Thursday, November 14, 2019

...and after an overnight journey on the Caledonian sleeper...

...another History Walk at Westminster. We walked from Westminster Cathedral  exploring the story of Horseferry Road, the Greencoat and Greycoat and Blewcoat schools,  Mary Sumner House, the Church Union, and more...(and if you want to know about any or all of these, book in for a History Walk in due course! We are now planning Walks for the New Year...).

We finished at the crosses and wreaths in the Garden of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey, the scarlet poppies bright against the showers of golden and russet leaves, and just as I finished the Walk and we were all shaking hands and so on,  the glorious bells began to peal out,  adding their own message to the  London Autumn day...

TO GLASGOW...

...for a meeting re FAITH magazine. Always great to connect with the beautiful work being done  by the Sisters of the Gospel of Life.

The day finished with an invitation to a magnificent ice-hockey match. It began with a passionate singing of  what was announced as the  Scottish national anthem.  Written in the 70s, but with older echoes,  it  carries deep resonances - Battle of Flodden etc...

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

An Act of Remembrance...

...yesterday at the University where I have spent the past two years as Visiting Research Fellow. A goodish number of staff and students gathered, and the service was traditional, reverent, and moving. It is sad to see that large numbers of young people do not know the Lord's Prayer -  or perhaps are shy and uncertain about saying it -  and are unfamiliar with traditional hymns.  But there was solemnity, silence, and  - attendance at such events being voluntary - something touching about the gathering.

With ecumenical goodwill...

...and in a spirit of real friendship and co-operation, the Schools Bible Project has thrived for 30 years. In a couple of weeks' time we will have our 2019 Prizegiving, with pupils from schools across Britain arriving at WESTMINSTER ABBEY to receive their prizes for essays on  New Testament themes. The  project is simple: pupils are invited to imagine themselves present at a major event in the life of Christ - we offer a choice of six events, including some of his great miracles etc - and to write about it. Some choose to be, for example, a bridesmaid at the Wedding at Cana, or a Roman soldier  at the Crucifixion, or one of the Apostles during the storm at sea. They can invent a character  or be some one who is actually recorded in the Scriptures as being present. The aim is simply to offer the opportunity to encounter Christ and to understand the significance of it all. The Project fulfils the requirements of the standard RE curriculum, and  has proved popular with pupils and teachers alike.

Preparing the arrangements for the 2019 prizegiving, my mind goes back to the very first,  with the then-chairman of the whole venture, Bishop Maurice Wood, the retired  Anglican bishop of Norwich...I remember him reading from his pocket New Testament, a battered volume which he had carried with him on the Normandy landings...and I remember, too, a splendid Tea given to us all at the headquarters of the Salvation Army at a later prizegiving, and the gentle, thoughtful words of Cardinal Basil Hume at Archbishops House in Westminster on a further occasion, and the wonderful welcome at Lambeth Palace with Dr George Carey...

The project is open to all secondary school pupils in Britain, and a brochure goes to every school. More info here...




Monday, November 11, 2019

GREAT CELEBRATIONS...

...to mark the 10th anniversary of Anglicanorum Coetibus,  the call  to groups of Anglicans to come into full communion with the Catholic Church. Cardinal Vincent Nichols preached at a splendid Mass at the Church of the Most Precious Blood at The Borough, London Bridge, and you can see it all in pictures here...

....and a Mass to launch....

...the new initiative Catholic Women Praying Together.   This has grown out of the splendid Catholic Women of the Year event which reached its Golden Jubilee last year. All the main Catholic women's groups - Union of Catholic Mothers, Catholic Women's League, Assn of Catholic Women, LOGS etc - are represented on the committee and it was agreed to have an annual Mass, the inaugural theme being prayer for our young people. With so many young people in our country losing their lives and their happiness through drugs, knife crime, suicide and addiction to social media etc, we felt that one thing we could do was to pray together. Mass was celebrated at London's Farm Street church  by Mgr Keith Newton of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and there was glorious singing from the choir of Coloma Girls School.  Their young voices were so beautiful: many of the older ladies were moved to tears.

A  talkative lunch afterwards in Farm Street's panelled parish hall - familiar to me as the current home of the Catholic Writers' Guild. Each member of the choir was given a bag with a holy card and a medal.  We had a raffle and funds raised will go youth projects run by the Salesians.

Chairman of the event, Anne Emblem of the UCM is to be warmly congratulated for taking on the running of this major new project.  We have a committee meeting next week to evaluate it and plan ahead. I think this is a venture which holds real promise...

Graduation...

...of students at the Maryvale Institute. The traditional ceremony  at St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham. There is now a sense of familiarity as I walk in the academic procession. The teaching staff come from a variety of universities and I enjoy wearing my Challoner-rose MA hood from St Mary's, Twickenham.   There is a special joy at Maryvale this year  because of  St John Henry Newman's canonisation:  Maryvale was his home after leaving Littlemore, and it was he who gave the house its name...

The graduation  ceremony concludes, as usual, with Vespers, led by Fr Guy Nichols Cong.Orat.  and we sing Newman's Praise to the Holiest  with the music surging up to the  great gothic arches

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

EVERY YEAR....

....the Schools Bible Project organised by Christian Projects, of which I am Chairman, invites the young authors of the best essays to a prizegiving in London, held at the Houses of Parliament. the prizes - books, and a cash prize for the schools - are presented by our Trustee, Baroness Cox. It's always a very happy day, with a tour of Parliament, and a happy gathering of the young people with their parents and teachers.

All was arranged for December 2nd....and then the General Election was announced, and the Chairman of Christian Projects had to reorganise things quickly. Parliament will close from this week. No events, no meetings, nothing happening in  the Palace of Westminster until the people have elected some new Members of Parliament and Her Majesty invites the leader of the majority group to Buckingham Palace and urges him to form a government...

What to do? All the invitations to the schools had gone out, everything was arranged.  I fled to Westminster Abbey, where the splendid team in the Education Office  rescued the situation. They organise wonderful tours for schools and will make this a very special day...

Then on  to Mary Sumner House nearby, owned by the Mothers' Union, which  has attractive meeting-rooms which can be rented out...

And so the annual prizegiving will happen as usual.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR....

....and I love rain and cold, and buses looking cheerful through the evening gloom, and the joy of everyday things that have sudden value in Autumn: mugs of tea, buttered toast, a house with a warm kitchen.

History Walks are satisfying: the Thames grey and surging, and sudden shafts of sunlight dappling the water. Come and join us!

CATHOLIC HISTORY WALKS
Join in a Catholic History Walk!
Friday Nov 8th ISLINGTON: meet at St John's church, Duncan Terrace 3.30pm
Tues Nov 12th WESTMINSTER Meet on steps of Westminster Cathedral 3.30pm
Thurs Nov 14th WESTMINSTER Meet on steps of Westminster Cathedral 11am
Sun Nov 17th  ISLINGTON   meet St John's church, Duncan Terrace 3.30pm
Wed Nov 20th THE CITY Meet at The Monument  EC3R 8AF 3.30pm

Each Walk last about one and a half hours. More information:07495205568

-Suggested donation: £10.




