Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Spirit of France

No this is not going to be some mystical post about the essential elements of the French "esprit". We're it to be then it would include garlic and carrying baguettes under your armpit - I saw another French boy doing it just yesterday morning.

The Spirit of France is the ferry that is taking me away to England. The closer we got to Calais the wetter and colder it became. Hmmmm.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Chavagnes Prayer Book

For a year now, I have been putting together a prayer book for the school. We are a little odd in what we do, so the book needed to include:

  • Preparation prayers in English and French
  • Order of the new Mass in English and Latin (only EP 1 of course) - while not breaching ICEL (exactly why the official worship of Almighty God by the Church He founded should be copyrite is quite, quite beyond me).
  • Order of Extraordinary Form Mass in Latin and the English tranlslation
  • The Holy Rosary in Latin, English, French, Spanish and German
  • The Order of Benediction
  • Our night prayers
  • The four Anthems to Our Lady

By putting it off and off it has taken all year but at last the proof copy arrived and it is now ready. A year's work done - hoo rah!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Nova et Vetera

Grace a Orbis Catholicus Secundus,

We came across this film in which there is cut colour film of Venerable Pius XII.

It is wonderful to see as it puts paid to one or two things which are often thrown at Blessed John Paul II, namely that the latter 'invented' the popular clamour of the people to see their Pope. We can see by the crowds' response to Ven Pius XII that he had the 'star quality' that is so often thrown at Bd John Paul II as an accusation.

I remember a few years ago being in Rome on a short shopping trip (and of course visiting the holy things!) when I had the chance to see Pope Benedict in a normal Wednesday Papal audience. I was in two minds whether or not to go, but in the end decided that I really should go along.

So there I was, a jaded priest of the world, having seen the Pope from a distance once of twice, but my goodness the excitement when he came close by. I was charged with the presence of Christ's Vicar on earth - not just star status, but that this was him, the one chosen by the Holy Ghost to be our Holy Father.

I was close to him, and, frankly I admit it, I pushed forward to try to get close to him. I could see him coming closer and closer and I was getting nearer and nearer to him. My hand stretched out, just to touch the Holy Father!

But I had underestimated nuns (never a good thing to do!) and just as he was almost parallel to me, a dozen be-wimpled brides of Christ took my place. To this day I have no idea where they came from. "A thief in the night" has nothing on a bunch of nuns when the Holy Father's about!

Nova et vetera. It was always thus.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Never in England

Never would you see such a notice in an English supermarket! Could you imagine it... the saint's day.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Clisson Castle

My mother is with me for a bit of a visit, so it's wandering around the countryside time.

Clisson was the south side of the ancient Breton Kingdom and so was wonderfully fortified. The remains are still there and look quite fine.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

It's True

Well I must be staying

I love "Par decision de Mgr Castet"

Monday, 16 July 2012

Chaplain's Office Refurbishment

When I came here last September I took some pictures of my office (link here). Well here are some more. It is more or less the same with some bits and bobs moved around. There has to be new interest, but it has to be identifiable with the past or else the boys will freak.

As you can see the flags are the same, but there has been an IKEA trip with the results on the facing wall.

As I hear Confessions in my room at times, I have a 'confessional space'.

And my Quat' bosse Scout hat is on prominent desplay. After all, I am a Scout (Link here, and here).

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Bad Dad Dancing

It's an old joke that there's nothing so cringe worthy as Dad deciding to be 'cool and hip' by trying to dance. You still love him of course, but you just want to run away and hide when it happens. Then your friends look over with that wide eyed stare of "Oh My Gosh" - they know it's not your fault, and you know it's not your fault, but shame is contagious and it's all just too, too embarrasing.

So... I went to my good friend Dr Joseph Shaw's website (he is the chairman of the Latin Mass Society) and saw this (Link Here)...

Fancy being 'Chief Executive' of Clifton Diocese?

If you thought that the 'Chief Executive' of diocese would be, if anyone, the Bishop, you were wrong - at least where Clifton Diocese is concerned. They are advertising for one: and according to the 'person specification' section, candidates for the job needn't be Catholic. (I'd really like to know what the 'values', as opposed to teaching, of the Church are.)
Here's the main blurb. Why not apply?
An excellent vacancy has arisen for a Diocesan Secretary to fulfil the role of Chief Executive within the Clifton Diocese
Diocesan Secretary
The Catholic Diocese of Clifton is seeking to appoint a Diocesan Secretary to fulfil the role of Chief Executive and coordinate the administration of the Diocese.
The holder of this important post:
Will lead the formulation and implementation of a strategy for the long term financial security of the Diocese
    Will have experience of leading a team of senior professionals and be committed to the mission of the Diocese
      Will create an approach to balancing the quality of service to clergy and parishes with the management of risk.
        Based in Bristol from autumn 2012, initially for one year, subject to review. Salary £65k. For more details see www.cliftondiocese.com (Working for Us)
        Closing date: 5.00 pm Monday 13 August 2012.

