Monday, October 19, 2020

Sunday, October 18, 2020

WHY WALK ALONG THE RIVER THAMES...

 

...when you can walk IN the River Thames?


Today's History Walk began very comfortably at St Elizabeth's church, Richmond, warmly welcomed by the excellent parish priest Fr Stephen Langridge,  we  then walked - properly spaced, obeying all the corona-rules - down into the town and across the Green, with me explaining about how the town got its name, and about Henry VII and the Old Palace, and more...

And then we turned Old Palace Lane and headed for the river. It was seeping up across the bank, with tiny rivulets making their way across the towpath. But I led the way as we strode out towards  the boatyards and then the fields and Ham...

But we had hardly gone a few yards  before the rivulets became a serious puddle...and people ahead of us urged us to turn back...and attempts to go further were clearly absurd and had to be abandoned - and as we turned  the towpath was impossible as it had become part of the river .... Only by  squelching and scrambling scrambling right up against the garden wall of  Asgill House were we able to regain Old Palace Lane, and by then we were wading up to our knees in the Thames...

Everyone remained in good spirits - in fact one member of the party was laughing so much he could barely speak, and another lined us up as I was pouring water out of my boots, and photographed us...

I've promised to check the tide-tables before any other Richmond Walk. 






Saturday, October 17, 2020

We will shortly be celebrating...



...the feast of St John Paul the Great.


Did you know he had thought of taking the name Stanislaus I?


Info here


 

Friday, October 16, 2020

YOU CAN LISTEN TO AUNTIE JOANNA....

 ....on Radio Maria England.


This is a new initiative: an independent radio station,  linked to a "family" network centred in Italy.  There is a good range of programmes, with Mass and various devotions, music, and all sorts of talks and discussions. Auntie Joanna's contribution is a regular "Feasts and Seasons" programme, which each week has info on the feast-days and saints' days that are coming up...


Tune in here....


or here

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

VINDICATED...

 ...Cardinal George Pell with the Pope at the Vatican this week.




Monday, October 12, 2020

A little while ago......


 ...I was told emphatically that the modern Church has produced no saints.

This was and is rubbish.  But it is glorious to be able to refute it with the dramatic scenes from Assisi this weekend. A London-born computer whizzkid has just been beatified, a Millenial saint.   Read here...

Lift up your hearts.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

The 2020 CATHOLIC YOUNG WRITER AWARD....

 


....had fewer entries this year but produced two fine winners/. You can read all about it here



Monday, October 05, 2020

With St John Henry Newman's FEAST DAY coming up...

 ...thoughts turn to Maryvale, which was his home  when he left Littlemore to start a new chapter of his life.

Today Maryvale offers a wonderful opportunity to study the Faith  and to become an evangelist.  We can't all be as effective as Newman - but we can certainly open up our minds and hearts, and share the good news of the Gospel. 

There's a lot of talk today about the Church needing missionary disciples. Maryvale is where you can get trained to become just that.

There  is a great range of courses - all done by distance-learning, something which Maryvale has been doing for years and is, of course, exactly tuned for this Coronavirus time.  You can do a training course in Youth Ministry.   There are courses for parish catechists.  Or you can get an Ecclesiastical Licence empowering you for a leadership position in a Catholic school.  Some of the courses obviously require good academic qualifications.: there's a course starting in January on Philosophy in the  Catholic Tradition...

Maryvale itself is a fine old house set in its own grounds not far from Birmingham.  One of the most delightful things about attending a course usually is the hospitality and welcome of the house. Like many other students over the years, I have had the privilege of using the room that Newman used while he lived there - with its small hidden window looking on to the chapel, where he knelt to pray..

But Maryvale isn't just a place, it's a real community and a superb experience, with wonderful tutors.

If you are feeling dead-end coronavirus-ish...click on to the website and plan for something new. This is a good time to commit to a new project  and a new challenge  - with a real and practical usefulness to the Church's mission, which in our poor country has never been more urgent...

Monday, September 28, 2020

and on a different topic....THIS is useful....

 ...from the Christian Institute.


Please watch and make use of the info

It is a strange feeling....

 ...when something with which you have been actively involved becomes the stuff of memoirs..

Keston College was an excellent institution run by Rev Michael Bourdeaux, which chronicled the plight of Christians and other religious believers under Communism. It did a most useful job, and highlighted some of the courageous men and women who spoke up for truth and human dignity  under a cruel regime and often suffered hideously in prisons or labour camps in the USSR  as a result.

Michael's new book telling the Keston story is a good read. As I got into it, I was fascinated to learn how the project began, and  then rather moved to reconnect with people  who over the years became part of the story.  It felt strange to come across, suddenly, a quotation from a letter in the Catholic Herald by some one called Joanna Nash, calling for more public action on behalf of persecuted Christians...

