Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Spiritus Domini


I've just read an excellent article posted on the New Liturgical Movement. It helps to put into a wider context the universal call of the laity, the scope of which was actually re-iterated and and then much ignored by the Second Vatican Council.

It has long been a mystery to me that before the Council lay-led groups whose focus of activity was out in the world seemed to thrive in abundance: Young Christian Workers, Legion of Mary, SVP, Knights of St Columba, etc.

While since the Vatican Council these groups have been seen as old-fashioned and very ecclesiastically centered ministries have taken over, where the laity seem to take on roles on the sanctuary rather than ministries that focus out into the world.

I'm not suggesting there is no charitable work going on in parishes but the ecclesial sanctioned groups ("ministries") seem to be overwhelmingly about getting lay people up on the sanctuary instead of motivating action on the secular stage, the one place where they have much more influence and contact than the priest.

Well worth a read...

New Liturgical Movement: Lay Ministries Obscure Both the Laity’s Calling and the Clergy’s

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Masses Second Sunday of the Year

First Reading this Sunday, Samuel 3:19

Just to confirm that St Catherine's remains open for Mass. Many people are still shielding, either for their own protection or those they are caring for. We unite ourselves in prayer with all the parish at each Mass. Even if you cannot attend the Holy Sacrifice in person, to know that the Sacramental Presence of the Lord  descends in God's House here in our locality is a blessing in itself. The beating heart of our community, whether we are present or not. I'm sure we all long for the time when everyone can once again be physically close to that heart - together with our brothers and sisters at Mass. It's a reflection that in more ordinary times, every Catholic missing from Sunday Mass is a loss to their brothers and sisters gathered in the Presence of the Lord.

This week sees the feast of St Sebastian (on Wednesday), traditionally a great intercessor for times of plague.

A Prayer to Combat the Coronavirus Pandemic: 

Most Merciful and Triune God, We come to You in our weakness. We come to You in our fear. We come to You with trust. For You alone are our hope. We place before You the disease present in our world. We turn to You in our time of need. Bring wisdom to doctors. Give understanding to scientists. Endow caregivers with compassion and generosity. Bring healing to those who are ill. 

Protect those who are most at risk. Give comfort to those who have lost a loved one. Welcome those who have died into Your Eternal Home. Stabilize our communities. Unite us in our compassion. Remove all fear from our hearts. Fill us with confidence in Your care. 

Hear us, O God, our Saviour, and by the prayers of glorious Mary, Mother of God, and ever-Virgin, of St. Sebastian, your martyr, and of all the saints, deliver your people from the present affliction, and in your bounty let them feel certain of your mercy. Amen.

Lord, mercifully heed our supplications, and heal our infirmities of body and soul; so that knowing your forgiveness we may ever rejoice in your blessing.




Monday 9.30am

Tuesday 12 noon (EF)

Wednesday 9.30am

Thursday 7pm Novena & Benediction

Friday 9.30am

Saturday 12 noon (EF) 

Confessions between 11.30am & 11.50am

Catholic School -- how to make one!

Starting up a new school in the year that Covid 19 struck was perhaps not the most fortuitous of choices but the fact that we are now about to start our second term points only to God's Providence. I thought that following on from my last post on the subject I'd provide some more background  of our exploits at St Peter's College in St Pierre de Maillé.

The College is up and running and taking students. See the website to request a prospectus.

The three photographs below show the grounds on the day we arrived. The grounds were a little overgrown - only ten years worth of weeds to get rid of. 

We rescued some of the roses along the border.
I think the pink one is the variety Queen Elizabeth II.
Quite appropriate for an English speaking school!

As well as the myriad of professional trades on site, we tackled some of the work ourselves, pitching in where we could. This one must have been fairly early on, as I'm still looking cheerful. However there was plenty of major work to be done. The heating system, the electrics and the decorating. I say decorating, but it was rather more than some light repainting. The rooms for the boys needed completely reworking to include en-suite facilities for each room (based on two sharing). So while tackling the gardening and cleaning and repainting the shutters could be done, putting in new plumbing was certainly beyond my DIY skills.

Neither priest nor headmaster was spared from the physical work, 
although it was often a welcome break from all the office work and dealing with the bureaucracy.
We were fortunate to have help from a number of friends as well who pitched in on various occasions.

Some of the walls in the classrooms
before and after!

Before and after again.

What is now one of the games rooms
before and after.

You may notice in the last photo the square paneled lights.
All the classrooms and boys rooms had to be assessed for lighting and along with a myriad of other very particular specifications, these were inspected in great detail by various departments of the French State.
On their final inspection fifteen inspectors for lighting, heating, fire, police, disables access, the mayors department, schools department, etc came for a whole day of inspections, sometimes measuring out the millimeters!
Fortunately, we had expert advice and everything passed. 

One of the things we had to change was making an extension to the railings down the steps to the present refectory. Fortunately, we managed to secure the service of the same talented blacksmith who has done much work at nearby Fontgombault Abbey, which is just 15 kilometers away.
The school is ideally placed for groups wanting a base in this beautiful and historic part of France in the summer months. All rooms are en-suite.

