SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Pastor Iuventus

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April 12, 2018
Divine Mercy Sunday reminds me of the occasion I was in Poland for the feast, when the school choir were singing for High Mass at the Divine Mercy shrine near Kraków. I won’t forget the sight of the devout Poles kneeling in the snow outside. So vast were the crowds that only a small proportion
April 05, 2018
Peace is Compline on Easter Sunday night with the Benedictine nuns of St Cecilia on the Isle of Wight. It feels as if we have been on an extraordinary and arduous journey since the introit Nos autem gloriari oportet announced the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday. Now the solemn Regina Caeli completes these
March 29, 2018
In the hills around Assisi are spectacular rock formations and caves where St Francis and his followers used to go to pray for days on end. I am no geologist, but it would seem obvious to me that the natural explanation for the shape of the hills in Umbria is volcanic activity. St Francis was
March 22, 2018
By coincidence, on March 23, which the Bishops of England and Wales have declared a day of prayer for the protection of minors, I am travelling to Assisi, where, via the Franciscans, I have been introduced to a potential donor for the work of the Grief to Grace Ministry, a programme for healing those who
March 15, 2018
The violet of penitence becomes more inescapable as crosses and images are veiled to usher in Passiontide. This year’s cycle of Sunday Gospels is from St Mark, which means we shall read his version of the Passion on Palm Sunday. Scholars describe St Mark’s Gospel as a Passion with a very long introduction, because it
March 08, 2018
When it was built in 1902, the monastery of St Joseph and St Anne stood in farmland in the Oak Lane district of Philadelphia. But sometime later the sprawl of the city meant that 66th Street bisected their property, leaving it on the edge of a busy road. There it stands today, surrounded by granite
March 01, 2018
During my recent visit to America, I watched a delightful comedy with my hosts called The Trouble with Angels. Made in 1966, it starred a young Hayley Mills, who plays Mary Clancy, a tearaway, troubled orphan sent to a Catholic convent school. St Francis Academy is presided over by a redoubtable Reverend Mother, a role
February 22, 2018
As Lent begins, I am off on my travels again, this time to the United States. I think perhaps the experience of flying is more significant than I tend to give it credit for because it has become routine. I was praying Vespers on the plane and the psalmist asks: “Lord, what is man that
February 15, 2018
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom, says the Book of Proverbs. It is this fear of the Lord, rather than some kind of personal challenge out of enlightened self-interest, that should drive our Lenten discipline. The secular world is big on the idea that one must fast from a whole lot
February 08, 2018
We had a beautiful celebration of Candlemas at school, enhanced by some lovely music. Health and safety precluded the lighting of candles by the congregation since these would have set off the smoke detectors in the school hall. It’s a shame, because the faithful carrying lighted candles into church is a powerful symbol of the
February 01, 2018
January was a long month, but now the roots of the huge willow tree in the garden embrace clumps of snowdrops, and mornings and evenings begin to lighten. Candlemas is always a kind of fulcrum of the year, midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The “Christianity” section of the BBC website quotes
January 25, 2018
This week I foolishly got sucked into debates on social media. It doesn’t happen often. The odd “like” or pleasantry is fine, but the idea that anyone’s opinions were ever altered by blog comments seems improbable, as experience again proved. The event which had me raring to shed some heat, if not light, was the
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