Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Cafe Hmmmmmm Pt 2

After Cafe Hmmmmmm,

I've gone to the subsequent sessions, partly as I say to expose myself to something different in the Church, but sub-conciously I reckon expecting a substantial purgatorial credit!

Anyway, ended with people coming up to leaders on DVD to be 'prayed with' and hands laid on, though David Payne very clear to point out not a blessing. Parish groups invited to do same. The lady organising it came accross and asked would I like to be prayed with. I declined and again we discussed just how uncomfortable this stuff again had made me feel, to each their own.

The whole thing again just made me feel very uneasy. Not in a way that being uneasy is sometimes an invitation to do something difficult which can lead to something good, but the same sort of uneasyness that I felt again today when watching those LA RE Congress liturgical abuse videos.

I'm not saying no good comes from the Charasmatic Movement - see this article, but it's not for me - suum cuique pulchrum est

Monday, 29 March 2010

Eastern Advice for Holy Week

10 tips for holy week and Pascha - from Charming the Birds from the trees

H/T to Byzantine, Texas

1. Make participation at the Services a priority

2. In our homes we should strive to “keep out the world” and enter into the peace, solemnity, and theology of the events of the last days of our Lord.

3. Be sure to read the last chapters of the Holy Gospels that speak of the Passion, Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ.

4. If you are visiting another parish and wish to receive Communion, make sure that the priest knows who you are and that you are prepared. This should be done in advance by phone, email, or any other way.

Shows the emphasis Eastern / Catholic / Orthodox place on the Eucharist. I have read that it is said "priests will have to account for their care of the Eucharist at their judgement", hence why they are so careful!

5. Last year’s palms and pussy willows should be placed outside in an area to decay where they will not be disturbed. They are holy and should not be simply thrown out with the garbage.

EC;s & EO's do not do Ash Wed, this one is for them!

6. Before venerating Holy Objects, such as the Cross, the Chalice, Icons, or the Winding-Sheet, make sure to wipe off your lipstick or chapstick. Reminder: we do not kiss the face of our Lord, His Mother, or the Saints; in-stead kiss the hands or feet.

7. If you haven’t yet made your Confession during Great Lent, try to make it during the beginning of Holy Week. Speak with your priest to arrange a time.

8. Try to make amends with those we may be upset with or those who are upset with us, so that on Pascha we can joyfully sing, “Let us call brothers, even those that hate us, and forgive all by the Resurrection!”

9. Try to stay after the “Midnight Service” on Pascha morning for the blessing of baskets and festive meal. Let us share in the joy of the Lord’s Resurrection with fellowship and love.

None of this 4pm still light malarky!

10. During Bright Week, sing or read the Paschal Hours instead of your “normal” morning and evening prayers. Let the joy of praising the Lord’s Resurrection accompany you throughout Bright Week, the Paschal season, and your whole life.

Taken from Fr John's Sunday Bulletin

Friday, 26 March 2010

Strike Hard. Strike Sure. - The Great Ingratitude

On 26 March 1944 at 1944hrs Lancaster Bomber LL749 of 166 Sqn took off for Essen from RAF Kirmington. It FTR (Failed to Return)

Strike Hard. Strike Sure.

Flt Sgt John McInroy was 21, a Lancaster Bomber Flight Engineer. He had said to his aunt (my great grandmother) that he did not expect to return from his next op. Rather than a premonition, this was probably recognition of Bomber Command's heavy losses at this time - operational expectancy of crew was 16 operations in early 1944, i.e you statistically would not complete your 30 operation tour of duty.

He was particularly unlucky on this raid as the sudden switch to Ruhr target surprised the Luftwaffe, only 6 lancs were lost and 1 of those was a crash landing on return to base. My father recalls the family were told he was shot down on the way back. One member of the crew got out and spent the rest of the war as a POW.

A book called 'The Great Ingratitude' sums up our legacy of Bomber Command. No memorial, aside from a statue of Bomber Harris, exists.