Monday, October 28, 2019

The weekend...

...described below, with a wonderful Newman conference, began for me with a busy Friday. I  spent the afternoon helping to fold and pack letters for the Friends of the Ordinariate, inviting people to the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Ordinariate at the Church of the Most Precious Blood on November 9th. We were a cheery group of volunteers, enlivened by fresh brews of tea and lively conversation.

On to Euston station for the trip north, with enough time to check some emails and do some proof-correcting, using my laptop in a station bar,....and then as it got more and more crowded, and news began to spread, came a growing mood of dismay....the whole station was closed, no trains were running at all, because some people (???we don't know who, or why, or what happened to them) had been trespassing on the railway track some miles up, and so all journeys were cancelled.

A vast trail of refugees began to make its way to nearby Kings Cross/St Pancras, as some journeys could perhaps be made from there, depending on the destination. And so, after various delays and the inevitable difficulty of obtaining information (St Pancras also serves the Channel Tunnel so most notice-boards seemed to be directing people for trains to Paris) I found I could reach Stoke-on-Trent via Derby...thanks to a mobile 'phone I could contact my hosts who met me at a small station at a late hour, and all was well...


To a fascinating Newman conference...

...at Thornycroft Hall, with speakers  examining aspects of  St JHN's  message on education.  Paul Shrimpton spoke extremely  well on  the Idea of a University which he noted was published in 1873 and written some twenty years earlier, but remains "a defining text to this day". He emphasised that Newman saw university education not as the acquisition of knowledge but the cultivation of the mind", and that a university is a secular institution "yet partaking of a religious character".  Roy Peachey, a teacher at The Cedars School   spoke about Dorothy L. Sayers ' Lost Tools of Learning in which she showed how the Medieval trivium - grammar, dialectic, rhetoric - could and should be rediscovered today. He mentioned the "pedagogy of place" which echoes Newman's  emphasis on the genius loci  which hands on "a tradition, a bond of union, an ethical atmosphere". And Mrs Lynch \Kelly of St Martin's Academy  Stoke Goulding spoke about how to do it all: the school aims to teach  pupils "the best that has been thought and said" and that they are loved by their teachers and by God...

It was a wonderful weekend, as I stayed with old friends nearby...delicious meals,  long and lively conversations, the warm welcome of an old farmhouse.  Torrential rain flooded parts of some roads so we made our way out to Thornycroft on a roundabout route. The next day we walked muddy lanes in sparkling sunshine, water gurgling in streams alongside.  Sunday Mass at St Wulstan's church , Wolstanton, with a superb choir...

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

THE FEAST DAY OF ST JOHN PAUL THE GREAT ....



....and an evening of celebration.  Well attended and in a mood of great goodwill and friendship. We heard the story of St John Paul, and had readings from his poetry, by Sarah de Nordwall.  Delicious refreshments provided by LOGS, a good video  reflecting on John Paul's life...all with a great atmosphere...

Things finished late and agreeably, with prosecco and talk...

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

...and you can listen to Auntie talking about Newman....



....here:

and also in an interview  on Vatican Radio, translated into German for the German Service!  Here



Tuesday, October 15, 2019

MAGNIFICENT!!!!

...the only way to describe the canonisation of St John Henry Newman in Rome this past weekend....

HRH the Prince of Wales spoke beautifully  and wrote a splendid piece for the press....read here and follow it all here....

And read here ... and here....  with lots of beautiful pics...and watch here...and here...

...and there's more from EWTN here...

and more!!!!

Best report, in my view, is here....

...but there was also the superb Colloquium at the Angelicum, with speakers including George Weigel, Dr Tracey Rowland, Archbishop Bernard Longley....and a glorious Thanksgiving Mass with the Bishops and crowds of priests from across Britain...

...and the fun of being in Rome and waving the Union Jack and meeting friends everywhere...

Thursday, October 10, 2019

...and this is beautiful....


...our beloved John Henry Newman is to be canonised in Rome this Sunday, and there is a joyous feeling as pilgrims from Britain begin to converge...

Meetings with friends over the past few days  have tended to conclude with "See you in Rome!".  After evening Mass at Westminster Cathedral I was hailed by a group of ladies with suitcases...they included Kathy Kelly, longstanding proprietor of  a popular London Catholic bookshop and a 2018  Catholic Woman of the Year... We all chatted excitedly - and I unearthed from my suitcase some  paper Union Jacks, which I  ordered this week from a flag shop, specifically to distribute to pilgrims to wave at the celebrations. I  handed these around to the group, and in return  they  gave me a splendid teeshirt with a picture of John Henry Newman on it!  So we are all set...

DO listen to this Vatican Radio broadcast! I won't spoil it by explaining why you may find it amusing...https://www.vaticannews.va/de/welt/news/2019-10/kirche-heiligsprechung-newman-interview.html

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

This is horrible...

...read here, and  keep praying for true justice.


Thinking about Britain and the future...

...can be rather sobering.


You may find this of interest....



Monday, October 07, 2019

An interview with VATICAN RADIO...

....about John Henry Newman.

Because I am old-fashioned  and don't have a new-style mobile phone with lots of gadgets on it, I contacted young relatives who are much more up to date, and who wisely have the right equipment for their busy lives. So it was in their cosy kitchen that I made use of What's App and was able to be interviewed from Rome, dog jumping around my feet, family info, artwork etc pinned on crowded notice-board...

My last visit  was to join in making jam with the blackberries and rosehips and elderberries of this year's hedgerow harvest. An odd 21st-century experience to be sitting at the same table, this time using the latest technology to broadcast to the world.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

To Oscott....

....St Mary's College , for the launch of Fr Guy Nicholls' new book on John Henry Newman.  which sounds a wonderful read, and I am hugely looking forward to getting into it this evening...

Rev Deacon Stephen Morgan gave an excellent address to a large gathering in the rather fine hall at Oscott, and brought out Newman's understanding of the centrality of beauty in the transmission of the Faith. It was an inspiring day and a splendid start to the celebrations for Newman's canonisation.

Oscott is of course where Newman preached his "Second Spring" sermon. It was encouraging to be with such a good crowd, to be celebrating with Fr Guy, to meet so many friends - and make new ones - and to have that sense of unity and continuity with Newman...

There is too much dishonesty among left-wing media-types...

...over Brexit and related matters. Here is a good analysis of a particular example:


Read this...it's important



Friday, October 04, 2019

Newman and the Pope...

...and a very timely analysis of this is here...



Meanwhile, Prince Harry...

...is behaving rather badly. He is a Prince married a popular and beautiful actress, whose fame rested on TV work and much media interest. They live in enormous luxury and media coverage of their various meetings with the public has been hugely supportive and favourable. Of course much of what they do has a faint absurdity about it: flying at enormous expense with substantial staff to various places to tell people not to fly, and taking their own opinions very seriously indeed and so on. And we should be allowed to say so from time to time.  But that doesn't matter very much because the wider significance of royalty matters much more: it has been a stable and even sacred core of our country and our heritage over the centuries  and today unites us as nothing else could ever do.

