Diocesan Patrons

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Feastday | 27 June

June 27 is the feast day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, who is known for miracles and answers to prayer. It is associated with a 15th-century Byzantine icon of the Madonna and Child.

The tradition of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is traced back to 1495. Stolen from a Cretan monastery by a wine merchant a few years after its creation, it was brought to the church of St. Matthew in Rome. For 300 years, it resided at the church and even survived the church’s destruction by Napoleon’s army in 1798.

Eighty-eight years later, Pope Pius IX gave the icon to the Redemptorist congregation at the Church of Saint Alphonsus, where it remains today.

St Wilfrid

Feastday | 12 October

Born in Northumbria in 634, Wilfrid was educated at Lindisfarne and Rome. On his return to Northumbria, he took part in the Synod of Whitby (664), where he promoted Rome’s way of calculating the date of Easter and the Roman form of Christian worship.

Two years later, he was appointed bishop of York. However, because of a row with the Celtic bishops, Chad immediately replaced him, though three years later, he was restored to his See at York.

There followed a decade of hard work in which he preached widely, built many churches, introduced the Benedictine rule into Northumbria, and strengthened the position of Christianity in the community at large.

Over the next 25 years, he was imprisoned and exiled. During this period, he worked in the south of the country among the Saxons in Sussex who had never heard the Christian message. 

In due course he returned to York as bishop for a dozen or so years; he was again driven out by the king, reinstated by Rome, resigned from the see, then accepted the bishopric of the newly established see of Hexham, and all the while kept in touch with Ripon, which his biographer says he “loved better than any other place”.

He died in Oundle in October 709 but was later buried in the church he had built in Ripon, in what is the oldest crypt in Europe north of the Alps.

This mosaic of the saint is in the Jesuit church in Preston, Lancashire.

(Photo and text: Lawrence OP)