Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Our Lady's Rabbit

This is Pierre de Brosse's rabbit and Our Lady loves it. 

I confiscated it and said Pierre could have it back when he had finished his maths homework. He never did and never claimed his rabbit. 

Since then Our Lady has looked after it. 

Tuesday, 30 December 2014


and Oxen have been much in my mind over this Christmas period. This is not why I have been silent over Christmas, but because my broadband width had been reached and I had to wait for the new lot to kick in.*

I have always had a great fondness for the animals in the stable, including the elephant (link here). And they were so moved by the birth of their creator that they stood still and gazed in wonder at the marvelous thing that had been given to the world. I suppose that I had always assumed that they had been given their vision of God at that moment and that was it.

I was a bit bemused that Our Pope had declared that all animals would go to heaven. It would be nice for the ox and ass, of course. And the elephant. And the Christmas bear (see here). If the shepherds had nits it would have been nice for them too. The head lice that is... and the shepherds.

But then I heard that he hadn't said it (here), So the Christmas bear is crying tears of mulled wine, and the ox and ass have started to low again. And the elephant? Well I've always thought that elephants go straight to heaven anyway.

It's a confusing old world at times.

* There, of course, has been much speculation as to whether this was one of the reasons why the Kings arrived late to the manger. We now take for granted that there are Apps for looking at the stars and being able to pinpoint exactly where we are. It could have been that the Kings had reached their celestial limit and had to wait for the next month to begin. Or perhaps they went to see Herod because Herod did not use BT and so they could use his wifi.

Monday, 15 December 2014

I Made the Stars

Creator of the stars of night... me!!!!!!!

These are my Christmas decorations, so far. You may notice that there is no Christmas tree yet and there is not a hint of tinsel. But I think of this as a work in progress.

Look up these things on YouTube and get some coloured paper.

And you too can make the stars!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Which Gaudete?

There comes a time in every priest's life when he must decide which Gaudete vestment he is going to wear. The one above has the advantage of being somewhat 'rose' and has featured in such posts as this and this. In the first one, for some inexplicable reason (I suspect jealousy) Darius is giggling. Yes, giggling.

But I also have this rose vestment. As you can see it is less in your face rose, though there are embroidered roses on it,

I know that there are roses on it because I embroidered them. And should anyone doubt the ability of a chaplain abroad to do such things, I refer the honourable gentlemen (and ladies) to the Angel, (here), and Altar Cloths (here and here).

My goodness that is a fantastic name for a pub. "I'm off for a quick pint to the Angel and Altar Cloth".

And just for good measure it even has a rather nice appareled amice in velvet.

Someone asked me this morning if I only wore the 'neck thing' in the winter. Not such a bad idea as it turns out.

Anyway... My reticence in wearing the second vestment is that for many years it has been traduced, criticised and slandered by a priest of my diocese (ahhhh, yes, we know who you are!) who has claimed that this is in fact not a rose vestment at all, but is actually brown.

Brown, I know! What nonsense, what idiocy, what not-appreciatingness! It is a delicate gold. An old beautiful gold, highlighted by dusky pink velvet and subtly embroidered roses.


Anyway, with that out of my system. I  did what any self respecting chantry priest would do and wore both. Not one on top of the other, but one at the Ordinary Form Mass and the other at the Latin Mass.

When it comes to vestments, it should never be either/or, it should always be both/and!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Chilly Morris

Gosh, poor car! I have not tried to drive him today yet, the poor thing just looked too cold. Of course I know that things get cold, but I did have to feel sorry for my poor motor.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Immaculate Conception in Durham

On the Solemnity, I sung Mass in the Catholic Chaplaincy of St Cuthbert here in Durham. The Dominicans, who are the chaplains here, were most welcoming.

Although the altar has been moved, the overall sanctuary is very pleasant, and a place where you know pray is offered to God.

A fine Pugin chasuble

and a picture of Saint Bede

who could have asked for more?

Monday, 8 December 2014

St Michael online

Not Marks and Spencers, but the Mass I sung in Randers in October.

The link to the website is here for pictures, and the videos are below.

Can't find the second one on YouTube, so follow the like to here.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Chantry Priests join me!

Dear Chantry Priests, (for there must be more than just me out there) email me so we can get together and form a union. For lo! it shall be the "Union of Chantry Priests" (UCP). It is the right thing to do, I'm sure. We could picket against liturgical abuses and campaign for the wearing of more black vestments. We could have workshops for making requiem altar cards. Links here, here, here.

Fear ye the Chantry Priest - for he yields the sword of justice!
I have come across another Chantry priest website, but they are based in Walsingham and are Anglican. As the point of a Chantry Priest is to offer Mass and to offer Mass for the dead at that, these Walsingham lot fail for a few obvious reasons!

