Monday, April 24, 2017

Developing the thought of St John Paul...

EVENINGS OF FAITH...

All welcome...

The Challoner Room, 24 Golden Square London W1F 9JR

Tuesday 9 May: Fides et Ratio: The need for a new synthesis of faith & reason Fr Tim Finigan

Tuesday 23 May: Evangelium Vitae: Why is the human person unique? Joanna Bogle

Tuesday 6 June: Mulieris Dignitatem: Male and female in a ‘gender-neutral’ society Ryan Day & Kerri Lenartowick

 Tuesday 20 June: Theology of the body: Developing a fresh perspective Fr Nick Welsh

 Tuesday 4 July: Faith: Britain’s intellectual, evangelical New Ecclesial Movement Julie Mersey


 7:00 pm The Challoner Room, Basement, 24 Golden Square, London, W1F 9JR Tube: Piccadilly Pizza & wine / juice served


More info:   www.faith.org.uk/events/evenings-of-faith

...and here's what happened...

....(see below, re Missing Bus Pass)....

I took part in NIGHT FEVER in Soho...warm spring evening, and  young people praying and singing in a church glittering with candles - and fanning out across Soho Square and the surrounding streets carrying lanterns to invite people in. It's simple - you just ask "Would you like to come in and light a candle?"  and proffer a tea-light. And they mostly say "No, I'm all right thanks" and move on.  But then they sometimes suddenly turn back and say "Oh...well...all right..." and walk into the church tentatively after you... and at the sanctuary you just gesture towards all the glowing candles there, and they take their own small tea-light and kneel down and light it...

Amazing encounters. One man knelt there silently and then whispered "Thank you for this experience". A group of partygoers  knelt together, arms linked in a sort of communual hug.  .A middle-aged couple started to say they were too busy but then changed their minds and came in together , stayed for quite a while, and went out with  warm smiles and thanks.  One girl in an extremely short tight skirt asked if it was OK for her to come in - "I don't think I'm, like, wearing, like...enough..." - which was, like,  sort of true...but God reads hearts and knows about daft fashions, so she came in...

The candles glow in their hundreds along by the  marble altar rails.  Priests hear confessions in the confessionals and in the side-chapels. Lanterns line the main aisle and are all around the porch welcoming people in.  And as things draw to a close as a late hour approaches, a full church joins in Compline  "Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is one Lord...."  and then Benediction...

One goes home in a quiet glow. The last train trundled out to the suburbs and I caught a taxi at the station...

Next morning, ready to return to St P's for Divine Mercy Sunday, I couldn't find my bus pass. Always keep in the same place. Infuriating.  The small wallet also included other travel documents needed for the coming week.  Hurried to buy a new pass, cross at wasted money, worried about arrangements for the rest of the week...and somehow it felt all wrong that such a special evening had resulted in something so irritatingly, infuriatingly, tiresome...

And then Divine Mercy Sunday, a beautiful Mass, lunch with good friends, the Divine Mercy devotions at 3pm...and home to find an email waiting  from a kind person who had contacted me via my Blog (see below...)


















Sunday, April 23, 2017

THANK YOU!!!!!

...to the wonderful, kind person who has just contacted me via this blog, who found my Travelcard Pass in a taxi  and is handing it in at the local station!!!

THIS IS PROOF THAT PEOPLE ARE KIND AND GOOD!!!

Deo Gratias!!!

And - if you want to do so - please send me another Comment, with an email address at which I can reach you! (I cannot contact you via  Comment) just so that I can send you my heartfelt thanks.

I AM SO GRATEFUL!!!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017

DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY...

...is coming up...the Feast instituted by St John Paul the Great...who is sort of our family patron saint. A pic of my husband with him is on the shelf beside me as I write this.   J.  was organiser of the big 1990 Congress for the Family here in Britain and went with other Family Congress leaders to meet St JP in Rome. St JP gave him a rosary for me - and J. asked him to sign a Bible  for us, which  despite some finger-wagging from Monsignori (you are not really meant to ask a Pope to do that, out of the blue) beloved John Paul signed with a firm hand. It is now among our most treasured possessions - and I used it for my theology studies.  J. points out that it is actually also, following St JP's canonisation, officially now  a Second Class Relic!



Rather touching....

...to read this news....

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

And by the sea...

...in these Eastertide days...

