Monday, 31 January 2011

The Big Push

I was just checking how we're doing for visitors to this blog, and discovered that January has been a record month! Up until this morning there have been 962 visits during the month, beating the previous record of 820 in May.  Now you may notice that 962 is not far off 1,000, and that this is the last day of the month. On normal rate we might get there by midnight, but if, by accident of course, some people actually popped in more than once today, then we would surely pass that landmark. Childish, moi? Go on, make Fr M happy!
Talking of being happy, it's time for a Fr M feel-good video. It's the birthday of Mukhtar, a bus-driver in Denmark who is very popular with his regular passengers... Enjoy.

Friday, 28 January 2011

A new year...

There seems to be an air of newness in the Church in some ways. Christ the King have our extended and refurbished Parish Centre. St Brigid's has a refurbished kitchen. Even St Paul's has new altar cloths!  The new translation of the Missal is on its way (more of that in later posts), the new Ordinariate is up and running. And, of course, in the not too distant future, we will hopefully have a new Archbishop.
In a few weeks, on February 8th, our two Parish Councils are meeting to discuss a new body to oversee the pastoral life of our 3 Churches. Christ the King is reviewing the adminstration aspect of parish life, with St B and St P to follow possibly later in the year. Several new people seem to have come forward in recent weeks to help in various ways in parish life. And so on.  Maybe it's the beginning of a new year, 2011. An old Latin saying is ecclesia semper reformanda - the Church, always to-be-reformed or renewed.
Here is another of my favourite photos that I took during 2010. This was a simple bowl of summer flowers on a window sill in the church at Rhulen, hidden away in the hills of Radnorshire. The sun lit up the flowers - and the whole church, giving it this warm orangey glow. A lovely sight, a lovely moment - summer 2010.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Facing the past and the future

Oops  - bit of a gap since my last posting. Not an extraordinary week - just a busy one!
I just came back from the Service of Prayer for Christian Unity arranged by our local CYTUN Churches Together in Llanishen and District. It was held in the very cosy and intimate local United Reformed Church and led by their husband-and-wife lay pastors. I enjoyed it, and there were quite a few Catholics to fly the flag.
I always pick up some good idea, thought or practice from visits to other parishes and denominations. At the very end of this evening's service, before the blessing, we were invited to turn towards the door while the Apocalypse reading about a new heavenand a new earth was read. It was a lovely way of sending us out back into the world. Nice tea, coffee and variety of cakes to finish!
This week came the news that the first part of the introduction of a revised translation of our Missal is to be implemented this coming September. This will mainly cover the ordinary of the Mass - the parts that don't change from week to week. This will include the famous mutation from "And also with you" to "And with your spirit". I'm surprised that this is the timescale, because at our in-service day a while ago, I got the distinct impression that it would be after Advent at the earliest. Remembering that nothing much happens in the summer, and Lent and Easter have their own priorities, that does not leave much time! Ho hum...
The picture shows worship at the ecumenical Taize community in Burgundy France, which I visited back in 1993.

Monday, 17 January 2011

The Ordinariate

So, Saturday saw the ordination to the priesthood of three former Anglican bishops at Westminster Cathedral, and the setting up of the eagerly anticipated Ordinariate in England and Wales. We welcome these men, and of course all who become Catholics. I have voiced a few uncertainties about the whole thing here before, so I have been following some of the discussion on other blogs more prominent than my own! 
On one someone asked the question "Why wasn't it perfectly fine for Anglicans to come through the front door directly, as they've done in the past?" This captures the bit of uncertainty that may be in the mind of some people at the moment. There seem to be many issues surrounding this development, some of which, I must confess, I am still coming to understand... The Church thinks according to the Big Picture and the Long Run, so hopefully things will become a little clearer...

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Blessed John Paul II?

I came across a good video of the late Pope John Paul II today. Professionally edited with music, it seems to capture the excitement and optimism which the man generated wherever he went. It seems he is on his way to beatification. I saw him on several occasions, including Cardiff in 1982, of course, but met him to shake hands and exchange a few words on our very first September Pilgrimage back in 1990. He surely radiated Christian faith, hope and love, and I think the video gets that right. Watch out for the moments from his last years, and the time when a dove settles on his head! Enjoy.
ps Thanks to Rocco Palmo of "Whispers in the Loggia"
pps  Bit of a rumour that Bishop Tom Burns of Menevia is coming to Cardiff as our archbishop. Watch this space.

