Friday, October 24, 2014

Disturbing evidence...

...that schools are being pressured into imposing the ideology of same-sex marriage on pupils...it is very important that teachers, parents, school governors and pupils know that they do not need to cave into this pressure, and that it is perfectly acceptable to uphold the understanding of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. More info here...

...and the next CATHOLIC HISTORY WALK...

is on Wed November 5th, starting at 5.30pm at Precious Blood Church, London Bridge...we'll walk to the Tower of London and back. Note the starting-time...this will be an early-evening walk, so as to allow people to go on to any Firework event if they wish...

...and the next after that is on THURSDAY November 27th, meet at The Monument  (tube station of the same name is just nearby)  at 5.30pm (again NOTE THE TIME)...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

On Sunday...

...Oct 26th, the JOHN PAUL WALKERS will come to London!  And anyone is welcome to join us. This is our Autumn Reunion Walk, when we get together to celebrate having achieved the summer Walk to Walsingham. The John Paul Walkers are led by the splendid Dominican Sisters of St Joseph, and include people from across Britain who  pray for the New Evangelisation. We're glad to welcome anyone new who'd like to come along and meet us...bring sandwiches and wear comfortable shoes for walking.

...and it starts with 11 am MASS at Precious Blood Church, London Bridge, after which we'll eat our sandwiches with coffee in the Parish Room. Then we'll set off along the Thames to Westminster, and follow a route that takes us across various bridges and back to the Tower of London, where we'll pay tribute to the war dead at the blood-red sea of poppies, and pray at the site of St Thomas More and St John Fisher's martyrdom...and then return to Precious Blood Church for Benediction and Tea...

Helen Hull Hitchcock...

...a wonderful Christian evangelist, joyful upholder of true values, superb writer, and a dear friend, has died. She leaves a great gap in the lives of so many of us. Helen founded Women for Faith and Family which inspired Catholic women across the world to stand firm in their Catholic faith and to work on a range of projects aimed at supporting the work of the Church, teaching the young, and protecting innocent life. She was hard-working, joyful, and enormous fun, with a fine mind and a delightful sense of humour. Read some tributes to her here...

An early start...

...to the day, hurrying in the dark to catch a train to Southampton.

Destination: St George College, Swaythling,  where a pupil, Leo Stoy, is this year's recipient of the Catholic Young Writer Award. The school made me most welcome, and it was a real delight to present the shield, cash prize, and collection of books to Leo and to meet his parents and younger brother, and other pupils who had won prizes or certificates. The boys were an attentive audience, and responded well when I finished things by calling for three hearty cheers for their teachers. It was a thoroughly enjoyable morning.


Feast Day of St John Paul the Great...

...celebrated in churches around the world for the first time. Lunchtime Mass at Precious Blood Church, London Bridge, where I met an American friend who joined my group of Catholic History Walkers on a tour of St George's Cathedral, Southwark. The stained glass of St John Paul there is a fine one, and shows him giving the Sacrament of the Sick in the Cathedral on his visit to Britain in 1982. I remember it so well: the cathedral filled not with pews but with people in their beds and chairs, with blessings and anointings as the H. Father and Cardinal Hume moved among them...the stained glass brings it all back, right down to the details of the Holy Father's robes, and the bright green blankets on the beds - and Christ above, shown healing the sick...


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Trenchant comment on that Synod...

read here. It's a must.

THE FEAST OF ST JOHN PAUL THE GREAT...

...and we'll be celebrating it by visiting the cathedral in Britain that has him depicted in stained glass.

It's St George's Cathedral, Southwark. Join us there at 3pm today. Nearest tube/ main-line train: WATERLOO.

Over the next years, there will be more and more depictions of St John Paul the Great. There has been a suggestion that there should be a mosaic of him in Westminster Cathedral, which is an excellent idea.  How about a statue of him in London?  A number of people have expressed interest, and Westminster City Council is happy with the idea...raising the funds would not be difficult, and in fact I have already had people coming forward for that...

Where? somewhere near Westminster Cathedral would make sense...eg at the corner of Ambrosden Avenue?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

To Lancaster...

...to this excellent school (C of E Academy) where pupils had won prizes in the 2014 Schools Bible Project. The choir sang gloriously as we gathered for morning prayers in the splendid chapel: "If you love me, keep my Commandments..." and the atmosphere was reverent and respectful. It was a privilege to be invited to distribute the Bible prizes gained by pupils, and it was an opportunity to thank the school for providing the choir to sing at the big Thanksgiving Serve held in London this summer for the 25th anniversary of the Schools Bible Project.

