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.

Another History Walk...

...and again I was late, this time delayed by a demo in Parliament Square...

But I made it to Westminster Cathedral, and  some of us were able to set off for what turned out to be a lovely walk, taking in St James' Park and Whitehall etc etc...

And here we are on the bridge across the Serpentine, with Buckingham Palace in the background:





...

A garden for Mary...

...and a wonderful book launch. It was a joy and priviledge to be invited to write for the Foreword for  A garden for Our Lady by Felicity Surridge, with its enchanting illustrations by Malcolm Surridge. The book was launched with a wonderful party - wine and talk and neighbourliness on a summer evening...and the Mary Garden that the Surridges have created at St Joseph's Church, New Malden,is a joy. The Surridges have done careful research and discovered the old Marian names for many of our flowers and plants - did you know that snapdragons were once known as "Baby Jesus shoes" and that Rosemary is "Our Lady's nosegay"?  And find out about the legend of the juniper tree, and about irises representing the spear that wounded Mary's heart...

You can order the book here, and it would make a delightful present for any Catholic friend - and anyone who enjys gardening or loves gardens.  And just buy it for yourself to enjoy. It combines gentle gardening advice with lovely stories and legends, and is a delightful book to browse through as well as one to consult for specific information - and for prayers and Rosary meditations. Best book that has come my way this year.

Friday, May 10, 2019

NEXT WEEKEND...

...come to Glastonbury!

It's known for a vast expensive noisy rock festival for rich people on some land outside the town.   But its real significance lies elsewhere: the town is linked with Joseph of Arimithea, the Holy Grail, the story of King Arthur, saints including St Patrick and St Dunstan...and much more, including the martyrdom of the last Abbot of Glastonbury, up on Glastonbury Tor.

Come to a prayer-festival organised at the church. Info from the parish: read here...

Thursday, May 09, 2019

WORRYING...

...a planned new law in California  stating that priests must reveal  sins that are confessed to them.

This is evil.

Obviously, priests will refuse.

But think how such a ghastly law, if passed, would be used!
Read here...


Wednesday, May 08, 2019

WALSINGHAM...

...and staying with these lovely Sisters at Dowry House.  And exploring local places associated with the Anglo-Saxons...round tower churches, windswept beaches...

Come on a Dowry House retreat this summer, and discover traditions, heritage, and  new ways to evangelise!

Monday, May 06, 2019

John Henry Newman...

...is much in the news, as his canonisation seems increasingly likely to be quite soon.

DO READ this excellent review of a new edition of Newman's essays.


Sunday, May 05, 2019

Utterly angry with myself...

...I failed to check about the trains (Bank Holiday weekend)  and so missed the group of walkers waiting for me at Richmond,  for what should have been a lovely History Walk along the Thames to Ham.  They waited and waited...

By the time I arrived all had gone, and there was a (justifiably) hurt and upset message on the History Walks email later on...

I can only apologise to everyone. A throughly mixed-up and annoying day - and all my fault.

Friday, May 03, 2019

On July 1st...

...the Church of the Precious Blood at London Bridge will be consecrated.  It dates back to the 1890s and has been a consistent presence in the life of The Borough and Southwark since that time, through two world wars and massive social change...and its extensive renovations are now almost complete. Mass 6.30pm on Monday July 1st and a further chapter of history opens...

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Meanwhile, Sir Roger Scruton has been cruelly mistreated...

...and you can read about it here.  And here...

He must be reinstated at once to the post he held, doing much valuable and selfless work in helping with the problems of modern housing. This is a great man who is a true servant of the public.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Prince Harry...

...has made a serious error of judgement and must apologise.

In apparently giving  support to a group that supports mutilation of children, he has blundered badly.

Making a mistake is easy - we all do it. The only thing to do is admit it, take appropriate action - in this case issuing a formal apology - and learn from the experience. The Prince will learn to  recognise the need for discernment and wisdom when confronted by new trends and lobby groups.Meanwhile the rule "first do no harm" is a generally useful one.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

A talk to pupils at...

...The Laurels School, currently in Balham. A delightful school with a great atmosphere. The girls a cheerful and friendly bunch.  The school is growing fast and has outgrown its current premises and is to move across the river to Chelsea...