The Prince's call for curbs on what newspapers are allowed to say is bad behaviour. He needs to think again. He and the Duchess should read this  and perhaps also this...and reflect on the reality of what our monarchy is all about. 

Thursday, October 03, 2019

...for trenchant comment and useful analysis....

...of events in Britain, I tend to drop in to the Spectator Coffee House, with its fresh and thoughtfully brewed material.

MUCH recommended. It's a real discussion, not just lotsofpeoplewithnmoreorlessthesameviews. It opens up debate and discussion, challenges cliched opinion.



Come and give this excellent venture your support...



PRAYING FOR OUR YOUNG PEOPLE

Catholic Women Praying Together 2019
A special Mass for Catholic women from across Britain, gathering to pray for the young people of our country.

Wednesday, November 6th
11.30am
Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, London W1K 3AH.
Celebrant: Rt Rev Mgr Keith Newton, Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham


With so many young people losing their lives and their happiness through violence, suicide, drugs or addictions to social media, Catholic women’s organisations have combined to organise this Mass and the opportunity to pray together. This initiative arose following the 50th and final Catholic Women of the Year event which marked a long tradition of Catholic women gathering to seek ways to serve the common good.

ALL WELCOME. Mass open to all. Buffet lunch following: tickets £25 each from: Catholic women Praying Together, 8 Duloe Road, St Neots, Cambs PE19 8FQ. Email: aemblem@btinternet.com

Sponsored by: Association of Catholic Women, Catholic Women’s League, Life Ascending, Ladies Ordinariate Group, Union of Catholic Mothers




Tuesday, October 01, 2019

We had planned to walk along the Thames...

...but the Thames had already  made its own plans...and came flooding up over the towpath and harbour at Richmond to greet us.

It had retreated with the evening tide, but for this walk, organised with Fr Nicholas Schofield for his parishioners at St Michael's church, Uxbridge, we decided to be prudent and contented ourselves with  St Elizabeth's 18th century church,  the Tudor palace, a riverside walk  to the White Cross, tales of Henry VIII and the old friary, and a bus ride to Ham where we finished at Cardinal Newman's childhood home.  The rain fell in torrents! We were all drenched, despite brollies and rainwear...and it was a simply wonderful evening!  The laughter and the fun, the sense of solidarity, and the real delight of it all - and its absurdity - made it all a delight.

Just occasionally - and often it is exactly when you need it - there comes an unexpected joy, and a time of absurd enjoyment. This was one such....I arrived home soaked and the pleasure of a big mug of tea.  It all felt gloriously British and I loved every moment.

Come and share in your own adventure on a Catholic History Walk!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

A cheery morning...

...at Coloma  Convent Girls' School, Croydon, where it was a pleasure to present the 2019 Catholic Young Writer Award.  The young writer's essay on the theme of "pilgrimage" will appear in the Jan/Feb issue of FAITH magazine.

The Award was launched some years ago by The Keys, the Catholic Writers' Guild, and is now run by the Catholic Union of Great Britain.  Coloma School has some 1,000 pupils and a good setting on the outskirts of Croydon, where the frankly ugly town gives way to pleasant tree-lined roads.  The girls look smart in their blue uniforms and there is a  pleasant sense of of welcome and of a bustling, well-ordered and happy community. Arriving in time for Assembly had meant an early start: it was grand to be welcomed with freshly-brewed tea, and we hugely enjoyed our visit.

HERE IS SOMETHING WORTHWHILE....

...and of real practical use for schools and for families.

The Values Foundation has produced excellent guidelines for schools for the new Relationships Education. You can read them -  and  download them to take to school governors meetings etc - here.




Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Enjoy discovering history...

...read here...



I have been thinking for some while...

...that the  European young people obsessed with the notion of the extinction of nature and the need to march about it are worryingly like the doomed Children's Crusade of long ago. They have been led into a weird religious fury and feel they must do something...and all the while, the adults feel that they cannot and should not stop them, even though it is apparent that what they are doing is all wrong.

It's not that the cause is wholly without merit - it's just that the religious fervour has been whipped up to create something that is out of all proportion to reality.

Oh dear. The legend of the Pied Piper....

Read here...

and here...

Sunday, September 22, 2019

How appropriate...

...was today's Second Reading, at Mass, from St Paul's Epistle to Timothy:W"...first of all, there should be prayers offered for everyone - petitions, intercessions, and thanksgiving - and especially for kings and others in authority..."

We are living in worrying times for the stability of our country and its institutions. Let's all remember the exhortation to pray.

The Catenians....

...are a delightful group and yesterday I had the pleasure of leading a group of them from SW London on a Catholic History Walk, starting at Westminster Cathedral. They are excellent company, and we had a good time.




Saturday, September 21, 2019

COME ON A CATHOLIC HISTORY WALK!!!

A new round of Walks is just starting. The first is on Monday (Sept 23rd). Read all about them here


Friday, September 20, 2019

SAY NO TO ASSISTED SUICIDE, AND TO EUTHANASIA....

...says Pope Francis, with great emphasis.  And we must all back him.  The "culture of death"  is haunting the Western world. It's vile and terrible, and we must fight it...there is no need, either, to feel despondent about doing so. Life is precious, and people understand that. Medical advances in recent decades have been astonishing. We must not and will not turn away from that and reduce ourselves to nothing better than some ancient pagan culture. Thank God for Papa Francesco's words, and let's heed them.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Rushing...

...on a day that began with a trip to Kent to hand out prizes gained in the 2019 Schools Bible Project at St Columba's  Catholic Boys School. The trains were delayed and I only just made it to the Assembly: they were already gathered in the hall and listening to a Scripture reading. It is always a pleasure to visit this school, which has a well-organised, rather cheering air about it. The boys look smart in their uniforms, and gave generous applause as some of their number came up to receive their book prizes.

Then  off on another train journey, and a Tube to Ealing to this school, where I was due to give a talk about traditional feasts and seasons, how the calendar works,  and the origin of some of our pub signs, old songs, place-names and so on. Again, a warm welcome, and it was an enjoyable session, the children showing an interest and answering up eagerly when I asked questions...there is a fascination among all ages over things like London's forgotten rivers, or why our tax years runs from March to March, or about  a Tube station named from words in the Gospel of St Luke... An excellent lunch - schools meals are so much, MUCH better than in my own schooldays! - and good conversation with the teacher who had arranged this event, and all in a most cordial and happy atmosphere.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

AND PUT THIS IN YOUR DIARY...




Celebrate the FEAST OF ST JOHN PAUL: October 22nd

6.30pm,  Parish Room, Church of the Most Precious Blood, London SE1 1TD

October 22nd 6.30pm

with the story of his life, readings from his poetry, discussion of his message

All welcome. Light refreshments. FREE: suggested donation £10.00p

organised by LOGS, the Ladies Ordinariate Group

A Dominican ordination...

...at Haverstock Hill.  A pilgrimage to the shrine of the Saxon princess St Edith - who rejected the crown of England to remain a nun, caring for the sick and poor -  at Kemsing in Kent. An evening with friends who gave me a lovely clematis plant named for St John Paul. And more...it's been a very busy few days.

