Thursday, August 28, 2014

Leonie Caldecott...

...Catholic writer, co-editor of Magnificat,  is a Catholic Woman of the Year for 2014. Read more about it here...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Calling all JOHN PAUL WALKERS...

...and anyone and everyone who enjoys a Sunday walk along the Thames in the heart of London...

Come to the John Paul II Reunion Walk on Sunday October 26th. This is a reunion walk for all who have taken part in the John Paul II Walk to Walsingham in recent years. The Reunion Walk will start with 11 am MASS at the Church of the Most Precious Blood at London Bridge, and then after a sandwich lunch (BRING SANDWICHES - fresh coffee and biccies etc provided) we will walk along the Thames, arriving back at Pr Bl for Benediction and TEA (with lovely cakes...all provided) at about 3.15pm.

Come and join in!  For pictures of the 2014 John Paul Walk to Walsingham see here  (scroll down)...the pic of everyone arriving at the shrine in pouring rain is too good to miss, and there are also some pics of the sunshine and the fun  and the joy of it all...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Peaceful countryside...

...on a glorious day with just a hint of Autumn in the cool air. A long and enjoyable walk with friends in Oxfordshire, dipping into a fine old church, sipping tea while enjoying a particularly lovely view, mooing in a friendly way at cattle, picking blackberries, and talking over many things...

To have a sense of place is an interesting thing. John Paul II, for instance, was a man of place: he loved Poland and above all Krakow "where every stone and brick is dear to me". This did not prevent him from seeing things from a much, much wider perspective, and being able to communicate deep things to men and women of quite different places and with worldviews centred on a vastly different sense of geography and history.

A sense of place can help, rather than hinder, a sense of fellowship with one's fellowmen.

Can a young man reared on computer-screens and TV and hanging-out-with-friends and some football have a sense of place? Of identification with some bits of cityscape or townscape or  countryside that evoke affection and loyalty and a desire to know more of the wider world?  If not, would a passionate ideology perhaps replace it?

If a sense of place is useful and important, how can we help to foster it? Do local loyalties matter? How can, for example, our schools, help to foster such loyalty?

Friday, August 22, 2014

I'm reading...


...JPII: access all areas, a good read, with contributions from a range of good writers of the John Paul generation. I was intrigued by  the title, then worried that I might be disappointed. I'm not. Writers include Dr William Newton of the International Theological Institute and Hannah Vaughan Spruce of the diocese of Portsmouth...there are sections on Veritatis Splendor, World Youth Day, John Paul's poetry, his vision for Europe...and more...and more...

CALLED TO BE ONE...

...an exploration of the possibilities for the reunion of Christians in Britain...

Come to CALLED TO BE ONE  at Precious Blood Church, London Bridge, London SEI, on Saturday September 6th. Starts 2.30pm with an illustrated presentation from the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Questions-and-answers with a panel.  Then Tea, cakes, sandwiches, in the Rectory, followed by Evensong.

Pope Francis has sent his special blessing, and his "good wishes and prayers for a successful and inspiring event". Come and be part of it...

After leaving the prison...

...where I visit,  I was still thinking about the young man  to whom I had been talking, who is preparing for baptism (prayers for him, please).  The one common factor with the men is that they come from homes without fathers...


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

...and still with thoughts of America...

...I came across this feature  and this one,  both giving different insights into the Church in the USA at the present time.

Hurrying around on errands...

...including a visit to the office of Aid to the Church in Need in Sutton, Surrey. A slightly nostalgic trip for me, because I was chairman of the organisation in Britain for some years, and sat on the Board for over three decades...

A warm welcome at the office: I had gone there to collect some copies of YOUCAT  which ACN is generously giving for a Catholic youth venture sponsored by the Catholic Union and The Keys, the Catholic Writers Guild.  But I didn't want to take up people's time...there was an air of quiet urgency, as plans for rushing aid to the beleaguered Christians and refugees from Iraq were going ahead, and more news was coming in all the time...so a quick chat, an assurance of prayers, and as we stacked the books and packed them for transport, an awareness that at least through the work of this organisation, people here in Britain can give some help and show solidarity...

