Friday, July 01, 2016

While political events...

...were happening with extraordinary speed in Westminster, further along the river we were having Evensong and Mass at the Church of the Most Precious Blood, followed by a parish barbeque. There is now a children's choir: beautiful singing, and the children behave with great reverence...rather a sweet sight to watch them walking solemnly up to receive  H. Communion or a blessing...

Today in London there were commemorations marking the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, July 1st was the most tragic day in the history of the British Army, with thousands and thousands if young nmen killed or wounded. "We lost the flower of a generation" Prince William said today. There is a vigil tonight in Westminster Abbey. The Battle of the Somme began as dawn broke on July 1st, one hundred years ago.


If you want to know...

...why Auntie has been busy packing up parcels of books and illuminated cards for primary schools, you can find out here...

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Come to the next...

... LONDON  CATHOLIC HISTORY WALK!!

FRIDAY, July 1st, CHELSEA.

Meet 2pm on the steps of the Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer and St Thomas More, Cheyne Row, Chelsea, London SW3.  Nearest tube: Sloane Square, then walk or bus along the Kings Road, past Chelsea Old Town Hall, and follow the sign to "Catholic Church".

This walk is repeated on Wednesday July 13th at 6.30pm


More information on all the London Catholic History Walks here...



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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Read about...

...Britain's former Ambassador to the Holy See and a new chapter in the life of a Catholic institution in England...see here...

A grand turn-out...

...and a memorable Martyrs' Walk, with a splendid spirit and some fine singing.  We started at the churchyard  of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate near the Old Bailey, with a short historical overview of the events of the 16th century...Henry VII, Prince Arthur, Henry VIII and Queen Catherine...Anne Boleyn...and so on...and then, praying the Rosary, headed along the route to Tyburn. First stopping-place was St Etheldreda's in Ely Place - particularly dear to me as it was for many years the Guild Church of The Keys, the Catholic Writers' Guild, and I have spent many happy evenings there with Mass and supper and lively discussions with a range of guest speakers, in good comapny and with that genuine sense of cheerful fellowship which is so difficult to describe without sounding sentimental, and so splendid to enjoy....

Then we progressed along Holborn, where our singing of Ave, Ave, Maria rose above the London  traffic, and  we were led in the Rosary by the deacon of a splendid American contingent of the group...and in due course were warmly welcomed by Fr David Barnes at  the church of SS Anselm and Cecilia. This is a popular church, often packed out on feast-days and special days such as Ash Wednesday with  people working in nearby offices hurrying to lunchtime Masses. And so on to St Giles-in-the-Fields  and thence to St Patrick's Soho. Here we venerated relics of the martyrs, with Fr Doug Grandon of the American contingent presiding. And then we headed in groups to Tyburn.  Here, a magnificent Benediction - the  strong chorus of voices praying the Divine Praises - and a final splendid rendition of Faith of Our Fathers....and then an excellent Tea provided by the dear sisters, who beamed as they plied us with tea and sandwiches and pastries...

We had begun the Walk with three hearty cheers for the good people of St Sepulchre's for letting us use their churchyard, and we finished with three hearty cheers for the good Tyburn Sisters for their wonderful welcome and Tea.

Every year, I think the Martyrs' walk won't get the numbers or will meet with some disaster...and every year it is splendid and crowded and the people are wonderful.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

COME AND HONOUR THE ENGLISH MARTYRS...

The Martyrs' WALK - the Tyburn Walk - takes places tomorrow, Sunday 26th June, starting at 2pm outside the church of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, near the Old Bailey. Join us there! We will walk to Tyburn, with stops at, among other places, St Etheldreda's Ely Place, SS Anselm and Cecilia in Kingsway, and St Patrick's, Soho...prayers, and some short talks on the history, along the way. Opportunities for confession. Benediction at Tyburn. ALL WELCOME.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Kent...and a thunderstorm...

...of immense proportions. London sticky in pre-storm warmth.  Train from Waterloo East as I was due to speak at St Anselm's, a Kent  parish in Ordinariate care, as part of a series of lectures for this Year of Mercy.    Fr Ed  Tomlinson met me at High Brooms station and we had a quick spaghetti supper at the presbytery in Pembury as I wrestled with trying to get on to Skype for an interview with EWTN's newsroom about Brexit.  Fr Ed is a former Anglican, married to Hayley: they have a bunch of delightful children who came home all damp and cheery from a spell in the local swimming pool. Hayley and I worked hard on the Skype link, but couldn't get the video bit to work (camera on my laptop disabled?) so I did the interview as sound-only...meanwhile Fr E. went off to celebrate Mass and organise things for my talk.

In the warm, sticky evening  I hurried down the lanes to the church,and got warmer and warmer...and rather confused....it was a relief to meet a search party out from the church to rescue me. The meeting went well - a large audience, and the talk was one of a series exploring the Beatitudes. I focused on "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" , and looked at the lives of modern saints, noting in particular St John Paul the Great, and M. Teresa of Calcutta...

As things finished, we repaired to the village pub. Much lively conversation...the Church...current events...Brexit...

As we left, the  rain began. And as we made our way back to the presbytery it was clattering down  in torrents. The evening sky had had a curious glow - now the storm broke over us, and thunder rolled and crackled over Kent.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I was due to meet...

...some American friends, to lead  a walk in London, with Mass at St Etheldreda's .  But their flight was delayed and the plans had to be cancelled.With a sudden bonus day, I went home and tackled the lawn, and the overgrown lane at the back of our house, which had suddenly become impenetrable in the past couple of weeks because of the downpouring rain and warm air.

Our small garden  is full of happy memories of smmer suppers and barbeques, and I enjoy hanging out the washing and bringing it in all fresh and airy. Another batch of J.'s shirts went up today when I'd finished the mowing.

We have a great apple tree that began as a tiny foot-high stalk brought from Fernyhalgh after a pilgrimage there.  It now towers over everything: we had it pruned last year and now it is laden with fruit. If you read up the story of Fernyhalgh you will see why it is so lovely to have this tree in our garden.

The front garden is a small strip of lawn which is always pleasant to mow, as neighbours pass by and there is lots of stopping to chat. Then later, as the light slowly faded,  I sat down to tackle some work at the computer. The rose bush which J. bought for me some years ago has, like the apple tree, flourished over the years and taps against the window as I write.