Thursday, 27 October 2011


Now here's a really handsome couple!     That's Thomas Edward Alexander and Hannah Katy Theodosia, who were baptised on Sunday, held by their doubly proud parents Simon and Clare Quinn.      Hannah is already a child of God,  marked with the seal of Baptism which she received in hospital shortly after her birth, but on this very special family day she was with Thomas as he also passed through the gateway to Life in the Spirit, and we welcomed them both into our community at the Church of Our Lady of Mercy and St Joseph.


On Tuesday evening at the Parish Hall of Our Lady of Lourdes a small audience of parishioners from our Pastoral area watched a multimedia presentation about the annual Catholic Association Pilgrimage to Lourdes.    After the presentation was over Fr John Cooke, who is the Portsmouth Diocesan party's assistant director, answered questions.       Several people, including one or two who were not able to get across to New Milton that day, have expressed an interest in forming a group to go to Lourdes with the Portsmouth Diocesan party in the last week of August 2012.  Leaflets giving detailed information about travel and accommodation will be available early in the new year.


This week has seen the completion of the work needed to get the old parish rooms ready to be transformed into the new Parish Hospitality Centre.  

The stripping off of the wallpaper in the central corridor exposed this mural, painted when the School was here.      It's in incredibly good condition.      How has it survived?    It'll probably be covered up again in a day or two.       When was it done?    If you can tell us more, please comment below.

This part of the coffee room is diagonally opposite the corner where we got our cuppas after Mass until last week, but it's in a better position.    For one thing, a a queue here will not clog up the entrance to the room.      The corner has been completely cleared, so as to make it ready for the new kitchen furniture to be installed.


Our Blog made its first unsteady attempts to toddle into cyberspace during the last week of October, 2009.    Initial attempts to master the ether were so incompetently conducted that almost everything produced during the following fortnight has now been lost from our archives.   The earliest entry to have survived is headed "The New Forest R.C.Churches Website", and the title was supposed to link to the Pastoral Area site, but our technical skill didn't match our optimism, so the link doesn't quite link.    We were also uncertain of what to do on our blog, and so were watching other blogs closely to see what they were doing.     One of the comments on that first entry reads:
Aardvark has been poking his nose into the blogs of some other churches, to see what they do. He started by digging into the blog of the St Expedite Independent Catholic Church, which has found a unique way of rewarding its bloggers. Their blog is run by the Archbishop himself, and he has the perfect answer to the current shortage of clergy. He simply ordains all his followers. If you log into their blog, you can ".... become a priest straight away." Or you can even ".... have a diocese of your own." Sadly. however, there's appears to be a definite lack of laity - St Expedite's has a total congregation of twenty-one!
Now, two years later, instant priesthoods are still available.    However, St Expedite's is no longer offering bishoprics in its online advertisement.    Perhaps they've run out of mitres.  
But what about us?   Well, during those two years you lovely readers have visited our blog more than 13,412 times, and are continuing to visit it nearly 300 times a week.    You come from all over the world:                                      

                                  United Kingdom
                                  United States
                                        ......  and so on.     And you've arrived on our site in a number of different ways.     During these two years  ....... 
2690 of the visits we had were through     
979 through one of the links from our Pastoral Area website at     
605 through our link on the British Catholic Blogs site at    
but only 238 through typing out our own address 
Of course, the majority of visits are revisits, because most of you have put us in your "Favourites".     Our system isn't sophisticated enough to trace your original route when you do that!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

On Tuesday the funeral of Eileen Hutchins, a parishioner for many years, was held at Our Lady of Mercy and St Joseph Church.      Our sincere condolences to her family and friends.


Three weeks ago we promised to print the facts about homelessness in this area as told at the AGM of Basics Bank by Lynn Lyons the Service Manager of In Touch.    We can now reveal the true facts about the appalling problems facing some families and young people in the New Forest area as she described it.     We have published a summary of Lynn's talk that evening under the heading "Pages" in the right hand column of this blog entitled "Homelessness".   We hope you can spare a minute or two to read it.


The picture was taken circa Christmas 1962.  It shows the late Ellie Webb surrounded by her sons, Michael, Keith and Derek with a family friend.  All three of the Webb boys attended Our Lady of Mercy & St Joseph's School. To the far left of the picture is their red  A.P.F. Box.  After Ellie's death Keith Webb has continued to collect for the A.P.F., which helps to fund the Mill Hill Fathers and the Pontifical Missionary Society in their work throughout the world.    Do you know of a red box which has been going for longer than this one?     (At present about £1500 a year is raised for the A.P.F. from boxes distributed among parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy and St Joseph.)
                                                                                                             photo and report from Cathy


 Radio Personality Chris Walker and his Jazz Quartet played at the Children of the Universe Foundation fund-raising dinner at the Walhampton Arms last Friday.

                                                                                                                   photo by Rini
It was a great party, thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.    No less than 67 tickets were sold, and a magnificent £1866.50 net was raised, which is a new record on both counts.   

