Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player








































































Events Calender

Page - 6

The First World War
It was a sign that the Passionist Congregation was also flourishing that in 1908, under the direction of Father Leonard Baumbach, who later became Bishop of Nicopolis, the original Benedictine house was replaced by a new retreat parallel to the Leamington Road. In 1914, however, the First World War broke out. With the German invasion of Belgium, ninety refugees arrived in Broadway. Even the poorest villagers did their utmost to show them hospitality. Other effects of the war must also have been felt in Broadway as elsewhere, as trench warfare took its toll of virtually every family in the country and naval warfare led to food-rationing.

Between The Wars
On 16 July 1929, by kindness of the Navarro family, the Passionists acquired their first car. More renovations were made to the property, especially in 1931-32, to celebrate the centenary of Dom Birdsall's foundation. In 1931 a new system of central heating was installed in the church, whilst a field adjoining the monastery was purchased for £400. The church was redecorated in 1932. Three years later new heating was put into it, with a new floor, oak panelling and, in the sanctuary, stalls for the novices. In 1938 the kitchen was renovated and in 1939 the novices built a grotto in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes. In 1939 the electrical installments in the monastery were renewed and improvements were made to the grounds. Some of these changes, however, were ominous: hen runs were made to provide eggs and ninety fruit trees were planted to supplement the diet, as Britain plunged into the Second World War and Father Leonard McCabe was called up as a chaplain to the Forces.

The Second World War
Very soon evacuees arrived from London and Birmingham. On Christmas Day the Passionists organised a party for them, followed by an impromptu concert. On 6 November 1940 the bombs arrived. About a thousand German incendiary bombs were dropped over Broadway and the surrounding countryside, eight of them in the monastery grounds. Not one, however, hit either the church or the retreat. In spite of the war, in 1941 St Saviour's celebrated the centenary of the Passionists' arrival in England under Blessed Dominic Barberi. January 1942 was long remembered for its intensely cold weather and extremely deep snow, during which the Passionists had no heating in the monastery. In February 1943 they supplemented their fruit supply with an additional six cherry trees. By 1944 American Forces had arrived in camps outside Broadway in preparation for the Normandy Landings. Six Passionists, including Fathers Ignatius McElligott and Eugene Kennan, came to give a three days' mission to the Catholics in the USA Vlth Armoured Division. When, in August 1944, a large influx of German prisoners came to the camp at Spring Hill, the Passionists supplied them with Mass and the Sacraments. That same year, as there was no longer any danger of enemy bombing, Midnight Mass was allowed for the first time since 1939.

The Post-War Years
In the next few years, as Broadway returned to a more normal life, the graveyard was extended; there was a parish outing to Weston-Super-Mare; and on Christmas Day the Passionists said Mass in their own chapel on a new Altar that held an Altar-stone used by Blessed Dominic Barberi. The year 1949 marked the centenary of his death at Reading and it was a year full of particularly Passionist celebrations which provided the parishioners with a rich devotional life. On Sunday, 27 February Father Pius preached a panegyric on St Gabriel of the Mother of Sorrows and exposed a relic for veneration and for blessing the people. A statue of St Gabriel had been erected in the church, decorated by the novices. On the following day there was Solemn High Mass and in the evening Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and again veneration of the relic and blessing of the people with it. On 24 March the Master of Novices, Father Benignus, engaged a sculptor in Cheltenham to make a statue of St Gabriel for the novices' garden. Easter Sunday, 17 April provided the best Easter weather for over a century. The church was packed and practically every parishioner received Holy Communion. A few days later, St George's feast was celebrated with a Solemn High Mass. This was quickly followed by a Triduum in honour of St Paul of the Cross, consisting of sung Solemn Vespers, Solemn High Mass, veneration of his relic and blessing of the people with it. May Day Sunday followed as the Sunday within the Octave and so the people again received a blessing with the relic. To mark May devotions Our Lady's statue was adorned by the novices and given a golden crown. The Solemnity of St Joseph fell on 4 May and the feast of the Passionist saint, Gemma Galgani on the 14th. The next day a large crowd gathered in beautiful weather for a procession in honour of Our Lady, culminating in her coronation at the Lourdes Grotto by one of the children. About a week later, a new Crucifix was erected in the grounds, the gift of Father Proudman of Evesham. The Corpus Christi Procession followed on 19 June. At the end of July St Saviour's Catholic Young Men's Society had a day's retreat inside the monastery. The feast of Our Lady's Assumption was celebrated on 15 August with Solemn High Mass, Benediction and the opening of a new gate into the novitiate gardens. It was blessed and opened by Father Benignus, as the novices passed through, reciting the fourth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary: the Assumption. Since the leading novice carried a banner of Our Lady, it was said that she was the first to go through. Hence the gate was to be called "Assumption Gate" or, possibly, "Dominic's Gate" to mark his centenary. On 28 August a coach filled with parishioners left at 9-30 a.m., first for Stone and then for Dominic's tomb in Sutton, where they joined the 20,000 people present for the Centenary Mass. On 18 September the Knights of St Columba from Cheltenham had a day's retreat at the monastery. "Well, Father, Fcfen tell you this. That was the happiest day I have ever spent in my whole life", were the words of one gentleman as he left. In October Father Provincial was asked to preach in Woodchester at the Centenary celebrations of the Church of the Annunciation, established by Blessed Dominic; and finally on Christmas Day Father Rector told the people that 1950 would be the Centenary Year of the Passionists' arrival in Broadway.

