Tuesday, January 30, 2007


You know the Bible 98%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Sunday, January 14, 2007

RSS feeds

I really haven't been online much at all lately - I just about manage to check my emails. But today, I've actually had time to check my RSS feeds. And there are now EIGHT subscribers to Westminster Diocese's RSS feed. It's going up:)


I am foreign and knowledgeable - and Irish!

You are 76% English.

You are either native and stupid, or you are foreign and knowledgeable.

"And did those feet
In ancient times,
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
In England's pleasant pastures seen?"

Well, no, but it's a cracking good tune.

How English are you?
Create a Quiz

via Laus Crucis

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas time!

Merry Christmas!

So, I've neglected the blog for the past couple of months. The new job has kind of taken over completely. I am going to try to get back into posting more frequently, but I'll see how it goes.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Post World Youth Day

Came across a survey about the after affects of World Youth Day 2005 at the After Cologne blog (via Happy Catholic). Really interested to see the results of it. I know that I've felt and been a lot more involved in events across the Diocese and a lot more motivated to do things since WYD. And I know a few people who have done things or changed because of it.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Forward thinking...

So, I noticed the post over at Blogging the Catholic Church in the British Isles about the potential candidates for the next Archbishop of Westminster. Kind of interesting, but I've only heard of about six of the people on the list.

I'm not sure what I think about speculating on things like this. I followed all the stuff about the election of the Pope last year, and it wasn't an especially enriching process - more like depressing. When BXI was announced, the public response seemed to be based on his reputation in his previous post. My individual response certainly was. But I really liked his sermons at World Youth Day. And the more I read what he writes and says, the more I appreciate it (even though it is hard work).

Sunday, October 01, 2006

New job

I love my new job!
I love my new job!
I love my new job!

Apologies for the total lack of anything over the past month. I've moved, I've started a new job, I've been doing lots of training and I spent a week in Wales. I've also had problems with my internet connection, which I've only resolved in the last couple of days. The bulk of my training is now over, so hopefully, I'll be getting into some kind of routine and keep up with what is happening elsewhere.

In the meantime, the latest Catholic Carnival is up at Luminous Miseries. I've noticed that 1dayin7 has had an idea for a UK Catholic Carnival, which sounds like a great idea.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Magic and Religion

For me, the Golden Bough is one of those books that I start and give up on repeatedly. At the moment, I'm about 100 pages in and still going - progress!

It's a study of beliefs and magic and religion and is really interesting, although the lists sometimes seem to go on and on. So far, I've read about different things people do (or used to do) to make it rain, make it not rain, make it windy, sunny etc. We really are an imaginative race!

One idea keeps occuring and I find it really potent, is the differences between the concepts of magic and religion. James Frazer suggests (I think) that people practice magic when they believe that they (or other humans) can control their environment. Religion is practiced when people believe that they (as humans) cannot control their environment, but that there are beings (or gods), similar to a human, but bigger or more powerful, who can control the environment for us. He suggests that as humanity evolves, it moves from magic to religion.

Like I said, I'm only a little way into the book thus far, so it may develop more. I'm interested to see where we go after religion. But this idea has been on my mind a lot. A lot of Catholics seem to have this idea of religion, of a God who will change something, cure someone, provides something, do something that we want done, but cannot do.

I think that there is something missing from the ideas of magic and religion as suggested (so far) in the Golden Bough - but I can't put my finger on it. In modern magical stories (I'm thinking Harry Potter, LOTRs, books by David Eddings and Dianne Wynne Jones), the practice of magic is not so much about controlling your environment, but doing something that could almost be done normally, in a different way. In reality, you wouldn't normally fly on a broomstick, but in stories, to get from one place to another you could walk, ride a bike, drive a car, teleport, go on a spaceship or fly on a broomstick. Some of these methods are 'normal', magical or scientific.

For me too, religion is not really about controlling the environment I'm in. I don't generally pray for good things to happen to me or for God to make bad things go away. I don't think that God interfers in our day to day lives as a general rule. It's more about me opening my eyes to see what is actually going on around me.

But then, lots of us now live sheltered from the worst of nature or we try to hide from it. We can control our environments, not through magic or religion, but science. We can control the heat and light in our buildings. the water and food we consume, the people we interact (or not) with. We are removed from nature - nature is something that happens to other people, something we see on the news or an adventure we see in a film.

This does not seem like a good thing, but again, I can't really explain why. Maybe I've been reading and watching too much about the end of the world as we know it.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

OCT 06

It's a year ago this week we were celebrating World Youth Day in Germany. It's two years 'til the next one in Sydney. But, in the meantime, we have

14th & 15th October 2006, Birmingham

24 hours, 4000 young adults, workshops, speakers, gigs, discussion, mass, vigil, networking, fun, time out and even Catholic speed dating. Oct.06 - quite simply the biggest gathering of 18-30’s Catholics from England and Wales in a quarter of a century.