The following is from an account of a fellow flight engineer whose lanc was lost on the same raid.

The Raid on Essen 26-27th March 1944:
At Linton-on-Ouse, all Lancasters of 426 ‘Thunderbird’ Squadron in flying condition were checked at their dispersal points. Aircraft DS711/OW "B" regularly flown by P/O Olsson was in repair having been badly shot up several days earlier. This was taken as a bad omen by four of the crew, including Tom who individually spoke to Sgt Hughes-Games the NCO in charge of servicing that night. One of the mess staff who had just become engaged to Vic Jones the mid-upper gunner was in tears and said, “She just knew they weren't coming back”. Tom's Lancaster DS789/OW “A” was bombed up with one 8,000 lb High Explosive ‘Cookie’ and 426 Incendiaries, loaded with over 2,000 gallons of high octane fuel and checked by ground crew. All aircrew flying that day attended a morning briefing when details of the targets in Essen, the bomb loads, rallying point, route, predicted weather conditions and specific problems were discussed. The Essen area was well defended; it contained Krupp armament factories and an oil refinery at nearby Gelsenkirchen.

In the afternoon, the crews rested and then collected their flying gear, ate a traditional meal of bacon and eggs and were taken to the dispersal points by motorised transport as they were weighed down by flying kit, parachutes and the breathing apparatus for high altitudes. The transports were often driven by WAAFS, which must have been traumatic for them knowing that they might not see these men again.

The aircraft was checked by ground crew and by Tom as Flight Engineer. It taxied from dispersal to the main runway, taking off with nine other Lancasters of 426 Squadron at 19.58 and rendezvoused over the East Coast with the main bomber stream.
The stream flew at 18,000-20,000 ft for the raid on Essen, avoiding areas of high flak and enemy fighters by ‘dog legging’ to the target. The target area was clearly marked by Oboe-equipped Mosquitoes and bombs were released at 20,000- 23,000ft through cloud....

705 bombers had taken part; 476 Lancasters, 207 Halifaxes, and 22 Mosquitoes. Six Lancasters were lost, almost the lowest total during that spring. Considerable damage was inflicted on Essen: 48 industrial premises and 1756 houses hit, 550 people killed including 74 slave workers and 138 concentration camp inmates. By the end of the war, it is estimated that 28% of industrial buildings, 24 % of housing and 20% of all facilities had been severely damaged.

Looking back:
It is impossible for us to appreciate the full horror of flying over occupied Europe in a Lancaster. The crew was in continuous darkness for six to nine hours, in cramped conditions, enduring deafening engine noise, using breathing equipment, at temperatures well below freezing and mainly in radio silence.

They knew that mechanical failure, fire, damage from anti aircraft fire and night fighter attack could cause injury or death and that the plane could be brought down over hostile country. The chances of escape from the plane were slim and even if they landed safely, capture on the ground and imprisonment for the rest of the war was almost inevitable. They were well aware too that the chance of surviving thirty raids, the normal tour of duty, was probably less than 50% at that period of the war.

It is for these reasons I feel it is essential not to forget the sacrifices of these men and many thousands more for our freedom today.

The Flight Engineer:
Flight Engineers tended to be the oldest in the crew. They normally came from an engineering background and would have worked as apprentices in civilian life becoming ground crew first, then aircrew. Tom would have been exceptional, joining the regular RAF at the age of 28. Training took about two years and as in Tom's case, was often in Canada where over 10,040 men were trained.

The Flight Engineer’s job was complex and involved liaison with ground crew to identify and solve problems. Before a sortie he was responsible for checking all electrical, hydraulic and mechanical systems were working correctly, the fuel tanks in the wings were balanced and that the engines were running at the correct temperatures and oil pressures, and that there was no outstanding damage to be repaired. This included over forty outside checks on flaps and mechanical linkages, including checking for oil, hydraulic and fuel leaks and checking his own and the pilot's control panels.

