Reading at lunch at Wickenden

Last Wednesday, I was at Wickenden Manor for a day of recollection provided by Opus Dei for secular priests. As ever, it was a most enjoyable and helpful day. Added to the spiritual talks, God provided us with one of those beautiful and not too hot early summer days.

The timetable allows for a little time to walk in the grounds between the talks and after lunch.

There is always good company at these days and on this occasion, there were also a number of priests staying on retreat. We therefore had lunch in silence with reading. The book was "Milestones" by Cardinal Ratzinger. The custom is for the book to be passed round during lunch so that people read from it in turn without anyone having to read all the way through the meal.

Fr Stephen Langridge and I were on the same table. He was reading the passage where the Cardinal spoke about his Schott (a German hand-missal):
"The unquestionably positive gain of the liturgical movement was the way in which this missal made the liturgy accessible and encouraged its celebration in a manner befitting its nature."
Fr Langridge is given to occasional asides and, to the words "in a manner befitting its nature", he added "in the vernacular." This was not meant seriously, just a friendly piece of banter directed at me.

I gestured to him to pass me the book as I had now finished my potatoes. The assembled brethren were amused that the first sentence I had to read was:
"But I was bothered by the narrow-mindedness of many of the movement's followers, who wanted to recognise only one form of the liturgy as valid."

Fr Langridge, incidentally, is the vocations director for the Archdiocese of Southwark (see the Southwark Vocations blog). He does a great job in encouraging vocations to the priesthood and supporting boys and young men who show an interest in the priesthood, with retreats, days of recollection and personal advice. One of the fruits of his work is that Southwark has a very healthy number of students starting their priestly formation this year. (Fr Langridge is on the right in the photo below.)

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