Thursday, May 31, 2007


A random selction of a couple of great quotes that have helped me recently:

1. St. John Vianney: "Do not try to please everybody. Try to please God, the angels and the saints. These are your public. If you are afraid of other people's opinions, you should not have become a Christian."

2. George Weigel, on Pope Benedict: he is a "Master catechist, able to distill the most difficult points of Christian doctrine into language and imagery that can be grasped by anyone."

By the way - Father George Rutler's book does not come out until next month - but you can pre-order

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Fr. Dwight, who spends an inordinate amount of time upside down, tagged me for the book Meme. There is a long-running radio show in England called 'Desert Island Discs' - a celebrity chooses the ten (or is it eight, I can't remember) records that they would take if stranded on a desert island. Of course, if you are invited on more than once, they will probably change, so the 'Books which have influenced me most' section is really arbitrary - so:

What I am Reading at the Moment:
1. Pope Benedict XVI: A Theological Portrait - Fr. Vincent Twomey
2. Cardinal Manning - Sir Shane Leslie
3. The Window in the Wall - Msgr. Ronald Knox

What I've Recently Read:
1. Gentle Regrets - Roger Scruton
2. Thomas More - Peter Ackroyd
3. Confessions of a Convert - Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson
4. Schall on Chesterton - Fr. James Schall
5. The Zombie Survival Guide - Max Brooks
6. Catholic Converts - Patrick Allitt
7. Cell - Stephen King

Books which have influenced me most:
The Bible and Shakespeare are already on the Island so...
1. The Lord - Romano Guardini
2. The Life of St. Francis - Thomas of Celano
3. The Seven Storey Mountain - Thomas Merton
4. A Time of Gifts/Between the Woods and the Water - Patrick Leigh Fermor
5. Love Unlimited - Barry White (ok, that's a joke)

p.s. - just received an email from the great Fr. George of Park Avenue - his new book is out - go out and buy it immediately!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The King is Dead - Long Live the King!

It's a curious experience being a 'lame duck pastor' - with only a month to go here, people already seem to be working out strategies to deal with the new man. It's very good for one's humility. However, I'm also getting vibes from the new place - and yet, I'm not there yet, and I'm definitely not in charge. I'm no longer 'King' of this castle - and I'm not the King of the new castle (or castles)! I've actually decided that I will be known as George Bush for the next four weeks, he knows all about being a lame duck. I got some great spiritual help from reading some of the Holy Father's writings - the more you read him, the more the title of George Weigel's book, 'God's Choice,' seems not just appropriate, but prophetic. He reminds the priest, in 'Called to Communion,' that always, as a priest "one sows and another reaps." Pope Benedict embodies the qualities that I must pray for - humility, selflessness and the ability to let the one we serve be front and centre. "He must increase, I must decrease."

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Announcement Made

I gave the news at all the Masses this weekend that I was being moved - not the happiest Pentecost news! There was some weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth (all right - there was some weeping)! One little one was very sweet - she's just about to start kindergarten, so whatever age that makes her(?) - she told her mother that the Bishop wasn't ever allowed to visit the parish again because he was moving me. I am relieved that I could finally release the news - now the horrible packing begins! When I am home in England at the end of June, I will be making a couple of visits to special holy places to grab as much help as possible from Our Lady and the Saints. My mother and I will be going to Paris for the day on the Eurostar, it's a social visit to my Godfather who has just got married again at the age of 77 - the triumph of hope over experience. We will rush to the Rue du Bac to pray at the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal - and probably buy a sackful!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Meeting with the Bishop

