Friday 20 May 2011

Nearer God's Heart?

When life was getting a little fraught a few months ago, one of the PEVs advised me to "stick to the garden". He feared I might breach some protocol of which I was unaware, and plainly he thought the garden was safe blogging territory. So here, a bit late but in dutiful obedience, is a garden blog. Today Jane and I went to Mottisfont, the National Trust's great rose garden near Romsey. It is already wonderful, and in the next two or three weeks will be overwhelming. Meanwhile, in case you cannot get to Mottisfont, [and you certainly should if you can] I thought a few images from my own modest plot might cheer you up.

I enjoy beachcombing, and the pink globe in this picture is a fisherman's float washed up on a local beach - and contrasting happily with, I think, the Hybrid Musk Rose Felicia.

Yellow roses are among my favourites. Canary Bird and Banksia Lutea are already over, but this is the great Arthur Bell, the so-called climbing variant which is really just a very tall shrub rose; but you can train the branches down onto supports, and then it happily produces a second crop latger in the season. The scent is typically crisp, as seems to be true for most yellow roses.

Some people seem to think a garage is a place for a car: what a waste! Ours is full of gardening essentials, and in front of it are pots with everything in them from eight-foot trees (a pine or two and a young birch) to alpines. Above, though you will see Hydrangea Petiolaris guarding the garage entrance.

Our plot is not exclusively roses: here near the front door is the dogwood, Cornus Mas; better this year than I can remember.

The white rose which is so prevalent in our garden is all from a cutting of a Hybrid Musk rose, I think called Moonlight. Sadly, it is unscented: but that is more than made up for by Zigeuner Knabe, the deep purple rose in this picture, with a heavenly perfume. And on the right a Rowan (no relation) from a marvellous nursery near here, Spinners. The Rowan in question is Chinese Lace, and if you click on the picture to enlarge it you might be able to make out some of its deeply cut leaves (lower right)

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Team Photo

As promised (courtesy of © Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham - not, as I had thought, Fr James Bradley - but then he is in it, so..) the team photo from yesterday's meeting at Allen Hall.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Heavy Day at Allen Hall

My, we've been worked hard today. First there was our homework; studying ethical questions with the help of Donum Vitae (produced by the CDF) and Familiaris Consortio of John Paul II. To guide us through these documents, and lead us beyond them, we had the help of Fr John Wilson (left) of the Diocese of Leeds (and formerly of Ushaw College). Many of us former Anglican clergy are married, so the questions raised were particularly personal to us and our families. For me, the pastoral approach of successive Popes in considering these matters is what predominated.

Then, we had our Ordinary with us - he celebrated Mass with us at the end of the afternoon. (here at lunch with the Archbishop)

The icing on this very rich layer-cake was a visit by our Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nicholls, who spoke to us and answered questions in the half-hour before lunch. It is good to know that the Ordinariate is so high on the Archbishop's agenda that he found time to visit us in this way (and there will be a team photograph to prove it).

Msgr Keith also spoke briefly, comparing and contrasting his experiences of the House of Bishops of the Church of England and the meeting of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales. From my own time in office I would agree that the Anglican meeting was not one to which I ever looked forward with enthusiasm. Clearly his experience with the Catholic Bishops in Leeds last week was an altogether happier occasion.

These sessions at Allen Hall are proving hugely valuable for all of us newly or soon-to-be ordained. It is good to be looking in some depth at questions of human life and reproduction which seemed to occupy so little thought in our former communion.

To be able to direct the faithful to authoritative summaries of the Church's teaching is a great gift - to be able to explain them clearly to our people, in the confessional or in sermons, is a huge responsibiity. The informal discussion we have over meals or in the short breaks between lectures are very important for the creation of a coherent pastorate within the Ordinariate. Though it is an expensive business getting up to London week by week, it is not something I would want to miss.