Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Return

Holidays are over and I'm sitting waiting to board a ferry to France. Time goes very quickly. I have a car full of exercise books, tennis rackets (fear not, not mine!) angel vestments, a cope, stuff, big candles, a bit more stuff and some things in boxes that I decided I needed to bring back a few weeks ago. No idea what they are now but it was ever thus.

I'm looking forward to the start of term. My second year of being a chaplain abroad. I know the place now and some of the boys and the way things happen and so feel much more part of the furniture.

This is a good place. A good school. It educates and shows the faith for what it is - something to live by and something to die for.

We priests are odd things really. We have to show true joy in what we do. Not the silly mundane things (though I do get real joy from solving a simultaneous equation) but the high honour of touching God. Of being His priest.

I am so fortunate that there is also the joy I feel in returning. A joy made all the more bitter sweet by leaving friends, family, all those I love in England's tender embrace.

I get all sentimental sometimes.

Trawling the Web


On the last day of the Pilgrimge I was a little busy deaconing a High Mass and then leading processions and the like to take any pictures. I have yet to find the rubric:

The Deacon genuflects, turns to the left behind the celebrant, removes the iPhone with his right hand from his left pocket, at same moment as he reaches the step of the predella in the middle, and snaps a few sneaky shots of the Mass.
Anyway there were loads of people there snapping away, so where are the pictures!!!

Come on troops... High Mass in Walsingham in the presence of H.E. Mgr Davies, vestments from Versailles, me... (and some other people).

H. E. Mgr Davies
The final day was wonderful. Canon Meney sung Mass beautifully and it was a great pleasure to get to know Fr Cahill over the three days. James Mawdesley (when not trying and failing to perform miracles: see here) MCd very well indeed, the choir sang, the people prayed, and it didn't rain.

So photos please.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Heaven comes to Harpley

Fr Cahill and myself will assist at the High Mass as Deacon and Subdeacon so we said our private masses this morning.

It was good to be able to provide mass for the Lucy Shaw and the other great women who have done sterling work to feed us all along.

We went up to the altar of God and brought heaven to earth.

Girl with a flag

Most inappropriate shoes

I admire his style but question his decision.

The Last Day

So it rained most of the day on and off. When it was in it was torrential downpours. When it was off it was light drizzle. All wet and sodden we arise for the last day.

The clothes I can stand and the cold and wet, but it plays a merry hell with my feet. So I will do my best like the rest. We have with us two ladies in their eighties. So by their example and demeanour we will all do our best.

The gloomy picture is entitled 'getting up in the dark'.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Ok. So it rained.

It's a little bit heavy.

Breakfast at Oxburgh

Mass has been offered and now break fast is being eaten. Porridge (an evil thing) cereal, jam and bread (resist the temptation to break into the Sound of Music) and tea and coffee. It is just a wonderful place. And wonderful people.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Body Parts

Some didn't make it. We dumped the body parts in a place where they wouldn't be found.

Against the Canonisation of James Mawdesley

As mentioned below we are joined by the FSSP seminarian James Mawdesley. If you know him then you know that he is a fine upstanding chap. However today he overstepped the mark.

Trying to imitate the saints (which if course is a good thing) he tried to bring a dead bird back to life. A poor little bird thing - not the one below - lay in the road and James tried to make it live again by throwing it into the air (actually over a bridge) in a vain attempt in my opinion to make it fly.

He claims that he was just "getting it out if the way in case people found it frightening". But just look at that grin. I suspect he was attempting avian revivification.

And I'd like it on record that he failed.

Pubs on the Pilgrimage

This is lunch time on the first day and I have to say the second pub of the day. And this is a good thing. The weather is fine the company holy and it all bodes very well.

Ely Cathedral

The pilgrimage begins after Mass at the Catholic Church with a visit to the now Anglican Cathedral. There are strange bits and pieces. The Lady Statue is odd and you can see below it the niches where the saints of God were chipped out.

There was also a love of chipping off the faces of bishops and benefactors. We remembered to pray not only for the conversion of England but also for the intentions of those for whom Mass has not been said in this place for five hundred years or so.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Meeting of the Tribes

And so the Pilgrims meet together. We have 55 this year. Up twenty or so from last year. Our other priest is Fr John Cahill from Leicester, and we have with us an FSSP seminarian James Mawdesley who is always a pleasure. So Holy Mass tomorrow is at 6.15am and then we're off.

