Monday, 24 April 2017


On holiday: this is how I want to live!

Binary choices

I hate these binary choices! Why is it not male/female/eunuchs for the kingdom?

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Through the Day with Our Lady

This is the image of Our Lady of Meritxell. As you can see it is a modern statue as the original one was destroyed in a fire in 1972. Originally it dated from the 12th century.

The devotion is from Andorra, indeed she is the patroness of the country. Her feast day is September 8th. 

In the late 12th century, on January 6, a wild rose in bloom was found by villagers from Meritxell going to Mass in Canillo. It was out of season and at its base was found a statue of the Virgin and Child. The statue was placed in the Canillo church. However, the statue was found under the same wild rose the next day. The statue was taken to the church of Encamp. However, as before, the statue was found under the same wild rose the next day. As in similar legends elsewhere, the villagers of Meritxell took this as a sign and decided to build a new chapel in their town after they found an open space miraculously untouched by the winter snows.

The best thing about it is that the name comes from merig, - meridiem - midday.

So she is 'Our Lady of Noon'.  

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Easter Ceremonies

Maundy Thursday

7.00pm Bellingham
9.00pm Swinburne

Good Friday

1.00pm Bellingham
3.00pm Swinburne

Easter Vigil

8.00pm Bellingham

Easter Sunday

9.00am Swinburne
11.00am Bellingham

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

I came, I saw...

I went away. I wonder if this is the same plane I came on?!!
A good few days, a certain teaching of maths and the Old Testament (not together). Together with despair at the continued belief that -1 squared is still -1, or 2, or anything really... But it's nice to get exasperation out of the system.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Vagaries of flight

Im n my way to Chavagnes. Flight from Newcastle to Southampton, then Southampton Nantes.
My flight was delayed so I arrived at Southampton with five minutes to go. Rushed through arrivals. Then security. Then departures. Just in time for the plane.
And then I thought... I asked the nice air steward, because I suspected something... And yes, I have just got back on board the plane that I had got off a moment before.
There is a moral to all this. I'm sure there is...

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

St Joseph's at St Joseph's

Fr Michael Brown, whose Church is dedicated to St Joseph, and who celebrated the High Mass in his patron's honour, has pictures of the event here.

Usual suspects indeed!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

St Joseph, the first of the usual suspects

There is a High Mass on Monday 20th March at St Joseph's Gateshead at 7.00pm. Fr Brown's post here.

I am pleased to be included in the usual suspects with such fine company. I hope I shall be able to celebrate him with similar splendour next year in Clifton Diocese.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

They will not defeat me.

Sitting as I am in the library in Durham (oh, how you can tell that there is less that six months to go before I return to the bosom of mother-Clifton) I find myself cowed and arraigned from all sides by sporty types of chaps. Now, although I can talk a good game of rugby as well as the next man (woman/transgendered ‘X’ – I can’t keep up, I really can’t), I find myself oppressed. Yes oppressed!

What has brought this about? I hear you cry! Is it the fact that they are fine specimens of young men at the peak of their physical prowess? Or that they have the nonchalance to walk from the library and leave their wallet behind, there on the desk! (I have lived in too many dodgy places to risk such a thing – I was in seminary for three years after all). Or think that they can get away with not shaving in the morning.

We, the nonchalant, shall cow you by our nonchalance
No I tell you, no. It is because they are studying maths, and it looks SO difficult that it took me a moment to realise that it was maths in the first place. Me, I’m a GCSE maths teacher, strictly quadratics and sample sizes. I get a frisson of excitement when thinking of solving simultaneous equations with matrices. But not these chaps. They laugh (I’m sure) in the face of translation vectors, the scorn (without doubt) the solutions to a quartic equation, and I dread to think how they would react if I suggested working out the angles in a circle.

If you think this is hard, then try teaching a French boy
that there is another way of doing long division
So I have done what any self-respecting Priest does when faced with such a terrible sight, I took out my breviary and started saying Vespers, muttering Latin for all I was worth. And with an open book of Unanswered Questions in the Catholic-Jewish Dialogue in front of me.

If in doubt, mutter Latin prayers

I might scribble down some meaningless algebra with a few squiggles of my own making, followed by a hovering question mark in a moment. And then ponder it, mid Latin Psalm, while muttering 
“surely Feuerbach’s hypothesis would never work in that matrix paradigm”
I will not be defeated! Never!

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