Sunday, 9 January 2011


So what were you doing at 7.30 this evening? Here is an interesting insight into parish life....
At 7pm this evening, parents of children at St Brigid's and St Paul's who are receiving their First Holy Communion this year were meeting with myself and the two catechists in St Brigid's Hall meeting room.
At the same time in Christ the King Centre, confirmation candidates from all 3 Churches were starting their first session of preparation for the Sacrament in March.
At 7.15 our regular Sunday evening Prayer Group gathered in the sacristy at St Brigid's for their time of prayer and praise. Usually I join them but...
And at the same time our 3 Churches United for Justice and Peace group were starting their monthly meeting in the main hall at St Brigid's. I switched to them after time with the mums.
First Communion parents, Confirmation candidates, charismatic prayer group, Justice and Peace workers. Who said that parish life is boring?  And that is just one evening, and a Sunday one at that! Oh, and by the way, anyone know how to be in four places at once? If being in two places at once is bilocation, I think this must be called "quadri-location".
For a little tranquility, here is a photo from my 2010 archives of the farmhouse near Llangynwyd, south of Maesteg, where my ancestors lived 350 year ago...

Thursday, 6 January 2011


I usually listen to Radio 4 in the morning, the (in)famous "Today" programme. About 7.45 there comes their "Thought for the Day", and this morning, which should be, of course, the Epiphany, it was a reflection on a painting of the Adoration of the Magi by Peter Brueghel. The speaker pointed out the travel-weary Magi, the birth-weary Mary and the generally weary Joseph. Soldiers lurk ominously in the background. The Baby seems to recoil a little from the whole thing.
It's all very Brueghel, and we have to say, it has the ring of truth about it - if a painting can have a ring about it!! Resplendent Adorations, like the Rubens I have at the moment on the right, are amazing and uplifting. The reality, we fancy, was a bit more down to earth, maybe a bit more Brueghel. Very appropriate, for a Messiah come down from heaven - to earth.
As usual click on the picture to see it enlarged. 

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Happy New Year!

A very happy New Year to all in the blogosphere!
Had a great Christmas, except for the weather... not that I'm worried about finding how much the Christmas Offering was reduced or anything like  Spent a lovely few days with my family during last week. Everything went well there, especially with my eldest nephew having got engaged recently.
I did a kind of review of 2010 during a few quiet moments. I can recommend that practice, as it's very easy to forget events, both good and not so good. Blessed John Hnery Newman tells us that we can only understand events when looking back - very true. Now, of course, we face a new year. I suppose the event in my own life dominating this first part will be discovering who my new archbishop-boss will be. Hopefully we will not have too long to wait to find out, especially as there is now a new Nuncio in place in London. 
As I do from time to time, I also add here my front page thoughts from the newsletter this week - entitled "New Year - New Directions??"

St Paul’s, Christ the King and St Brigid’s have now been together for six years. We have all moved along in our own journeys and our journey as a cluster of churches. From a position of friendly co-existence we have made progress in so many ways – probably far more than most of us realise! Just at present, for example, we are looking at closer ties in administration and in Baptism preparation. I believe that it is now time to review that progress, and to plan for the next period in our 3 Churches growth. While we are aware of possible developments also coming from the diocesan level, that should not deter us from seeking the Lord’s wisdom for what we already have. And what we have is one of the largest clusters in Wales, and one to which others are increasingly looking for a model.
Although I definitely think this review should be undertaken, I do not have set ideas about where it should go. It does seem that some kind of body for the 3 churches would now be feasible - and both strategic and pastoral. At present St Brigid and St Paul constitute one parish and Christ the King another. That could not be changed without a new Archbishop’s consent, and the consultation of the Council of Priests. However, a title like Three Churches Council would avoid that minefield. Perhaps each of the three could then have a smaller body to handle its own particular issues. Just one idea...
There are many issues to think about – and pray about. Let’s begin 2011 with a commitment to seek a vision for our part of the vineyard – and let everyone feel part of that search!