Monthly Archives: September 2016

Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time & the feast of St Matthew

SUNDAY 18th September – Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A glorious day and we have lunch in the garden, like the old times with the children after Mass.

Psalm 113
“High above all nations is the Lord, above the heavens his glory”.

MONDAY 19th September – St Theodore of Tausus

St Theodore, an interesting man. Appointed at the age of 65 to the Archbishopric of Canterbury, having not even been a priest previously.

We fly to Italy. We meet the Vice President of the Chamber, S. Mailo of the 5 Star Movement, who might become the next Prime Minister if, as is possible, they take power, and have dinner at the Villa Wolkonsky with our Ambassador who is only in her forties.

TUESDAY 20th September

There is a church very close to the square facing the parliament where we are staying. I got a brief bit of the Mass and follow it on Universalis before a full day of meetings. We have good access to the Chairmen of both the European and Foreign Affairs Committees in both Parliaments. The only subject is Brexit. Alberto Costa and I deserve a medal for repeating I don’t know how many times how much we value Italians living in the UK, which of course is true.

There is time to go to Mass at the church behind our hotel. The sermon for a little midweek Mass in incredibly long. There is nothing more frustrating than a sermon delivered in a passionate and interesting way when you cannot understand what is being said. After a bit I take refuge in a street concert and just come back for communion.

21 Proverbs:
“In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him”.

WEDNESDAY 21st September – St Matthew

It is nice to read the Gospel first and then listen to St Matthew in Italian and listen to the familiar words in Italian during the Mass and repeat them in Latin.

Matthew 9:
“As Jesus was walking he saw a man named Matthew sitting by the custom house and said to him ‘follow me’ and he got up and followed him”.

More meetings, this time in the Senate. I love Maccari’s painting of Cicero addressing the Senate.

THURSDAY 22nd September

We have to fly back fairly early but by chance in a busy walk I stumble across the baroque façade of St Ignazio’s church. What an extraordinary feast to the eyes and one can photograph the ceiling through an upturned mirror. It seems almost to come alive in 3D.

Ecclesiastes 1:12
“Vanity of vanities, the preacher says. Vanity of vanities, All is vanity! For all his bit, his bit under the sun, what does man gain by it”.

FRIDAY 23rd September – St Pius of Pietrelcina

A sunny swim and then a drive up to Lincolnshire for a surgery and an evening event with a talk by a Prison teacher. There is, it seems, much humour thankfully even in prison.

I am reading John Hooper on ‘The Italians’. He is dismissive of Padre Pio’s stigmata. I am not sure, why should anyone deliberately wound themselves?

SATURDAY 24th September – Our Lady of Walsingham

We are not there, but at Mass in the estate church at Stainton with sweeping views over the Wolds. I worry over the reading about Lazarus. The man is just so selfish. Is it we?

Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

SUNDAY 11th September – Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We climb the Rock to say hello to a family of monkeys, including a baby, and go into the caves and we fly back. I get to the 7pm Mass in Westminster Cathedral.

Look upon us o God, creator and maker of all things.

MONDAY 12th September – The Most Holy name of Mary

I ask a question in the chamber.

“Give peace, o Lord, to those who wait for you”.

TUESDAY 13th September

The hottest September day since 1911 and I spend the morning chairing the Higher Education committee and asking about Hinckley Power Station.

WEDNESDAY 14th September – The Exultation of the Holy Cross

The Cathedral has a relic and we bless it. Where, I wonder, does it come from?

THURSDAY 15th September – Our Lady of Sorrows

A long, hot chairing of the Higher Education committee. I send an email to all colleagues arguing against the complete decant of the House of Commons for six years – a typical Rolls Royce solution, over engineered. Why can we not make do and mend?

“Simeon said to Mary: Behold, this child is destined for the ruin and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign of contradiction and your own soul a sword will pierce”.

