Section title text:  Recent News.

Thanksgiving Mass on 5 April 2008 — the occasion of the
150th anniversary of the death of Marie Madeleine — Middlesbrough, UK

Saturday 5 April dawned cold and damp with a very strong wind, so strong that the two marquees, which were to have housed the refreshments for those who attended the thanksgiving Mass, could not be erected.  This resulted in everyone queuing to get into the rather small cathedral hall.  The wonderful thing was that no one appeared to become impatient.  People kept finding old acquaintances and friends and that helped the time to pass almost unnoticed.

FCJs and guests.

No formal invitations had been sent out as we had decided that it would be impossible for us to contact everyone who might like to attend the Mass.  Instead our efforts went into publishing the event.  The three of us divided the local parish churches between us and spoke after the Sunday Masses. 

We also distributed the prayer for healing leaflets to those who wished to take them in order to pray for the beatification of Marie Madeleine.  It was amazing how many people asked for more than one so that they could pass them on to friends or relatives. 

We were also given great publicity in The Catholic Voice and the Northern Cross – the monthly publications distributed by the Middlesbrough and Hexham and Newcastle dioceses.  Even our local paper devoted a double page spread to the celebration!

FCJ groups.

Pupils from the English Martyrs, and St Joseph’s Primary School, Hartlepool were present as well as representatives from the Newlands and St Augustine’s Primary School.

Musicians from the schools.

Since there were no formal invitations we had no idea of how many would attend and had to make an act of faith when deciding on the number of Mass booklets to print and the number to be catered for.  We need not have worried, the cathedral was filled and every mass booklet taken (600 in all) together with the copy of the special newsletter published for the 5th April.

The celebration itself was a most uplifting experience.  The singing was a real community occasion and the Newlands School FCJ and English Martyrs School, Hartlepool provided the instrumental accompaniment.


The number of priests who came to concelebrate was a real confirmation of the work done by the many FCJs who had worked in Middlesbrough since 1872.  Our new Bishop had certainly done his research into Marie Madeleine’s life and as a result gave a most inspiring homily.  The atmosphere throughout the whole Mass was both joyful and prayerful.

Priests and people.

Readers at the celebration.

FCJs who had worked in Middlesbrough at some stage of their lives came from London, Birkenhead and Manchester.  Since we only have four bedrooms several people stayed in the Grey House Hotel that is across the road from us.  Our breakfasts did not compare with theirs!Communion.

The 5th April 2008 is a day that will be remembered with joy by many people.  As a result we hope that the knowledge of and devotion to Marie Madeleine will take root in the North East.

FCJ Group with theBishop.

Ang among Kapunungan naningkamot diha
     sa pagdayeg sa kasing-kasing ni Hesus
           inubanan sa Iyang panabang    (Marie Madeleine)