Should be fun.

Boldly going...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Beta Blogger

I've switched over to the new version. I'm very excited by the new functionality - especially the categories. I have been reading all the hacks, but all have seemed to be too much work.

So, I'll be playing around with my layout, and indulging in some retrospective cataloguing over the next few days. What fun!

Monday, August 14, 2006


I got 66 out of 100 which makes me...

You Are a Divine Office (Moderately Traditional) Catholic
The Second Vatican Council was much needed, as far as you're concerned, but you see no reason to push the church further in the direction of change, as many progressives urge. You like the dynamic combination of the traditional approach toward doctrine with the opening of the church to the world that Pope John Paul II (your favorite pope) represented. As far as liturgy is concerned, a reverent Mass in the vernacular is your favorite, as is a vernacular hymn with a feeling for the transcendent such as "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence." When Nicole Kidman returned to her childhood Catholicism and regular Mass attendance, you were thrilled.


So I'm kind of back to normal - whatever that may be. I've been sort of taking a break from "formal" Church/Parish stuff to get over all the politics of the past few months. I've spent lots of time talking about the 'good old days' and death (as you do) with the family.

Is it just me, or is talking about death a really Catholic thing to do? My colleagues at work are almost afraid to refer to death or old age.

I'm getting ready to leave my current job (9 working days to go) and begin my new one. I'm going to be taking a sort of gap year and work (volunteer, with expenses) with young people full time. The one thing I have learned over this past year is that I am not a 9-5 person. I need to do something a little different and I need to work out what that could be.

And onto some things I've been catching up on.

From my inbox...

We are now looking forward to the next Youth 2000 festival - Godsgift@Walsingham

It is taking place from 24th-28th August at the National Shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham, Norfolk. It is the highlight of the Youth 2000 year! All the details are available on the website:

From my RSS feeds...

Bishop Alan Hopes has set the date for the next Young Adults in the West meeting as the first Sunday in Advent, 3rd December at St Margarets RC Church in Twickenham.
The event is organised and hosted entirely by Young Adults from the deaneries of the West of London. Musicians, singers and artists all contributed to making the Mass an inspirational celebration.

St Albans Deanery Catholic Young Adults (16-30)
If you’re a young adult, or know of young adults in your parish, come and meet other young Catholics in the St. Albans Deanery area for Mass followed by a social at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Harpenden, on Sunday 20th August at 6pm.

And this - Changes to Holy Days of Obligation
Okay, so I haven't really read up on this other than what was in the Catholic Herald a couple of weeks ago. But I'm really disappointed. I'm just getting into holy days and feast days and such, and I like that we 'have to' go to Mass to celebrate different things AND not just on a Sunday. It mixes things up and keeps us from getting (too) bored and compartmentalising our Christianity.

But what really takes the biscuit for me, is that it's three of the most interesting days - Epiphany, Ascension and Corpus Christi. For a start, the music for those days is good. And they're markers for other events like the end of phase 1 Christmastime, Pentecost and easing into Ordinary Time. Plus, we're going to reduce the occurance of the the Second-Sunday-after-Christmas-Day-that's-before-Epiphany, which is always fun (and thus remove another chance to sing Christmas music at Mass, during Christmastime phase 1).

Epiphany and Ascension are proper events (i.e. these events are in the Bible. The readings of the day are stories of what happened - unlike some other holy days). Corpus Christi I find a little problematic as a holy day (not quite seeing the point). However, since the whole push toward BS processions to mark the day out, I really don't see the logic in moving it to a 'routine' Sunday Mass.

I actually think that we should have more Holy Days of Obligation. What about the feast of St Benedict (patron of Europe)?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


And here I thought things were going to settle down, I'd get back into a routine and post on a more regular basis.


I've handed in my notice at work - I have 18, no, 17, working days left.

I've left the choir - last Sunday was our final sung Mass before the summer break, but I won't be returning. Very mixed feelings - I've sung in that choir for 16 years (so some sadness) and led it for 3 months (such relief, I cannot even begin to vocalise).

A first cousin, who has had cancer for a while and been frail for a number of years, has passed away today. She was in her early thirties, so the extended family are taking it quite badly. I wasn't that close to her, and I tend to take news of a death (especially after illness and suffering) calmly - trusting in God, that sort of thing. It takes a lot to make me cry. I won't be able to make her funeral, which is bothersome.

So, my head is kind of full at the moment. I'll post when I can, but please bear with me.

On the plus side...

