Tuesday, 25 December 2012

A Blessed Christmastide - floods notwithstanding

May I offer each and every one of you my heartfelt prayers and a layman's blessing on this the day we celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God the Father.
Here in the village we were almost without our Masses.  On Sunday morning I was en-route to church where I usually sing Lauds in the morning when I came upon a number of fire engines, police cars, marine rescue personnel and even a decontamination unit.  It quickly became apparent that a major flood had occurred - the second in two weeks.  The previous week we had experienced exceptionally severe storms with winds over 80mph and waves the size of any self respecting tsunami.  A number of homes were evacuated and the local supermarket shut due to sea-water ingress.  Fortunately no-one was hurt and emergency serves were very quick o respond.
This Sunday it was the turn of the torrential rain which broke the banks of a tributary of the Carron river (we have two rivers running through the village; the Cowie to the north and the Carron to the south).  Readers in the UK will have seen video and picture footage of our flooded streets on the national news.
One of the casualties was our Church which, for the second time in three years, was surrounded by a lake of water as was Father's Gerry's presbytery.  At it's worst the water was chest high which fortunately was just below the floorboards of the church but not that of the house.  Mud, effluent, and worse meant that we had to be diligent about hygiene as we worked.  The water did subside quickly as the sea, a major flood influencing factor, receded leaving behind a few inches of glutenous mud.

View from Fr's back door with the Church in the background
(this taken as the water had already begun to subside)

By 6pm on Christmas eve we were satisfied that all that could be done was done and Fr Gerry could at least "make do" in his house.  The insurance assessor had been, mud cleared from the path between the house and the church and from the church to the road, environmental health feedback okayed the church for use, electrician checked the wiring, gas supply had been reconnected and the chapel carpets cleaned.  Even the tow truck had been and taken Father's car, which had been semi-submerged during the flood, away to the garage.

Unfortunately the decision had already been taken that there would be no Midnight Mass but at least we would have our two morning Masses which, I am very happy to recount, had parishioners standing in all the nooks and crannies as every pew was full; even though the sound system and organ were not working due to wet circuits.  Equally pleasing was that a local Church of Scotland minister had offered us one of their churches for our use on Christmas day should our chapel be unusable.

We are now restricted to Sunday Masses only until the solum (the space between the foundations and the floor) has been dried out using industrial blowers and the void sanitised against microscopic bugs etc. to prevent health problems.

In your charity I ask you to please pray for Father Gerry whose health, which is never too robust, has suffered greatly during this time.


Sunday, 9 December 2012

Saint Benedict's Jubilee Medal

I quote a further passage from the Lay Oblates Manual found during my stay at Prinknash in early November.

There are two different medals of Saint Benedict, the ordinary and the Jubilee medals.  The Jubilee Medal is so called because it was struck in 1880 on the fourteen centenary of the birth of Saint Benedict.  This medal has all the indulgencies which have been conferred in the past on the ordinary medal by Sovereign Pontiffs, and especially by Benedict XIV; but, besides these, it has been enriched by Popes Pius IX and X with special spiritual favours.  Amongst others it may be mentioned the plenary indulgencies for the 2nd of November.  This indulgence, commonly known as the Benedictine Portiuncula, because of its resemblance to the indulgence of the 2nd of August, begins at midday of All Saints’ Day, and ends the day after, 2nd November, at midnight.  The conditions necessary for the gaining of this indulgence are: confession, communion and a visit to a church or public chapel to pray for the intentions of the Pope.  A special feature of this indulgence consists of the fact that it may be gained as often as a visit is made to the church.  Numerous other plenary indulgencies are granted during the year to the faithful who wear the Jubilee Medal.


On the face of the medal is the image of Saint Benedict.

In his left hand is his 'Rule'.
In his right hand he holds the cross, the symbol of salvation.  In this instance the cross is a reminder of the evangelisation of Europe carried out in the main by the Benedictine monks and nuns, especially during the latter half of the first millennium.
To the left can be seen a raven ready to fly off with a loaf of bread poisoned by a jealous enemy and sent to St. Benedict.  To the right is the poisoned cup, which shattered when he made the sign of the cross over it.  
Above the cup and the raven are the Latin words:  Crux s. patris Benedicti.  The Cross of our holy father Benedict.
Around the outer edges:  Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur.  May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death.