Best one-liner...

...at the EWTN conference came from Fr Mitch Pacwa during the evening televised discussion, with a packed conference hall. Anyone could ask a question, and one young woman, citing the  events in the Middle East, and mentioning various visions and prophecies asked if we knew when the End Times would come.  Fr Mitch :"That's for management. I'm in sales."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

At Heathrow airport...

...a multi-faith prayer room. Used to be called a chapel. No cross marks it now. It is divided into three: two rooms (male and females) for Muslims, one for Christians. I went in. The Christian space had a table, with a cloth on it and a couple of Bibles, and some Christian leaflets. No cross. I prayed the Lord's Prayer aloud, and could sense the silence descending in the adjoining rooms where there had been voices.  I took up one of the Bibles (attractive, a gift from the Gideons) and read aloud from St Paul's letter to the Corinthians. I prayed silently for a while, made the Sign of the Cross aloud, and left.

Now:  let's all make a commitment. Next time you are in an airport, find the prayer-room and go there and pray aloud. Alone or with others. It is good to pray before you travel, it is an opportunity to praise God and ask his blessing, and it is an act of witness. Claim the space for Christ.

LATER NOTE:

I've been corrected - see COMMENT to this blog. There is indeed a proper  chapel at Heathrow. The one I encountered was simply a Prayer Room at terminal 4. Thank God for the work and witness of all involved with St George's Chapel at Heathrow, where a Cross stands tall, and where Mass is regularly celebrated.

grim news...

...continues from Iraq.
 And if you want to help send some aid, you can do so via this charity...

What will happen to the young Islamic jihadists from Britain who have gone out to join in the slaughter? They have been bragging on the internet about their exploits, posing with the bodies of their victims and so on. If, on their return to Britain, they are arrested and sent to prison, they will start to recruit other young men to their cause. Islam is very strong on British prisons, and declaring oneself a Moslem brings a number of advantages, from special arrangements for meals and times of prayer-chanting, to a strong sense of mission and identity, bonding with a group, feeling strong and important, etc...

...and one of the topics...

...that came up, inevitably in our discussions during the EWTN weekend, was the ghastly imposition of same-sex marriage laws and the way this is all being used to restrict our freedom to speak publicly about the Christian teaching on marriage. On same-sex marriage, this is a good read.

In Birmingham, Alabama...

...at the conference hotel where I was staying, there was also a large group of  lovely people from one of the big Black Churches, the ladies all looking absolutely superb in the most beautiful outfits, of a sort I've only ever seen at Buckingham Palace garden parties, elegant suits and the most glorious hats. They were extremely friendly and so delightful to meet, and they were Primitive Baptists, and faith-filled and joyful. When I asked about what made them different from other Baptists they explained that they wash each other's feet, like Our Lord at the Last Supper...talking to them was a joy and we promised to pray for each other and for a great revival of Christianity in both America and Britain...

Monday, August 18, 2014

and for...

...a look back at Auntie's summer, read here...

Magnificent...

...great gathering in Birmingham, Alabama,: EWTN's annual Family Festival. Large crowds, daily Mass celebrated with glorious music and great dignity, some fabulous talks, a feast of good books and DVDs on sale, children romping about in a lovely play area, long interesting discussions over meals...

Father Robert Barron gave a superb lecture, taking in Irenaeus, Augustine, and Aquinas, explaining about the Gnostics and how this heresy is a major problem today... how to counter it...St John Paul ...Benedict XVI....it was a feast for the mind and heart.

It was a delight to meet so many enthusiastic EWTN viewers...and indeed readers of this Blog. You can find out a lot more about the Festival - including something about Auntie's talk. on this link...