Saturday, 14 February 2009

Day With Mary 2009

Today was absolutely BRILLIANT. Awesome. Stunning. And then some.

I really enjoy the annual visit of the Day With Mary team to our parish. I have no idea how they manage to do this every week; after one day, I feel like I need to lie down for a month. It is, however, the sort of exhaustion which is satisfying: I feel that I have had a spiritual Spring Clean, just in time for Lent.

I got back a short while ago, and am already being bombarded with text messages, all demanding to know why there's nothing up on my blog yet. I bet they're not cyber-bullying Fr. Tim...

Ok, ok. I give in.

The day always starts with the Crowning of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Each year, I anticipate some disaster or other because climbing a stepladder while wearing a cope is no mean feat.

Then there is a procession with the statue around the block. The procession is small, and stays on the pavements, so it doesn't interfere with traffic... nevertheless, there are always a few puzzled expressions on the faces of passers-by.

Looking back at previous posts, I see that I've pretty much wimped out of doing the actual procession (the slow walking pace adopted is murderously hard going on both my knee and my ankle) for the past few years, and this morning was pretty much the same. Damp, cold weather is not good for my aching joints. I remained in the church and said the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary... which is pretty much what those in the procession were doing anyway!

Mass was next on the agenda. Fr. Tim had been lent some rather superb vestments in honour of Our Lady (you can see the detail in the photo on the right) and the Sisters of the Immaculate sang the propers and Mass parts. Mass was very well attended, with around 230 people.

Fr. Tim preached on Our Lady and a rarely heard title of hers (I've forgotten it... something against heresies) The upshot of it was that by defending the right of Our Lady to be called Mother of God, the Church also preserved the correct understanding of the person of Christ.

Fr. Tim also mentioned that the Holy Father had been having a rough ride from the media over the past few weeks, and so, after Mass, we all prayed for Pope Benedict, and sang "God bless our Pope!" - belted out by 230 people, it was stirring stuff.

Lunchtime saw me make a beeline for the extremely well-stocked bookstall. More on that later. Suffice it to say that the bookstall crew remembered me, and when I finished, we were all very happy bunnies... I was an even happier bunny when I discovered that one of my friends had come armed with spare sausage sandwiches, and one of them had my name on it.

In the afternoon, a Blessed Sacrament procession followed the same route round the streets as the morning's Rosary procession. We then had Exposition, and a sermon on from Fr. Agnellus, one of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. His topic was holy prudence, not a subject often preached about. He related it to the passage where Our Lord advises his disciples to be "wise as serpents and innocent as doves," and Fr. Agnellus said that the wisdom referred to was not worldly wisdom, but prudence. Very thought-provoking.

In addition, we had the Luminous and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, meditations on the Stations of the Cross, another sermon from Fr. Tim (this time on Our Lady, Queen of the Family,)  Benediction, enrolment in the Brown Scapular and the Miraculous Medal, consecration of the parish to Our Lady, and the final farewell, with everyone waving white hankies during the chorus of the last hymn (which always makes me blub...)

If there is a Day With Mary visiting anywhere near you, I would seriously recommend that you make the effort to go along, even if only for a part of the day. It'll be well-worth the effort.

Friday, 13 February 2009


Tomorrow sees the annual visit of the Day With Mary team to the parish of Blackfen. It will be a glorious occasion, starting off with the Crowning of the statue of Our Lady and a solemn procession around the local streets, then Mass, talks on Our Lady, the Rosary, Exposition, a Blessed Sacrament procession and more.

I particularly look forward to perusing the bookstall...

Especially as I have spaces on my nice, tidy bookshelves.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Wow... I Had A Good Idea!

I mentioned before that the Sisters of the Gospel of Life have an appeal going to help pay for their new car. They need a car. You can't deliver cots and furniture and such-like on a bicycle.

I pointed out that the lack of a PayPal account was probably a disadvantage... For example, I can't quite remember where my cheque book is at the moment, and so few places accept them these days that I'm sure I'm not alone.