Explanation of Letters on the Cross

In the Intersections:
C. S. P. B.
Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti
Cross of Saint Benedict
On the horizontal line:
N. D. S. M. D.
Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux
May the dragon not be my guide

On the Vertical Line:

C. S. S. M. L.

Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux
    May the Holy Cross by my light


From the word PAX around the edge (clockwise):

V. R. S.
Vade Retro Satana
Get thee behind me Satan
N. S. M. V.
Nunquam Suade Mihi Vana
Never teach me vanity
S. M. Q. L.
Sunt Mala Quæ Libas
Thou pourest out evil
I. V. B.
Ipse Venena Bibas
Drink thine own poison


Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Origins of the Cross or Medal of Saint Benedict

In my guest room at Prinknash Abbey I found a delightful old book entitled "The Benedictine Oblate’s Manual", edited by ‘a monk of Prinknash Priory’ and published with an Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat in 1928.  The following is taken directly from it with kind permission.
The first official approval of the Cross or Medal of St Benedict was that given by Pope Benedict XIV on March 12th 1742 who issued an Apostolic Brief recalling the general doctrine of sacramentals and the history of the Cross of St Benedict, prescribing the form of blessing to be applied to the Cross, and enriching it with indulgences.
Like so many pious practices approved by Holy Church, the Cross of Saint Benedict had a fortuitous origin, which of itself suggested the form and manner of its development by the faithful.
The known facts are these:
The town and countryside of Bavaria had been, for some time, a prey to those “venomous serpents”, the witches and sorcerers, so numerous in Europe during the period of social unrest and disorder following on from the so called Reformation, when the natural bent of men to superstition received a fillip from the general loosening of devotional and moral discipline.  Sorcery had become so common that the civil authorities felt themselves obliged to make new laws, with very severe sanctions, under which numbers of wretched men and women were arrested, tortured and put to death.  In the course of their compulsory confessions, many of these unhappy victims of needless cruelty made known their utter failure of their spells in (the) presence of the Cross of Christ and particularly in the vicinity of the Monastery of Metten. *
Struck with the frequency of this admission on the part of their prisoners, the magistrates instituted and enquiry at the Monastery; as so discovered numerous crosses, painted on the walls of the Church and cloister, all signed with certain mysterious letters.  Further research brought to light a precious illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels, followed by certain mystical treatises, the last of which was the famous one of the Holy Cross, by Blessed Rabanus Maurus.  There the skilled scribe had drawn a splendid figure of Saint Benedict, clad in the monastic cowl and bearing in his right hand a cross and, in his left, a scroll, on both of which were written the words whose initials appeared on and around the crosses of the wall paintings.  This manuscript is dated 1415 AD, in the reign of Abbot Peter of Metten.
Whether the scribe himself composed these inscriptions, or merely recorded in them a tradition of some iniquity, in the year 1647, the pious use of crosses or medals, inscribed with the letters found at Metten, became common among the people of the district, and sorcery entirely disappeared.  And, so beneficial were the practices suggested by the piety of the faithful in the use of this cross, that the monks applied to the Holy See for an approval of this devotion and faculties to bless medals stamped with the Cross and the letters mentioned above.
Amongst the earliest to use and propagate the Cross of St. Benedict was the great religious founder St. Vincent de Paul. “Monsieur Vincent” as he was affectionately called by all the people of his day, distributed the medal of Saint Benedict, as soon as it was obtainable, to all his nursing Sisters, the Daughters of Charity, bidding them use it in attending the sick.  This they did, and with the best of results.  Not only were wounds healed and diseases cured with remarkable ease, but the hardened sinners were moved to repentance and reconciled to God; and the dying were comforted in their agony.  The Sisters have, ever since, worn such medals attached to their Rosary beads.  Many prodigies have been recorded throughout the world, but especially in the Foreign Missions, showing the wonderful effects of the pious use of the Cross of Saint Benedict.
  *Out of which came in 1846, Dom Boniface Wimmer, founder of the American Cassinese Congregation.
Two Special Uses of the Medal
By a rescript of the Sacred Congregation of Religious (4 May 1965) lay Oblates of St. Benedict are permitted to wear the Medal of St. Benedict instead of the small black cloth scapular formerly worn.
By a decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites (6 March 1959), the Blessing of St. Maur over the sick is permitted to be given with a Medal of St. Benedict instead of with a relic of the True Cross, since the latter is difficult to obtain.
In the next post I shall describe the wording and their meanings found on the Jubilee Medal.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

