The Roman Catholic Parish of
Our Lady Queen of Apostles
One of the great treasures we have in the Church is the many titles of Our Lady: Our Lady of Glastonbury, Our Lady of Lourdes, Queen of the Angels, Mystical Rose etc., etc. And we have a very particular title in the parish in Cheddar, Our Lady, Queen of Apostles.
Now we know that she is Queen of Apostles (and angels, and virgins and confessors and heaven ... let's face it, she's Queen of everything and a mighty fine job she does of it), but the title and the feast which is attached to it is quite particular, and it is quite particular to Cheddar. The reason is that the feast of Our Lady Queen of Apostles was granted at the request of the Pallottine Fathers. This order was founded by St Vincent Pallotti in 1835 in Rome and worked with the poor and the sick, founding orphanages and institutes of charity. And the parish in Cheddar was founded by and served by the Pallottine fathers.
The centre of Our Lady Queen of Apostles is the moment after the Ascension when the Apostles are gathered together praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit. And in the midst of them was Our Lady. This is why the feast day is kept on the Saturday after the Ascension.
When we think, then, of this devotion to Our Lady, we would do well to remember that Our Lady guards and guides the Church. The Church herself is governed by the Bishops as successors of the Apostles. So in a very real way, Our Lady Queen of Apostles in linked to our Bishops, and the Church as a visible institution hierarchically organised (as Vatican II says). It is a good thing to think that each of our parishes has a particular supernatural charism. Shepton, which is under the guidance and protection of St Michael the Archangel, is constantly engaged in the triumph of the Church against the power of Satan - after every Mass they pray the prayer to St Michael. So perhaps Cheddar can offer prayers for our Bishops, that they may be courageous and valiant in keeping the faith and be willing to go to the block, as their noble predecessors did.
The Queen of the Apostles sits in their midst, helping their prayers and preparing them for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, whose mystical bride she is. May she always be with us to help us open our hearts to the presence of God.