During take-off and landing he assisted the pilot with control of engine speeds, monitoring all systems and rectifying minor problems. During the flight he would monitor the balance in the fuel tanks and transfer petrol from one to the other to ensure even flight. He would look out for flak and enemy fighters, go forward into the nose and help the bomb aimer to drop ‘window’ to confuse enemy radar. If the plane were damaged, resulting in loss of control, he would make every effort to rectify the problem and assist the pilot to keep the plane flying correctly. The flight engineer would also help keep the plane straight and level during the bombing run. If the pilot was killed or injured, then Tom could take over and fly the plane, having been trained for this eventuality during basic training and on conversion to operational duties on Lancasters.

In Memory of

1820970, 166 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
who died age 21
on 27 March 1944
Son of James and Annie G. McInroy, of Dunblane, Perthshire.
Remembered with honour

In blessed repose, grant, O Lord, eternal rest to the soul of Your servant, John, and remember him forever. Eternal memory; eternal memory, grant, O Lord, to Your servant, John, blessed repose and eternal memory.

166 Squadron Memorial

Saturday, 20 March 2010


The impulse is the beginning, the saints explain. Then intercourse* follows, when we enter further into what the impulse brings with it. The third step is already consent, and the fourth is the committed sin. These four stages can succeed each other instantly, but they can also give way by degrees so that one can manage to separate them. The impulse knocks like a salesman at the door. If one lets him in, he begins his sales talk about his wares, and it is hard to get rid of him even if one observes that the wares are not good. Thus follow consent and finally the purchase, often against one's own will. One has let himself be led astray by what the evil one has sent.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


God does not need our fasting. He does not even need our prayer. The Perfect cannot be thought of as suffering any lack or needing anything that we, the creatures of His making, could give Him. Nor does he crave anything from us, but, says John Chrysostom, He allows us to bring Him offerings for the sake of our own salvation.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Latin heard at Mass!

Up seeing parents at weekend and took opportunity with better half to go to Mass in old traditional Church - St Mary's Stirling, as a break from the architectural purgatory (as always, great priest, great parish, dreadful church building - before I get into trouble!)we have to endure. St Mary's does not have a website, will have to take camera next time. The rederos behind the main altar have been removed at some point and a divine mercy Christ painting added, which has gold glitter around Him, which I'm afraid reminded me of the type of finish we get when my kids and I put pritt stick on a page and pour glitter over it!

Fr Owens (away this week) has a good choir going, and they did the Kyrie, Agnus Dei etc in Latin. The hymns were either penetential or at least not joyful, in keeping with the season. It was uplifting, if you can say that in Lent.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Cardinal O'Brien responds to Pope on Lay Apostolate and Lay Ministry

Archdiocese of St. Andrews & Edinburgh
Pastoral Resources

E-bulletin for Pastoral Resources Feb 2010 No.2

Since my last message via the E Bulletin, the major event which has occurred for me has been my ad Limina visit to Pope Benedict XVI in the company of my brother Bishops of Scotland. As President of the Conference, it fell to me to address the Holy Father and then in the company of my brother Bishops to listen to the Pope‟s response to us on this visit. These speeches are on my website.
I am sure that of particular interest to all of the readers of the E Bulletin will be what the Pope said about lay apostolate and lay ministry. The full text of his words is available on my own website but perhaps I could quote them in full: “Hand in hand with a proper appreciation of the priest‟s role is a correct understanding of the specific vocation of the laity. Sometimes a tendency to confuse lay apostolate with lay ministry has led to an inward-looking conception of their ecclesial role. Yet the Second Vatican Council‟s vision is that wherever the lay faithful live out their baptismal vocation – in the family, at home, at work – they are actively participating in the Church‟s mission to sanctify the world. A renewed focus on lay apostolate will help to clarify the roles of clergy and laity and so give a strong impetus to the task of evangelising society”.
I am speaking about this on my visits around the diocese at the Lenten Station Masses, emphasising that the lay apostolate is incumbent on each and every member of the lay faithful by virtue of the Sacraments of Initiation. We must practise this as the Pope has said for all living out their vocation „in the family, at home, at work‟.