Yesterday, I sped into Burlington to do my normal duty with the Burlington Police Department. I have been the Chaplain for seven years, (which technically makes me a Corporal!). I usually attend role call for the evening shift at 4.45pm, and then ride with one of the officers for a couple of hours. This gives me a good chance to get to know them, and vice-versa, and certainly gives me a real view of what they have to deal with every day. For the curious, I have a police badge and I do wear a bullet proof vest - and I have a canister of pepper spray, which I have never needed to use - yet! I don't carry a gun. I regard my Chaplain duties as a very important part of my priestly ministry and the Police seem grateful for my presence over the years. Before my duties yesterday, I had to meet the Bishop. He has asked me to move and take over two parishes, about 20 miles from where I am now. A religious Order is pulling out - and we have very few men to choose from. Having been in my present parish only four and a half years, it is a difficult time - we diocesan priests are meant to regard the parish as our family. So, I have some grieving to do - prayers please! The American system is quite unlike the English one - I remember in Southwark Archdiocese, the moves were always announced some months before the actual time of moving - giving plenty of time for packing, goodbyes etc. I don't know if that is still the case? Here, we have a month. So, I will be packing over the next few weeks, transporting books etc over to the new place, before I leave my parish on its Feast Day - St. John the Baptist, and fly home to England for my annual visit to family and friends. I will be keeping all my present diocesan duties, so I am a little anxious about taking over two parishes, one big one - with 1000 registered parishioners, and a small country one - perhaps any US bloggers can visit me in hospital when I have my heart attack. The great blessing for me is always to be reminded that it doesn't depend on me - someone much more important is in charge!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Intolerable Liberty

Looking at Father Tim's blog, the Hermeneutic of Continuity, I saw a phrase which was truly startling. Dr. Tom Ward of the National Association of Catholic Families, is quoted as saying, "a legal infrastructure has now been laid down for a massive attack on the Church." He is, of course, talking about Great Britain. At the same time, Pope Benedict is powerfully urging the Italian Bishops to take the gloves off and realize we have a fight on our hands (my non-literal translation!). In his gentle and winsome way, even though he has the heart of a lion, BXVI has really been saying this from the start of his pontificate - or really for the last thirty years. Without wishing to be a purveyor of gloom, it seems, as Gandalf would say, that the "forces of Mordor are gathering." If they are, and some will quite forcefully say that this is all apocalyptic nonsense and can't we get back to our deckchair on the Titanic in time for canapes and cocktails- if the forces of the Dark Lord are gathering, then the Lord's frequent words to his closest companions should fill us with fortitude: "Be not afraid!" Faithful Catholics, who it seems will come to resemble more and more God's Hobbits, are not without protection. We have a "strong city" - we are members of the Church! Perhaps Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson expresses it best, speaking of his conversion from Anglicanism in 'Confessions of a Convert' - "there is a liberty which is a more intolerable slavery than the heaviest of chains. I did not want to go this way and that at my own will: I wanted to know the way in which God wanted me to walk. I did not want to be free to change my grasp on truth: I needed rather a truth that itself should make me free. I did not want broad ways of pleasantness, but the narrow Way that is Truth and Life."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Preaching Day

Father Dwight Longenecker, of Standing on My Head fame, arrived in Vermont on a beautiful sunny day. Before we headed up North to Little Siberia, I showed him the sights of the 'big city' of Burlington. He was particularly struck by the artistic beauty and liturgically helpful interior of the Cathedral, dedicated in 1977 (should give readers a clue!). As we drove up North, Fr. Dwight commented again and again how beautiful the countryside was. The grass is green, the sun was out - and with the leaves on the trees, you can begin to forget blizzards and snow drifts. He thought my little town was "sweet," an English word one doesn't often hear used in these parts, except when referring to Maple Walnut pie. It was great fun to chat about all things English - dull hierarchy, great history, the English Martyrs, the future. As seen in the previous blog, he gave me some much needed assistance and then we repaired to the porch for a limoncello session, during which most of the rest of the problems of the Church and the World were put to rights. Wednesday turned out to be another nice day, as we drove to Barre, the "granite capital of the world," a two hour drive from my parish, for the talks. Having been the Director of Continuing Education for the Clergy for three years, I can say that this was definitely one of our more successful days. A good turnout of priests and deacons, although I hate to say it - some who needed it most were not there - however - good talks, humour, good questions from the troops. Altogether a good experience - and now I have an invitation to visit 'down South.'

As we chatted last night, Belloc, Chesterton, Robert Hugh Benson and Ronnie Knox were all welcome guests - so - with my new found skills - picture of my personal fave - 'Old Thunder.'

p.s. - Joseph Pearce was also a welcome guest ( not physically) during our chats.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fr. Dwight Helps Me Add Image

As you can see from my last post, with the image of Our Lady of Ransom (a very powerful title of Our Lady), I now know how to put an image on my blog. This is only because Father Dwight has just shown me! The good news is that his head is not really flat at all, as he only stands on his head, but doesn't actually try and move around on it. He has gone to do some last minute work on his talks for tomorrow, before we move to the porch for some limoncello - my porch which is now skunk free! More news tomorrow evening.

