Wednesday, August 24, 2016

In the local park...

...gathering plump blackberries from the hedge that separates it from the large local cemetery, I was accompanied by raucous shouts and cries from a series of football matches: lots of local teams, girls as well as boys, with massive enthusiastic support from the sidelines...

As things drew to a close, the young people all lined up and there were further shouts and cheers - I think cups and medals were being handed out - and then, across the park, hoarse but enthusiastic voices were raised in the National Anthem:

"...Send her victorious
Happy and glorious
Long to reign over us
God save the Queen..."

It was somehow rather moving to hear that, coming across the park on the warm afternoon air.

THE FULL RANGE...

...of the new series of Catholic History Walks is now listed on the website. Do take a look...and come join us!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mozart...

...at the Proms...following a lovely invitation from  a Mozart enthusiast. "There's Missa in C..."

An afternoon of blackberry-picking.   Jars of jam all sitting nicely on the shelves in the kitchen...
And yesterday I completed some academic work and will submit it on Monday...the summer's work.

A quick change, and then on to a short meeting about the TOWARDS ADVENT Festival: Sat Nov 26th, Westminster Cathedral Hall...put the diate in the diary now!

A sense of  summer reachings its golden final days, Autumn faintly approaching.

The Royal Albert Hall, stunning, filled with awed silence as the concert begins...

Glorious.

Pizza and long talk about Mozart and  more...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

...and a report from Walsingham...

...read here...

London in summer heat...

...and meetings to organise variuoius Autumn events...plans for the next set of Catholic History Walks...

Put this one in the diary now: Wed September 14th, 6.30pm, meet on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields. All welcome...

News that...

...some Lutherans have announced that they no longer have any deep issues dividing them from the Catholic Church....which is good news, though I think perhaps they have some things that remain to be pondered, as their spokesman is a lady bishop...

There is also news that the Lefebvrists may be on their way back: this has seemed likely for some time, and my husband visited their HQ a few months back, and talked to the top people, and definitely got the impression they'd be back in the Church fairly soon.  As they have split, and some of the most extreme have definitely left the group, it seems likely that something will be  be worked out...

Today's Gospel is all about the labourers who were brought in later...and those who had been there all day, labouring in the heat, were wrong and mean-spirited when they complained...the message is clear...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

You can now read...

...the July/August FAITH magazine here...Auntie's editorial,  features on a range of subjects,  book reviews...

Monday, August 15, 2016

MASS at...

...St Patrick's, Soho. Crowded. A fine choir and lovely music.

The Pure in Heart prayer group  had invited me to lead  them in a Catholic History Walk: word had spread and there was a large crowd.  Things started with a lively talkative lunch at a pizza restaurant - lots of tables pulled together, much enjoyable conversation - and then we set off along the Charing Cross Road, meeting further group members at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and heading along the Strand and then down to the river...

We pondered the history of St Giles and the poor sufferers from leprosy who lived there over the years....we looked across at what is now Trafalgar Square and saw it as fields belonging to the monks of Westminster...we walked along the Strand and imagined the river lapping at its edges before the big Embankment was built....and we linked all of this to the great events of the rolling centuries and to monarchs and controvesie and achievements and battles, and more....this was a really enjoyable afternoon, and things lingered agreeably over drinks as the walk finished at Waterloo Bridge and we sauntered across to the South Bank...

More on Catholic History Walks here...

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Invited to speak...

....to a meeting of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Chichester.

A kind friend gave me a lift. Sussex was enchanting as we drove down from London...cricket on village greens, pubs, the wonderful satisfyingly unchanging  Downs. The spire of Chichester Cathedral soars up. Childhood memories of families holidays stir.

The Bishop's Place at Chichester lives up to its name: it's very grand. It was a great priviledge to address the ESBVM in the ancient chapel, and I was conscious of the centuries of history, and all the different voices that have echoed in those walls.. Topic was Marian theology and insights fromSt John Paul . It's all hugely relevant as there is much to explore ...the whole mystery of God's plan from "the beginning" (Gen 1) with the "Woman" who will crush the serpent's head...and all of this is bound up with the spousal imagery that runs through the whole of the Old Testament and the New...God and Israel, Christ and Church, Bridegroom and Bride...