UK Lay Oblates Group

Last weekend I travelled to Prinknash Abbey near Gloucester to attend my first meeting of the UK Oblates Group onto which I was co-opted earlier this Autumn.  The Group only formed in recent years and is still finding its way with, regrettably, some of the Benedictine Abbeys in the UK still eyeing this well meaning group with suspicion which, among other desires, wish to assist fellow lay oblates serve their own communities in a spirit of collegiality and companionship.
An example of this is in Thomas Brunnhuber, (back row second right), taking up the unenviable task as the UK national coordinator for the International Oblates Congress being held in Rome during 2013.  Please visit the website for further information.
I have always been keen to visit Prinknash Abbey as it was from there that Pluscarden abbey was refounded in 1948 and regret not seeing it in its heyday when it held over forty monks.  Now their numbers have reduced somewhat with the age profile such that half the community are 80 or over in years.  Having said that the Benedictine ethos remains burning brightly as the go about their Ora et Labora.  Father Abbot is the chief incense maker sending the world famous Prinknash incense in various grades around the globe.  The community has returned to its original buildings at St Peter's Grange and it was there I stayed in the guest wing during my visit.
Inside the Chapel are some wonderful murals painted around the walls; truly poingnant simplicity at its best.  The photograph of the Crucifixion below is startling and is positioned above the main door so as you exit it is another reminder what our Lord did for us.

The Abbey is also fortunate in having two priest monks who regulary offer the Sacrifice of the Mass in the Tridentine Rite, or to be politically correct, the Forma Extraordinaria.  Whilst there the redoubtable Dom Damian OSB offered such a wonderful Mass.
 As usual more photos from my visit may be seen HERE

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

La profession d’oblat de frère Alan Pierre-Benoît

Last weekend I had the honour in accompanying my dear friend Alan, who is also my schola master, and sœur Dorothy Marie-André OSB (Obl) to L’Abbeye Notre Dame d’Argentan, a community of contemplative Benedictine nuns in the region of Lower Normandy, France.  

Alan was to receive the honour of becoming an Oblate of the Abbey following a two year period as postulant.  This he humbly received in a very moving ceremony during Mass on Monday 8th October when a true relic of St Benedict was displayed on the altar.

Alan Pierre-Benoit recites his Vows at the Altar

The Abbey is very ancient founded in the sixth century and as one would expect of such an old Abbey, a colourful history.  It was sacked during the Norman period, dissolved during the French revolution and bombed during the Second World War.
Housed within the Abbey is a relic of St Opportune, an abbess of the Abbey during the 8th Century. St. Opportune is very famous as in intercessor for childless couples.  Whilst there we were shown albums of letters, and more recently of photographs, from thankful parents who have now been blessed by children.

Reliquary of St Opportune
Reliquary of St Benedict

The good sisters of Argentan truly live the Rule; in their hearts, minds, words and deeds.  Their unrestrained hospitality was a wonder to behold.  Without exception the faces of the community literally “lit-up” with love and joy when they saw Alan and Dorothy.  They made sure I was not forgotten and given a loving welcome as a fellow Benedictine oblate.

