Sunday, 13 October 2013

Ancient no longer

I am revising my blog and you will find it if you want to as Antique Richborough. I also have a dying computer and a new email address. This is to be  mgredwinb@googlemail. Thanks for following this blog, if you have been.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

First Profession

Returned a couple of days ago from a marvellous break, first in York (the picture is from the gardens at Beningbrough, a favourite haunt of ours when we were in Hull.)

The gardens are terrific, full of autumn colour

We went to Mass on Saturday evening where the Parish Priest is about to leave after many years of ministry in that amazing church almost on the doorstep of the Minster. There work continues - the East Window is being very thoroughly restored, and one of the western towers has scaffolding at the top. I wish they'd finish it - the saying is that when there is no work going on at the Minster it reverts to the Catholic Church.

In Edinburgh the weather continued fine, and you might like to see what they have done to the Princes Street facade of the Academy - it is all to do with an exhibition of paintings by Peter Doig. They claim him as a Scot, though most of  his life was spent in Canada and the West Indies. His work is fascinating, and the small studies alongside the very large paintings gave some notion of how he works.

Was it just a coincidence that TV had a programme on last evening debunking Wallace, particularly  the Hollywood film 'Braveheart'? Or were they just trying to stir up the Scot Nats before the great Vote next year? It is  to be held on the feast of Bannockburn. As a small child in Greenock  I remember having bricks thrown at me, along with the cry of 'Bannockburn' - on account of my English accent. Great, these sons of the 'enlightenment'!

Today was a very different day - and a wonderful one. Sister Mary Catherine made her First Profession  - so she is now a Dominican Sister of St Joseph, at St Dominic's Priory in Sway, just down the road from us in Lymington. Friends came, some from great distances. The homilist was Fr Marcin Brabcik,  a Polish priest who cares for the parish of New Milton. He had brought with him from Poland a relic of St Faustina, 
Fr Marcin  Preaching

Sister Mary Catherine received the black veil, and Fr Richard Saksons (a Praemonstratensian) blessed the Scapular.

Here Sister kneels before the Prioress, making her Profession.

It was all a very joyful occasion, as Sister's face shows - here she was greeting friends as we left Church after Mass - and before a very substantial buffet lunch. They had invited us to 'light refreshments' - if those were light I can't imagine what serious refreshments might be!

Tomorrow it is back to the Ordinariate Group in Southbourne - where we will consider whether we are to use 'Serving the King' as our study book for the coming year. It is by an Ordinariate Priest, Fr David Mawson, and consists of Thought and Meditations for each Sunday - the new book for Year A which begins in Advent. You can Order a copy from .There is a marathon being run in Bournemouth tomorrow, so we will need to be early to avoid the rush!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Celebrating Walsingham

This weekend the Bournemouth Ordinariate Mission once again celebrated Evensong and Benediction. On previous occasions we have had maybe forty of us in church; this time we were more than double that number, thanks to a good deal of local publicity in both Catholic and Anglican churches. It was especially good to have the Priest in Charge of  Holy Trinity Winchester with us - he robed, and read a lesson. Peter Cook, our Organist, had rounded up a number of volunteers to augment our choir, and the music was exceptionally good.

The weather stayed dry, so we were able to process outside church, with the Image of  Our Lady of Walsingham on a newly-constructed bier beautifully decorated with flowers.

Then, a final piece of  the Patrimony, we enjoyed a very good  tea together - with a cake decorated with the arms of the Ordinariate. Now we are planning a spectacular for Advent.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Across Iberia

What a holiday! It contained the sublime and the ridiculous, the amusing and the overwhelming.Here are a few pictures to prove the point. We went on Brittany Ferries (above) from Portsmouth to Santander, drove (over four days)  to Portugal, had a week with family there, then drove back to Bilbao for the return ferry. En route we met Bruno who had driven out from Madrid to see us.

The Plaza Maior in Salamanca where somehow Bruno found us

Bruno Ramos edits a Spanish Catholic Magazine, and I  have written one or two pieces for him about the Ordinariate, and about Anglican Spirituality.

