Thursday, 28 April 2011


Beneath our altar the empty tomb, reproduced with great care and skill by Clare, Eileen and Adele, greet early visitors to the Church on Saturday morning. The corpses have been taken down from the three crosses, and the tomb into which Our Lord's body had been placed had been secured by a rock rolled into the entrance.

 Lisa, Pat, Frances, Joan and Megan arrive to begin arranging the flowers to decorate window sills and statues.

 Two of the beautiful flower arrangments in place ready for the celebrations of Easter Day, which will commence with this evening's Vigil Mass.


The Easter Fire blazes as Peter holds the Paschal candle so that Fr Danny can inscribe it with the date between the alpha and the omega, to remind us that God created time just for us.

Once the Paschal candle has been lit from the fire, the candles held by the congregation are also lit, so that the new fire spreads, like the Christian faith moving throughout the world, until everyone is holding a lighted candle. The fact that we can't see the great majority of the candles can be discouraging - we must never be misled into believing that the only ones that are alight are those we can see!

Still holding the candle, each of us renews his or her Baptismal promises along with more than a billion other Christians from every part of the planet.


She thinks He's the gardener, an excusable mistake in the poor light.  In the brilliant sunlight provided by Sarah and once the lights are on in the church it is clear that He's wearing a spotless white robe.


The Easter Day Mass was so well attended that after all the pews had been squeezed tight, there were still a good number of would-be attenders outside on the tarmac. About thirty people managed to squash into the back of the church, where some looked very uncomfortable. Please click on "comments" below to tell us what you felt about this.

 After Mass is a good time to award the prize for the best Easter bonnet, and Kate has no doubt that Leigh should be this year's winner. Sorry, Leigh, we didn't actually get round to providing a prize this year. (Next year, maybe?)

  photo by Theresa
 Michelle, Liz and John prefer to have their Easter photo taken in the bright Easter susnshine. 


Easter Monday is here again, and once more Elmers Court open their extensive grounds to thank those who contribute to the work of Basics Bank and to entertain their families and friends. The sun was brighter than ever that day, and a really good time was had by everyone, especially the kiddies.

Friday, 22 April 2011


There was plenty of action for visitors as well as for parishioners in this area during the week.

 Jo and Bob spent part of Holy Week here in Lymington and we spoke to them as they were leaving after the Palm Sunday Vigil Mass at Our Lady of Mercy.  
 They are parishioners of St Mary's, Studley, in Warwickshire.   Their church was also designed by Joseph Hansom and was opened in 1853, a few years before ours.  It is served by the Benedictines of Douai.   

On Wednesday in Brockenhurst Christians of various denominations met at St Anne's for Stations of the Cross arranged by Brockenhurst Churches Together and led by Fr Danny.   At least forty people, of whom about half were not Catholics, took part in a quiet prayerful service with meditations composed by an Anglican minister.   This was, in appearance at least, a substantial change from the repetitive creaky kneebending and necktwisting performances of our childhoods, but there was an impressive atmosphere of silent contemplation as the beautiful words were read and the strikingly different images unfolded.
The first part of the Easter Triduum, the Maundy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper, took place in our own Church of Our Lady of Mercy and St Joseph.   Tom's feet were washed by Fr Danny, just as Our Lord washed the feet of his disciples, to show that the life of a Christian is a life of service to others.

Then Tom was presented with a Papal Apostolic Blessing because of his outstanding work in the service of others through the Society of St Vincent de Paul.   Tom is president not only of the New Forest Conference, but also of the Winchester District Council, and he sets us all a fine example by the frequency of his visits to sick and housebound people in this area.

On Good Friday morning the Reverend Dave Goodridge, pastor of the Lymington Baptist Church, led an ecumenical service organised by Lymington Churches Together in the forecourt of the United Reformed Church in the High Street.    A big congregation of Christians from different denominations watched a dramatic depiction of the necessity of grace, sang hymns with gusto and listened to a rousing homily. 

