Saturday, 6 January 2007

Further Thoughts on Inclusive Language

I liked Fr Tim's cartoon, but was tempted to see what else was out there as a way of making my thoughts and feelings known...

Fame at Last...

Yippee. My rant about PC Christmas Carols made it onto Fr Tim's blog.

This means that:
1) I should get lots and lots and LOTS more hits on my blog (very good for the ego) and
2) Fr Tim might actually get round to burning the hymn books, like he promised. After all, what's a little extra carbon dioxide among friends??! Global warming is not necessarily a bad thing... It'll help keep down heating bills for the elderly.

I particularly enjoyed the graphic representation of a typical female response to patronising PC nerds (oops, sorry, caring, sharing, sensitive new-man types!)

It's a Wind-Up... Ooops, Whinder-Up!

I'm sure that the only reason Fr Nicholas has put up the pictures of Fr Richard is as an excuse to rub our noses in the fact that the two of them are jetting off to the Eternal City. Apparently Fr Nicholas does not anticipate doing any blogging. He has obviously not heard of Internet Cafés...

...and Fathers, while you're out there, ahem, there's the little matter of postcards... (Don't worry, Fr Nicholas: Fr Richard will explain all! Otherwise I shall be having words when he gets back!)

...Papal Rosaries are also pretty neat!


Mea culpa, mea culpa

See, I'm learning already!

...oh, ok, I'll 'fess up... I already knew that bit.

I've been a little slow in following up blog links, and have tended to stick to a few that I am familiar with. Well, time to get a bit more adventurous...

I'd seen Andrew's Profile Picture a few times in various com-boxes, but have, to my shame, only just had a peek at his blog. And what a treat was in store: he really likes his Papal Photos, does Andrew. And I especially enjoyed the captions....

Check him out at Unam Sanctam.

Couldn't Resist...

There's a good article at The Hermeneutic of Continuity on the Enneagram. And then, when browsing through Ironic Catholic's blog, I came upon a site which makes fortune cookies.

My Fortune Cookie told me:
People are beginning to notice you. Try dressing before you leave the house.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

"New" Year's Resolution

I have a bad habit of making lots of New Year's resolutions (mostly dietary) and then failing to keep them... This means that the year starts on a low note, because I promise to be good, and fail miserably!

Last year I decided not to make any such resolutions, and when I failed to keep any of the resolutions I would normally have made, I felt quite good about it. Almost vindicated, you might say...

This year I'm afraid that I've made a resolution. However, it is nothing to do with diets. Instead, I have decided that I am going to try very, very hard to learn the Latin responses for the Mass. I've made some slight progress over the 14 years I've been back in the fold... when I first came back, the only Latin Mass response I knew was the Kyrie... the rest was all Greek to me...

*dodges tomatoes*

I was therefore very encouraged to find the following LINK for a Latin-English dictionary, courtesy of David at The Fullness of Faith. Unfortunately, on looking at the instructions and explanation of how the dictionary is set up, I decided it was probably easier just to learn the language...


Grrrr !

I love to sing. I've got quite a good voice (not trained, nothing special, but I'm loud and I can hold a tune) and so I really like this time of year when I can belt out all the favourite Christmas Carols which I learned at school (back then, *peer through swirling mists of time,* Christmas was still called Christmas, and state Primary Schools put on Nativity Plays, and everyone sang Carols whether they believed in God or not!)

Epiphany is a particularly good time to sing Carols... we get all the references to the Magi as well as the earlier shepherds and angels stuff...

Well, not any more. I went to Mass this evening as tomorrow morning I'm off to see my sister and brother-in-law (well, truth be told, I'm actually more interested in my new nephew!) and although I intend to leave in plenty of time to attend evening Mass, given what happened last Monday, I'm taking no chances...

We only sang four carols, but every one had been mucked about with by the politically-correct brigade. At other times of the year it's not so noticeable (partly because I don't know the hymns so well... I've only been singing them since my return to the fold, as it were!) but this really has got me steamed up. "Humankind" is just downright clumsy as well as needing an extra syllable. But when whole sentences are ploughed up for the sake of not offending "wimmin," I get pretty offended. The alternatives offered are clunky, change the meanings, muck around with the rhymes and generally grate on the nerves...

I fought back... I sang what I remembered... Loudly!

Friday, 5 January 2007

Penance Over!

Yes, I am delighted to be able to report that my car is safely back on the road. I have had to suffer the vagaries of public transport for the week, and am heartily pleased to be able to put my recently acquired Oyster Card into storage.

(For anyone who doesn't know, an Oyster Card is the latest system for getting people to buy their travelcards, bus tickets and what-have-you up front, and not on the bus itself! Fair enough, but trying to find somewhere that sold the cards themselves was an experience in itself... and I had to buy the card before I could actually put any money for my bus fares on it!!)

