Last Tuesday, after getting the train down from Hull, I took the Northern Line Tube to Clapham South to visit the great parish of St Bede's, Clapham Park. For many years, St Bede's has offered both forms of the Roman Rite regularly and has been home to many priests from abroad as well as Fr Andrew Southwell who exclusively celebrates the usus antiquior.
Fr Basden organises regular meetings for priests - someone is invited to give a talk on some matter of interest and take questions. We then repair to the Church for Benediction, followed by a wholesome lunch with good banter. This week, I was asked to say something about the Catholic blogosphere. Included in teh company were two other priest bloggers, Fr Ray Blake of St Mary Magdalen Brighton and ""Fr Mildew" otherwise known as Fr Michael Clifton. Fr Clifton was one of my teachers of RE at the John Fisher School many years ago where he also ran a club for model railway enthusiasts and managed the first year cricket team.
I talked about the different kinds of blogs there are: the "big hitters", the specialist blogs, and the many heartwarming "blogs of faith" written by Catholic lay people. I discussed the impact of blogs - we can overestimate this as well as under-estimate it, and particularly the way in which blogs can give a voice to ordinary Catholic lay people of deep faith, as well as the many priests who post good spiritual articles and sermons that people find very helpful.
One interesting point is the way in which some Catholic papers (well, the Catholic Herald anyway!) have, over the last couple of years, worked in co-operation with Catholic bloggers, often writing up balanced and well-researched articles on matters that have arisen informally in the blogosphere over the past week.
As it was in fact my 50th birthday that day, Fr Basden asked me to give Benediction which I was very pleased to do.
Father's parishioners very kindly made me a cake, too!