Friends of the Suffering Souls
If you want Masses said for the Dead I recommend the Friends of the Suffering Souls, or ask your local Catholic Priest. Link to FOSS here.

And lo, there came into the land a new force, a tide of figures, enrobed in black.  
All the people fled in fear before them, each to their lay-led worship service, for they had seen no such thing for many an age.  
And the souls in purgatory cried out in one voice "pray for us, ye chantry priests, intercede to ease our suffering, offer ye the Masses which of old were sung for our souls!"
And the Chantry Priests fulfilled their mission, and sang to the Glory of God.
They poured the graces of the Bloodless Sacrifice of Christ into Purgatory.
And the people remembered the glories of the faith, and turned back to God and gained salvation.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

University Senior Man Lives!

My college at Durham is University College, usually called Castle. It has a long history which I should write about at some point. Here is the web site.

Anyway, there has been a brouhaha about the title of the person who is the leader of the JCR (Junior Common Room). This person has always been called Senior Man, even the nine women who have held the post (though apparently if they wanted then they could have called themselves Senior Woman). Look here on the BBC.

Well, thankfully the JCR has voted to keep the term. But of course there is a clamoring that it should still be changed. Though dangerously the SCR (Senior Common Room) have said that the decision is not yet taken. Let us hope that common sense prevails.

Important Citizen
Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of Her other Realms and Territories,
Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith
There is another vote for the title "Master" for the head of the College. Harrumph. Let's just go all the way and call the Queen "Important Citizen".

Sometimes it's just all too much.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Fr Bede Rowe - Chantry Priest

Fr Bede Rowe - Chantry Priest
From the Catholic Encyclopedia

The endowment of one or more priests to say or sing Mass for the soul of the endower, or for the souls of persons named by him, and also, in the greater number of cases, to perform certain other offices, such as those of choir member in a collegiate church or cathedral, or of curate in outlying districts, or of chaplain in hospitals and jails, or of schoolmaster or librarian.

It was thus essentially, though not solely, a liturgical institution requiring as a sine qua non of its existence a place where the incumbent might say Mass. As a rule this was provided for by screening off a space between the great pillars of the nave or transept of some parish church or cathedral, and erecting an altar there. but frequently an addition was made to and opening into the choir, or a detached building was erected for the purpose.

Wakefield Chantry Chapel, see link here
These detached chantry chapels, built in a churchyard, or in an outlying district, or at the entrance to bridges, often consisted of two stories, the lower one being devoted to the strictly religious uses of the foundation, while the incumbent used the upper one as his home or as a schoolroom.

To erect a chantry the consent of the ordinary, which was given only when it was found that a fund sufficiently large for its building and maintenance had been set aside, had to be obtained; then the permission of the Crown to alienate lands in mortmain had to be secured; and then, to provide against the violation of the rights of the mother-church, the priest in whose parish the chantry was to be erected had to be consulted; finally, to give it a legal character, it had to be instituted by the civil authorities of the locality.

The Vaughan Chantry Chapel in Westminster Cathedral, see here
In the erection of some chantries, beyond giving his permission, the bishop played no part. The donor or his trustees, retained the funds as well as the right of appointing and removing the incumbent. Chantries of this kind were called "mercenary", and were erected usually only for a definite period of time. Two other forms, called "collative" and "in private patronage", were ecclesiastical; the only difference between them being that in the latter the donor or his trustees named the incumbent, whereas in the former the bishop alone had the right.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Chantry Priest

For I am a Chantry Priest, ha, ha 
For I am a Chantry Priest!

The more observant among you will have noticed that my description of myself (apart from the personal one of debonair and dashingly good looking) has changed to "Private Chaplain: Chantry Priest".

Previously it was Private Chaplain, but then I realised, mirabile dictu, that not only am I a Private Chaplain, which I most undoubtedly am, but also that I am a Chantry Priest.

Henry VIII - fond of killing wives and adultery
Chantry Priests are (please note the tense) Priests who are employed (?) to sing Mass for the response of the soul of founders of chapels. Of course there were lots more of these in times gone by, until that serial adulterer and wife killer Henry VIII wanted a bit of cash and closed them.

Well this is what I do. I say/sing a certain number of Masses a year for the living and dead of the family here. It is not just for the living but is a foundation for the dead, I am not just a private chaplain!

I chant. I am a Chantry Priest!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Durham Missa Cantata

There will be a Missa Cantata on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Catholic Chaplaincy of Durham University. St Cuthbert's web-site is here.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Advent Crib

The beginning of Advent sees the arrival of the Advent Crib. Well one of them anyway. The knitted one is coming soon... perhaps when the Great Os start.