Well, the Sisters thought I might be onto something, and they have gone and rectified the situation. So you can visit their blog and click on the button. Easy.

By the way, I suggest you do it before Fr. Tim sends "the boys" round to see you...

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Something Fishy...

They do say that you learn something new every day. This is particularly true for anyone who teaches (or attempts to teach) teenagers...

I'm teaching A level Biology. Now, I've always concentrated on the mammalian side of things, with the odd foray into biochemistry and histology. However, I'm currently sharing a class with my Head of Department, and the way that the new scheme of work is arranged has meant that I have had to change my focus.

Instead of lungs and alveoli, I'm having to get to grips with fish gills. Literally.

I've seen pictures and diagrams of fish dissections. Yuck. I was reassured that I wouldn't need to bother with gutting anything. I would just have to deal with the head.

Mackerel are, or so I've been told, the fish of choice, being a decent size for a dissection. However, there was apparently a problem with the supply of mackerel. I have no idea what the glitch was. Instead, I was informed that one of the teachers could get salmon, if that was ok.

My only experiences of salmon had been of the smoked and thinly sliced on brown bread variety. Somehow, I doubted that was what the teacher concerned had in mind... so, this morning, I approached the equipment trolley with some trepidation.

I can now confirm that salmon are very suitable for gill dissections. There is just one little point to note...

They have teeth. Sharp teeth. Lots and lots of sharp teeth... very sharp.

...there is also an interesting little reflex which occurs if you press a certain point under the jaw.

Putting your finger inside a salmon's mouth in order to demonstrate the path of water in through the mouth and out via the gills is not a good idea.

Trust me on this one.

Monday, 9 February 2009

End Of A Legend...

Jackie Parkes, the irrepressible Catholic Mom of 10 and Blogger Extraordinaire, has ceased to blog, for family reasons, according to Philip of Ponte Sisto fame.

The Catholic Blogosphere will be a poorer place without her contributions.

Good Photo...

Fr. Tim's Million Party was snapped for posterity. Quite a lot of people didn't want to be in the photo, and there was almost a rugby scrum to get to the prized position of photographer... but I'd already snaffled the spot behind the camera! The early bird catches the worm, and all that jazz.

I have to say that the post title just above the photo over at the Hermeneutic of Continuity blog is rather suggestive... but let's aim for Westminster first... Heheheheheh.

The Sisters Need Your Help...

The Sisters of the Gospel of Life, who do such amazing work in helping women in crisis pregnancies have had a little crisis of their own, it seems.

Their trusty "tank," which was used to deliver prams, baths, cots and so on, literally blew up. Because of the urgency of deliveries and so forth, they needed to buy a replacement as soon as they could, and luckily, a suitable one came on the market quite quickly. However, they needed to borrow the money from a friend in order not to lose the opportunity, and now need to raise funds to repay the loan.

You can find more information on their website, but basically, they need any money you can spare.

The Sisters are at 106 Dixon Avenue, Glasgow, G42 8EL. I don't think they have a PayPal account, which is a shame... I shall suggest that they set one up.  Cheques should be made payable to: The Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative.

UPDATE: They've taken the plunge and set up a PayPal account.  You can make a donation by clicking on the link in their sidebar.  So, go on... what are you waiting for??

Oh, and I forgot to say, anyone who hasn't any money, then get on your knees and offer a couple of rosaries...

They've Got Me Pegged...

Yet another spookily accurate summary of what makes me tick... To show you how picky I could (can) be, I can tell you that the header on this one made me want to put up a photo of a baby goat...

You Were an Achieving Kid

When you were a kid, people often remarked on how mature you seemed. You acted quite adult.

You excelled at school, and you actually enjoyed it to a large extent. No one had to ask you to do your homework.

As a kid, you were probably a bit picky. You liked structure, schedules, and organization.

You had trouble being friends with regular kids. You probably were only friends with other serious children.

Twitch of the mantilla to Karen.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Office Update...

No, Bill Gates hasn't been at it again... (well, maybe he has, but that's not what I'm on about!)

