Sunday 9 February 2020


I was explaining to a Protestant friend the other day why the concept of the 'January blues' didn't exist while England was Catholic. Having fasted and abstained throughout Advent right up until Christmas Eve, people could look forward to a joyful month of feasting and celebrating the birth of Christ at a time when nature was at its least hospitable. Food would have been stored and prepared for these happy weeks, and just as familiarity started to pall the merriment, Holy Mother Church calls time on the partying and focuses our minds on mortality, the Four Last Things, The Way of the Cross... It's time to prepare for Lent.

This last week between Candlemas and Septuagesima is a strange one: liturgically it feels like neither fish nor fowl. Like CS Lewis’s Wood Between the Worlds. Should we consider it the octave of the Presentation / Purification of the BVM, or prep-time for the start of the Easter cycle? On balance I've opted for the former -- so wine, cake and good Armagnac have been in evidence. Today, however, it was back to purple vestments and goodbye to the Alleluia and Gloria, at least until Laetare Sunday.

But today is still a Sunday and so we had a plain cake ('Winter Cake' -- a plain cake with mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg, stuffed with slivers of apple) with dinner and I have a nice glass of Janneau to keep me company as I write this.  Little pleasures, from which we will take our leave during Lent.

Corporal acts of mercy - help a fellow Traditional Catholic

If Mac was a snow-woman...
My dear Cat-holic friend Mac is in need of assistance to help her through a difficult stage in her life.

She writes:

I'm a 52 year old woman,  living alone with my cat. I've worked as a Science teacher for 20 years. I lost my job due to health problems: I'm waiting for total knee replacement surgery because, due to a road traffic accident in my teens and corrective surgery which went awry, my knees are now crippled with severe pain from arthritis and degenerative bone damage. I'm on crutches, but can't get very far, and am taking morphine for the pain. It took a while for the benefits system here to acknowledge that I was really ill and give me the (hopefully) temporary financial support until I have the operations I need to get me back on my feet and into the classroom again. While sorting out my financial situation, I found it impossible to keep up the repayments on my car. Despite offering to restart paying £200 per month, the finance company want to repossess the vehicle, unless I can pay off the £4126 that is outstanding. I don't have any savings with which to do so, and, if I lose the car, I'm going to find it impossible to get out of the house at all for shopping and doctors' appointments. Getting finance for another car will be impossible with this default on my record. And that will make getting another teaching job so much harder when I've recovered from the surgery... So, I'm hoping that I can raise the funds to pay the outstanding balance on my car. It seems a small amount, but, as I said, I haven't any savings, or any assets. And, while there are so very many more worthy causes out there, I feel guilty asking for money... but if I get enough to keep the car, I can pay forward each month to other good causes.

I have been in three parishes with Mac and she has been an indispensable help to the priests in each of them. She has been variously sacristan, schola leader,  safeguarding lead, catechist, office dogsbody (catsbody?)  and more (often all at once). She has taken private vows and is a powerhouse of prayer as well as kind and devout person. Without her car Mac would be housebound -- which would make Mass, helping in the parish and finding paid work after her operation all impossible.

Please help her to stay mobile if you can -- donate on the link below: