On May 4th, the Catholic Church in England celebrates the feast of English Martyrs – the 40 Catholic lay and religious men and women who stood firm and died for their faith at a time of religious persecution.

The English Reformation in the 16th century began with Henry VIII. In response to his disagreement with the Pope, Henry broke away from Catholicism and the authority of the Catholic Church in Rome, and a new Church of England, or Anglican Church was created.

The repercussions continued for many years and in the time of Elizabeth I, it became more and more difficult to follow the Catholic faith. Priests had to disguise themselves and many courageous Catholics risked their lives to practise their faith and look after visiting priests.

Our new resource ‘The Feast of The English Martyrs’ explains in simple terms the difficulties experienced by Catholics at the time of the English Reformation, the meaning of the word ‘martyr’, and the stories of six of the English martyrs who set an example of faith to inspire us.

Subscribers to Collective Worship can access the resource below.

The Feast of The English Martyrs

The Feast of The English Martyrs

The Feast of The English Martyrs is celebrated on 4th May each year, to commemorate a group of lay and religious men and women who stood firm in their faith in the face of religious persecution between 1535 and 1679 during the English Reformation. This prayer resource gives a brief background to the English Reformation and a glimpse into the lives and inspirational faith of six of the English Martyrs.

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