Reredos in Coimbra Cathedral (former Jesuit Church)
Some of the best churches in both Spain and Portugal were originally creations of the Jesuits

From the sublime... who would expect to encounter Morris Dancing in Bilbao, next to the Guggenheim Museum? But then, when I visited Australia I came on a hunt (Yoiks, Tally-Ho! and all in hunting pink) just outside Adelaide. This Morris Side came, they told me, from Royal Deeside -  which is a bit unlikely too.

There was also an immense floral cat, created by Jeff Koons, sitting outside the Guggenheim -  Jane is there to give an idea of the scale of the creature.  The flowers are all  alive, so it must be a mammoth task renewing the display. We enjoyed the Guggenheim as a building (Gehry's major opus) but the exhibits were a disappointment. We much preferred the wonderful early mediaeval sculptures and paintings in the City museum.
This was a street poster about ceramics in another local  museum; how long would this remain in England before some graffito artist defaced it?   One of the best things about our trip was the friendliness of so many. We were poring over a map in Caldas de Rainha (where we managed to be lost several times) when a lady coming out of evening Mass took the trouble to speak to us (in very good English) and point us on the right road. From a badge on her coat Jane realised she was a Guider - she certainly was for us. This was only one of many such kindnesses.

We went to Sunday Mass twice in that church (Our Lady Immaculate) in Caldas - both an 8.30am and a Vigil Mass the following week were very fully atended. That is in Portugal. Then in Bilbao we went into the parish church near our hotel where therfe were fifty or so at a mid-week Mass.. At the end everyone (except us) sang a hymn to Our Lady in. I think, Basque. We had come across protestors with banners earlier in the day wanting more rights for the Basque people. 

Just a simple parish church, not unlike Our Lady Queen of Peace in Southbourne, really - except maybe for its scale, the Reredos, the Dome ... oh, and pretty well everything else.

The view from out hotel at the end of our stay included the Railway Station on the other side of the river. They said of Balliol College after its Victorian rebuild, "C'est magnifique, mais ce ne'est pas la Gare" - well, this really IS the Station, and very beautiful it is too. Now I realise I've not given you many exterior shots: so birdwatchers might like these storks on a church in Zamora.

While the architecturally inclined might care to see something which at first sight calls Canterbury Cathedral to mind:
But this is Salamanca.

And not to let Portugal feel outdone, here is the exterior of the former Jesuit Church, now the Cathedral of Coimbra  

I did say from the sublime to  the ridiculous so whoever thought this cliffside was a good place for a bus stop?

Just a few feet away is a drop down to the Atlantic.

Which brought us home again (the Atlantic, not the bus) - or rather the Ferry 'Cap Finisterre' did, across a rather turbulent Bay of Biscay, and so  to Portsmouth.


Sunday, 18 August 2013


Just a brief unillustrated blog today to announce the Reception & Confirmation of two more members of our Ordinariate Mission. Andrew Hawthorne was an Anglican clergyman - most recently serving as an assistant priest in charge of St George's, Christchurch. Very good that three of his former congregation joined us to welcome him into the Ordinariate. With him was his fourteen year old daughter Emilia - who has taken the confirmation name Jane, remembering St Jane Frances de Chantal.

We had a jolly little party after Mass - somehow most of the forty-five at Church today squeezed into the small Hall at Our Lady Queen of Peace where we drank a toast to Andrew and Emilia Jane - then my Jane and I said farewell for a while. We are off to Iberia on Tuesday, going on the overnight boat from Portsmouth to Santander then driving down into Portugal where we hope to meet up with our daughter and family for a week of their holiday. So, despite having a new Tablet - no, not that dire publication, but an electronic wizard which combines phone and pad - called, imaginatively, an Asus Fonepad - I shall hope to maintain blog silence until our return. Your prayers would be welcome; we read of wild fires in Spain and Portugal, and temperatures currently around 37C (and reckoned to get hotter).

