Saty July 6
I arrived safely back in Melb on Thursday. On the flight I saw an excellent movie set in NYC, The Last Quartet. Excellent acting from 2 of my favourite actors & wonderful scenery in & around Central park, near the House of the Redeemer. It was all familiar & I recognised the local church, as well as scenery in Central Park. The Melb weather was a bit of a shock after hot, humid NYC. It was cold, overcast & windy in St K – but good to be home. Since then I have had practical things to do & people to catch up with. Last night I went to the MCG to see Collingwood defeat the old enemy, Carlton – very impressive. Sunday morning I will attend the 160th anniversary Mass at St Mark’s, Fitzroy. The Vicar, Fr Stuart, has invited me to be in the sanctuary in recognition of my 18 years there. It is, of course, 10 years since the magnificent 150th celebrations, after which I announced I was going to San Diego. Following what will be a typical St Mark’s feast I will join my Port Adel friends for the big game against Essendon at Docklands stadium. A victory will be very sweet 😉
Unfortunately Port Adelaide did not win the footy! However, there was something pleasant. I was sitting with the PAFC Vic supporters group with the Cheer Squad behind the goals. Behind me were 3 young people who had driven over from Adelaide. Whilst chatting, I asked them where they lived. They said, Elizabeth, & I replied that I used to live there. “Where?”, they asked. “Elizabeth Downs, opposite the pub”. “I live opposite the pub”, said one. “I used to be the priest at the church”, said I. “St Catherine’s”, said he. “Yes, I was there 1981-85”. “Way before you were born, of course”. What a small world it is!
We have had cold nights & beautiful sunny days – perfect winter days, if a bit cold at 5.30 am! Yesterday I went for a nice long walk along the beach in the sun & today the washing dried on the balcony by 3 pm. However jet-lag & Melb winter have conspired to give me a repeat of the flu I got in NYC 4 weeks ago & this morning I woke up aching. So the same cure – stay indoors & enjoy brandy or rum! I also find cooking therapeutic. Fortunately I installed an excellent reverse cycle aircon in my condo before I moved in last year & it warms up the unit quickly. Also fortunately for being stuck at home, I started a new book on Monday, having finished my last book in NY – the excellent “Jesus of Nazareth” by Pope Benedict. Hopefully I will kick this cold by Friday, when Adelaide friends are coming over for the w/e.
The visit of my Adel friends meant a busy w/e – with footy, dinner & Mass at St Mark’s. It was gr8 to see them. Nigel & Ali had visited me in San Diego back in 2009. However, it didn’t help my cold & I have spent this week staying indoors. And the weather has been beautiful & sunny. It was 21c today & I couldn’t resist walking along the beach. I feel better for it. Tonight I am going to another Melba Symphony concert – Tristan & Isolde. Tomorrow I fly to the Gold Coast for the w/e. C/wood are playing there on Saty – I booked this trip last year after the AFL programme was released. It now seems a very good idea to go to the sunny Gold Coast & escape Melb winter!
My cold/flu still lingered after my w/e on the Gold Coast – so I finally went to the Dr. It seems I picked up a staph infection on my flight back from the US. This is the 1st time I have got an infection on a plane in my 27 years of flying! I had booked a flight to Adelaide this w/e to see Port Adel defeat Brisbane……..& hope I will feel okay for the footy. But apart from Sunday Mass at St Paul’s, Port Adel, followed by the footy, I will keep warm in my hotel 🙂
A bright spot in the week was an invitation from the House of the Redeemer to return there as priest-in-residence for June 2014. I guess they liked me!
Fri Aug 2
My w/e in Adelaide was excellent with Port Adel winning a close, if scrappy game on Sunday. Afterwards I went back to the Club – a long PAFC tradition, & met up with old friends. I flew back to Melb on Tues & have tried to stay indoors in order to get rid of this cold. Last night I went to a Symphony concert, having early dinner with a fellow MSO subscriber I know from St Mark’s. The concert was works by Strauss & Mozart, but didn’t feature anything grand. A highlight was arias sung by an outstanding young Aussie soprano, Nicole Car. She has a magnificent voice for a 27 year old. A Melb girl from Moonee Ponds (home of Dame Edna!) she has a grand future ahead of her.
