By Michael Doyle

On 17 September 2021 a Celebration Mass for The Venerable Ignatius Spencer was held at St Mary’s The Mount in Walsall.

This was the church which The Venerable Ignatius Spencer started his Catholic Mission. He arrived in Walsall in 1832 and stayed at The Mount under the tutelage of Fr Francis Martyn.

Fr Martyn was the first Catholic priest since the Reformation to have been wholly educated in England.

The principal celebrant of the Mass was Bishop Stephen Wright, Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese. Fr Jobin and the Vocationist Fathers assisted in the celebration.

The Mass was organised by Fr Jobin, parish priest at The Mount, and the Knights of St Columba Council 223, Walsall.

Bishop Stephen in his Homily spoke eloquently about Ignatius and his mission of evangelisation which reflects the spirit of the Archdiocese’s programme for the future.

The Venerable Ignatius Spencer was a man on fire with zeal for the love of England, an England which would be returned one day to the Catholic Faith.

Ignatius believed that indifference to temporal things, and a willingness to accept sacrifices, are the sure road to conforming one’s own will to the will of God. Union with the will of God prepares us for eternity, and so the best we can do is to entrust ourselves totally into the hands of God.

Again and again he stressed the need to give thanks to God, no matter how severe the trials and sufferings.

Ignatius was convinced that the sanctification of the Irish people was intimately linked with the conversion of England. He stated that Ireland praying for England’s conversion, would, he argued, be powerful in its intercession before God.

It would be marvellous indeed if God willing, The Venerable Ignatius Spencer, one day becomes a Saint, who started his Catholic Mission at The Mount, Walsall, in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

Photograph: Bishop Stephen and the Knights of St Columba Council 223, Walsall