Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Society of Genealogists...

...asked me to lead members on a Catholic History Walk. We started at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and I explained that the fielde were those belonging to the monks of Westminster Abbey, who turned Thorney Island and the marshes along the Thames into good farmland...

Then along the Strand, and down to te river...where I spent rather too long explaining about the general histoiry - Britons and Romans, Saxons and Vikings...they really wanted more about "Smells and bells" which was how the Walk had been advertised, so we headed for Covent Garden, which I explained was originally Convent Garden, and we talked about Henry VIII and so on. I forgot to add the other material I usually add, about origins of pub signs and nursery rhynmes, all very Catholic...I mentioned the various famous Catholic churches around London, explaining that there were none in the old City itself as this was forbidden for many years (not long ago the City boundaries were shifted so one Catholic church is now included)..

I do wonder why the CofE doesn't give a couple of the City churches to the Catholic Church on a loan-and-pay-the-bills basis, so that City workers could get to weekday Mass more easily. Lots go to St Mary Moorfields,  St Etheldreda's or across the river to Precious Blood, but meanwhile  the City's glorious Wren and Hawksmoor churches -  which before the Great Fire were ancient Catholic churches - are for the most part simply not used most of the time...

London is currently sizzling in sudden heat. As the Walk ended, I realised I had missed an important phone call. The "Son Rise" radio show from the USA wanted to talk to me about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. So I called them back and we did an interview. Extraordinary, really,  after a morning working my way through the centuries, to be standing  just off The Strand, talking to America about a Royal Wedding and current controversies...

On which subject, I do hope the Royal couple desist from thinking that their role is to impose politically-correct opinions on the rest of us on certain issues.  Catholics in Britain today value the freeom won after some difficult times...






Tuesday, April 17, 2018

And how did Auntie Joanna spend Monday?

...with brown paper and jiffy bags, sticky labels, tea, cakes, talk, laughter and fun!  Read here

A reunion...

...with a college friend. We first met forty years ago, have stayed in touch over the years. What first made our friendship was a shared Christian faith - we still share it. She has faced widowhood with courage, is active with some good local projects, has the wisdom and commonsense that I remember from College - and the sense of fun - and made me welcome with real enthusiasm. It was a beautiful day, and we walked with her daughter and enchanting lively grandchildren through a glorious local park, enjoyed a cream tea, then later talked till late...I caught the last train back to Paddington and was home in the small hours. A day to cherish...

Thursday, April 12, 2018

...and read Auntie Joanna in the USA's National Catholic Register...

...here.



Sussex...

...and a meeting of the small committee that oversees the Catholic History Walks. This is always combined with a very agreeable Sussex day, which this time included a walk along the Chichester canal - well worth a visit, and lovingly maintained by a team of local volunteers.  Everything lussh and green following lots of recent rain.

We also spent time in the local Catholic church, where there is regular Adoration during the week.  Plenty to pray about, in rather worrying times for the world...



Wednesday, April 11, 2018

...and forthcoming royal celebrations...

...read Auntie Joanna's thoughts on that, here

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Spring tides along the Thames...

...and crowds of young people packing the South Bank in the first warm(ish) evening of the year. Drinks, talking, laughter, a Friday, with work finished for the week.  I trundled my suitcase along (returning from family visit toi the West Country), enjoying it all. The wide clean sand was inviting, the water lapping towards it.  "Watch my case for me for a moment?" I asked a young couple, and scrambled down the steps. It was glorious to run along, a sudden sense that winter was over.I got a stick and wrote "Auntie was here!" on the sand, dipped my hands into the Thames and then hurried back up the steps - it would be an hour or more before these were under water, but there is something fearsome about the river's tidal surge.

Some sand-sculptors create wonderful castles and pictures in the sand - all to last for just a few hours before being swept away. Next day, as I retraced my steps on my way to another appointment, one such artist had made a most beautiful Easter scene, with Middle Eastern buildings and a Tomb with its stone rolled back...

I have a favourite restaurant not far from the river (I am not so daft as to give away its location, as it is mostly not too crowded) where I sometimes sit and work over a modest meal. A couple of hours spent thus, and then I headed for Soho, where a beautiful Mass for the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday was followed by a procession around Soho Square with the relics of St Mary Magdalene. Then Adoration with the Blessed Sacrament on the altar. Street-missionaries take lanterns and invite passers-by to come in and light candles. It is the most moving thing to see people walking  up the lantern-lit aisle, slightly nervous at first , but then touched by the glittering candlelit scene, and relaxed about lighting a little tea-light by the altar steps...

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Paul VI, and a story worth discovering...

...in the latest CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT.

Read here...info not widely known.