Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tragic juxtaposition...

...as I'm hurrying to post parcels to schools, with prizes for children who have taken part in the Lord's Prayer Handwriting and Artwork Project ...headlines in the press about the massacre in Manchester, young  victim faces looking out from the photographs...

Larger numbers than usual  at weekday Mass today...FrC  said that some people mentioned that they had come after hearing the news from Manchester...a sense of a need to pray for the victims, and for our country...


Human life...

...and the insights of St John Paul II, especially his letter Evangelium Vitae...I was invited to speak on this at the FAITH Movement this evening, part of a series of Evenings of Faith, held at the Challoner Room at the Warwick street church near Piccadilly, exploring and developing the insights of JPII...


Monday, May 22, 2017

Pope Francis...

and President Trump meet this week. Premier Radio's discussion programme hosted by Lisa Mainwaring looked at this among other topics...what will the Pope say to the President? Will it be a useful meeting? With either one listen to the other?

We also discussed Ascension Day...which falls this Thursday. PLEASE PLEASE, dear Bishops of England and Wales, CAN WE HAVE OUR FEAST-DAYS BACK?????  Look:  the Anglicans and other Christians in our country are marking Ascension day on Thursday, forty days after Easter as has been done for hundreds and hundreds of years, following the tradition of the Scriptures. And then it is nine days - a Novena - until the great feast of Pentecost, fifty days after Easter Why is the Catholic Church going out on a wobbly limb and saying we must mark Ascension day on next Sunday. IT ISN'T FAIR, it isn't logical...and it means that priests, this Thursday, will find people coming to church and will have to tell them "Um...sorry....we can't celebrate the great feast of the Ascension. If you want to do that, you must come back on Sunday.

PLEASE MAY WE HAVE OUR FEAST-DAYS BACK?


Sunday, May 21, 2017

"I saw water..."

"flowing from the Temple; from its right-hand side, alleluia"...carolled the children's choir at Mass, as Father C. carried out the Asperges....the choir was formed last year and is now singing well, in English and in Latin...

I love the Easter season, and today we heard from the Farewell discourse, about how we are not left orphans..."and I shall ask the Father, and he will send you another Comforter..."

After Mass , some of us often gather in the local pub for drinks and talk, sometimes making up a table for lunch. Today I then hurried on to St George's Cathedral where I was meeting a group at the main door for a Catholic History walk.Quick tour of the cathedral - my favourite stained glass, with its beautiful depiction of St John Paul anointing the sick when they were brought there in great numbers during his visit in 1982...and then on through the Southwark streets, pausing at landmarks such as this garden in the bombed-out ruins of All Hallows, Pepper Street,...and so on past the Borough Market to the river, and the fine view of St Paul's....


And Cardinal Burke...

...at a conference in Rome has said that, while St John Paul certainly consecrated Russia, along with the rest of the world, to Mary, it can and should be done again, this time with a specific mention of that country. And of course it can be done again.   Christianity is gaining  - or rather regaining - ground in Russia on a large scale and has been doing so rather dramatically since the 1984 consecration and the events that followed.  There will be a time when Russian pilgrims come to Fatima and join in the prayers there...and in God's good time there will be healing between the Eastern Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church and the unity broken so many centuries ago will be restored.

Renewing the consecration will probably, over the years, become something that is done with some regularity and with great solemnity. The mistake some commentators and lobbyists have made has been to link it with theories of their own: secrets hidden in the Vatican conspiracies covered up, a whole range of pet ideas. But Fatima was not about that.  The message was one of prayer and penance. Which was - no surprises here - the message that Cardinal Burke sought to emphasise too.

Cardinal Burke wrote a Foreword to Fr Andrew Apostoli's book on Fatima , which is a good read and answers a lot of questions often raised about the whole subject.

