Tuesday, March 28, 2017

....

A MASSIVE HONOURING OF THE EUCHARIST IN BRITAIN...

...is planned. A great Eucharist Congress is being planned by the Bishops of England and Wales for 2018. It will be the biggest gathering of the Catholic faithful in Britain since the visit of Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

I learned this news while chatting outside Westminster Cathedral this afternoon (see previous entry re History Walks). It is VERY good news and will make history. A Congress of this kind was held in 1908 but a planned Procession of the Blessed Sacrament through London could not be held (much anti-Catholic feeling in those days). A century - and two massively successful papal visits - later, and everything is so different. We can expect - and pray and plan for - a really magnificent gathering...

History...

...is all around us in London, and every Catholic History Walk yields new discoveries as we all as opportunities to mull over the events of the centuries...

People are always intrigued to be told that the Blessed Virgin Mary, holding the infant Saviour, is at the centre of the Westminster City coat of arms. I can see, as I lead them across Victoria Street to the tall, boring office slab  that that is the City Hall, that they just don't believe me. Then they take a look at the great Coat of Arms on the wall - which some, as Londoners, have walked pass hundreds of times....

Westminster -  centred on the minster, established by King (St) Edward the confessor, to the west of London - became a city in its own right in the 1960s,  and the present Coat of Arms dates from that time.  But the link with Our Lady goes back centuries. City info, plus pic of the coat of arms, here   but to get the story of the link w. Our Lady, you really need to come on a Catholic History Walk - or invite me to your parish/college/school/conference...


Monday, March 27, 2017

Laetare: Mothering Sunday...

...and at the end of Mass, bunches of daffodils  tied with golden ribbon were blessed and distributed for us to give to our mothers...rather touching to see small Sunday School children eagerly running forward, and hulking tall altar severs awkwardly searching out mum in the congregation to give the flowers and a hug...

FrC suggested that mothers who had died could be remembered lovingly in prayer and the flowers given to Mary  at the Lady Altar...

And I took a bunch to give to my ma-in-law in Somerset, hoping the flowers would survive the journey via Bristol...

Train from Paddington, and a warm welcome at the Catholic Chaplaincy at Bristol University:  a talkative supper and then my talk on St John Paul the Great and the Theology of the Body.  A wonderful evening...talk ran on late, lively, friendly, wide-ranging, extremely interesting...

An early start the next morning, train into Somerset, and on to a lovely lunch with mama-in-law. We had sent a big bouquet at the weekend, and the daffs, a bit tired but capable of revival, were now added. We tackled a crossword together - she is v. good at them - and enjoyed lots of family chat. Beyond us the hills of Exmoor were misty and green. The bus route into town trundled past fields of wobbly-legged lambs.


Friday, March 24, 2017

This weekend...

I am off to Bristol to give a talk about St John Paul the Great at the University Catholic Chaplaincy.

While in the West Country, I'll be making a Mothering Sunday visit to my beloved mama-in-law. We always enjoy our special times together. For many years, I used to bake two simnel  cakes for Mothering Sunday, one for my own mother and one for my mother-in-law, to be enjoyed at family get-togethers...you can get the recipe here .   This year, for the first time in my life, I will not be visiting my own dear mother on this special day, but she will be much in my prayers with love and gratitude...

Travelling to the West Country in the spring is always a delight...lambs in the fields, daffodils bobbing in the breeze...and here at home we are in the final stages of massive repairs/renovations, and over the next days books will be stacked on to new clean shelves and old papers sorted and thrown out or tidied away...

The house is scented w. the lovely flowers I received for graduation.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Lunchtime Talks...

...are being organised at the CTS Bookshop in the Westminster Cathedral Piazza at 1.15pm. Auntie Joanna will be speaking on Thursday April 6th and again on Saturday April 8th. Topic "Celebrating Traditional Feasts and Seasons of the Church",  with a special emphasis on the customs associated with Lent, Holy Week, and Easter.  ALL WELCOME.

The CTS is also inviting people to write reviews of books - not necessarily bought from their bookshop - and to win discounts on further books. Info here...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday...

...in London. Mass... the Scriptures linking Moses striking the rock and the fresh water gushing forth...and then Christ at the well and bringing us the living water...

The Angelus as Mass ends and everyone singing.

In the afternoon, a Catholic History Walk along the Thames...the grey water surging with a chill wind, but a sense of spring in the air, boats chugging up and down.

And then, in the evening, meeting a dear niece for supper...great fun to swap news and lovely to relax and talk over lots of things...

Saturday, March 18, 2017

At a ceremony today...

...at St Mary's University, I received my Master's degree in Theology from the vice-chancellor, Francis Campbell. It was a moving ceremony, with the academic procession entering  the chapel to the sound of trumpets, a service of prayers and hymns, and the calling out of our names as we went forward one by one in our academic gowns and caps.  The hood of the MA gown is lined with rose-coloured  silk of the shade used by Bishop Richard Challoner, hero Vicar Apostolic of the London District in the 18th century.

It was so lovely to have family and friends with me to celebrate this day...a day that I will remember for always.

After the ceremonies, there was an excellent lunch in the Waldegrave Room, in the splendid Gothick Strawberry Hill House, and then we enjoyed the lovely grounds in pale spring sunshine.

Bogle celebrations continued with a dinner in London along by the Thames...I am now writing this late at home surrounded by flowers and cards and with  a grateful heart...

Friday, March 17, 2017

The splendid Norbertines...

...at this church in Chelmsford  invited me to give a talk as part of the parish programme for Lent , on my favourite topic: St John Paul the Great. It was an honour to be invited. Things began with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction in the lovely church. Candles glowing,, the peace of united, unhurried silence... and then the blessing and the voices together: "Blessed be God...blessed be his holy name..."

The original invitation had been for a Thursday evening but I pleaded that I could not do it, because the church I usually attend is running the excellent Pivotal Players DVD  (Bishop Robert Barron) each Thursday in Lent...back came a cheery message from Abbot Hugh at Chelmsford saying that was fine, he perfectly understood, because they too were running the Barron DVD and he shared my enthusiasm! So he invited me for Wednesday instead. And it was a wonderful evening... the lovely time of prayer, a warm welcome at a good sized gathering in the parish hall, and an opportunity to share some insights about St John Paul and some glorious memories of him...