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 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


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.