When we return plans will be well underway for Evensong, Procession, Benediction and a bunfight [ 3pm on Saturday 21st September]. This was the nearest available date we could get to the Feast of  Our Lady of Walsingham. We are inviting friends from local churches, Anglican as well as Catholic. If you are in the vicinity of Southbourne (BH6 3ER) come and join us - you will be very welcome.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Happy Day

Fifty years ago on this very day (which was also a Saturday) Jane and I were joined in Holy Matrimony by our then Vicar at St Mark's North End, Canon Peter May. St Mark's went soon after we left Portsmouth to be replaced by the ugliest brutalist concrete abortion in England, so we could not go back there to recall our wedding day. Instead we went to one of the newest of Pompey's attractions,  the recently completed Museum Gallery of the Mary Rose. It is spectacular.

This is just one of the many guns brought up from the seabed - and the perspex housing lets you  see the whole of the works - though in some places even the timber gun-carriages have been preserved. One of the more poignant memorials is a case containing religious artefacts, mostly Rosaries but also the covers of some books of prayers, crosses and so on. This was in the latter part of  Henry VIIIs reign, after the breach with Rome. It was only thirty or so years later that his second daughter, Elizabeth, proscribed the use of the Rosary. So  Mary Rose sank at that crucial time when England might have remained Catholic - by Elizabeth's reign the breach was irreparable, and the anti-Roman propaganda was doing its worst. We still live with the damage begun then.

The curators have created a mirror image of the original ship, so on one side you see the timbers raised from the sea-bed, and on the other the multitude of items taken from the wreck, set up as if on continuations of the decks. We thought it  would be a visit of maybe half an hour - instead we were engrossed for three times as long.

Once again my pictures are refusing to download to the blog, so the one above will have to stand for all the rest. Very frustrating. We ended up having tea (with a wonderful view of Victory, stripped of her Masts and undergoing yet another refit). Then a dash home, a brief respite and a change of clothes, and out to a very good evening meal at Gordleton Mill. A lovely way to mark a great day; and tomorrow it is off to Southbourne for Mass with our great Ordinariate gang.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Real Wessex

Each year we try to get to the New Forest Show. It is a great three-day event where the great and good rub shoulders with people like us. The first day threatened rain, so we went on Wednesday, the middle day of the three.

Ringwood Brewery Dray
 We especially enjoy the parade of horse-drawn vehicles; sadly Youngs of Wandsworth is no more (our son ran a pub of theirs in Oxford) now amalgamated - so no more Youngs' farm, no more heavy horses. The local brewers, though, Ringwood, were there with a splendid turn-out.

Co-op Funeral Services
It may be just my professional background,  but I couldn't help noticing a certain funereal note at the show. There was a marvellously daffy 'hearse' which was a tandem bike with a sidecar and on it a woven coffin. Then there were various crafts, among them basket weavers - with just such another coffin on display. Among the heavy horse teams were not just one but two undertakers - clearly the only way to go if you want to have been someone in the New Forest.

Once again some of my pictures refuse to download but at least a few cattle and sheep have made it


Sadly my pictures of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, who were stars of the show, are among the refuseniks. So  you will have to take my word for it that whereas all the officials, male and female, were heavily overdressed, neither of their Royal Highnesses wore a hat, and both seemed splendidly un-stuffy.


In case this is insufficiently churchy, be reassured; I said Mass earlier in the day for our Ordinariate Mission in Southbourne.

Monday, 29 July 2013


Bishop Richard Moth, Bishop to the Forces, ordained four men as Deacons on Saturday - the first Ordinariate Ordination in the Ordinariate Church in Soho. Among them was our own Darryl Jordan, formerly an Anglican Cleric in Texas, and more recently an assistant at the Priory Church in Christchurch. Here he is supported by two clergy wives - his own on the left, and Mrs Hawthorne on the right. Her husband and their daughter are to be received and confirmed in mid-August. Ceri herself became a Catholic eighteen months ago.

