Saturday, September 29, 2007


Thanks to all the kind persons who responded to my last post - more than ten people ARE reading it - you sad folks! I'm just finishing a nice glass of bubbly with my mother after evening Mass. I find that mental, spiritual and physical exhaustion tends to disappear the more frequently one drinks Champagne - I wonder if the Desert Fathers would disagree. Too bad!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Rumours of my Death

As Mark Twain once said, "rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated!" I have been in blogosphere Purgatory for some time; this new double-parish, and all the attendant expectations of what the new parish priest should be doing have left little time to get near the computer. I still have yet to find a proper routine, so physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion has been a problem in recent weeks. Given that my odd little blog is sometimes read by my parishioners, tactful silence about any issues in the parish is probably the best option, but it can be said, in the nicest possible way, that my predecessor was known for his non-availability - the expectation now seems to be permanent availabilty - a balance will be found! Many people have been very kind (no names to protect the innocent!), a beautiful shrine is being constructed in the Sanctuary for the Tabernacle, which is now back in its proper place, in the very centre of the Church, where previously the Celebrant sat, like Humpty Dumpty to be adored by the faithful. The shrine is being constructed by the brother of one of our young priests, an expert carpenter who loves to work in the Church. He is using some of the original wood and altar railing which was happily preserved in the cellar of the Church. To carve and construct what he is creating new, would be hugely expensive - the cost of the project has been donated by one fine family in the parish. At the moment, I have the great joy of having my Mother stay with me. She is only here for a week, so, in between parish stuff, I am trying to spend as much time with her as possible. I still don't know how to do one of those link things, but Father Jay Scott Newman has a report on his visit to Burlington on his blog. Given all my time constaints, I'm wondering if I will be able to continue the Owl of the Remove. This is not one of those shameless plugs for a response, but as I don't have one of those site meters, I really don't know if it is visited by more than about ten people - will people still come - even if postings are infrequent - or should I so something more useful, like read a book?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Tropical Storm Scott

Tropical storm Father Jay Scott Newman blew into our annual priestly gathering last week. The majority of our priests greatly enjoyed his profound reflections on the truth of the Gospel, beauty and the liturgy. A small minority took great offence at his prognosis of the problems in the Church. A large man, in every sense, Father Newman offered, in my view, one of the most profound reflections I have heard of the reasons behind the steep decline in Mass attendance in the Western world and, from his own experience, what can be done to reverse that decline. He was deliberately provocative, but extremely open to debate and discussion. Constantly using Church documents to back up his points, his great success in his parish in South Carolina is evidence of the truth of many of his propositions, and the number of vocations emerging from his parish is supernatural vindication. The weather obliged by providing two end of Summer days, the 'Limoncello suite' was filled both nights of the assembly with most of the younger priests in the diocese - our speaker and Bishop both partook of Father Dan's famous home-made Limoncello, Lime/Limoncello and the rare as the Siberian Snow Tiger 'Pampacello' - grapefruit cello. Chips were also provided.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

He Da Man!

With only ten minutes for my connecting flight from Newark airport to Burlington, I needed a miracle to get my bag on board. Luckily, I had placed a holy card of St. Anthony in the bag and said the special prayer, asking for a miracle. I promised him that I would let everyone know if he did his work: he did - He da man!!

Wedding in New York State

Been away from the blogosphere for a little while -entertaining the good Fr. John, who is now safely back in England and then travelling to the Finger Lakes area in New York state for a wedding. Fr. John's visit was a great joy, discussing the different issues in the Church in England and the USA. I think he left with a slightly rosy picture of life here - but he had a good rest! My quick visit to New York state for the wedding was a delight - I stayed in the beautiful town of Skeneatles, which has the second cleanest lake in the USA. It really is a most beautiful area and the lake is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The water is crystal clear and drinkable, which is pretty rare these days. Now I am rushing to get ready for the annual gathering of the priests of the diocese. I pick up our speaker, Fr. Jay Scott Newman tomorrow and he will speak to our gathering on Beauty, the Liturgy and Parish renewal. Pray for our meeting!