Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

Friday 24 August 2012

Santo Subito! Fr Hugh Thwaites, Santo Subito!

Fr Hugh Thwaites at our wedding.
The great pro-life stalwart Fr James Morrow is behind him.

Father Thwaites died on the Feast of St Jane, which gave me the opportunity to tell my Mother of his death (she remembered him from our Wedding) and wish her a happy Feast Day! As an atheist/agnostic she tends to miss her Feast Day. As the next day was the Feast of Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we could not have a Requiem Mass for him at the Good Counsel Network's chapel. But when one remembers Father's great devotion to the Mother of God, it seemed right to have her Mass offered for him. You can view two brief clips from the Mass here and here, and the photo at the end of this post is from the Mass offered by Fr Whinder.

Here's what my Wife said over on The Good Counsel blog;

"A few years ago, about 10 actually, Fr Thwaites accompanied my husband Stuart and I to Youth 2000 in Walsingham. It was not exactly his scene, to say the least, but he had been tempted there by reports of mass confessions and vocations.

There were many things he did not like about the festival - as you might imagine. He was only saying the Old Rite Mass by that time and so he said Mass everyday at the friend's house he stayed at. And, while praying each day in the marquee, he said the general goings on - loud music, loud sermons and so on - meant it was the most distracted praying of his brieviary that he had ever experienced.

But Fr Thwaites was always a gentleman and always looking for ways to bring souls closer to Christ. He also said the whole festival was totally geared to bringing forth vocations, which he loved. And he made himself available for confessions morning, noon and night. Not a bad effort in a damp field for someone in his mid eighties and definitely out of his comfort zone!!!

The most amazing thing for me was to see how everyone knew him. Here he was, an old man, often saying the Old Rite Mass alone in a private chapel, and here we were with a load of youngsters, mostly New Rite Mass only ones at that, and everyone knew him. And if they didn't know him personally their mum knew him, he had converted their dad to the faith, he had married their aunty and uncle or I don't know what. And they flocked to him.

He was overjoyed to meet seminarians and his advice to them was, if you want to always have enough money, always buy rosaries and have them in your pockets ready to give out. That way, he said, Our Lady would always make sure you would have enough money for more :).

I remember when he used to stand at the back of the Church at the end of Mass in Spanish Place when he was there. He would have a table laden with bottles of holy water, a large handful of Miraculous Medals and would be given them out wholesale. And he was wonderful with children.

He was a really saintly person. Someone who succeeded in bringing hundreds, probably thousands, to the faith. I look forward to the first good biography of him.

I wish I had a better picture of him. We always thought that you could see heaven in his crystal blue eyes.

It's hard to imagine him being anywhere other than in heaven, but no doubt he would be the first to ask for prayers for the repose of his soul."


Richard Collins said...

A very good insight into this marvellous priest, many thanks Stuart.
Just a great shame that he will be buried a la Ordinary Form and not Tridentine Latin Requiem as he would have wished.

Hughie said...

"I remember when he used to stand at the back of the Church at the end of Mass in Spanish Place..."

Would you happen to know if this is the chapel where Cardinal Merry del Val was baptised?

In the biography by Marie Cecilia Buerhle it is recorded that his father wrote in his diary: "My second son was born in London at eight minutes after ten o'clock at 33 Portman Square, Gloucester Place. He was baptised on the following day by Canon Hearn in the Spanish chapel, and was named Rafael, Mary, Joeph, Peter, Francis Borgia, Domingo del Val, Gerard of the Blessed Trinity."

Crazy name, crazy guy! Couldn't have become anything other than a cardinal.

Gareth Hurley Blog said...

I do recall meeting the great oriest at your wedding. Such a joyous occasion. Oh... and the wedding was OK too.