FRIDAY 16th September

A rare delight – the children come up to Lincolnshire. We take Monti for a long walk and four times let him off the lead, four times he runs away chasing pheasants and rabbits. But for Theo sprinting we would never catch him.

“If there is no resurrection of the dead, Christ himself cannot have been raised, and if Christ has not been raised then our preaching is useless”.
1 Corinthians 15:13-15

SATURDAY 17th September

Monti is now on a long rope, a more peaceful walk.

Look upon us o God, creator and maker of all things, that we may feel the working of your mercy.

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time & birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary

SUNDAY 4th September – Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

I go to the school mass, always a sad moment but the past has gone. An inspiring sermon on St. Theresa of Calcutta whom the Pope makes a saint today.

MONDAY 5th September

Parliament resumes and I take part in two statements on Yemen, abuse of humanitarian law and Brexit.

Psalm 5
“Lead me Lord in your justice”.

TUESDAY 6th September

Psalm 149
“The Lord takes delight in his people”.

I chair the Higher Education Bill legislature sitting.

WEDNESDAY 7th September

I meet Peter for our little prayer group and Theodore for lunch. In the afternoon of glorious weather I pay a little visit to the Chelsea Physic Garden. If you are depressed about something it is good to take delight in the plants.

Entrance antiphon:
You are just o Lord and your judgement is right, treat your servant in accord with your merciful love.

THURSDAY 8th September – The Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary

We fly to Gibraltar for the National Day Celebrations.
The sight of the Rock revives my spirits, as it always foes as one lands.

Luke 6
“There is no sound tree that produces rotten fruit”.

FRIDAY 9th September

A series of briefings with the Military Commander, the Chief Minister and the Governor and in the evening a Mass at the shrine of Our Lady of Europe in the open air, the breeze coming off the Atlantic and less than fifteen miles away the Pillars of Hercules and the mountains of Africa.

Psalm 84
“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord God of Hosts”.

SATURDAY 10th September

We gather with a few thousand others for the National Day celebrations in the evening. I say a few words in support of British Gibraltar.

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time & the feast of St Gregory the Great

SUNDAY 28th August – Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

The motorway is now on our right as we complete the 242km bike ride from Migennes to Dijon. I get as far as Veuvey-sur-Ouche then Mary does the next stage and I cycle through the suburbs in Dijon.

It’s a relief now to put the bike into the back of the car and drive to Mary’s sister.

MONDAY 29th August

We picnic at La Cry.

I take the chair lift to the top of the mountain. Mont Blanc raising its noble head above the clouds. I am grateful for the bus so I don’t have to walk back to Combloux before the village church closes at 7 and I get kicked out. I sit there for an hour, lighting a candle and going through the office of readings. In front of me is the ornate baroque reredos in this otherwise simple little church. Behind me the evening sun shines yellow and bright through the west windows.

TUESDAY 30th August

We took the children to the Plan d’Eau in Combloux – the great tableau of the Mont Blanc peaks in front of us.

WEDNESDAY 31st August

We took the cable car up to 1200m. As part of a free cable car deal our friends gave us a yoga class. It was most enjoyable, even if the mechanical digger mending the restaurant didn’t quite add to the air of peace.

THURSDAY 1st September

Robin and I walked up to 3000m – two and a half hours up and down. Exhausted but an extraordinary sight of Mont Blanc in the far distance from the top.

FRIDAY 2nd September

We drove all the way back to Calais but a nice hour at the Nyon pool by Lake Geneva, again Mont Blanc shimmering over the lake in the distance. After stopping we take the crowded 11.30 boat and arrive back at 2.30.

SATURDAY 3rd September – St Gregory the Great

I go early to Downside for oblates.
After compline I am alone in the dark Abbey Church and light a candle in front of the wooden cross of Christ and think all we can hope for is that our children are happy and all we can hope for ourselves is that we are happy in this moment, with what we have now, not what we want or don’t have but what we have now.