Cardinal Burke's speech was a rallying-call to the New Evangelisation, and he urged that we listen to the voices of  Blessed Paul VI and Saint John Paul:  "The pontificate of Pope Saint John Paul II, in fact, may be rightly described as a tireless call to recognize the Church’s challenge to be faithful to her divinely given mission in a completely secularized society and to respond to the challenge by means of a new evangelization. A new evangelization consists in: 1) teaching the faith through preaching, catechesis, Catholic education and all forms of communication, 2) celebrating the faith in Divine Worship and in prayer and devotion which are the extension of Divine Worship into every moment of daily living, and 3) living the faith by the practice of the virtues – all as if for the first time, that is, with the engagement and energy of the first disciples and of the first missionaries to our native place."

Particularly moving is the cardinal's quoting St John Paul's words at Fatima in 1982 on the anniversary of the attempt on his life. Worth reading the whole thing here...

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Catholic Education Service...

...has been much on my mind all week as I have been researching the history of Catholic education in Britain. Heroic tales of establishing schools for the poorest people in Britain's industrial cities in the 19th century...

So it is a matter of concern to read about a strange document just produced by the CES ...something is definitely wrong....for a useful comment,read here

And read the document - which contains an enormous amount of drivel and rather horrible propaganda from homosexualist lobby groups - here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

THE CITY OF LONDON...

...is so rich in history, that even a shortish walk from London Bridge to the Bank of England yielded up four major Wren/Hawksmoor churches. The story of each has many layers...Saxon, Medieval, and then the Reformation...and the 17th century and the Great Fire...and then the Blitz... Many churches survived the Blitz - in 1940/41 the bombs were not such as to pulverise a church to dust although obviously much damage was done. What is odd is that a fire that roared up in one street could leave another nearby virtually unscathed...

Most Londoners don't know enough about the City, and don't know the story of  even famous churches like this one or this one (which I particularly like because of its sword-rests, so convenient if one happened to be wearing a sword and needed to put it down...) or this one, despite its association with a famous singing rhyme...

I spent part of Monday exploring the City churches  with a colleague, and putting together info. on the history.  The essential point is that the story is so much richer than most guide-books say...London's Christian history goes back to Roman times, and there are glorious Saxon saints to discover...and the great religious communities that suffered under Henry VIII... Watch for news of forthcoming Catholic History Walks...


Beautiful...

...new vestments at this church,  thanks to generous donations from people who simply want to ensure glorious worship. Fr C. showed me the newest chasuble - delicate workmanship worthy of its sacred purpose. The vestments are unfussy, dignified, made of fine materials, and have a sort of "flow" that give a sense of naturalness to their use at Mass.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I had to order a further 1,000...

...commemorative cards with the words of the Lord's Prayer, as after three  major re-printings, we had run out yet again. This is the fourth successive year of the Children's Handwriting and Artwork Project, an ecumenical venture supported by various groups including  the Catholic Union of Great Britain  and Christian Projects. The idea is to help children to become familiar with the Lord's Prayer. I am compiling a report on the 2017 Project, but you can get the general idea by reading this report, produced some while ago.  We spent today reading through a vast batch of entries from the West of England, and then I stayed on to wrap and pack prizes for the best entries from schools in the Greater London area...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

AND WALSINGHAM CALLS...

...with its summer pilgrimages. The Dominican sisters in the New Forest have reprinted the piece I wrote about their St John Paul Pilgrimage, which will be taking place in July...read here...

Today...

...more work on the research for the history project at St Mary's University, and a meeting to discuss it all. Enjoyable. I'm deep in documents and letters from the mid 19th century. Students working in the Library have been glad to help with lifting down boxes from the archives.  It does feel strange to be reading Victorian letters and reports, all in formal language and with a sense of structured dignity,  while surrounded by today's young men in their cotton caps with the peak hanging down the neck at the back and the little strap across the forehead, and girls in their carefully ripped jeans...

Just occasionally...

...you have a random conversation that is a reminder that there is normal life still happening in Britain.

A late evening visit to a supermarket, a chat with the young man working on the till. I expressed sympathy that he was working late and he was quite cheery "Only half an hour more. Then I'm off". I said I hoped there would be a good supper waiting  at home. He beamed "Mince, mash and beans. I don't like Shepherd's Pie, so my mum does it this way instead. We're having it tonight. My favourite."