The people at the garage considered me fortunate indeed... they said that such a complete collapse of the wheel bearing was rare, but that it was pretty amazing that the wheel hadn't come off since I was whizzing round the M25 at the time...

...'Nuff said! I promptly drove round to the church, and fortuitously caught Fr Tim just as he was about to jump into his car. He blessed mine (paying particular attention to the newly-repaired bit!) and I then went in to the church to light a candle and say a fervent prayer of thanksgiving. And I shall have the luxury of driving to Mass tomorrow morning!

More on Miles Jesu and Continuity

Mark asked in the Com-Box for some more information on Miles Jesu, and in particular the Continuity Movement. Ever happy to oblige my faithful readers (or possibly the one reader who logs on to my blog 108 times a day) I'm including a couple of links: will get you to the Homepage which has links to MJ International (this might interest anyone outside the UK) and then here is a link if you want to cut to the chase and go straight to the UK page (which also has details about the concert)

And here is a rather good photo of the five members here in England (and yes, that is Fr Tim Finigan in the middle!)

(BTW, I took the photo, but on someone else's camera, when they came to Our Lady of the Rosary Parish for the Dowry of Mary week we had in Advent)

Thursday, 4 January 2007

Blog Statistics (Not That I'm Boasting...)

I am NOT a nerd...

...however, I am rather keen on checking my blog statistics. I am nowhere near the big-time league inhabited by such Great Bloggers as Hermeneutic of Continuity, American Papist, Cafeteria is Closed, Curt Jester or Lair of the Catholic Cavemen...

...but, I am delighted to note that my daily average visitor number is now 98... and lately I've had over 100 hits a day! Not bad for blonde musings on nothing much in particular!!

Spiritual Direction

Well, I had a session of Spiritual Direction this evening...

When friends hear that I have a Spiritual Director, they always seem fascinated by the thought, and have lots of questions, so I thought I'd put down a few thoughts on the subject...

There is nothing "nice" about SD... it is amazingly good and helpful for one's spiritual life, and I think it's extremely necessary for anyone who is serious about progressing in their prayer life, but I can't say that I enjoy it, exactly!

In fact, although I am the one who initiates each session by requesting a meeting, I always find myself hoping that it won't happen very soon (I am always disappointed in this) and then I approach the meeting itself with some trepidation.

I guess that it's a bit similar to visiting the dentist - although I don't quite know how my Director would react to getting bitten...

This evening I had the very disconcerting experience of hearing my SD suddenly say, "Hang on, I need to check Tanqueray!" (I may have got the spelling wrong) and then he disappeared. It sounded serious, and I half expected him to return with bell, book and candle... However, it transpires that I haven't merited excommunication, but I have lots of advice on what I should be doing... including reading a book of St. Alphonsus Liguori's sermons... most of which appear to be concerned with Hell... (the other three Last Things get a mention too, but Hell predominates!)

Seriously though, if you are trying to discern your vocation or to make progress in the spiritual life, I would recommend that you find a good SD. He (it can be a 'she', but I personally prefer a priest) should be someone you find sympatico but don't expect SD sessions to be a friendly chat. They are meant to be detailed examinations of your life, and can be quite uncomfortable... (but maybe that's just me!!) And it may take many years to find a Director you are happy with.

After a session, I feel as if I've had a thorough "going-over" with a spiritual brillo pad (that's a brand of steel wool scourer for any of our Transatlantic Cousins) and had my insides turned outside for good measure. It sounds awful, but it really does help you to see your life clearly. How often you need to meet depends on your particular circumstances: I find an average of once every six weeks about right. Your SD needn't be your Confessor, but you can't hold back anything - your SD needs to know where your particular difficulties lie in order to help you overcome them.

Finally, and it sounds pretty much like stating the obvious, you have to be prepared to listen to your SD and take his advice. It may not be pleasant, and it might not be easy, but making the decision to be obedient to your Director is, in my humble opinion, absolutely vital.

Those are just some of my thoughts... I'd be interested to hear from any priests out there who have experience of SD from "the other side"! You know where the Com-Box is...

Miles Jesu

Brad, one of the chaps from Miles Jesu (the one who took the photo of my nails) asked me to let everyone know of an evening concert being held to raise funds for the Miles Jesu-Continuity Movement.

It's in Westminster Cathedral Hall, Sunday 14th January, at 6pm. Ruth Rogers and Matthew Schellhorn will be playing a variety of pieces for violin and piano. Adults £12, Students (and children under 16) £8, for tickets call 0208 764 0341 or email

Miles Jesu has been here in England for almost ten years. For the last few years the Community has rented a house in Norbury, near Croydon. They are now saving funds to buy a permanent residence in England.

Please, support them if you can: they do some amazing work in their apostolate.