                                                                                                                   photo by Rini
Rini and Keith Stutterford have asked us to pass on their thanks to all those who came for their very generous support, and their thanks also to those who couldn’t attend but made very generous donations instead.       For more information and news about CUF, click on


On Wednesday the second presentation of a retreat which was attended by parishioners with responsibilities in one or other of our four parishes was hosted by the Sisters at the Priory.    It was led by Mgr Jeremy Garrett who took as his theme Conforming our lives to Christ with particular reference to St Paul's Epistle to the Romans, chapters 5, 6 and 7.   The talks  were quite short but full of powerful ideas and relevant anecdotes, and there were no reports of anyone even beginning to doze off!     At lunch there was no table exclusive to one parish, so we all got to know each other a little better.    Altogether a thoroughly worthwhile day.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Those who are following our new Live Feed (Feedjit) may be wondering why we appear to be so unpopular!      In the first full week of its operation our Feedjit only recorded the arrival of about 125 viewers on our blog.      Yet during those seven days our blog's own statistical analysis logged 390 viewers visiting us.      The reason for this discrepancy is of course that the only arrivals which Feedjit records are the arrivals of Feedjit members!    
We are sad to have to report the recent death of Sheila Cozens, a parishioner here for many years, whose funeral was on Wednesday.      Our sincere condolences to her sister Eva and her family.


                                                                                                        photo from Barbara
It seemed appropriate, during the week of the CUF fundraising dinner, that we should publish this photo, taken at their regular meeting last Friday, of members of the Knit and Stitch Club hard at work producing more woolly pullovers for the poor kiddies being looked after by the Children of the Universe Foundation.     It must be very gratifying to produce as part of one's charitable work an item which will actually be worn by the recipient during the chilly South African winter.


Last Sunday at St Thomas' Church the Anglican Bishop of Southampton, the Right Reverend Jonathan Frost, led a service to commemorate the reopening of the Church after its recent restoration.     To the delight of all of us who know of her and the work she has done, he also commissioned Linda Lee as Lymington Hospital Chaplain.     Our congratulations to Linda from all those of us who have seen and experienced her compassion, her vivacious personality and her ability to gain people's confidence during the years that she has already served as chaplain there.


                                                                                                                          photo by Barbara

Thanks to the generosity of members of the Catholic Women's League in our pastoral area, these beautifully decorated shoeboxes are being filled with small presents for disadvantaged 12 to 15 year-old boys and girls in Albania, Montenegro, Tanzania and Romania.

                                                                                                                        photo by Barbara
The boxes will be distributed by Rotary International, which is a worldwide voluntary organisation dedicated to helping others.   It has no religious or political affiliations.  


Thursday, 6 October 2011

To get the best from our new Live Feed Widget (Feedjit) in the right hand column, click on the dark blue bar at the bottom labelled "menu".   Then you will be able to see a much longer list with more detail.   Careful, now.  It can become quite addictive!


More than seventy parishioners of the New Forest Pastoral Area packed the church hall at New Milton on Tuesday to hear Margaret Heaven tell of events in her life which influenced her spiritual growth, concluding with an account of the quiet, loving way she was received by the Carmelites which resulted in her entry into their third order. Then Fr Danny explained the importance of relational nourishment from birth, and of the primacy of love and of compassion in our dealings with each other, from childhood and throughout our lives. He showed how the impact of this has been proven through scientific research, and in a brief practical session asked us to form groups and to recall one or more persons in our lives who allowed us to grow in love. The evening began and ended with a few minutes of prayer.


It had not previously been the habit at Our Lady and St Joseph to make a specific physical recognition in the church of our gratitude to God for the annual harvest.   This year, however, it was decided to remedy this omission, albeit rather gently, and several parishioners decorated the altar with flowers, fruit, vegetables and a much-admired but rather lonely loaf of soda bread.  Some of the congregation brought in items for the Basics Bank box for needy people here, to coincide with the announcement of the following week's CAFOD collection for the needy in poorer parts of the world.   (To express your view, please click "comments" below.)


With the Parish Rooms not yet available the Friendship Club met this week in the Hope Jones Room at Lymington Community Centre.   After we had devoured Joan's delicious homemade Dorset apple cakes and Scotland's very own Tunnock tea cakes, the conversation became so interesting that nobody noticed this photograph being taken, and afterwards there was not a single complaint about having no comfortable armchairs or sofas to sit in!


Each summer the Catholic Association arranges a pilgrimage to Lourdes, and each Diocese can send a group to be part of that pilgrimage.  Fr John Cooke, who was the deputy director of the Portsmouth group in last summer's pilgrimage, will be bringing his "Lourdes Roadshow" to the Parish hall at New Milton on Tuesday October 25th.    This roadshow will be of real interest to all of us, whether or not we may wish to be part of a group which could join the Diocesan party next year.


At Brockenhurst on the last September Saturday Mary Dunn organised a day about bringing God more fully into our kiddies' lives.

                                                                                                                      photo by Anthony
At the Workshop there was a display of 'Godly Play' resources. The Presenter (Carolynn Pritchard) gave us an inspiring and detailed introduction to this way of telling Bible stories to children. The child can enter into the story and tell it, with little figures, in their own way. That would be fun to hear!

                                                                                                                    photo by Anthony
The participants spent a beautiful Saturday thinking about playing and praying with children. We handled ribbons - and blessing bowls - and name-stars - and we loved being children again.
                                                                                                                    report by Mary