Memories...standing outside the Soviet Union in vigils of prayer...especially one Christmas Eve, when passers-by stopped to give us their support...

And one particular memory: meeting Irina Ratushinskaya, the poet who endured imprisonment for  her courageous writing. She told us of a strange prison experience: being in a bitterly cold punishment cell at night, in solitary confinement, unable to sleep...and suddenly having a  sensation of warmth, and a deep understanding: "Some out out there is praying for me at this moment."



Friday, September 25, 2020

and here is some good news:

 


After an hotel in Northern Ireland rudely interrupted a speaker and stopped him addressing a group discussing marriage, the hotel has now climbed down,  apologised, and more...read here...


It is, of course, disgraceful that this incident should have occurred in the first place. What on earth did the hotel staff think they were doing?  I mean, literally - what did they think? What was in their minds? What had they been taught and told? Why did they imagine they had any right to prevent some one from speaking about marriage?


Boys and girls who have been attending schools in Britain over the past few years have not been encouraged to think freely and along large lines. They have been taught to pass exams, and to adopt words and phrases that will help them to do that. They have not been encouraged to read widely, to debate freely, to ponder history, to argue over ideas and ideology.


It's really rather frightening.  Thank God, at least, for the small mercy of this apology...and for what it now means for wider freedom...

Saturday, September 12, 2020

 ...

 A visit to the Royal Air Force Memorial overlooking the Thames at Runnymede

My Uncle John's name is on this memorial - Pilot Officer John Michael Campbell RAFVR. 

His name is on Panel 123.  He was killed in 1943.

There are 20,000 names on this memorial - airmen who died for our country in World War II and have no known grave.

Recently our family received some extraordinary news. Uncle John's aeroplane - a Stirling bomber - has been found deep in a lake in Holland where it fell. It was identified by its number...and the crew were identified when Uncle John's silver cigarette case was found, bearing his initials JMC. The Dutch army is now helping to recover the aeroplane, and a local museum honours the crew. The Dutch are grateful to the Royal Air Force for helping to liberate their country from Nazi occupation.

The Queen's words at the opening of the Runnymede memorial in 1953 have never seemed more important.  At Runnymede King John signed Magna Carta, establishing the freedoms that British people have treasured down the years. 


Saturday, September 05, 2020

In London...

...extreme left-wing campaigners tried to stop newspapers being printed.

They call themselves "Extinction rebellion". But they are not rebelling., merely shrieking out the standard leftwing line on a range of issues, and using militant tactics in attempts to stop healthy debate and if possible to wreck Britain's economy, on the grounds that our industries damage  the world's ecological balance. 

Meanwhile China mines coal and launches new power stations month by month, and buys up large tracts of land across Africa, establishing ports and transport links on a massive scale, establishing her new empire.

The Knights and Dames of St Gregory...

...in the diocese of Portsmouth, marked St Gregory's Feast Day with a Mass at St Edward's Church, Windsor.

There could be no music - all the restrictions were obeyed. But it was good to get together, in our robes, and to honour St Gregory and be inspired and reminded of our calling as Christians...and the need to re-evangelise our country and to offer the glorious message oi Christ...

We posed for the traditional photograph - robed and masked, a picture for history.


Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Read about why the Anglican patrimony matters...

...and Auntie Joanna analysing it...here...

and let me know your thoughts.

Monday, August 31, 2020

NEXT series of HISTORY WALKS....




CATHOLIC HISTORY WALKS: SEPTEMBER 2020

All welcome…no need to book, just turn up! We suggest a donation of £10 for each Walk. 

Wear suitable shoes and clothes – we walk whatever the weather!  We maintain social distancing.  More information at: www.catholichistorywalks.com

Sunday September 6th, 6.00pm (after 5.30pm Mass) steps of Westminster Cathedral London SW1P 1LT. Nearest tube: Victoria.  We will explore Westminster, Whitehall, and St James Park.

Tuesday September 8th 7pm  (NOTE TIME), after 6pm Mass, meet at St Dominic's Priory, Southampton Road London NW5 4LB.  Nearest tube: Belsize Park.  We will learn about the Garden of the Luminous Mysteries, and walk to Hampstead Heath, encountering the forgotten Fleet River, and the story of Gospel Oak.

Friday September 11th 7pm,  after 6pm Mass meet at St Dominic's Priory, Southampton Road London NW5 4LB .  Nearest tube: Belsize Park.  We will learn about the Garden of the Luminous Mysteries, and walk to Hampstead Heath, encountering the forgotten Fleet River,and the story of Gospel Oak.

