By Józef Łopuszyński

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

The Solemn Annual Novena of Holy Masses and Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament took place at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour RC Church, Cannock Rd., Wolverhampton from 19th - 27th June, 2018.

Under the theme “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly,” Holy Mass was at 7.00 p.m. each day, preceded by Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament at 6.00 p.m..

The Novena ended on the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, the Patronal Feast of the Church.

Mgr. Keith Newton was the guest homilist and chief concelebrant for the last day of the Novena.

In his homily entitled “Mary, Mother of Divine Love,” Mgr Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham said, “I can remember that first time I saw the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour or Perpetual Help.”

“You will know that the ancient icon by this name is in the possession of the Redemptorist Community in the Church of St Alphonsus Ligouri in Rome which has another connection with us as it is the titular Church of Cardinal Nichols who was one time your Archbishop.”

“Much has been written about the symbolism of this very beautiful icon not least about the sandal falling off Our Lord’s foot.”  

“However, perhaps the most important thing we see in the icon is that Our Blessed Lady leads us to Jesus and is inseparable from him. Mary's hands hold out the Christ child possessively and lovingly, because she is his Mother.”

But her hands do not clutch Jesus' hands tightly, but remain open, inviting us to her son, Jesus, for she, too, is our loving Mother.”

All present around the altar with Mgr Newton are former Anglicans.  Father John Lungley and Father Chris Marshall of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, Parish Priest Father Stephen Goodman, and Deacon Mel Harwood.

The full programme for the Novena was:

Tuesday 19th June

Made in the image and likeness of God, the dignity of humankind.

Fr. Gerard Kelly  (Parish Priest, St. Francis of Assisi, Handsworth)


Wednesday 20th June

“Male and female He created them”: the sacrament of marriage, and family life.

Fr. Charles Miller (Chaplain, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham)


Thursday 21st June

The Sanctity of human life: defending and protecting the vulnerable.

Fr. David Doran (Parish Priest: St. Peter’s, Bloxwich)


Friday, 22nd June

Jesus: reconciler and Redeemer: The call to repentance and eternal life.

The Very Rev. Mgr. Mark Crisp (Parish Priest, St. Peter and Paul, and St. Michael, Wolverhampton and St. Bernadette, Wombourne)


Saturday, 23rd June

Called to life in Christ: The Sacraments of Initiation.

Fr. Goodman (Parish Priest, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Old Fallings, and Corpus Christi, Ashmore Park, Wolverhampton)


Sunday, 24th June

“I am the Bread of Life”: The Blessed Sacrament, food for the journey to eternal life.

Fr. Tomas Zuna (Assistant Priest: Holy Souls, Acocks Green)


Monday, 25th June

Serving God’s people: Vocations at the service of life

Fr. Dawid Piskorz OSPPE (Parish Priest, St. Patrick’s, Wolverhampton)


Tuesday, 26th June

Living in the hope of Heaven: “To us….graciously grant some share with your holy Apostles and Martyrs”.

Fr. Simon Baker (Assistant Priest, St. Jude’s, Maypole, and St. Dunstan’s, King’s Heath)


Wednesday, 27th June

Mary, Mother of Divine Love.

The Rt. Rev. Mgr. Keith Newton, Prot. Ap., (Personal Ordinary: Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham)


Before the Novena, started, Parish Priest of the Cannock Road Church Father Goodman wrote, ““Rooted in the Ten Commandments, the Church has always taught the dignity and sanctity of human life as a gift from God, and therefore always to be valued and protected. Jesus emphatically upheld this teaching (Matthew 5:21, 19:18). With regard to the protection of the unborn, the event of Our Lady’s Visit to her cousin Elizabeth describes the unborn John the Baptist recognising the unborn Jesus, and rejoicing in His presence (Luke 1:39-45). The earliest Christian text explicitly citing the duty to protect the unborn is the Letter of Barnabas (19:5), written in about 130 A.D., drawing on the commandments as upheld by Jesus.

“In recent years, the Church has once again expressed the dignity and sanctity of human life in a world where secularist and utilitarian values have gained much ground, and so many lives have been lost under totalitarian regimes, and brutal wars. In particular, two Popes have highlighted these crucial matters: fifty years ago, Blessed Paul VI issued his great encyclical Humane Vitae concerning our responsibility in regard to authentic love and the transmission of life; subsequently, St. John Paul II issued the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae “on the value and inviolability of human life.”

“As Catholics, we believe that our God-given human lives find their fullness in communion with Our Lord within His Church; through the Sacraments, we are reborn in Christ, and sustained by Him, as we journey towards the eternal life to which we are called. Within the Church, we are called upon to proclaim His Truth, and to uphold and promote the Gospel of Life.”

“Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. The loftiness of this supernatural vocation reveals the greatness and the inestimable value of human life even in its temporal phase. Life in time, in fact, is the fundamental condition, the initial stage and an integral part of the entire unified process of human existence. It is a process which, unexpectedly and undeservedly, is enlightened by the promise and renewed by the gift of divine life, which will reach its full realization in eternity (cf. 1 Jn 3:1-2). At the same time, it is precisely this supernatural calling which highlights the relative character of each individual's earthly life. After all, life on earth is not an "ultimate" but a "penultimate" reality; even so, it remains a sacred reality entrusted to us, to be preserved with a sense of responsibility and brought to perfection in love and in the gift of ourselves to God and to our brothers and sisters.”

“Even in the midst of difficulties and uncertainties, every person sincerely open to truth and goodness can, by the light of reason and the hidden action of grace, come to recognize in the natural law written in the heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15) the sacred value of human life from its very beginning until its end, and can affirm the right of every human being to have this primary good respected to the highest degree.”  (St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae 2)