You Are 30% Normal

You sure do march to your own beat...
But you're so weird, people wonder if it's a beat at all
You think on a totally different wavelength
And it's often a chore to get people to understand you

Monday, July 24, 2006

Theme song

Do you remember Ally McBeal, an American series from a few years back? It was famous for wacky stories, oddball characters and the dancing baby! One storyline had Ally (the main character) choosing a 'theme song' that she would sing to as part of her therapy. So of course, in school the next day we all decided to choose our theme song. I think I chose 'I'm a believer', to try to sing myself into positivity. If only I had know that my actual (!) theme song was this ;)

Your Theme Song is Back in Black by AC/DC

"Back in black, I hit the sack,
I've been too long, I'm glad to be back"

Things sometimes get really crazy for you, and sometimes you have to get away from all the chaos.
But each time you stage your comeback, it's even better than the last!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A free mind...

...is one which is untroubled and unfettered by anything,
which has not bound its best part to any particular manner of being or devotion
and which does not seek its own interest in anything
but is always immersed in
God's most precious will,
having gone out of what is its own.

(my emphasis)
Selected writings (The talks of instruction)
Meister Eckhart

Heat, worry and control

I think the heat is affecting my brain. The high temperatures (30 C plus), no air conditioning (I live in a house built in 1910 and work in a building built in 1895) AND the joy of the Tube every morning and evening has turned life into a daily challenge. It's reducing everything to basic principles - do I have enough water, deodrant, salt? Have I appropriate clothes to wear to work?

I have no room to consider more serious, important things at all. It's like when you're unwell, everything becomes all about you. Stuff that you used to worry about (or do worry about when things become normal) doesn't even register - it's all about what you need to do to get things done and make it through the day.

I had my appendix removed a couple of years ago. It was liberating because I couldn't worry about work or washing my hair or the news. I was worrying about walking or sleeping on my right side or trying to stay awake when I had visitors.

There was no point worrying about washing my hair, because I couldn't do anything about it. I couldn't wash it. I couldn't sit in a way that someone else could wash it. There was nothing - nothing - I could do about it. It was outside my area of control.

So during the working week my whole focus is coping with the heat and work, and getting ready for the next day. Sometimes, I have enough space to watch a dvd or pray, but that is pretty much it. I feel a little guilty, because there is so much more I could be doing or should be doing.

What I am focused on are the essentials. On Saturdays and on Sunday afternoons and in five weeks time, I hope to have the time and space to do/think/be.

Monday, July 17, 2006

And I think I get some of it...

I've struggled with the idea of what love is for ages. Recently, I've been trying to get my head around the difference between state and feelings - we use the same words to describe both, but they are not the same.
So, this is the thing. Love, defined the Christian way as charity, always seems boring. It 's one of those things where I know it's a good thing and something I need to work towards, but I don't get why.
When I read The Four Loves by CS Lewis, I always have to force myself to finish the chapter on charity. With the other loves CS Lewis talks about, there is some pleasant payback. You don't have to work hard to receive them - you get those loves for just being yourself. But charity is a struggle. Charity is not just a warm fuzzy feeling - it is something I have to actively choose to do. It's hard and often thankless. Thomas Merton summed up that state I usually find myself in when he said (something like);
love given, selfishly received, diminishes the love given
(from No Man is an Island - I can't find my copy to get the exact quote)
It's also that I don't really see examples of this kind of love. Affection, eros, friendship all float around in the public sphere and real life - I can think of lots of examples. I can think of examples of people helping others (Buffy, Angel, Star Trek etc), but that's not quite it.
A couple of weekends ago, I went to Bright Lights. Last weekend, I went to some of Spirit in the City. I cannot describe the atmosphere other than to say that everyone cared. When other people spoke about their problems, my only concern was to help them as much as I could, however they needed it (by listening, talking, praying, whatever). It was not about my ego or wanting approval. Likewise, when I needed help I received it. I didn't have to worry about making a mountain out of a molehill, or being misunderstood or creating the wrong impression. I was accepted for who and what I was, no judgement. And I accepted others for who and what they were, not judgment. And, for some reason I couldn't explain, we were all happy and joyful and having fun.
We had catechesis from Bishop Bernard during Spirit in the City, and this just leaped out at me:
Love is an act of will where we put ourselves out for the good of the other.

And I realised that that was what was happening with the people at these events. We put ourselves out for the good of other people. This is charity.

And it isn't boring. It's soooooo much fun. It makes me feel relaxed and happy and enables me to be me. This is the payback for charity.

The problem is, that this is the easy bit - loving people who love you back. Possibly the most scary passage in the Gospels is this:

30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them.
33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that.
34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners', expecting to be repaid in full.
35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

Lk 6: 30-35

Sunday, July 16, 2006

So don't get this...

... but my Mother reckons this is a very me thing to say?!

Your Famous Last Words Will Be:

"Tell them I said something."