Please remember Guy Hawley in your prayers. Aged 55, he died suddenly and I celebrated his funeral Mass today, followed by the burial at Sidcup Cemetery. Please remember his wife and children in your prayers too. While waiting around afterwards for a lift back in Udens undertakers' Rolls Royce, I said a prayer at a few graves I recognised. It is a strange feeling being in a cemetery where I know so many of those who are buried.
I try always to go to Alison Gresley's plot. She died of cancer in 2003 at the age of nine. A short while before she died, she had enough strength to come to the Church for her first Holy Communion. At a day's notice, I phoned up a few people and said "Right! push the boat out, we're having Alison's first Communion tomorrow!" Various mums got on the bush telegraph and really did us proud, even managing to procure some first Communion balloons from somewhere for the lovely reception they put on. Do say a prayer for her mum and dad - the wound of such a loss is never healed in this life.
The Good Counsel Network had booked me for Benediction this afternoon so I had to miss solemn Vespers at the chapel of St John and St Elizabeth with Mgr Wach of the ICKSP. Still, the GCN has to be supported because they are on the front line of helping mothers to keep their babies rather than take the "choice" of abortion which seems so tempting in difficult circumstances. We had some fun after Benediction with Gabby cooking up pancakes and Conor being loaded with penances for ducking out of the task. I had not expected to have any pancakes on this Shrove Tuesday so it was a pleasant surprise. (And Gabby - they were excellent!)
(Note for priests: the Good Counsel Network needs priests who are available from time to time to say Mass in the morning or to give Benediction at 5pm. If you can be available even occasionally, do please contact them on Info@goodcounselnetwork.freeserve.co.uk.)
A short tube ride took me to the Travellers Club in Pall Mall where there was a reception given to celebrate the decree granting pontifical right to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. I was very glad to have been able to attend this celebration and meet so many good friends. Fr Martin Edwards was complaining that although he had been saying the old rite far longer than me, he had not had the distinction of being attacked by the Tablet. The Oxford University Newman Society was well represented, and I had the chance to meet many friends from the Latin Mass Society.
Damian Thompson told me of his latest post about the Tablet refusing to print a letter from James MacMillan and it was great to see the Catholic Herald writer Anna Arco.
Mgr Wach was most gracious and I was glad to be able to talk with him at least semi-coherently in French. He had extended a general invitation to visit Gricigliano and pressed this invitation on me personally - I very much hope to find an opportunity to spend a few days with the community.