Of course we follow the proper crib tradition and do not put in the Baby Jesus until the proper time. But the result is that Our Lady and Saint Joseph seem to be peering into the hay with great attention and love.

I remember that there used to be a life size Crib in Hebburn where I used to live. To be honest I would never have put anything on the streets of Hebburn and expect it to be there the next day. But the Crib (safely behind perspex) was always fine and left alone. And to my memory Baby Jesus was there from the beginning.

Hebburn Metro Station - the Crib is not here.
But it is a great, modern way for the Kings to arrive.
This, I believe is conclusive proof that the presence of Jesus keeps you safe.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Bacchanalian Orgy

How wonderful for the secular world to tie in with and reflect the seasons of Holy Mother Church. We had just finished the imagery around the Apocalypse and meditated on the Second Coming of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, We had considered out own mortality, our particular judgement, the happiness of Heaven and the terrors of Hell, when shopping came to our help and gave us a visual aid.

These wonderful images express most eloquently what I have been trying to preach about for the last few weeks, the horrors of Hell and the plight of the lost. They are so similar to those pictures we have of the lost souls begging to get out of Hell, yet damned for all eternity to suffer.

The main difference is that they have clothes on. For which I am pleased. Naked TV shopping in Asda is surely a step too far!

I can't wait for us to have "stay awake, watchful without sleeping, for the coming of Our Lord". Perhaps this?

Friday, 28 November 2014

Advent Calendar 2014

Many of you will remember this exciting post, here. And many of you continually ask me about exciting Advent traditions. Let me just tell you that I have a complete Camel treat for you coming up.

But not yet, you must wait. Wait, I tell you...

It is time for the new Advent calendar and it is a corker. Star Wars. I know. Star Wars.

The force be with you.
And with your spirit.

It has nothing to do with Christmas at all! But I was in Pound land and I just couldn't resist. I can't wait to find out what the chocolate is going to be. It might be light saber shaped, or Yoda or ANYTHING!

Da Da, da-da-da Da Da, da-da-da Da Da, da-da-da-DAAAAAAA

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Scotland to save/kill children

The Smith Commission on further devolution to Scotland has come out today. You can read it all here. It's not hard going.

One interesting passage is this, number 61.

The parties are strongly of the view to recommend the devolution of abortion and regard it as an anomalous health reservation. They agree that further serious consideration should be given to its devolution and a process should be established immediately to consider the matter further. 

I think that calling abortion (the deliberate ending of a human life) as "anomalous" is a little weak, but there you go.

But if this is devolved what will the result be? Three results immediately present themselves.

  1. There is no change in practice and Scotland and (shorthand) England remain the same. The result is that there will be no increase in the number of lives ended because of the Smith Commission.
  2. Scotland allows a more liberal law which does not advance the protection of the rights of children who have not sadly existed long enough. The result will be that it will be easier to terminate life in Scotland - and if you've missed the abortion boat in England, then Gretna Green is only a bus ride away. The Smith Commission results in more abortions.
  3. Scotland tightens up on the old "Yikes, I'm pregnant and don't want to be" scenario, and abortion becomes more difficult in Scotland. Result? Well those buses go both ways, and I would doubt that anyone wanting to end their pregnancy would not manage to do so easily and efficiently by hopping across the 'border'. So the Smith Commission would not really increase or decrease the number of abortions, but who knows, it might help.
So I wonder what will happen. As I see it, either the status quo is maintained and only 197,108 of the most vulnerable in society are killed (Government stats here, and here), or it gets worse.

So let us see what happens. I couldn't really give a stuff about tax raising powers when the state allows the ending of human life. So the question is:

Will Scotland kill or save?

Monday, 17 November 2014

Behold the Darkness

A Zoroastrian
Perhaps I should become a Zoroastrian.

With the changing of time, it has become very dark here in the North. It will soon be the case that there is just a few moments of twilight between Stygian doom. As a boy I remember going to school in the dark and coming home in the dark, precious moments of sunlight wasted sitting in classrooms, being talked at and copying.

How happy I am that my own teaching career (being a Chaplain Abroad, before becoming a Private Chaplain Abroad) was filled with sunshine and laughter even on the darkest of days. And what is more, I never came across a boy who disagreed with me... and lived.

I went to the library in the weakening light of early afternoon and settled down to read an edifying tome. Having been engrossed for a mere moment or two, I raised my eyes to see only the lights of the city pooling their lamps in the growing gloom. When I left in the late afternoon, it was nighttime.

Still, it makes the glow from the logs in my fire all the more homely, and the sunrise all the more welcome.

The Zoroastrians kept a sacred fire burning all the time, and I know that I shall miss my fire in the summer. But the Zoroastrian life is not for me, so I shall keep this picture and rejoice.

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