Tuesday, September 27, 2016

....and a meeting in London ...

.... with Catherine Hynes, to hear about plans for a new religious community, which will focus on evangelisation. You can read more about it here.

I find the whole project rather exciting and will be following it with huge interest...

This has been a summer...

...of weddings.  All have been lovely. The most recent was this past weekend, in France. The Loire, and a village church. A choir of enchanting small boys sang "The Lord bless you and keep. you..." as the bride entered, and  lovely motet at Communion, and  a rousing Alleluia Chorus at the end of Mass. A village band played splendidy as the couple emerged from church.  There was the most delicious food and lots of celebrating until a late hour in excellent company...

A happy weekend, with a splendid brunch on Sunday, and then we trravelled home via Tours, stopping in the Cathedral (shrine to St Martin, splendid picture of him sliicing his cloak in half for a shivering Christ-beggar), and a walk along the river where we pondered Charles Martel and the decisive battle that secured Europe's freedom from Islamic domination.for centuries...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

EVENINGS OF FAITH in London....



Tuesdays 7:30pm @ Back Room, St Mary's, Moorhouse Rd Bayswater, W2 5DJ

Tube: Notting Hill Gate Buses: Artesian Road: 7, 28, 31, 70, 328; Westbourne Grove: 23, 27

Followed by wine and pizza.

Tuesday 4th October
The Church and war: Is it ever justified? Fr. Roger Nesbitt
Tuesday 18 October
The Church and the family: A review of Amoris Laetitia. Fr. Philip Cunnah
Tuesday 1st November
The Church and life: The dignity of the human embryo. Pia Matthews
Tuesday 15 November
The Church and the poor: A sign of love and hope. Fr. Thomas Lynch
Tuesday 29 November
The Church and evangelisation: A vision. Fr. Christopher Findlay-Wilson
Tuesday 13 December
The Church and Politics what is her role? Peter Williams

Thursday, September 22, 2016

...and if you love Catholic history and traditions...

...you might enjoy this...

The 2016 Catholic Women of the Year...


THE  2016 CATHOLIC WOMEN OF THE YEAR LUNCHEON
will be held on Friday 28th October 2016 at
the Amba Hotel, Marble Arch, London W1
to honour
- Catherine McMillan, musician and writer, whose powerful story of how she battled for her unborn child  has  moved so many people
- Sister Jane Louise of the Sisters of Reconciliation, Walsingham
- Dr Olive Duddy, teacher of NFP and Marriage Preparation
- Dr Caroline Farey, of the School of the Annunciation
Tickets available at £45 each, from Catholic Women of the Year,
33 Ashburnham Tower, Worlds End Estate, London SW10 0EE
Proceeds from the Luncheon will support Grief to Grace, offering healing for victims of abuse.

Some followers...

...of this Blog have asked about a feature on prisons that appeared in the Catholic Herald a few weeks back   You can read it here...

CATHOLIC WRITERS...

...gathered for a meeting of The Keys, the Catholic Writers' Guild, last night, at the new venue: Farm Street, London's famous Jesuit church.  Superb evening.  Speaker was Jessie Childs, on her new book God's Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England.

The Keys was for many decades based in or around Fleet Street, meeting at various Fleet Street pubs, and then with great success for a long while at our Guild Church, St Etheldreda's, Ely Place.  The demise of Fleet Street as the HQ of Britain's newspaper industry sent us to St Mary Moorfields, again a popular home where we flourished.  I wasn't sure that we would feel so conmfortable in Mayfair...but we cerainly are, and it was a wonderful. Mass in the magnificent church, a talkative and convivial dinner in a local restaurant, and then we gathered in Farm Street's comfortable panelled hall with coffee and chocs.

Jessie Childs' lecture was a tour de force - packed with facts, superb delivery, and a great sense of vigour and enthusiasm. A young and talented writer and researcher, with a careful attention to truth and to detail, with a most engaginbg and refreshing style. An evening to remember. The story of Lord Vaux ( "a sort of  Lord Emsworth in a ruff") and his daughters and grandddaughter, was particularly fascinating.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Edinburgh...

...and a most useful and lively meeting of the FAITH magazine editorial board.

Much discussion over current issues in society...the practicalities of writing for a lively and thoughtful magazine at a time when comment on issues of marriage, family and the dignity of the human person is liable to be denounced as "hate crime". A few months back, stating that men and women are different would not have brought howls of disapproval but would have been recognised as a statement of truth making a useful, if blindingly obvious, contribution to any discussion of the human condition.

Back in the 1960s and 70s, Catholics in Poland found a way of running magazines and periodicals in the face of (much nastier and more ruthless) official disapproval. It is rather odd that one should be looking to their experience for ideas and encouragement.  Some of Karol Wojtyla's poetry was published, under a pseudonym, in such publications in those days.

As Archbishop and as Pope he reminded the world again and again that "there is no freedom without truth".  The two go together.  FAITH magazine will continue to operate in that spirit...

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,  whatsoever things are pure, whatseoever things are lovely and of good report...think on these things." (Phil. 4:8)


Sunday, September 18, 2016

St Edith's Well...

...at Kemsing in Kent  has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. I always love to go there for her feast-day. This year, I went to Mass In London, and then caught the train from London Bridge to Otford, picnic-lunching on the way as we whooshed down through the suburbs and out into the countryside... and then I walked the last two miles to Kemsing along the Pilgrim Way.  There is a more pleasant route through the woods but I thought I had better stick to the road - which was by no means the safer decision, as the cars whizz along these country troads and of course there is no pavement or pathway except where people have made one in front of their garden...

