John Bradburne was born in Cumbria at Skirwith in 1921 and he became a third-order Franciscan missionary. He was killed in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1979 for refusing to abandon the lepers he had looked after for may years.
Since his death, Mutemwa, the leprosy settlement where he worked, has become a major pilgrimage centre. Each year, on the anniversary of his death, 5 September, thousands gather to hear Mass and process up the mountain where he walked and prayed.
This year, the 40th anniversary of John’s assassination, there will be a special ceremony at Mutemwa, where many thousands are expected to attend, including from outside Zimbabwe. Two weeks later, on Saturday 21st September in the afternoon, there will be a Mass at Westminster Cathedral. This will be followed by an exhibition in the hall about John’s life, along with talks and Zimbabwean music. John’s Franciscan habit will be one of the things on display, as well as his beloved typewriter and some of his manuscripts. This will be the first time that John’s relics will be publicly displayed.
There will be a day at St Thomas More Parish Centre, Lancaster on Saturday 7th September from 10am-3pm entitled John Bradburne - the Road to Sanctity which will be led by Prof David Crystal. (See poster in the narthex). It is a free event (donations welcome) and you need to register at here.
As John Bradburne was a local man, I would very much like our parish to form a small informal group of 2 or more people to act as the focus for encouraging knowledge of and devotion to John, as his cause for beatification proceeds. This would involve prayer, research, arranging a parish talk, attending events such as those mentioned in this newsletter etc. One parishioner has kindly offered to help us to get to know the life of John Bradburne better. One or two more parishioners to help with this would be very welcome. please have a word with me after Mass or email the parish office. Thank you, Fr. John