Thursday, 20 September 2012

Letter from the Ephesians

Well, here we are, in sunny Turkey, in an isolated spot on the western coast; internet connections are a bit hit and miss so, please forgive the lack of links and comment responses for the next 12 days or so.

What strikes me most is the total silence (well, total in regard of television sets, radios and traffic noise).

The only sound that we hear is the muezzin's call to prayer, five times a day. I grudgingly admire the Muslims for their adherence to a prayer pattern, if only we Catholics could do the same.

I fondly imagine loudspeakers attached to every church tower and steeple broadcasting the Salve Regina or The Angelus throughout the length and breadth of Wales and England.
What a triumph that would be.
 A return to the condition that we were once in that prompted the visiting Erasmus to pronounce that "England is the holiest country in Europe" because, all who laboured stopped in their tracks at midday, to say the Angelus, marked by the bells of the nearest church or priory.

How the dreaming spires of Oxford would echo to the sound and would it not be poetic to hear the Veni, Creator Spiritus resounding throughout Luton and Bradford?

And now, late to the feast; my take on the third meeting of the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma.

How great it was to witness the coming together of a group of people united only, perhaps by their Faith. Strangers for a few seconds and friends thereafter.

And, where is Charlie J when you need him?

As the old saying goes: "In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king". As such, it fell to my lot by default,  to serve the EF Mass celebrated by Fr Rupert McHardy.
I thought wistfully of Charlie J's skills and youth and wished he was at the London Oratory to spare my knees and joints from the pains that are part of an aged altar server's lot.

To add to my woes, the Chapel of Our Lady of sorrows is very small and left me little room to manoeuvre my stiff joints.

And then the glass like surface of the marble floor was overlaid by a carpet so that one skidded from point A to point B. It must have appeared comical to those in the congregation but it was life and death for me.

When it came to kneeling, it appeared as if some Oratorian penitential practice was being enforced and that the sacristan had scattered marbles underneath the carpet so that, when one knelt, an excrutiating pain would spread from kneecap to thigh.

It's a wonder that we struggled through the Mass as we did; thanks to Fr Rupert for his patience.

Chesterton in one corner and Belloc in the other

After Mass and after Fr R's interesting address we retired to the Hour Glass in the Brompton Road.

I have to thank A Reluctant Sinner for his generosity in providing baskets of chips (french fries) and potato wedges for the assembly. We all fell to on this before ordering individual meals (and before arteries turned to stone).

I flitted from table to table and the snippets of conversation were a joy to hear.

They ranged from learned (of course) debates about Satan and how one should not ever say the longer version of the 'Michael Prayer' (yes, really, don't ever do it).

And then on to the spread of sinister Islamic practices in erstwhile British towns and cities and, of course, the horrors of abortion and the planned 40 Days for Life campaign.

If one had looked around the bar it would not have been surprising to see GKC holding forth in one corner and HB in the other.

To cap it all we had two of the most famous priest bloggers with us. Fr Tim and Fr Z
obligingly hamming it up for a photo when the "T" word was mentioned, not nice in Catholic society.

And, the following day.......Mass at St James's Spanish Place.

But more of Sunday's shenanigans later.


  1. Sadly, no Mark. Some 100 miles south. I wish we could make the journey but I do not fancy driving in Turkey.

  2. Hi Richard, I wish I could have been there... I served Mass that morning at the Lady Altar, in the Birmingham Oratory! Someone just needs to convince my Mom I am old enough to come to the guild meetings...

  3. Hi Charlie - far be it for me to convince your Mum.......I know that Mum's know best.
    Next one maybe? Richard