On Sunday Fr Darryl  preached for our Ordinariate Mission for the first time, then stayed on to Deacon the Parish Mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace for Fr Gerry. Meanwhile we had a short study in the Hall before I had to leave for Central  Bournemouth. There I had the unusual experience of saying Mass in an Anglican Church. The Vicar of St Peter's is kindly allowing Fr Bruce Barnes and his people to use his church while their own church building, the Sacred Heart on Richmond Hill, is undergoing major restoration.
St Peter's Bournemouth, archt. G E Street

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


First there was our nephew and his bride of four weeks, from their new home in London. Then his parents (my wife's sister and her husband) who were married 40 years ago this year. Then us, soon to pass the 50 year mark. So all the family spent last weekend in Bourton on the Water, where we had rented a large house. It was a very merry party, with our daughter and her husband coming from South Wales with our grandson, our son joining us from Lancaster (he took the train to Wolverhapton and cycled the 60+ miles from there) and our best man came from Bristol - by car.

Bourton is so much visited that even the fish and chip shops have notices in Japanese. Fortunately the house was a little back  from the main road behind a high wall, so the tourist din scarcely reached us. It was, I think, only my second weekend away from our Ordinariate Group this year, so on Sunday Jane and I were able to worship together in Our Lady Help of Christians. Pevsner spends two pages describing the (Anglican) parish church and its architectural riches. The Catholic parish church would not require so much print: but it is clearly greatly loved.

The hymns were familiar from Anglican days, though accompanied on a karaoke machine. The priest was a vistor like us, holding the fort while the Parish Priest was on holiday. Mass concluded with the Angelus. The place was comfortably full - I  overheard one person say on leaving "I expect there are visitors" - but though there were, no one made any attempt to welcome any of them or ask who they were. I  don't think visitors get away ungreeted at our Ordinariate masses - but there, we are a small concern,  so it is easier to know everyone.
Then again, we were greeted at the Peace: and the service sheet said "Welcome to all our visitors! Our churches have induction loop faciilites. Use the T setting on your hearing aid." So that was some comfort - or would have been if we had hearing aids.
In the afternoon some of us visted a National Trust house at Chastleton. We were met at the entrance to the car park by a picket of locals protesting against Sunday opening of the House. The Trust, they claimed, had promised there would be no weekend opening, and that numbers would be kept very small. Now they are inundated with thousands of sightseers, and they feel betrayed. But whether it is a village with a National Trust property, or a settlement on the route of the proposed High Speed Rail Link, money is always the winner.
The Church at the gates of Chastleton House
So it was with a slightly guilty conscience that we queued for the house to open. The former manor house had been the home of the Catesbys. One of the Guides suggested it had been sold to fund the purchase of gunpowder for the plot to blow up Parliament - of which plot, apparently, she disapproved. The Jones family which built the present house in the early years of James I were Royalists, who suffered greatly during  the Commonwealth. Among the items the Trust acquired with the house were some splendid Jacobite glasses and decanters - the volunteer steward rather missed the point when he called them "Jacobean".  So perhaps the Joneses count as proto-Anglo-Catholics.
Cracked fragement of an Annunciation window in Chastleton Church
The high point of the weekend was a celebratory meal just a few miles out of Bourton. We toasted everyone, and were toasted ourselves. Helpfully our brother-in-law had organised taxis to get us all safely back. Then on Sunday evening and Monday in ones and twos we drifted off, back to normality from a memorable couple of days together. As Jane's sister had said, we must make the most of every opportunity or we shall only meet up at funerals. Not so long now to my eightieth, if I'm spared ...

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Ground (hedge) Hog Day

The day began especially well; a new family at the 10.30 mass, with a very new baby - who became a visual aid when the Gospel spoke about the disciples as "infants". The total trust of  that little girl  sitting on her dad's lap throughout Mass was a joy to us all. Dad is Syrian, Mum, though English, has parents who were in Argentina - so Maria, who come from there, was delighted to welcome them, and spent most of coffee time with the baby girl in her arms.

 From Southbourne Jane and I went over to West Bournemouth (or is it  Poole?) to meet my former Secretary Mary and her husband Gerald, who have an apartment near Branksome Chine. We had lunch together and caught up on news from St Albans.

