Quite a week after the Pilgrimage to Rome. The priests in Bournemouth and in the Avon/Stour Pastoral areas had asked me to help them with a quiet day. When eventually I found them in a retreat house in Westbourne I gave them a couple of reflections on the Ordinariate Pilgrimage; taking them first to Subiaco and the beginnings of Western Monasticism, then to St Gregory's to remind them about the Missions of Augustine and his companions. We had an interesting discussion on how far the Catholic Church should be triumphalist (the gospel for the day was about not hiding light under a bushel) and how far it must be modest and ready to give way to the Established Church. I had suggested we need to be ready to claim our rights as the natural Church of this land.
The same evening I went back to Bournemouth to celebrate Mass for the local Catenian Circle. They had come, I think, expecting a different liturgy; instead they found the new translation of Mass celebrated not quite as they are accustomed. "How good not to have any guitars" said one; "Liked the singing" said another; "We don't often have incense said a third" - and I think he approved that we do.
After Mass in St Agatha's
Today was a trip East, forty miles to Portsmouth. Fr Jonathan Redvers-Harris is currently engaged on a course in Canon Law, and is in the midst of a residential fortnight in Leeuven (Brussels). We are so short of Ordinariate priests in this area that he was coming back on the Eurostar tonight in order to say Mass for the Isle of Wight Group tomorrow - then off in the afternoon to Belgium again. They will certainly be glad when (Bishop)Robert Mercer C.R. is ordained into the Catholic priesthood - which I understand is to be in Portsmouth Cathedral on Monday March 26th (the Annunciation, transferred from Sunday).
Annunciation Tympanum in St Agatha's
(Fr)John Maunder and some of his people have begun preparation for reception (and in his case, I hope, Ordination) so the Portsmouth Group is looking increasingly healthy. As always, the preparations John had made for me to say Mass were immaculate, and his welcome most warm and generous.
The present shortage of priests, though, gave me the opportunity of celebrating at mid-day according to the Use of the Book of Common Worship, in that wonderful church of St Agatha, Portsea.
Picture (left) Wendy Redvers-Harris who in her husband's absence ensured things went smoothly - despite delays with the ferry. The hovercraft was full and some coming from the Island were delayed
24 minutes ago