With the political events of the past few days, I grow increasingly sympathetic to St Edith, rejecting the affairs of state to remain quietly and busily in rural Kent...


Friday, September 06, 2019

...and a warm welcome....

....followed by a wonderful, talkative, informative supper, at the Bruderhof in Peckham. I have visited some of their big rural communities in the USA and, more recently, here in Britain, and was intrigued to see how it could all work in an urban setting.

A  strong family base, with students living in too. |All have made a commitment to live in community, not owning anything . Clothing is bought for the community and they go to the general storekeeper to get something new when needed. Women wear their hair simply, usually with a headscarf tied on top. No make-up.Simple skirts and blouses of a common design in various colours and prints.

They publish a range of books, including material by and about Gerald Manley Hopkins, Dorothy L. Sayers, Hans and Sophie Scholl...info here...

Historically, in the Reformation era etc a - well, let's say tragic - relationship w. the Catholic Church. Friendship now, and notably with Benedict XVI......and read here too

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Early Mass in Chelsea...

...at this church, where I met a colleague to sort and post the prizes for the annual schools RE Project organised by the Association of Catholic Women. We wrapped these a few weeks back and arranged to meet to post them when the new term started...

Note the date November 6th: a range of Catholic women's group have joined together to arrange a special Mass to pray for Britain's young people.  11.30am, Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street London W1 3AH.   There is a buffet lunch afterwards. Info available - email  catholicwomenprayingtogether@gmail.com

In the evening, another History Walk. We met at The Monument, talked about the Great Fire, looked at some Wren and Hawksmore churches, visited John Henry Newman's birthplace.  Exploring history - we also took a look back at Romans, Saxons, Vikings and Normans as we walked across London Bridge and paused to enjoy the river in evening light - puts today's political events in perspective...

Monday, September 02, 2019

A long, lively and creative get-together...

...over lunch after Mass, with the team organising the next round of Catholic History Walks. We'll be running them on a new basis, with people booking themselves a place in advance via Eventbrite.  We're distributing leaflets widely too, and promoting the Walks in lots of new ways...This marks quite a big change,  but will also reach a great many more people...and a bigger range of people. Meanwhile, the current set of Walks is  starting tomorrow Tuesday Sept 3rd...come and join us! 6.30pm at The Monument tube station...we'll explore the City, the story of the Fire, discover some churches, and end at John Henry Newman's birthplace...

While we were meeting at London Bridge, people across the river were demonstrating against the Prime Minister. Even if I agreed with them, which I don't, I would be put off by their crude and nasty language, and especially by their viciousness. Actors seem to be the worst. One, among them, called Hugh Grant, who acts "posh chaps" in films, used a crude sexually explicit word in an on-line statement. He also claimed that people who fought in WWII would share his views.  Here I have an advantage over this young man. I was brought up by and among WWII veterans, and I knew some of them extremely well.I can assert confidently that they most emphatically did not share poor Mr G's  political opinions and would never have used such language even when roused to anger or indignation.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Piers Morgan...

...now a well-known TV figure, cut his journalistic teeth on the South London News as a junior reporter. I was on that newspaper at the time, having just returned from Berlin where my husband had been serving with his regiment...

It was a friendly team. I remember lots of office banter, and a cheery Shrove Tuesday when all the newsroom came to Bogle Towers for pancakes and wine and much talk and laughter...

Piers was an enthusiastic and energetic cub reporter, and we made him work hard, which seemed to do him good. Not a deep thinker but with humour and commonsense.   I have of course vaguely followed his career, and today  read this with interest.

Now it is time to watch...

...this rather important video.

Watch it and then ponder it.  Then  share it with others.

It is of great importance. For your understanding of freedom and justice.

Watch it here.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

I always love...

...packing and posting the prizes for the annual Schools Bible Project, which we have run since 1989.  It's an ecumenical venture, with its origins in a group founded in the 1950s. In its present form the Project involves inviting pupils at secondary schools across Britain to encounter Christ in the New Testament and write essays. The main winners come to London for a prizegiving ceremony at Westminster, and there are a substantial number of runner-up book prizes. These currently include CS Lewis Mere Christianity, plus books by Corrie Ten Boom and Brother Andrew of "Bible smuggling" fame...

This year, despite having to work in the ghastly heat - London has felt like an oven all weekend and continues to do so - it was a happy day. We talk and reminisce, work hard, and have the satisfying task of staggering down the main road to the Post Office in the late afternoon heat with heavy parcels to be sent off to schools across Britain.  Hearty thanks to stalwarts Amanda and Mavis who really slaved away in the heat,  sorting, packing,  writing labels, wrapping, checking, and posting...the big John Paul Room at the parish centre has large windows and the sunlight poured in on to the mess of paper and sticky tape, jiffy-bags, envelopes, and  stacks of essays. We gulped water and brewed tea, took a brief break for a sandwich lunch and blessed the well-equipped parish kitchen with its fridge which had kept our food cool and the milk untainted...

The work continues tomorrow...

Monday, August 26, 2019

Saturday, August 24, 2019

LONDON WITH A GROUP OF YOUNG AMERICANS...

...on pilgrimage.  We had a special visit to the Tower of London, where St Thomas More's tomb is a place of prayer. A Beefeater gave us an excellent talk and showed us round the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula. There was also time to view the Crown jewels...

At Westminster, we toured Parliament. Big Ben is still under wraps - even though we have all got used to this over the past months, it's still instinctive to look up to check the time when emerging from the Tube station...

We dropped in to Westminster Abbey to pray: there are now two icons there specifically for this purpose, with votive candles in front of each.  Then Mass at Warwick Street, celebrated by the chaplain of the group - strong voices making the responses, good singing -  and a cheery talkative fish-and-chip pub supper...

These young Americans are an encouraging lot, and with each new group each summer I get a boost and a sense of encouragement.

Friday, August 23, 2019

And the new season of History Walks is starting...

...so do come along.

Information here

FILMING A NEW TV SERIES....

...in rural Norfolk, under wide skies, occasionally criss-crossed with roaring RAF 'planes...

Preceded by further history research, earlier in the week, with a walk along the Thames....we went to this church, where Athelstan, the first king of the whole of England, was crowned. I knew the story, and have been familiar with the place for years, but had not actually been into the church since a ceremony when I was nine years old, when the Colours of my father's regiment were laid up there. It was strange to see the commemorative plaque, and to remember that day.

...and this is worth reading too....

....here...



Thursday, August 22, 2019

...and a thoughtful piece, without anger or rhetoric, is here...

...and is well worth reading.

Read here.



Monday, August 19, 2019

The BBC, to its further disgrace, has been pushing same-sex marriage...

