Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Here are the group who made their first Holy Communion at Lymington last Saturday waiting in the Parish Rooms a few minutes before the beginning of Mass. They lined up neatly without a fuss, then quietly filed into the church and took their seats. When the wonderful moment arrived to receive Our Blessed Lord in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist they came forward as sensibly and as soberly as the adult communicants who followed them. 

At the end of Mass Fr Danny gave presents to each communicant, and there was also a bouquet and thank-you balloon for each of the four adults: Cathy, Becky, Sr Veronica and Sr Julia who had instructed them so well since last October. Nobody could fail to be impressed by the devout way these youngsters comported themselves.

Then the photocalls, which they coped with very well, despite all the flashes and being called from different parts of the church at the same time.

 In the Parish Rooms afterwards, the cake awaits. They certainly deserve that, and our warmest congratulations. Throughout the Mass they had conducted themselves in a way which made us proud to be fellow parishioners of theirs. May Our Blessed Lord be allowed to visit them regularly.


Last week some of us went to Boscombe to find out all about the new Missal.  As we entered the crowded hall we were each handed a wad of papers in a slippery folder, a cup of tea and a piece of cake. Our photographer, having placed the folder on a chair with a slightly sloping seat, and the cup of tea on that, watched in horror, camera in one hand and cake in the other, as the cup gently slid to the floor with a great splash, drenching the shoes of his neighbours, spraying their ankles with a caffeinated shower, and leaving a spreading tannic flood around the Lymington contingent's chairs. Fortunately for him nobody else had her camera with her, so this embarrassing incident went visually unrecorded.

Every word of the speakers, led by Paul Inwood, was brought to us through Lymington parishioners' dream of a sound system. We were patiently and expertly guided through the minutiae of tiny amendments to the wording of the Mass, and were each given (in the slippery folder) a pack containing all the information we needed to help us benefit from the changes. We were assured that these changes will be good, right and obligatory. The audience, who had clearly been well brought up, neither protested nor indulged in riotous behaviour. Tom quietly pointed out that the changes will introduce more trivial awkwardnesses into ecumenical services. It seems, however, that Mother Church is more concerned with ensuring that the ship is sailing in the right direction than with which way the sails have to be set at the present time in order to enable her to do so, and who could criticize her for that?



Each Sunday morning the works of art of the faithful children who attend the liturgy group are brought to the altar in the offertory procession. But half the congregation just see the back of the board, whilst most of the rest of us only get a brief glimpse of the front of the display as it is hurried past. So for all those who weren't able to see it, we photographed the board containing the work of the week before last's youngsters. No, this is not the flock of the lonely goatherd (lay ee odl lay ee odl lay ee odl o lay) but the group's interpretation of the liturgy of Good Shepherd Sunday. Considering the little time available for reading and then instruction, the administration of materials and the care needed to try and satisfy everyone .... didn't they do well! Congratulations to all the boys and girls, and special congratulations to all the adults who do this important work for us all each Sunday.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Last week the Vatican hosted a meeting between 150 selected Catholic bloggers and the members of two Pontifical Councils. This meeting was the beginning of a dialogue between faith and the "emerging culture" of blogging, and a recognition of the good work achieved by many Catholic blogs, especially in the field of evangelisation, said Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.


Why do children need pullovers in Africa? Because they live in a part of South Africa which gets so cold in winter that two years ago the school had to close. Since then the CUF have provided heaters, but of course children still have to walk to and from school in the cold. So the Knit and Stitch group came to the rescue, and produced 59 jumpers and 67 baby hats which Clare hands over on their behalf to Keith and Rini's Children of the Universe Foundation (CUF).
The CUF provide about 70% of the running costs of the school, because the Government support for state pre-primary schools (up to the age of six) is very basic.

Umnqophiso Pre-Primary admits 150 children per year once they reach the age of five, enabling them to receive an invaluable year of preparatory education before entering their state primary school. Each child pays £100 for the year, but as there are some who cannot afford even this much, there is opportunity for individuals to be sponsored. Children from a school in Rini's Dutch parish raised 650 euros last year for classroom equipment. What a great job CUF are doing, supplementing State provision to enable some of the poorest children in South Africa to have a chance of a reasonable education. Ramona and Barbara, Julia and Jo, Clare, Adele, Frances, Kate and Joan of the Knit and Stitch group are justly proud of their contribution.


A few of the ancient olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane are so old that they may have actually been growing when Our Lord used to meet His disciples there, when He prayed there after the Last Supper, and when Judas came there to betray Him to the chief priests and the scribes. 

It was there, just outside the Garden itself, that Norah read from the Gospels to the group who had travelled to Jerusalem with her and Jim last week.

This is where they began to walk the Via Dolorosa, which is thought by tradition to be the route followed by Jesus as He carried His Cross to Calvary. You would expect to find some kind of consistency in the ownership of the churches where each of the fourteen stations on Christianity's sacred Way of the Cross are marked.     But it isn't so.

 They reach the third station: Jesus falls the first time. Some of the points where the stations are marked, such as this one, are on buildings belonging to different rites of the Catholic Church. (Most Catholic Churches in Iran are of the Armenian rite.)

The fifth station: Simon helps Jesus to carry His cross. This building is the Franciscan Catholic Church of Simon of Cyrene. (Cyrene, now known as Shabbat, is situated on the Libyan coast about midway between Benghazi and Tobruk.)

The eighth station: Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem. This station is against the wall of a Greek Orthodox monastery.

