Thursday, 14 February 2008


Apologies for the gaps in postings; these are due to illness, and I will have to take some time off to recover.

Westminster Bishops

The Cardinal processes from the Cathedral with his four auxiliaries; from the left, Bishop George Stack, Bishop Bernard Longley, Bishop Alan Hopes, Bishop John Arnold. This picture was taken at the funeral of another auxiliary Bishop - James O'Brien - last year.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Our Lady of Lourdes 1918

Cardinal Bourne leaving the Cathedral on 26 May 1918, on a procession of intercession to Our Lady of Lourdes. It was given a particular urgency by World War, then raging. The Cathedral Chronicle paints the scene:

"As an outward manifextation of devotion to our Blessed Lady, a more striking and impressive procession than that of Sunday May 26 would be idfficult to surpass... All the contingents from the various London parishes of the diocese were ready in their appointed places when this fine demonstration of Catholic faith in our Blessed Lady of Lourdes, and in the efficacy of prayer as the final death-blow to this appalling war. The procession took exactly one hour and twenty minutes to pass a given point. The route through the streets, in parts crowded with respectful onlookers, in the vicinity of the Cathedral was exactly a mile long, but the leaders got back to their starting point by the time the last of the processionists (averaging four abreast) passed the Cathedral door.
"The streets were filled with a living stream of colour; blue, of course, predominated, but there were splashes of vivid reds, the rainbow hues of the little Italian girls in national peasant costumes. The Cardinal walked in his flaming scarlet cappa magna, followed by the Bishop of Brentwood, and a number of Monsignori, Canons and priests, with a rearguard of able and wounded soldiers."

Friday, 8 February 2008

Another break

Away for a few days - with apologies. The blog will recommence next week.

The Proscenium Arch

Gilbert Pownall's mosaics above the High Altar seen from the north gallery.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Clergy House Oratory

We have always been fortunate to have a peaceful oratory within Clergy House; it is a great privilege to have the Blessed Sacrament in a quiet place at the centre of the house. It is also helpful to have a place where priests may celebrate Mass or the Divine Office on their day off, besides being of considerable advantage to elderly or infirm residents.

Although small, the oratory is exquisitely furnished, thanks to the taste and abilities of Mgr Anthony Bartlett, former Administrator. The altar frontal is 17th century, in antique velvet.

The crucfix is a large 18th century ivory, of surpassing beauty.

Beside the altar is a 17th century Spanish image of Our Lady of the Assumption, serenely beautiful as she is carried on high by cherubs.

The long flowing hair is typical of representations of Our Lady from this epoch.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Remember, Man, that Thou art Dust ...

Again, this year, Fr Christopher set about burning last year's Palms, to create the Ash for today's Masses. The strong wind prevented him from using the terrace (as last year), so he opted for the more sheltered region of the courtyard - whence I spied upon him.

Fr Christopher was aided by Fr Slawek, and David Darby from the Archbishop's House print room. Ash was plentifully created, ensuring that there was plenty available for the large corwds that attended Masses today.