At 11.00 a.m. on Sunday 14th August the parish will come together to celebrate S. Mary’s Patronal Festival.  With the three congregations, and visitors from near and far, it promises to be a joyous occasion.  If you’re not a member of either of our churches, you are most welcome to join the celebrations, which will culminate in refreshments being available in the church hall.  The celebrant and preacher will be Bishop Nicholas Reade, former Bishop of Blackburn.  Please put the date in your diary.     

‘The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary’, to give the day its official title, has been celebrated for centuries.  The church through the ages has adorned itself with images of Mary, paintings depicting this specially chosen young woman who became the mother of our Lord.  Every significant moment of Mary’s life has been captured by many brilliant artists, each one vying to show the loveliness, the tenderness and the strength of this woman.  A famous painting that comes to mind is the Assumption of the Virgin, painted by Titian in 1518.  This painting hangs in the Franciscan basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa in Venice, and is the largest altar piece ever painted.  It is full of energy and upward movement as people lift their arms to cling to Christ’s mother, while Mary herself is lifted up into the waiting arms of the heavenly Father.

The painting fixes our eyes on this central figure and on this amazing moment at the end of her earthly pilgrimage.  It calls us, as onlookers, to say, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.”  This forms part of the ‘Angelus’ which is said at 

S. Mary’s every Sunday.

Many artists have tried to emulate Titian by painting their own version of the Assumption.  Not least, Father Charles Roe (a former parish priest at S. Mary’s) who was an artist in his own right.  His version can be seen on the west wall of the ante-chapel.    

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”  (Luke 1:46)

Colin Woolgrove




AT 11.00 A.M.



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