...of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) was marked on the feast of St Catherine of Sienna with a glorious Vespers at Westminster Cathedral. It was a fine sight to see the long columns of - mainly young - Dominicans in their white robes, followed by clergy including red-clad Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, various Bishops, and finally Archbishop Vincent Nichols in cope and mitre, proceeding to the sanctuary in a packed cathedral. A most heartening afternoon - inspirational. I had been reading about the prospects for Britain and for Europe generally...one of those feature articles that points to the inexorable rise of Islam and the prospects for our future...it was good to be reminded that we can, must and will keep the Faith alive here...
We had some splendid hymns including my favourite "For all the saints..." which we sang at Cofton Park, when beloved Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the beatification Mass for Bl John Henry Newman.... We sang with gladness, and it is a joyful hymn but has a solemnity about it which strikes a deep echo today: "The golden evening brightens in the west..."
Afterwards, much talk at a gathering in the Throne Room at Archbishop's House...and in fact the whole of the building, and more, was being used as there was also a gathering in the Cathedral Hall, and in addition a room at the nearby Windsor Castle pub had also been pressed into service...and then later people were still chatting away as they made their final goodbyes in the piazza and Victoria Street.
This was one of those days when you could see English Catholicism in action and listen to its heartbeat. Pounding steadily with a strong and healthy rhythm, I would say.