...on the once-delightful programme Songs of Praise which was begun in the 1960s and for decades was a popular feature, showing churches hosting gatherings to sing popular hymns.
I am sickened by this BBC using this to push  ssm - something so cruel and destructive, so contemptuous of the human person and human dignity. 
The Coalition for Marriage has issued a relevant statement - see below:
Same-sex marriage remains a highly contentious issue, especially for Christians and those of other faiths. Around 1 in 200 places of worship in England and Wales is registered to hold same-sex weddings. So that's 99.5% that aren't.
When it deals with controversial subjects, the BBC is supposed to “ensure a wide range of significant views and perspectives are given due weight and prominence”.
Yesterday’s Songs of Praise focused on faith and marriage, and celebrated same-sex marriage. Though the presenter briefly mentioned that some people disagree, air time was only given to those who endorse it.
Viewers were even told by one of the gay couple that those who don’t support same-sex marriage “just need to think about it, and they’ll get there one day”.
Will the BBC now allow the alternative view to be aired “in output of a similar type and weight and in an appropriate timeframe”? No, I don’t think so either.

Friday, August 16, 2019

...and London's river...

...on a golden day of wild breezes   A group of LOGS members went by one of London's classic river boats from Westminster to Richmond. This annual  Thames trip is always a joy - but might not continue if new regulations  currently being  presented  to Parliament are introduced. These would impose on the smaller, traditional boats a range of  impractical and extremely expensive alterations which would make it impossible for them to function.

These boats are magnificent, and  have a glorious heritage - one of them is in fact a Dunkirk "little ship" and all are of that style and tradition. They have an unbroken record of safety.  Will Parliament listen and reject the bureaucratic injustice that is being proposed?   More info here...

The big modern wide boats don't go as far as Richmond and Kew and Hampton Court - can't get through Richmond Lock - and in any case are nothing like a proper river experience: they are computerised and with recorded tourist tapes instead of a boatman just giving London history...

At Richmond over a talkative lunch we mulled over ideas and plans for next year's projects and initiatives...so much that could/should be done for children/lonely people/evangelisation...then while some headed back to London for an evening Mass, I headed for St Elizabeth's for the same purpose and a Catholic History Walk to follow.

And so home at a late hour, after a  beautiful Mass and glorious Walk...as darkness fell we were going along the path to Ham, and honouring John Henry Newman's memory, and finishing at a cheery pub.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

A day of blackberrying...

...and gathering of rose-hips and - a new venture for us - elderberries with a wonderful team of great-nieces and nephews.  In between bouts of lashing rain, we gathered the fruit, and in the busy kitchen washed, boiled, strained and stirred with enthusiasm, so now have jars of jam and syrups, all with hand-written labels. Most satisfactory.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Come and discover about John Henry Newman...

...learn about his life, and the message he has for Christians today...

Join me in a Richmond History Walk, starting at 7.30pm (after evening Mass) this Thursday, August 15th, at St Elizabeth's Church, The  Vineyard, Richmond  TW10 6AQ...


Friday, August 09, 2019

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

That ghastly shooting in the USA...

...read this

America probably has the same proportion of nutcases and fanatical wanna-be murderes as any other country.But there's one big difference between the USA and other countries. In the USA, such people can get access to guns. It's absurd and uncivilised. It will now be difficult to make it much harder to acquire or to keep a gun - but the attempt must be made.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Auntie J. has been walking...

...and walking....

Annual John Paul Walk to Walsingham with the Dominican sisters.  Glorious views, great solidarity and friendship. 20 miles a day. I joined midway through...the group had by then reached Swaffham.

At West Raynham, the (Anglican) parish gave us a most wonderful welcome, with a barbeque and fabulous hospitality. Then Evening Prayer in the ancient ruins of St Margaret's church, with the music soaring, and the wide Norfolk sky, and birds flying home to rest...

At Walsingham, a packed Mass at the shrine, and then the final walk down the Holy Mile...in the footsteps of so many pilgrims across the centuries...

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The FAITH Movement...

...organises various events through the summer. The Summer Session for young people (18-35) took place this week.I attended this gathering over 40 years ago, and have returned as an occasional visitor over the years. This time I led a workshop on Britain's heritage of Christian feasts and seasons, customs and traditions. A good response and a most enjoyable and satisfying morning.

It was great to meet good friends - the FAITH priests were present in large numbers and  the Session is a great gathering filled with news and talk in a relaxed atmosphere. A glorious sung Mass, and the day concluded with Compline...I had to leave immediately afterwards, missing the quiz and social time which followed. Walking down the lane  towards the station, through the lovely Woldingham valley on this cool summer evening, with the Salve Regina still ringing in my ears, my memories went back to similar golden evenings in the 1970s, with that same ancient prayer chanted in that same way in a full chapel...and now the children and even grandchildren of those who sang it back in the '70s are singing it...

In those early days the Summer Session was held at Roehampton, and things moved to Woldingham some years ago. It's a fabulous setting, and offers beautiful grounds and even a swimming pool. Numbers rose year on year, but have  evened off now. The number of priests continues to rise The Britain into which today's young Faith Movement members have grown up is  different in so many ways from that of the '70s  - we did envisage nastier and nastier attacks on marriage and the further promotion of abortion etc, but we did not envisage some of the social changes: the huge growth of the "me" culture or the easy availability of things which to us seemed special treats or luxuries (eg  holidays in exotic destinations, a vast range of restaurants even in ordinary suburbs), and of course the dominance of mobile phones and the whole "social media" obsessive lifestyle...new challenges, new opportunities for evangelisation...

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

COME AND DISCOVER OUR HERITAGE....

...customs, traditions, cookery, calendar...there is so much in English Catholic heritage that is magnificent, enchanting, delightful, and inspiring...

Come to Walsingham and discover it...info here...book in and enjoy it all!

Dear "Unknown", trying to reach me...

...please send another COMMENT to this blog, giving an email to which I can reply to you. It is not possible to reach me at any other email address you may have been given.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Stupid propaganda in the forthcoming census...

...it seems that the weird Soviet-style  rewriting of truth has to be pushed all the time...who are the people who do this? Are there no people of wisdom, common  sense and reasonabl intellectual ability working in our bureaucracies these days?


Thursday, July 25, 2019

...and now we have a new Prime Minister...

...who took office on the feast of St Boris. Yes, really.

We must wish him well. The political situation is messy.  We should tackle Brexit, and focus on some sane policies that might begin to reduce the crime rate and restore a sense of community.

But most of our country's problems are beyond the reach of political activity. The best we might hope for is that the govt ceases giving grants to groups that are actively doing harm, eg those that go to schools to promotelesbian and homosexual lifestyles or urge children to think of being "transgender."   Might also be useful to have some reforms in the police service, which seems to have become weirdly political as well as hopelessly gullible: ref the Carl Beech horror...

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A memorable day in London...

....with a team from FOCUS, the USA_based Catholic students group, who have been  here in Britain on mission. Taking a break from their work in street evangelisation, organising Night fever etc, they spent a day discovering London's history with Auntie. We began with Mass at St Elizabeth's, Richmond, and then after coffee and buns walked to the Old Palace and the river and learned about Henry VII and Henry VIII and all that, with a quick romp through Romans and Saxons etc on the way...

Train to London, where the bells of Westminster Abbey were pealing out - there is no more glorious sound. It was for Prince George's birthday. He is six: our future king. What sort of country, with its current social, moral, and spiritual muddle and its failing birthrate, will he inherit?