A short while back, I mentioned that I was considering switching from the Novus Ordo Divine Office to the old Breviary, partly because of the differences in calendars between the two, and I asked for advice, because Baronius seem to be no nearer publication of their new Latin-English version, and I don't have enough Latin to cope with the full Breviary without a translation.

Several people mentioned the Monastic Diurnal, produced by the St. Michael's Abbey Press. The only problem with it was the fact that it didn't include Matins. Now, I do enjoy the Office of Readings, (the Novus Ordo version of Matins) unless the second reading is by St. Augustine of Hippo or is an excerpt from Gaudium et Spes or Lumen Gentium, so I was a little reluctant to ditch this Hour. However, the ICEL psalms were beginning to grate on my nerves more than a little, and greater familiarity with the snippets of Scripture used in the Mass Propers (I've been typing the Rossini Propers out for our choir)  encouraged me to look into it further.

I'm not obliged, as a laywoman, to pray the Office, but it is part of the Rule of Life I adopted when I took my vows. So I feel under obligation - and I certainly notice the detrimental effects in my spiritual life on the occasions when I omit to pray the Office.

My SD told me that Matins was actually part of the Night Office, and he didn't seem to think that, in my case, the lack of that Hour would be a problem. I also reflected that the Hour of Prime would be added, and I'd be praying Terce, Sext and Nones instead of a single "Hour During the Day." I decided to go ahead and order the Diurnal; if the worst came to the worst, I figured I could sell it on Ebay, and go back to the Novus Ordo Office.

It arrived the other day. The book definitely feels better than the Novus Ordo one: it's much smaller and more flexible, the binding is of much better quality, and so is the paper. Although the paper is still thin, at least I cannot actually read what is printed on the other side of the page. The language (of the English translation, obviously) strikes a chord: I have prayed the Office for the last fifteen years, so the psalms and canticles are familiar, but the language in the Diurnal is so much richer and more nuanced.

Take this example from Compline: "the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour." The Novus Ordo has: "the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat." There's not a lot in it, if you just look at the bald meaning of the words, but somehow "looking for someone to eat" is less punchy than "seeking whom he may devour." I get the distinct impression that the second lion is going to be allowed to devour several somebodies, while the first is merely hopeful of getting a nibble at one. Also, "roaring" lions don't prowl. Prowling implies stealth and silence. Definitely not roaring.

The only problem with the Diurnal is the lack of clear rubrics. Presumably, the majority of users have spent some time in a Benedictine monastery or convent, and have been shown what to do and say. I am having to flick back and forth to check what the versicles are when only a word or two is given, and I spent ages trying to work out why, at Lauds, I only had five antiphons, but I had six psalms and a canticle (yeah, yeah... I eventually twigged that three psalms were said together and so only have the one antiphon... but it wasn't in the rubrics!) Also, two of the psalms of Sunday Lauds are replaced by two others at certain times of the year... only the rubric telling you this is on the page after the first two psalms, so bad luck if you didn't happen to check ahead...

I can certainly see why the Novus Ordo Divine Office is, in comparison, sometimes referred to as the "Little Office of Vatican II."

In the meantime, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and say Compline...

Have Pity On A Poor Damsel In Distress...

Well, ok, not distress, exactly... but it isn't much fun to be beaten in the Best Religion Blog category by an atheist's blog...

I'm now on page 2.  While you're at it, help to give all our Catholic blogs a boost in the ratings!

Rather Appropriate...

Given my latest activities on the home front, I found this amusing...

How Did They Know I Am A Teacher?

Not a single question about my job, but the results seemed rather appropriate...

You Are a Red Pen

You have an eagle eye for detail, and this often means you end up finding mistakes in people's work.

You may seem quick to criticize or correct, but you think accuracy and truth is important.

You like to be involved in every project. You feel like you put the polishing touch on things.

You would make a good editor, detective, or accountant. When facts matter, you're the person to call on.

Twitch of the mantilla to the Ironic Catholic.
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