Thursday, 30 June 2011


Congratulations to Hannah and Nathan on the birth of Magnus Nathan born this morning at 5am! Be sure to be at Mass this Sunday morning as Hannah can't wait to show off her 'little piece of Heaven'. Hopefully we will have pictures to show you next week of our newest parishioner.                                                                                          Thanks, Cathy for the report (and illustration!)


We never get complaints about the refreshments after Mass. This is not surprising. After being served by lasses with smiles like these, how could you possibly remember what the coffee tasted like? Even the chocolate biscuits melted when Mary and Kate took over the servery at Lymington on Sunday!


No, the Parish did not go on strike today, and this is not a picket line! It's Catenians Tom, John, John Lewis and Gerry outside the Church after Mass last week ready to answer our questions, allay our concerns or take the names of any man who might be interested in joining the local circle.

                                                                                                                      photo by Jill
 The Catenian Association is an organisation of Catholic men who aim to strengthen their families' lives through friendship and faith. The local Catenian circle meets at least once a month to enjoy dinners, outings, sporting contests and family events. They help each other in all aspects of life, and care especially for their widows and for those of their members who fall on hard times. The photo above is of this year's president Mike Reynolds supported by Aidan Foy and Gerry Henegan. To find out more visit the website


A workshop entitled "Praying with our children and grandchildren" will be held in Brockenhurst on Saturday September 24th.    More details later!

Thursday, 23 June 2011


When Our Lord allowed himself to be baptized in the Jordan and began his public ministry he had a ready-made following in the crowds that John the Baptist had been instructing. Yet John did not want to keep any of his popularity for himself, and stood back so that Jesus could take over from him. So it is appropriate that this window in our Lymington church which is dedicated to this incredibly humble man is close to the altar, yet is hidden from the view of many of the congregation. It is his feast day on Friday June 24th. We ask this greatest of the sons of women to pray that in some small way our blog may help to encourage a few souls by showing how the love of God works through the lives of the Christian people of Lymington and Brockenhurst. 


Some of the corporal works of mercy are easier to perform than others, so that those of who are looking forward to being addressed on The Last Day as ".... you blessed of My Father ...." will be delighted to know how easy it is to fulfil the first one. Just drop a packet, carton or tin into the Basics Bank box by the door of your Church each Sunday, knowing that it will go to someone who is really in need.  Here's Joan, who has just unloaded and is about to wheel in this week's contribution from St Mary's Church, Everton. That monster packet of washing powder will certainly be appreciated by the people who live in one of the area's refuges.

Some donations arrive in the form of cash or cheques, so we are able to use that money to order food from a supermarket to make up for any shortfall. We can then ensure that the goods we purchase are those which represent the best value for the donations received. As part of their contribution to the good work being done here, the supermarket we use is waiving their delivery charges.

Now the telephone starts to ring, and it's usually Sandra who answers it. These calls are not from needy people. They are mainly from referral agencies, for only they can decide who needs to be helped. Social Services, Citizens Advice Bureaux, Mental Health Units, Children's Centres, Ministers of religion, Probation Officers and headteachers can issue dockets. Often the problem occurs because of an unexpected redundancy or other misfortune, but as a general rule no more help is given once benefits are being paid.

Meanwhile Al and other volunteers from different Christian churches in the area are making up parcels ready for people who have been recommended by an agency or who have a docket. Each parcel contains enough food and toiletries for about five days. The parcels' contents vary according to whether they are for a single person, a couple or a family, for babies or small children, for vegetarians or diabetics, and so on.  

  Phil, Sean and Peter are taking parcels to be loaded into the cars of our wonderful team of delivery drivers. These are also volunteers who may be asked to go almost anywhere in or around the New Forest. 
People are sometimes surprised when they are told that there are needy folk living here. All the volunteers are bound to confidence, but we can assure you that there is some real poverty in this area.


