Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tomorrow: Doctor in the morning; Holy Mass in the evening

The doctor will pay a house-call tomorrow morning. He is very busy and was unable to give any idea of what time he will get here. Fortunately I finished the flowers in church today in time for tomorrow evening's Mass - the first one we've had here in St. Romain since the day after Ash Wednesday - at 6.30pm French time, 5.30pm UK time and around 11.30am Tulsa time. Will be praying for you all especially at that time.

Reports to follow as soon as possible.

In Christo pro Papa

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Confession time:

I'm afraid I have to admit that for the past two or three weeks I have not been very well. I'd hoped that whatever it is would have cleared up by now. If it doesn't improve within the next few days I will have to see the doctor. I tell you only to explain my relative silence during a particularly difficult time for the Church and for our Holy Father.

In the meantime, God bless all here. Please pray for me.

In Christo pro Papa

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sunday's Sibelius: Inspiration, explanation, reflection

I turned 67 on Sunday and would not be mentioning it now, but for the fact that I need to thank everyone who sent me messages on Facebook. I was very surprised indeed and was thus lifted out of the doldrums! Paul aka OTSOTA sent me a link to part of Sibelius' 6th Symphony, saying that it made him feel alive and young. I don't think Paul realised that Sibelius is one of my favourite symphonic composers. Anyway Paul's gift inspired me to find two other favourite bits which would express my feelings before and after its receipt that day.

'Valse Triste' definitely reflected my morning mood. So many memories of the past 'waltzes' of life are wrapped up in this piece. And the graphics on the video were a reminder of things that currently worry me, attack the Faith and threaten to deny Catholics in England and Wales the chance to assist at the Holy Father's Masses, when he visits the UK in September. There is a sensation that they are being penned in and prevented from showing him how much he is loved. The flat promontory of rock being thus threatened by the fierceness of an inimical ocean brought all this to mind. I could not avoid equating that rock with Pope Benedict, the rock that is Peter.

Then I had to find an 'afterwards' video. The Colin Davis chose itself really for several reasons. Sir Colin is British and is junior to the Holy Father by only five months. At about the same age both men decided how they would dedicate their lives. Added to that, he was once conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. He is noted as a conductor of Sibelius and for his work with youth orchestras. In this video he has brought the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra to a Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. They are full of energy and talent and irrepressible in their enthusiasm and love of making music. And they seem genuinely bowled over by the warmth of the reception they are given by the Prom audience.

Meanwhile, the Holy Father undauntedly 'keeps at it'. See the text of his homily at Sunday's ordination here and his outline of the duties of a bishop given last week at the ad limina of the Brazilian episcopate here.

All in all Sunday was a beautiful day. A truly Holy Father, good friends and good music. What more can one ask on one's birthday!? Or any day for that matter?

(And Paul, thanks for the Mahler link as well.)

God bless alll here. Hope you are having a happy and holy feast. St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More pray for the Holy Father and for us his British flock.

In Christo pro Papa.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Immaculate Heart of Mary

A very happy and holy feast day to everyone.

Please see here for a Reflection on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The author is the well-known Marian theologian, Dr. Mark Miravalle.

Holy Mary, Mother and Queen of priests, intercede for our Holy Father, for all priests and especially for Fr. Mark Kirby who is honorary spiritual director of this blog.

In Christo pro Papa.

Friday, June 11, 2010

O Sacred Heart - Hymn to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

This is a beautiful hymn written by F Stanfield (1835 - 1914) in honour of the Sacred Heart. This hymn was written particularly for English speaking Catholics asking for the conversion of England.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Novena for Pope Benedict

This is the Novena I pray everyday at the end of my Holy Hour. It is available on many sites but here I include (in brackets) the additions that I make in my private prayer to Our Lord in His Real Presence.

(Beloved) Lord Jesus, source of eternal life and truth, (I entreat you most earnestly and lovingly, at the end of this holy hour), to give unto our shepherd Benedict (whom you have appointed), a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love, (strengthen and guide him) that by governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, he may (as successor to your apostle Peter, and your vicar on earth) build your Church into a sacrament of unity, love and peace for all the world. Amen.

(Beloved Lord, I implore You), preserve our holy father, Benedict; give him (health and energy to the end of a) long life. Make him blessed upon the earth, and let him not be delivered up to the power of his enemies, ( nor let him flee for fear of the wolves). May Your hand be upon Your holy servant and upon Your son whom you have anointed. Amen.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Salve Regina
(After this I make my specific petition regarding the Litany of Loreto and the success of the Holy Father's visit to England and Scotland, and as from today I add: Venerable Mother Mary Potter, intercede for these my intentions.)
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. ( 3 times)
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on Pope Benedict and upon us all. (3 times)

+In the name of the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit, AMEN

Monday, June 7, 2010

After Cyprus, the end of the Year for Priests, a good rest and then England.

I cannot post tonight as I promised because my English Catholic soul is in turmoil.

The Pope's visit to Cyprus left me in no doubt as to the real battle faced by Christianity in this world and it threw into a horrid relief the rottteness of my own country in this regard: how inward-looking it is, how self-serving, how mean-spirited, how small-minded, how intolerant in its vaunted tolerance, and how boorishly inpolite. The fear really shakes me to the roots that these descriptions do not apply only to the secularist/atheistic society that is now my England, but also to many who still call themselves Catholic and purportedly lead us in the Faith.

