Monday, August 31, 2015

To Somerset...

...on a family visit.Terribly crowded train on the way back, because some of the railway staff were on strike, so some trains were cancelled....but although the passengers were packed rather tightly, everyone was in good humour, and the journey as actually rather fun...a tired child was given safe refuge on a stranger's lap, some one shared out bottles of water and packets of shortbread, we all chatted and swapped jokes...the staff were all helpful, there was a good atmosphere. I think it was partly because the train was not too hot, and there was somehow a gently Autumnal end-of-holidays mood. At Reading people even squeezed up a bit to let on even more passengers. At Paddington people helped one another with luggage. Sometimes it really does feel as though we do share a common home in Britain and can cope together.

Coffee...

 after  Sunday Mass at Precious Blood Church, London Bridge,  saw us busy discussing various arrangements for the Ordinariate Festival (see links below). One of the  (many) things that I enjoy about the Ordinariate is that the refreshments include real coffee...and before you sneer, just think about it: why have so many Catholic parishes, groups, associations, and schools, come to assume that it should be standard to offer orange/brown powder topped up with hot water to form a nasty brown liquid?  Why not big pots of tea and coffee, jugs of milk, and volunteers serving and pouring and handing-round and washing-up?   An informal working group tackling refreshments for this year's Ordinariate Festival has organised the transfer across London of the neccessary jugs and equipment to serve decent coffee to 200-300 people at Westminster Cathedral Hall. It can be done. We did it last year and people arrived from across Britain to be greeted by fresh coffee and tea and doughnuts..

The annual FESTIVAL...

...of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham will take place shortly .

Top speaker is  Archbishop di Noia from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Saturday September 19th, Westminster Cathedral Hall

Friday, August 28, 2015

A London day...history, heritage, and the happiness of a wedding...

...of the most delightful sort.

It began on the steps of Westminster Cathedral where I met the group of Americans who had asked me to take them on a Catholic History Walk.  They were delightful, and we set off for a couple of hours to walk through centuries and centuries. We started  w. the Cathedral itself with its joyful recent memories of  visits by St John Paul the Great and  beloved Papa Benedict, and then off down Ambrosden Avenue  and some history of Archbishops from Wiseman and Manning through to Heenan and Hume and so on...and thence along past the Horseferry Road and some history of London's bridges and the revenue from the ferry which went to the Archbishops of Cantrerbury for hundreds aof years.

And so down to Parliament, with a glimpse at the coat-of-arms of the Westminster City Council which shows Our Lady cradling the Christ-child, and down past Abbey Orchard Street and along Great Peter Street...and we finished along  by Richard Coeur de Lion and then Big Ben.

The organiser of the group had asked me in a phone call if she could bring me anything from New York and on a sudden whim I siad Ooooh yes, how very kind.,.perhaps some of those lovely chocolates with peanut-butter inside?  And she brought packets and packets and I'm enjoying a delicious nibble as I write this...

All the time we were walking, members of the group had taken charge of the big plastic  bag containing my Hat and the suitcase containing my Wedding Gift - because immediately the walk ended, I had to dive into a cafe cloakroom and scramble into Best Clothes and hurry to Brompton Oratory, for the marriage of William Jolliffe to Pia Vogler...

It was a lovely traditional wedding, with bridesmaids in floaty apicot chiffon, and the Prince of Denmark's March, and assorted friends-and relations with some squeaking babies and some pretty hats ,  The bridegroom's father, Lord Hylton, did the  Old Testament reading, and the Psalm was a most beautifully sung The Lord's my Shepherd. I love the wedding prayers, with the lovely bit about marriage being the one blessing not destroyed by Original Sin or washed away in the flood... Afterwards, lots of champagne and nice things to eat and old friends to greet and lots of lively chatter and a great sense of joy...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

An unusual...

...but in its way rather wonderful, week.  With a small team of loyal friends - including one who came to London specially and stayed in a b-and-b specifically to help with this project - I've spent all day, every day, into the evening, wrapping and packing and posting books to young people across Britain who gained prizes in the annual Schools Bible Project. Father Peter at the  excellent parish here, allowed us to use the large St John Paul Room in the beautiful Parish Centre, and we made ourselves at home, arriving in time for Mass each morning (very well attended, with a substantial congregation) and working with wrapping paper and jiffy-bags and cardboard boxes and sticky tape, with relays of us trundling a suitcase-on-wheels down to the Post Office in the High Street laden with parcels...

We brewed tea and coffee and made lunch in the well-equipped kitchen, talked and laughed and worked hard...it has been a happy week.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday...

...and a long talkative lunch after Mass...

A sense of things reconnecting after the summer break. The Ladies Ordinariate Group meets again in Oct...speaker (Mon Oct 5th, Precious Blood Church, London Bridge) is one of our members telling of her adventures in walking the Camino to the shrine of St James in Spain...

It was the feast of St Pius X during the week...at Mass that day of course we heard about him...I read up a lot about him a while back when studying the 1900s and events in Europe and the Church in that era...he died deeply saddened - really broken-hearted - shortly after the outbreak of  WWI, a war he and others had tried so desperately to avert and which in retrospect seems even more tragic than was envisaged at the time...

He was responsible for a number of good things in the Church, notably inviting children to Holy Communion at a younger age: at the time First Communion had become something normally only approached in mid- or late-teens, and Pope St Pius instead linked reception of this Sacrament with an age at which chidren were able to recognise its truth, and differentiate between Holy Communion and ordinary bread...

It seems rather terrible that his name has been besmirched long years later by association with a breakaway group from the Church headed by Archbishop Lefebvre...although there are insider-rumours that the Lefebvrists - who split a while back, ridding themselves of their more extreme faction - might be ready to repent and return...


Friday, August 21, 2015

if you want to enjoy...

...my Blackerry Jam, or the Apple Cheese I made from a Somerset recipe last weekend, you will have to come to the

TOWARDS ADVENT
Festival at Westminster Cathedral Hall on sat Nov 28th.

Picking blackberries and making a blackberry-and-apple crumble makes the grace before meals have a real meaning, giving thanks to God for this food "which we receive from Thy bounty..."


PLANS...

...for the Blessed Sacrament Procession in London on Sat October 3rd. Starts 1.30pm WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL, crosses the Thames at Lambeth Bridge, finishes 3.15pm with Benediction at St George's  Cathedral, Southwark. ALL WELCOME!!! Just turn up. Bring your family/parish/friends...this Procession started just a few years ago and has grown and grown in size...makes a fine sight as it crosses the river with the Houses of Parliament as a backdrop...

A meeting at St George's Cathedral to make arrangements. This building is one of London's hidden gems. It is Pugin's gothic, 1840s, much older than Westminster Cathedral.  Fascinating history - the high altar stands on the spot where the Gordon Riots began. Some fine chantry chapels, a great sweep of gothic glory as you walk up the main aisle. Pugin himself, brilliant but troubled,  ended up in the Bethlehem Royal Hospital - Bedlam - which stands opposite and is now the Imperial War Museum.

The cathedral was bombed in WWII and rebuilt afterwards - older people remember attending Mass in the ruins.  St John Paul visited it in 1982 - all the pews were taken out and beds installed, and sick people were brought there to receive the Sacrament of Anointing at his hands...a rather fine stained glass window now recalls the scene,

I'll be leading a tour of St George's Cathedral on  TUESDAY OCTOBER 6th. Starts after the 12.30pm lunchtime Mass. ALL WELCOME - just come to the Mass and we gather afterwards.