Tuesday September 15th meet 6pm  after 5.30pm Mass, on the steps of Westminster Cathedral Londson SW1P 1LT after the 5.30pm Mass.  We will explore Westminster, Whitehall, and St James Park.

Sunday September 20th, meet 4pm main door, St George’s Cathedral, Southwark. Nearest tube: Waterloo or Lambeth North. We will  discover Southwark’s story and walk to Lambeth Palace and the river,

Sunday September 27th meet 3pm (note time) St Elizabeth's Church, The Vineyard, Richmond TW10 6AQ. Nearest tube/overground: Richmond.  We will learn about Henry VII, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I  and walk along the Thames to St John Henry Newman's childhood home at Ham.

The Catholic History Walks are organised by an independent Catholic voluntary group and the walks are led by Catholic writer Joanna Bogle, We are happy to organise a school, parish organisation, etc.   Just contact us:
chwalkslondon@gmail.com


Wednesday, August 19, 2020

and read about Auntie Joanna at a baptism at WESTMINSTER...

...in the strange London that is slowly opening up after the Coronavirus lockdown...

Read here



Friday, August 14, 2020

 IMPORTANT READING....

here...






Saturday, August 08, 2020

 CATHOLIC HISTORY WALKS



Come and enjoy an August walk, and discover our Catholic history on the way!  Two special Walks to celebrate the life and message of St John Henry Newman:

Wed Aug 19th meet 6pm  Church of the Most Precious Blood, O'Meara Street, London SE1 1TD (nearest tube/overground  LONDON BRIDGE). We'll walk across London Bridge - with its story of St Olaf and Viking battles -  to the birthplace of St John Henry Newman in the City.


Wed Aug 26th meet 6pm
at St Elizabeth's Church, The Vineyard, Richmond TW10 6AQ. (Nearest tube/overground: RICHMOND). We'll visit  Richmond Palace and its links with Henry VIII etc - and walk along the river to St John Henry Newman's childhood home at Ham.

We'll be socially-distanced as we walk. All are welcome - no need to book, just turn up! A donation of £5.00p is suggested. More information: www.catholichistorywalks.com

Monday, July 20, 2020

With lockdown easing....

...we visited friends in Sussex. A great reunion, long talkative meals, a happy family time...

The Sussex Downs glorious in summer sunshine, the English Channel crashing against the sand and pebbles on the beach....

Cycled to Mass on Sunday morning along lanes past meadows and streams, and fields of ripening crops. Mass at this church,  famous for its replica Sistine chapel ceiling...


Monday, July 13, 2020

Read about life in prison...




...here

On-line petitions often seem a waste of time...



...but I am signing this one, anyway, and urge you to join me:


HERE IS THE NEW SERIES OF HISTORY WALKS....

....read here....


And come and join us!!!


It is bleak having to "sign in" to get to Mass on Sundays.  It's bleak not knowing if and when the schools will open in September.


But getting together can be a boost to morale. Come on a cheering History Walk, cherish the wonderful heritage that is ours in Britain.... widen your knowledge  and enjoy the Thames and dozens of great stories....



Wednesday, June 24, 2020

...and there are signs of hope...




Read here...

...and we hope to offer some History Walks along the Thames soon...

Monday, June 22, 2020

Auntie Joanna resumes her blog...

...after  a longish gap. Things have been busy.

With lockdown easing, it has been possible to get to London to help out with serving breakfasts at St Patrick's Soho, to the homeless who gather there...and to Trafalgar Square to offer teas and coffees. Good to reconnect with old friends among the teamworkers at both venues. The group at Trafalgar Square is organised from Westminster Cathedral and includes people from Farm Street. The leader is the chairman of the St Vincent de Paul group at the Cathedral - and was also the voice you may have heard when Cardinal Vincent  Nichols celebrated Mass, broadcast on  BBC Radio 4 recently. The Mass, of course, was without a congregation, but  had a reader, the only person present apart from the Cardinal and altar server...it must have been a strange experience.

The Cathedral is now open for prayer: a joy and a great reassurance. In these weird and uncomfortable times, the unchanging stability of this London landmark somehow carries something of the solidity of the late Victorian era in which it was built.

During lockdown, I have written one book, and begun work on another.  I've completed a piece of embroidery and launched a new one (cross-stitch kneelers for the  chapel of the wonderful Community of Our Lady of Walsingham).

I've been reading Dietrich von Hildebrand and  was thrilled to listen to this excellent sermon

 And, looking ahead, I will be getting this book as a must-read


Tuesday, June 02, 2020

AND WE MUST BE ALLOWED TO OPEN OUR CHURCHES!

