Thursday, 16 August 2012

Mustard, jealousy, and hope for the minor basilica

The title of the new blog thank you for the mustard is based on an example used by Chesterton to illustrate the problem of determinism:
[...] you may say, if you like, that the bold determinist speculator is free to disbelieve in the reality of the will. But it is a much more massive and important fact that he is not free to raise, to curse, to thank, to justify, to urge, to punish, to resist temptations, to incite mobs, to make New Year resolutions, to pardon sinners, to rebuke tyrants, or even to say “thank you” for the mustard.
There is no name or even pseudonym for the writer, so he is probably going to have to get used to being called "Mustard" just as Laurence England is often called "Bones".

In the second post on the blog, Mustard speculates on what he would have done with the £148 million if he had won the Euro Lottery last week. I am in sympathy with him in his longing to travel on the Orient Express, and on gentle railway journeys through Spain and England but I venture to suggest that this would scarcely knock the froth off £148 million. I wonder whether he would be prepared to take, say £10-£20 million to take care of railways journeys around the world and never having to work again, and consider another cause for the remainder.

Here at Blackfen, as regular readers will know, the winning of the Euro Lottery is a serious aspiration in order that we might build a new Church and apply for it to be given the status of a minor basilica. We have a sketch, though as I have expressed a preference for baroque, I have submitted possible designs for the interior. This is a project which has involved the young people of the parish who made the above architectonic model in structural gingerbread.

Zephyrinus, one of the many bloggers of the parish, regularly brings us news of his winnings - usually in the region of £4.50 which he converts into the number of bricks that would be bought with the sum. Mulier Fortis and Leutgeb are holding him to this by keeping a spreadsheet to record progress so that the winnings do not all go on rounds of the very drinkable Canterbury Jack that the Parish Club has on tap at the moment. As a regular beneficiary of the generosity of Zephyrinus in buying rounds, I would feel it churlish to complain, but the ladies are more hard-headed and have in mind something along the lines of separating the investment and retail arms of our major banks.

Given the intense and heart-rending roller-coaster of waiting each week for the results of the lottery, imagine my envy at hearing the news that a parish in Ohio has been named the United States’ 74th minor basilica. St John the Baptist Church, Canton, describes the basilica as “the oldest Catholic parish in northeastern Ohio since 1823.” Well we are the oldest Catholic parish in Blackfen since 1945, so there! And fancy the USA having 74 minor basilicas. That's almost one and a half for every State - couldn't we have just half a basilica for every county of Ye Olde England?

Mind you, I'm grateful to St John the Baptist for giving us some inside track on the process. From their website:
Four years ago, our Bishop, the Most Reverend George V. Murry, SJ, asked each parish in the Diocese of Youngstown to think outside the box in regards to its viability to the community, city, county and diocese. The question of applying for basilica status had been on the table several times. Once we examined the criteria for being elevated to a minor basilica, we realized we met each condition, and with Bishop Murry’s approval and blessing, we made application through the Diocese of Youngstown, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Holy See. The original application was in Latin and had to be translated into English. A document containing six pages of questions became a testament to our parish of over fifty plus pages. We had a local historian offer some insight into our past, we hired (through the generosity of a parishioner) a professional photographer to thoroughly document our beautiful church building both inside and out, and we spent months finishing the basilica application. The process took three years to gain approval.
Right! First of all I need to "think outside the box" and get the minor basilica question "on the table". I think I could do those with the help of a mentor or facilitator or something. Since we will be constructing the basilica from scratch, we can ensure that it meets the criteria. Translating Latin into English is covered (obviously) and I can call in a friendly historian such as Fr Briggs of Chislehurst. Professional photographer: no problemo. We may also need to set aside a trivial amount from the £120 million or so to have a fact-finding trip to Ohio. (I think that goes along with taking things out of the box and putting them on the table.)

The whole thing is looking more hopeful by the day. We'll need to have an earnest "bringing up to speed" session after Rosary and Benediction this evening. I must remember to bring my iPad.

Seriously though, warmest congratulations to St John the Baptist, Canton, Ohio.

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