Afterwards, fresh coffee and a good chat in the headteacher's study...lots of good conversation, a sense of shared Christian faith...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

..and there's a...

...good short YouTube of today's events in Rome here...

...and so...

...on to a busy Sunday. After Mass, I hurried to the college where I am doing some post-graduate work, intending to send in my latest essay. One has to do this electronically, so I had arranged to do it on a Sunday afternoon when the Library is open and with few people there, so I could get the Help Needed for a Useless Woman Who Worries About Computer Things.  And the kind young librarians couldn't have been more helpful, but it turned out that for various reasons I couldn't deposit my essay yet. Gulp. Panic. A sudden overwhelming longing for the days when one could write - or type - something out and hand it in. Just like that. No computer, no magic electronic thingummy, no hassle. Just me writing and some one reading...

Anyway, we sorted something out and I browsed to find something stimulating to read on the bus. A book by an ex-Jesuit, writing in the early 1970s, assured me that "long before the year 2000 there will be no recognisable Catholic Church in the world..." which was amusing to read having spent the weekend at a big Blessed Sacrament Procession through London, followed by a busy Sunday parish Mass teeming with noisy children, while meanwhile in Rome crowds attended a beatification...oh, and I was en route to visit an elderly relative at a beautiful Catholic nursing home: when I arrived she was enjoying supper under the benevolent smile of a framed pic of the Pope.

Oddly enough, the Catholic Church is one of the things that hasn't disappeared, when so much else has: big red-brick Post Offices, public libraries, the Iron Curtain (Deo Gratias!), half-crowns (and florins, and sixpences..), people saying "wireless" and "greengrocers", telephones with dials, brown paper bags, and those old cash tills that opened with a pleasing TING.

I chose a book about Dr Michael Ramsey, an insight into the old CofE of the early and mid-20th century, got a cup of coffee from the student canteen, and settled at the bus-stop.

Paul VI...

... is beatified in Rome today.  He was derided by so many. I remember tirades against him from the early Lefebvrists...and a vile campaign which claimed to have prevented him from ever being beatified: it was tosh, and later the same chap tried the same with - now SAINT - John Paul. And of course there were all the massive attacks from the supporters of contraception who loathed Humanae Vitae.  And among most middle-of-the-road Catholics he was regarded with a sort of bleak sympathy, and/or people sneered at him because he so often looked so sad. All this made me read and study more on Paul VI and, especially over the past few years, I have come  rather to admire him.  And now he is to be honoured by the Church he loved and served, and justice is being done.

The beatification is a badly-needed sign of unity in the Church.  The heroes of the Synod  are Cardinals Mueller and Burke, and the African and Asian bishops who united to bring sanity after the interim report was produced. The worry for the future is factions and swings...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tradition established...

...the great Procession of the Blessed Sacrament from Westminster Cathedral to St George's Cathedral, Southwark took place today, with possibly the biggest crowd ever, streaming across Lambeth Bridge and packing into the Cathedral at Southwark to fill it with song and prayer...

We were led this year by Bishop Nicholas Hudson,  who sang Benediction magnificently...how good it is to hear a great cathedral of strong voices saying "Blessed be God...Blessed be his holy name..."

Part of the tradition is that I always worry beforehand that few people will turn up, or that it will pour with rain...and every year there are more and more and  more people, and the weather is mild and kind...and as we processed out from Westminster Cathedral, this time led by altar servers from the Faith Movement and from Precious Blood Church, among others, I realised that, once again, all was well: the long surge of people meant that the great Cross at the front was heading down towards Horseferry Road, while the tail end of the great crowd was still coming down Ambrosden Avenue...it was glorious.

As always, we had part of the procession singing one hymn, part of it another, while others were saying various parts of the Rosary...we have discussed using a loud-hailer or similar, but this poses its own problems,  especially as we have to divide to cross the main road before reaching Lambeth Bridge, and divide again when we cross by Lambeth Palace on the other side...

Warm thank must go to the Knights of St Columba, who steward the crowd with tact and efficiency every year, doing stalwart work....and to all at Westminster and St George's Cathedrals. We really are  very blessed as Catholic Londoners, and it is a grand thing to be praying together  through the streets of our capital city, led by one of our Bishops, and going from one great cathedral to another.

The Procession began with special prayers for the Christians of the Middle East in their suffering, and this added a solemn note to the whole day.