This is getting urgent.  There is absolutely no reason why people should not be allowed to go into churches and pray. The Bishops of England and Wales are calling for this and the Govt seems to be negotiating, and there must be no delay.

Read here:


Cardinal Vincent Nichols has spoken out strongly, as has Archbishop John Wilson of Southwark. I quote him:


Respectfully, I believe that it is now time for churches to be allowed to open for individual visits for private prayer. Supervision and hygiene regimes can be put in place akin to those in supermarkets and any churches that cannot implement these would remain closed.Since the Government’s decision, on 23 March 2020, to close places of worship our churches have remained shut. We accepted this as part of the important strategic effort to save lives and contain the spread of Covid-19. Important Christian festivals during Holy Week and Easter all took place behind closed doors, each priest celebrating alone without a congregation.

As restrictions have been lifted, there is growing frustration that churches remain closed for private, individual, visits of prayer. This comes when restrictions on access to other ‘non- essential’ facilities are being relaxed. For Catholics, access to church buildings is spiritually essential, something recognised by other Governments internationally.
At stake here are two paramount principles. The first is freedom of religion and the second is basic equality and justice. Total church closure was justifiable in the initial weeks of the pandemic. However, to enable non-essential shops and services to open, while keeping churches closed for individual prayer, is an infringement of both religious freedom and equity.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT...

...has published Auntie J's latest piece...do read it here...




Sunday, May 17, 2020

On the subject of Cardinal George Pell...

.... there is now much comment, and there will be more to come.

This is a much maligned man - Australia's Drefus - and it is very important to be properly informed about him.  For an accurate look at recent events and discussion surrounding the Royal Commission, you  should read this...

And read Auntie Joanna on St John Paul and Fatima....


...in the on-line Catholic Herald  here


LOTS OF GOOD THINGS...


....on the internet,  marking  St John Paul II's centenary.

The most important is the letter by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.Absolutely superb, in its rich insights. He makes out a good case for naming him, s so many already do,  as John Paul the Great.

Among many other tributes, read his biographer reflecting on him here.

And some insights into into his role as an intercessor at this time of great trial with the China virus pandemic: read here...


Thursday, May 14, 2020

MAYBE THERE IS A GLIMMER OF HOPE...

...on the prospect of opening our churches again.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols seemed to be offering the right approach when he spoke on the radio today:


https://www.cbcew.org.uk/cardinal-on-safely-re-opening-churches-for-private-prayer/

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Saturday, May 09, 2020

And the Queen was, as always, splendid...



....and this was very moving, and just what we needed to boost us....



Friday, May 08, 2020

VE DAY - 75th anniversary



...we have our flag up here at Bogle Towers.  We will listen to the Queen at 9pm,  and gather outside afterwards to sing with neighbours...

A Mass was celebrated today at Westminster Cathedral and here is the Cardinal's message

Auntie Joanna, like so many others, has family stories of WWII...

My father and my father-in-law both fought in that war, as did all my uncles...among them Uncle John: Flying Offer John Michael Campbell, RAFVR, shot down in April 1943.  His name is on the big Royal Air Force Memorial overlooking the Thames at Runnymede where Magna Carta was signed, and on the War Memorial at his school, Tiffins School, Kingston. And all his family remember him with gratitude.







Represenatives of the leading Catholic women's groups...

...in Britain launched an annual Mass last year to pray for our young people.

The idea caught on, and a beautiful Mass was celebrated at London's famous Farm Street Church.

Plans are now afoot for this year's event...praying that it can take place.

Info here, on this newly-created website:





Wednesday, May 06, 2020

This vocation story...

...is worth hearing..

Men training for the priesthood  at St John's seminary, Wonersh, are currently working in parishes. Watch this to get the story of one of them...

Sunday, May 03, 2020

women deacons?

...and all that....

Read the latest issue of this magazine: leading article...



Friday, May 01, 2020

Although Auntie Joanna has spent much of this lockdown period working...

...on a new book and on other literary projects,  there has also been time to complete some stitchery. This kneeler is for the chapel of the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk...


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Saturday, April 25, 2020

How has Auntie Joanna been spending time in lockdown?

....at once stage, doing a lot of nursing.   Laterally, lots of writing, proof-correcting, fact-checking.

Attending Mass on-line now feels quite routine.  Greeting neighbours, from a safe distance, has become pat of life.

Reading:

Guy Nichols   Unearthly Beauty, The Aesthetic of St John Henry Newman

The Spectator -  10,000th edition, a grand read

Michael Bourdeaux One word of Truth - the story of Keston College

and some Georgette Heyer

and sewing...or. rather un-sewing. A sampler for a dear niece's wedding, now postponed. Carefully unpicking the date, ready to embroider the new one when this lockdown is over.