We were allowed into the Abbey in small groups to pray: although tourists are encouraged to queue up and pay to visit all the royal tombs etc, you can of course enter the Abbey nave  from the West Door if you genuinely want to pray, and we did. There are two Eastern-style icons, one of Christ and one of Our Lady, with stacks of candles in front of them, all in the area near the Coronation Chair and the Tomb of our Unknown Warrior. It was rather moving to stand and pray the Lord's Prayer there with these young missionaries...

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Of course I remember....

...watching the Moon Landing, on black-and-white TV and with my brother setting up a camera in front of the screen to record this moment of history.

Did you know that the first  written words read on the moon were the words of Christ? And the first food consumed was Communion?

When Buzz Aldrin, who was an ordained Presbyterian minister,  stood  with Neil Armstrong on the surface of the moon, he had brought  a wafer and wine from his church with him, and as Armstrong stood alongside, he read silently from the Gospel of St John "Jesus said: I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in Him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me."

 Then, as he later recalled: "I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements."

You can read more about this here.

On Boris Johnson, and Islam...

...this is a very good read....

Thursday, July 18, 2019

JOHN HENRY NEWMAN'S CANONISATION....


...now has a specially dedicated website. It has some good stuff on it, and you might be interested in this bit...


Saturday, July 13, 2019

It's important...

....that you read about this case of injustice...and you might feel you can offer some modest help in rectifying it....

Friday, July 12, 2019

Seven deadly sins...

...and one of them is celebrated with much commercial support and with public funds in London....read here...

Busy...

...and therefore neglectful of this Blog. A day spent with a team reading and judging entries for the 2019 Schools Bible Project, run by an ecumenical Christian group.  Three separate History Walks in the City, Islington, and Westminster. The Islington one focused on 19th century heroine Caroline Chisholm - you can find out about her here....a barbeque following Evensong at church...a meeting with the team that initiated the History Walks to discuss future plans...and more...

Because I loathe hot weather...

...I find new cheery ways to respond when people say "What a glorious day!" meaning a boiling, scorching  one. A beaming smile, and an enthusiastic  "Very hot and sunny!"  usually works well.  But with all the talk about global warming perhaps I won't have to continue with this deception, and we can all agree that very hot weather is horrid.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

More about John Henry Newman...

...and his London links...here...with a picture of the Newman Shrine at a  South London church which has often featured on this log...

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Latest issue of FAITH MAGAZINE...

...is available here...

Or, if you would like a free sample copy of the print version, send a Comment to this blog with your FULL POSTAL ADDRESS (which I will of course not publish)....

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

...and you can read more about Newman and London...

...here...

...and more about the Newman shrine in the Church of the Most Precious Blood, in this new book...

ON THE VERY DAY THAT JOHN HENRY NEWMAN'S CANONISATION WAS ANNOUNCED...

...the Ordinariate and parish church of the Most Precious Blood at The Borough, London Bridge, was consecrated by Archbishop Peter Smith, with an overflow congregation, glorious music, and a rich liturgy with the anointing of the Consecration Crosses along the church walls, and the embedding of relics into the altar beneath the great baldachino...

There are some fine pictures of it all on the local community website here.

It was a truly magnificent evening. The  front of tthe church, facing on to the street, was decked with Papal bunting and golden and white balloons.  The children's choir sang gloriously, in Latin and in English...the stonemason walked  solemnly up the aisle to embed the relics...Mgr Keith Newton the Ordinary, preached... the hymns resounded to the rafters... the sacred oil was poured on to the altar and unseen hands produced, from behind, the most beautiful flowers...and when all was over, Fr Christopher spoke and told the whole story of how this fine church, once deemed effectively ready for closure, was renewed through the dedication, generosity, hard work and loyalty of  all sorts of people...

Then champagne and a buffet in the warm summer evening in the parish schoolyard....everyone celebrating this chapter of local history, and this great day in the life of the universal Church.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

CATHOLIC WOMEN...

... from across Britain will gather on November 6th at London's Farm Street church, to pray for our young people.

 Knife crime, internet "sexting", social media addiction, drugs, family break-up...our young people are crushed and confused by so many pressures. We need to pray.

For half a century, the annual Catholic Women of the Year event brought Britain's Catholic women together to celebrate their commitment to the Faith.Last year, marking this golden jubilee, it was agreed that it was time to change the approach, while keeping the commitment and the tradition. So we are now Catholic Women Praying Together and we will gather for Mass to pray each year. The 2019 theme virtually chose itself: we need to pray for our young people.

The Mass will be followed by a buffet lunch. More info follows.

Save the date in your diary now!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

...and earlier...

...a diaconate ordination at Westminster Cathedral. Among those being ordained was Joseph Estorninho, who for some years ran music workshops at the Towards Advent Festival, following in the footsteps of his friend and colleague Jeremy de Satge.  Joseph is a fine musician, teacher, and composer. It was so moving to see the men prostrate in the sanctuary as the litany was chanted. begging the saints to pray for them....then the Cardinal preached, reminding us of the solemnity and importance of what was happening...and then came the promieses, and the  laying-on-of hands...

Afterwards, a cheery glass of prosecco, and speeches, in the Cathedral House library...and then for the new deacons, a new life and new resonsibilities ahead...

If you've been wondering why Auntie J. has not been blogging....

....it's because I've been in a monastery.

Spent some lovely days at Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight.  Lauds - Morning Prayer - at 7am...but the monks get up earlier, to sing Vigils at 5am. Breakfast (in silence). Time for a walk before Mass....gardens, pigs, glorious countryside, woods, ruins of the ancient abbey (destroyed under Henry, 1536), and the sea.  Mass and then some coffee (gift shop, proper bikkies, local wines and honey and  home-made toffee and things, fresh eggs from monastery hens)...and then on with the business of the day.

Which was a colloquium led by Fr Ian Ker, on GK Chesteron. A pleasant, friendly,  scholarly feel with lively discussion - excellent mix of  serious content and shared sense of sheer enjoyment in Chesterton's prose.

One evening we all decamped to St Cecilia's Abbey so the sisters there could also enjoy the conference. Topic for this session was John Henry Newman's influence on Chesterton and it was the best one of all. The sisters combine scholarship with charm, good humour and a sort of easy informal dignity that I wish we could all try to acquire....

As in all monsteries, Compline concludes each night with the Abbot blessing us all with holy water...on the first night this brought such a cosy and restful feel that I just wanted to go straight to sleep even though it was still light. Another evening I went with a friend down to the seashore and as we paddled happily in the shallows of the Solent, the sun went gently down acoss the bay in a glow of enchanting pink and gold...

In spare moments, I read (found this book on the guest rooms shelves and much enoyed it), visited the bookshop - where they are stocking this book on Newman, and others by the same author - walked in the woods,  talked to a team of  (excellent) seminarians from Oscott and other guests at the Colloquium....

Then home across the sea, the sun sparkling on the water, and a busy train ride up to London catching up on emails....


Saturday, June 22, 2019

IMPORTANT:

You really need to order this now, hot from Rome and essential for your information. Your local school needs to know what the Church is saying. Your friends and, especially, your family, your parish priest, your Catholic organisations and groups, need to know. Order here...

