passion.
The current members of Herne Bay's Passionist community are: Frs Mark White, Patrick McKeown, Malachy Steenson and Brothers Francis Welsh and Peter Aspin.
Fr Charles Owen CP passed away on 8 April 2017, please keep him in your prayers and we will be in his.
Links to Passionist Websites
Minsteracres Retreat Centre - http://www.minsteracres.org
Passionists in England and Wales - http://www.passionists-uk.org
Passionists in Ireland and Scotland - http://passionists.ie
Passionists International - http://www.passiochristi.org/en/