A Reflection for All Saints

My dear Friends in Christ,

Welcome to this week’s Bishop’s Blog from the Diocese of Lancaster – a reflection for the Solemnity of All Saints:


Describing the Catholic Church, it was James Joyce who once said, ‘Here comes everybody!’


He might have meant: Here comes Peter the denier and Thomas the doubter, and the converted pagan Augustine of Hippo. Or here comes the soldier Ignatius, and the scholar Aquinas, and the tent-maker turned missionary Paul. Here comes the powerful Catherine of Sienna and the ‘little‘ Therese of Lisieux. Here comes peace-loving Francis, preaching to the birds.


It’s true we are all that and much more besides! We are the monks who copied scripture onto parchment, and preserved God’s word. We are those priests, nuns and friars who could barely speak the language, but went on the missions all the same. We created hospitals, the hospice system and the most extensive school system on earth, passing on what we knew, and what we believed – with a care for every human person created in God’s image.


Today in the Diocese of Lancaster, we are the workers from Poland arriving in Morecambe and Carlisle and migrant nurses from Kerala living, working and worshipping in Blackpool and Preston.


We are Chesterton and Merton and Hopkins to name but a few. We are the martyrs of Lancashire and Cumbria: like John Plessington, Christopher Robinson, and then the believers of every age: Jeb Bush, David Alton and Oscar Wilde, Cardinal Basil Hume, Tony Blair and Fulton Sheen.


We are the married couple Louis and Zélie Martin, the martyr Oscar Romero, Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, to well-known figures of today Delia Smith and Anne Widecombe and many more.


We are the soldier in combat at Mass or praying the rosary, and the homeless man or woman in Blackpool who still pops into the Sacred Heart on Talbot Road, Blackpool and finds a welcome there.

US ARMY Chaplain Paul Halladay ( CPT) leads US ARMY soldiers in a catholic mass from B and A company, 1st battalion, 506th, 101st airborne division at static observation post OP HOTEL on the afternoon of Wednesday February 02 2006 in Eastern Ramadi, Iraq. Father Paul Halladay is the 1st Battalion Chaplain, living side by side with his soldiers, he provides spiritual guidance in such difficult times of war. He wrote a prayer, " The Blessing of Soldiers and their Weapons". the prayer reads, "Lord we recognize that human conflicts which result in war are never good and thus are not what you will for us, the most beloved of all your creation. Due to the sin of Adam and humanityÕs ongoing sinfulness, war, at times, becomes necessary to protect the innocent, free the oppressed, and restore peace. May these weapons be used for such a just purpose and bless those, Lord, who, in service to their country, are called upon to wield them. Protect them and keep them safe from all spiritual and mortal harm in performing what protection of the innocent, freedom for the oppressed and the restoration of peace requires of them. Amen!".

We are Jacob and Chanel, about to be baptized this weekend. We are Lynsdey, Samantha, and Anna with Justin, Michael and Jacob prepared to be confirmed as the Bishop comes to town!


We are the Eileen and Betty who were known locally at daily Mass, supported their parish and so many charities, encouraged the Altar Servers from school, and whose funerals are to be celebrated next week and the week after.


We are the saints. We are the sinners – sometimes painfully so – We are God’s family through Baptism. We are everybody!

todos os santos3

We are the Body of Christ. Bruised. Broken. But resurrected and given new life, new hope. Changed forever….


We are people who live in the resurrection. We are men, women and children – the young and the old – the families and the ‘heroic’ married couples, those single, ordained and consecrated persons of faith – who hold the light and keep the flame still burning. Remember all those who came before us, and all who still join us and will continue to do so in the years to come!


All the official ones and those many names we shall never know who held that candle, and helped spread the light, to proclaim not just the ‘good news’ – but the greatest news in all human history: Jesus is Lord!

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - APRIL 26: Pilgrims gather outside a souvenirs shop near Saint Peter's Square on April 26, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Dignitaries, heads of state and Royals from Europe and across the World are gathering in the Vatican ahead of tomorrow's canonisations. The late Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII will be canonised on Sunday April 27, inside the Vatican when 800,000 pilgrims from around the world are expected to attend. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The saints on earth and in heaven worship and praise Almighty God because we are saved from sin and death. Baptized into Christ, we rise with him to eternal life. This can be seen in the scriptural description of the Church triumphant, which is a great multitude of “every nation, race, people, and tongue,” wearing white robes and carrying palm branches in their hands.

Until next week – May God bless you all,

As ever in Christ,

+Michael G Campbell OSA

Bishop of Lancaster