1 March 2021

Thank you!

  ... for your Christmas cards!! As it is now a fortnight since (what I assume to be) the last (American) card arrived, delayed, doubtless, by Covid, my conjecture is that Christmas is over! Thank you all very much indeed. May God bless you and keep you.

Together with the cards, came the best calendar you will find anywhere: the Calendar frrom the Redemptorist community on Papa Stronsay. It hangs in my study and does duty as a Quick Ordo ... one sweep of the eye tells you all about the current month. And the Community also produces a quarterly "Newspaper" called Catholic. Did you know ... I didn't ... that the Forma Authentica of the Roman Rite had returned to Jamaica ... that the Syro-Malabars now have one of Rome's oldest basilicas for their use ... or that one of the Spanish Civil War martyrs had the surname Diggle ....

The goodies are almost endless. 

One story relates to a wooden church, 'the Little Ark', made by Irish Catholics in 1852. There was low-level local persecution in that area still going on; so the 'Ark' was constructed so that, at low tide, it could be rolled out on the sea shore (which, being terra nullius, could not be forbidden as a place for Holy Mass).

This stimulated two wild hypotheses in my mind: (1) I bet this is the sort of thing the previous generations had done for Mass: I don't really believe that the priest during the penal period saying Mass at a Mass Stone on top of a hillock really had to do so with no cover against the Irish wearther.

(2) Those Holy Houses at Walsingham and Glastonbury and other places: I wonder if they were originally tiny wooden Oratories like the wooden or 'turf' oratories uncovered by archaeologists at early Irish monastic sites. A little wooden chapel built dating from 500ish or earlier would already have been massively venerable when Norman founders and builders started constructing their great and grandiose Abbeys five hundred years later ... what would be more natural than that the little Oratory, encrusted with years, love and legends, should be housed in an annex ... as the Kilbaha atoratory now is.

You can get the Calendar and the Newspaer from 

Golgotha Monastery Island

Papa Stronsaty

KW17 2AR 

Orkney Islands, 


United Kingdom

Post Scriptum: the Artwork on the front of Catholic deftly conceals the armorial device of the current Roman Pontiff ... see if you can find it!!

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