The ninth station: Jesus falls the third time. The actual station itself is on the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It stands between an Egyptian Coptic Church and an Ethiopian sanctuary.

   The fourteenth station: Jesus is placed in the sepulchre. This beautiful mosaic is in an Orthodox Church. Until we get more practical unity among Christians, perhaps the best we can expect is to have the sacred places and the stations on the Via Dolorosa shared out among different owners like the different bits of the British railway system.

Norah places her hand on a part of the wall left exposed because of the tradition that Our Lord put his hand there to support Himself during His final journey. A pilgrimage to the Holy Land - what a wonderful experience for you both - thanks for sharing this piece of it with us.
                                                                 photos by Norah and Jim 


Frances, Giselle, Lisa, Patricia, Pat, Clare, Tina and Eileen were Pat's flower-arranging class from last Saturday, with the splendid results of their morning's work laid out on the table for us to admire.   Watch out for Pat's classes - they're advertised in our weekly parish newsletter.  

Friday, 13 May 2011


Here's two lovely reasons for being cheerful this week! The thought of being shot for the blog made Joan and Marcella burst out laughing when we caught them leaving after Mass on Sunday.


It's Sunday afternoon, and we're all off to Our Lady of Lourdes Church at New Milton to receive the Sacrament of the Sick at the annual Healing Mass there. As we go, we pick up passengers from their homes.

 Now we've arrived in the Church car park, and we're unloading. Some have to use the tail lift to get out. It's like Everest - the hard bit is coming down! Here's Elisa (she's loving it, really) supported by Frances.

Before the Mass begins, the priests present lay their hands on the sick, and on the other members of the congregation. Here Fr Danny is anointing Jerome, first his forehead, then the palms of his hands.

After Mass is over, a nice cup of tea and a chat with Margaret, Joan, Elisa, Kate and Ramona. What happy smiles! You must all be well healed now. No, ladies, I said "healed".

Here's Bertie, the volunteer driver of the minibus, behind his escort Denis, and they think they're going to be allowed to join the bunfight as well. I'm not sure about this. Just wait there for a bit, fellows, while we process your applications and make sure your CRB forms are in order. Oh, sorry, have the cakes all gone? Never mind, chaps. After all, you only do it for the love of it, don't you!

At last our Frances has managed to catch Fr Gerry, the man responsible for directing today's Healing Mass. Look where she found him! In the kitchen, with his splendid team of helpers Margaret, Christine, Audrey and Mary who produced all those cakes and lots of lovely smiles as they served our cups of tea. Thank you all at Our Lady of Lourdes for a great afternoon. We feel better already!
                                                                      last three photos by Frances


Nice to see these doors being painted so carefully, in a suitably subtle shade of clerical ebony, and even nicer to see them being painted by a humble man who wishes to remain anonymous. He allowed us to photograph him, but not to name him. That doesn't stop us from telling him what a good job he's made of those doors, and thanking him for this and all the other things he does to help keep the area around our church looking smart, especially the flower bed by the grotto to cheer us up as we come in the back way. So, thank you, er .....oops! .... don't tell them, Pike!  

Thursday, 5 May 2011


photo from the Catholic Herald
We deeply regret that considerations of a wholly materialistic nature appear to have prevented any of our reporters from attending the beatification of the great Karol Wojtyla. We would like to have gone because although this event seems to have been somewhat underplayed by the media, this was a man who appealed to everyone. We think he was so Christlike not only because of his sanctity but also because he was at the same time so human. Isn't this is why people liked him so much, and doesn't that make him a wonderful example for us to follow?


Now would you expect our blog to fail to report to you on this great event? Of course not. Here is our very own incredibly intrepid reporter Eileen G. on her way there through the suburban environs of our great capital during the early hours of Friday morning.

 What does she find when she arrives? Serious and intense competition from a host of rival contenders for the available window space.   Don't they look determined!    Will our reporter be discouraged?     Will she heck!

 She's made it to the window, but how much can she see?    Well, that's the front of the Abbey on the left behind the tree, and there's the red carpet - and look, the bridesmaids and the pages have just arrived, but it's too far away for Eileen to get a clear picture of them on her little Samsung digital camera.

Yet its resolution is so good and she kept the camera so steady that on this shot with a little enlargement we can clearly distinguish Mr Middleton about to bring the bride in through the Abbey gates. Mission accomplished! Congratulations to our new reporter and our thanks to her for letting us publish a few of the many shots she took that morning.


In the afternoon the street parties began, and out came the paper plates and the bunting. The denizens of Park Road (where the roofs appear to be curiously contoured) include John, Elaine, Mary and Cathy. Thanks, all four of you, for sparing a moment to provide our blog with this happy snap. Now you can go back and enjoy the rest of the party with your neighbours!


Last Saturday was SVP coffee morning, so we had cakes this week instead of biscuits with our coffee.   Come on now, Eileen G-J and Frances, tell us who was responsible for baking all these lovely cakes? 

The SVP members had certainly pulled out all the stops.    Fancy serviettes, little carnations on the tables, a great choice of cakes and lots of happy customers.     And, unless you rushed off as soon as you'd finished your coffee, somebody would explain to you what the SVP do for lonely, sick, housebound and hospitalized people, so as to make you feel better about paying £1 this week instead of the usual 50p.
                                                                                                                     photo by Frances
Now nearly everybody's gone, and the rest of us are having a well-deserved rest from the morning's labours, when who should come in but Fr Danny.     What's he up to?    What are you whispering in Joan's ear, Father?   She was just sitting there quietly enjoying the erudite conversation around her until you arrived!