The talk was on St John Paul the Great, and you can get a copy of my book  by sending a Comment to this Blog , including, in the text of the Comment, your EMAIL ADDRESS  and your FULL POSTAL ADDRESS.Cost of the book £5.00p...that's a special price for readers of this Blog.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

LOTS OF...

...History Walks coming up, Read here...

Monday, April 22, 2019

Eastertide...

...after a memorable Holy Week in London...the Maundy Mass at Precious Blood Church,,, the great Passion Play in Trafalgar Square on Good Friday at midday and  the 3pm Liturgy at Precious Blood...

...a family Easter in the country...the train out of Paddington, Auntie with a great bag filled with Easter eggs and various goodies...an Easter Vigil with the fire flickering in a country churchyard and a congregation gathering with candles...and then Easter morning with an egg-hunt, followed by a hearty talkative family lunch and a country walk...High Tea with simnel cake...


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Information...

...of very considerable importance to the case of Cardinal George Pell is here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The traditional Chrism Mass...

...at Westminster somehow had a special quality this year...as the Cardinal spoke briefly and solemnly of the great fire at Notre Dame and I think we all had a quiet sense of what a cathedral means...

The Mass is always packed - people sitting in all the side-chapels and standing in the aisles and crammed in at the back...the long column of priests looks rather splendid as is makes its way up Ambrosden Avenue, and a group of us had, as usual, gathered to say "Thank you" to them for the service they give: we hand out small holy cards and this year's had a quote from Bl John Henry Newman...

Of course we had all, like millions world-wide, watched the drama of the Paris fire on our computers or TVs last night...the intensely powerful scenes of Parisians spontaneously on their knees, praying the Rosary, the haunting voices in song and in prayer "Sainte Marie, Mere de Dieu, priez pour nous..."

And their prayers have been answered: it what seems an almost miraculous way, Notre Dame l has survived intact, and the great golden cross gleams anew across a scene that is messy but certainly not devastated. Teamwork and heroism saved important treasures as they were carried out in hand-by-hand human chains. And the Cathedral will be restored and this will all be part of the long and continuing story of the Faith in France.

Some one tweeted with smug assurance "The West has fallen" and announced that the fire symbolised the end of Christianity in Europe. Not so. It brought Paris to its knees in prayer, the cathedral has been saved, and the world saw a France many thought had disappeared.The young voices singing, the goodwill messages from around the world, the sense of human unity...and the saga unfolds anew.

This evening as I made my way home across Westminster Bridge, the Abbey bell was tolling out in solidarity with Notre Dame, a kind gesture.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Last week's HISTORY WALK...

...along the river from Richmond to Ham, was the first of several planned for this  particular route in this spring and summer. It is a lovely route, with the Petersham meadows on one side and the river on the other...and all just a quick train ride from London. Bl John Henry Newman's childhood home at Ham is marked with a blue plaque and is a fine Georgian house, not far from the river.

NEXT history walks:

Saturday May 4th, Chelsea and the story of St Tomas More.Meet Holy Redeemer Church, Cheyne Row SW3, 2.30pm

Sunday May 5th, Richmond. Meet 3.30pm St Elizabeth's Church, the Vineyard, walk to Ham.

Friday, April 12, 2019

A cramped room, in use as a storage place...

...and we gathered around a makeshift altar on which a cross  was placed in the glow of candles. There was just enough room for Fr Chris to celebrate the sacred mysteries. One saw things normally missed because glimpsed only from a distance: somehow with this nearness the greater depths were sensed. Only once or twice in my life have I been at a Mass liked this, and, as with the other times, it made the  actions seem somehow more richly sacred because of their very simplicity.  The Scripture readings - Abraham and the covenant established - then Offertory and petition...water and wine, and  slips of wafer-bread... .Christ's words...a gleaming chalice lifted high, a sacrifice... God's plan from the beginning fulfilled in time and in eternity...

When the church's renovation is complete - already the pews are back, the marble floor looks superb, the final work is being done on the sanctuary and its baldachino - it will all look glorious. But I think we will have special and powerful memories of these days, with their faint faint echoes of  early Christians gathered in pagan Rome in secret, of Mass said with domestic clutter not far away, of the best and most supreme of prayers wafting heavenwards amid the ordinary...