Monday, April 20, 2020

A hard-working nurse...

...contacted me to say, from the heart,  that it's quite wrong to say there is no pressure on hospitals (see my post yesterday). They are all under enormous pressure, and things are extremely challenging and difficult.

I - we - do all recognise that, and no one should for a moment suggest that somehow doctors, nurses and the other exhausted staff should somehow just be expected to "cope" with whatever happens next in his grim virus saga. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Time to plan for lifting the lockdown...

....the Great Crisis In The Health Service  has been avoided as people have locked down, and done all that they were told to do. There are now empty beds in the new Nightingale Hospital, and in the other hospitals that were alerted for a Coronavirus crisis.  Even if things do peak, the NHS can now cope.

So it is time to start lifting the lockdown.

I don't need to be told about what it's like caring for the sick, as I have been spending time doing that.  I do need to tell people that most sufferers from the coronavirus will not need to go to hospital, and  that the few who do can now be assured that beds are ready.  The worry now is that the decisions that need to be made will not be made, because of a fear of a public and media-scented backlash...after weeks of being told to stay at home, and of obeying, people now feel that's the only thing to do...and some won't like the idea of facing the next challenge. But it can't be put off for ever...we must now accept that there is going to be a tough time as we start to return to work and rebuild our community networks. We must get on and help one another.

I am getting rather tired of well-do-do people in comfortable homes with gardens writing about the joys of listening to birdsong and appreciating long hours of reading and relaxing., and saying that the lockdown is really rather fun.   What about people stuck on the 14th floor of a concrete block of flats with no garden? Young people facing a jobless future?  People seeing their life's work and family security draining away? Lonely people - there are so many - who need more than just some telephone calls? And all the community networks that make for civilisation: schools, colleges, choirs,  clubs, sports,  societies with their talks and projects, churches, evening classes, youth groups, hobby groups...and much, much  more...

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

...and on sunny days....

....working on the proofs of latest book, in the intervals of cooking and nurse-duties and washing sheets and towels in Dettol etc etc...

Our neighbours are being wonderful and kind, and there is a great sense of people rallying-round. There are waves and greetings in the street when I go out  to the front of the house to enjoy some fresh air in the garden,  and somehow everyone seems to be making an extra effort to be neighbourly and pleasant.

Some good news today: schools are participating in the annual Schools Bible Project - run by an ecumenical group that I chair - so the lockdown hasn't wrecked it. This is our 31st year, and entries have been arriving - so our committee member in charge of this tells me - so that there is now a good stack awaiting the day when the judges can meet and read them.

More on Cardinal George Pell here...

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

AND WATCH THIS...

... interview with Cardinal George Pell


An innocent man, victim of the grotesque miscarriage of justice. And a witchunt led by a taxpayer-funded national broadcasting corporation.

Monday, April 13, 2020

You really must read...

....this interview with the Pope....praising Humanae Vitae, quoting Virgil, talking about hope and urging the young to be prophetic...

Sunday, April 12, 2020

...and a strange Easter...

....following a Mass on-line from this church in London, at home, in the intervals of hanging out towels and bedding washed in Dettol etc.

My patient is getting better - these have been worrying days - and thanks to a kind neighbour who has been doing our shopping,  I was able to cook a good Easter lunch, with lamb cutlets and roast parsnips and potatoes.  Last year's rich summer  of blackberries and plums is still providing pies and puddings, and I  raided the freezer to make a plum sponge pudding served with cream. And relatives had sent a splendid Easter egg with our names on it!  So we had a lovely Easter day...all in lockdown.

Watched the Pope in Rome - his slow and deliberate way of celebrating Mass is quietly reassuring, and  the use of the Cross that dates back to a former plague era puts things in a wider and deeper perspective.

And all over Britain, Easter was being marked, just as it has been for centuries.  Why don't more of us mark it in some quietly public way like  the family with this window?

Friday, April 10, 2020

The strangest Maundy Thursday...

...as a Church in lockdown sought to  honour these sacred days...

Caring for a very sick relative keeps one busy.

At 6.30pm, I tuned in, if that's the expression, to the on-line Mass at the Church of the Most Precious Blood. It was somehow reassuring - the church was the same as ever, and one could even hear the trains rumbled past as they always do. The great crucifix above the high altar was of course draped in its Passiontide cloth.

As Mass began, the feeling changed...it was somehow just like being there...the Mass was real, and I was praying with it.