AT TYBURN CONVENT...

...the funeral Mass for Ruth Rees, writer, broadcaster, a convert from the Jewish faith to the Catholic church, a valued friend.

Ruth's Jewish family arranged and attended the Mass, and took part in the readings. It was a most beautiful sung Mass with a fine choir, and afterwards there were lovely tributes to Ruth with stories about her long life. The Order of Service included extracts from her book on the Rosary  and at the reception afterwards we listened to a brief recording of  a talk she once gave about Tyburn, a place she particularly cherished.

Friday, June 21, 2019

A splendid church...

...and a Newman celebration. Evensong and Mass here  with the most beautiful singing from the children's choir...then a v. enjoyable gathering to launch  Newman's London Lots of friends old and new...prosecco...delicious snacks...a great buzz of talk...a happy, happy evening.
It was a joy to present copies of the book to people who have given particular help and support in its production.

If you want a  signed copy of the book, you can get one from the aiuthor by joining one of the History Walks over the next weeks...info here

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

...And my book...

...on John Henry Newman is officially launched tomorrow, with what promises to be a rather good party.

Then at the weekend I will be at Westminster Cathedral for the ordination of a friend to the diaconate. And on Sunday, after the Martyrs' Walk, I'll hop over to Soho to be part of the Corpus Christi Pprocessiion from St Patrick's...

Been reading and enjoying this hefty tome on Newman: heavy to carry about, but a wonderful read, bringing one deep into the events of the 19th century and deeper still into continuing important issues in the Church, pointing to the future...

And after a satisfying but longish day at the University, a walk along the river to Kingston.  The Thames flows along as it has done for century after century...

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A delightful afternoon...

...at Morden Hall Park, a glorious swathe of countryside only a few miles from London. It's near Wimbledon, Tooting, and Merton...but you wouldn't know it. Rose gardens, wide green lawns, the river Wandle wandling along with baby moorhens squeaking enchantingly, a wooden walkway among the rushes specially created so we can all enjoy it, including people in wheelchairs and young mums with prams...and then a proper Tea with china cups and plates, and scones with strawberry jam and cream...

Hugely recommended. We had a fabulous afternoon. Greatly restorative. Well be back.

Surely a daft idea?

There are big headlines today across the internet announcing that the Church may introduce the idea of married men being ordained, specifically for work in the deeply remote areas of the Amazon forest. Reports emphasise that some villages only see a priest once or twice a year, so any priest would have to be permanently on the move, and living in unusually difficult conditions.

Am I alone in thinking this an absolutely daft idea?

Surely the life of a travelling missionary deep in the Amazaon forests is ideally suited to a celibate, and absolutely the last job on eath to offer to a married man trying to raise a famiily?  Imagine - or perhaps the daft people who are offering this idea simply are incapable of imagining - a man struggling  to care for his wife and a bunch of  children,  facing  hunger, lack of everyday comforts, no settled home, inadquate supplies of everything from medical  supplies to sanitation, clothing and educational opportunities....the tough life of a missionary, Think of the children, hostages to an ecclesial whim, denied a proper home or education, or the normal networks of family and friends, as they travel from place to place so that their father can work in remote villages offering Mass and the sacraments?  Or...no...I suppose the plan is that some decent man in one small village is expected to leave his family for long periods, neglecting them for days, weeks, months at a time as other villagers  and relatives try to rally round to  cope with the usual and inevitable challenges and tragedies of daily life...childbirth and illness and  care for the infirm and elderly, and teaching the children and helping them train for work and for adult life...

Or perhaps the priest's family is to be specially favoured...extra help with family finances, funds and status for in-laws and other helpers, scholarships for the children at good schools and  a chance at university? With hard-working impoverished people in remote villages taxed to pay for this...

My guess is that the Amazon-ditch-celibacy plan is the dream of some ageing western clerics, seeking to change the Church's rich and valued pastoral practice to satisfy a conviction formed in about 1968 on no pastoral basis whatever.

Message to the Synod: drop this idea  immediately, and get on with some real pastoral planning.

In response to enquiries...

...the Martyrs' Walk is this coming Sunday, June 23rd, starts 1.30pm from the churchyard of St Sepulcre-without-Newgate, near the Old Bailey.

More info from the Catholic History Walks website here.

The Walk was booked for the same day as the annual Corpus Christi Procession through London - a stupid mistake on our part. I am urging people to make their own choice between the two...I won't be disappointed if the Martyrs' Walk is smaller this year, and we'll check to avoid clashes on future dates.

Monday, June 17, 2019

The conference on THE GENDER AGENDA....

....organised by the Association of Catholic Women was packed out and was a superb day. Excellent speakers: Kerri Christopher from The Humanum Institute and Louise Kirk from Alive to the World.

This whole question of being male or female, of the importance of the truth about our human identity, is a major issue.  A grim aspect of it all is the pressure on children to "trans" and the way in which lobbying for this is financed out of our taxes.  There are some cruel and tragic things happening.  I found this website helpful.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Researching...

...London's history for forthcoming History Walks I came across this fascinating piece. Note the author...

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Catholic women...

...have issued a statement re the new Vatican document on gender ideology....


CATHOLIC WOMEN HAIL NEW DOCUMENT

The Association of Catholic Women expresses its warmest gratitude to the Congregation for Catholic Education for its  statement on the question of gender ideology, Male and Female he created them:towards a path of dialogue on gender theory in education (issued June 10th 2019). https://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2019/gender-ideology-is-opposed-to-faith-reason-vatican-office-says.cfm


The document, which offers a practical and well-grounded approach, is timely and important. Catholic families and schools will welcome this insightful message,  which offers a genuinely helpful intervention in the confusion that surrounds this delicate subject, and shows a way forward. The topic is discussed with charity and an emphasis on human values and human dignity.

We look forward to co-operating with other Catholic organisations in furthering the Church's mission of teaching the truth and meaning of our humanity, created male and female.


Association of Catholic Women  (UK)  June 10th  2019



Monday, June 10, 2019

NEW VATICAN DOCUMENT CHALLENGES GENDER IDEOLOGY....

...and it's a good read.  Info here...

And the BBC has become the spokesman for lesbian and homosexual activists who are angry and appalled...

without even a pretence at getting a balance on the subject.




On President Trump and D-Day and so on...

...read Auntie's analysis and discussion...

Here...



Friday, June 07, 2019

And then...

...invited by friends to a lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine. It was on a topic of particular interest to me, concerning health issues at the original London Airport: Croydon Airport.  Over forty years ago, with two colleagues, I began what was to become a four-volume history of Croydon Airport and  the books are still available: you can find them here   and here  and here...

Croydon Airport began as a small airfield in WWI with heroic pilots learning to fly before being despatched to the battle fields of Flanders...it went on to beome the cradle of British aviation.  From here the air routes across the world were carved out....and then it played a central role  in the Battle of Britain...