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Email problems...

...are a bore. My email was recently hacked. If any reader got an email which appeared to be from me announcing that I was lost in Marrakesh or something, ignore it.  My security settings etc have since been updated again.


Saturday, April 06, 2019

A walk...

...across London Bridge to the birthplace of John Henry Newman in the City. On the way, we explored the history of Southwark and the City from Roman and Saxon times, via the Vikings, to the Middle Ages and beyond...it s a powerful thing to stand on the bridge  a spring evening and watch the rip current on the Thames, the powerful water surging and hurtling along to reach the high-water marks along the embankment walls, and to ponder the great events that have shaped our history on and alongside this river...

The Monument and Fish Street Hill, Wren and Hawksmoor churches, the Tower dwarfed by vast office slabs, the pubs crowded with cheery Friday-night drinkers...and then a sudden quiet moment at the blue marble slab at marks where the banker John Newman and his family lived, round at the back of the Bank of England, where their son John Henry was born, a man who would  help to re-shape the ecclesial map of England and the story of Christianity in our country.

Want to know more? There are other Catholic History Walks featuring Newman: read here...or come to the Newman Evening being sponsored by LOGS on June 3rd

The Bosnian war...

...was a most terrible one, with ghastly slaughter, neighbours killing one another, atrocities that left villages burned and dead bodies draped in the streets...

Fr Michael Halsall, then an Army chaplain, was with British troops who moved in as part of a NATO peacekeeping force, and spoke about it to us at our LOGS meeting this week. I had invited him to take about his time as an Army chaplain, and had not really thought much about what he would say - it turned out to be an unforgettable evening, much food for thought...




Wednesday, April 03, 2019

THINK ABOUT IT...

...and the Pope has given us all something to think about with his new Apostolic exhortation...Quoting Pope Benedict XVI, he gives a message of hope to the young...

Read it all here, but here is a sample:

Christ is alive! We need to keep reminding ourselves of this, because we can risk seeing Jesus Christ simply as a fine model from the distant past, as a memory, as someone who saved us two thousand years ago. But that would be of no use to us: it would leave us unchanged, it would not set us free. The one who fills us with his grace, the one who liberates us, transforms us, heals and consoles us is someone fully alive. He is the Christ, risen from the dead, filled with supernatural life and energy, and robed in boundless light. That is why Saint Paul could say: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile” (1 Cor 15:7).
125. Alive, he can be present in your life at every moment, to fill it with light and to take away all sorrow and solitude. Even if all others depart, he will remain, as he promised: “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt 28:20). He fills your life with his unseen presence; wherever you go, he will be waiting there for you. Because he did not only come in the past, but he comes to you today and every day, inviting you to set out towards ever new horizons.
126. See Jesus as happy, overflowing with joy. Rejoice with him as with a friend who has triumphed. They killed him, the holy one, the just one, the innocent one, but he triumphed in the end. Evil does not have the last word. Nor will it have the last word in your life, for you have a friend who loves you and wants to triumph in you. Your Saviour lives.
127. Because he lives, there can be no doubt that goodness will have the upper hand in your life and that all our struggles will prove worthwhile. If this is the case, we can stop complaining and look to the future, for with him this is always possible. That is the certainty we have. Jesus is eternally alive. If we hold fast to him, we will have life, and be protected from the threats of death and violence that may assail us in life.
128. Every other solution will prove inadequate and temporary. It may be helpful for a time, but once again we will find ourselves exposed and abandoned before the storms of life. With Jesus, on the other hand, our hearts experience a security that is firmly rooted and enduring. Saint Paul says that he wishes to be one with Christ in order “to know him and the power of his resurrection” (Phil 3:10). That power will constantly be revealed in your lives too, for he came to give you life, “and life in abundance” (Jn 10:10).
129. If in your heart you can learn to appreciate the beauty of this message, if you are willing to encounter the Lord, if you are willing to let him love you and save you, if you can make friends with him and start to talk to him, the living Christ, about the realities of your life, then you will have a profound experience capable of sustaining your entire Christian life. You will also be able to share that experience with other young people. For “being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction”.[69]

Monday, April 01, 2019

Check out the new website of

...the Association of Catholic Women...and come to the conference on THE GENDER AGENDA on Wednesday June 12th at St Mary Moorfield, London EC2.   Speakers include Kerri Christopher of the Humanum Institute.  More info: acwconference@gmail.com  or simply book a ticket:   £15 to ACW, Flat 2, Salamander Court, York Way, London N7 9LG. Ticket covers a buffet lunch.

