Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Appeal of Our Lady of the Rosary

Bloggers paradise: Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, Blackfen
Yesterday I went to Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen. Mac McLernon of Mulier Fortis fame was renewing her personal vows after a beautiful Missa Cantata on the Feast of St Francis Xavier.

Our Lady of the Rosary's Parish Priest, Fr Tim Finigan, preached wonderfully on the simplicity of the message of St Francis Xavier and on the Saint's personal holiness, specifically noting that his evangelical mission was built around teaching the catechism.

By his holiness of life and his teaching of the Catechism, God worked marvels through him in winning converts to the Faith. On one day, he performed so many Baptisms that he could no longer move his arm. If only we had a St Francis Xavier going around teaching the Catechism in our Catholic schools, but, I expect that if we did have one, he'd soon be thrown the door for giving the school nurse a piece of his mind about her alacrity in giving out condoms, referring girls for abortion and the rest. Nowadays, children come out of schools knowing everything they need to concerning how to damn their tender souls, but next to nothing about how to save them. They know how to use condoms and screw around, but don't know how to pray the Rosary or what Confession is. What would St Francis Xavier make of it all?!

Mac MacLernon of Mulier Fortis
St Francis Xavier's preaching and holy zeal for souls involved no great, exhaustive 'programmes' for renewal or mission or anything - just the message of the Gospel and the basic Catechism, of which, seemingly over the years, so many Catholics have more recently been deprived. I must say that as someone still relatively new to the Extraordinary Form, it does seem to be so much better at teaching the Faith than the Novus Ordo as most experience it today. The reasons are many and varied, but they centre surely on the Holy Eucharist.

How can we tell children how important the Holy Eucharist is when adults are receiving Our Blessed Lord in the hand, standing? How can we teach them the importance of praying the Mass when the little lambs can't concentrate because some irritating little man is playing his guitar!? Accursed be that instrument from the pits of Hades! Below is a picture of me playing one. Rest assured, dear readers, that the devil's lute is now smashed to a thousand pieces all over my kitchen floor!  Begone, vile instrument! No wonder The Who always destroyed you after a gig! You drag the souls of all who play you into the abyss!

Forging the new generation of cynical traddies
After Mass, I met several bloggers including Caroline Farrow and a blogger called Annie Elizabeth who had turned up for Mac's renewal of her vows. There was a cooked breakfast afterwards in the social hall and, having been asked by Mac to bring my guitar, I sang a few of my Catholic ditties. I think I was introduced as the 'pied piper of the Traditional Latin Mass' or something. I responded that I hope I'm 'leading people in the right direction'. On Mac's blog, you can see a live performance of 'Ecclesia Dei (An Open Letter to Archbishop Vincent Nichols)', if you are into Catholic protest and gentle encouragement songs. Apparently, I was told that little children of some Catholic parents are going around the house singing 'Catholic Voices'. One child requested it and I didn't play it. That's how good I am with children. Oh, and I also forgot the chords for Universae Ecclesiae.  Thank God for this little boy who can sing the Blessed Virgin Mary's praises in Latin!

I performed a new song called 'The Pyjamahadeen', dedicated to all Catholic bloggers, which I'll post up in the coming days when I get a chance and met Tom Windsor, who has a website dedicated to the propers for the Mass for all times and seasons of the liturgical year. He is a proper musician, a true gent and a generous one at that. He gave me a tenner. In fact, thank you to all who donated kindly to me, I am rather hard up at the moment and Fr Tim encouraged his parishioners to put money in an open guitar bag on the floor in a busking style. I sped off into the evening sunset listening to 'Boogie Wonderland' by Earth, Wind and Fire while everyone else went to Vespers and Benediction.

It was good to talk with fellow bloggers about the burning issues of the day. Many of us expressed our sorrow at the recent statements by His Grace, the Archbishop Vincent Nichols, concerning civil partnerships, but also discussed the recent coverage of the Liverpool Care Pathway, the situation of which has been explained excellently by John Smeaton of the SPUC, here, and more recently, here. It really is a terrible and dreadful thing and I, for one, am stunned that it has apparently received the backing of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales. Surely, surely, it is high time for the Bishops to distance themselves from this NHS programme or, given the coverage it has received, condemn it? It is starting to make those collections on the Day for Life look a little pointless.

May God be praised for a wonderful day and well done to Mac for renewing her holy vows to God. Keep fighting the good fight, Mac. You are a total star. May Our Lady of the Rosary continue to shower graces upon her Church in Blackfen. I have to say Blackfen has great appeal: an astonishingly high density of bloggers, frequent celebration of the TLM and a social club that sells real ale. "Dance! Boogie wonderland!" If anyone's interested in moving near a parish with the TLM and what appears to be a lovely Catholic social scene, I hear house rental and buying prices are far more affordable than somewhere like, er, Brighton.


Mulier Fortis said...

Laurence it was a real privilege to have you visit us here in Blackfen, and you went down a storm with children and adults alike.

You'll have to come again for another visit soon!

On the side of the angels said...

Yet again I'm jealous dude - I was stuck at work on my day off [and shouldn't really have bothered after all the grief I got today for it] plus Nick was heading off for a week away at a Training Conference in High Wycombe so it was buying supplies and even if I could have afforded to get there I couldn't have got there.

Yes - that's why I've been screaming at anyone who will listen about the LCP & Connexions for years - we have a Bishops' Conference which has endorsed euthanasia and abortion - and nobody seems to be doing anything about it...or even caring??!

But we aren't part of the establishment or the Westminster elite of any nobody will ever listen to us.

Our Lady of the Rosary is a bastion...redolent of so many hundreds of Parishes from the past where there was a real community who didn't spend all their time 'pretending to be ministerially communal' they just got on with being it....

Mac is a star - hopefully she'll be given more opportunity to shine for all to witness; not merely the few who adore her or have read her Herald Advent piece.

Delia said...

Really good to meet you, Laurence! A great day. Pity you couldn't stay for Vespers.

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