Add photo

I have added this image

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tagged for Mary

I've been tagged, by Mulier Fortis, on favourite things to do with Our Lady. I'm in a bit of a rush, but here goes:

1. Favourite Image of Our Lady: Since I have been here in the Colonies, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has become very important to me, Her powerful influence as Empress of the Americas cannot be over-estimated. Just watch Mel Gibson's movie 'Apocalypto' to see why She appeared - as Pope Benedict said last week, upsetting that demagogue Hugo Chavez, the native religions were not all happy innocents, dancing around the campfire. I'm also very fond of the statue of Our Lady of Canterbury in the Undercroft of Canterbury Cathedral. A Saxon Madonna, it was sculpted by Mother Concordia of Minster Abbey, who I've known for many years.

2. Favourite Marian Feast: Any feast celebrating Our Lady's powerful intercession defeating the massed hordes of Mohammedan infidels - so probably Our Lady of the Rosary, for Lepanto.

3. Favourite Marian hymn/anthem: I miss so many of the great old hymns to Our Lady, which seem to be unknown over here - so "Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star" or the Salve.

4. Place of Pilgrimage: I've never been to Lourdes or Fatima. I once stayed with a friend who lived near Lourdes, but he was an atheist, so he wasn't really interested in pilgrimages, except to the wine cellar. I would have to say I really loved my one visit to the Holy House in Loreto - a real shrine of the Incarnation. Walsingham is also very special.

5. Marian Devotion: The Litany of Loreto.

I tag the Hermeneutic of Continuity, Roman Miscellany and the Roving Medievalist, because he will show some lovely pictures!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Skunk Problem

When George Herbert was in his little English parsonage, I am sure he had all kinds of problems to deal with, but I would bet a thousand pots of Marmite (miss it terribly!) that he never had to deal with a skunk. For the last two years, a skunk family has been practising NFP very badly below my porch. Last year a good parishioner of mine caught four skunks - three babies and an adult. They don't like meat in the trap, or vegetables - they like peanut butter. Well, this year they were back, I don't know if it was Mr or Mrs Skunk that we couldn't catch, but I wanted them caught before they starting going forth and multiplying again. For any English readers who have never smelt a skunk, it is quite dreadful - if you happen to pass one which has been squished on the road, the smell travels on the car for miles. Imagine the smell of fox, and magnify that x2. Or, am I the only one who thinks that when you open a bottle of Corona beer, the first delicious aroma is that of fresh skunk spray? Try it. The good news is that we finally caught a great big skunk - I think it's the patriarch. What happens to them? Please don't get all Greenpeace and Animal Rights on me - otherwise I'll send them around to your house. Let's just say they go to meet their Maker - and it's swift.
Father Dwight, of Standing on My Head fame, tells me that to blog successfully, whatever that means, one must post every day. Even if they are dreadfully dull? So far, that has not happened (not the dullness, we've managed that quite Oscar winningly) - and I don't think it will. Some blogs seem to feature a prize winning essay every day, some are more diary style, some a sort of stream of consciousness. Maybe mine will be a mixture - forget the prize winning essays. Talking of Father Dwight, I'm looking forward to his visit to Little Siberia next week. He's coming to talk to our priests and deacons about preaching. I'm eagerly anticipating discovering how flat his head really is, as he spends most of his time upside down. We might, after a Bellocian supper, go and have an upside down swing in Rosie O'Donnell's depression harness.
Talking of Belloc (like the link?) - he is my absolute favourite essayist. I prefer him to Chesterton, and a recent article in The Spectator agreed with me! Two great quotes from J.B. Morton's memoir of Belloc: prior to a good drink, the great one would say - "We will now drink, or perish miserably in the attempt." In difficulty or real danger - "A few kind words from the Vicar of Lower Beeding, and all will be well!" He apparently said that one time when his boat, the Nona, was about to sink in a terrible storm - don't you love him?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Postal Order News