Working on this, over many years starting with my election as a local borough councillor in the London Borough of Sutton in 1974, was a big part of my life, and the lecture at the RSM brought it all back.  It was touching to be greeted at the start of the lecture, and Iwas suddenly deeply moved...warm memories...my father was an early member of the Croydon Airport Society, ran its newsletter for many years, and helped to bring to birth the fine Museum which now stands there...

Thursday, June 06, 2019

With LOGS...

...the Ladies Ordinariate Group,  at The Borough, London Bridge, - a very happy evening, celebrating the life and work of Bl John Henry Newman, with Sarah de Nordwall giving readings from his work. Wine, delicious food, and great sense of conviviality...and we finished by walking across the Thames to his birthplace in the City.

It had been a busy day...I  had spent the afternoon very agreeably with residents from the nursing home where my mother lived for some years - they have regular outings to pleasant places and a number of us help out with the wheelchairs etc. We explored Morden Hall Park - the sparking river Wandle, tumbling over little waterfalls, great horse-chestnut trees in their summer glory, baby moorhens squeaking fluffily on the ponds among the reeds...and a delicious Cream Tea to complete the pleasure...

Travelling home late after all this,  trundling a suitcase, I was helped s by a kind Polish gentleman, who briskly took the heavy case up the stairs. I thanked him and held out my hand, which he took and gallantly lightly kissed.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

...and a personal note on Newman from Auntie...

...about Richmond, and the Thames, and the Newman house at Ham....

Auntie J's first job as a journalist was in Richmond...

Read here...




Friday, May 31, 2019

The KEYS, the Catholic Writers Guild...

... held an excellent meeting  at which author Paul Shrimpton spoke about his book on John Henry Newman's influence on the young German anti-Nazis, Hans and Sophie Scholl. They were also influenced by a range of other great writers from the ancient to the modern era including Maritain and de Lubac...

The Scholl story is of great importance, with useful messages for our own era. Read here.

The Keys is proud of its history which dates back to its foundation by a team of writers working for GK's Weekly in the 1930s. I have been a member since the 1970s, when Fleet Street was still the heart of Britain's journalism. At one time, Guild meetings were held in various Fleet street pubs where a room could be hired. The Universe newspaper had an office at 21 Fleet Street and then moved to Bowling Green Lane...Then for many years, the Guild Church was St Etheldreda's, Ely Place, where a plaque in the crypt (where we had supper, following Mass in the main church above)  now records the fact. We then moved to St Mary Moorfields - again, wonderful cheery evenings with Mass, dinner, and a talk - and now we are at Farm Street, where the beautiful church welcomes us. The atmosphere, the friendship, and the sense of being a Guild with its own unique story, thrives...and in a decade or so, we will reach our Centenary...

Over the years, there have also been branches of the Guild in, among other places, Manchester and the North East. The Keys - honouring St Peter of course -  has always been the special name of the London branch.

Monday, May 27, 2019

...and while the headlines heralded the victories of the BREXIT party...

...I had a quiet day finishing some work on the History of St Mary's University, and walked along the river to John Henry Newman's childhood home at Ham.

Want to know more? You could obtain this book...just published.

And, on a separate topics: to the kind reader who sent a Comment to this Blog concerning my children's book - I am working on a sequel, but it has been delayed again and again by other projects, and by occasional bouts of writer's block...it'll be on its way eventually!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

At the Dominican church...

...on Haverstock Hill,  a Rosary Garden, dedicated to the Luminous Mysteries, was blessed yesterday evening, following a glorious sung Mass in the church.Children from the Rosary Primary School sang beautifully, a lovely Ave Maria soaring up at Communion...and then the children themselves trooped up, very reverently,  to receive Communion or a blessing,  a touching sight.

The heart of the new garden is a rather fine statue - Our Lady of Cana. This of course is the second Luminous Mystery, and is peculiarly important for our times, with the denigration of marriage and the muddle over the importance and significance of male and female.

At night the garden is illuminated - truly luminous...

Following all this, a reception was held in the parish hall, with lots of food and wine, friends to meet, lots of good conversations, a celebratory spirit. The hall is to be transformed, in due course, with major renovations, and to become the John Paul Centre, welcoming people to the shrine...

Thursday, May 23, 2019

WENT TO VOTE...

...and there was something a bit odd.. Very long (almost 2foot!) ballot paper. First came the Parties: top of the list was Animal Welfare Party, and next would logically be Brexit. But no.  For some reason, it had been decided that Brexit begins with T,  Thus: The Brexit Party. But this did not apply to Labour, Lib-Dem etc. Weird.

After the list of parties - finishing with Women's Equality - came a long list of independent people standing.

I duly cast my vote and also had a proxy for another family member. This was arranged efficiently. But it is strange that one is not asked for any identity: when I arrived and gave my name and address they simply checked me, plus proxy arrangement etc, on the list. Trusting, and in its way atractively British. But in today's Britain...

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A day...

...with Clare Anderson, co-author of John Paul II:Man of Prayer.  So good to be talking in the sunny garden, catching up on news. When we first met, years ago,  I was an Army wife just returning to Britain after years abroad and establshing a new home, and C. was the mother of a young family....today the Anderson  children are grown up and married, and she and husband L. are joyful grandparents, with two more babies due this year...

Our mutual writing projects over the years have been fun and satisfying. At one point we'd meet up at Paddington station - convenient for both of us - and work on the JPII book together. Staff there at The Mad Bishop and Bear were friendly and interested, and even brought us extra free cups of tea as we worked away...today I dropped in  there for coffee en route to the Andersons, and thanked the team.  The book sells well...I've just ordered some more for some forthcoming events...

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Trawling the internet...

...for some other material, I came across this and  loved it. ENJOY!





...and meanwhile back in London...

...this feature tells a story...




WE WALKED UP GLASTONBURY TOR...

...and sang "Jerusalem" at the top, with the most glorious view of the countryside all around.

This was a  Catholic group gathered for a for a day conference at the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Glastonbury. There was a most beautiful Mass, then a time of silent adoration,  finishing with Benedction...and then a welcome in the parish hall, and I spoke about the Glastonbury Story. Joseph of Arimithea, the Holy Grail, the Arthurian legend...and the Abbey and the centuries of prayer, and the martyrdom of the last Abbott...and today, and all of us gathered to pray for our dear country...






Thursday, May 16, 2019

Come to Walsingham...

...for a special weekend this summer:

Jam, cakes, History, Heritage and Evangelisation 
9th to 11th August. A weekend exploring Catholic culture and history, and how to use it to evangelise. For more details, and to book, contact dowryhouse@walsingham.org.uk

Sunday, May 12, 2019

and Pope Francis...

...meanwhile has pointed out an essential home truth to women from religious orders who asked him about the possibility of female deacons.

Essentially, the answer is: no, women deacons are not a possibility, though no one minds having some more research and discussion in order to help us understand that fact more fully.

“In regard to the diaconate we must see what was there at the beginning of revelation, it there was something, let it grow and it arrives, but if there was not, if the Lord didn’t want a sacramental ministry for women, it can’t go forward. For this reason we go to history and to dogma."
“We are Catholics,but if anyone wants to found another church they are free [to do so].
Which is rather what some of us have been saying for years.

Thank you, Papa.