Tuesday, 22 June 2010

From ruin to ruin in a week!

Despite the title of this post I am upbeat, hopeful and joyful to be sharing the fruits of God's blessings and his gift of the church to the world  especially during these wonderful June days. One might have thought that the reduced numbers at the Glastonbury Pilgrimage last Saturday, the economic gloom and the turmoil in Anglicanism would have dampened resolve and spirits. On the contrary it is more important than ever for traditionalists like us to hold heads up high, to share the inheritance of the saints who even died for the faith we strive to witness to. As Bishop Edwin says in his writing here..http://www.theanglocatholic.com/2010/06/glastonbury/.we owe it to those who have gone before and those who will follow, to stand up and be counted, not in a retiring and despondent way but in the light of the truth and with constant joy. Firstly, the ruins of the great Abbey Church of Glastonbury was the backdrop to a memorable Pilgrimage Mass. I know we were 600 or so communicants and that is low in comparison to years gone by but hey! that's 600 souls joining to worship God together on a precious Saturday in June as Bp. John Ford reminded us. Cause for joy not gloom. The quality of the worship, the obvious devotion of most of those present (with the notable exception of 'the robed voyeur') and the uplifting sermon from Fr. Darren all combined to give new life among that ruin. This ruin is one imposed on the Benedictine church of God by the despoiler of the Catholic church of the people of Britain. But we are there in witness, we have not forgotten the place or the sacrilege which destroys and diminishes life itself.
Secondly, the ruin is of the Abbey Church at Tintern of the Cistercian Order in our neighbouring parish here in Wales. The majority of the photos on this blog are taken by me and this was from last evening on the Summer Solstice on my way back from my secular occupation showing a rental property in the Wye Valley to a new family who would make it their new home. I could not drive by at 7pm without stopping with prayer and camera to mark the beauty, not the ruin where the current tenants are jackdaws but the reminder of what this house of God was like and could have been like today were it not again due to the sacrilege to Christ's body the church and the the abuse of power that reduces it to a mere un prayed-in ruin. Who knows what the British landscape will look like in another few centuries or much much less there will be more ruins for sure. For those struggling with the great re-formation in which we are living, remember, we are not blocks of stone which will one day decay. We are living stones, we go where the Shepherd leads us unburdened by materials and set fee in faith to go where ever the Master is calling us and His Church. Even in these blessed lands in which we have the privilege to live and pray and minister and die and where we hope in a resurrection when all will be revealed in Glory if, if we remain faithful, humble and above all joyful even surrounded as we are on this earth by decay, ruin and imperfection.Thank God for his gift of life and faith and above all the will to worship, to pray and to witness joyfully, sustained by the sacraments of truth by the priceless jewel of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. If it becomes not truly Apostolic it can surely never be truly His church?!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


We are now looking forward to the annual pilgrimage to Glastonbury Abbey THIS SATURDAY JUNE 19TH..These pictures are from the '07 pilgrimage. There's lots to do for the children (their activities begin at 10am) my own 12 ans 13 year old daughters love the day out and the uplifting procession(11.45) and outdoor Mass in glorious weather( the forecast is good!) in glorious setting. Many pilgrims now come from Wales for the day, as a day trip to the national at Walsingham is now too far for many in the traffic. This is a great time to be together for traditionalists and their Bishops. The chief celebrant this year is the new president of the Glastonbury Pilgrimage Association Bishop John Ford of Plymouth and the Additional Curates Society's Fr. Darren Smith gives the Homily this year. Bring your picnic and see you there!! To find out more here is the link to the GPA site.http://www.glastonburypilgrimage.com/index.html

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Music as Prayer

 If I get asked by people when they are going through a difficult time and are not able to pray what do they do, I sometimes reply let others do the praying for them. At other times I suggest prayer through music. This is listening, not forcing oneself to speak when prayer of the soul becomes difficult. In these days of the Pentecost season there are many musical meditations on the 'Veni Creator', come Holy Spirit a prayer in itself. What better than the masterful Maurice Durufle when needing a little inspiration to be with the Lord without having to speak or ask, prayer is sufficient in the listening if humility is exercised. Here is the magnificent Julian Bewig at the organ for another crisper version of thePrelude Adagio et Chorale Varie sur le Veni Creator Op.4