The Abbey has been blessed with the wisdom of its Abbesse Mère Mariè-Paul, a very wise woman, as indeed is her predecessor Mère Abbesse Emerita Mariè-Joseph.  We were most fortunate to have a number of meetings with the Abbess and I recall one of her wonderful pronouncements:
We have so much for which to be thankful in this life. It is a good job we have an eternity to give thanks as it will take all eternity to offer them.

Mother Abbess,standing back left, Mother Infirmarian back right, Mother Emerita seated front.

We left with little gifts of prayers and tokens to remind us of a truly wonderful weekend; one of which we hope to repeat in the future.

In your kindness please pray for frère Alan Pierre-Benoit and the community of L’Abbeye Notre Dame d’Argentan.

As usual a small set of photographs is available HERE

Friday, 24 August 2012

Together in Christ - at last!

Public Profession of the Vows of Religion

Together in Christ, the Motto of the Diocese of Aberdeen, and, on Wednesday the 22nd August 2012, this came true for the Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer when they were raised as a Clerical Institution of Diocesan Right by His Excellency Bishop Hugh Gilbert O.S.B., Bishop of Aberdeen.
Travelling across on the boat with the Community from the Monastery on Papa Stronsay to Stronsay where the ceremony was to take place in their chapel before the ceremony, Fr Anthony Mary remarked how this was the last time they would travel like this.  I thought to myself how prophetic; the vessel was heading west into the sunset as the day was ending on their time in the 'tween decks of the Church and on our return journey, after the acceptance of their vows, we would be sailing east into a new dawn.
By happenstance the Abbot of Ampleforth, Dom Cuthbert Madden O.S.B. was visiting Bishop Hugh and was a welcome presence during this wondrous occasion.  Also actively participating during the ceremony was Dom Benedict Hardy, Prior of Pluscarden Abbey.

The service commenced with three lessons and a Gospel.  Bishop Hugh's address was, as usual, of a high quality and he remarked how long a gestation period it had been for the Community.  (I think it was even longer that it takes for an elephant to gestate thrice times over!).  The Litany of Loreto was well chanted - very daunting for both cantors when you have a master such as Dom Benedict in choir.  Thereafter Father Michael Mary, as Rector Major, professed his vows to Bishop Hugh.  This was followed by the members of the Congregation of the F.SS.R. professing their vows into the hands of Fr. Michael Mary.

Benediction included the public recitation of the prayer to Jesus Exposed in the Blessed Sacrament by St Alphonsus and also included a robust rendering of Tantum Ergo to the tune of Das Lied der Deutschen.  The final hymn was to Our Lady of Aberdeen using the original words; not the watered down version heard today.  Superbos.

Please keep the Community in your prayers.  It is hoped that those brothers who have completed their time at seminary will receive thier sub-diaconal, diaconal and priestly ordinations in the not too distant future.

Here are a few photos I took.  You may view the whole set HERE

On the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer site you may view their video HERE

Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer
Dom Hugh Gilbert O.S.B.
Bishop of Aberdeen
Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer
Rev. Fr. Michael Mary F.SS.R.
Rector Major
Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer
The Altar at Our Lady's Chapel, Stronsay

Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer
His Lordship receives Fr. Michael Mary's Vows

Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer

Monday, 20 August 2012

THE Wedding

Call it a father's pride if you will but this post is slightly biased in that it concerns my daughter Fiona's wedding to Stephen on Saturday the 18th August.
The location was Haddo House, a property of the National Trust for Scotland.  We received permission for the Nuptial Mass to be offered in the house Chapel and Fr Emerson FSSP was the celebrant.

The photos were taken by Graeme, my youngest son.

Fiona & Stephen's Wedding

Fiona & Stephen's Wedding

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Full Canonical Erection for the Transalpine Redemptorists

It is with the greatest of joy and happiness and with thanks to Almighty God that I received an email earlier today from Br Martin Mary of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer informing me that they have received full Canonical erection from His Excellency Hugh Gilbert OSB, Bishop of the diocese of Aberdeen.

This long awaited recognition is made all the more sweeter in being announced today on The Feast of The Assumption - a truly Blessed day indeed.

