Sunday, March 01, 2015

and more about that visit to Devon...

here...

Read Auntie in....

The Portal, the on-line magazine of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Latest issue here...

Devon...

...and a wonderful weekend at Buckfast Abbey, attending a study course run by the new School of the Annunciation.  This course is for catechists, and the theme is the New Evangelisation - the aim of the school is to train up catechists who bring the message of Christ, as the Angel brought Christ to Mary...

We were a mixed group of students, from varius parishes  and groups, and we all found that it was rather powerful to be studying in the Benedictine atmosphere of the great Abbey: we joined the monks for the main offices of the day (although not the one at 5.45 in the morning!) and especially loved being in the great Abbey Church each night for Compline, and being blessed with holy water by the Abbot before we all retired for the night...

We were staying in the extremely comfortable Guest House, and there was delicious food in The Grange, which welcomes vast numbers of tourists every year. The Abbey is extremely popular and seems to be on the Devon tourist trail - even on a cold wet February weekend there were a good many people there, and in summer they get vast crowds enjoying the various gardens (one dedicated to medicinal herbs, another to lavender, etc).  The setting of the Abbey is just superb, and each night I was lulled to sleep by the rushing waters of the river that was first channelled by the monks who arrived almost a thousand years ago...

The School of the Annunciation is well organised, and the course was excellent - hard work, but immensely interesting. The days are long gone when it could be assumed that children can simply "pick up" the Faith and be happily at Mass in their teens through a combination of family tradition and school RE. The School of the Annunciation will be playing a majr role in many people's lives over the next few years. BTW, is is running various Summer Schools that sound rather good - and the experience of staying at the Abbey in this most glorious part of Devon is simply wonderful.

After our final session on Sunday morning I thought I'd go for a wander around the grounds before Mass - I was enjoying this as the Abbey bell started to peal, and the crowds at Mass were such that I only found a seat with some difficulty. A fine choir and absolutely superb music. Then a final lunch and farewells...

Friday, February 27, 2015

...on Monday...

....March 2nd,  at 6.30pm the Ladies Ordinariate Group (LOGS) meets at St George's Cathedral, Southwark, for a tour, finishing with the Stations of the Cross....anyone is welcome to join us. Nearest tube: LAMBETH NORTH or WATERLOO....

...at Paddington station...

...there's a place where my co-author Clare Anderson and I meet, starting with morning coffee and working on through lunch, tackling our various projects. So far, two TV feature programmes on St John Paul II, one telling his life story and one exploring his legacy and its message.  The first was broadcast a while ago (we've had some good feedback) and the second will be broadcast shortly - info from EWTN.

As regular readers of this Blog will know, we've also produced a book...

And we spent yesterday working on the next project.  Not telling what it is - let's get the work done first.  The staff at the cheerful and friendly place where we meet are delightful, and know us well, asking us how the book/TV/whatever projects are going, and keeping us supplied with pots of tea...

Last night...

...we gathered for a Lenten meditation and discussion, focusing on evangelisation. We're using this document...

It took me a while to "get" St John Paul's call for a New Evangelisation. Now I'm committed. Our cynical, unhappy and worried culture needs a new hope and new life. A local church isn't there to serve consumer-needs but to create disciples of Jesus Christ...

Read here to get the idea...

The message of the Cross...

...as we hear the news of martyred Christians...

Read here...


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

..and this is good news...

Philip Booth is a distinguished economist, who has written extensively on Catholic social teaching.It is excellent that he has been appointed to this university.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

And here's wisdom and common sense on the topic of sex education...



We've had crude, inaccurate, ill-informed material foisted on young pupils for far too long.  We need a fresh approach, respectful of children, mindful of what is age-appropriate, valuing them as individuals with needs.

One day, there will be great anger and bitterness launched by men and women who were victims of the hideous experiments in sexual coercion and propaganda imposed over recent years.


Read  here...

...and next weekend...

...Auntie is off to Devon, to attend a Catechist course at the new School of the Annunciation at Buckfast....

MADE FOR GLORY...Lent...these short messages come from young people in the diocese of Southwark and are excellent

Monday, February 23, 2015

Auntie will be speaking at...

...the CathSoc at this university  on March 11th.

