Thursday, 27 January 2011


Last week we were delighted to welcome two friendly new parishioners to our Church.   Here Jane is being confirmed by Fr Peter.    Edwin is sponsored by Norah, while behind her is Jane's sponsor, Fr John Catlin of Winchester.    Edwin and Jane have made a long, difficult and sometimes painful journey to reach us, so we treated them to our special homemade cake with their coffee afterwards!    We wish them all blessings in the future, and we hope that, despite the many other calls that may well be made on them, they will continue to enjoy a happy, relaxed and fruitful friendship with us in our community.


Last Sunday in the Community Centre Christians from the various Churches of Lymington met to pray for Christian Unity.  The service, which was attended by about fifty people, was led by the Quakers.   The great Quaker William Penn said in 1693: The humble, meek, merciful, just, pious and devout souls are everywhere of one religion; and when death has taken off the mask, they will know one another, though the diverse liveries they wear here make them strangers.


Jo and Margaret are two of the ladies producing lovely tank tops for the Children of the Universe Foundation.  They are members of our new Parish group called Stitch Across the Ocean.
 - But they're not stitching - they're knitting!
 - Yes, but this kind of knitting is called stitching.
 - But if a knit is a stitch, when is a stitch knot a knit?
If you can answer this question, or are interested in helping this good cause, this friendly group meets on the second and fourth Mondays of the month, 2pm to 4pm in the Parish Rooms.


On Sunday Josephine and Henrietta were not quite quick enough to get away without being caught.   Thank you, ladies, for accepting your fate so happily!


Last year when we featured Mollie on this blog Fr Danny had a complaint from a reader in Belfast because a photo of Margaret Mary hadn't been included as well.    So, for the benefit of all our readers in Ireland and other cat-loving places, here she is on her regular rounds, just checking to make sure that our Parish office is being run properly.

Thursday, 20 January 2011


The Catholic Times
We can see from the Pope's blog how much time the Vatican spends promoting Christian unity and inter-denominational dialogue.    We shall be able to join with our fellow Christians in praying together publicly for Christian unity at the annual service in the new hall at the Community Centre, Cannon Street this Sunday 23rd January at 6.30pm.


Thank goodness, they're all going.   Now, perhaps, I can have a few minutes of peace and quiet......     Well, this is a nice warm seat.


Just look at these lovely smiles from Liz and Alice, for you and all our other readers.   And look at their empty cups.     That shows how good the coffee is after Sunday Mass, doesn't it?


Let there be light, they cried, and heating as well!     And now there is, thanks to Stuart, James and their colleagues, who on Monday removed the temporary link with its little yellow labels, and restored our permanent electricity supply.   Our thanks to them all.


photo from Catholic Online
Some may wonder why a special case has been made of this man, and his beatification brought forward, in spite of existing rules forbidding this.   It's great to read what Keith Fournier said:  "This Polish Pope was so filled with the love of God it was contagious ........ He had a heart that embraced the whole world like the Heart of the One whom he represented on earth."   The full text of his tribute can be found at Catholic Online (    
You can listen to the announcement in the picture below (it's only 27 seconds) which was made last Friday at the Vatican, and which our blog published, sound and all, on the very day the date was announced!

Friday, 14 January 2011


  Yes, the news that we had anticipated in yesterday's edition has become public.   Karol Wojtyla who as Pope was John Paul II will be beatified on May 1st.     What fantastic news!   

Thursday, 13 January 2011

As our blog is now recording a substantial regular readership, our main concern in 2011 will be its content.     There are not yet many English Catholic parish blogs, and some of these consist mainly of a couple of homilies or a newsletter or both, whilst others try to sell a particular politico-religious view.
Our blog, on the other hand, is mainly an illustrated light-hearted look at our own parish and the activities of its parishioners, especially during the previous week, but with no special agenda in mind.    This year we will try to include more items of wider interest.    Please comment - it's our blog!


Papa Ratzinger's Blog (4)
If you have the Papal blog address, you need to update it to  or just use the link in our right hand column.    It's amazing how much activity was recorded on this blog in the first week of January alone.    We think it's more fun than the official Vatican website at but we have to admit that the Google translation of the blog is terrible and it's laid out quite haphazardly.  For instance last Saturday the above photo appeared without a caption in a piece about the possible beatification of Pope John Paul II.   Perhaps the editor wasn't wearing his specs.
The official Vatican site is now in our list of links as well, so you have a choice.  Do have a look at both, and tell us what you think.


Ken Holdsworth from Crisis chats with Ann after his talk to the CWL on Tuesday.   He described some of the problems faced by the homeless, and reminded us that 35 years ago when it was founded, Crisis was a charity which gave people shelter in London for a week at Christmas.    Now it is an all-the-year organisation working in a number of English cities supporting homeless folk of all ages through training and other services until they obtain employment and are able to lead a normal life.   What wonderful work.   He was thanked and applauded warmly afterwards.


Chris, Felicity, Gillian, Frank, Jenny, Claire and Will (and Abigail, of course!) have come to Mass to remember the late Joseph Myers, and to pray for the repose of his soul.    He will surely rest in peace.