I am visiting a dear elderly relative  - and talking and laughing together over simnel cake and family albums and  news and chocolate eggs.  And I'm walking by the sea and catching up on some writing., And, of course, reading.

Archbishop Chaput's  Strangers in a Strange Land is a  challenging, worrying and important  book. It's a must-read.
  And this lecture takes up the same theme.

It all spurs one on to be part of the what-happens-next chapter of the Christian story...this is no time for the faint-hearted...


...and from Rome...

...a friend who works as a translator (German/Italian/English) sends this interview, with insights into the birthday celebrations of beloved Papa Emeritus Benedict...

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter...

...and glorious bells pealing out into the sunshine of an April morning...

We took part in the Easter Vigil here - the Easter fire, the full drama of the story from Genesis onwards, glittering candles, glorious music, a packed church...  the final hearty hymn ringing with Alleluias, joyful greetings in the garden and the parish priest distributing chocolate eggs...

This morning, cheery faces painted on to breakfast eggs, children in new clothes for Easter morning Mass, eggs to be hunted in the garden, a multi-generation family lunch...

Alleluia!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

...and so towards Easter...

...and Holy Saturday is always a day of waiting, of preparation...

Every year, as you get older, Holy Week means more.

The church with the evening light of Maundy Thursday, and the priest  - who all year teaches and counsels, and sometimes chides, and  feeds us with the Bread of Life, and is a friend and  helper - kneels and washes people's feet...it is suddenly and quietly moving.

Then the morning of Good Friday, and I joined the group from this church, making the Stations of the Cross around Soho. The young men carry a great heavy wooden Cross, and we follow, singing. We kneel in the street and listen to a meditation for each  Station: "We adore Thee O Christ and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world." We  give out palm crosses - at one stage we began to run out but a quick mobile-phone call brought fresh supplies, and Fr A. whipped out a flask of holy water and blessed them as we stood on a street corner. Most people take the cross gratefully, many say "Thank you"  a few say "God bless you". Some kiss the cross. A tiny number refuse saying "I'm not religious". A few just look puzzled but take the cross anyway and then their eyes follow us as we move on...

At one point we met another Christian group - Pentecostals, singing and praying -  and they gave us warm applause.  Fr A. and the Pentecostal leader exchanged a great hug.

Then joining the crowd of thousands in Trafalgar square for the Passion Play...

...and on to this church for 3pm...and the drama of it, and the silence as we all depart at the end and make our way home...

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Some nice pix...

...of the Royal Maundy, being celebrated today, here

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

...and so to Maundy Thursday.

When I was a child I thought it was "mourn-day" Thursday, and that we were mourning the death of Christ on the Cross...

Maundy of course refers to the  Command  that Christ gave on this day, the command that we love one anther...

There will be Maundy Masses across Britain and I will be at one of them, witnessing the washing of feet that teaches us about this Command, and hearing the words at the Consecration at Mass: "On the night he was betrayed - that is, tonight..."

HM the Queen will be distributing Maundy Money as monarchs in Britain have been doing for over a thousand years.

On Good Friday I'll be joining thousands of people in Trafalgar Square for this  before going on to the 3pm devotions in church.




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

For the CHRISM MASS....

...today at Westminster, some three thousand people crammed into the Cathedral, every corner and side-chapel filled, people sitting on the marble steps of St Andrew's and St Patrick's and St Paul's and the other chapels, and crowded into the back and along the aisles.  As has now become a tradition, members of the Association of Catholic Women gather in the piazza to hand out small thank-you cards to the priests as they arrive: it's lovely being able to greet so many clergy friends. Then when the clergy procession makes its way up from Ambrosden Avenue and in through the great doors, we hold up a placard saying THANK YOU TO OUR PRIESTS. (We'll be doing this again tomorrow at the Southwark Chrism Mass at St George's Cathedral...in fact, that's actually where the tradition began, something like ten or twelve years ago now...).

I love the prayers of the Chrism Mass, which speak about the oil of chrism, which is olive oil...and mentions the dove bringing back the olive branch as the flood receded...

Because of the huge crowds in the Cathedral I usually find a corner right at the back, on the step of the Chapel of St Augustine, next to the tomb of Bishop Richard Challoner. The Cathedral's accoustics are excellent: you can hear every word of the Mass and all the glorious music wherever you are - whether kneeling on the floor in an aisle or at a prie-dieu in one of the chapels, or in a proper place in the nave.  It was moving hearing the strong roar of the men's voices as the priests all reaffirmed their promises.  There seemed to be more priests than ever this year - there were  two or thee hundred of them and we ran out of thank-you cards.

