Sometimes people ask me if I am busy. My stock answer is to say that I don't get bored. To youngsters asking what it is like to be a priest, I say that I have good days and bad days but that I have not yet had a boring day in nearly 25 years of priesthood.
Yesterday was a particularly full day. In the morning, I celebrated the Requiem Mass for Sarah Keenan who had died at the grand age of 92. One of her American relatives had the good idea of recording some of her thoughts on tape and so after receiving her body into the Church on Thursday afternoon, I sat in my study and listened to her talking about Lourdes, Fatima, the Holy Land, the Rosary Procession in London and how she continually prayed for all her family and for all the Holy Souls.
The burial was at St Patrick's Cemetery, Leytonstone. Unusually for England, this is a Catholic cemetery. Some of my own relatives from the East End are buried there. It was a beautiful day and we spent some time going around, blessing graves and praying.
I then had to drive to Purley to talk at the John Fisher School Faith Group about the Martyrs in the life of the Church. I dug up some gruesome stories of the Roman Martyrs from St Alphonsus, the English Martyrs from Sebastian Bowden, and the life of St John de Brebeuf to illustrate some of the torments that they endured. I tried to make the point that what we have to put up with by way of ridicule is pretty trivial compared to their sufferings and that if we are called to martyrdom, we must be ready through prayer and the sacraments to call on God's grace which alone can help us in such a time.
From there I drove over to New Addington where Fr Stephen Boyle, (the brother of the South Ashford Priest) was in the middle of a Forty Hours devotion with a pro-life theme. I heard some confessions, then said Mass and preached on chastity as the only real guarantee of the sanctity of human life. Then we had some time before the Blessed Sacrament, during which I led the Rosary, said the pro-life Litany and some other prayers.
Meanwhile, the Mulier Fortis has been busy posting photos. Here is one from the High Mass last Tuesday for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary:
And here is a video from our recent Mass for the feast of St Francis of Assisi. It is quite fun because it is a bit like those little books that you used to get with successive pictures that looked as if they were moving if you flicked the pages. (Just to be clear: this is a slideshow with photos - the music was added afterwards from another source.)
Looking through my phone (isn't it funny that you can do that!) I found this photo from the Coal Hole after Mass at Maiden Lane. I thought that the gloom and the traditional jugs of ale suggested a rather conspiratorial gathering.