Thursday, September 30, 2010

Great Doctor....

St. Jerome, Confessor and Doctor of the Church
Gospel: Matthew 5:13-19
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men. You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

St. Jerome Painting by Eric Armusik

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Powerful Saint: Ora pro nobis

The Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel (Michaelmas Day)
Gospel: Matthew 18:1-10
At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who thinkest thou is the greater in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them, And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven. And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh. And if thy hand, or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Welcome Holy Father!

The excitement about the Holy Father being in the United Kingdom is immense! Our family have been watching it on our home projector and following every movement and word of Pope Benedict XVI on his historic visit to our country. The last time a Pope came to this country was in 1982, when I was still a baby in South Africa, and Wendy was a baby only Louis' age with her big sister being shown the event by her mother on the television. This visit is of national importance, and not just for Catholics but for everyone.

Wendy Receiving
The top photo is from the Holy Father's first day as Pope, having been elected in 2005. I remember this time so vividly because we were closely following this on the television too. During that time, of the death of Pope John Paul II and his successor's election, it was only a week after Wendy had been received into the Catholic Faith from Anglicanism. A year later, in Easter 2006, Wendy's mother followed suit. It was therefore most interesting to have us all together this evening, watching the Holy Father meet Dr Rowan Williams, and take part in joint Evening Prayer at Westminster Abbey and pray before the tomb of St Edward the Confessor, the great King of England. The Holy Father chose to reinterate the fact that he is the successor of St Peter, and charged with the task keeping Christendom unified. I see this unity as flowing from full Catholic Doctrine and Apostolic Tradition. Unfortunately, having chosen to reject the authority of the Pope, the Church of England has progressively fallen deeper into confusion, to the point where their Primate, the 'Archbishop of Canterbury', has no hope of keeping in unity his own communion, let alone striving for deeper unity with the rest of Christendom.

We have tickets to wait outside the Birmingham Oratory when the Holy Father comes there on Sunday. This is particularly exciting for us since it will be immediately after the Beatification of John Henry Newman, who we have been devoted towards for the last five years since the same 'Kindly Light' led Wendy towards the Church. It is unfortunate that his example is now being distorted to present him as a Patron of Conscientious Objection from the Church's teaching, as well as Homosexuality, and even Ecumenism. None of these agendas accurately reflects Newman's legacy, but as long as it is in the full glare of media attention, this is an inevitable drawback. History will surely see him, and the English Oratory, in its proper light, despite the short-term silence and lack of voice for the Truth.

Serving Mass in the Chapel
now dedicated to Newman
 So this coming Sunday afternoon, unfortunately during a period of night-shifts for me (starting tonight), we will be showing our support for the Holy Father outside our beloved Oratory, and cheering his arrival. We will also have the opportunity of being some of the first pilgrims after the Pope to pray in the newly renovated Shrine to Blessed John Henry Newman; a chapel previously remembered by us with fondness when it was dedicated to St Philip Neri, and when Fr Philip Cleevely used to say private Mass there with our noisy family in attendence!

If everything happens as it has so far, the support for the Holy Father in Birmingham will be immense. We have a wonderful Catholic History in this Archdiocese, and a large Catholic Population which has swelled in recent years to include lots of Eastern Europeans. We are honoured to have the Vicar of Christ here to celebrate it with us! And perhaps he will stop his Popemobile to bless a few more babies!

Monday, September 13, 2010

EWTN coverage of the Holy Fathers visit to UK

IRONDALE, AL (August 18, 2010) - EWTN Global Catholic Network will provide live coverage of every public event during Pope Benedict XVI’s historic visit to England and Scotland Sept. 16-19, numerous original productions on the life and works of Cardinal John Henry Newman, who will be beatified by the Pope during his visit, and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.

Coverage will be seen and heard on all nine EWTN Television Networks worldwide, and can be heard in English, Spanish, French and German; on EWTN Radio Network, and at through live streaming video. (Find EWTN Television at and EWTN Radio at or on Sirius Satellite Channel 160.)

Special live coverage will be provided by EWTN News Anchor Raymond Arroyo, who has covered more papal events than anyone in the industry and who obtained the only English language interview in existence today with the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. (Contact EWTN to arrange an interview.)

“To my mind, this visit to the U.K. is to Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy what Pope John Paul II’s visit to Poland was to his,” said “World Over” Host Raymond Arroyo, who will anchor EWTN’s coverage. “Not enough attention is being paid to the historicity of this seismic moment.”

EWTN’s coverage of these events will include exclusive interviews with Deacon John “Jack” Sullivan, who prayed to Newman for healing after watching a series on the saint on EWTN and whose resulting miracle is responsible for Newman’s beatification; Cormack Murphy O’Connor, former Archbishop of Westminster, who worked tirelessly behind-the-scenes to make this papal trip possible; Lord David Alton, a member of Parliament, who will discuss the government’s view of the trip and what Catholics can expect; Westminster’s current Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams, and many others!

You’ll also travel to the Birmingham Oratory and the rooms in which Newman lived and worked; Westminster Hall, where St. Thomas More was condemned to death; the Guild Chapel and much more.

EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 30th year, is available in 160 million television households in 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website and publishing arm, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world.


It also looks like there is live coverage via the official papal visit website.

-- Posted From Wend's iPod Touch WiFi (4.5Mb/s)
Virgin Media Broadband

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Raynet on Patrol

Louis' Grandad is a member of Raynet and has been on patrol today for radio cover at the jumbo run, which is a charity event where 30 disabled children are given a day out in motorcycle sidecars!

A Fond Farewell

A successful retreat came to an end with over 30 weekend delegates saying goodbye after a hearty meal at the Rowbarge pub in Woolhampton. I haven't mentioned the social side of the Young Catholic Adults Retreat, which is invaluable in this secular and oppressive world we live in. For young Catholics who are both doctrinally and liturgically conservative, it is nice to be in company which is not threatening or stifling, allowing free conversation to flourish.

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Douai Missa Cantata

The weekend with Young Catholic Adults ends with a Sung Mass for this Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost. We learn from the Gospel the importance of humility and are sent back to our respective homes with the mission to love God and neighbour in our everyday lives having benefited from this spiritual retreat.

It has been an excellent retreat with an opportunity for lots of young Catholics to get together and share the Faith, undiluted and with full orthodoxy, and expressed in its traditional way through the Latin liturgy and devotions.

This is an example of youthful faith which many Catholics in this country would do well to look upon, as the future of the Faith has such fervent and lively carriers of Sacred Tradition.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Douai Adoration

The source and summit of the Christian Faith is the Eucharist, the real presence of Christ, the Emmanuel "God is with us". It is not only the sacrament of sacraments, but God's love in action as a transforming power of Grace not only in the species but also in our life.

Tonight at the Juventutem Retreat, Exposition, Adoration and Benediction takes place in the little Parish Church of Our Lady. It is a special way to end such a wonderful day, and a good way also to see in Sunday.

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Douai Conference

Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP, the retreat giver for this weekend's international Juventutem conference, has been giving us intricate teachings of the Holy Mass and it's spirituality. There are many unique aspects of the Extraordinary Form, but of course all his theological exposition applies to the Mass as a whole. This afternoon's conference brought us to the Canon, which is like ascending Calvary up to the point of the consecration. As well as taking us through the individual prayers, we were helped to understand more about the double consecration of bread and wine which makes the sacrament a visible representation of the separation of body and blood which took place at the sacrificial death of Christ. As the risen Christ being made actually present, is an efficacious and divine manner, we have present the whole body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ under either species, distributed to faithful only in the form of bread as a precaution against accidental spillage (something I have regrettably seen happen once before).

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Douai Solemn High Mass

A striking feature about Douai Abbey, in the pleasant Berkshire countryside, is the way one encounters a grand modern facade which practically spills out into the world beyond the Monastery.

The community have a noble history, originating as an English community of Benedictines in 17th Century Paris, to escape the Protestant persecutions. Later, during the French revolution, they fled and settled in Douai, France. For centuries they trained future martyrs who died for their Faith, ministering to a recusant Catholic England, giving them the simple Tridentine Mass as sustenance.

In brief, following Catholic emancipation, the community of Douai returned to England in 1903 and settled in Woolhampton it's present location. Originally they used the old parish church (above) which YCA are using this weekend for most liturgy, but eventually they began building the neo-Gothic Abbey Church of Our Lady & St Edmund designed by Birmingham architect J. Arnold Crush.

The Abbey Church was not completed according to it's original design, and the nave was completed in an altogether different style.

It is an interesting contrast, and one which the Solemn High Mass today made stark, the first of it's kind at the free-standing altar, set at the building's architectural divide between secular and Divine.

The West Midlands based choir, ensemble 1685, sang a magnificent polyphonic Mass setting by Palestrina under the direction of Richard Jeffcoat. They will be singing again soon for the LMS Birmingham's annual Solemn Requiem on November 5th at West Heath.

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Douai Abbey, Berkshire

Last year at the YCA retreat, there were enough participants to warrant having the Principal Mass in the main Abbey Church, rather than just the old parish Church. It was the first time, apparently, that the Traditional Latin Mass had been said in the Abbey since the liturgical revolution of the 1960s.

This year it is another first, as Fr Armand De Malleray will be Celebrant at a Solemn High Mass, with two other Priests as Deacon and Subdeacon. The Choir of ensemble 1685 will sing Palestrina's Ave Regina Caelorum.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Juventutem International Gathering 2010

The Young Catholic Adults (YCA) is the English branch of Juventutem which draws together young people attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Mass. It has its presence both at World Youth Days and the Chartres Pilgrimage.

Every year Damian Barker organises a weekend retreat for YCA here at Douai Abbey. This year we are fortunate to have several clerics from FSSP present, and a contingent from Switzerland, and will have a Solemn High Mass for the Blessed Virgin Mary tomorrow at 11am followed by a procession in the Abbey grounds.

Fr Armand de Mallery FSSP is the retreat giver, and after Low Mass for the feast of St Nicholas of Tolentino, followed by a hearty supper, is tonight launching the retreat with a conference entitled "How God is present in the Holy Eucharist".

I will give further updates throughout the weekend and give my reflections.