Friday 29 June 2012

English Version of the SSPX Novena of Prayer, 30 June – 8 July

Father Finigan has published this post about the request by the Society of St Pius X for a Novena of prayer, in anticipation of the Society’s General Chapter, which will take place from 9-14 July. The Novena period is from 30 June to 8 July.

As Father Finigan says, let’s all join in. Whatever may betide, prayer is never wasted. God will turn it all to good, in His time and in His way.

For convenience, I have typed the entire English version below.


Come, Holy Ghost, Creator
Take possession of our souls
Infuse with heavenly grace
The hearts Thou hast created

Thou Who art called the Paraclete
Best gift of the Most High God
Living fountain, fire, charity
And spiritual unction

Thou sevenfold gift
Finger of God’s right hand
Thou promise of the Father
Teaching speech and understanding

Enkindle the light of our minds
Pour love into our hearts
The infirmity of our body
Confirm with perpetual strength

Repulse the enemy even further
And give peace in his stead
May Thou so lead us
That we evade all harm

Through Thee grant us to know
Father as well as Son
And with Both Thee, Spirit, Trinity
Forever may we believe in

Let glory be to God the Father
And to the Son, Who from the dead
Has arisen, and the Paraclete
Unto ages of ages, Amen.

V. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray.
O God, Who did instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Ghost, grant that by the same Spirit we may relish what is right, and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.


We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God: despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers, O ever glorious and blessed Virgin!


O God, Who for the defence of the Catholic Faith and the restoration of all things in Christ, didst fill the holy Pope Pius with heavenly wisdom and apostolic courage, mercifully grant that we, following his instruction and example, may attain his eternal reward. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

St Pius X, pray for us.

Another journey to London

A happy but tiring day in London yesterday, to attend Fr Hunwicke’s First Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Slept very badly, which meant I was already up and about before my alarm clock was due to go off. Taxi to the station, then by train to London Paddington. Crowded: long queues for tickets in the Underground.

The day was already very warm as I made my way from South Kensington Tube station to the nearby Brompton Oratory. Dark and somewhat cooler in the big Baroque church.

Fr Hunwicke’s Mass was not at the High Altar, but at the Lady Altar. This made the occasion more intimate because we were closer to the celebrant, even though we had to face sideways in our chairs.

A modest, dignified Low Mass. I love the straightforwardness of this form of the Holy Sacrifice.

After the Mass we were able to kneel at the sanctuary rail of the High Altar and receive Father Hunwicke’s First Blessing. A great joy. I can’t remember ever having received this before.

There were one or two faces I recognised, but none I could put a name to, except for Fr Blake of Brighton. He has blogged about the event here.

I left the building and walked the short distance to the Victoria & Albert Museum. At that moment, five Royal Air Force jets in close formation – Tornadoes, I guessed –roared fast and low along the length of the street. I remembered that the Bomber Command memorial was being opened, and supposed they were connected with that. Today’s paper has confirmed that they were indeed Tornadoes.

Lunch in a very busy V&A, then a look round the 20th century costume exhibits. I love fabrics and was very interested in the cut of the clothes.

There was still a good deal of time before I needed to go back to Paddington for my homeward train. I thought of walking up to Hyde Park to see the Albert memorial and the Royal Albert Hall; but with every step in the humid heat I felt more and more tired, and more conscious that each step would have to be duplicated for the return. And so I turned back, and trudged to the tube station.

The first train was very full. Two buskers with fiddle and guitar were plying their trade amidst the scrum. I decided to try another train, and got off at the next station. So did the buskers. They struck up again, but I think they were only rehearsing. There were few people on the platforms, and the station was cool, which I appreciated.

I arrived at Paddington with an hour and a half to spare. The time went surprisingly quickly. Saw an elderly man, very smart and upright, with a row of medals on his jacket. He must have been to the opening of the memorial. I think I recognised him in the newspaper picture this morning.

My reserved seat on the return journey was in the only carriage on the train in which the air conditioning had broken down. What sort of luck is that? I endured it until the train had disgorged the greater part of its passengers, and then moved to find somewhere cooler.