Is England going to be the first country, on his 17th international voyage, that will treat Benedict XVI unjustly and ignorantly, where the media, and I'm afraid, some within the Church, will do their best to make sure he is not heard? Fear of it makes me ashamed to be English. It has come to the point where I too wish with many others that our gentle, supremely intelligent and holy Pope, was not going to visit England in September. I cannot bear the idea that it is those who privately oppose him who will be at the forefront during his visit, whilst those of us who truly love him and adhere to his magisterium will be kept out of sight and mind.

'Pearls before swine' does not even begin to describe it. We simpy do not deserve his presence, leave alone that he should have waived his own rule and be willing to beatify Cardinal Newman personally. And yet 'a dog's breakfast' is being made of something which should have been the most amazing highpoint of Catholicism in our country since the first Reformation. Never forget that the State's side of things seems to be going ahead with all due discretion, now the FO has been sorted out. It is the Catholic side of things that is in disarray. From all accounts Rome is trying to help, but whether that help will be received with grace is another matter.

For the past several nights my husband has been trying to comfort me. He is convinced that Catholics will turn out in force in September to show solidarity with their Holy Father, particularly since it seems they are to be denied tickets for the events. I pray that he is right, but then he does not read as much on the Internet as I do.

In the meantime I pray a daily Novena for Pope Benedict and will try to put up its text tomorrow.

God bless all here,

In Christo pro Papa

Friday, June 4, 2010

Corpus Christi 2010: Stormy Weather

It was indeed stormy in Rome yesterday evening and this was given as the reason for cancellation of the Corpus Christi procession from St. John Lateran to St Mary Major, in front of which, in keeping with tradition, Benediction had originally been planned to take place. As it was Pope Benedict led Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and gave the Benediction service at the end of the Mass in St. John Lateran. The cancellation was a tremendous disappointment and I felt particularly sorry for those who had travelled especially from outside Italy in order to be present for the Procession. I trust that in spite of the weather many will have been outside St. John Lateran and will have viewed the proceedings on the usual giant screens. It might have been thought that in view of his imminent journey to Cyprus, the Holy Father would have taken the opportunity to go back to the Apostolic Palace earlier than the appointed time. No such thing. The kto broadcast that I watched did not end until the scheduled time, (although rather abruptly) as the Holy Father began to leave the basilica.

He had given another stunning homily during the Mass. (A big thank you to the Rorate Caeli blog for publishing the full text.) Towards the end of the Mass it occurred to me why I find the preaching of Benedict XVI so holy, moving and of lasting spiritual value. I think it is because one is conscious that he does not cease to pray whilst he is speaking, and therefore nor do we. This has the effect of making his homilies seamless with the Mass, and not some additional extra which we are obliged to sit through. Instead his homilies thus become part of an interior, active participation entered into by his listeners.

After the Corpus Christi broadcast there was a news flash about the murder of Bishop Padovesi, president of the Turkish Conference of Bishops. He was stabbed to death by his driver only a few hours before he had planned to leave Turkey and join Pope Benedict in Cyprus. At Vatican Radio, I learned that the alleged assailant had previously shown loyalty to the bishop, although recently he had given the impression of being depressed. Fr. Lombardi has opined that we can therefore discount any political motive for the murder. Of course, Father may have other unpublished informationr. All the same I found his judgment a little premature.

And then there is the brewing storm surrounding the 'organisation' of the Catholic aspects of the Pope's visit to England in September. Many thanks are due to Fr. Tim Finigan who in a post today, not only gives a link to the full text of Damian Thompson's article in the Spectator, but to several other blog and newspaper comments, including those from Fr. John Boyle, Joanna Bogle, and Reluctant Sinner. To save repetition you can take it that the analysis to be found at these four links expresses my own suspicions, views and feelings. As far as suspicions are concerned I'm afraid that this whole 'mess of potage' is the result of intention rather than mere ineptitude. Apart from anything else, these developments also seem to expose Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor as continuing to be a powerful influence behind the scenes. Archbishop Nichols cannot be his own, or properly the Pope's man, whilst that influence continues.

To end on a more constructive note, Father Mark has an excellent argument at Vultus Christi as to why it has been wrong to move the Solemnity of Corpus Christi from Thursday to this coming Sunday.

Next post on Monday (DV) (the Holy Father is due back from Cyprus on Sunday). I hope to return to the question: 'Why doesn't the Pope make a clear statement on some of the 'vexed issues' that were raised by my earlier post on practice at Papal liturgies.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Corpus Christi

O Sacrum Convivium - Richard Farrant (1530 - 1585)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rendering unto Caesar.......................

Ever since the Office in church this morning, I've been haring about like a mad thing today, making arrangements to pay the latest electricity bill which I had not realised was so imminent. This involved a morning trip into Aubeterre to transfer the money between accounts, and after that was sorted, there was the weekly shopping trip this afternoon. (Everything takes so long here because of distances and a sort of 'Lady Fortescue sensation' comes over me at these times.) It was a vast relief to return from the latter in time for Holy Hour before cooking supper. Thank goodness I usually remember to put "DV" when promising future posts. Fotunately on Sunday and Monday I had more or less completed the flower arrangements in church for Corpus Christi, and it looked really good for the Visitation yesterday. I will finish it tomorrow morning before the broadcast General Audience. I just wish you could all share the perfume of the roses which surround Our Lord in the chapel of the His Blessed Mother in our little church. Tomorrow afternoon is given over to teaching so I think it will be Thursday before I post again.

In Christo pro Papa