I prayed the Rosary, and at times in a slightly panicky way as cars roared along...and then turned gratefully down towards the village itself, picking some blackberries to finish off my lunch as I went.

The Well is at the end of the High Street, right by the pub. The War Memorial stands alongside, and all is lovingly tended.  The well has a mesh cover, but you can still bath your eyes (people invoke the prayers of St Edith against eye infections) in the clear running water of the little stream.

As always, a good crowd gathered: we sang the St Edith hymn, prayed the Rosary and recieved a blessing. A cool September afternoon, trees rustling, and the Well bright with posies of flowers brought there by the village children that morning.   Then off to a splendid Tea in the pub, with delicious cake provided by the people who have recently bought up the old Post Office and are turning it into a family restaurant. Over tea, we watched some clips from the really excellent new DVD which features Frs Marcus Holden and Nicholas Schofield walking the pilgrim route to Canterbury - with of course a stop at ke msing on the way. Hugely recommended.

St Edith of Kemsing was a Saxon princess who renounced the possibility of the throne - she could have been England's first Queen Regnant - for a life of prayer and service to the poor and sick...


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Archbishop Charles Chaput...

...of Philadelphia  has just given a most important lecture...read here

St John's Cathedral...

...in Portsmouth is a rather fine building, noble and grand but with a certain simplicity, everything with a quality of  solid worth as well as beauty, a sense of having been created to give glory to God.

It was a wonderful setting for the annual gathering of Knights and Dames of the Orders of St Gregory the Great and the Holy Sepulchre, the green robes and unforms of the former and the great white cloaks of the latter all fitting togetherr well in the gothic splendour ans we made our way down the aisle beneath those glorious stained-g;lass windows.

Bishop Philip Egan preached well, reminding us of our duty to be witnesses, on this feast of courageous early Roman martyrs...and later over lunch we heard about some  current events that encouraged us in the need to be strong and dedicated in our work for Christ and the Church...

A grand day, and it was good to meet old friends and make new ones. An excellent lunch (a delicious fish pie, since you ask, preceded by a  creamy stilton-and-broccoli soup), some lively and good conversations, and useful contacts made for  various projects.  It was particularly interesting to hear about the new St Richard Reynolds College in Richmond-on-Thames - of personal interest to me since just on Monday I was learning all about this Bridgettine saint from  historian Fr Nicolas Schofield at our Bridgettine Day at Iver, and have long been fascinated by the story of Mother Riccarda, who took his name in religion as one of the first members of the new branch of the Bridgettines in Rome in the early 20th century...

Collecting...

...the entries for the Catholic Young Writer Award from the office of the Catholic Union.  The Award is sponsored by the Catholic Union Charitable Trust. There are a good many entries, packets and packets of them....

A couple of schools have been emailing the Catholic Union anxious to know when the winners of the Award will be announced.  Not for a while yet - every entry is carefully read and evaluated. There will be a number of runners-up as well as the main winner.

On to Chelsea, where I spent the afternoon working withj Patti Fordyce, chairman of the Association of Catholic Women, checking and updatinmg the Association's mailing list. A massive task: we had it all transferred to a new computer system this summer and various anomalies and mistakes emerged which now have to be sorted out...as we wrked, we reminisced about ACW's activities since its foundation over a quarter of a century ago.  It is impossible to try to measure success and wrong to do so...only the dear Lord knows what, if anything, has really been achieved...anyway there is plenty more to do as the Bridgettine Day on Monday reminded us of the great heritage to which Catholic women are heirs...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

..and as September gathers pace...

...the swallows are gathering in the skies, and although the days are still hot, there is a freshness in the early mornings, and  a gentle darkness slowly draws in around supper-time...

Time to think about the 2016 Towards Advent Festival...info here...

A BRIDGETTINE DAY...

...organised by the Association of Catholic Women, and held at the Bridgettine Guest House at Iver, Bucks.

The Bridgettines were founded by St Birgitta - mystic, energetic worker for the poor, campaigner and organiser of good things in and for the Church...

A new branch was founded by M.Elisabeth Hessleblad - now newly-canonised as a saint - the in the early 20th century.  

 Fr Nicholas Schofield, an excellent historian and speaker, opened our Bridgettine Day with Mass in the Sistrers' simple and prayerful chapel, and then we all  went into the dining-room for a talkative and friendly lunch. It was a bring-and-share thing, and there was a grand buffet spread. Then we moved into the conference room and Fr Nicholas told us about St Birgitta, and about the Bridgettines in England, Syon House, and more.... A fascinating story - St Richard Reynolds, the events of the 16th century, and the tragic demise of the great house with its magnificent chapel...

Then the Rosary in the garden shrine in the warm sunshine. We were a good crowd: a number of people from the nearby parish of Uxbridge had come - Fr N. is their parish priest - along with ACW members from across London and elsewhere.

I then gave a talk about M.Elisabeth Hessleblad, and about Sisters Riccarda Hambrough and Katherine Flanagan who helped her to found a new branch of the Bridgettines. An exciting story, as the nuns hid Jewish people in their convent in the PIazza Farnese in WWII...

We finished the day with tea and cake and it has launched the new season of ACW's activities on a good note.  Next event is on Oct 8th - at Holy Redeemer Church, Chelsea, on the theme of Pilgrimage, with speakers telling us about the Holy Door in Rome,  walking the Camino to Santiago in Spain, and his year's World Youth Day in Krakow. All welcome: come and join in!  Starts 2pm...

If you want...

...a sample copy of the Sept/Oct issue of FAITH magazine, send a Comment to this Blog (which I will not publish) with your full postal address, and you will be sent one.