This "gender" thing is becoming quite sinister. Recently a young soldier described to me the ghastly compulsory propaganda sessions to which they are subjected promoting the whole lesbian/homosexuality message and also the notion that the Army warmly accepts people who "identify" as the opposite sex and will go out of its way to make special provision for them. Meanwhile of course the Army itself is shrinking, and the decreasing number of soldiers feel that they are less and less part of something worthwhile and effective. And no, he wasn't doing an April Fool.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Sign up to...

....THE VALUES FOUNDATION.  An excellent organisation - read Louise Kirk's most useful introduction here  and give the venture your support.




Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A letter to a German cardinal...

...worth reading   See here...


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Spent the afternoon...

...dusting and hoovering....

Nothing special about that, of course - except that it wasn't at home, but on the bare wooden planks of an empty church.  The fine new marble floor at Precious Blood Church has been covered for these past few weeks because of building work, which is now nearing completion. We have been having Mass in the night-club opposite, or in the bare church with a makeshift altar. The wooden flooring is very very dusty - my backpack was covered in dust when I picked it up after (stupidly) putting it down during Mass last Sunday.  So...as the planking was slowly unscrewed and removed, we had to hoover each piece before it was carried away to be stacked in the hallway,  or the dust would have settled again on the new walls and ledges and steps etc... and then hoover again the cardboard layer beneath the planking...and in due course we'll finally be hoovering the finally-revealed new marble flooring....

It was warm work, and the tea that finished the afternoon was hugely welcome. Then I hurried across the river to the City, where a group of French missionary priests were meeting...they are busy at St Patrick's Soho for the next few days, at a conference on evangelisation, gathering and sharing ideas and information...we made our way together to  Tyburn. It was a powerful moment as we gathered at the site of the gallows, and knelt to pray there, and to kiss the hallowed site where martyrs shed their blood for Christ and the Church...it's on a traffic island where the Edgeware Road meets the Bayswater Road opposite Hyde Park.

Monday, March 25, 2019

On the subject of Cardinal George Pell...

...it is worth reading an analysis by a man who is no admirer of the Cardinal: read here


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Re that petition to the Dept for Education...

... re the plan to teach small children about lesbianism etc...here's a thoughtful and useful analysis. Read on...


Want to give a child a special Easter gift?

Try "A Book of Saints and Heroes" and/or "A Book of Saints and Heroines". Yours for £5.00p - contact this Blog WITH AN EMAIL ADDRESS OR  POSTAL ADDRESS AT WHICH I CAN REACH YOU.  These are satisfying, readable, stories, attractive paperbacks, about some of the great men and women of the Christian centuries.

Enjoy school-stories? Ask me about "We didn't mean to start a school", a cheerful girls'-school story.

Chocolate eggs are a must for Easter - but a really satisfying book adds to the joy...

SIGN THIS PETITION...

...it is rather urgent.  Join with others to tell the Government to drop this ghastly scheme to teach small children about being lesbians and homosexuals.

Sign here: and pass the word on to friends.

It's important.

And on St John Paul...



... and his pontificate...read this by one who worked with him for years...


Thursday, March 21, 2019

WORTH READING...

...this





Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A fellow Catholic writer and journalist...

... Caroline Farrow, has been questioned by police because she used the pronoun "he" in a discussion about a man who now says he is a woman.

I am not making this up.

Apparently she might be prosecuted under a law that could imprison her for two years.

Today's Daily Telegraph sums up the situation well:
'She is to be interviewed under caution  following a television debate with a transgender activist who took exception to Mrs Farrow's refusal to say "she" instead of "he".This might be a point of issue between the two individuals but by what possible measure of sanity does it become a matter for a police investigation?