The Ubiquitous Fr. Whinder

Fr. Richard Whinder has ended up with his picture on yet another blog. It's a rather good picture, taken during his sojourn in Canterbury and can be seen on David's blog, The Fullness of Faith.

Incidentally, it's in the middle of David's conversion story, which makes for a pretty good read too!

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

NoisyKid on the Blog

It would appear that one of the noisykids has his very own blog... The Son of DadWithNoisyKids (Scorpion Stalking Duck) has his blog at Est Puzzlementum, where he posts as Histor the Wise.

Histor the Wise decided to make a comment on my blog... and I am totally unable to resist following up such a promising Blog profile... Actually he wasn't that wise, because he referred to me as "Mrs. McLernon" which indicates that he hasn't read my profile... however, I shall be magnanimous and forgive him, as he is obviously wise enough to read some of my blog!

I suppose I ought to apologise for the awful pun in the title... but hey, I found it amusing!

The Joys of Public Transport

Today I had the dubious pleasure of using public transport to get to morning Mass.

My first shock was that the fares had escalated: not being a regular user, I hadn't bothered to get a travelcard... and so I enraged the first bus driver by having to root around for the remainder of my fare. I didn't bother to offer him the £20 note I had, as I knew that would earn me a sardonic laugh (at best) or £18 in twenty pence pieces!

So I popped into a chemist's shop which was by the stop for my second bus. I knew they wouldn't just "give" me change, so I picked up some dental floss (I need some anyway) and went over to the counter. It was at this point that my morning started to get surreal.

The assistant told me that it was her first day, and she didn't have a till number yet, so she had to get someone else to serve me. And then the second assistant explained that the till wouldn't open, because they didn't know how to activate it... apparently the shop had opened only the day before, and someone had demonstrated how to close up the till at the end of the day, but no-one had thought to ask what to do at the beginning. So they needed to ring someone at Head Office...

They were all terribly embarassed and apologetic, and I felt that, if I just turned round and walked out, they would feel that they had "lost" a customer... added to which, I really needed some change... and I wanted to know what would happen next...

Bless them! They got given some instructions over the phone (which were duly written down) and then the chap in charge had to go upstairs to activate something (it's all computerised) and then they could start up the till...

...the till drawer finally opened... but there wasn't anything in it! That had to be obtained from the safe!!

I could see the bus stop, and there was no sign of the bus I needed, so I just grinned!! Anyway, I finally managed to buy my dental floss, and got some change. I then went to wait for the bus. Which didn't arrive for another half hour...

I managed to get to Mass on time, but only just. The return journey was of a similar length (without the chemist shop interlude) but one of the bus drivers thought he was in training for Brands Hatch and kept accelerating off at high speed, only to screech to a halt at the next bus stop about two minutes later. There was also a diversion because of roadworks, which meant that the bus driver had to negotiate "proper" speedbumps (the type that go across the whole road.) Needless to say, he didn't bother slowing down, and so the bus see-sawed in quite an impressive fashion!

A journey which usually takes me 10-15 minutes by car took an hour and a half (this was the return journey, so not including my chemist shop experience) Cars may contribute to pollution and global warming, but I think that I will continue to make frequent use of mine for the forseeable future!

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Not the Best Way to Start the New Year

What a morning I've had!

I rang my favourite garage to find out if they could fix a collapsed wheel bearing. I was told this would be possible, but they didn't have the required part, which came only from Hyundai. As there is a Hyundai garage in Blackfen, I rang to ask if they could do the job. They had the part, but couldn't do the job today. Possibly, maybe, tomorrow. If I was lucky.

I decided to mull it over and called a cab to take me to Mass. Then a happy thought occurred: I could go and buy the part I needed from the Hyundai garage (just round the corner from the church) and bring it to my favourite garage. Problem solved...

I bought the parts (there were three of them) and went home. Then I rang the breakdown service I am with. They were happy to come and get me and the car and take it to the garage. I had to wait for a bit, but that was ok...

...but (there's always a "but") it transpires that the bearing had really collapsed. And welded itself onto some widget or other. And in this model car it has to be a complete axle doobrey unit thingy (you may have gathered that I'm not really au fait with the terminology!) and this is only available from Hyundai...

...and it won't be available until Thursday...

Aaaaaarghhhh ! I hope this isn't an indication of how 2007 is going to progress...

First Pictures of my Nephew

I didn't manage to get to see him yesterday, and I don't know if I'll get to see him today (long story... more later) but the proud father has sent the following photos.

My sister and her baby are due home today, so obviously all is well. Luckily the baby doesn't resemble his maternal aunt!!

Monday, 1 January 2007

What the Future Doesn't Hold for 2007

Ever wondered what would happen if you woke up in a parallel universe? Well, I think it's a safe bet to say that, even in a parallel universe, hell would have frozen over before you'd see any of this lot happening...