Let us give all thanks and praise to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, St Alphonsus, Our Lady of Aberdeen that the community has received this grace today.

It has been said elswhere that under this great Vicar on Earth, Pope Benedict XVI, the Pope of Catholic Unity, that the Church will once more become united again, strengthened and renewed in this time of secularisation and apostacy.  Today we see another small step in that direction.  God Bless the Pope!

Please pay a visit to the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer website to view the letter of erection from Bishop Hugh OSB and please, pray for them, our Bishop and all the Church that we may continue to come together and be one in faith, love and charity.

The diocese of Aberdeen must be one of the very few diocese in the world which house two religious communities continuing to worship in Latin, one in the Novus Ordo and one in the Usus Antiquior.  We are truly most fortunate.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Retreat and Oblate Weekend at Pluscarden

I had the very great fortune in being able to spend a week on retreat at Pluscarden Abbey last week, returning home last night, during which the oblate master Fr. Martin Birrell OSB had also organised a second "Oblates Weekend".

The first four days were just what I needed - prayer and silent devotions; giving our Lord priority He most assuredly deserves rather than centering my thoughts on my own sinful self.  Kneeling before one of the greatest gifts He gives us, the Blessed Sacrament, is without doubt a grace we should never pass by.

One day whilst wandering around in semi contemplation I made tracks towards one of Fr Benedict the Prior's great loves and knowledge; the apiary.  As you approach the apiary there is a large sign stating BEE-ware ......... but following the adage "a fool rushes in where Angels fear to tread" I ignored the warning.  As I passed each hive, named after towns of Scotland, I became aware of louder droning noises.  Within moments the first attack came and for the first time in many decades, I was roundly stung.  I beat a very hasty retreat and whilst recounting this incident to another oblate over the weekend, himself a very respected apiarist, he smiled knowingly whilst informing me that Pluscarden Abbey bees are well known and greatly feared around the district as the most cantankerous and aggressive bees in the north of Scotland.  I can now attest to the truth of that statement!

During the weekend I was honoured to witness three of our number enter the novitiate of Lay Oblates.  They will now spend a year as novices until, God willing, the make their full Oblation. On Monday morning Fr Martin celebrated Mass and gave a very powerful sermon regarding our lives as lay oblates.  I shall post more fully about the Oblate Weekend once my videos have been edited and other material arrives from Fr Martin.  It is my intention to once again make a DVD of the weekend.  Next year we hope to travel to the Cistercian Abbey on Caldey Island to celebrate 100 years since the Anglican Benedictine monks joined the Catholic Church, and, following directly from this event, Pluscarden was refounded.  Lots of history here but for next year's blog.

Lay Oblates of Pluscarden

Finally, my daughter Fiona is to be married to Stephen on Saturday the 18th of August and I end this post in asking for your prayers for them.  This will be the first marriage in the Forma Extraordinaria in this neck of the woods in many a long year.

Friday, 6 July 2012

New Dawn in Scotland - Rosary Procession

A departure for me really in attending an event organised by a charismatic organisation called New Dawn.  Happy clappy is not my scene but a "call to arms" was received by a fellow Provincial Grand Knight of the K.S.C. so off I went and I am so glad I did!

Yes there was a bit of the raised arms outstretched from the ageing hippies as well as the youth, guitars and swaying bodies, but ignoring that, and as Bishop Toal said in his sermon, "whether we be in the grandest Cathedral, lowliest hovel, outdoors braving the elements or at home, we are all united in  one Faith, one Church".

New Dawn Pilgrimage 2012
Our Lady leads the procession
New Dawn Pilgrimage 2012
Our Lady of Aberdeen

Thursday's main event, in a packed programme of daily proceedings, was a Rosary Pilgrimage walk around St Andrews from the College to the ancient and historic St Andrews Cathedral.  Regretfully the local authorities would not permit the statue of Our Lady of Aberdeen to be carried through the town, nor were we permitted to walk through the main streets, but followed a circuitous path around the outskirts of the town before arriving at the Cathedral ruins.  Perhaps one day when perceived "sensitivities" are no longer a PC [politically correct] requirement, this will be achieved.