A powerful moment: usually, at the Chrism Mass, all the priests of the diocese reaffirm their ordination promises, and a great roar of men's voices fills the packed Cathedral. This Holy Week, none of that was possible. Each priest was asked to reaffirm his promises at the Holy Thursday Mass.  So there was this one, clear, firm voice, in the empty church, stating his name and making those solemn promises with conviction and clarity, and it was extraordinarily moving.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

A man of honour....



Innocent  Cardinal George Pell has released this statement 
I have consistently maintained my innocence while suffering from a serious injustice.
This has been remedied today with the High Court's unanimous decision.
I look forward to reading the judgment and reasons for the decision in detail.
I hold no ill will toward my accuser, I do not want my acquittal to add to the hurt and bitterness so many feel; there is certainly hurt and bitterness enough.
However my trial was not a referendum on the Catholic Church; nor a referendum on how Church authorities in Australia dealt with the crime of paedophilia in the Church.
The point was whether I had committed these awful crimes, and I did not.
The only basis for long term healing is truth and the only basis for justice is truth, because justice means truth for all.
A special thanks for all the prayers and thousands of letters of support.
I want to thank in particular my family for their love and support and what they had to go through; my small team of advisors; those who spoke up for me and suffered as a result; and all my friends and supporters here and overseas.
Also my deepest thanks and gratitude to my entire legal team for their unwavering resolve to see justice prevail, to throw light on manufactured obscurity and to reveal the truth.
Finally, I am aware of the current health crisis. I am praying for all those affected and our medical frontline personnel.
Cardinal George Pell

DEO GRATIAS

....Cardinal George Pell is free, his conviction overturned.

Thanks be to God.

Now the evil witch-hunt against him must be examined...


An innocent man has spent time in prison for a crime he could not possibly have committed.
Now the investigations must begin




Sunday, April 05, 2020

In May, it will be 100 years...

...since the birth of St John Paul II, one of the greatest men of our era.

This film will commemorate him, and looks set to be well worth watching....

THE QUEEN...

...spoke to us this evening, and  was, as always, splendid.

If you didn't watch, you should You can do so here

She said she hoped that
"those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterise this country"

Friday, April 03, 2020

Talking on a Catholic radio station in the USA....

....from lockdown London....one of life's surreal experiences. I did it last night, at 10pm, on Ave Maria Radio....talking about the re-dedication of England to Our Lady, its history and significance...

Working on the May/June issue of FAITH magazine...if you'd like a sample copy of the magazine (March/April issue)  email me at faithmagazine0@gmail.com

And reorganising various projects for schools, working out ways of enabling children to take part while schools are not open...

And, during long evenings, posting out to clergy across the dioceses of Westminster and Southwark, our annual "Thank you" cards, which would normally have been given out at the Chrism Masses.

Meanwhile, looking beyond the lockdown, and clinging to Prince Charles' words about this thing some day being over,  making some plans for the Autumn...

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A piece of history will be slotted into place...

...this Sunday, when an initiative of King Richard II is renewed, at a particularly strange and difficult time in England....

Read here....

and join in...


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

In the classic WWII film....

...Mrs Miniver, which we watched again the other day, a child asks, as the "all clear" sounds following that first air-raid alarm: "Is the war over now?"
"No, dear" his mother answers "This is only the first day".

Sunday, March 22, 2020

SUNDAY in lockdown...

...begins with MASS, live-streamed from Walsingham.   Recommended. 9.30am daily.

Then prayers with next-door neighbours - all keeping the right distance from one another. A lovely Evangelical family. We each chose a psalm - mine was "The Lord is my shepherd".

This afternoon a walk  - meeting some friends but again keeping distance.  Hot coffee and delicious cakes from a German takeaway coffee-shop, eaten on a breezy corner - no eating inside allowed, and everything done at a distance, but very, very much enjoyed.

Bright spring sunshine, and daffodils everywhere.  Yesterday, on a walk along the river at Kingston with a friend, we dropped in to the ancient parish church, where people have worshipped for over a thousand years. It's where our Saxon kings were crowned...and where my father's Regimental colours hang in the regimental chapel. A plaque on the wall recalls the ceremony. I remember it v. well...

For future walks, all all cafes etc have to close, even takeaways, I'll use the excellent backpack picnic set given us by friends for our Silver Wedding some years ago - huge thanks to Alenka and John! - packed with a thermos of coffee and some sandwiches and buns...

Back home for our 6pm rendezvous with neighbours, all greeting one another out in the road. Mood so far is cheery, and everyone is being wonderful...and people boost each other, breaking the sense of isolation.   But, as I returned to the house, I thought of long weeks ahead with  a sense of  the weird unreality to everything.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

ONE IDEA....

....organised with a neighbour. We're putting a note through everyone's door suggesting that at 6pm every day, we go to the front of our homes and call out and wave to each other. At least that way we can keep in touch and in addition to greetings people can call out for  help etc...or even break into song, or call out jokes, if that would help!