The Preparation for Walsingham

Tomorrow we begin to walk to Walsingham. I'm going up today so everything is packed and done. Please note with admiration the scouting hat - for I am a scout and with astonishment the little shoe horn. I was advised that a priest on a pilgrimage should never be without a little shoe horn. And I have found that to be true.

Our Lady of Walsingham.
Pray for us.

Monday, 20 August 2012

To the Glory of the Angels


After 10 plus years I have finally finished this chasuble to the glory of the angels.

RAF window in Durham Cathedral
It all started when a friend sent me a postcard of the RAF window in Durham Cathedral (the Cathedral wherein lie my bones). I was so taken by it that I decided to make a copy. I sketched the outline of the angel (filling in the bits that I couldn't see) on a sheet of A4 then blew it up to A3. Stretching a piece of thin material over it I traced the outline and started to embroider the picture.

This was the first of many mistakes. it was the first real thing that I had ever embroidered and the lengths of the stitches were far too long. I have had to teather them down with little couing stitches since.

Couching stitches had to be added on some of the longer embroidery 
When the angel was done there was the further slight problem of what to do with it. It was shoved into various boxes for many years, then I came upon the idea of putting it on to the back of a nice but rather plain chasuble.

Another problem because the wings were just sewn onto material, so how to applique this onto a chasuble? This puzzled me for some time, and to be honest as you can see the result is not perfect but the blind man on that old galloping horse would be none the wiser.

You can see the place under the wing where the bordering stitches have had to go over the edge of the ewbroidered cloth.

Eventually, after more than ten years the thing is finished, and I love it! I have always liked votive masses of the angels and now I have something rather spiffy to wear.



And as I am chaplain to the Guild of St Clare, I will hawe something to show off with.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Clifton Diocese Silences Known Dissenter

...would be a wonderful title of an article on this blog, or on any Catholic publication.

Sadly of course it is not true.


As part of a series of talks called "Opening The Windows" commemorating fifty years since the passing of the Second Vatican Council, Professor Tina Beattie will lecture in Clifton Cathedral on "Mary Mother of God and model of a pilgrim people".

This is the same Professor Tina Beattie who recently signed the public document dissenting from the constant teaching of the Holy Catholic Church which was published in the Times newspaper. LGBT organisations have reproduced the letter here. It ends
We suggest that it is perfectly proper for Catholics, using fully informed consciences, to support the legal extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples.
This is, of course, not true. The wiggle room is the "fully informed conscience". However whereas it might be possible for an individual to act in a personal way contrary to the teaching of the Church while still acknowledging that the Church's teaching is objectively true, it cannot be possible for an "informed conscience" to support something which is manifestly contrary to the teaching of the Church in the public domain. I think we can assume that the Times newspaper is a 'public domain'. Let us remember that this issue touches the matter of a Sacrament.

So I await with bated breath to hear that my Lord the Bishop of Clifton issues clarification on this matter.

We have to ask whether it would be right for the Mother Church of the Diocese to hold public lectures by someone who publicly contradicts the essential nature of a Sacrament (founded by God for the sanctification and salvation of married couples, families and all who truly seek the Face of Christ).

From Fr Finnegan, Fr Blake, et al.

As Fr Ray Blake reminds us, Pope Benedict, speaking to the Bishops of England and Wales at their ad limina visit in 2010, said:
In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church's Magisterium that sets us free. 
Another noted speakers in the Cathedral is Cardinal Godfried Daneels, potted Wikipedia article here.

I also heard today that the Extra-Ordinary Form of Mass is not going to be allowed in Clifton Cathedral. This Mass, which our Diocesan Martyrs died to defend,  must be very scandalous indeed to outweigh certain speakers who are "Opening the Windows".

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Missing France?

Then meet Mme La Guillotine!

This is found outside the entrance to Berkeley Castle close to where I'm staying. I'll put up some pictures tomorrow. The castle is very fine and was the place of the grisly end of King Edward II, the founder of my College, Oriel.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Missing School


Those pesky little "you might also like" things at the bottom of the page are very sweet. I have just been reading about "Shaving a Mouse" and "Bubble Gum Smaak". And do you know what

I'm schoolsick!