Taxi home from the station, and it was a long time since I had felt so exhausted, what with the bad night and the heat. Slept for nine and a half hours last night, and I needed every minute of it.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

"Strictly Kosher": Highly Recommended

This Monday and Tuesday evenings just gone (25 and 26 June 2012) I watched a two-part documentary about the Jewish community of Manchester. I found it charming and endearing, and in parts very moving. I recommend it with pleasure. It will continue to be available on ITV Player for 28 days.

Friday 15 June 2012

Shrewsbury Diocese and the Heart of St John Vianney

Readers may be interested to read the full schedule of the forthcoming visit of the relic of St John Vianney, the Curé d’Ars, to the Diocese of Shrewsbury.  Here is the link on the diocesan website.

The visit begins on Thursday 5th July, and the relic returns to Ars on Monday 9th July.

It is interesting to note that during this period the relic is to make two visits beyond the territory of the diocese.  On Friday 6th July it will be at Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral, for what is described as "a national day: praying for the renewal of parish life and vocations"; and on the afternoon of Sunday 8th July the general public will be able to venerate the relic at Oscott College, near Birmingham.

I doubt if I'll be able to attend at any of these locations, but I look forward to reading the accounts of those who do.  I think it will be a moving experience, such as I had (to my delighted surprise) when I visited the Oxford Oratory on the occasion of the visit of the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux in 2009.

Picture from, via Google Images

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Feeling rather conspicuous in this hat …

Since the subject of mantillas is being given an airing at present, by Dr Shaw, Mary O’Regan, and Annie, I thought I might tell you about my own experience.

As I recall from the parish in which I grew up, hats or headscarves were the usual headgear until some time in the 1960s, when mantillas began to appear and gradually took over.

In my present parish, exclusively OF, I can think of just four women who ever cover their heads.  The other women hardly ever appear together at Mass. In fact I am often the only woman in the congregation with a headcovering. Ah, the qualms when I am getting ready to go to Mass; the diffidence; the embarrassment! I am probably being unnecessarily self-conscious about it; if I am noticed at all, the response is probably one of live and let live. But in my more paranoid moments I feel as if I have entered a Most Eccentric Parishioner competition, in which I am the only competitor. And I lose.

It doesn’t really help that I look a bit of a so-and-so in a hat. My appearance is something halfway between the above, and this:

I think a mantilla would be a step too outrageous at present. I keep the mantilla for when I am away from home, where no one knows me. I see mantillas, scarves etc aplenty at such times. Of course, it may be that all those women have, like me, travelled some distance to throw off the shackles of post-Vatican II convention in an anonymous environment.

As I have persevered in wearing my hat to Mass, an interesting little niggle has established itself in my head. I am now very reluctant to go into a Catholic church with my head uncovered. This is not in any way a judgment on the majority of women who do not cover their heads. Perish the thought! But I have started to experience, when I am getting ready to go to Mass, an argument going on inside me. First, I quail at the thought of being Mrs Hat; and then I examine my motives, whether for going without, or for covering my head.

The going-without case seems to rest entirely on embarrassment, of the fear (never yet realised) of adverse comments; in short, of the old temptation to Human Respect – not, of course, in the natural and kindly sense, but in the technical, moral sense. The case for covering my head is really a very private and personal one, however visible the effect: for me, it’s not really about the words of St Paul, although I am aware of them; it’s more about an act of fellowship with women throughout the history of the Church; and most of all and most immediately, it springs from a feeling that I ought to do it, and accept the embarrassment, as a little work of humility and of love for the Lord.  In other words, it's about Him, not about me.

Last Sunday I had another of my quailing moments. I thought, oh, I don’t want to look like the odd one out; and I didn’t put my hat on. When I went into the living-room to say I was about to set off, my husband said: “Oh, where’s your little hat?” Out of the mouths of husbands … they were the salutary words I needed: I went to the bedroom and put my hat on, and I hope to abide by that rather touching little reminder on every future occasion.

