Tuesday, 17 March 2009




Today is St Patrick's Day -- a happy Feast-Day to all my Irish friends and acquaintances.

I recently read an hilarious post by Paul Nichols in 'Catholic
Cartoon Blog' on the subject of Ash Wednesday and the distribution of ashes. I guarantee that a visit to this site will bring a smile to anybody's face. To give you a taster - with acknowledgement and thanks to Paul Nichols, ...............



This is what I would call a 'bitser' post, a bit of this and a bit of that!

Until yesterday, this year in Orkney has generally been rather cold and wintry, but today is beautiful, sunny and warm with no wind. This past winter seems to have been never-ending , perhaps because last year, the autumn - a season 'of mists and mellow fruitfulness', failed to materialise. Still on average, the winter has been less cold here than in the south of England, and we have not had so much rain or snow, which has been a real blessing. Spring has definitely
arrived, skylarks singing, the garden with splashes of white, golden and violet crocii, and numerous clumps of cheerful yellow dwarf 'tete a tete' daffodils dotted around, and today these beautiful tiny blue anemones appeared. We have some striking flame-coloured tulips which my wife has grown in small 'soft' plastic pots in the greenhouse, which she then transfers to large planters as soon as they start flowering. The advantage of this system is that the bulbs aren't eaten by the mice before they come into flower, also suddenly we can enjoy an instant flowering garden - one day there is nothing, next day it is a mass of colour! The first harbingers of Spring were of course the lovely white snowdrops, which are spreading more and more each year. We are unashamedly politically incorrect, and really do like garden ornaments, usually quite small and in the form of animals, gnomes etc. which are dotted around the garden, adding a splash of colour and a bit of interest, particularly in the winter.
On a rather different theme, there seems to have been a surfeit of 'doom and gloom' news recently, both in the world and in the Church. I empathise with Brian Sudlow, 'Sensible Bond', who in his latest post, among other matters, revealed how depressing he finds the interminable wrangling and disagreements between the traditional and the 'conciliar' factions within the Church, on matters that surely, with a genuine desire for reconciliation, and with patience, goodwill and mutual trust, and with God's help, could be considered and resolved by the Magisterium of the Church under the guidance of the Holy Father, without further procrastination and delay. The old saying - 'it takes two to tango'- seems particularly appropriate, with the need for humility, respect and trust, essential factors in any dialogue with Rome.

With regard to those other frustrations and disappointments, 'Sensible Bond' can perhaps take some comfort that he is not alone. Everybody has problems - albeit different, and we know that things always happen in threes?! Sounds absurd, but I have so often found it to be the case! Anyway I hope the sunshine today has cheered you up Brian, although on second thoughts you might be suffering from post -Saturday depression viz. Manchester United 1 - Liverpool 4. There you go Brian, there's always something!

To change tack slightly, as far as I am aware the Pro Papa League is still battling on, spiritually speaking of course, although I understand that some of HH Fleet are in dry dock at present.
Nevertheless, cordial greetings to all members, and may God bless our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, and may Our Lady protect and guide him.

Thoughts from St Alphonsus by Rev C McNeiry CSSR

'O Lord, thou art silent about the intense pains which hasten thy death, and dost thou complain of thirst? Ah! the thirst of Jesus was very different from that which we imagine it to be. His thirst is the desire of being loved by the souls for whom He dies' (March 17th)