I miss the place, I admit it. It could have something to do with a new boy turning up to Mass here on the Feast of the Assumption at Dursley or with meeting up with old cronies and telling them what I've been getting up to for the last year. Or the fact that it is pouring down with rain. Or that I have been preparing fun little half hour tests on geometry for my new classes. Or that I'm not really doing much. Or that I'm finding DVDs to take back for the boys. Or... Or... Or... but I'm schoolsick!

Suppose it's a good sign really!

Transalpine Redemptorists


Official Statement
from the
Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer


On this festive solemnity of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God body and soul into Heaven our spiritual joy and fraternal rejoicing is great indeed:
Beneath Her mantle and on this occasion of Her solemn feast, today, 15 August, 2012, our community, The Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, has been granted canonical recognition as a Clerical Institute of Diocesan Right by His Lordship the Right Reverend Dom Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B., Bishop of Aberdeen.

We invite you to rejoice with us on this solemn feast of Our Lady through Whose Perpetual Succour, we have received a great favour from Our Lord. 

We also announce the community’s public profession of vows that will take place in Our Lady’s Chapel (at the head of the pier) Stronsay, on 22 August, feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at 18.15 (6.15 p.m.). 

The profession will be celebrated by His Lordship, the Right Reverend Dom Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B., Bishop of Aberdeen.



Congratulations to the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer and to His Lordship the Bishop of Aberdeen. May you flourish and lead many to the Church.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Concelebration


When I came back to England on holiday, having dropped the mother off in the frozen North, I arrived at Dursley in time for Sunday Mass.

As I had an intention I could not simply say Fr's Mass for him, but needed to say my own. As it was in the extra-ordinary form concelebrating was out... Here you can see the Altar for the Holy Souls set up for the Sacred Mysteries.



Of course it was not just because it was the Latin Mass that concelebration was out. Although 'allowed', concelebration has to be in some way defective, in the sense of not attaining the ideal. I think the last time I concelebrated was at the meeting of recently ordained clergy in Lucon last September. Of course I had said a Private Mass that day as well. I am comforted in 'concelebration' by a friend who said "It's just the new way of sitting in choir" but of course it isn't.

I'm not entirely sure where concelebration came from, I suppose I could do an internet trawl and find out, but anything which seemingly makes like easier for priests I am immediately suspicious of. By and large, this practice concerns priests and so the winners in the change of practice/theology stakes are priests as well. A conflict of interests, methinks.


Being brutal, concelebration is the equivalent of getting a friend to stamp your time-clock at work and collecting your pay for doing very, very little.

  • A celebrant at Holy Mass (I'm talking new rite here) has to preside over the celebration of the liturgy. Not so the concelebrant. 
  • He has to preach the Gospel. Not so the concelebrant. 
  • He has to take bread and wine and offer them as a fitting sacrifice to God the Alwighty Father. Not so the concelebrant. The concelebrant is forbidden to say the prayers "Blessed are you..."
  • He stands in persona Christi with words and manual actions. Not so the concelebrant. The concelebrant can say the words, but cannot do the actions. "He took the bread that is over there on the altar, my hands are empty."
  • He has an intimacy with handling the Holy Things as they become the Body and Blood of Christ. Not so the concelebrant. He seem them from afar.
  • He blesses the people of God and sends them forth to sanctify the world by their presence. Not so the concelebrant. He is entirely passive. He cannot give the blessing, but must receive it... to do what? His role is not in the world, but in the sanctuary.

Even for the priest himself, the act of concelebration, I would say, is fraught with dangers. As a celebrant you have to be focussed on Mass. As a concelebrant your 'part' is not great and only happens half way through. This cannot have the same emotive response or psychological impact as actually saying Mass.

Also there are bizarre theological questions galore. I was once forced to concelebrate is Pisa Cathedral. I have no Italian to speak of, and yet was told that concelebration was the only thing I could do. So I concelebrated in Latin as the Mass was said in Italian. Really? Did I really concelebrate? Con-celebrate? Celebrate with? In different languages? Consecrating at different times?