We are small houses, all terraced, so at least there could be a neighbourly feeling, even if we can't go into one another's homes or hang around chatting properly.

These are neighbours to whom I give jars of home-made jam each summer, and with whom I've celebrated street parties for the Queen's jubilees, and who greet each other and linger to talk on summer evenings coming to and from the shops or the bus....perhaps in this enforced stay-at-home period, we can at least cheer and boost each other....


....and so into grim coronavirus-time...

...on Monday evening I gave a talk at Holy Ghost parish in Balham, about St John Paul. We all obeyed the rules and sat some distance apart. It is a church with which I have many links: I wrote the parish history at the start of this century, a project I very much enjoyed. The parish priest, Fr Richard Whinder, is a good friend, the church looks very beautiful at present, and the parish is thriving. It felt bittersweet to walk home at the end of a lovely evening, and to know that all such pleasant gatherings will shortly be banned.

And so it has come to pass: I spent today answering email after email announcing the cancellation of various talks, events, and conferences. A Women's Institute in Surrey, a St John Paul conference in Scotland, a lecture about St John Henry Newman...and all sorts of get-togethers connected with different projects. The Schools Bible Project will be affected: few schools will be thinking about such things at present but simply dealing with special arrangements for exams etc as closures are planned. The LOGS project for primary schools will also fade away...and with it our planned cheery afternoons of reading the entries and packing and posting the prizes. And of course the launch of my book on the history of St Mary's University has been postponed. We must hope things return to something approaching normality in the Autumn....but....

But the worst thing about this crisis is not being able to do anything useful. Cancelling everything wouldn't be so bad if we were all busy out scrubbing down bus shelters or collecting litter from the streets, or something. The really horrible thing is being told to go home and do nothing. Of course we have contacted elderly neighbours to ensure help with shopping etc...but we can't offer to sit with them or have a big neighbourly gathering to cheer us all up...it all horrible.


Monday, March 02, 2020

The bogus propaganda about so-called...

..."International women's day" is simply horrible. It was invented in the Soviet Union in the 1930s - to tell lies about Soviet life when women  and their children were being starved to death in Soviet-dominated Ukraine,  when labour camps were established for women to be in forced-labour in mines and factories - and today is being imposed on us here in Britain by unelected lobbyists using public funds. Read here...

Monday, February 24, 2020

A wonderful walk with children...

...across London Bridge, learning the story of St Olaf, and the Viking  battle, and finishing at The Monument with the story of the Great Fire...and the song...

Want to join in the fun of this sort of thing?

COME ON A CATHOLIC HISTORY WALK!!!

Lots of Walks planned for March.  Read here...


Thursday, February 20, 2020

Well, it was quite amusing, wasn't it?

There had been quite a lot of plotting....much  internet  chatter...preparation, one suspects, of joint letters of indignation with hints of  necessary schism...emails and phone calls and texts and worry... slightly gleeful anticipation of exciting times with stand-offs and so on.

And in the end the Pope affirmed orthodox Catholic teaching and the noises wafted away and became silent.  So it was all a bit disappointing, perhaps, for some. Some wistful hopes among Lefebvrists  who had half-believed in renewed zeal for schismatic opportunities? All gone.

Worth reading Pope Francis' Exhortation  Querida Amazonia And this commentary is useful.   But there will be plenty of people who are  unhappy,  both among those who think the Church can have priestesses, and those whose dislike of the Pope is so deep-rooted that it will be annoying to discover that they can't justify it with his latest action.

There's still the German bishops and their synodical aspirations to come, which won't be enjoyable.  They are being very tiresome,  and will achieve nothing useful.

Meanwhile the real tasks are to worship God (and give him thanks, as with Humanae Vitae), to evangelise, and to help the poor.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Affirming traditional Catholic teaching....

...who said this?


This summons us to broaden our vision, lest we restrict our understanding of the Church to her functional structures. Such a reductionism would lead us to believe that women would be granted a greater status and participation in the Church only if they were admitted to Holy Orders. But that approach would in fact narrow our vision; it would lead us to clericalize women, diminish the great value of what they have already accomplished, and subtly make their indispensable contribution less effective.

 Jesus Christ appears as the Spouse of the community that celebrates the Eucharist through the figure of a man who presides as a sign of the one Priest. This dialogue between the Spouse and his Bride, which arises in adoration and sanctifies the community, should not trap us in partial conceptions of power in the Church. The Lord chose to reveal his power and his love through two human faces: the face of his divine Son made man and the face of a creature, a woman, Mary. Women make their contribution to the Church in a way that is properly theirs, by making present the tender strength of Mary, the Mother. As a result, we do not limit ourselves to a functional approach, but enter instead into the inmost structure of the Church.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

When the Church of England...