        From the 'Person Specification':
        We seek a person who embraces the values of, but is not necessarily a member of, the Catholic
        Church. Experience of belonging to a Christian parish or similar community would offer valuable
        insights into the workings of the diocese.
         At times I am just flabbergasted. Let me just say a few things:

        1. The Bishop is the 'chief executive': is this person's sphere of work inter curial, or is it going to be at the meeting point of the parish and the Diocese?
        2. I'm no longer a Parish Priest... but good luck boys justifying this hike in the Levy to the good people of God.
        3. In my experience lay folk working in curial appointments need to be VERY clear of the checks and balances between Parish and Diocese which exist in Canon Law (even a lay Catholic may well not be aware of the nuances - but a non-Catholic!). I have experienced both ignorance and bullying.
        4. I think that 65k is the highest pay tier of the Ministry of Defence. Hmmm pretty high.
        5. I wonder what 65,000 pounds actually works out as with pension contributions etc. I want to register an interest here as the gossip in my English Diocese (this one by the way) concern means testing Priests when they retire before they are given somewhere to live at the Diocese expense. So you can have the extraordinary situation of Fr Whatsit having worked in parishes for 40 years having every penny of his scrutinied, having been paid bugger all all his life, without a pot or pan, opening his bank account to some mandarin on 65,000 quid PER YEAR so that he can say "No sorry Father you have a few bob tucked away from when your parents died, so you're going to have to pay rent". Surely I am mistaken about this... we'll wait and see.
        Calmed down a bit now...

        How the hell are we supposed to sell this one to Catholics and non Catholics alike?

        I tell you, were he still alive I'd go clubbing with my Dad everyday of the week rather than to have to explain this one.

        Saturday, 14 July 2012

        Le 14 juillet

        On this day in 1789 the Bastille was stormed and symbolically the day came to be seen not only as a celebration of the French Republic (after the short-lived constitutional monarchy) but also as a rejection of the King's power. In 1880 law was passed enshrining le 14 juillet into the official public life of France.

        Here in the Vendee we don't, historically, like republican anti-Catholic things (also they packed Vendeans into churches and set them on fire... nice) so on the 13th, there is a sardine festival, with much celebration late into the night so that they have a day long nap on le 14.

        Friday, 13 July 2012

        Cool Boys and a Morris Minor

        At the end of last term, instead of my general religious discussion group, three boys and I went out to see the chapel of the Oak (you can see a link here). Now that is just fun anyway, and for the boys they liked getting out for half an hour. Actually it was longer than an hour - I had to apologise to their next teacher!

        Of course they liked the chapel, but they were very concerned that there was a record of the visit. This is the result: the boys looking 'cool'. And indeed they do look very stylish. The great thing was that they were determined to pose. Now I suppose that that is not unheard of in young men, but what I found delightful was that it involved my Morris Minor (bought from Charles Ware Morris Minor Centre).

        The boys to a man love the Morris Minor. As it is mine, I think that it is a simply wonderfully car, but it's not just me... it's the cool, young pupils of Chavagnes. You can have big, expensive, posh cars turning up, but its still the Morris that they want to drive in.

        Anyone can be photographed next to a Ferrari or whatever, but to be next to a timeless classic, that is truly cool. So very, very cool.

        I won't bother drawing the parallel to saying that the young don't need or want endless 'new' things and that they actually appreciate what is ancient and beautiful because we all know that it is true.

        Thursday, 12 July 2012

        The Tempest

        The end of term play this year was the Tempest (slightly abridged).

        It began in our theatre with Mr McDermott as a salty sea captain and our J1 youngest boys as the crew. Songs were sung. Buckles were swashed. And a terrible tempest began...

        The stage moved to outside the St Joseph's chapel, and the rest of the cast came out... Prospero, Caliban and the rest (names escape me at the moment)...

        Bear in mind that we are not the largest schol in the world, but we can do wonderful things!

        Friday, 6 July 2012

        The Last Day

        And so we have reached the last day of term. It is the completion of the 10th year of the school so the Mass being offered today is one of thansgiving.

        It is an amazing thing to have a vision of what you want to do and then to go and do it. Too many moan and complain but do nothing, and many have a strong desire, but never get round to doing anything about it.

        Our headmaster and founder, Mr McDermott, founded this school to teach in a traditional manner the fundamentals of life and to get the best out of each boy - educationally, supernaturally, morally.

        This education no longer exists in the UK, where the faith is an adjunct - tolerated as long as it does not conflict with the survival of the school.

        It my pleasure to be allowed by my Bishop, His Excellency Declan Laing, to stay for another year.

        Tuesday, 3 July 2012


        And because there were Christians at the Puy du Fou, there were lions as well.

        And birds.

        The Chariot Races

        If I have forgotten to mention it, the Puy du Fou is fantastic. Where else would you see chariot races in a Roman amphitheatre?

        And what is better, the Christians win!
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