News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
LIVERPOOL CATHEDRAL CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
- A LOOK BACK AT OUR COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE
by Rev Paul Harris SDS
Parish Priest of Corpus Christi, Rainford and St Mary, Birchley
The Salvatorian Community of priests, brothers, sisters, and lay, gives thanks to God for the Beatification of Venerable Francis Jordan, founder of the Salvatorians. This wonderful event comes as a result of the recognition of a miracle attributed to the intercession of Father Jordan after a long period of investigation.
Father Francis Jordan was born on 16 June 1848 in Gurtweil, a small German town in the Archdiocese of Freiburg. After ordination to the priesthood on 21 July 1878, he was sent to Rome, where he spent most of his life. In June of 1881 and being motivated by apostolic zeal and desire to make Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world, known and loved by all people everywhere, Francis Jordan founded the Society of the Divine Saviour (known more commonly as the Salvatorians) in the upper chapel of the Brigettine Convent, situated on the Piazza Farnese in Rome. This was soon followed by the founding of the Sisters of the Divine Saviour in 1888. Jordan also organised groups of lay people to take part in the Church´s mission of evangelisation using all ways and means the love of God inspires. By God’s good grace, Jordan soon went on to secure the permanent home of the newly established Order, which proudly stands on the Via della Conciliazione, in the shadow of St Peter’s Basilica, and is the Motherhouse of the Salvatorians to this day.
Father Jordan died in Tafers, Switzerland, on 8 September 1918.
On 19 June 2020, Pope Francis formally promulgated the decree of recognition regarding the miracle attributed to the intercession of Francis Jordan, opening the way to his Beatification, which took place in Rome on 15 May 2021.
In 2014, a young couple in Brazil were expecting a baby but received shattering news from medical doctors and specialists that their unborn child had an incurable bone disease known as skeletal dysplasia, which would render the child severely disabled and with future health complications. The parents, being members of a group of Lay Salvatorians, began to pray through the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God, Father Francis Jordan, inviting other members of the Salvatorian family to join them. Much to the amazement of all concerned, the child was born in a completely healthy condition on 8 September 2014, the day of the anniversary of Francis Jordan’s death and, of course, the birthday of Our Blessed Lady, Patroness of the Salvatorians.
Following strict procedure, the potential miracle was reported to the Archbishop of Jundai, who was the first Church official to consider the case, and who subsequently handed over his findings to the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints. After the long and difficult required canonical procedures had been successfully satisfied and completed, and with the full-time assistance of the Salvatorian appointed Postulator for the Cause of Francis Jordan’s Beatification, the Holy Father, Pope Francis declared that this miraculous healing was worked by God through the intercession of Father Francis Jordan.
Blessed Francis Jordan is a true intercessor for our times, especially, it would seem, in cases of sickness in children. Work is now underway to examine other possible miracles worked through his powerful intercession. The Church rejoices in yet another powerful intercessor for the Lord’s people, who experience the daily reality of human brokenness and the fragility of life.
We pray that more people will experience many graces and favours, even miracles, through the intercession of Blessed Francis Jordan. Moreover, and in the spirit of Blessed Francis Jordan, our earnest prayer and desire remains the same as that of the Saviour himself: ‘that all may know You, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent’.
Today, the Salvatorians are at work in over 40 countries around the world, running parishes, schools, hospitals, clinics, social care centres, and one of the largest universities in Africa, to name but a few important ministries. New mission foundations have recently been made in Kenya, Mozambique, and hopefully soon to be made in Uganda and Belize. Here in the UK, the Salvatorians have the trusteeship of the Salvatorian College boys’ school in Harrow and the pastoral care and oversight of several parishes in five dioceses. The Archdiocese of Liverpool is our most recent presence, with the pastoral care of both Rainford and Billinge parishes.
Historically, the Salvatorians have had a strong connection with Liverpool as many of our priests are native scousers. This is perhaps no surprise as, for many years, the Salvatorians had the junior seminary in Chester, known then as Christleton Hall. Several priests of the Archdiocese of Liverpool came through Christleton Hall before going on to major seminary to prepare for ordination. One such person is our own Bishop Tom Williams, with whom we enjoy a long and happy relationship.
Blessed Francis Jordan; Pray for us.