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Sts Joachim and Anne. Roman Catholic Feast Day and Church of England Lesser Festival for the parents of the Virgin Mary, Joachim (Joaquin) and Anne (Anna), the latter the daughter of a priest and of the tribe of Levi and the lineage of Aaron. There are no mentions of them in the Bible or Gospels, but there is in Catholic legend, in the c150 apocryphal Gospel of James, and for Anne, the maternal grandmother of Jesus, an apocryphal Islamic tradition. Anne (حنة, Ḥannah) is revered in Islam, recognised as a highly spiritual woman and the mother of Mary. In the Qur’an, she is referred to as the wife of Imran, childless until her old age when she prayed for a child and eventually conceived, Imran dying before Mary was born. In the Fourth Century, a belief arose that the Virgin Mary was conceived of Anne without original sin, an Immaculate Conception to preserve the Virgin Mary’s body and soul intact and sinless from her first moment of existence for the merit of Jesus Christ. Joachim and Anne serve as role models for parents and both deserve to be honoured and emulated for their devotion to God and Our Lady Mary, the Mother of God. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Anna is ascribed the title Ancestor of God, and the Nativity of the Theotokos (Mary) and the Presentation of the Theotokos are celebrated as two of the twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church. The Dormition (death) of Anna is also a minor feast in Eastern Christianity. Late Medieval legend held that Anne was married three times: first to Joachim, who died before the Virgin Mary was born; then to Clopas; and finally to Solomas, with each marriage producing one daughter: the Virgin Mary; Mary of Clopas; and Mary Salome. Tradition is that Anne died peacefully in Jerusalem at 72, before the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary by the angel Gabriel that she would conceive a Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. Anne is thus never correctly shown as present at the Nativity of Christ and her depiction in scenes such as the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple and the Circumcision of Christ are due to confusion with other Annes. In the Eastern Church, the cult of St Anna developed from c550, when churches were built in her honour in Constantinople and at the Jerusalem Sheep Gate, the latter being restored in the Seventh Century after she appeared to the Emperor’s pregnant wife. St Anna’s relics were translated to Constantinople, along with her veil, in 710 and were kept there in the 537 Church of Hagia Sophia as late as 1333. The Church of St Anne in the ancient Judean town of Beit Guvrin was built in the Twelfth Century by the Byzantines and the Crusaders and during that and the following century, returning crusaders and pilgrims from the East took what they identified as relics of Anne to a number of western churches, these having been preserved and venerated in the many cathedrals and monasteries dedicated to her name. Düren has been the main place of pilgrimage for Anne since 1506 and other shrines include Ste Anne d’Auray in Brittany, Ste Anne de Beaupré, near Québec and the Holy Well and Chapel of St Anne in the Wood, Brislington. In Lutheran Protestantism, it is held that Martin Luther chose to enter the religious life as an Augustinian Friar after crying out to St Anne whilst sheltering from lightning. In Maltese, the Milky Way is called It-Triq ta’ Sant’Anna, The Way of St Anne. In Imperial Russia, the Order of St Anne was one of the leading decorations. By the middle of the Seventh Century, a distinct feast day the Conception of St Anne (Maternity of Holy Anna) celebrating the conception of the Virgin Mary by St Anne was observed at the Bethlehem Monastery of Saint Sabas, now known in the Greek Orthodox Church as the feast of The Conception by St Anne of the Most Holy Theotokos and celebrated on 9 December. St Anne is invoked against sterility, for conceiving children, help in difficult childbirths and protection from storms. She is patroness of unmarried women, housewives, mothers, children, grandparents, educators, horse riders, cabinet-makers, miners, sailors, lacemakers, lost articles, moving house, poverty, pregnancy, seamstresses, stablemen, Brittany, Canada and many places named after her. In modern devotions, Anne and Joachim are invoked for protection for the unborn. Image: mycatholic.life.
Bl John Ingram (1565-94). Feast Day for Elizabethan Jesuit Martyr of Scotland born in Herefordshire, who became a convert to Catholicism at Oxford, went to Reims and was ordained in Rome in 1589 and sent to Scotland in 1592. Having crossed to England over the River Tweed in 1593, he was first imprisoned at Berwick, then at Durham, York and in the Tower of London on Holy Saturday, where he was severely tortured. He was returned to York Prison then transported to Newcastle and tried at Durham Assizes and convicted under a law that made the mere presence in England of a priest ordained abroad high treason, even though there was no evidence that he had ever acted as a priest whilst in England. With two other converts, he was sentenced to death, declaring: “I say that I am a priest, and that my exercise and practice of priesthood cannot be made treason by any Christian law; and I beseech God to forgive both you and them that make it otherways. And I do with all my heart forgive you, and all my accusers and persecutors, and so I beseech God to have mercy upon me, and to strengthen me with patience and constancy in mine agony.” From prison in Newcastle, he was taken across the bridge to the scaffold on Gateshead High Street opposite the Papist Chapel of St Edmund Bishop and Confessor and martyred by being hanged, drawn and quartered at a cost of seven shillings and eightpence (38p or £65.80 at present value), seven days’ wages for a skilled tradesman at that time. At the English College in Rome, upon news of his martyrdom they sang the Te Deum (God, We Praise You) and wrote against his name Martyro insigni coronatus (Amazing crowned martyrdom). The martyrdom is commemorated annually by faithful Catholics who gather at St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Newcastle, situated where he was imprisoned, for a brief prayer service before following a Catholic priest along the route taken by the execution party over the Swing Bridge that replaced the medieval bridge for a service of prayer at the Anglican church of St Edmund (Holy Trinity Church) on Gateshead High Street. Image: nobility.org.
Prayer Blessed John Ingram took God and His holy angels to the record, dying only for the holy Catholic faith and religion and rejoiced and thanked God with all his heart that He had made him worthy to testify his faith therein by the spending of his blood in this manner. Asked to pray for the Queen, he prayed to God that she might long reign to His glory and that it might please Him to procure her to live and die a good Catholic. With the rope around his neck, he prayed Miserere mei Deus … (Have mercy on me, O God, in your kindness), made the Sign of the Cross and said: “In manus tuas ,,.” (Into Thy hands I commend my spirit). May we today be faithful to his beliefs. Amen
Bl William Ward (William Webster) (d1641). Feast Day commemorating the death of the Roman Catholic priest converted from Anglicanism, a Martyr of England born in Westmoreland. In 1604, when he was over forty, he went to Douai, near Arras to study for the priesthood, receiving the minor orders in 1605, the subdiaconate in 1607, the diaconate in 1608 and the priesthood the following day. Returning home to England, his ship was driven onto the shores of Scotland and he was arrested and imprisoned for three years. After release and returning to England, he spent twenty of his thirty-three years as a missionary in various prisons. He was zealous and fiery by temperament, severe with himself and others, and especially devoted to hearing confessions. Though he had the reputation of being a very exacting director, his earnestness drew to him many penitents. He was in London when Parliament issued the proclamation of 7 April 1641, banishing all priests under pain of death, but refused to retire and on 15 July was arrested in the house of his nephew. Six days later, he was brought to trial at the Old Bailey and he was condemned on 23 July. He was executed at Tyburn on the 26 July Catholic Feast of St Anne, to whom he ever had a great devotion. Image: ncregister.com.