Thursday 24 September 2015

All at Sea

Today a group of clergy met in Southampton at the HQ of the Carnival Group (CUNARD and P&O) to prepare us for Chaplaincy over the Christmas period.

Southampton Port Chaplain (rt) with a seasoned ship's Chaplain
Fr Roger, the Port Chaplain for Southampton (and half the South Coast) was on hand to give a broad perspective of the work he undertakes on behalf of the Apostleship of the Sea (Stella Maris, as it is better known among the Crew). Cruise liners make up only a small part of his job; there are many more men and women involved in running the many merchant ships which dock in Southampton each year, and F Roger seems to manage to get on board most of them and knows many of the crews personally having met them during his five years of service.

Atrium of the Carnival HQ
Carnival were great hosts,and told us about their work (very much PERSON focussed, both crew and passengers). They are on hand 24/7 in case of emergency and I know from peronal experience how good they can be at such times. When a Crew member died in Portugal earlier this year they had a member of staff on board with in 24 hours to assist his widow, and the next day flew another two staff members and me to meet the ship in Seville and stay with them for a few days to offer help and counselling - and a requiem mass.

The Headquarters of Carnival is very near the docks in Southampton, and we were shown round and met many who work there. It is a very large undertaking, and the dedication of everyone in the company is hugely impressive.

Seeing round the building gave a very different perspective (in all senses of the word) of the operation of the Cruise and Liner World.
Salvina from Stella Maris and Fr Priestly on top of the world

Salvina Bartholomeusz is the link all volunteer chaplains have with the Apostleship, and she is a huge encouragement to us all, ready to answer questions, give advice, and generally keep a very diverse bunch of clergy in some sort of order. Some of us are retired, others are in chaplaincy work and there are full-time parish priests. We included Irish, English, Indian and Philippino clergy - the last two especially welcome since many of the crew members are either from India or the Philippines.

Priests from Birmingham (IUniversity Chaplaincy) and Wash Common  (Parish priest in Newbury)
If clergy read this blog, by all means volunteer if you can for this important work; but realise that it means being on hand 24/7 throughout a cruise, for Crew principally but also for Passengers and that most days you will celebrate a midnight Mass for the crew as well as an early daytime one for the passengers. Above all, please support the work of Stella Maris - with money, if you can, but especially with your interest and your prayers.

Briefing Session

Sunday 20 September 2015

Just an Ordinary-ate Weekend

Archbishop Di Noia: a source of encouragement
"Gus Di Noia is great" our Ordinary had told us, and he spoke the truth. To be a little more formal, Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, O.P., titular Archbishop of Oregon City, was Principal Celebrant and preacher at the mid-day Mass in Westminster Cathedral. Not that the Archbishop seems to encourage formality. His manner is engaging and friendly, and told us amusing stories about the effects of Dominican prayer. But our Ordinary insists that without his work in the CDF there might not have BEEN an Ordinariate.

Members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham were up in London for our annual meeting, and for the first time ever in Westminster Cathedral the Rite used was the recently approved Ordinariate Mass, with its echoes of Cranmer and the 16th Century Church of England.. In his sermon, he Archbishop gave us great encouragement. He saw the Ordinariate as an answer by the Holy Spirit to many years of prayer for Unity. We had thought we knew how Unity would come, through deep theological conversations conducted among the wise men of our Churches. Instead, with the initiative of Pope Benedict, the log-jam of discussion gave way to an invitation which many of us could not refuse. We no longer simply talked about Ecumenism, we did it.

Chatter among the Chasubles
During the morning session we heard from Wales - where there is now an Ordinariate Group with its home in a Chapel in Cardiff Catholic Cathedral.  We gave a great cheer for the Scots who had come well over three hundred miles to be present (further from Westminster than the South of France!) and the Torbay Group lifted our hearts with the tale of how they have acquired their former Methodist Church in Torquay.

Mgr Broadhurst catching up with friends.
[Behind him the picture of our Patron - apparently with toothache]
One of the best things on these occasions is the chance to meet friends old and new, whether while vesting in the Sacristy or in the Hall over lunch. Many of us made the most of these opportunities.

