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.......

9 comments:

Mac McLernon said...

Fr Owl, this is positively spooky! I lived off Queen's Road, Peckham for a while, before moving to Belvedere (where I am now)... I rang Fr Tim to find out where my parish church actually was (I didn't know the area) and he said that technically I was in Erith (Our Lady of the Angels) and they were very nice.... they were Franciscans.... a little on the liberal side... but I was more than welcome to attend Blackfen...

(It transpired that he needed another Confirmation catechist...)

the owl of the remove said...

Perhaps we passed like ships in the night at some point - the web community is certainly interesting! I'd love to chat with Fr. Tim about things in the area now - I'll be home at the end of June - maybe we can have an Owl/Herm/Fortis gathering?

~m2~ said...

Fr., even without pictures, your blog is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

I suppose I shall remain Catholic for a bit longer since there are folks like you around...quirky is good.

the owl of the remove said...

Dear M2 - please stay Catholic for a LONG time - like forever! As Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, to whom shall we go?" Despite Her faults, because She is filled with humans like you and me, the Catholic Church is, as Pope Benedict said last week, "home."

ali said...

That's a pretty amazing life story! thanks Padre!

Jenny said...

Yes, indeed, "home" is where the heart is! Alas, just as our human families can be dysfunctional, so too can be our Church family. We've all been "through it" over the past 4 decades (Vatican II, we love you?!?). But we run the race as a distance runners, not as sprinters...

Mac McLernon said...

Or a Mulier Owl of Continuity meeting?? That would indeed be fun!

M2, you know that the Church has the fullness of the Truth. Stick with it, no matter how irritating we get...

anon said...

Zulu, good to see him mentioned

Ttony said...

For the first time I know something about Peckham that isn't Del Boy or murders!

Vmt Father.