The web is alive with the news that the Postal Order has been sighted - mounds of tuck are on the horizon and we can all eat our fill - yarooh! One thing that particularly pleased me is that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyes said that it will be ALL the sacraments - for years I have wished to be able to use the old rite of Baptism - salt, proper dismissal of'Old Nick' etc. My father used to enjoy impersonating the priest who baptized me (in Latin - it was 1963!) - Canon Alfonso De Zulueta, at Holy Redeemer in Chelsea. I actually claim some sort of Apostolic Succession through Canon Alfonso (did Fr. Dwight say this blog was eccentric?) - as a child, he was dandled upon the knee of Pope St. Pius X. When asked by the sainted one what he wanted to be when he grew up, little Alfonso said "a priest!" Pope St. Pius - Canon Alfonso - Fr. Benedict - a direct line.
I promised the massed thousands of readers a little personal history; I am sure the anticipation has been almost unbearable. I will give the PG13 shortened version to avoid a) libel and b) boredom - both reader and writer!
Born: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, 1963 and baptized, as already noted, at Holy Redeemer. My parents were actually married by Peter De Rosa, of "Bless Me Father" fame, when he was still 'Father' Peter.
Educated: Prep and Public School - St. Edmunds, Canterbury - an Anglican school. My mother had left the Church in 1969, my father was lapsed even before the marriage. Interestingly enough, my mother's only sister is a nun, her eldest son (me!) is a priest, and we have a cousin in Opus Dei - so in my family, you are either all or nothing. No Catholic upbringing from the age of six - so I made my First Communion and Confirmation at seventeen.
Next few years: Hazy....... including: working in Public Relations (hence needing a lifetime of penance), working in Australia, working at the infamous Foyle's bookshop in London and driving a Double-Decker London bus (Routemaster, of course - anything else is the anti-Christ). In between all that, I had spent some time with the Capuchins - left at the end of Simple Vows because I did not feel ready to make the final move. However, the call was always there so - after my time in Australia, I joined the British Province of the Capuchin Franciscans, was educated at the Franciscan Study Centre in Canterbury, and was finally ordained on November 12th, 1994 at the Church of St. Thomas of Canterbury, Canterbury, by Archbishop John Aloysius Ward ofmCap. I spent two years in the parish in Peckham and then three years as Fr. Tim Finigan's neighbour (although he wasn't there at the time) in Erith, Kent. In the interests of charity, I will have to gloss over the reasons for leaving the Caps - I am most grateful for my formation but, as the Blessed Margaret of Grantham once said, they went "wobbly." A number of good men left the Order, including the Novice Master, Director of Students and me. I really wanted to be a parish priest - so.....through a series of bizzare circumstances I ended up in Vermont in 1999 - was used as a 'consecrated cork' plugging spaces in five different parishes between '99 and 2002 - yes, that's FIVE parishes in three years! I was incardinated in 2002, moved to my present parish where I have been very happy. I wrote a column for the 'Catholic Times' of England entitled "Stateside" - but things got so busy I had to give it up. I am now writing again for the world famous publication: the 'Vermont Catholic Tribune,' where I have literally dozens of delighted readers. My father died six months after I was ordained, I have a brother and sister, both living in England, and a nephew and niece. My mother returned to the Church after 31 years away, a year ago last Christmas, and I was able to give her Communion for the first time as a priest in Rome in April, 2006, at a wonderful Mass celebrated over the tomb of St. Josemaria Escriva at the Opus Dei Prelature (no sightings of any albino monks). Her journey back began when we all had the privilege of being in Rome the previous year, during the extraordinary last days of Pope John Paul the Great. I was there with two other US priests, celebrating my 10th anniversary - we got JP 2's last ever blessing - and lived those grace-filled days as he died and the crowds started to pour in. I was actually interviewed twice by the BBC while there - and by CNN! So..... now you know all about the Owl of the Remove -zzzzzzzzz.......

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Return from the Big Apple

85 degrees in New York City - today in Little Siberia 47 degrees and pouring with rain. Does every Englishman who lives in the USA get sick of people saying when it's raining: "it must make you feel at home!" Well, it bloody well doesn't - Vermont weather is the worst I've ever experienced and it's making me grumpy. That, and a delayed flight. I was only away for a day and a half and didn't get much accomplished. I visited with my friend Fr. Joe and took some pictures of his magnificent Romanesque Church - I'm trying to find the address of its website so I can provide a link. Our attempt to secure an audience with the Blessed George of Park Avenue unfortunately was not a success. He was delayed preaching at the Memorial for Bill Buckley's wife. We did get a chance to pray in his Church and buy some exceptionally expensive postcards. It is nice to feel that one is supporting the poor of Park Avenue. Fr. Joe's parish is now 80% Filipino and he is bringing in the Neo-Catechumenal Way to help with evangelization. We had them in my first parish in Peckham - we called them the "neo-cats" or the "neo-kitties." Joe didn't really appreciate the second name. In the next post, if I can find the time, I will give a little personal history, if anyone is interested.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Postal Order Update