Check it out HERE. (I think Fr Tim has been hallucinating... too much incense!)

Famous Last Words...

I had planned to go to visit my sister (and see my new nephew) this afternoon. The drive would have taken a couple of hours, but I was looking forward to the journey. Then my car started to make an odd screechy sound. Fr Tim (of Hermeneutic of Continuity fame) heard it, and assured me that noises "like that" were only minor problems.

So, off I went, reassured. Ha! Fr Tim may be an excellent Seminary professor, Parish Priest, Blogger par excellence, and what have you, but he knows nothing about cars...

I got as far as Junction 9 on the M25 when the screeching noise started up, much louder, and then the car "wobbled." I'm not a brilliant driver, but I knew that I hadn't caused that wobble, and I didn't like it one little bit. So I pulled over on to the hard shoulder, and rang the breakdown services. Being a woman travelling alone has its advantages: I was promised priority treatment.

The next task was getting out of the car. I remembered reading that one should always leave one's vehicle and move well clear. Easier said than done, with massive lorries thundering past! Luckily, I also remembered that one should exit via the passenger door...

...Now, as anyone who has met me will readily acknowledge, I am not exactly svelte. Far from it. Actually I am probably three svelte people rolled into one. To complicate matters, I have a dodgy left knee from a road accident (and subsequent surgery) in my long-distant youth, and a dodgy right ankle from when I broke it falling down the sacristy steps 18 months ago (made slightly worse by the car crash I had a year ago.) Getting from the driver's side over to the passenger seat was, well, interesting... it would probably make a good yoga position from which to recite the prayer of the frog. At one point, both feet were on the dashboard... you don't want to know where the rest of me had got to!

That athletic feat achieved, I sat down to wait for the breakdown truck, and whiled away the time by reciting the rosary.

A Highway Patrol vehicle pulled up first, and checked to see that I was alright, and then the breakdown truck arrived. It was decided to take me off the motorway so that the car could be examined properly, and hopefully fixed...

No such luck. On closer examination it transpired that a rear wheel bearing had collapsed. Although it is a relatively straightforward job to put right, I had "chosen" to break down on a Bank Holiday: all the garages were closed, and the breakdown chap didn't have the relevant part in stock, so he couldn't even take me to his garage as a favour.

He loaded the car onto the truck and drove me home. I now have to pray that my local garage has the relevant bit, and that they can fit me in.

On reflection, I'm beginning to think that maybe I should stay off the roads at Christmas...

So, I haven't yet seen my nephew. My brother-in-law has promised to send me photos when he gets home this evening. I shall post them as soon as he does.

Sunday, 31 December 2006

The Patter of Tiny Feet

Oh wow! I am an Auntie!

My little nephew was born (11 days early) at 4:48am this morning, 6lb 11oz (that's 3.05 kg). Apparently my sister had a rather hard time of it - her waters broke yesterday, she had to be induced, and it was a forceps delivery, and she had to have a blood transfusion, but she and the baby are ok. The baby is called Giacomo Daniele (I've just realised that his parents have named their baby after a brand of whisky... Jack Daniels!!)

I rang the hospital to find out how everyone was, but on hearing that I was merely the sister I was told that a message to say I'd phoned would be passed on.

Thanks to everyone who said a prayer!

The Inquisition

Among other topics which came up for discussion on the car journey back from Stonyhurst was the Spanish Inquisition... Benedict remembered quite a bit of the Monty Python sketch, and I couldn't resist having a look on You-Tube to see if the sketch was there.

It was... and so I'll share it with you (I'm a sharing kind of girl!!)

Top Ten Reasons for Remaining Catholic

One advantage of clicking on a particular post in order to get the exact URL to come up is that you get to see the comments at the bottom of the post instead of having to call up a separate window. So I spotted the following site which looked interesting...

The T-shirt is not for the visually impaired, not unless you want to get up-close-and-personal, but it amused me enough to include the text here:

10.) It's politically incorrect. (Annoy the Catholic bashers).
9.) You can sing badly, and no one cares. (9 out of 10 American Catholics are musically impaired).
8.) You can impress your friends. (Tell them you belong to a militant international institution).
7.) Your Mother. (Low cost way to keep her happy).
6.) Great Weddings! (When it comes to ceremony, the Catholic Church is smokin').
5.) Great Pope!
4.) Saints. (Talk about friends in high places!)
3.) Confession. (No, it's not fun, but what a deal).
2.) Dependability. (Jesus founded our Chuch on Peter, the rock, and promised that the gates of hell should not prevail against It.)
And the number one reason to stay Roman Catholic is the awesome gift of... (Drum roll, please...)

(On the back side of the shirt)


"He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood will have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day. For My Flesh is real food and My Blood is real drink. He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood lives in Me and I in him."
- John 6:54-56

H/T The Fullness of Faith
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