Friday Sept 8th
A cheery meeting of the committee running the Association of Catholic Women (tap the name into Google and look up the website). The group was founded some years ago as a voice for women who seek to give "glad assent to the teachings of the Catholic Church"and it has grown by leaps and bounds, and flourishes enormously.....this, our first meeting after the summer break, saw us with a packed agenda and, as always, a great deal of laughter and talk and enthusiasm......We worked on the 2007 Religious Education competition that we run for Catholic primary schools (this year's was a big success - we asked children to write about "What I see in Church" with a list of items to study such as Tabernacle, Confessional, Crucifix, etc, and the result was some very good essays, with Josie Robinson our chairman, and myself, going off to various schools to present prizes, copies of the new Compendium of the Catholic Catechism).
Major discussion about Holy Days. The Association is writing to our Bishops, and to Rome, about the tragic decision to drop some of our most important and significant Holy Days from their place in the calendar, and move them to the nearest Sunday.......why on earth has this daft and pastorally insensitive decision been made? When did we as laity get consulted? For today's Catholics in Britain , having a tradition and a sense of identity is crucial - being a Christian isn't just for Sundays, it's a whole way of life. Having a Holy Day during the week gives us a practical reminder of the measure of things. It also has lots of bonuses: a lapsed or semi-lapsed Catholic can be reminded of the claims of the Faith by people pouring in and out of a busy city church on a weekday, Catholic schools can get children together to honour a major day in the Church's year even if the parents don't get them to church on a Sunday......there are petitions circulating about this, but I think it's also crucial to write to Rome. Email me at this blog if you need more info.....
News of the Northern Festival of Catholic Culture, planned for Sat Dec 2nd in Liverpool. Speakers include Prof Jack Scarisbrick, (Catholic historian and pro-life campaigner) and author Father Mark Elvins whose delightful book CATHOLIC TRIVIA is a deserved success - it has all sorts of nice things in it such as explanations of the origins of pub-signs and nursery rhymes and even children's toys (did you know that the Jack-in-the box originated as a Protestant an insult to Christ's presence in the Tabernacle, a way of mocking Catholic beliefs in the 16th century?)
The Assn of Cath Women has its annual meeting on Sat Sept 23rd at St James Church Hall, Spanish Place, London W1. Starts at 2pm. Speakers are Jeremy de Satge of THE MUSIC MAKERS, on "Music and Liturgy" and Fr Richard Whinder on "Bishop Challoner - a good shepherd for hard times". Things finish with tea (and, usually, rather good cakes).
Earlier, I took part in a BBC Radio 2 ("Jeremy Vine SHow") discussion that tackled issues connected with euthansia, suicide, and related ethics.......it's scary how somehow all such discussions seem surrounded by a sense that we are being nudged further and further along the road of accepting the notion that anyone who is unhappy and fed up with life should be encouraged and "supported" (new buzz-word, I have noticed) in any decision to end it. This doesn't just have to be some one who is gravely ill or in agonising pain - just some one who feels that life has ceased to be worth living. When Pope JP11 spoke about the "culture of death" I thought he was exaggerating a bit, but I am beginning to see what he meant....
Home to try out my new blogging skills. And waiting in the kitchen for the past three weeks have been bottles of home-brewed ginger beer, labelled as being ready for drinking on Our Lady's Birthday. Opened with glee - haven't made ginger beer for years. I deliberately made this lot with less sugar than the recipe suggested as this seemed healthier. The result is a refreshing drink, with the right sort of fizz and a good flavour - but not quite sweet enough. I dropped some sugar in mine and this made it just right. Moral: with traditional items, stick to original recipe. And the Bishops should do the same with our Holy Days.