Although Freda has now passed on, she was very much with us in spirit at the ordination of one of her nephews, Fr Geoff  Cook, which took place at Arundel Cathedral last Friday evening. Afterwards he was dragged away from a great crowd of friends and followers to pose with John and some of Freda's cousins, nieces and nephews who had travelled considerable distances to be with Fr Geoff on this great day. Yes, he is entering the Ordinariate, but no, he is not married - despite the wifely pose, Frances, who came from her home in Gibraltar to be at his ordination, is actually Fr Geoff's  elder sister - and she's very proud of him, as are we all!
                                   For photos taken inside the Cathedral, see Pages at the top of the right hand column. 

Thursday, 16 June 2011


A small but worthy band of members of Brockenhurst's elite Churches Together organization met last Thursday for their AGM, and they were joined rather unexpectedly by a number of members of the parish of Our Lady of Mercy and St Joseph, who belong of course not to the Brockenhurst group, but to the Lymington one. They had come here unlawfully because Fr Danny was the speaker that evening, but they were pleasantly surprised to find themselves rewarded by being greeted warmly and handed a very welcome glass of wine. 

Fr. Danny began his reflection with an exploration of some of the call stories from the Tannach (Old Testament) and the Synoptic Gospels. From these he drew the conclusion that we are called, to be with Christ (Contemplative) for others (mission). Fr Danny, reflecting on his own call to walk the pathways of the Gospel as a priest told us how he held this between the account of Jesus describing himself in Luke's Gospel, "The spirit of the Lord has anointed me and sent me to bring Good News to the Poor, " and the great Gospel of the final surprise in Matt 25,25 ff in which God is clearly seen to be hiding himself or disguising himself in the poor of the earth. Drawing on some concrete examples in prison ministry and work with refugees, these texts came alive and left us with a new understanding of the Wonder and Grace of vocation.


Once again our talented team of artistic ladies produced a splendidly decorated altar, this time for the feast of Pentecost.   Along with the dove which represented the Spirit, ribbons stretched out to show the seven traditional gifts of the Spirit, whilst along the front edge of the altar cloth were the twelve fruits.
Last Saturday morning Holy Mass was offered on this altar by Fr Paschal Lushuli, a Franciscan priest from the Democratic Republic of Congo. For several months he has been studying in Rome, and expects to continue his studies there for a further three years. He lives in the Franciscan House in Rome with other members of his order of some thirty-five different nationalities. We wish this delightful man all success in his studies and in his future career.

When pressed, Fr Paschal admits that there are problems in the eastern part of the Congo where he has worked in a parish for several years, but makes light of the difficulties. On one occasion he successfully mediated in a dispute between two of the fearsome tribes which were fighting for supremacy in that area, and was responsible for achieving a peaceful settlement.  So it is not surprising that he did not find it too much of a problem in the Parish Centre after Mass, facing up to some gentle questioning from parishioners while he was attempting to drink his coffee. We are grateful to Sarah for hosting him over the weekend and for bringing him over from Milford so that we could have the privilege of meeting him.  

 P.S.   Just received from Brockenhurst, a photo  of the Pentecost altar at St. Anne's.

Many thanks, Mary.


For many of us the only sporting activity we have had the pleasure of seeing Brian take part in is taking two or three short steps from the side of the sanctuary to present the celebrant with wine and water. It may come therefore as something of a shock to discover that he is not only an exemplary altar server but is also a current South of England tennis champion. He is this year's winner of the Southern Region's 85 and over clay court championships. We do not kid you. And it was no walkover. After he had battled his way up to and through the last sixteen of the South's splendidly fit eighty-five-year-olds he played in the final at Bournemouth, where he triumphed over his opponent in a match which lasted two hours.

Brian is also an amateur radio enthusiast, so when he is not exercising his physical aptitudes on the tennis court he is keeping his mental faculties in excellent trim controlling his radio hardware in order to communicate with fellow enthusiasts and to make new contacts in all parts of the world. We humbly hope that when we reach his age we shall still be looking after our own physical health and our own cerebral astuteness with anything like the same determination. 

