Sunday 26 April 2015

What will it take...?

This morning I had a round trip of forty miles to say Mass. Fr Bill, the Parish Priest in Southbourne, is off work after an asthma attack. Meanwhile another retired priest was celebrating in Lymington, where I live, because our Parish Priest, Fr David Adam, is off work with a back injury. Just up the hill from us is the Priory of St Joseph, and their priest, Fr Richard Saksons O.Praem. is in hospital..

So, dear friends still ministering in the Church of England, may I ask you that if you believe (as many of you do) that your future lies in Communion with Peter in the Catholic Church, why delay an longer?  Your ministry is needed now. What will it take to persuade you? You are concerned for your present faithful Anglo-Catholic congregation. Of course you don't want to abandon them; but one day, through retirement or death, they will not have your ministrations. Look around at neighbouring former Catholic strongholds and see what has become of them. Your people are going to have to decide at some time, and far better that you should give them a lead while you still can.

There is a pressing need today in the Roman Catholic Church in this country for more priests. The faithful are there, ready and waiting - and hugely appreciative when a priest makes an effort to help them, whether the journey is twenty miles from Lymington, or the distance from Thames to Tiber. Daily I am grateful to Pope Benedict for making it possible for groups of Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church together. On this day when we hear Our Lord in the Gospel say that he has other sheep, not of this fold -  can we do more to realise what he said -"there will be only one flock and one shepherd".

Monday 20 April 2015

Party time

The garden comes into its own for a party
Hospitality is one of those elements of the Patrimony which some say is Benedictine. The recital of the daily Offices by the clergy, saying the entire psalter each month, is another. It would be a good exercise to try to discern just how much of what we take for granted in the Patrimony is in fact inherited from the Monastic formation of the Church in England. At any event,  our Ordinariate Group responds to every chance of a party.
F rDarryl and head Server Trevor

We've had a summer luncheon for our Ordinariate Group each year, and Fr Darryl was happy for us to continue the tradition this year. So on Sunday after Mass about forty of us (which included a few non-Ordinarians - Catholics who regularly support us and seem to enjoy worshiping with us at St Thomas More, came over to our house in Lymington.

John and Teresa are off on a week's  cruise soon!

Sadly a few were prevented from attending by illness or prior commitments, but it proved a very happy occasion; not least because in such a setting you can talk to people you would otherwise not know very well. The weather was much better than forecast, and some bad brought their own garden chairs, so there was room for everyone.

Some took to the house to avoid any possible insects!

Once again, there was food and drink enough and Jane had provided two hot main dishes and any number of puddings, cheese &c.We filled not just the house and garden, but also the conservatory .The overwintering plants were pushed out to take their chance... fortunately we avoided any frosts before I cold restore them to shelter.

Some of the younger guests enjoyed chippolatas on the grass

If the Ordinariate is to flourish, it will have to make many more such occasions - we cannot rely on just one or two annual get-together in Westminster or Walsingham. Perhaps we need to start inviting other groups to join us across a region? I'd quite fancy a run down to Torquay, or up to Reading - and they'd enjoy Bournemouth, I think. We don't always have to go to London to meet! What do you think?

Jane dispensing food at the serving table

Saturday 11 April 2015

Easter Afloat

This was an Easter like no other. No new fire or Exsultet, but everything else - and at the right time, too. We began the First Mass of Easter at 23.30 on Saturday,  when more of the Crew were free from their secular duties. Earlier that day P&Os' Adonia had returned from a cruise.. The crew - Stewards, Waiters,Cooks, everyone indeed, had helped those passengers off with their luggage, cleaned throughout, then made it seem as though those joining for the next cruise were the most welcome sight in the world. By late evening they must have been exhausted - but they were determined to have a real Easter celebration..

The choir after the Midnight Mass
The crew are mostly from Goa: very proud of their forebears having been converted to Christianity by Jesuits and Franciscans in the sixteenth century. When they might have pleaded tiredness and a need to get to bed, with another long and tough day ahead, they even produced a choir, and sang a capella throughout the Mass - Introit, Kyrie, Offertory, Post-Communion. It was a quite unforgettable Easter, one of my best ever.

A dining room became our chapel
Each morning I was able to say Mass for the Passengers - only a handful attended, never more than a dozen. But on three of the four evenings I was on board we sang a late evening Mass for Crew members. Then on Wednesday we bade a sad farewell. That afternoon Jane and I went up to a bird sanctuary on one of the volcanic hills above the town centre of Porto Santo, and had a view of Adonia as she made her way towards Madeira. The next time the crew will have a chaplain resident on the ship will be at Christmas. Please remember to pray for them, and for the ministry of the Port Chaplains of the Apostleship of the Sea.

Adonia leaving Porto Santo