Father Benedict Lodge CP Working on the Causes of Blessed Dominic Barberi and Father Ignatius Spencer
Father Ben Lodge is a Passionist priest currently living in St Joseph’s Retreat in Highgate, North London. He has been appointed to work on and to promote the Causes of Bl Dominic Barberi and Father Ignatius Spencer, particularly in the Archdiocese of Birmingham. In this work he will be assisted by Fr Julian Booth.
After Ordination to the Priesthood in 1977, Fr Ben worked in Sweden, in formation and spritual direction, together with retreat work in England and Wales. It was during this time, that he discovered the diaries of Father Ignatius and was asked to transcribe them. This took him almost ten years, particularly to decipher and understand the handwriting of Father Ignatius. It was almost by accident that he was appointed Postulator or ‘campaign manager’ to promote the Causes of Blessed Dominic Barberi, 1792-1849 and Father Ignatius Spencer, 1799- 1864.
For the Cause of Blessed Dominic, all that is needed is one miracle and for the Cause of Father Ignatius, two miracles are required, one for Beatification and one for Canonisation.
There is great relevance and significance in these two Causes, given that today there are great moves towards Christian Unity. Neither of them were limited by doctrinal difficulties, both believed that the first step was to be friendly with people of other denominations.
Blessed Dominic and Father Ignatius, both started their apostolic work within the geographical confines of the Archdiocese of Birmingham. Blessed Dominic began at Aston by Stone, founding the first Passionist retreat at Aston Hall in 1842.
After Father Ignatius had been received into the Catholic Church, he studied in Rome and then, after Ordination in 1832, returned to England to work in the parish of St Mary the Mount in Walsall and from there he went on to build the Catholic Churches at West Bromwich, Dudley and Tipton.
A huge amount of his work was with Irish labourers escaping the famine in Ireland and because of this Father Ignatius had a great love for the Irish people. As he suffered from poor health, Father Ignatius moved to St Mary’s College, Oscott, where eventually Blessed Dominic, whom he had met in Rome, came in preparation to open the foundation at Aston Hall in 1842.
Eventually, Father Ignatius was convinced that his vocation should be lived out as a Passionist. He was received into the Congregation of the Passion at Aston Hall by Blessed Dominic in 1847. He spent the rest of his life specifically working for the conversion of England, preaching and praying for Christian unity.
Father Ben outlined his hopes for the two Causes.
‘Having finished working in Scotland, I am now based in Highgate, London. It is my intention to spread knowledge of and devotion to these two great missionary priests. I have talked with Archbishop Longley and he has suggested that I initially visit parishes within the Archdiocese of Birmingham where Blessed Dominic and Father Ignatius ministered. Please God people will ask the intercession of these two holy men, so that their Causes can be advanced in Rome.
‘In the case of Blessed Dominic, who received Bl John Henry Newman into the church, it would be ideal if they both could be canonised together in Rome.
‘If a miracle is approved for Father Ignatius, his beatification would probably take place in the Archdiocese of Liverpool as he is buried in Sutton St Helens.
‘I ask people to keep these intentions in their prayers as these Causes could be a great contribution to the development of the Catholic church, not only in this Archdiocese, but throughout England’
Prayer requests for Bl Dominic can be made and published on the Prayer Requests section of the website www.birminghamdiocese.org.uk/blessed-dominic-barberi