Our Lady of Clemency
Unlike certain Sicilian villages, we do not think that “our” Madonna is more powerful than the Madonna in the next-door church! But we do love to invoke the loving help of our heavenly Mother under different titles. And it is most fitting that St Clement’s church should have a shrine to Mary called Our Lady of Clemency. This echoes the words of the Salve Regina “O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary”, the Marian anthem with which we end Evensong every day in St Clement’s.
And every day, Evensong is followed by prayers at the shrine, prayers for the parish, parishioners’ needs, the sick, the departed; as well as prayers for the wider Church, the peace of the world, the conversion of our nation.
We offer them all up to God and ask Our Lady to join her voice with ours. People send us requests for prayers from all over the country and, indeed, from all over the world, and we sum them all up with the Novena Prayer, which is an “omnium gatherum” which I commend to your use. Here it is in full:
“Blessed Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, glory of our Church and Mother of all Christians: of the generous love and courtesy wherewith thou hast ever served the people of God, be pleased to take our needs to him. As we kneel before the throne of our Eucharistic King, do thou bow before His presence in Heaven and plead our cause for us, and by thy mighty intercession obtain for us the petitions which we ask of God during this Novena, that Jesus may triumph over the prince of this world, and souls be blessed and saved, and God glorified in us all for ever and ever. Amen.”