'Moreover, what law has she broken? It is not the job of the police to dance to the tune of the aggressively militant and miniscule trans lobby but t uphold the law of the land. Whatever misgendering is, it is not an offence.'

There is something evil around in Britain at present - a spirit of vindictiveness and spite, in an atmosphere of confusion.  Pray for our country.



LET'S HEAR IT FOR MEN!


....read this piece in the Catholic Herald...


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

By lantern-light, a walk exploring history...

...across Richmond Green and through the archway of the Old Palace, and down to the river...

We met at St Elizabeth's  church at 7pm, and I had brought my lantern, and a spare supply of candles for it. The walk took us through the stories of Henry VII, Henry VIII and the Tudor saga...and plunged further back into history with Henry I and the first Royal palace built at what was then Shene...

After the Walk finished, a small core of us went on to a riverside pub...much enjoyable talk...many good things happening at st Elizabeth's, a parish with a fascinating history, and with a sense of evangelism...

Monday, March 18, 2019

Come to DOWRY House, Walsingham, this summer!

Starts: Friday 9 August 2019 @ 5pm
Ends: Sunday 11 August 2019 @ 2pm
A weekend celebrating Catholic culture – and how to use it to evangelise.
Talks and practical activities to celebrate and spread the Faith
To book, contact Dowry House Tel: 01328 801018

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Good to be back in church...

...for Mass, instead of in a night club. But the Church of the Most Precious Blood is still a building-site. Masses of dust on the floor - but not on the seats which a team of good parish volunteers cleaned carefully and energetically beforehand. The proper pews will be back soon - with some new ones added as the congregation is growing substantially. The children's choir sang enchantingly.

In the afternoon I led a cold wet History Walk from Westminster Cathedral down to Parliament.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

PRAY...

...for Cardinal George Pell,     Watch this for a useful discussion.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

I've been asked...

...to publicise this Retreat, which seems of value...


A Retreat with a Difference
A Foyer de Charité Retreat will be held at Hinsley Hall, the Diocese of Leeds Pastoral Centre, from Sunday 21 July (6pm) – Saturday 27 July (2pm) 2019. The theme is God’s Plan for the Fullness of Time, and the preacher will be Mgr. Keith Barltrop, with help from past retreatants. Foyer retreats are held mainly in silence, with three talks a day, and offer a holistic way of deepening our faith in the Church’s teaching and our life in Christ.  The Foyers are communities of consecrated lay people living with a priest in order to help others grow closer to Christ and live the Catholic faith more fully. For further information or to book a place, contact Mgr. Barltrop:keithbarltrop@rcdow.org.uk07879 953953; St. Mary of the Angels, Moorhouse Road, Bayswater, London W2 5DJ

In bright sunshine but a bitterly cold wind, we walked around an ancient palace yard...

...and along the Thames at Richmond, learning about Edward I and Edward II and  Henry VII and Henry VIII, and an ancient Carmelite Friary, and more...

Sunday afternoon History Walks are proving popular.  See here for future walks...


Saturday, March 09, 2019

The bogus rubbish ...

...that calls itself International Women's Day needs to be exposed. I did so, last time this nonsense came around. In case you missed it, read here...

Thursday, March 07, 2019

The latest issue of FAITH magazine...

...can be read here...

Or, if you send a Comment (which I will not publish)  to this Blog WITH A FULL POSTAL ADDRESS, I will post you a copy.

ASHES...

...and churches are always crowded. I went at lunchtime at the University and the chapel, though not full, had good numbers.

If you want a good cause for your Lenten alms, then the good sisters at this thriving community would value some help - they have an old building which is in a poor state and needs various repairs...

Spring is here. Come to the HISTORY WALK on Sunday in RICHMOND. Meet 3.30pm at St Elizabeth's Church, The Vineyard.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

and in answer...

..to the anonymous correspondent who wrote in to this blog:
 Dear Sir, No - the whole point about the Cardinal  Pell case is that the jury - and all of us -  must  not leave the facts aside and talk only about child abuse affecting various families, or about the Church, or about our feelings on these or related matters. We must, on the contrary, stick to examining the facts alleged about a particular event at a particular time. That is what a court is asked to do, and all concerned must remove all other considerations from their minds. So: was the Cardinal in the sacristy at the time alleged or was he, as witnesses have stated, in a procession walking through the crowded  cathedral and then greeting people outside?   How did the man who now makes the allegation explain his ability to go to his place in choir, unhurt, and sing as if nothing had happened? Why, if attacked as described, did he not shout or scream for help, especially as there were a large number of people nearby? Why did his friend not do so? These are among the many questions.