This week saw the introductory session of St Joseph's School's participation in the Acorn project.   Our pupils were first shown around Oakhaven and its facilities explained.   Then they came into the Day Centre to be introduced to each of the patients and volunteers who are taking part in the scheme, and to introduce themselves.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

A huge milestone was passed this week when the five thousandth reader hit our blog.     (Click on "comments" below to find out more)   Our thanks to all of you who log in to our parish blog regularly.   It's your support that keeps us going!


There's no way in which our blog can record more than a very limited number of the things that go on in our parish.   So we have tried throughout 2010 to reflect the feelings and interests of parishioners.   In winter that means heating.
Despite the very cold weather, we've been relatively comfortable in church this December compared to last year.   Remember the boiler breaking down last winter?   John does.
The blog ought to apologise for calling him one of Santa's little elves when he boldly clambered down to the cellar under the parish rooms to fix the system every time it went wrong.    This year with Fr Danny's support he's got it running smoothly and properly under the control of the groups who use the rooms, and the church is kept at a pleasant temperature.      Thanks John.   We think you're a giant now.

Throughout the year, many of our parishioners have got to know members of other parishes in our Pastoral Area through our mutual contacts with the Dominican Priory at Shirley Holmes.   We were all delighted when Sr Michelle was elected Prioress, and our Blog proudly boasted that it had announced the result in the evening of the day on which the election was held.   (In truth the congratulations should have gone to Fr Richard, who had already published the news on the sisters' web site that afternoon!)                                                    

All four parishes  came together for the annual Mass for the sick and disadvantaged, held at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in New Milton.    Frances managed to snap Colin about to drive off in the minibus after the event, while Den tries to spoil his fun.   (Better luck next time, Colin!)     They consoled him with the biggest birthday party of the year, and on that occasion the commentary on our blog's photos was printed in large type to make it easier for Colin himself to read the text.                                      

Among the notable joint ventures by the four parishes were the two all-day conferences on the liturgy, led by Paul Inwood and held at our Primary School.   The effect of what was learned there was not only to enrich the experience of those of us who attended when partaking in liturgical acts, but also to enhance  the quality of lay participation in them.  

Parishioners are shy about showing us much of the charitable work done by them, unless it's a sponsored event, when we can help to publicise it.    This was the case when we showed Ros, for once without her wheelchair, in mid air during her free fall for Orpheus, thanks to the skill of photographer Gary Aldwinckle.

Although one family kindly allowed us to take photographs during a relaxed coffee morning in their house, parishioners usually prefer not to have social events involving them and their families or friends publicly recorded, and our requests for holiday photos met with a marked lack of enthusiasm.   In this area we are still feeling our way, and trying without hurting anyone's feelings to record our super parish as it really is, especially for the benefit of those who
do not have the opportunity to get to church or to participate in all its activities, so may not know what fun we are to be with!

For our parish the biggest event of the year was the farewell party for Fr Jamie, and nobody minded being snapped that evening.  The crowd who packed the large hall and spilled out into the car park were testimony to his popularity.    We send him our best wishes, and thank him for the support he gave us when the blog made its first uncertain entrance into parish life in November 2009.

Then Fr Danny arrived to take over as parish priest.   Since his arrival no effort has been spared to ensure that the Church, and especially the sanctuary, has been cleaned, decorated and reorganised to best befit the sacred rites which take place there.    The church office has been modernised and its organisation simplified, whilst advanced photocopying technology and feline facilities have been introduced.

We wait with eager anticipation to see what else will be achieved during the ongoing restoration of our lovely church, and we assure you that the blog will be there when it happens.

During the year the blog has also been made welcome at meetings of the parish and pastoral area clubs and societies.   The Catholic Women's League organised a lively and varied programme, and have had, during the year, an impressive range of speakers on a good variety of subjects.    (Of course, members' husbands have to be careful what they say!)

The local Catenian circle has members from several parishes, and this year they arranged a Mass in a superb setting in the New Forest, which John photographed for us.

Our parish conference of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, encouraged by the priority given to its work by Fr Danny, has grown in size, strength and effectiveness.

The Friendship Club continues to be very popular, especially with those who are no longer able to commit themselves to other activities. 

Despite the continued strength of these existing societies, two more were started this year, and both are proving to be successful.    The first was the 
Wednesday Word group, who meet weekly to meditate on and discuss the following Sunday's Gospel.  

 The second was the Knit and Stitch group, who scored a huge hit within weeks of their formation by completing a superb collage for the backcloth of our Christmas crib.

This is a very inadequate selection from the blog's presentation of our parish in the year 2010; all the reports and photos are still there, and can be found instantly by using our search facility.  Please keep your comments coming - critical or not, they are always helpful.  We do realise that there have been times when our camerawork has been a touch intrusive or the occasional bizarre caption has niggled.  We know we should stop making inappropriate remarks, and ought to try to tackle our sensitive task much more seriously in future.   We would have made a New Year's resolution about it, but it's too late now, isn't it.