This latter happens at all concelebrations. We are not sync-monsters. We do not speak at the same time. So if I say the words of consecration a bit before the rest, what are they consecrating? A Host that has already been transubstantiated into Christ's Body and Blood? They can't... it's not possible. And the same for me. If a concelebrant or celebrant has performed the Eucharistic Miracle, what exactly are my words doing?

Sync Monster
Now it's fine saying that I'm being nit-picky, but this is about priests saying Mass. Of course the people can be sure that they ore receiving the Body of Christ, but for the priest? Has he just said Mass or not? And has he received a stipend for it? Has he told soneone that the august Sacrifice of the Mass has been offered by him on such and such a day at such and such a time, and yet all he did was turn up and concelebrate.

And the 'unity of the priests around their Bishop' argument has been blown out of the water with the full communion of groups who do not concelebrate (such as the FSSP).

I still do it at times. It is a quick way to verify your Vatican II credentials to Bishops and the like. But I always say another Mass and I never take a stipend for a Mass that I have had to concelebrate.

So what exactly do I think I'm doing?

Monday, 13 August 2012

A Perfect Combination


Sometimes I get a little cross at pretensions - ironic I know as anyone who has met me will be able to verify - especially about number plates. In the UK you can buy a personalised number plate. I forgive this in the case of the fabulous, but not in the case of the spectaculously unfabulous. I await to get my own Papal Plates of VENG 1 (I'm going to take the name Pope Vengeance). But I digress...

But there are some number plates that are just too wonderful for words. This I saw on a van coming out of Bristol.


You HAVE to click on it! It's for a Pest Control Company, this one I think, and the registration plate is RAT 8OY the tag line under the plate is "no rats left in this vehicle overnight"

It is just too cool for words!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Why we must go to Mass



There are of course many reasons why we should go to Holy Mass on Sunday mornings, but as I approached the North East I was reminded of another.


On the way up the A1(M) you see the Penshaw monument a rather wonderful classical monument on a prominent hill. There is a brief history here.


It gave rise to one of the most wonderful northern songs, the Lambton Worm. The "hero" went fishing on Sunday morning instead of going to Mass, and un-told disaster ensued. Here are the words



One Sunday morn young Lambton went
A-fishing' in the Wear;
An' catched a fish upon he's heuk,
He thowt leuk't varry queer.
But whatt'n a kind of fish it was
Young Lambton cuddent tell.
He waddn't fash te carry'd hyem,
So he hoyed it doon a well.


cho: Whisht! Lads, haad yor gobs,
An Aa'll tell ye's aall an aaful story
Whisht! Lads, haad yor gobs,
An' Aa'll tell ye 'boot the worm.

Noo Lambton felt inclined te gan
An' fight i' foreign wars.
he joined a troop o' Knights that cared
For nowther woonds nor scars,
An' off he went te Palestine
Where queer things him befel,
An' varry seun forgat aboot
The queer worm i' the well.

But the worm got fat an' growed and' growed
An' growed an aaful size;
He'd greet big teeth, a greet big gob,
An' greet big goggle eyes.
An' when at neets he craaled aboot
Te pick up bits o' news,
If he felt dry upon the road,
He milked a dozen coos.

This feorful worm wad often feed
On caalves an' lambs an' sheep,
An' swally little barins alive
When they laid doon te sleep.
An' when he'd eaten aall he cud
An' he had had he's fill,
He craaled away an' lapped he's tail
Seven times roond Pensher Hill.

The news of this myest aaful worm
An' his queer gannins on
Seun crossed the seas, gat te the ears
Ov brave and' bowld Sor John.
So hyem he cam an' catched the beast
An' cut 'im in twe haalves,
An' that seun stopped he's eatin' bairns,
An' sheep an' lambs and caalves.

So noo ye knaa hoo aall the foaks
On byeth sides ov the Wear
Lost lots o' sheep an' lots o' sleep
An' leeved i' mortal feor.
So let's hev one te brave Sor John
That kept the bairns frae harm,
Saved coos an' caalves by myekin' haalves
O' the famis Lambton Worm.


Final Chorus


Noo lads, Aa'll haad me gob,
That's aall Aa knaa aboot the story
Ov Sor John's clivvor job
Wi' the aaful Lambton Worm.

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