Westminster Cathedral is a place that means a lot to people.A priest from an African country arrived as we were standing in the piazza before Mass. he knelt down and kissed the Cathedral steps, saying that he felt this to be a place of pilgrimage...

Auntie writes about prisoners...

...and you can read it here...

Monday, April 10, 2017

I'm writing this in Southwark Street...

...where, all the way from Waterloo, police in their best uniforms and wearing white gloves, and medals as appropriate, are lining the road to pay their respects as the cortege of the policeman murdered in the recent Westminster attack is taken to the Anglican cathedral at London Bridge for the funeral. People are gathering...crowds along Southwark Street and into the Borough High Street.. I will be at the 1.05pm Mass at Pr. Blood Church nearby, and stopped to collect emails and do some other work....the scene from this coffee-shop where I always work is so different today....

And the Register in America has published this piece by Auntie....

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Palm Sunday...

...and a great procession, choristers singing Pueri Hebraeorum, altar servers, clergy, Cardinal in cope and mitre, a great concourse of the faithful with palm branches, made its way up towards Victoria Street and across the great piazza in front of Westminster Cathedral...we joined its great surge and into the Cathedral for a most glorious Palm Sunday Mass. The Passion was chanted from the high marble pulpit with the choir singing the crowd parts from the apse, the Cardinal preached reminding us of the significance of various aspects of Christ's entry into Jerusalem, and the vast congregation seemed to fill every corner...

I was with a family of American visitors, charged with showing them around London, and this magnificent Mass was the highlight of the day. We walked on down to the river, and in due course  by train to Windsor - hot, crowded, with long queues to get into the Castle, but worth the trip - and as the day ended, talked agreeably over many things, discussing history, language, books...


Saturday, April 08, 2017

and more importantly...

...this is well worth reading.

pic of Auntie Joanna with a griffin...

...see here.  (18th century ironwork staircase, lovely garden, spingtime day, Auntie in her element).

Friday, April 07, 2017

Looking ahead to Holy Week...

...and pondering the mystery of suffering, and how to answer  the questions about God and mercy and pain and WHY...I found this useful...

In London...

...with spring sunshine, and vast crowds packing out Westminster Bridge  - the big tourist season beginning.

I was heading for the CTS bookshop in Westminster Cathedral piazza where I recorded a podcast about Lent and Easter customs. You can listen to it here...

...and on Saturday (April 8th) I return, to give a Bookshop Talk on the same subject. Meet me there at 12.30pm. Nearest Tube is Victoria.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

A kind gift....

...of a voucher, from an American friend, means I can indulge in some books. I have treated myself to  this book    which I am about to start reading....and have also ordered Archbishop Chaput's Strangers in a Strange Land...

Spent today with Clare Anderson, longtime friend and co-author with me of this book. While in the USA recently she was invited on radio to discuss it, and to explore St John Paul's "Lublin Thomism"...

The anniversary of the death of St John Paul the Great fell this week, and brought back memories...


Monday, April 03, 2017

To Oxford...

...and the pleasure of a delicious talkative lunch with a young Dominican friend at Blackfriars in the sunny garden. Later, when I needed to check some emails I was offered a desk in the library...peaceful, scholarly, agreeable...

On to a happy family evening with young relatives. Enormous fun.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

The Tower of London at night...

...and a group of teenage boys on a night walk. This is a Catholic youth group, and we walked around the Tower, along the route by the moat, and talked battles and Vikings, fort and prison, heroes and martyrs, John Fisher and Edmund Campion and John Gerard and courage ...we enjoyed the river and the majestic Tower Bridge and talked Navy and Empire and ships bringing unknown foods like tea and lemons and spices and tangerines...we talked history and wars and blood-red poppies filling the moat and a nation's memories...and we finished at Tower Hill and Thomas More and Fr Hugh led us in prayer...




Saturday, April 01, 2017

...and Auntie notes an important forthcoming anniversary...

...read about it here....

Another wise bishop...

...making a sensible comment on Amoris Laetitiae  and setting the matter straight.  DG

And the latest issue of THE PORTAL...

....the on-line magazine of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, is just published. Auntie has a feature about the High Church traditions of Southwark....read here...