 Before the lecture, I made a statement about Bishop George Bell, a great and good man whose work I have long admired. Incidentally there is more about him here...

On the way back we stopped to visit the grave of Cardinal Manning's wife...I always mention her in my History Walks around London (also:did you know that an office block near Westminster Cathedral carries a plaque noting that Cardinal Manning lived there?)...and then there was supper in a country pub...





Wednesday, August 03, 2016

It has been so lovely...

...here at Walsingham...

This afternoon I walked, as I have done so many times this week, along the lane from the Pilgrim Bureau in the village,where I have been staying, to the shrine - not easy to do as every passing car stopped to offer me a lift. I had to keep insisting that I would rather walk. It was so glorious, with the wide sky and the wind, and some children gathering poppies...I started to sing...and this hymn seemed appropriate...



...and then a golden evening...

...with children scampering around in the meadow at Walsingham, and good talks with friends old and new. As we chatted, a bell tinkled, and a small procession, led by an altar-boy with a bell, brought the Blessed Sacrament across the meadow to its safe repose back in the chapel at the shrine. As it passed, people quietly fell silent for a moment and knelt - children kicking a football stopped and dropped reverently to their knees without being told, and bowed their heads,  a father gently gathered a toddler close and knelt,  some one hurrying on an errand put down a tray and knelt beside it - and so it went on down through the gate and across the lane, the bell ringing out its gentle message, the faithful greeting the Lord as he passed....all in the most natural way in the sunset glow.

Across the wide Norfolk skies aircraft suddenly roar across - old ones with a vaguely WWII look about them. It adds to the sensation of being somehow very much a part of an England where time and history meet... an ancient Saxon shrine dating back to the years just before the Norman Conquest...loud modern music from a group singing "Praise Jesus, the Saviour!"...golden wheat ripening in a nearby field with scarlet poppies...a family talking and laughing together as a child does handstands... and Auntie walking back down the lane to tackle some emails and write up this Blog...

And  now I'm sitting here, in the village, by the Church of the Annunciation in the lingering twilight, with cheery talk wafting out from the pub next door, and people saying goodnight as they pass.

The shrine at Walsingham will be one thousand years old in 2061, and the children running about in the field this evening will then be in middle-age, and probably playing a part in marking that great millenium.

WALSINGHAM...

...and the New Dawn gathering is in full swing. A most glorious Procession down the Holy Mile in lovely sunshine, some 2,000 - 3,000 of us...wave after wave of voices praying the Rosary and singing "Ave, Ave, Maria..."

The wide green lawns of the ancient Priory, with that dramatic broken arch, were ready to welcome us for Mass, and there as we entered was a priest robed in white and gold, holding up the Blessed Sacrament and blessing us...it was a powerful and touching sight to see people  pause in their stride and drop to their knees on the gravel path...

And then slowly  we filled the Priory grounds, the cool mown grass delicious on bare feet...and while this was  happening, many priests were hearing confessions. It is a moving experience to kneel there and confess and receive absolution where so many thousands and thousands of pilgrims have been over the years...

And then Mass concelebrated by Bishop Alan Hopes and a great gathering of clergy including Archbishop Kevin McDonald.  With children chirruping and enthusiastic singers waving their arms when they felt particularly inspired, it was very much a family pilgrimage ...and at Holy Communion there was great reverence, the large numbers of people being patient and prayerful  in the carefully arranged lines  so that it was all as dignified as in some great cathedral rather than the open air.

The New Dawn site at the Shrine includes  tents named for various saints (I've been giving talks in Str Francis!)  plus of course some lovely things for the children, plus an excellent bookshop, and a shop selling the most beautiful icons...plus the big tent with lots going on...and all this in a great meadow just across the lane from the Slipper Chapel which looks lovelier than ever and is never without people at prayer...