I now seem to be over the cold/flu – 5 weeks after I flew back from the US! Last w/e I spent Fri & Saty at home, but Sunday was busy, beginning with 10 am Mass at All SS. It had been 3 months since I was there & I was welcomed back. many wanted to know about my travels & my chaplaincy in NYC. At 2 pm I joined my PAFC friends to watch the Showdown from Adelaide. I left at 1/2 time to go to the MCG to see C/wood play Essendon before 70,000 people. I had my ear to the transistor, listening to the Port Adel game. This turned about to be an exciting win over arch-rival the Crows, with Port coming back from 20 points down & kicking the winning goal in the last 2 minutes. Meanwhile Collingwood were thrashing Essendon. The Port victory certainly helped me feel better! On Tues night I went to a reception to launch the 2014 programme of the Melbourne Symphony & on Wed night I went to the 1st of their concerts in a Russian Series. The programme was Debussy, Tchaikovsky (Violin Concerto – one of my favourite pieces) & Stravinsky’s Firebird. We had a young Venezuelan conductor & a young soloist from Latvia & I was in awe of these talented young people. Tomorrow I fly to Sydney for the w/e. C/wood play Sydney at the Olympic Stadium on Saty night. This will be the 3rd time I have attended this game. Altho Sydney is not much of a sporting city, this is a game with atmosphere & I enjoyed it very much last year. Sunday morning I will attend High Mass for the Patronal Festival of Christ Church St Laurence – a famous church which I first attended in 1967.
I had a good w/e in Sydney. Weather was sunny & mild & the footy was gr8, with C/wood winning by 5 goals. Sunday Mass was nice & in the evening my friend, David, who happens to be in Sydney this week, joined me for drinks on the balcony of the Intercontinental Club Lounge. Lovely to watch the sunset over Sydney Harbour with a drink in hand 😉 I got back to Melb on Mon a/noon & it was very windy. In fact my tram route was closed due to trees on the tracks. So the 96 tram went via route 112, which goes thru the back streets of Sth Melb, Albert Park, Middle Park & St K West, finishing just 10 mins walk from my place. I know that route well, as it is the tram I take to join my PAFC friends at the Sth Melb pub where we watch the footy. Tonight I am off to the last of the Russian concerts by MSO, featuring Tchaikovsy’s piano concerto & Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
Last w/e was another visit to Adelaide. A last 1/4ter “come from behind” victory by Port Adelaide made the trip worthwhile – but as exciting as it was, all of us would prefer our team to play that well all thru the game! Sunday Mass was at St Paul’s, Port Adel & I stayed on Monday to catch up with friends. The weather continues to be annoyingly cold & gloomy. Good for cooking & entertaining for dinner, incl friends I haven’t seen for 12 years & Bishop Andrew St John from NYC on his annual holiday in Melb. This w/e is football & Sunday Mass at All SS – a nice change to be in Melbourne for the w/e!
A busy week, incl a visit to Bendigo to see Bp Andrew Curnow. Bp Andrew was my bishop when I was at St Mark’s & moved to Bendigo just before I moved to SD. We have remained good friends & in 2009 I raised money for a project he started after the disastrous bushfires. Thurs night I went to the symphony. This was different – 3 works by a contemporary US composer, John Adams, with the composer conducting the MSO. His violin concerto was very good, with a stellar solo by the most energetic & glamorous violinist I have seen. She also was American. The final work, City Noir, captured movies & their themes from post-war LA, & was v enjoyable. Now to the final round of the AFL season, with Port Adel already assured of a place in the Finals – what my American friends call play-offs 😉
Fri Sep 6
A busy week catching up with old friends for meals, incl visiting Sr Angela at Abbotsford Convent. Melbourne has been gearing up for the Football Finals & it is quite exciting for Port Adel people. !0,000+ will be heading here this w/e for the game against Collingwood. 2 good friends, David & Peter, are driving over this a/noon & will be staying at the Novotel 2 doors up. 4pm Saty I am hosting a pre-game dinner for 3 friends & on Sunday night a dinner for 4 of the people I sit with at Port home games. We may not believe Port can win – tho we said that at the beginning of the year & look what happened! All we hope for is a good game with exciting play from our guys. No one outside Port Adel expected the team to do so well & we all rejoice in what has been a wonderful season for us.
