Saturday 3 November 2007

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa...

Ok, I have been taken to task! Ttony of The Muniment Room had a post up enthusing about a new book he's just read: Fr. William's Daughter by Fiorella de Maria. He is recommending this book as a great present on the basis that he thinks she will one day be a best-selling author (I think he's right)...

I couldn't resist the opportunity to name-drop: Fiorella is a friend of mine. So Ttony, very rightly, demanded to know why I hadn't shouted her praises from the rooftops, and alerted everyone to her books!!

Fiorella has written two books now, the first one being The Cassandra Curse. Fr. Tim reviewed it very favourably a while back. I thought it was a very good story, but didn't like the way the story jumped backwards and forwards between different time periods... I prefer things to progress in a more linear fashion! That wasn't the reason I didn't blog about it... events (like getting a new job) sort of overtook me, and I forgot! Mea culpa...

Anyway, Fiorella assures me that her second novel is a lot less "jumpy." And Ttony's review has me champing at the bit... I can't wait for my copy to arrive. You can order both books from her website.

New Blog...

Just spotted a new blog, courtesy of Fr. Tim, who found it via Fr. Nicholas. It's by a young teacher who is also a husband and father. Looking at his profile, I wonder if I know him...

...anyway, do go and check out Gravissimum Educationis and leave a friendly comment.

Thursday 1 November 2007

All Souls' Day

Another completely brilliant Feast in the Calendar.

Purgatory is God's love writ large, so even a duffer like me can see it!! You have to be completely perfect to get to heaven... but don't worry if you're not completely perfect, because you get an extension on the original "deadline" (sorry, I couldn't resist that pun!!)

Fr. Tim has put up a useful reminder about indulgences and how to get them. Go on, clock up a handful, and spring some souls! Meanwhile, Fr. Ray has described how he celebrated All Souls.

I was really lucky - we had Mass in the Extraordinary Form at 7am so I was able to start the day in the best possible way, and there was an extra Mass in the evening (in addition to the normal parish Mass) so I really did get to "celebrate" the Feast. I particularly like to remember my father who died twenty-five years ago. I hope he's "out" by now, but there's no guarantee, so the prayers continue! I've also developed an attachment to the forgotten souls, those who have no-one left to pray for them, or whose relatives don't believe in "that sort of thing" and don't see the necessity of prayer for the dead. I suspect that my relatives might fall into this category, and therefore have a vested interest in encouraging others to pray for the forgotten souls...

I once read that St. Bernadette of Lourdes was very concerned that people would acclaim her as a saint once she was dead, and would therefore forget to pray for the repose of her soul, leaving her to "cook" in Purgatory. If, after Our Lady had promised her happiness in the next world, Bernadette was concerned that she would spend time in Purgatory, I suspect that I have a pretty lengthy stint ahead of me...

Feast Of All Saints.

Another of my favourite Feast Days...

I really ought to have gotten myself sorted out and pre-prepared this post so that I could click "publish" before leaving for work in the morning (currently some time between 6:45 and 7:15am, so it's far too early to write anything!) As it is, I have only just returned home, and there's only about an hour of the day left!!

Anyway, I love the Feast of All Saints. I have so many favourite saints, and not all of them have feast days in the calendar (yes, Novus Ordo, but that's because I pray the Office... and it has to be the Novus Ordo because I don't know any Latin. So there.) So today I get to celebrate with all of them...

...And all their friends as well!

Wednesday 31 October 2007

Very Amusing For Gilbert & Sullivan Fans...

I am very tired today... however, a quick glance at the blogosphere revealed a very amusing parody over at the Curt Jester's place...

"I am the very model of a RomanCatholicWomanpriest™
I have no valid sacramental ordination in the least
I celebrate Diversity supremely superficially
Conjoining L-G-B-T couples controversially

"I’m very well acquainted, too, with Eco-Cycle-Mania
I generate more laughter than O-BER-on and Titania
I feel a Call To Action is required by the Spirit, now
As far as Modern Norms of Civil DisobediENCE Allow

"As far as Modern Norms of Civil DisobediENCE Allow
As far as Modern Norms of Civil DisobediENCE Allow
As far as Modern Norms of Civil DisobediENCE allow-alLOW-ALLOW-ALLOW-ALlow-allow"

You can read the rest (and it really is worth it!) HERE.

Then, no doubt to ensure my rapid demise through not being able to draw breath (I'm laughing too much), I saw this "Diet Prayer" over at Karen's place...

"Lord, My soul is ripped with riot
incited by my wicked diet.
'We Are What We Eat,' said a wise old man!
and, Lord, if that's true, I'm a garbage can.

"I want to rise on Judgment Day, that's plain!
but at my present weight, I'll need a crane.
So grant me strength, that I may not fall
into the clutches of cholesterol."

The fun continues HERE.

Tuesday 30 October 2007

Faith Winter Conference

Just a quick reminder to anyone interested: the Faith Winter Conference is being held at Stonyhurst, Lancashire, from Wednesday 2nd to Friday 4th January 2008. The theme this year is "Hearing God's Call."

More details about the cost and the activities, an online booking form, and contact details for the organiser, Ann McCallion, can all be found HERE or via the Faith Movement website.

Places are limited, so I would advise early booking...

Monday 29 October 2007

A Little Light Relief...