Photos via Google Images: Hetty from; Hyacinth from

Monday 11 June 2012

A Grand Day Out

It has taken me a couple of days to recover from a tiring but tremendously worthwhile day out in London. The occasion was the Latin Mass Society’s first one-day conference, and oh boy, it certainly stretched the mind and gladdened the heart.

We had five excellent speakers: Dr John Rao of The Roman Forum; Mr Stuart McCullough of The Good Counsel Network; Fr John Zuhlsdorf of What does the Prayer Really Say?; Fr Tim Finigan, parish priest and author of the blog The Hermeneutic of Continuity; and soon-to-be-Father Hunwicke of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, author of the blog Fr Hunwickes’s Liturgical Notes, which he began during his years in the Church of England. The day closed with a panel discussion; sadly, I missed it, because I had to go for my train.

Dr Joseph Shaw, the LMS Chairman, has posted an MP3 link to Dr Rao’s talk on his LMS Chairman's Blog.  He plans to do the same with the other speakers’ talks as soon as he can.

Among those manning the information stalls were members of three traditional congregations: the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, who have recently begun their apostolate at the church of SS Peter and Paul and St Philomena, in New Brighton, at the tip of the Wirral peninsula; the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, who are based in various places, but the nearest to where I live is, I think, Reading; and, from faraway Papa Stronsay in the Orkney Islands, the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer.

There was a delightfully friendly atmosphere throughout the day, and a great deal of animated conversation. I’m very glad to have been able to attend. I understand that quite a few of the Big Beasts of the Catholic blogosphere were there; no doubt they will be posting their own accounts of the day, which I look forward to reading.

I don't think I've ever created so many links before.

Saturday 2 June 2012

The Government's consultation on changing the scope of marriage: searching for the right words

May I begin by recommending to you a fine post by The Reluctant Sinner, entitled "We shouldn't blame homosexual activists for wanting to get 'married' - The real purpose of marriage was probably destroyed before the decriminalisation of homosexuality".

Those of us who have signed the Coalition for Marriage’s petition to keep the classical definition and scope of marriage, are being encouraged to go a step further by adding their contribution to the consultation document.

It’s much easier to sign a petition than to express one’s views in so many words. I was reluctant at first, because it always takes me such a long time to gather my thoughts into shape. But at last I have managed to compose something and send it.

C4M provides a selection of suitable texts, which you can use or adapt, or you can write it in your own words. I incorporated one or two phrases in my own statement.

It’s very hard to argue these things without relying solely on assertions. But then, our Prime Minister is very fond of uttering that great unproveable assertion: “It’s the right thing to do.” I hope the assertions I have made are at least reasonable. This is my effort - tweaked a bit here and there, because I am never satisfied:
There is no distinction in our country's law between civil and religious marriage. It is simply marriage. Any reference to these two things as distinct legal realities is false and misleading.

Marriage, which predates the state and any organised religion, has an intrinsic nature. No one, including the state, has the competence to redefine it in order to extend it beyond its natural meaning.

The unalterable core of its nature is the exchange, by a man and woman, of the right to share with one another the procreative act. (This does not depend on the couple's fertility, but on their being capable of the act.) Since only a man and a woman are physically capable of this, any attempt by the law to extend marriage to persons of the same sex would be void.

At the conclusion of any such attempted marriage ceremony, even if permitted by the law of the land, the parties concerned would remain as they were; whatever that law decreed, they would not in reality be married.
"The unalterable core of its nature is the exchange, by a man and woman, of the right to share with one another the procreative act." It was when I was composing this sentence, that the enormity of the Government's latest proposal - to remove the requirement for the consummation of marriage, in order to accommodate same-sex partners - was brought home to me most forcefully. They think they can remove the very core of marriage; but it can't be done. Details can be found in the Reverend Nick Donnelly's blog, Protect the Pope.

Please feel free to lift anything from this for your own contribution if you would find it useful. I wish I could have said it more concisely, but I have said pretty much what I wanted to say. They probably won’t read it anyway; still, it’s the effort that counts. I think the important thing is to contribute to the total number of those responding.

As the same Prime Minister and his Chancellor like to say, “We’re all in this together.”