The Archbishop did not pretend that he had a route-map to show exactly where the Ordinariates were heading (for ours in these Islands is only one of three so far established).He spoke of other separated bodies which, Like the Church of England and the Episcopal Church in America, were being led ever more rapidly in unorthodox directions - and in all these bodies there still remained elements which were more true to their roots in Scripture; he spoke of such unhappy traditionalist groups as catholic - catholic Methodists, catholic Lutherans, catholic Presbyterians. Many of these were, sometimes to their own astonishment, turning towards Rome for help - the sort of help which the many groups of Anglicans had sought. It was that seeking which had met with the response of "Anglicanorum Coetibus",  So this little experiment in ecumenism which is the Ordinariates in Great Britain, in the USA and in Australia might be just the cloud no bigger than a man's hand which will one day grow to encompass much of the Christian world.
Members of the Bournemouth Mission (Archbishop nd Ordinary in the background)
All of us who attended this weekend's events will surely have returned home with renewed enthusiasm for mission, certain that what we had encountered in Westminster was worth the journey.

Monday 14 September 2015

Wind in the Willows: the Exaltation of the Cross

Oh dear, caught again. Celebrated this morning at our local Catholic Church in Lymington (Our Lady of Mercy and St Joseph). So, being a Feast, I thought we might begin with a hymn;

What a swelling chorus we made of it in the glory days of Forward in Faith! And here it was in our Catholic Hymnal too.

Now today was special for another reason; I had been asked to say the Mass with particular intention for a dear lady whose 80th anniversary, not of her birth, but of her Baptism, falls today. What better than sing:
Each newborn soldier of the Crucified
bears on the brow the seal of him who died.  

And since this was the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, we could have a good second verse:

O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
as thou hast promised, draw the world to thee. 

Before announcing it, I made the mistake of not asking if everyone knew the tune. In the event it was apparent they did not. After Mass they told me, very kindly, that they had never even come across the words. So I was left rendering three choruses and two verses as a sacred solo. I was horribly reminded of Toad of Toad Hall - Speech by Mr Toad; only worse: hymn by Mgr B. Oh the shame!

Maybe our Patrimony requires that we should offer Catholic parishes courses in Hymnody?  Surely many would be pleased to have a change from "Colours of Dawn" - wouldn't they?

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Happy Birthday!

Masses of  Dahlia 'Bishop of Llandaff' enliven the Facade
Today is Our  Lady's birthday; by way of celebration we went to the National Trust property at Kingston Lacy near Wimborne. Not  sure why the National Trust thought it a good idea at one fell swoop  to do the weed-killing of ALL the lawns (thereby making it impossible to sit down ..the seats were mostly in the barricaded areas) and also get the Tree Surgeons in to pollard the Lime Walk, making that inaccessible too. Yet there were crowds of visitors.

Keep off the grass!

The Kitchen Garden is quite a walk from the House (I'd guess originally there were such gardens rather more close - maybe behind the stables) but it was good to see that spare land is being used by locals for allotments.

The pigs (a Tamworth, and others un-named which I think are Kuni Kunis) were attracting much attention.
There used to be a great row of Cedars, with stone plaques by them. I recall one with a crowned GIV and others commemorating former members of the Bankes family. They have all gone, swept away by the Trust in a mania of felling (the excuse being that they were dangerous... I think not).
There is now just one plaque beside a rather feeble cedar, on the plaque the feathers of the Prince of Wales and C and a date (1990 is it?).

The House was iinaccessible all morning since the tickets for conducted tours had all gone. It was to be a free-for-all in the afternoon, but we have visited often so contented ourselves today with the gardens.

There is a 'Japanese' Garden, supposed to be a recreation of a previous effort by some misguided 19th Century member of the family. It is very unfortunate, and looks most out of place. There is a stagnant pond, with a non-functioning waterfall (or at least I suppose that is what the pile of rocks is meant to be). A lot of black paint, too. I thought the Japanese used red on their buildings? The whole effect is very dull, but visitors dutifully admire it because it is listed as an 'attraction'..
'Japanese' Garden - yuk

So a happy day, of mixed fortunes. I have tried to post some of my misgivings on the facebook page of Kingston Lacy, but I daresay they will not appear. Can't really blame them - but I do hope they might take some of it to heart. The gift to the National Trust by the Bankes family was I think the largest they have ever received. It included not just Kingston Lacy, but also Corfe Castle (stoutly defended by Lady Bankes against the Roundheads, while her husband was away fighting for King Charles) and the great sweep of beach and its hinterland at Studland Bay.

The National Trust generally does a pretty good job; but I hope their management are prepared to listen to criticism as well as praise.