Devout readers of the Bunter classics will recall that the said Fat Owl was always anxiously awaiting the arrival of a Postal Order, which would solve all his problems, notably the endless search for tuck. It struck me this morning that perhaps we should substitute the words 'Motu Proprio' for Postal Order - the wait seems as long. When it comes, we can all shout with BB - "yarooh!"

Saturday, May 12, 2007

NYC visit

After the last Sunday Mass I will be heading to the airport in Burlington for a quick visit to New York. It's only an hour flight. I try and go every year for two nights. I will stay with my friend Fr. Joe, who is over the river in Jersey City. He has a magnificent Church, built by the Irish, with a beautiful High Altar, marble altar rails etc. Unfortunately, the area has seen better days and is very run down and quite dangerous. On Monday, I am hoping to have my annual audience with the great Fr. George Rutler at the Church of Our Saviour on 5th Avenue. Last year when I visited, he managed to fit me in between the President of Guatemala and Bill Buckley. Fr. Rutler is always great company, he came and spoke to our priests a year ago during Lent and was tremendous. Part of my job as Director of Continuing Education for the Clergy of the Diocese is to get decent speakers. But, as is usual in the Church, the budget is minimal, however Rutler made no demands about a set fee, which is admirable. I was expecting a nice cup of Darjeeling tea with him last time, as he is a great Anglophile, but instead we had a large glass of red wine on his roof terrace, which has one of the finest views in New York City. He has transformed his parish, his Church has been beautifully restored and vocations are pouring out of his parish. Why is he not a candidate to be the next Cardinal Archbishop? I think I know the answer to that one! The next post will contain a full report of the Rutlerian audience. Last night, our two deacons who will be ordained to the priesthood next month came for a visit. Despite what the dreary old leftovers from the 1970's say, the young priests are a real sign of hope for the Church in the USA. These two young men will make excellent priests; they are devout, sensible, manly and enjoy a good laugh. The kind Fr. Dwight, at Standing on my Head, has alerted more of the blogosphere to the hesitant and rather inadequate first attempts on this blog. He says he wants photos; I do too, the trouble is that a camera is usually a prerequisite for such things. I suppose I will have to go out and buy one. I feel a little like Kenneth Williams in 'Carry On Cleo' (only a certain number of very damaged individuals will admit to enjoying the 'Carry On' films) - "Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me."

Catholic Places

Fr. Dwight has asked for a list of favourite Catholic places in England. He says we can't include anything that was "nicked by the Anglicans!" I'm going to disobey him on that one - they are only holding these places temporarily and, if it is a question of a place sanctified by the martyrdom of a saint - or even with a saint's body still present - it is STILL holy - despite the new landlord.
1. The Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. If you can find a brief moment when the hordes of Japanese tourists and French schoolchildren depart, a little prayer at the actual site of the martyrdom of one of England's greatest Saints is very powerful. I go every year when I am at home.
2. The Chapel of the Benedictine Nuns at Minster Abbey. The oldest inhabited Benedictine convent in Britain, at Minster on the Isle of Thanet, is a very special place. I used to regularly make my retreat there when I was training for the priesthood and after I was ordained. They are a delightful community of real nuns, and there is a powerful sense of history in the place, even though the Chapel is new.
3. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel in Westminster Cathedral. An oasis of prayer in the heart of London.
4. Tyburn Convent. The English Martyrs - need I say more?
5. St. Dunstan's Church in Canterbury - for one reason, and one reason alone: knowing that under your feet, in the Roper vault, is the head of St. Thomas More - come in and pray to England's second greatest canonized Lord Chancellor!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Limoncello testing

