By L P. Crangle
OVER 4,000 people, one of the biggest crowds to have gathered in the Hexham and Newcastle diocese in connection with the cause of the Forty Martyrs, met on Sunday at Burn Hall, Durham, which houses St. Joseph's Foreign Missionary College.
They were addressed by Mgr. Lawrence McReavy, Professor of Canon Law and Moral Theology at Ushaw College, who told them that "there is reason to fear that, if our generation had to make the same bitter choice as the martyrs, the same story of the few and the many would be re-enacted.
"On July 23, 1594," he continued, "three men stood in the dock at Durham, waiting for sentence of death for professing to remain in the faith that their fathers and grandfathers had practised. and
which had been the faith in their land for close on a thousand years.
"John Ingram and John Beste were priests, Geo. Swallowell a layman. All three had been converted from Protestantism. All three were hanged, drawn and quartered. They could have saved their lives had they chosen to reject their faith."
Mgr. McReavy said that the world today no longer uses the rack or the rope to make us conform to its ways, but it uses every other form of inducement to wean us from God and our Faith. At every turn, it presents us with broader and smoother roads leading away from the narrow road which leads to God. The martyrs had no other road but the gallows.
After the address, Bishop Cunningham of Hexham gave Benediction. and Mgr. Paul Grant, President of Ushaw, led recitation of the rosary.