Thursday, 9 June 2011


Mrs Kirstie Richards, who will be taking over as headteacher at our Catholic Junior School from September, was with her husband and family at the eleven o'clock Mass last Sunday. Father Danny got her to stand up while he introduced her to us. She passed that test with full marks, then came into the Parish Centre afterwards, and even managed to get a cup of coffee (without milk - please note, boys and girls!), but she wasn't given much opportunity to drink it. Here she is talking with Pam, who has been closely connected with the school for quite a few years. It wouldn't have been fair to have tried to interview Mrs Richards this early, but we shall catch up with her again nearer to the time, and then our intrepid reporter will reveal all - so watch this space!  


Stan can't believe his eyes. One minute at the corner of the porch there was a carefully carved 151-year-old Portland stone quoin, the next minute - utter demolition. (It's only a small church, officer, I didn't notice it standing there!) We could not even bring ourselves to show you a photo of the latest incident of vehicular vandalism with which our besieged community has been beset, the recently damaged drainpipe just inside our long-suffering gatepillars. We beg you, if you must operate one of those smelly infernal combustion machines in the precincts of our historic place of worship, please direct it so that all four of its wheels travel along the tarmacked driveway designed for that purpose, and try to leave our beautiful building intact when you depart. Thank you.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


Lymington Hospital's first radio broadcast was from a shed near the old hospital. From there it moved into a large cupboard inside the building and from there into a small room in the old Infirmary on East Hill. Now it occupies a splendid purpose-built studio complete with barred windows in the new Lymington Hospital. (The bars are not there to prevent contributors with stage fright from escaping!) Cathy has been one of the presenters of the Sunday religious slot for many years. The format is simple - a cheery greeting, a hymn, a reading from the Gospels and a short talk on a Christian theme. If you've a friend or a relative in the New Forest hospital, tell them to listen in on Sunday evenings soon after eight o'clock. 

Thursday, 2 June 2011


On Sunday at Our Lady of Mercy and St Joseph we celebrated with great joy the Baptism, Confirmation and First Holy Communion of Beverley Murray. Beverley took the baptismal name of Antonia, because of the help she has received as a result of asking St Anthony to intercede for her, and her sponsor was her husband Gregory. For her confirmation name she chose Melita, and she was sponsored by her mother Linda.

 So to the cake which was duly cut with much acclaim from the hungry horde of parishioners who crowded into the Parish Centre, even though we had already consumed a good number of Barbara's daughter Suzi's yummy cup cakes!


Two more celebrations in Lymington on Saturday. Fr Danny celebrated 28 years as a priest. He told us he chose this day for his ordination because it was the anniversary of the death of his grandmother, who was responsible for him keeping the faith. There's something to inspire those of us who are grandparents! 

The same day Fr Edwin celebrated fifty years of service in the Christian ministry, more than forty-nine years of it in the Church of England. So Pat made a second cake for him and Jane. We wish this popular couple many happy years in their new life with us, and hope that Fr Edwin will be able to continue his Catholic ministry with us and with the Ordinariate for many years.


Fr Edwin kindly agreed to pose for us in the distinctive chasuble adopted by the Ordinariate, which he wore at Mass that day.



 On Monday there were more celebrations here in our church, this time for the marriage of Rebecca (Becky) and Peter Phillips. They were attended by their children Mia and Ethan and two other bridesmaids. Our congratulations to them both, and our best wishes for their future happiness.    Our thanks to Angela Sleeman for the photo. 


Last Saturday morning we had noticed Tom, Eileen, Elizabeth and Margaret chatting together, but having been taught by our Mummy not to ask questions like "Why have you seated yourselves so conveniently for a quick dash to the loo?" we made no approach to them. So it was gratifying when Elizabeth came over and asked us to take a photograph of the group so she could take it back for her friends in the CWL at Eltham, to show them that she had successfully arrived in Lymington, and so that if they come down to visit us they'll know where the loos are. So our thanks to Elizabeth for letting us take advantage of her good nature, and our very best wishes to her and to the other CWL members in Eltham. We know where that is. It's where the great Bob Hope was born.