Saturday Oct 21st
Cycled home from Mother's where I had stayed the night: we had a lovely evening, watching a DVD of some of James Herriot's "All Creatures Great and Small" and I addressed a mountain of envelopes for the Assn of Catholic Wiomen's next education project for Catholic primary schools....the evening was punctuated by the sounds of fireworks, and in my naivety I assumed this was an early arrival of November 5th but it wasn't - it was the end of Ramadan.
On to Balham where I was to speak at a Marriage Preparation Day organised by the Holy Ghost church. A roomful of engaged couples is a happy audience! The idea is to communicate the Church's wonderful message about God's original plan for us in marriage, and how we are part of it....including the Church's teaching on sexual union, what it is for, why sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong, how we can move forward if we are aware that we need to change our lives and our behaviour......the afternoon is carefully structured, with an excellent presentation from Nicole Parker, who runs the Fertility Care Centre in London, and explains about how we are made, and fertility as a gift from God......Afterwards, I stayed on for the evening Mass, at which I gave out leaflets promoting the Nov 4th Festival of Catholic Culture at Westminster. There was much activity at the church, because Archbishop Vincent Nichols has asked all Catholic schools and parishes to lobby Parliament over the Govt's plans to wreck our Catholic schools by imposing a quota system for all new "faith" schools. The Holy Ghost parish has an popular school, which is right next to the church - Father Stephen Langridge explained the Govt's plans and the Chairman of the Governors was there afterwards to give further information and take contact-addresses for campaigning etc.
Cycled back to Wimbledon where I met Jamie and we had supper with a friend, who is a very sound Evangelical (St Helen's, Bishopsgate) and we talked about all sorts of things. He spoke warmly in admiration of Pope Benedict. There can be much useful common ground between Catholics and Evangelicals and we should keep this in our prayers.
Home at a late hour. I am trying to pray for the Holy Father every day in these weeks before his visit to Turkey, as I think we must all pray for his safety.