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Saturday, 23 February 2013
Day of Recollection
St Dominic's Priory, just up the road from Lymington, gave hospitality to twenty of our Ordinariate Group today (most of them above, in the Chapel). Our ages ran from the early teens to the late seventies, and everyone contributed. Thomas, our youngest member, helped out with difficult questions - such as, 'how many Popes have there been?' We began in the morning looking at some Geography; two of those present discovered they both came from within a few miles of one another, in Cheshire. Others had connexions in East Anglia, in the South West, and even in Dallas. It was all leading us to consider Paul (a citizen of Tarsus, no mean City) who told us that our homeland is in heaven, that here we have no abiding city, that we are strangers and pilgrims. We started looking at places on our Pilgrimage, and unsurprisingly Walsingham featured very large.
We joined the Sisters at their mid-day Office, and at Mass, and thought briefly about persecution; whatever we have to put up with is nothing compared with our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, or Northern Nigeria - or even compared with Polycarp Bishop of Smyrna commemorated in today's Mass, burned to death in the Arena around 155AD..
Despite the biting cold some had a little walk in the Forest after our picnic lunch, then we settled down to considering our History. Many of us had 'done' the Tudors and Stuarts (some three times in their school career) yet knew little about the coming of Christianity to these Islands. We were reminded of the Saints of the North, Cuthbert and Bede and Hilda, and considered Alfred's part in re-establishing monasticism after the depradations of the Vikings. We wondered why we heard nothing about the Recusants, and how whenever Catholics appeared it was always in the role of baddies; the wives of Stuart kings leading them into the ways of Popery, with the nation eventually saved by loveable William of Orange. Hurrah! Except that he was such a disastrous human being, redeemed only by employing Christopher Wren to modernise Hampton Court.
In all, we learned a bit of geography, a little history, but much more (and more interestingly) things about ourselves and one another. Tomorrow we shall be confirming one of our number; another will be joining us in a fortnight's time. This is proving a happy and exciting Lent for our little Bournemouth Ordinariate Group..