The Catholic church was filled to overflowing one Sunday morning. The priest was ready to start the Mass when two men, dressed in long black coats and black hats entered through the main doors at the back of the church.

One of the two men walked to the middle of the church while the other stayed at the back. They both then reached under their coats and withdrew automatic weapons.

The one in the middle announced, "Everyone willing to take a bullet for Jesus stay in your seats!"

Naturally, the pews emptied, followed by the choir.

After a few moments, there were about twenty people left sitting in the church. The priest was holding steady in the pulpit.

The men put their weapons away and said, gently, to the priest, "All right, Father, the hypocrites are gone now. You may begin the service."

God Works In Mysterious Ways...

...His wonders to perform!

First day back at school after the much-needed half-term holiday. Needless to say, I was terrified I'd oversleep... which meant that I slept for about an hour and a half in total.

I got to school in plenty of time, but I had to photocopy two sets of SATs exam papers for my Year 9 classes' end-of-topic tests. The main photocopier took one "look" at the workload, and chewed up the papers in disgust. The reprographics technicians looked at the inside of the main photocopier, and promptly slapped a large "Out of Order" sign on it. I had to transfer to the second photocopier. This made me very popular with several of my colleagues who also needed to use the photocopier (not!) Then, my photocopy card ran out of credit...

I begged and pleaded... it wasn't pretty, but one of the technicians took pity on me and re-charged it.

Then I discovered that I was on the list to cover an absent colleague later on in the day...

I had no idea where the room was, so locating it took a little time. I finally found it, but there were no students in evidence... well, not inside the classroom. We have split lunch breaks, and a whole load of students were out in the sunshine enjoying themselves... I uncharitably surmised that some of them might have been taking advantage of the fact that a cover teacher wouldn't know who was supposed to be present at the lesson...

...a few minutes later I was berating myself for such uncharitable thoughts... a troupe of youngsters appeared carrying various folders, and assured me that they had been with another member of staff. I was a little sceptical, but the member of staff duly materialised. She explained that she'd decided to combine the two small music classes... and miracle of miracles, was happy to supervise both, so I was able to scoot off to do some marking!

Nice when that happens!

Sunday 28 October 2007

Abortion 40 Years On...

This is a very difficult topic - not the morality of it, there's no doubt that abortion is killing an unborn child, but how best to combat it.

I posted a link to an online petition which called for the UK government to reduce the time limit for abortions, and I signed the petition myself, though I had serious reservations in doing so. As I thought, it provoked quite a bit of comment.

Fr John Boyle (South Ashford Priest) put up a very good post on the reason he wouldn't sign the petition. His view, one I sympathise with very much, is directly opposed to that of Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor. The more I think about it, the more I agree with Fr. Boyle, and regret signing the petition - my reservations won't be noted there!

Now Damian Thompson has weighed in with his views. I often enjoy reading his blog, but I do not always agree with his views. In this case, I think he is wrong. He describes two polarities in the pro-life debate: SPUC on one side (the "hard-liners") and LIFE on the other (he considers these to be the "realists.")

I think that suggesting that there is a sort of "civil war" between the two groups is far from helpful.

Damian Thompson points out that SPUC are happy that the government have no plans to change the abortion laws, while LIFE is pushing for a reduction in the upper time limit.

I have friends working in both Pro-Life Organisations. However, when it comes to a question of the UK parliament and the attitude of government, I would follow SPUC's advice. They have far more experience with the legal and legislative side of things.

Damian Thompson has rather simplified the reasons behind SPUC's opposition to amending the Abortion Act. The numbers in the House of Commons suggest very strongly that any attempt to change the Act (by reducing the time limit) would be bound to fail.

I am also worried by the murmurings I've heard on Radio 4 (the Beeb at it again) which suggest that there are moves afoot to remove the requirement for two doctors' signatures. This is a nominal requirement (I've never heard of an abortion being refused because someone hadn't been able to get two signatures) but it is the law, and we should fight to retain that safeguard.

As for the pragmatic approach so applauded by Mr Thompson, I would just like to point out that it was tried with the Mental Capacity Act, and went down like a lead balloon, with the government assuring Church leaders of all sorts of protective measures, which in the end failed to materialise. SPUC opposed all compromise, but the Hierarchy didn't listen. And now we have death by starvation and dehydration enshrined in law...

The Cardinal would do well to remember the old adage: "Once bitten, twice shy."

Hey... That Time Of Year Again...!

I feel sure that the years are going past more quickly. Someone ought to do a study of it... it's probably due to global warming or the hole in the ozone layer. They're generally blamed for everything else...

Chatting to a friend on the phone yesterday evening, I realised that there are only six weeks before I renew my vows. This year, because of the way things have panned out, I am having the celebration on Saturday 8th December, 2007. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception has got to be a great day to renew a dedication of my life to God and his Church!

It's been five years since I first made my vows. I can honestly say it was the best decision of my life (short of returning to the Church... though that wasn't a decision as such, more bowing to the inevitable!)

I'm not consecrated, although my manner of life is very similar. You can read more about the vows I've taken HERE, and one of the readings I had last year on the vow of chastity, by St. Francis de Sales, is posted HERE. For more information, try typing "vows" into the search box at the top of the blog, and you can see what comes up.

Anyway, the ceremony is at 12:30pm at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, with lunch in the Hall afterwards. If any fellow bloggers are around, it would be great to see you (though a mention in the combox would be helpful for catering purposes!)
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