Wednesday 29 April 2015

Mark Jones, poet

It`s not unusual for a parish priest to receive anonymous mail. For a while, at the end of last year,  we had anonymous letters at St Wilfrid`s, on a weekly basis with a £5 note included. At other times I`ve had long religious ramblings or photocopies of newspaper articles. Last week I got a poem from a Mark Jones. Not expecting to find anything, a Google search produced more than I expected. Mark Jones is described as a `Banksy-style poet` who sends his poems mainly to hairdressers but also to churches it seems. They all end with `Keep your chin up. Keep smiling`. Here is today`s, which is the second I`ve had.

A hairdresser in Newcastle has also had these poems recently. Rather heart-warming and something to look forward to when the post arrives!

Monday 27 April 2015

Fr Lawrence Jones

Very sad news this morning as the death of Fr Lawrence Jones was announced. He was parish priest of Morpeth, (where I spent time as a curate from 1992-95) and only 53 years old but had been diagnosed with cancer at the start of the year.  Lawrence could always bring a smile to your face: he had great faith and was a good shepherd. Here he is talking about the vocation to the priesthood. He`ll be very much missed. May he rest in peace. His body will be received into St Robert`s on Monday 4th May at 7pm. The Requiem Mass will be at the cathedral on Tuesday at 12.

Sunday 26 April 2015

Icons on the move

Many thanks to Fr Michael McCoy who rescued the icons at SS Peter and Paul`s, Longbenton and took them to St Anne`s, Pennywell, Sunderland. He has kindly sent me some photos of the icons in their new location. I`m pleased they have gone to a good home!

Here`s a reminder of how they looked at Longbenton.
SS Peter and Paul a month or so ago.

Thursday 23 April 2015


Well here are some photos of our parishes visitation on Passion Sunday (aka as the Sunday before Palm Sunday (OF) or vice versa). All went well. Bishop Seamus celebrated the vigil at St Wilfrid`s and the two morning Masses at St Joseph`s and the 12 noon was coram episcopo. Before anyone says anything I know here is a lack of veils. I can assure you everything was veiled by Palm Sunday. New veils had to be made for St Wilfrid`s and a very thorough job was done. St Joseph`s had almost enough except for Our Lady and St Joseph on the reredos but veils were made and in place a fe days after this. 

Fortescue does not tell us how to celebrate a Missa Cantata coram episcopo, only High Mass. I wasn`t sure how keen bishop Seamus would be to do all the bits a bishop is meant to do so we kept t simple and limited it to his sprinkling at the Asperges and blessing the incense. He gave the final blessing too. He told me he quite enjjoyed it and was impressed with our young and enthusiastic altar team most of whom are seeking to pursue vocations to the clerical state. Music was by the Paul Dewhurst choir and the Kyrie and Agnus Dei settings by Lotti live on in my memory. 

The bishop did tell people at the end of the 10.30 Mass that we should consider merging the 9am and 10.30 as neither is even half full and most parishes are now going down to one Mass. We are in the process of looking into this. Sunday mornings can be rather heavy with three Masses and two different sermons as well as baptism and afternoon devotions twice a month.

St Wilfrid`s: Picture courtesy of Stephen Scullion          
9am Mass at St Joseph`s: photo courtesy of G Debreczeni

12 noon: photo courtesy of L. Darroch
Photo courtesy of P Macgregror

Monday 20 April 2015

Losing the will to blog

I keep thinking of things I should write about but never seem to do so. Must make an effort. Things are going ok. Life in Gateshead is good. I`ve a few things to catch up on. We had the bishop on visitation on the Sunday before Palm Sunday (aka Passion Sunday) and all went well. I`ve pictures to put up. I went to the chrism Mass for the first time in seven years and will go again next year. The icons from Longbenton have found a home at St Anne`s in Sunderland. No pictures as yet but hope to get some. New white High Mass set is slowly coming together. Just waiting for the chasuble to be made (by Pluriarte of Madrid). The weather is good and I`m still teaching Latin at the university (although this may be my last year I suspect). Judicial vicaring continues although I`m the only instructing judge at the minute following the well-earned retirement of Fr Zielinski. And we are in the throws of Forward Together in Hope which I don`t feel I understand.