Sunday, 12 January 2020

My Mother: Requiescat in pace

This photo was taken in the garden at our home in New Brighton - the chubby blond is me aged 10 months.

I was called back from my post Christmas break in Geneva last week when my mother - Veronic Neilson - became suddenly unwell. It turned out to be a massive bleed on the brain and she died in the early hours of Friday 10th January. I returned in time to be at her bedside and administer the Last Rites.

Many thanks to so many people who have been in touch in various ways to offer their prayers and condolences.

Her Requiem Mass will take place on 

Wednesday 22nd January
12 noon 
Ss Peter and Paul's Church in New Brighton on the Wirral, 
followed by burial at Frankby Cemetery. 

(Any clergy coming are welcome to sit in choir 
at what will be a Missa Cantata. 
My thanks to the Canons there for their hospitality.)

Ss Peter and Paul's is the church where I made my first Holy Communion and where she was a member of the Union of Catholic Mothers many years ago. 

There will be a Reception at the Hollins Hey Hotel,
 accessed from Albion Street or Victoria Road in New Brighton, 
which is near to the church.

1984 with my stepfather, Eric, and Michael Heseltine, visiting Liverpool in some connection with the International Garden Festival (for those who can remember that far back!)
She looks as though she's taken some fashion advice from Bananarama here, which would be in character for her ideas on being in vogue!

Here she is dressed in the lighter colours 
at my grandparents home in New Brighton,
together with my Auntie May. 
The dapper young gent in the mini deerstalker is me 
aged 2 and a half.

Requiescat in pace.

May holy Mary, the angels and the saints 
come to meet her as she goes forth from this life.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Epiphany Masses

Masses for the Epiphany at 
St Catherine's

8.30am - (OF) English said Mass
and Blessing of Chalk

10am - (OF) Solemn Mass of the Epiphany
and Blessing of Chalk

11.30am - (EF) Missa Cantata 
and the sung Proclamation of Easter

Monday, 23 December 2019

Mass times at St Catherine's, Leyland

An excerpt from our Carol Concert on Saturday

Carols from 6.45pm
 Blessing of the Crib
Proclamation of the Roman Martyrology
First Mass of Christmas on 
"Hodie Scietis"
Lloyd Webber's Mass of the Prince of Peace
Credo III: plainchant/Palestrina
O Holy Night: Adolphe Adam.

Mulled Wine & Mince Pies afterwards


Christmas Day Mass at 8.30am.


Christmas Day Mass at 10am. 
Sung in Latin Traditional Form (EF)

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Charity Carol Concert

Charity Carol Concert

Saturday 21st DECEMBER


Mulled wine and Mince Pies to follow.

An evening of Christmas music and readings by candlelight

for young and old alike.

"The proper start to Christmas."

The concert is free 

but there will be a collection taken up for the work of the Order of St Lazarus, 

which includes supporting those suffering from leprosy in Sri Lanka 

and, locally, St Catherine’s hospice.

Everyone welcome.

St Catherine Labouré Church
Stanifield Lane
PR25 4QG

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Synod 2020. Number 22. Never give up!

Never give up!

We are in the process of sending in "PROPOSALS" for the first Synod theme "All called and gifted by God". Five from each parish. Despite much publicity and explaining here in my own parish we had only 15 proposals that came in. Unfortunately very few were actually proposals - more comments and concerns much like the "previous "listening" part of the process. Many also only related to this particular parish, rather than the diocese. I tried again the next week and received a few more but really with much the same in content. The concerns mostly focused around schools, young people and a dignified liturgical celebration - including provision of the EF Mass. 

The four of us Synod members from this parish then got together and, to be honest, we didn't get much further. We can all identify concerns and areas where we would like to see the Church doing better but concrete proposals of how to do this seemed a bit beyond us. Perhpas the "avarage" person in he pew just doesn't' care enough, perhaps they just don't know enough about how the church works to know what to suggest, perhaps they think that's the job of the bishop and priests. 

We did come to the conclusion that most of what we would suggest to be taken up is really already mandated, commanded and taught (at an official level) but that most of these things are not enforced, practiced, encouraged, taught or implemented. So, for example:


Fewer and fewer people coming to Mass....
Canon Law and the Catechism teach plainly that this is not allowed and indeed sinful.


Our schools bear the epithet "Catholic"...
But more and more the Faith is not taught well in them, it is watered down  and we have capitulated to the secular gods of climate, diversity and taking part in Red Nose Day. To say nothing of the fact that so many teachers are not practising Catholics and the vast majority of the children attending neve go to Mass and their families can in no way be said to be practising the Faith.


The liturgical documents of the Second Vatican Council clearly mandate the retention of the Latin language and lain chant in the celebration of the liturgy...
Show me the diocese or the seminary where this is encouraged.


If people will not follow the basic teachings of the Faith - or have never been taught it - why do we think they will suddenly come along because we introduce an extra layer of bureaucracy in some local committee  or an out-reach worker?


We came to the conclusion that we already have an excellent program of teaching and structures but we have simply abandoned them, ignored them, watered them down, allowed them to be tainted by secularism. We seem to be ashamed of them and on the look-out for someone else's hobby horse to jump on. Or looking for methods and structures lifted from the corporate and secular world as "new" models we might adopt (which never seem to work very well in the Church's unique situation). 

That is, we are suffering from a lack of joyful pride in who we are, embarrassed at the teachings Jesus left us and abandoned the lessons the Church has learnt over 2,000 years, believing only "new" things can make us shinny and attractive to the modern world. 

We have allowed ourselves to be caricatured as the gossipy old biddy in the sitcom; the priest who always leaves his ministry because he falls in love in every film; or even worse, that all priests are tainted with unnatural desires, deformed by their vow of celibacy; that our Faith cannot any longer be presented in it's fullness because we too have followed the world and given up believing in it. If we don't have confidence in it, how can we expect anyone else to?

Never give up!

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Remembrance Sunday

We will remember them

at Holy Masses at

11.30am (EF)

Sunday, 3 November 2019

All Souls Mass

I celebrated Mass for All Souls 
to the accompaniment of 
Claudio Casciolini's Missa pro Defunctis,
which was very lovely.

My thanks to the singers and the altar servers 
and the ladies who made the refreshments afterwards
as well as to members of the Order of St Lazarus who were present,
including one of our Esquires acting as MC for the Mass.
Thanks to John Robinson for the photographs.

There are lots more photos at: