The Lasting Legacy of St. Edmund Arrowsmith, Martyred for Celebrating Mass

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The house where he was based is called Arrowsmith House in the village of Brindle near the city of Preston. Mass is celebrated once a year in the upstairs room where Saint Edmond said his last mass before fleeing.

The house where Saint Edmund Arrowsmith celebrated his last mass. Credit: St Edmund Arrowsmith and St Oswald Parish

This time there was no respite, as the horse refused to clear a ditch. He spent the night in the cellar of a local pub, where his captors used his money to buy beer.

Arrowsmith was kept at Lancaster Castle before his execution, but not before another martyred priest, now St. John Southworth, heard his confession. (Southworth’s remains are encased in a glass case at Westminster Cathedral, London.)

After his execution in Lancaster, the Arrowsmith family kept Saint Edmund’s hand as a relic before he moved to his present home in 1929 – the year of his beatification. The saint was one of 40 English martyrs canonized by Saint Paul VI in 1970.

The current parish priest of St. Edmund’s Church, Father John Gorman, feels the weight of the saint’s history on his shoulders.

“I feel like I’m the guardian of his legacy, which is a very big responsibility,” he said. “As I told people in my homily for the feast [Aug. 28] this year we are unlikely to be executed for our faith, but what we believe is not popular in the current climate. We must all have the same fidelity of Saint Edmund.

The current parish priest of St. Edmund's Church, Father John Gorman, celebrates mass in the chapel of the house where St. Edmund Arrowsmith said his last mass before fleeing the authorities and his eventual martyrdom.  Photo credit: Joseph Kellaway-Burnell
The current parish priest of St. Edmund’s Church, Father John Gorman, celebrates mass in the chapel of the house where St. Edmund Arrowsmith said his last mass before fleeing the authorities and his eventual martyrdom. Photo credit: Joseph Kellaway-Burnell

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