Saturday 23 February 2008

Refurbished Lady Chapel

The great thing about half term is that it gives me a little time to catch up with old friends. I went for a very enjoyable lunch with Fr. Richard Whinder this afternoon. Fr. Whinder went through a phase on the blogosphere when, although neither writing a blog nor commenting on other people's blogs, he got pretty wide coverage. He doesn't want that coverage to recur, but he did consent to being photographed in the recently refurbished Lady Chapel in the parish church of St. Joseph's, New Malden, where he is Assistant Priest.

I took some pictures on my last visit, but had an attack of the blondes and pressed the wrong button or something, so didn't manage to show the chapel as it was a year ago. However, I didn't make the same mistake this time.

The arch around Our Lady is a mosaic of the rosary, with five decades shown. The crown was made for the statue in the 1950s, I think, and the sanctuary lamps are new. It's fabulous to see that churches are being made to look beautiful for the worship of God and the veneration of the saints.

Westminster Sweepstakes Round Two...

Methinks Ttony spends far too much time checking out Paddy Power's website... Be that as it may, he helpfully informs us that their book on the next Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster has been re-opened. You can check it out HERE. Archbishop Vincent Nichols is top of the list at 2-1, and Cardinal Pell's odds have lengthened to 12-1, joint with Fr. Aidan Nichols, Bishop Arthur Roche and Bishop Peter Smith. Paddy Power obviously have not been keeping up with the blogosphere, or Fr. Nichols' odds might be quite a bit shorter... though I see that Dom Hugh Gilbert has snuck in at number 2 with odds of 4-1...

No sign of Fathers Blake or Finigan...

Friday 22 February 2008

Insider Information...

The Pastor in Valle has put up a very interesting post on the relative merits of e-petitions and letters to MPs. His source is a retired senior civil servant. I wonder if he bears any resemblance to Sir Humphrey Appleby?

Thursday 21 February 2008

Fun & Games...

There's never a dull moment at Blackfen. I arrived at church early this evening for Benediction, and found that there was a group in the hall being put through their paces by Matt Harris (he dances with the England Ballroom team.)

After dancing the first part of the evening away, several of the servers decided to stay on for the Rosary and Benediction. On hearing my comment about their relative heights, the boys decided to arrange themselves accordingly and demanded that I take their picture...

...and then they wanted another one of them looking "cool"...

Wednesday 20 February 2008

Blessing & Consecration

I always used to think that Holy Water was just vaguely "blessed" by the priest, in much the same way that you sometimes get a sign of the cross "waved" in the general direction of a rosary presented for blessing. And so I didn't quite understand the distinction between Holy Water found in water stoups in the church and holy water obtained from a place like Lourdes.

I was delighted to discover that actually there is a whole lot more to Holy Water... there's the salt for a start. And the salt has to be exorcised through prayer. I think the water has to be exorcised too... and then the two are brought together, and more prayers are said. Candles feature too. Next time I spot that some more Holy Water is being prepared, I shall try to get photos...

I see that Fr. Z has a post on the consecration of the sacred vessels for their use at Mass, and also how the Sacred Species (and anything which comes into contact with them) must be disposed of. He describes an amusing hypothetical scenario involving a mouse which dared to run off with a consecrated Host, and the disposal of the cat sent in pursuit of the mouse... Yes, it was only hypothetical!

The rest of the post is very good, and well worth a read if you are interested in how things ought to be done for the Liturgy.

Tuesday 19 February 2008

Saints Meme

I found this over at La Mamma's place, and decided that I really wanted to play too, under the "anyone else who reads this" proviso!

The rules for this one (it's pretty laid back, as memes go...)
1. Answer the questions! You can give a reason for the answer if you like.
2. As for tagging people, you tag as many as you want or as little...minimum of one. There's no obligation to play.
3. Last of all, have fun!

1. First Saint you "met"?
When I returned to the Church, I had a very "Protestant" view of Our Lady and the saints, basically due to my post-Vatican II catechesis. I reluctantly accepted that Our Lady was worth petitioning on account of no nice Jewish boy doesn't listen to his mother. But the first saint I really "met" was St. Jude. After an unfinished and half-hearted novena, he fixed the NHS waiting list for me. You can read more about it (and him) in a previous post.

2. Favourite Saint(s)?
Our Lady goes without saying, though I do have my favourite titles for her. More about them some other time. And then I have a particular affection for and devotion to St. Jude (especially when desperate, or driving), St. Anne Line, St. Joseph (especially when tracking down a parking space), St. Bernadette, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Philomena, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Mary Magdalene (she got a very bad press because of the Da Vinci Code, but it was hardly her fault!), St. Martha, St. John Fisher, St. Thomas More, St. Francis de Sales, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, St. John Vianney, St. Irenaeus, St. Peter, St. Josémaria, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Cecilia, St. Juan Diego Cuahtlatoatzin...

3. Patron saint for the year?
I was allocated St. Peter Chrysologus, and to my shame I haven't really bothered to look into him much (yet.)

4. Favourite book by a saint?
Aaarghhh. Difficult choice. True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort probably comes out tops, with The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus coming in a close second and Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales squeaking in third.

5. Saint book you are reading now?
I'm using the Introduction to the Devout Life as an aid to meditation, though I'm not actually reading it at the moment. And I have a few other books on the go at the moment...