The garden then occupied me for some hours, dead-heading roses and watering - it has been so hot and dry for days now. Late this evening Jane gave a saucer of milk to the resident hedgehog. What a charming creature -  though they are reckoned to be full of fleas. It is difficult to scratch, I suppose,  when your fur is all prickles. So, a rather unchurchy post, but thought you might like at least to see the hedgehog.

By an odd bit of mismanagement Fr Brian and are are both away this weekend, and our Group will not be worshipping together - but more about that next week, I hope. And next week, too, Darryl  Jordan (former curate at Christchurch Priory) is to be ordained Deacon for the Ordinariate.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Some weekend!

It began early on Sunday morning with a call from Fr Brian, my colleague in our Ordinariate Mission. Fr John Lee of St Joseph's Christchurch had been admitted hospital overnight; Fr B must stand in for him. So we set off a little earlier than usual to Bournemouth for our 9.30am Mass. There we heard the good news that our Ordinand, Darryl Jordan, is to be ordained deacon later this month. We were given lunch by Fr Brian and Barbel in Southbourne (a lovely meal, and no need to dash back to Lymington) then in the afternoon he and I conducted evensong and benediction.

Just before 4pm Jane and I left Southbourne and headed off for Oxford. We hit dreadful summer weekend traffic, but arrived in good time for a very important party.  I did some good things, and some less good things, during eight years as Principal of St Stephen's House, but one of the very best was to appoint Ian Boxall as a New Testament Tutor. He has been there ever since, and has established himself as a major contributor to the Theology Faculty in Oxford, while also endearing himself to generations of ordinands through his pastoral care and tireless teaching - especially of the theologically less able. Sunday evening was an opportunity to say 'Good-bye' to Ian, as he moves to the USA to teach in the Catholic University in Washington D.C. Currently there are still negotiations over his Visa (apparently the American Immigration Service knows about Oxford, Mississippi, but not Oxford England) and he is having to prove his academic credentials.

The Pricipal, Canon Robin Ward, with the Revd Lucy Gardiner

It was so good catching up with old friends, and the cloister garden on a truly balmy July evening made the perfect setting. Lucy Gardiner was a member of staff in my days (though at that time without a clerical collar) and it was a delight to see her and her very grown-up son. My immediate successor, Fr Jeremy Sheehy, was also there - almost his first time back from his parish of Swinton in Manchester.

Fr Jeremy with Jane, one-time Flying Buttress
The great and the good (well, mostly good) of Oxford were gathered for this very happy occasion.

The guest list reflectd Ian's wide circle of colleagues and friends.

Somehow the above conjunction reminded me of wartime song about 'coming in on a wing and a prayer' - ah, and the war in question was that of '39 - '45...

Once we had disbanded Jane and I walked for Old time's sake down to Magdalen Bridge, where of course there was another party going on - in the grounds of Magdalen School.

 The Ashmolean is closed on Monday (as I suspected) so we drove on towards home and called at the
Vyne, the great Hampshire home first ofthe Sandys family (who managed to keep a great house through Henry VII's reign - they might have taught Wolsey a trick at Hampton Court) and then of the Chutes. The first ofthat clan bought the house in the seventeenth Century, was Speaker of the Commons in the time of Richard Cromwell, and wisely died just before the Restoration. The house was largely remodelled (particularly by his grandson, John Chute) and was given to the National Trust by the lastof the line. We had visited some years ago and found it disappointing because the volunteer steward has seemed so uninterested.
Magdalen tower at twilight
Jane in the garden at the Vyne
It is quite different now - real enthusiasm from them all, and a desire to hand on their knowledge to visitors. A lovely afternoon. Now we are home again and ready for anything - and Darryl's deaconing (a word from our Anglican Patrimony) is to be in London on the last Saturday of this month. Please pray for him, and for Fr John Lee and his speedy recovery.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Telling our story

Today we should begin by wishing our rebellious colonials "Happy Independence Day". Our week began in an unusual encounter; an English Texan meeting a Texan Englishman. Fr Allan Hawkins, from Dallas/Fort Worth visited us with his wife Jose - they are now American citizens - and met our Texan ordinands, Darryl Jordan, who had recently achieved British citizenship.