How weird...

...it is to sit in an English village and read of girls in our capital city enthusiastically hurrying to support Jihad against our country.

How fearsome to realise that girls and boys in our country's schools have been given little or no vision of the civilisation they have inherited here, or the beauty of the Christian faith on which is based and with which it has been nourished.

The followers of Mahommed include many misguided souls, and many angry young ones, hungry for some spiritual food.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

...after Sunday Mass in London...

...some hurried packing at home, and then off to Somerset on a family visit. I'm writing this overlooking Exmoor, a wild wind blowing, and that huge darkness beyond the glow of the house-lights across the lawn. The house wher we are staying is snug and I have books to read, work to do, and some sewing with which to relax. And wellies packed for a good walk tomorrow.

I'm reading Rebuilt...hugely enjoyable, with useful things to learn. Wise in that crunchy, American-don't-let's-waste-time style.And a sort of exciting story too...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Along the City Road...

... a corner of London all rich in Dickens and centuries of history...to Ashwell House to give a lecture. This University Hall of Residence has young women from all over the world as well as from Britain: I gave them a Tube map and explained the origins of the place-names: Angel, Blackfriars, Westminster...and we looked at the centuries of history, Saxons and Normans, and the Medieval era, and the arrival of the Tudors with Henry VII attempting to evoke powerful folk-memories by naming his first son Arthur...then the tragedy of Henry VIII and so on and so on...

We tackled important historical events and ideas, but there was also room for other stuff, and they knew about the local pub, the Eagle, featuring in the famous nursery rhyme,  and I told them about the horrid origins of the jack-in-the-box toy: it seems to date back to militant anti-Catholicism and be a mockery of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist in the Taberbacle (old versions of the toy have thw words "Hocus Pocus" on the lid, a corruption of the words of the Consecration)...

Chichester...

...and a cheery meeting to plan various History Walks and associated projects. But first a visit to that glorious  Cathedral: it's been lovingly restored and cherished in recent decades, and has a warm sense of welcome. The shrine to St Richard is flanked by candles and icons.  Every side chapel is clean and well cared-for, some set aside specifically aside for silent prayer, some displaying discreet notices explaining some item of interest. There were children scurrying about doing half-term activities learning the history and finding out about saints and shrines and things, and there were volunteers dressed in Historical Costumes waiting to be asked to talk.  It felt like the sort of Britain one used to know.

On to a tasty and talkative lunch: lots of good plans for the year ahead (watch this Blog for info).

On to visit an elderly aunt a few miles along the coast: Tea (served formally and properly, so it merits a Captital Letter) and buttered buns and coffee-and-walnut-cake... and we talked of family news and old times...her daughter was one of my bridesmaids, and we recalled that lovely wedding and many other family gatherings over the years...

And finally back to Chichester. The driver was friendly and helpful - I thanked him for coming a long way out of the city to get me "Only too glad" he said "I was sitting waiting by the station, with drunken girls shouting horrible, slutty stuff, swearing obscenities  - can't repeat them. I was glad to get away."   In the waiting-room, a man and child lurched out, rather awkwardly. I settled with a book after exchanging a sort of nod to two other passengers, as one does..."Glad you're here" one said "It's been vile. Some woman came in, dead drunk, and shouting at her daughters on her mobile phone,  Horrible language.Some row about a party they were having . Then a man came in with his little boy: the man was drunk, and the child was made to carry a bag of clanking bottles.They've just left."

Chichester, Sussex, on a February night. What are our big cities going to be like this summer?

A joy-filled letter...

...from a Sister of St Cecilia's Abbey on the Isle of Wight.  They keep busy there...and have six new novices and are thriving. Their  newsletter is full of good things - but also solemn ones, including letters from sisters in the Middle East, , forced out of Iraq along with so many other refugees, pursued  by bombing and slaughtering...

There is also a fascinating and profound meditation on silence...referencing St John of the Cross..."God utters only one Word. He utters Himself in that Word totally, interiorly, in an eternal silence..."     "Everyone has a sacred stillness at the core of their being, the place where they are present in secret  to God and God is present to them..."   As a terrible chetterer, Auntie is gently soaking herself in this meditation....