....issued guidelines stating that marriage between a man and a woman was the only proper place for sexual union, I thought "Well, at least they've made the right stand, at last!"

But no. Poor Dr Justin Welby and his counterpart of York have now apologised for the statement and announced that the CofE is still...er...finding its way forward. Or something.

Oh dear.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Have you signed this petition?

It's important...a matter of freedom

https://www.change.org/p/itv-get-alastair-stewart-reinstated-back-on-itv





The Candlemas lantern-lit Walk across London Bridge...


was a great success...a cheery group and we finished at St John Henry Newman's birthplace, round at the back of the Bank of England.

DO COME on one of the next HISTORY WALKS...

Friday 21st February 2020 NEWMAN WALK:  to mark the Birthday of St John Henry Newman. 
We will walk to Newman's birthplace near the Bank of England. 
5.00 pm at the Newman Shrine, Church of the Most Precious Blood, OMeara Street London SE1 1TE 
Nearest tube: LONDON BRIDGE  


Saturday 22nd February  LONDON BRIDGE:  Viking battles, and the City.    HALF TERM SPECIAL 
Families specially welcome,  this walk includes information and fun for any children who come along.
2.00 pm,  Church of Our Lady of La Salette and St Joseph,  Melior Street, London SE1 3QP 
Nearest tube: LONDON BRIDGE 

MARCH

FRIDAY March 13th, 11am (note time, there is Mass at 10am) St Elizabeth's RC Church, The Vineyard, Richmond. Nearest tube and main line train RICHMOND.  We will explore the Old Palace (Henry VII, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I) and then walk along the river to St John Henry Newman's family home at Ham

SUNDAY March 15th, 3.30pm at St John the Divine, Islington, London N1 (nearest tube ANGEL). We will learn about the ancient shrine of Our Lady of the Oak, and a modern Catholic heroine.

Thursday March 19th, 7.30pm at Ham Library. A lecture on St John Henry Newman, organised by the Ham amenities society. Nearest stations RICHMOND or KINGSTON, then 65 bus. Check map for details. All welcome. Admission £3.00p

SUNDAY March 22nd. 3.30pm History Walk RICHMOND. Meet St Elzabeth's RC Church, Richmond

MONDAY March 30th, 6.30pm (after 5.30pm Mass) meet steps of Westminster Cathedral.  We will explore Westminster, the Abbey, Parliament etc.

Monday, January 20, 2020

STAND UP TO THE BULLIES....

...who are trying to impose beliefs, Soviet-style. Read here...



Thursday, January 09, 2020

...and there are HISTORY WALKS....


...through February and into March, with a special one for families at half-term, focusing on London Bridge and the Viking battle....


Read here: HISTORY WALKS


Wednesday, January 08, 2020

NEXT HISTORY WALK...

...is on

TUESDAY JANUARY 14th, starts 3pm, steps of WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL.

Come and join us!!




Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Hic est consilium meum...

de  eventorum:

Praeses Americae  debere conari ut attingamus in virtute prudentiae 

Sunday, January 05, 2020

And today...

... more Epiphany celebrations, with a  traditional London Tea, hosted by Stephen de la Bedoyere - longtime friend and wonderful worker for many good causes. We had mince pies, and  a delicious Galette, with a silver sixpence for the King.. We had each been asked to bring something amusing or poignant to read or recite. John Pontifex - who works for Aid to the Church in Need and has his own share of adventures to tell - had recently rediscovered the wartime diary of an uncle who served as a chaplain with the Army in France and was killed at Dunkirk...moving and powerful.

The tea party was in a flat high over South London and talk turned to local history. A book A Parish in wartime has been produced by St Anselm's, Tooting Bec and on the way home I dropped in to the church to get a copy. It's fascinating - warmly recommended.

Traditional...

...Twelfth Night celebrations with Polish friends, hosted by Gosia Bryzinska and family. Gosia is a talented writer and also an artist -  her lovely sketches illustrate my book on Newman's London.. Delicious food (barsch, bigos, a buffet of cheeses and pate and salads...).  The sharing of the oplatek with hugs and blessings all round. The Fourth King was chosen via a tray of gingerbread covered with silver sugar: whoever got the Star was the King and was duly crowned, and a box went round for charity which the King will send to Aid to the Church in Need.  And  we sang carols. By turn Polish and English, with young voices providing descants, and some really glorious music soaring.... It was absolutely wonderful - the cosy room, people seated on sofas or chairs or the floor, candles glowing, wine and coffee going the rounds...joy.