Our entire justice system rests on the understanding that the facts of a case must be established, on evidence given and examined. Whatever your opinions about a man's work or about events in the news, or about religion or race or nationality, you must leave these aside as you concentrate on listening to the information about the incident and establishing what occurred.

I am honestly appalled - and slightly frightened - by the realisation that in Australia today this is not the common understanding of what a court should do.




And you need to read this...

...on events in Australia...

Anglo-Saxons...

...and their prayers and poetry came alive for us this evening at this church at London Bridge. An evening led by Sarah de Nordwall and organised by LOGS - the ladies group based at the church, in conjunction with CATHOLIC HISTORY WALKS...we heard the history of Roman Britain/Saxon invasions/Vikings/Normans  and we listened to, among much else, some Beowulf, and some of the Song of the Rood...

The room was packed - we had just about enough space for everyone to cram in. LOGS did us proud with snacks and wine and pancakes  and pancakes and pancakes...it was a perfect way to mark Shrovetide, and one ofthe most successful-ever LOGS evenings...

Monday, March 04, 2019

The Sisters...

...at Minster Abbey in Kent  are inviting young women to a "Come and See" weekend, April 12th-14th .

They are delightful nuns:they live a contemplative life, have restored a Saxon convent, sing the Offices daily together in chapel, lead retreats, and have a welcoming  guest house. They offer weekends where you can learn various crafts, and have retreat-times for people who have been bereaved and for families with special needs.  I recommend a visit.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

This past week...

...each evening I have been listening to CS Lewis' That Hideous Strength  as an audio book. It is some 45 years since I first read it.  It is, in the real and not the attempting-to-predict-the-future sense of the word, prophetic. And important.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

And on the subject of Cardinal Pell....

...you must read this excellent analysis which looks at the whole subject,.

The issue at stake is justice: the jury is not meant to give an opinion on whether or not they like Cardinal Pell, but whether or not he committed the deeds alleged. One correspondent to this Blog wrote to me about this: his point was that it didn't matter whether or not these particular crimes had been committed: he just felt that the Cardinal seemed an unsympathetic character and so it was "karma" that he should go to prison. If that's a common view in Australia, then the justice system there cannot work.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

...and here is why:

1. The allegation was that he had committed a sexual act in the vestry. At the time stated, he was actually walking in a procession in a crowded cathedral  accompanied by a number of other people, and then greeting people outside, watched by a large crowd. Witnesses gave evidence to this.

2. He was not in the vestry at the time described, nor could it have taken place later (see 3). He was fully robed and it would not be possible for him to perform the act described in the way described. On returning to the vestry after greeting people he was accompanied by other clergy, who were present with him until all left the cathedral together. They gave evidence to this.

3.The man making the allegation stated that it took place in the vestry while he was a chorister. Choristers did not use the vestry  nor could they have been drinking Communion wine as claimed as it was locked away elsewhere. At the time of the alleged act, the then-chorister and his companion (who has since died, and before doing so admitted that the whole event had not occurred) were with the rest of the choir, rehearsing for a Christmas recording. Had they been absent, this would have been noted.

4.All of this was established at the first trial when the Cardinal was acquitted. Attempts to invent other incidents have failed.


INNOCENT.

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL IS INNOCENT.





Monday, February 25, 2019

MASS in the nightclub...

....in The Siding, opposite Precious Blood Church - was  extremely packed,the somewhat catacomb-like atmosphere enhanced by the decorative style, which in this particular part is deliberately distressed-spooky-shabby with no windows.  The overflow congregation spilled out into the corridor and hall and entrance-way. The club had offered their largest space but it still wasn't big enough...it will be good to have the church back in use!  We all peered in later.... gathering in groups around the doors...the walls are now being painted and it will look beautiful, light, and dignified, with the magnificent font and marble floor leading the eye to the sanctuary and altar.