Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Towards Advent...

Last Saturday saw the tenth Towards Advent Festival of Catholic Culture at Westminster Cathedral Hall.

Despite having wanted to support this excellent event in previous years, I've always been doing something else, so I was delighted to realise that I could kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, and pop in en route to the Latin Mass Society's Annual Requiem.

I had intended to drive to North Greenwich and take the tube in to Central London... however, in the end, I decided to keep driving all the way to Victoria. I made excellent time - managing to miss some major demonstration or other which was due to close Parliament Square for most of the afternoon. Finding a place to park proved a little tricky. In desperation, I parked on a single yellow line, praying that it meant the same in Westminster as everywhere else (ie. restricted until 12noon on Saturdays - it was 1pm) and started hopping along the side of the Cathedral on my way to the hall.

I then spotted a free parking space which hadn't been there two minutes before when I had driven past. I was in a bit of a quandary... Should I go back and move my car to the better parking space (risking someone else swiping it while I tried), and maybe losing the space I already had, or should I stay put? While I hovered, Fr. Nicholas Schofield greeted me. This was just too good an opportunity to miss, and I begged him to guard the space for me, while I hopped back to my car. When I eventually got myself parked, Fr. Schofield told me he'd had to chase off two prospective space-snatchers!

I had deliberately brought coins for the parking meter. Alas, I realised that the meter in question was one of the new card-only ones... and I didn't have my cards with me. Just as I was about to panic, a friend from Blackfen, Wendy, turned up with her boys (the boys were going to serve at the Requiem Mass later) and offered to pay with her card... upon which we discovered that parking there was free at weekends, so we were both happy!

The Festival appeared to be going really well, and was extremely busy with people buying Christmas cards, Advent calendars, gifts, books and so on. I went round the stalls, asking if I could take photos, and chatting to various people I recognised, or who recognised me!

The Catholic Herald had a stall, and lots of people were stopping to chat and to collect a free newspaper... I felt a minor pang of sympathy for the poor soul manning The Suppository's stall - most people seemed to walk past very quickly, with eyes averted. It was only a minor pang... and not enough to make me want to stop or take a photo...

I was very pleased to meet, at long last, the incomparable Daphne McLeod who does such sterling work in defence of the family.

Fr. Clifton was at the second-hand bookstall, looking pretty chirpy despite the recent kerfuffle over his blog. It was good to hear that he wouldn't be giving up blogging completely.

To my delight and utter amazement, there was a stall selling items made from the Papal Tartan - the St. Ninian Tartan - and, since they'd sold out of scarves, and I don't go in for wearing ties, I got myself a pashmina... The chap on the stall didn't want to appear on the blog just yet, as he's only just starting his apostolate part time... (I didn't behead him accidentally, I wanted to show off his tie!) However, I shall give him a plug when the time comes.

I spotted Sir Dan of the Nesbitry on duty at the Faith Movement's stall, along with Joe Kelly, another good friend. Sir Dan was keen to know if I'd seen him on His Hermeneuticalness' blog following his latest Rome trip. Of course I had!

SPUC had a stall selling their excellent "proper" Christmas cards... I really dislike Christmas cards with reindeer, Santa, trees and whatnot, which ignores the whole point of Christmas - ie. the birth of Christ. I can tolerate angels (they feature heavily in the story, after all) and wise men and stars (even though they are a little later on in the narrative.) Anyhow, you can still order proper Christmas cards through the SPUC shop website.

Sadly, I didn't have as much time at the Festival as I'd have liked, because I wanted to get to the LMS Requiem Mass in the Cathedral... hopefully I'll get more time next year! Congratulations to all those involved.


Genty said...

I made the Mass but, due to travel probs, engineering works on the line, etc. etc. I had to dash at the end.
The event looks like fun and I'd have liked the opportunity to match faces to names, inc. yours.
But maybe next year . . .

Idle Rambler said...

Thanks for your 'Roving Report'. It sounds well worth a visit.
'Our Eldest' told me about the St Ninian's tartan stall on his return. Shame, if I'd have known in advance I might have dropped a few heavy hints about tartan pashminas making excellent Christmas gifts! :-)

Zephyrinus said...

Dear Mac. Most grateful for your "Roving Report" on this Festival of Catholic Culture. I didn't manage to attend, so am pleased to read your comprehensive "round up".

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