The Cardinal quite rightly backs up the Pope's comment on the distinction between lay apostolate and lay ministry.

While emphasising this invaluable lay apostolate, we must also remember the importance of lay ministry in our Church at this present time. One would wonder just where we would be without that great army building up the Church in our Archdiocese in so many wonderful ministries open to them. I take this opportunity of thanking all involved in the life of our Church in whatever way in our Archdiocese at this present time and pray that the lay faithful be ever more aware of both their lay apostolate, as well as the opportunity of lay ministry in so many and varied ways.

The Cardinal also quite rightly notes the importance of lay ministry but the crucial point is it's justification. 'Where would we be without...' In severe trouble operating would be the answer with ever diminishing numbers of priests and religious. What I believe Cardinal O'Brien is saying is the Lay Apostolate is most important, but in the times we face just now lay ministry is necessary.

I was a 'lay chaplain', yes I know that may grate for some, but it was what the diocese called me, for a school in the diocese. Why did I do it? Someone needed to carry out the role as the school chaplain had two parishes, two schools, national and diocesan responsibilites and was in his seventies. If (when, God willing) we get a burst of priests and religious I would have stepped aside in a second, gladly, for those more qualified and called to do it.

The problem comes, I think when lay people think they have 'right' to a certain ministry and / or the priesthood is 'not important.'

Thursday, 11 March 2010

CaFE. Hmmmmm.

Our parish has been showing the 'Life to The Full' (click the Life to the Full tab) (NB Those with an aversion to praise music are warned to turn volume down now!) CaFE series.

I've gone along as I'm fairly new to the parish, good way to meet people and also to expose myself, challenge I suppose, to something different, I've seen some CaFE stuff before - to make a change from the Benedictine / Eastern Catholic & Orthodox books that line my shelves.

I found the first one interesting, but the third one just grated. Maybe it was the praise music, sounded the same as my oldest friend's Baptist Church, maybe it was relentless over the top charismatic happiness, maybe it was the stand up and put your hands out prayer at the end. That did grate. But I came home feeling spiritually uneasy. I know (as they often do) my eyeballs rolled into the ceiling at some points.

Anyone else had a similar experience?


BY throwing off the outer bonds, you throw off the inner as well. While you are freeing yourself from external concerns, your heart is freed from inner pain. It follows from this that the hard warfare you are compelled to wage with yourself is exclusively a means. As such it is neither good nor bad; the saints often liken it to a prescribed cure. However painful it may be to follow out, it nevertheless remains only a means to regain health.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Headmaster regrets loss of 'Catholic world'

THE head of one of Scotland's leading Catholic schools has said the religious world he and others grew up in "is gone".
John Stoer, headmaster of St Aloysius' College in Glasgow, said it was quite painful that a joined-up "Catholic world" of school, parish and home was no more.Click for full article in The Herald

For all but a few it's gone. In my wife's day (she went to a Catholic school) the majority of staff were religious sisters. The Parish Priest had assistants and there would usually be a curate kicking about. Most would be in and out of the school regularly. Most pupils would go to Mass on a Sunday.

Now priests have three or more parishes and struggle to do more than celebrate sacraments in schools. Many are older and have lost that ability to relate to children, i.e. in past would have had the asst / curate do this. No religious brothers or sisters in schools. Low percentage of pupil's attending Mass.

My analogy is that we have currently been pushed back into the trenches and are pinned down. Not time to give up, time to dig in until times get better and go over the top and reclaim lost land...


"I feel a great calm in my soul: a peace which no words can express." - from a story about St Seraphim of Sarov in a Pluscarden Letter - click link.

He has made peace with himself, as Isaac the Syrian says, and heaven and earth have made peace with him. He is gathering the fruit of humility. But this takes place only on the narrow way, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:14).