We won! Port Adelaide defeated Collingwood on the MCG………it was wonderful, exciting & unbelievable. No-one believed we could win – all we wanted was the team to play the exciting type of footy they have during the year. The atmosphere at the siren was fantastic. The Port fans had made lots of noise during the game & we erupted at the end. Afterwards the Club had a function in the Hilton & it was so packed they had to open up the extension to the ballroom. The MC began by saying that the Hilton, like Collingwood, had underestimated Port Adelaide 🙂
So the Sunday night dinner was a real celebration. Lots of merriment, laughing & analysis of the game. And anticipation of this week’s Final. We play Geelong on Friday night & they are a more formidable opponent than C/wood. Again I do not expect us to win…..but that’s what I said last week 😉
Last night I went to my 2nd last MSO concert – Verdi’s Requiem. It was excellent, esp the soprano, who put a lot of expression into her performance. The Requiem brought back memories of the annual AIDS Requiem we elebrated at St Mark’s from 1989-98. We did Verdi’s Requiem in ’92 – adapted to fit a celebration of the Mass & without orchestra. The AIDS Requiem made the parish famous, with a packed church & magnificent choirs. They were, & still are a significant highlight of my ministry. The idea originally came from my 1st visit to the USA in 1987 to look at AIDS ministry in ECUSA. That visit began my annual visits to the US – never imagining that 16 years later I would be Rector of a parish there!
Well Port Adelaide lost on Friday night. But we played well in the 1st half & went down fighting. So the season is over – but what excitement & fun they gave us from the start, winning some fantastic games & playing an exciting brand of footy. This time last year we finished 14th, were in financial straits & one of our players had accidentally died in Las Vegas. No-one expected us to win 13 games, let alone play in the Finals & defeat Collingwood! After the game I went to the Hilton with my friend, David, for the Club function. It was once again packed & despite the loss, everyone was celebrating a gr8 season. When the players came on the stage there was much singing of the club song, cheering & joy. On Saturday I went to a special Mass to celebrate the golden jubilee of my friend, Sr Angela, of the Good Shepherd Sisters. Today I went to Mass at All SS, E St K. To my surprise there was a baptism – & amongst those attending were Eleanor & Morgan with their 2 kids. I married Eleanor & Morgan in St Mark’s & baptised both children at All SS. It was lovely to see them – the kids have grown! Tomorrow I fly to Sydney for the annual SSC Synod. The new Master General from the UK (whom I know) will be present & he will commission our new Provincial Master. As always, it will be good to be with like-minded clergy – the worship & fellowship is always inspiring, even if the numbers are not what they were when I was Prov Master.
The SSC Synod was very good. The Master General & our new Provincial Master both inspired & encouraged us. I returned to Melbourne on Friday, in time to attend the Preliminary Final at the MCG. It was a ripping game, with a huge noise level. This morning I attended Mass at All SS. The choir was away at their annual camp, as was the Vicar, so we had my friend, Fr Ian Hunter celebrating & preaching. A lovely sunny a/noon & in the evening I had drinks with my neighbours immediately opposite. A busy week lies ahead.
Wed Oct 2
Well the football season is now over, which means it’s time for me to travel overseas again! This Monday I fly to San Diego & after 2 days there fly on to London. A weekend in London, then my friend, Joan, drives us to Walsingham. I will spend 3 weeks on the staff of the Shrine of Our Lady, as I did last year. It will be lovely to see everyone again & to back there, assisting. I do look forward to this, not least because it is great to give back to the Shrine which has meant so much to me since my 1st visit in 1974. I return to London for another weekend before going to Germany for a week. Then it will be back to the USA, with stopovers in San Diego & San Francisco, before returning home on Novenber 17th.
