News & Photos
Highlights of parish life in Houghton Regis
On Monday 26 June we had the great pleasure of welcoming Bishop Norman Banks, Bishop of Richborough and Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of St Albans, among us for a service of Confirmation and for the dedication of the altar triptych.
Bishop Norman celebrated the Mass and administered the sacrament of Confirmation to six candidates. What is Confirmation? Confirmation is a response to God’s love for us, and a special way of receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of the bishop’s hands in preparation for a life of Christian faithfulness and service. Confirmation is also a step of personal faith: the candidates take on for themselves the promises made for them at Baptism, confirming their faith and their membership of the body of Christ, the Church.
During the service the altar triptych was formally presented by Mr Terry Payne and dedicated to the glory of God, in memory of Fr Colin Gay, former Assistant Priest in our parish. We are very grateful also to our Town Mayor, Cllr Jimmy Carroll, for attending the dedication.
The triptych’s central panel depicts the Lord Jesus Christ in glory with the Blessed Virgin Mary and St John the Evangelist. St George and St John the Baptist are one the right section, St Wilfrid and St Theodore of Amasea on the left panel. The piece was painted by Nechita Laurentiu, a talented Romanian icon writer, using authentic gold leaf. The artist has worked for the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, and he has several pieces displayed in UK church. The triptych was commissioned in 2007 for Preston Minster and placed above the high altar, encased between the back riddel posts. However, it was sold off in 2020 and purchased by a parishioner.
On Saturday 10 June we celebrated our Corpus Christi Festival with our friends from the Church of the Holy Cross, Luton.
Corpus Christi is the great solemnity in honour of the Holy Eucharist, and its Latin name literally means “Body of Christ”. The Eucharist is the Sacrament of the Lord’s Body in Blood and, in this Most Blessed Sacrament, the Lord Jesus is present in his fullness – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divine Nature. He is with us in the Eucharist to be our food, our sustenance, and our refuge. The Solemnity falls on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, but we have been transferring it to the Saturday of the same week for a few years now to facilitate the participation of both people and clergy from other parishes.
Corpus Christi is marked by a procession of the Blessed Sacrament, where the Body of Christ, the Risen Lord Jesus among us under the form of bread, is carried by a priest outside the church accompanied by singing, and preceded by servers with incense, and the scattering of fragrant flowers and petals. At our festival the procession also featured a canopy held over the Blessed Sacrament and carried by members of the choir and congregation.
The service ended with Benediction, invoking the blessing of the Lord Jesus on our parishes and all our people.
Blessed, praised, hallowed, and adored
be Our Lord Jesus Christ in his throne of glory,
and in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar!
On Saturday 3 June a group of worshippers from our church community and from the Church of the Holy Cross, Luton, travelled to St Albans Cathedral for a short pilgrimage to pray at the shrines of St Alban and of St Amphibalus.
Father Diego and Father Richard concelebrated a votive Mass of St Alban and led the people in prayer for Houghton Regis and for Marsh Farm. After Mass the ministries of laying on of hands and anointing took place at the shrine altar.
Saint Alban, first martyr of England, Pray for us!
Saint Amphibalus, priest and martyr, Pray for us!