The second part of the Triduum, the Good Friday Service of the Lord's Passion, was held at our Lymington Church.  This beautiful ceremony began with the entrance and prostration of the celebrant.   The prayer and the introductory readings were followed by a rendering of the Passion and the general intercessions.   To enable the deeply moving Veneration of the Cross to proceed smoothly despite the crowded pews ministers held crucifixes both at the front and the rear of the church. The service ended with the distribution of Holy Communion.

 The last Good Friday ceremony at our Lymington Church was a version of the ancient Catholic ritual of Tenebrae, led by Cathy and Mary.     The traditional fifteen readings were reduced to five, while the score or so indomitable parishioners who turned up were led from the church into and around the parish rooms, finishing back at the altar.   The themes of betrayal, denial, humiliation, emptiness and loss were sensitively explored with the help of Vanstone's imagery and a few simple objects.     The darkness, the candles and the quiet atmosphere helped to foster prayer, and provided a most suitable close to this year's Holy Week.

Thursday, 14 April 2011


But they don't appear to have access to it, at least not in the hotels used by our peerless Parish pilgrims.  So last week we were unable to satisfy the raging demand which swept through our little community for news of their progress along the paths trodden by St Paul almost two thousand years ago.    But now our travellers are home and all is forgiven, for they have brought with them these splendid photos taken by Cathy and Tony, with Cathy's commentary:
Day 1 - Our guide Maria tells us about Paul and Silas' visit to Philippi where they were imprisoned by the Roman authorities for preaching the Word of God to the Jewish people.  We also visited the River Kygaktis where St Paul baptized Lydia, the first Christian in Europe (Acts: 16)

Day 2 - We visit a modern mosaic in Beria commemorating  St Paul's visit to this town after his escape from Thessaloniki (Acts: 17)
Our group photo includes (left to right) Agnes, Paul, Tony, Cathy, Lily, Neil, Paul, Fr Peter, Patricia, Dolores, Nick, Mary, Eileen, Sean, Frankie, Molly and Jo.
 Day 3 took us to Kalambaka to visit the extraordinary Orthodox Meteora Monasteries perched high on the cliffs.  The monasteries date back to the 14th Century.
 Day 5 - We travelled further south to visit the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.  Here are Patricia and Neil in front of the wonderfully preserved amphitheatre.
Day 6 took us to Athens.  It was here beneath the Acropolis where St Paul , despondent by how full the city was of idols, preached his famous 'Men of Athens' sermon (Acts 17)
No visit to Athens would be complete  without a visit to the magnificent Parthenon temple dedicated to Athena, after whom the city is named.
Day 7 took us to Corinth where St Paul sailed from to Syria and then Ephesus (Acts 18).  Mary has just finished reading St Paul's letter to the people of Corinth on Love which was a fitting end to our Pilgrimage.


It's Fr Danny's birthday!
Pat's made him a couple of lovely cakes

Here's the presentation party

But will he get a chance to eat any?

No need to worry.    John and Brian are reliable chaps.    They'll look after it.

No, Mollie, that's not for you.   

Thursday, 7 April 2011


This feast is sometimes buried in among the events of Holy Week and the Easter liturgy, but this year we shall be able to celebrate it on the day before Holy Week begins.    Bernadette's story is simply told at 
This year's Catholic Association pilgrimage to Lourdes in August will be led by Bishop Hollis.  For details, see and for comments by those who've been go to


Papal blessings were bestowed on two married couples this weekend, as they each celebrated their golden wedding anniversaries.   Our sincere congratulations to Tom and Eileen Raynor on the left of this photo, and also to Eileen (on the right) and Brian Griffiths, though sadly Brian was indisposed so could not attend the ceremony.


A mere fortnight after we had published a photo of him taken from his local magazine, who should appear here in Lymington but Father Richard Hayward.   He delighted his mother Joan and surprised the rest of us by flying in from Stockholm to offer Mass at Our Lady of Mercy Church on Thursday morning.