Monday, July 30, 2007

Five Things

Father Dwight, who spends a considerable amount of his time upside down, has tagged me for 'Five Things I Love About Jesus!' A little strange, I have to admit, because reasons 1,2,3,4 & 5 would be - "He's the Second Person of the Trinity,"......but here goes:
1. He is the image of the unseen God
2. He was entirely consistent
3. He left us His Body and Blood
4. He challenged and comforted
5. He gave all those who believe in Him the hope of everlasting life (thanks, St. Paul!)
I tag Fr. John the South Ashford Priest and anyone else who is interested.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Magnificent Pope

Having been a little "out of the the loop," as they say, I had missed the words of the Holy Father to the gathering of priests on his holiday. These spontaneous question and answer sessions are becoming one of the characteristics of this magnificent Pope. He just continues to amaze me - and fill me with admiration; not just because he's got white fluffy hair and is holy - not even because his name is Benedict (a good enough reason to like him), but his analysis of the Church and the World, from the Regensburg address to these Q&A sessions, are just always so right! Yet everything is delivered in his inimitable gentle and winsome manner. I don't know how to do one of those link thingys (help!), but if you go to (oh, that's how you do one of those link thingys - it just happens, like magic) - if you go there, you can read his response to ten questions posed by the local priests. His response to a question by a priest who felt saddened that his dreams of Vatican II had not been realized is stunning! Papa Benedetto has said, for the first time, I think, what so many of us born during or after the Council have felt - and especially those ordained in the last ten or fifteen years: "the periods following a Council are almost always very difficult.....after the Council of Nicea" there was a "genuinely chaotic situation." Having been ordained during this "genuinely chaotic situation," and having ministered in the same "situation" for the past 12 years, it is so heartening to hear the Holy Father's words - his historical perspective, which is so often missing in all the invective - and his wonderful humility and optimism. If, as my friend, Blessed George of Park Avenue, has written, we are living in the most serious crisis of the Church since the Arian heresy of the Third Century, how wonderful that we have a Pope who is truly, as George Weigel described him, 'God's Choice.'

Friday, July 27, 2007

Still alive!

Finally, after days of confusion, my computer is working. The hunt for the missing alb continues - CBS will soon make it into a mini-series, starring George Clooney as Fr. Owl. Many boxes remain unopened - the frenetic pace of life in these two parishes is somewhat overwhelming - add to that it is in the 90's with extreme humidity. I actually haven't read a word in two weeks, other than my Office and daily Scripture - and the Web, of course! Reading requires concentration and, at the end of the day, eating supper at 9.15pm, I find I have no concentration - it's so easy to turn on fast food for the mind - the tv. Something will have to change! I am also arranging our annual Priests Conference at the beginning of September - I'm looking forward to meeting our speaker, a fellow blogger, Fr. Jay Scott Newman who will speak to our priests about the renewal of the parish through beauty and liturgy - he was featured in George Weigel's excellent book, 'Letters to a Young Catholic.'

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Up and Running?

Still no internet in the Rectory - and no time! Today is the first chance to do any posting - the first weekend went well - everyone was very nice and welcoming - some of my new parishioners even read this blog! I will have to be very polite about my new parishes! The house is a mess of boxes, and, of course, I can't find things I'm looking for, even though I marked the boxes. We are currently engaged in the search for the missing alb - it sounds like a Fr. Brown story. The diocese is in a sort of 'Motu Proprio frenzy' after Bishop Matano's letter, which seemed to get a lot of reaction on the web. Old Latin dictionaries are appearing, birettas are being dusted off - the Bishop is "all systems go" on this one! Meanwhile, I can't find my alb.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

St. Benedict and travel!

My trip home finishes on my Feast Day! Due to the unbelievable traffic in England now, I have to spend the night at a hotel in the airport, before flying back to Vermont tomorrow. The time of visiting family and friends always goes quickly and when I return, I start the new challenge of pastoring two parishes. I presume posting will be non-existent for several days - or weeks! I ask any readers for prayers as I begin this task and I trust in the help of Our Lady, the English Martyrs and St. Benedict.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hendred House

The high point of my trip home, which I intended to have something of the feel of a pilgrimage about it, happened yesterday. We visited the beautiful and ancient village of East Hendred, specifically to visit Hendred House, the home of the Eyston family since 1443. The house, which is not open to the public, is mainly 15th Century, but the Chapel - St. Amand's, was built in 1256. It is one of only three chapels in England built before the so-called Reformation which has never been used for Protestant worship. Mass was celebrated in secret throughout Penal times, and, although the Chapel was desecrated by Cromwell's soldiers, the ancient stained glass was not destroyed. Mass is still said in the Chapel (ad orientem - of course!) weekly. We were guests of the present Lord of the Manor, Edward Eyston, who kindly showed us around. We were able to visit because two of the Eyston girls are nuns in the Sisters of the Assumption - and my Aunt is an Assumption nun - so she came on the trip. (Really sharp readers will remember that it was for Assumption girls that Ronnie Knox wrote books like 'The Mass in Slow Motion' during the war.) The Eystons can trace their ancestry directly back to the family of St. Thomas More and it is because of the incredible relics the family own that I really wanted to come on this pilgrimage. Yesterday, I held in my hands the drinking cup of St. Thomas More, the staff of St. John Fisher and kissed a locket containing a good amount of the hair of Bishop Richard Challoner. In addition we saw an original document signed by St. Thomas More, a book given by Cardinal Newman and signed, to Mrs. Eyston - and several wonderful portraits, including one of St. Thomas More in the Tower. The family could not have been more charming and we were most grateful. The local Anglican Church, a minute or two away, is well worth a visit, with parts dating from the 13th Century. The Chancel screen in the Eyston Chapel (yes - the whole village belongs to the family!) is 15th Century. The treasure is a 13th Century Lectern in wood, with a Crusader's foot treading on a three-headed dragon. There is also a charming little Catholic Church, again on Eyston property, built in the 19th Century, but very traditional in style, with Chancel screen etc. Sadly, no resident priest - if things don't work out in Vermont, I may apply for the living! We then repaired to the Eyston Arms, the village pub, for a good old-fashioned pub lunch. Whenever I think of the English Martyrs, especially St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, I am reminded of the incredible heritage that the Catholic Church in England possesses - and then I read of English Bishops objecting to the Holy Father's Motu Proprio, changing Holy Days of Obligation and courting the 'establishment.' - I suppose there was only ONE John Fisher!

Saturday, July 7, 2007


I promised that when the Postal Order finally arrived, Bunter's great cry would echo around the Blogosphere - "yarooh!" Like many at Greyfriars, most of the members of the Remove doubted whether the Postal Order even existed, despite the Fat Owl's insistence that one day it would come. Now - 7/7/07 will always be remembered. Everyone is down at the Tuck Shop ordering Sherbert Dib-Dabs, Crunchies and Gobstoppers (in fact, Bishop Trautman has ordered a hundred Gobstoppers). The Fat Owl will end the day with a large glass of Bolly, in the company of another fine blogger - South Ashford Priest.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Phone line

Little posting - busy - and phone lines in our village cut by vandals (I don't know if they were Muslim vandals, hearing that the founder of the Society of St. James the Moor Slayer was in town!) I'll have to take the Crusader flag down from the parapet.