Our Patron Saints
St. John the Apostle
St. John the apostle was described as the youngest of the twelve apostles. He was the son of Zebedee, a Galilean fisherman, and Salome, who was one of the women who ministered to the disciples. He was the younger brother of James, the apostle. Together with St. Peter, St. John and his brother James formed an inner circle of disciples.
St. John played a leading role in the early church in Jerusalem. He was known as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” in the Gospels. John passed away peacefully in Patmos in old age, around 100 AD. He is also known as St. John the Evangelist or Saint John the Divine.
St. John is the patron saint of love, loyalty, friendships, and authors. His feast day is celebrated on 27th December.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
The history of the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (above the altar in Maidstone) can be traced back to 1495. It was enshrined in a church on the island of Crete.
The tradition includes the following story:
A merchant stole the icon and took it to Rome. The man became grievously ill shortly after arriving there. He begged a friend to install the icon in one of the churches in Rome so that it could be publicly venerated.
However, the friend’s wife refused to give up the painting. The painting remained in their home for seven months. The tradition says Our Lady appeared to the man twice in a dream and on both occasions he disregarded the warnings not to keep the painting. On the third time, Our Lady told him that if he continued to disobey her, he would die a miserable death. Again, the man tried to persuade his wife to give up the painting but she again refused. The man subsequently became ill and died.
Our Lady then appeared to the man’s 6 year old daughter, telling her to tell her mother, “Holy Mother of Perpetual Help commands you to take her out of your house!” The girl’s mother also had a similar vision. She was about to give the picture to a church when her neighbour persuaded her to keep it. The neighbour became violently ill. The neighbour recognising her fault, made a promise to the Lady of Perpetual Help, and was immediately cured. Again, Our Lady appeared to the daughter, commanding her to tell the mother to place the painting in a certain church between St. Mary Major’s and St. John Lateran’s.
On 27th March 1499, the painting was taken in solemn procession to the church of St. Matthew the Apostle. Before the image entered the church, a paralysed man was cured as the procession passed by his house.
The icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, (also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Help), is one of the most well known and loved images of Our Lady. A weekly hour novena in honour of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is common in many parishes all over the world. The custom continues to this day in our church on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Maidstone.
The feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is celebrated on the Sunday before the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. In 2018, it is on 17th June.
Christ the King
The feast of Christ the King commemorates HIS sovereignty over all men, women, and children. Jesus Christ has come. Jesus Christ is coming. Jesus Christ will come again. Jesus Christ is Lord of All.
The feast of Christ the King is celebrated on the final Sunday of the Church Year. In 2018, it will be celebrated on 25th November (ordinary form) and 28th November (Extraordinary Form).
The Holy Family
While the parish of The Holy Family may be new, the tradition of venerating this ‘Nazareth Family’ and the family, generally goes back to the very the start of Christianity.
The gospels tell us that Jesus’s formation took 3 decades within his family. Around 200 AD St Ireneaus in France was talking about the Holy Family covering ‘the entire human experience’.
This continued in the last great Council of the Church, Vatican 2 (Gaudium et Spes) where it states Jesus in Nazareth transformed family life, and also the Church proclaims Christian family and the family founded upon it, as a vocation a response to the call of the Lord.
In the Holy Family of Jesus Mary and Joseph, we learn the way of love, in the ‘School of Nazareth’.
As early as 400 AD St John Chrysostom referred to the family as the ‘domestic Church and Pope John Paul 2 repeated this. The regard for the Holy Family and indeed all Families is a proud Christian tradition alive in Maidstone.
In 2018, The Feast of the Holy Family will be celebrated on 30th December.