I estimate around 5 - 600 people either walked the route or attended Mass which was celebrated by His Excellency Bishop Toal, Bishop of the diocese of Argyll and the Isles.

More photos HERE

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Solemn Pontifical Mass - Edinburgh

Last night I attended what may well be the first Solemn Pontifical High Mass celebrated by a prelate in a very long time in Scotland.  The Mass was of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

His Excellency Bishop Fernando Rifan heads the Apostolic Administration of St John Vianney at Compos, Brazil.  His Eminence Cardinal O'Brien gave permission for Mass to be offered at St Andrew's Church in Ravelston, Edinburgh where Fr. John Emerson FSSP, celebrates Mass each Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation.
Una Voce Scotland - Bishop Rifan Visit 2012
His Excellency delivers a sermon
I recall his previous visit to Scotland a few years ago, at the reception after Mass, he asked us to sing some traditional Scottish melodies.  He sat at the piano and, having listened to a couple of verses of a song, he was able to accompany us almost without fault for the remained of the song.  What a wonderful ear for music.

Una Voce Scotland - Bishop Rifan Visit 2012

Una Voce Scotland - Bishop Rifan Visit 2012

This evening Bishop Rifan is celebrating a Missa Cantata in Glasgow before heading back to England to complete his visit to the U.K.

As usual you may see more photos HERE

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Diocesan Pilgrimage to Pluscarden Abbey

This year's pilgrimage coincided with the Feast of St. John the Baptist, who also happens to be one of the patrons of Pluscarden Abbey, so a double celebration in a way.  Bishop Hugh was back in his old stomping ground and looking rather happy to be so, especially garbed in his monastic habit and without his zucchetto - a bit like the old days!

Although we have not had floods in the north as yet this year, the day was rather wet to say the least which meant the usual procession to St Benedict's garden at the end of the Pilgrimage Mass had to be abandoned.  Nevertheless we Scots are a hardy bunch and the Abbey was full of pilgrims.

On arrival the diocesan MC approached me and requested if the Knights of St. Columba would carry the Diocesan Banner, (I am the Provincial Grand Knight for the North of Scotland).  You can see the brothers designated for the honour in the photo below.

Diocesan Pilgrimage - June 24th 2012

Among the many highlights of the day was the Bishop's sermon on St John the Baptist.  Perhaps he will publish it one day.  What an orator and what meat to the subject he brings.

Diocesan Pilgrimage - June 24th 2012               Diocesan Pilgrimage - June 24th 2012

We were also blessed with two choirs at Mass; the Diocesan Choir and the African Choir.  Both sang very well but my favourite was an African hymn which contained the words Oshe Baba (Yuroba language for "Thank you Father").  During my years living within the Yuroba nation I used to sing a variation of that song at Mass almost every week - Happy memories!

Diocesan Pilgrimage - June 24th 2012

I cannot miss out the youth.  Pilgrimages should be as much for them as old codgers like me.  It was a joy to see them actively participate in the Mass and I could see the young crosier bearer was enthralled with his duties and beamed whenever he had a task to perform.  The picture below shows some of them on "The stairway to Heaven".  More commonly known as the dormitory stairs leading to the monastic cells.

Diocesan Pilgrimage - June 24th 2012

As usual more photographs from the Pilgrimage may be accessed HERE.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Ave Maria - High Elvish

A very good friend of mine, knowing my addiction to Tolkein's books, kindly translated the Ave Maria into Sindarin.  I thought you too might enjoy it.

Ai Meri, meleth-phant, Hir ah-le;
daethannen im oessath phain
a daethannen iaf e-huvec - Iesus.
Aer Meri, Eru-odhril,
hero amman raegdain
sia ned in e-gurthem.

