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Our Patron Saints
Pope St Gregory the Great
Pope Gregory I, 'the Great', born c540, died 604; reigned from 590. He is one of only two popes to be called 'the Great' (the other being Leo the Great), and is one of the most important popes of all time. He codified the Roman liturgy in the form it was to retain until 1970, and gave his name to the Chant in which the liturgy and divine Office is sung (i.e. 'Gregorian Chant'). He was himself a monk and a key supporter of the Benedictine order, which was to do so much to transform Europe, and by virtue of his great body of sermons, letters and other works, is one of the four great Latin Fathers (the others being St Augustine, St Ambrose, and St Jerome). See here for the Catholic Encyclopedia article. For St Gregory's role in the history of chant, see here. Both of Gregory's parents, Gordion the Senator and Silvia of Rome, are saints, see here.
St Augustine of Canterbury
St Augustine of Canterbury, birth date unknown, died in 604, the first bishop of Canterbury, sent by Gregory the Great to evangelise the pagan English. He had been a monk of St Gregory's monastery on the Caelian Hill in Rome, and he was sent to England in 595/6 as the Abbot of a group of monks, who were to assist him in his work. He established himself at Canterbury, the capital of the then powerful Kingdom of Kent, and in due time baptised King Ethelbert. As well as sending missionaries to other kingdoms, he founded a monastery adjacent to his cathedral. The pattern of having a monastery attached to a cathedral, copied elsewhere, became a distinctive characteristic of England in the Middle Ages. See here for the Catholic Encyclopedia article.
Our Lady of Fatima
The only side altar of the church is dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima. Our Lady has this title in commemoration of her appearances in Fatima, Portugal, over several months of 1917 to three children, Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto. These apparitions, recognised as 'worthy of belief' by the Church in 1930, are perhaps the most important Marian visions of the Church's history, culminating with the spectacular public 'miracle of the sun', seen by many thousands of onlookers, many of whom has come to mock the children, and reported in the secular press. See here for the Wikipedia article.
Our Lady appealed, in these apparitions, for Catholics to undertake prayer (especially the Rosary), penance, and a reformation of life. She encouraged the devotion of the 'First Saturdays' in honour of her Immaculate Heart. She also asked the visionaries to add a prayer to their recitationon of the Rosary, after the Glory be at the end of each decade:
'O Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of Thy Mercy.'
Although not obligatory, this prayer has been widely adopted by the faithful.
The children were also taught the following prayers:
My God, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love Thee! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee.
O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly. I offer you the most precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifference by which he is offended.
By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg conversion of poor sinners.