The Centenary, 1950
The Centenary Year was also a Holy Year and so it set off to a good start with a Holy Hour followed by Midnight Mass, with prayers of gratitude to God and Our Lady for all the graces and blessings showered on this Passionist foundation and its little parish during the previous one hundred years; and, indeed, it was blessed, with a full monastery of twenty-six in the community, including twelve novices. Next the Rector, Father Chrysostom, assisted by Father Sylvester Palmer, launched a Centenary Appeal to provide a new Lady Chapel in the church, to improve the back of the High Altar and to repair the organ. St Gabriel's statue arrived in good time for his feast on 27 February and was duly blessed and installed in the garden. On 11 June another Passionist saint, Vincent Strambi was canonised and on the 17th a garden fete, opened by Lady Throckmorton of Coughton, was held for the Centenary Fund. On 24 June St Maria Goretti, yet another Passionist saint, was canonised and on the 25th Father Chrysostom preached a panegyric and blessed the people with her relic. At last the Lady Altar arrived, made of Caen stone. The Pieta on the Lady Altar was newly painted and the statues of Our Lady and St Joseph in the sanctuary were repainted. Outside, the graveyard and paths were cleaned up. A Triduum of Prayer, with Rosary, Sermon and Benediction, was held on 5, 6 and 7 September, as 8 September was the actual Centenary of Father Vincent Grotti's first Mass in Broadway.

A novice is clothed in the Passionist habit.
A novice is clothed in the Passionist habit.

On the Centenary Day Father Chrysostom said Mass at the new Lady Altar and there was a Solemn High Mass at the High Altar at 8.15 a.m. There was Benediction in the evening. After devotions, the front of the house and church were floodlit by a friendly neighbour, George Rastell.

A group of Passionists at Fr Proudman's Crucifix
A group of Passionists at Fr Proudman's Crucifix

In preparation for the main celebrations on Sunday, 10 September, a marquee was erected in the field beside the church and the Altar was placed in there, in case of rain. In fact the weather was delightful, as visitors arrived from London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Campden, Cheltenham, Stow-in-the-Wold, Evesham and elsewhere. At 12 noon Solemn High Mass was sung by the Abbot of Douai, Rt Rev. Sylvester Ignatius Mooney OSB, with the Prior of Prinknash as Deacon and a monk of Prinknash Subdeacon. The sermon was preached by Father Brendan Keegan CP, First Provincial Consultor, on the history of the Broadway Mission. The guests were then entertained to dinner and the parishioners to refreshments outside. At 4.30 p.m., after the recitation of the Rosary, Archbishop Joseph Masterson of Birmingham preached on Blessed Dominic and the Conversion of England. As the chronicler recorded, "Many people remained for quite a time, seeming reluctant, as one of them remarked, to tear themselves away from St Saviour's, and many visits were made to the church right up to night-time, when for the last time the Pobdlights were in operation. Indeed, a homely, almost family spirit characterised today's celebration. All seemed to wish to share in the joy and happiness of the religious brethren, in commemorating our first coming to Broadway a hundred years ago."



Share |