6. Favourite film of a saint?
I have two, but I'm not really cheating: Bernadette, by Jean Delannoy, starring Sydney Penny, and The Passion of Bernadette, also by Jean Delannoy (it's really a continuation of the story!)

7. Favourite Autobiography/Biography of a saint?
Bernadette of Lourdes by Réné Laurentin.

8. Favourite novel/book by a saint?
Already answered in Question 4.

9. Saint (besides your favourites) you'd want to meet?
I think I'd want to meet St. Thérèse of Lisieux. I've had real problems with her autobiography, Story of a Soul, as it too cloyingly sweet for my taste. St. Bernadette was rather more ascerbic, I think, and much more to my liking. However, if I met St. Thérèse in person, I might understand her better, and so develop a devotion to her...

10. Saint you look to for help?
All of them, at different times, according to specific circumstances.

11.Favourite saint quote?
"My Lords, I am accused of harbouring a Catholic priest. So far am I from repenting that I would I could have harboured a thousand." (St. Anne Line, on the scaffold, 1601)

12. Favourite Holy Card?
Ummmm... no, sorry, don't have one. I like most of them.

13. Favourite story of a saint?
Lots... but if I had to pin it down...
St. Teresa of Avila was travelling to various convents to sort them out. On one such journey, in really foul weather, the wheel of the cart broke off, tipping everything into the mud. St. Teresa remonstrated with Our Lord. "Lord," she said, "Why do you have to make life so difficult?" Jesus replied, "Teresa, this is how I treat my friends." "Yes, Lord," she retorted, "That's why you have so few of them."

14. If you could go anywhere on a pilgrimage to a saint's homeland, where would it be?
I already visit Lourdes (St. Bernadette's home.) I suppose if I had the chance to go anywhere, it would have to be the Holy Land, as several of my favourites are there: St. Jude, St. Martha, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Joseph, St. Peter...

15. Any Blesseds or Venerables that you would like to become canonized?
Venerable Luiz de Granada (he wrote The Sinner's Guide, and was a favourite of St. Teresa of Avila.)

And now I tag Mark, Ma Beck, Tomas, Jay, Joanna (if she's not too busy to play), Joe, Esther and Rita.

More On The Fire Extinguisher Front...

After the fun and games in Blackfen, I found another "fire extinguisher" story...

...apparently, a German man objected to his girlfriend lighting up in their flat, and decided to take drastic action to make his point absolutely clear...

They have now split up. Well, there's a surprise!

Quiet News Day...

I'm on my half-term break, which means that I have lots of time to blog, but very little in the way of news to blog about... so, in time-honoured fashion, I thought a little visual humour might be in order...

Voting On The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Bill

On many subjects, MPs are expected to support their Parties' policies. This is known as "the Whip," I think... anyway, some topics have traditionally not been whipped, but MPs are allowed to vote according to their consciences. When the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill was considered by Parliament the (then) government allowed free votes on all matters up until the final vote.

The joint committee on the draft Human Tissues and Embryos bill recommended that this approach be adopted for questions over embryology and the role of fathers, but the Brown government has said that free votes will only be allowed on abortion.

There is an e-petition going to Downing Street to ask that the votes on the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Bill, at least the clauses concerned with embryology and the role of fathers, are free.

If you are a British Citizen or resident you can sign the petition HERE.

Monday 18 February 2008

Not That I'm That Interested, But...

The candidates for American President seem to be as bad as each other. And it's hard to get worked up over an election which won't happen until next November... and in another country... However, when I saw this photo, I just couldn't resist!

Mantilla-twitch to Jay3gsm.


It's that time of year again... I'm organising the parish pilgrimage to Lourdes, which will be at the end of May. We will be there for the Feast of the Visitation, which, I suspect, will be quite an event during this 150th Anniversary Year.

Because of the Anniversary, we had to get things moving much earlier than last year. Fr. Tim announced the pilgrimage at the Masses one Sunday, and then left it at that. We had a really strict limit on the number of rooms the hotel could give us, and it was a case of first come (with firm name and address) first served. Needless to say, all the places were snapped up pretty quickly.

And it'll be a real family affair this year: there are 22 adults and 11 children. I've just sent out the details of flights to each of the pilgrims, and booked the coaches to and from the airports, and sent the final details to the hotel. I can't sort out the itinerary just yet, as the Shrine authorities don't look at the small group bookings until April, after they've allocated chapels and other things to the large diocesan pilgrimages.

I'm getting excited already! I wonder if I should invest in a snazzy camera?

I Liked This One... I thought I'd share!

50 Years Young...

The extra-tall South Ashford Priest celebrated making his first half-century with a party in his parish. It was a great evening, with live music accompanying the barn dancing. I managed to get a few photos, but the "official" photographer kept wandering in front of me just as I was about to take a shot (that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it!)

The photo on the left shows Fr. John reading through his birthday card, signed by all the parishioners (I never did find out if it was literally all his parishioners, or all the parishioners present at the party.)

There were a few family and friends, but the majority of the people present were parishioners, and one person came up to me and started to tell me how very much Fr. John is appreciated in South Ashford, and what great work he is doing in building up the parish. (I know Fr. John will be too modest to admit that's what his parishioners think of him, so I thought I better do it for him!) And in his speech, Fr. John explained quite movingly how a priest's parish is his family.

Fr. Tim has posted a few pictures from the event, and Fr. John has put up a video show of the photos taken by one of his parishioners.
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