"Of all the preachers of the Divine Word who have worked for the salvation of souls in England, there is no one in our opinion to whom we are more indebted that Dominic of the Mother of God (Fr Dominic Barberi). I should consider myself happy if I had the power and right to dedicate this whole Diocese to his care and protection and be allowed to honour him as our Patron and Protector in England." - Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Bourne, 1926.
This August, Mary's Dowry Productions is working on the production of two new films: a film about John Henry Newman and a film about Blessed Dominic Barberi - one the Herald of the Second Spring, the other the Shepherd of the Second Spring.
We have managed to film our own recreated footage of both Saints for these upcoming films and are keen to complete them and make them available on DVD and to watch on Instant Video via Mary's Dowry Productions website. The following images are grabbed from our filming footage of Blessed Dominic Barberi.
Dominic Barberi offered himself especially as a victim for England. In October 1820, this newly ordained priest of the Passionist Order renewed and amplified his oblation where two years before he had asked Our Lord if he could become a victim for England's conversion, a holocaust to be immolated to the Blessed Trinity for the salvation of souls.
"In this month of October," he wrote in his diary, "I have experienced a great longing for the conversion of unbelievers, especially in England, and I have offered myself to God to be annihilated, if that could serve this purpose."
Dominic Barberi saw that the Englishmen of the Oxford movement would be a vital part of England's conversion to the Catholic Faith. Although Dominic died one year before the re-establishment of the Catholic hierarchy in England in 1850 after its forced absence of almost 300 years since the Protestant Reformation, he himself was an integral part of the return of the Faith to the country that had once been known as the Island of Saints and consecrated to the Mother of God under the title of Mary's Dowry.
In his 'Lamentation of England', Dominic wrote, among other things:
"Behold, O Lord, how our inheritance is passed into the hands of strangers; our Sacraments, which You did leave to us, are in the hands of heretical ministers who abuse this sacred inheritance which of right belongs to us, being merited and purchased for us by the shedding of Your divine blood. Our temples, those venerable churches which were built by our ancestors and dedicated to Your Divine Majesty which, in the happy days of old England when we were Your elect people, we used to assemble before thee, have been seized and polluted by strangers, by the followers of Calvin and Cranmer, and innumerable other heretics, who impiously blaspheme thee in their infamous conventicles.
"Alas my God! alas divine Jesus! alas for these holy churches erected in ancient times by the hands of Your holy saints, where Your everlasting Gospel was daily announced to us! alas for these churches, in which an innumerable company of Your servants each day and each hour of the day lifted up their suppliant hands to Your Divine Majesty! ah! in them poor wearied sinners used to find healing medicine for their wounds, yea remedy for their sins! ah! there they ever found the ministers of reconciliation ready to admit them to the kiss of peace in the sacrament of penance.
"Alas most holy temples! For in You the Lord of Glory vouchsafed to dwell in the Sacrament of the Eucharist as on the throne of mercy and grace: yea, O Lord, You did there dwell and did mercifully listen to our vows and our entreaties.
"Alas ! alas ! for now is Your house become the den of wild beasts, where Your Holy Name and Your awful Majesty is blasphemed and trodden under foot: yes in her own temple Your spouse the Church is detested, anathematised, slandered as an adulteress and unfaithful. Behold it, O Lord, behold it I beseech thee."
Blessed Dominic Barberi finally came to England in 1841. He was ill-received and ridiculed by the Catholic population at first and the anti-Catholics threw stones at him, following him up and down the streets and violently harassing him. They nicknamed him the Stuttering Papist or Padre Demonio. But Dominic walked meekly along, quietly praying his rosary. Gradually his heroic patience and humility wore down the opposition.
The people came to love and revere him. He received John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church and spent long hours in the confessional, wrote, prayed, preached a hundred missions, founded three Passionist retreats, wrote endless letters, supervised the erection of three churches and several chapels, and suffered spiritual desolation and secret penances for the return of the Catholic Faith in all her glory to England.
Dominic died in 1849 and was beatified in 1963. He is known as the Apostle of England and Shepherd of the Second Spring.
Our film about Blessed Dominic Barberi will be available this year with a new film about John Henry Newman too, to celebrate the latter's canonization this coming October 2019. For films about the lives of the Saints and English Martyrs visit: www.marysdowryproductions.org