So, if you ever find yourself in middle earth, you will not be without succour.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

And they said: We will not Walk (Jer. 6:16)

Whilst reading a post on Rorate Caeli last week a very well known, and somewhat opinionated, blogger P.K.P.T. wrote:
The S.S.P.X in Brazil is about to lose its monastery and apostolate in Nova Friburgo and also one other priest elsewhere. They are refusing Bishop Fellay's deal with Rome.
 I was rather saddened to read this as I had previously been on a Lenten retreat to this monastery in 2010 - take this link to read my post HERE.  I still receive their occasional newsletter and fondly recall the community and laity.  Why they have already made up their minds when they might well not know the content of H.E. Bishop Felley's letter, and most certainly do not know His Holiness the Pope's response, can only be a seen as a classic case of "jumping the gun".

Please pray for the Community and laity that they might open their hearts to the Holy Ghost and that God might lead them back from this most unfortunate and presumptuous decision.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Auxiliary Bishop Named

The Vatican has announce the following:


On May 8, 2012 the Holy Father appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh (Scotland) Reverend Monsignor Stephen ROBSON, of the clergy of the same Archdiocese, assigning him the titular see of Tunnuna.

Curriculum Vitae of Stephen Bishop Robson


Bishop Stephen Robson was born in Carlisle, in the diocese of Lancaster, on 1 April 1951. After secondary school he attended the University of Edinburgh where he obtained a degree in Biological Sciences with a specialisation in medical technology at Napier College of Science in Edinburgh.

He completed his ecclesiastical studies at St. Andrew's College Drygrange, earning a Licentiate and Doctorate in Spiritual Theology, and a Licentiate in Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University during his years at the Pontifical Scottish College in Rome.

He was ordained priest March 17, 1979 for the Archdiocese of Edinburgh.

Later he held the following pastoral assignments: Parochial Vicar at St. Mary's Kircaldy (1979-1981), tutor at Blairs College (1980-1986), Assistant at the Department for Religious Education in Edinburgh then Episcopal Vicar and Director of the same (1987-1993) and pastor, first at Our Lady and St. Margaret in Duns (1988 - 1989), then to Dunbar (1990-1993), then to St. John Vianney in Edinburgh (1993-1997).

From 1998 to 2006 he was Spiritual Director of the Pontifical Scottish Seminary in Rome.  On returning to Scotland he became Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, and pastor of the united parishes of Our Lady's in North Berwick and Dunbar.


I have had the good fortune in meeting Bishop elect Robson once or twice in the past and know that others, who are much better acquainted with him, hold high in very high esteem both as a spiritual advisor and priest in addition to being a true gentleman. 

He has made Fr Emerson FSSP welcome in his parish over the past two years, or more, where the Forma Extraordinaria is offered once a month.

In my honest opinion I truly believe he will be a very welcome addition to the episcopate of Scotland.  Thank you Holy Father for giving us in Scotland such a worthy priest.

May God grant him strength as he takes up this burden and may he be a true shepherd of Your sheep in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.  Our Lady, Queen of May, watch over him.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Auxiliary for His Eminence

The Vatican has announce that our beloved Cardinal is to be given an Auxiliary to assist His Eminence in running the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh.  This has been mooted for a number of months and I am glad to hear that His Holiness has now accepted Cardinal O'Brien's workload (not to mention his health) is taking its toll.

The announcement as to who the Auxiliary Bishop actually is will be announced on Tuesday 8th May at noon (European time).

 Tomorrow's announcement may well set the tone for the future as Scotland replaces two thirds of the episcopate in the next year or so.

Please keep both in your prayers tonight.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

I'm Baaaaaaaack!

Thought after such a long absence I should announce my return in true hollywood fashion using the words of  Randy Quaid (who played the drunken Russell Casse in the movie "Independence Day").

I did say in my December post I was going into hibernation for the winter but I did not realise it would be for so long.  Mortality gave me a big wake-up call through a prolonged series of health issues.  I am happy to say that the last of the many tests which my doctor put me through, a lung scan, has now come back all clear.   I still cannot believe my doctor is the now very grown up little girl of an old work colleague and fellow parishioner.

A big Thank You to those who know me for keeping me in their thoughts and prayers over the past few months.