Monday, 7 June 2010

Corpus Christi

These are the trumpet stops of the organ at St. Martin's. I Had a wonderful day on Sunday for the feast of Corpus Christi.  At home in the parish church, the Sunday School learnt about and drew a Monstrance, a Pyx and a Sacrament House in learning more of the feast. Then for the Solemn Mass at the Offertory we joined the congregation for the liturgy and took part in the procession of the Blessed Sacrament around the church. In the afternoon I travelled to Cardiff for the Centenary Service of the St. Martin Ward of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. This took the form of Solemn Vespers, Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. As you can see from a previous post there is not another Christian place of worship in the whole land that I know of which can hold a candle to St. Martin of Tours, Roath for it's clouds and clouds of burning incense from braziers and thuribles too. All of which is accentuated by the light streaming in from enormous clear glass windows. However, the music too must now be at the highest level even among Cathedrals. This is not a traditional robed choir but an excellent small Liturgical group of singers which gives great sensitivity and more flexibility for specifically sacramental worship.The superb Director of Music and Organist Timothy Hill played brilliantly on the Organ and reveals a true sense of vocation in his interpretation and enhancement of the liturgical moment, be it peaceful Gregorian plainchant or rousing organ works of the French genre. A specially commissioned first performance of the Magnificat by local musician Robert Dishington was a thought provoking and worthy composition to mark the occasion. Other works included music by Piutti, Schmuke and Byrd and ending with the celebratory organ work 'Grande Choeur Dialogue' by Gigout. In short this is nothing short of excellence in worship, to the greater Glory of God and in the finest Anglican tradition, both refined and evolving as a manifestation of living faith. Our thanks and congratulations from those of us who were present must go to Fr. Hamer( who celebrates his 25th. anniversary of Ordination to the priesthood this month), and to his team of MC Dr. David Woolf et al. Not forgetting the erudite address on the theme of 'Presence' by Canon Fr. Stephen Kirk. The Church in Wales can ill afford to ignore the requests, needs and sacramental ministry of like minded traditionalists. Will it listen? Will it act? In all probability No.
 For now from the words of the final Welsh Hymn:
Tydi a wnaeth y wyrth, O! Grist, Fab Duw,
Tydi a roddaist imi flas ar fyw;
You did this mighty deed, Oh! Christ God's son,
You gave me joy anew the race to run;
Your Spirit held and guided me along
Forever more I'll sing the glorious song
I see the beauty now that can survive,
I feel the touch divine that makes alive;
The Alleluia has possessed my soul,
To You, O! Christ, I give my praises all.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


I have today marvelled that the once familiar call of the Cuckoo cuculus canorus has returned to the woods near us for the first time for over fifteen years. If I am honest it was not until it became a rare sound that I became to value him as a favourite, a lost herald of spring, a missing wake-up caller that new life and new growth and hatching life again are with us. A bird of poets and of country dwellers...''This is the weather the cuckoo loves,and so do I; when showers betumble the chestnut spikes,and nestlings fly'' (Thomas Hardy b. 1840).
However, I can't help thinking that nature as life itself can be cruel and random. The cuckoo is in fact parasitic and, remember, lays it's eggs in another's nest for the host bird to hatch. When it does, the huge cuckoo chick often of monster size in comparison even to the foster mother, kicks out all the other small host chicks to a cold end and exhausts the foster mother with a voracious appetite to grow and fledge and well ..take, take take!! Substitute the host bird for traditional catholic Anglicans and the cuckoo for liberal Anglicans and the quota and I could soon begin to change my favour of the parasitic and endless sound of cuckoo, cuckoo cuckoo!! Perhaps it will become rare or even extinct one day, nature has a funny way of selection, not forgetting that all is for The Creator not the creatures to decide! To hear the call ....http://sounds.bl.uk/View.aspx?item=022M-W1CDR0001463-0100V0.xml