The local people in the village thought we had worked a minor miracle in getting French firms to carry on working on site during the month of August. Four different firms on this particular day. Apparently, it is a usually unbreakable rule that August is for holidays (Covid times notwithstanding), so we were fortunate indeed.

In true Benedictine style our work was sustained by prayer, 
although at first the setting for Mass weeks was less than ideal.
Fortunately our beautiful chapel is now in full use every day.

Along with Fr Lawler, the resident Chaplain, we were at Mass with the Archbishop, His Grace Pascal Wintzer, who was in the neighboring village with the Daughters of the Cross, celebrating their 200th anniversary there. (Having left the convent of St Pierre de Maillé, where the school now continues their tradition of education.) At our meetings the Archbishop has been most welcoming.

Now looking a little tidier
and ready to accept our pupils.

An aerial view shows the  school's proximity to the beautiful views afforded by the River Gartempe.

We've also been fortunate, through investors and donations, to be able to purchase extra properties adjoining the main site. This one has been named "Sacré-Cœur", where we are placing a statue left by the nuns, which will function as staff accommodation as well as extra public space for the boys and - separately - a music practice space.

St Peter takes pride of place in the Refectory.

The tennis court, which is next to the playing fields.

And finally... 
some random shots about the place, including the Chaplain's cats.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Masses this Sunday


At the moment churches in England may remain open for communal worship during this latest lockdown. You may have heard of some churches closing for public worship; this is because they may not be able to provide all the provisions to open in a Covid secure way or because priests are not available because they are shielding or self-isolating, for example. 

Here at St Catherine's our Sunday 11.30am Mass remains suspended because there were so few people attending and there remains plenty of space at our other two Masses to accommodate those who feel are able to assist at Mass at the moment. The situation seems to be changing very quickly, so it is possible this may change. May our prayers for a swift end to these most difficult times be answered very soon. 

As ever, God is good and through the intelligence God has endowed us with, we now have the vaccines rolling out. But also as ever, the Lord expects us to do our part in a spirit of faith, duty and hope.

Can I emphasis the importance of keeping to the restrictions when attending Mass, before, during and after. Doing so carefully and methodically will help to keep us all safe.

Here in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, Archbishop Malcolm is presently leaving such decisions to local parishes. That being so, public Mass will continue this week at St Catherine's. 

His Grace, Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster has stated:

"Our churches are open for prayer and communal worship during the current lockdown. They are safe and offer essential support to the poorest. They provide a safe and peaceful place in a time of anxiety & fear.

Our procedures are of a high standard & give security to those who attend. Local decisions will be made wisely about how to respond to a fast changing situation in maintaining these standards. People will make their own mature decisions about whether to come to our churches."

Masses this Sunday 
the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord at




Monday 9.30am
Tuesday 12 noon (EF)
Wednesday 9.30am
Thursday 7pm Novena & Benediction
Friday 9.30am
Saturday 12 noon (EF) 
Confessions between 11.30am & 11.50am

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Masses continue during new lockdown


For anyone wondering, here in England, Masses will continue during this new lockdown. The government's rules dealing with Places of Worship (ie Churches) says:

Communal worship and life events - You can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony. You should follow the guidance on the safe use of places of worship and must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble "

Mass for the Epiphany tomorrow is at 9.30am.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

St Catherine's Masses for the New Year


A Happy New Year to all - or perhaps a Happy New Tier! We certainly pray for a better one.

Despite the new tier 4 here, please note that public worship continues as before with all the Covid 19 safety measures in place. In fact, although you cannot meet your family and friends indoors, you can celebrate the Banquet of the Eucharist together with them.

On New Year's Day we have Mass at 9.30am to keep the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. A great way to being the New Year, asking our Blessed Mother to come to our aid.

Sunday Masses are at 8.30am and 10am.

Wednesday is the feast of the Epiphany. Technically a Holy Day of Obligation but the Obligation is still suspended under the Church's Covid measures for those who feel unable to attend.

There will be only one Mass on the Epiphany at 9.30am.

The rest of the weekly schedule is as usual:

Monday Mass at 9.30am

Tuesday Mass (EF) at 12 noon

Wednesday Epiphany Mass at 9.30am

Thursday Mass at 9.30am

Friday Mass at 9.30am

Saturday Mass (EF) at 12 noon with Confessions between 11.30am & 11.50am.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Christmas Masses

Masses at St Catherine's.

Please note that the 7pm Mass on Christmas Eve is now fully booked. Carols from 6.40pm sung by the Schola, please arrive in for this. Please do not arrive without a booking in the hope of being able to attend.

There are a few places left at the 8.30am Mass on Christmas Day and 

quite a few places left for the 10am Mass on Christmas Day.

Please contact me to book your place.

You may not be able to have Christmas Dinner with all your family and friends but you can attend the Banquet of Heaven together!