Sunday, 29 March 2015

In support of our priests, our families, and our Church




You may have seen the recent letter from more than 450 priests in support of the Church’s teaching on marriage.

We would like to invite you to sign the letter below, to be sent to the press in support of them, and to encourage others to sign it.

To sign, please leave your name and your diocese in the comments box below, or if you prefer email them to me or to one of the coordinators: Mark Lambert (mark@landbtechnical.com) or Andrew Plasom-Scott (andrewplasom_scott@me.com)



The Letter:

Dear Sir,

We, the undersigned, wish to endorse and support the letter signed by over 450 priests in the recent edition of the Catholic Herald, http://bit.ly/19kuBkl

As laity, we all know from our own family experiences, or those of our friends and neighbours, the harrowing trauma of divorce and separation, and we sympathise with all those in such situations.

It is precisely for that reason that we believe that the Church must continue to proclaim the truth about marriage, given us by Christ in the Gospels, with clarity and charity in a world that struggles to understand it.

For the sake of those in irregular unions, for the sake of those abandoned and living in accordance with the teachings of the Church, and above all for the sake of the next generation, it is essential that the Church continues to make it quite clear that sacramental marriage is indissoluble until death.

We pray, and expect, that our hierarchy will represent us, and the Church’s unwavering teaching, at the Synod this autumn.

 Yours faithfully,


Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Prayer to Saint Joseph


Saint Joseph has guided and protected our family, particularly over the past eight or so turbulent months. When we prayed for guidance and direction about where to live, our prayers for intercession were directed to Saint Joseph, beloved foster father of Our Blessed Lord. Although we are now happily moved and settled into a new home and parish, we have friends who are in the throes of moving or buying or selling houses, so we've continued our nightly novena to Saint Joseph for their intentions. I thought that those readers who have not come across it might want to add it to their prayer armoury.

The beautiful picture (above) of Saint Joseph and the Infant Jesus hangs in our home. I was told by our dear friend Pater Michael Mary that it is a copy of a very old picture recovered from inside a chimney when the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer were renovating a building. You can obtain a copy of this lovely devotional picture for yourself from the Papa Stronsay website (it's possibly the best £2 you will ever spend).

The prayer can be said as a one-off, as a novena (with the Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory Be appended to it) or (as we've done) as a rolling perpetual novena. However the prayer is said, Saint Joseph, the quiet man of the Gospels, is listening.



Prayer to Saint Joseph

O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O Saint Joseph, assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me all spiritual blessings through thy foster Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, so that having engaged here below thy heavenly power I may offer thee my thanksgiving and homage.

O Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thine arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. 

Saint Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. 

Holy Saint Joseph, Ora Pro Nobis!

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Versus populum Masses make me uncomfortable




It struck me the other evening how enriching the ad orientem orientation is for the layperson in the pews. As our priest led the faithful in the prayers of the (silent) Canon towards the consecration, I was absorbed in prayer, my eyes focused on the figure of the infant Jesus in his Blessed Mother's arms above the crucifix on the altar. There was something profoundly moving about the Blessed Sacrament being lifted in adoration towards both the representation of the Crucifixion and that of Our Lord and his Mother.

Later, in contemplation after Holy Communion it occurred to me that this intense visual focus would not have been possible if the priest was saying Mass versus populum: even if the priest was a master of directing his gaze away from the congregation, there would be something uncomfortable, even unseemly about staring in the general direction of a person for an extended period -- even if the stare wasn't directed at the priest.

Ad orientem, the priest all but disappears: he is in alter Christus  - he is a conduit for the sacrifice of the Mass, not the "show".  This applies whether the Mass is in English or Latin, the Traditional Mass or the Novus ordo.  In our culture staring at a person is considered bad manners, a habit avoided from childhood onwards. Ad orientem the priest as person disappears leaving the worshipper free to worship without constraint, without self consciousness, with fewer barriers to their relationship with God.

Friday, 2 January 2015

In with the new...

There's something deeply reassuring about the gentle rhythms of the liturgical cycle. Singing the Te Deum on New Year's Eve and the Veni Creator Spiritus on New Years's Day is a reminder that no matter what changes or challenges the past year has brought, or the coming year will bring, we will, Deo volente, once again offer praise and thanksgiving when this infant year draws to a close..

The blog has been quiet for a while: there have been many changes in my (and my family's) life and the orchard I once gazed over from my kitchen window has been replaced by a seascape of muted greys and blues. Our new home is full of packing crates crammed with our worldly possessions and it will take some time for these to be organised... In the meantime I intend to resume blogging but have one small query: my nom-de-plume was the common name of a large apple tree in my former garden. Shall I change it, or shall I remain an apple tree at the seaside?

In the meantime, here's a jolly singalong to practice for next year:





Friday, 27 June 2014

Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

We began the day with a beautiful Mass and prayers of reparation to the Sacred Heart at the Sacred Heart side altar this morning; Fr. Finigan's sermon mentioned that Sacre Coeur in Paris was built with donations from Catholics throughout France in order to have a place of perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and a permanent place for prayers of reparation to the Sacred Heart.
 
...and our celebration cake:
 

 

...which was probably a little too jolly looking but was delicious nonetheless. My two eldest children
(10 and 12) baked cake in a heart-shaped tin and I decorated it later on with strawberries, cream and mint-chocolate wafers shattered to make the thorns.