Darryl (l) and Fr Allan in conversation - between them, Margareta and Jose
We had all packed into the small Hall after Mass so that Fr Allan could tell us about his journey from the Church of England, via the Episcopal Church, into the Catholic Church - first, the Anglican Provision and now the Ordinariate. By another strange coincidence we had visitors with us who came from Swindon - where both Fr Allan and our own priest Fr Brian Copus, had served. Small world
It was, as you can see, quite a squash.
Then last evening I had some explaining to do: Fr Marcin, the Polish priest in our neighbouring parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, New Milton, had invited me to speak about the Ordinariate to some of his parishioners.
He wanted this rather formal picture for the record - he has recently discovered some of the ancient trasures of the parish and put them on display - maybe one day we shall feature in an exhbiition of ancient treasures. Meanwhile, I must go off to say Mass at his Church which I do most Thursdays.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Thenne longen folk to go on pilgrimage...

Not Aprille, as in Chaucer's Tales, though the weather was showery and springlike when the Ordinariate went home to Walsingham for our summer Pilgrimage. From the Bournemouth Mission we were more than thirty, including a number of Catholics from local parishes and an Anglican or two. Emphasising our ecumenical (not to say evangelistic) role, we were mostly lodged at the Anglican shrine. It looks very romantic by moonlight, hence the first picture in today's blog. We had travelled the 200 plus miles by coach on Saturday, so we were ready for anything on Saturday morning. The interior of the Catholic church of Reconciliation is lit by very orange lamps, so I gave up on trying to photograph it either before or during Mass. We celebrated SS John Fisher and Thomas More, two of the first and greatest Catholic martyrs of the Reformation era.

Over a picnic lunch we began the serious business of the Pilgrimage, catching up with old friends.

Sister Jane Louise searched the grounds for familiar faces - it was so good to see both her and Sister Wendy Renata helping to organise the event. Now that they are back in Walsingham they have re-established their old friendship with the Anglican Sisters at the shrine. I also called on Mother and found her immensely welcoming. She took part in the healing service at the Holy House on Sunday evening, which many of our Catholic pilgrims found a moving and helpful event. Bishop Lindsay made us all most welcome, and provided me with a place where I could hear the confessions of our Catholic participants (where I was still toiling away well after 10pm).

But this is to  run ahead.

Once we had devoured our picnics and caught up with a great deal of gossip, we started to get marshalled for the Procession.

It took  a little time - here is Fr Woolnough in town-crier mode, with Sr Wendy standing by with a loud-hailer.

The roses and other wildflowers along the route were a lovely accompaniment to our walk.

Through the village, and on to the Anglican Shrine, where our priests assisted at Sprinkling with water from the Holy Well.

Our party was fortunate in being able to stay on until Monday. We joined the Catholic Parish at Mass on Sunday morning, and on Monday assisted at the Noon Mass (St John Baptist's Day) at the Catholic Shrine, before making our final prayers in the slipper chapel.  Our driver remarked on how fortunate we were in getting a clear route home; expected back around 8.30pm, in fact we were dropped off at Our Lady Queen of Peace half an hour before that.

The organisation throughout had been wonderful, and we are all most grateful to Madeleine from our congregation who made all the arrangements.
Madeleine (L) expounding in the Refectory
Hardened Pilgrimage-goers were heard to say they had never been on such a well-ordered or happy event.

Crucifix in the Anglican Shrine

It was, we thought, especially good that we were staying in the Anglican shrine, meeting new friends there, enabling some of our diocesan catholic friends who'd accompanied us begin to understand the tradition from which many of us came - part of our Patrimony, if you will.

As we departed from outside the slipper chapel many were already planning how to come again next year - and hoping that our Ordinary might soon announce the date for the next National Ordinariate Pilgrimage.