Concerned readers will be glad to hear that the 'quality control' testing of Fr. Dan's limoncello was a great success. I can report that his limoncello (original version) is better than anything you can buy in the shops - it has a natural green/yellow colour, none of that artificial horrid yellow colouring. It is also almost syrupy - as he said, no-one should worry about becoming an alcoholic drinking his limoncello, they should worry about diabetes! I tried the grapefruit, which most people don't like - it is quite sharp and might make a nice drink between courses if you are having a particularly rich meal. The lemon/orange mix is very good - next stop - lime/lemon mix! Our limoncello session was needed after a difficult Personnel meeting - things are getting very serious in our diocese with the priest shortage. More and more priests are having to take two or even three parishes. As Pope Benedict said in one of his books, the crisis of the priesthood is really a crisis of the family, and the real reason for the vocation shortage is contraception, not celibacy. Yesterday was Confirmation - exceedingly hot Church - it was 81c outside. The sound system sort of blew up during the Mass, which was invigorating. Music was bouncy-bouncy - at some point the "we-we" hymns will have to be banned - "we are many parts....we are Christ's body....we are so important....we are the center of the liturgy...!" George Weigel wrote a column a while back in which he made the point that, for the first time in Christian history, we now sing hymns to ourselves!! The liturgy has become dangerously unbalanced - anthropocentic, not theocentric - which is really what Sacramentum Caritatis is all about. I do hope priests will start to use Sacramentum Caritatis as a sort of template for renewing the liturgy in their parishes - but it will be very hard work, given the fact that we have three generations who have been moulded in the anthropocentic model.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Just filled the dishwasher for the second time - the Bishop, Chancellor and the Vicar General stayed for Chinese food after the First Holy Communion Mass. Our Bishop is a hot food person, hot as in 'spicy!" He pours vast amounts of pepper on his "General Tso's beef". The Vicar General prefers a double helping of walnut brownies - the Chancellor doesn't believe in eating. Communion went well, one boy had been drilled so well about genuflecting when leaving the pew that he performed a double genuflection and seemed to be intent on coming towards the Bishop on his knees. Next stop - Confirmation on Tuesday - we do it on a deanery basis here, so we go to the parish about 25 minutes away. One interesting part of the discussion over the Chinese munchies - how everyone seems to like the ghastly old English comedies they still show on public television over here. Bishop, Chancellor and VG all giggling away as they discuss Mrs. Slocombe from 'Are You Being Served!" Quite extraordinary. Tomorrow I have a priests Personnel meeting in Burlington, then I'm going up even further North than my own parish to have my night off with our Limoncello producing priest. If this blog develops a bibulous feel, so be it. Fr. Dan of Barton produces his own 'Villa Daniel' limoncello. He has also made the orange version, and a grapefruit version, which didn't go down too well. I'm trying to persuade him to make a lime version. Tomorrow evening we must test, purely for quality control purposes, his lemon/orange mix. Now I have to rush off and see the fantastic BBC version of 'Bleak House' which is also on PBS - it's the best thing since sliced bread.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Welcome, friends!

Well, this is all very exciting! I sent a simple question to Fr. Tim Finigan - and some interesting people have actually found this blog! Thank you for all your kind help. Of course, it means I have to start writing something on a regular basis and I'm feeling incredibly dull at the moment - I even thought about mentioning the weather, how English can you get!! It's not -20F anymore, but it's still around 32C at night - but the sun has come out. A number of Vermonters suffer from what is called 'SAD' - that's not a gathering of experts on the music of Marty Haughen and David Haas - it's 'Seasonal Affective Disorder' - basically, it means the dreadful winters here drive you barmy. The only alternative is to take to the drink, which is another disorder. The Bishop is coming tomorrow for First Holy Communion, there are eleven children in my little parish. They used to "perform" at the Mass, singing, doing the collection etc... Now they focus on what they are meant to focus on: receiving the Lord Jesus for the first time. I also introduced last year kneeling and receiving on the tongue - it went down a treat, because the parents can all get better pictures, but it sows seeds.... Someone asked, "why 'Owl of the Remove' for a blog title"? Two words - Billy Bunter. I'm not actually always in search of tuck - or grotesquely overweight, more 'pleasingly rounded', but it amused me and as, up until yesterday, I was the only reader of my blog, my "in-joke" was truly an in-joke. There will more personal history etc as time goes by, but I have to rush off to the local supermarket and get the vino in for the Bishop's visit - he's Italian, from Rhode Island, and he must be kept happy - otherwise I may sleep with the fish. Ciao!