After a brief stopover in SD I arrived in London on Thurs – a little tired, but happy to be back. At Heathrow the customs agent asked the purpose of my visit & when I gave my usual reply, Pilgrimage to Walsingham, he said, Is that the place where they have processions? Further questioning elicited another question, Is that where they carry a statue of Our Lady? I was pleased that after 20 years I had finally encountered an agent who knew of Walsingham! Sunday I attended Mass at Holy Trinity, Hoxton – a famous Anglocatholic church in the East End. The Vicar is Fr Andrew Newcombe, ex-Melbourne, who occasionally sang in my special choir at St M’s, Fitzroy in the 90’s. In 1996 he went to London on the typical Aussie working holiday – as I did in my 20’s – subsequently married an English girl, entered seminary & was ordained. He kindly invited me to concelebrate the Mass, which was just like at St M’s in my time. Afterwards he & Lindsey hosted lunch in the vicarage for my friend, Joan, & I.
On Sunday night I stayed at the Waldorf Hotel. I have stayed here before & enjoy it because it is 5 mins from where I worked in 74/75. It brings back memories & sentimentalism about that wonderful tine in my life when I lived & worked in London, & under my vocation. Such recollection is part of the pleasure of returning to London – & I reflect that in those days I couldn’t even afford to drink in the bar! I will be checking out soon, then catching the tube to Kenton, from where Joan & I will drive to Walsingham. I am looking forward to being “on the staff” for 3 weeks & renewing friendships with the nice people who work there, as well as ministering to all the pilgrims who will visit England’s Nazareth.
We arrived safely on Mon a/noon. My room is comfortingly familiar. It is wonderful to be back at the shrine & gr8 to catch up with staff. There are about 100 people here this week – many were here last year & remember me (parishes often come in pilgrimage the same time each year, making a booking for next year before they leave). I enjoyed meeting the 3 young people who are spending 12 months assisting at the shrine (tho am missing last year’s group). They were joined this week by 3 more being interviewed for next year. The enthusiasm, energy & fun these young people bring to the shrine is a wonderful new aspect of its ministry. Tues morning I said my usual Mass in the Holy House for all my parishes, friends & those who are sick or with problems. Tuesday night I gave the homily at the Healing service. Wed was the weekly Pilgrim’s Mass & was special because it celebrated the anniversary of the translation of the image of OLW from the parish church to the shrine – 1 of the gr8 Feasts of the Shrine. Bp Lindsay gave one of his gr8 sermons. I read the gospel & someone commented that it was nice to hear it read in the Aussie accent again! It was lovely to be assisting at the altar with the familiar hymns & lovely music reminding me that I was back in my spiritual home. At the staff meeting which followed I was allotted various jobs & reassured that my time here is greatly valued – not least because they are 1 priest short at the moment. Joan drive back to London & will return in 2 weeks to take me back. Since I arrived the weather has been light rain – but today is sunny & nice. It is a quiet day, so I shall go for a long walk in the country after lunch.
I had a busy weekend & really enjoyed it. Part of the enjoyment is being familiar with the routine, etc, after having been here last Oct, part is being given more responsibilities & part is because the staff & pilgrims see me as a familiar part of the shrine. One pilgrim asked me if I had actually gone back to Australia since last year! On Fri I did Sprinkling at 2.30 pm, 5 pm Mass & Shrine Prayers at 6 pm. Saturday I gave the homily at the evening Procession. Sunday I said the 7.30 am Mass, concelebrated at the Parish Mass (where I was truly welcomed back) & at 2.30 pm gave the homily for the Sprinkling. When I got back to my seat the priest next to me said that the mike had dropped from my cassock & had been dangling down – but they still heard what I said! I was then given the responsibility to lead the procession thru the church & around the garden. After the liturgy all the w/e pilgrims leave & there is a delightful silence around the shrine………until the weekday pilgrims arrive on Monday a/noon. Today I caught the bus into Norwich. This takes 90 mins & goes thru various villages with interesting names. In Norwich I visited my old friend, Fr Martin Smith. He took early retirement in April, & is looking better for it. I was interested to see his new home & over lunch we compared notes about being retired. Tonight more pilgrims had arrived who remembered me from last year, incl a fun group from Guernsey.
A busy week with different responsibilities each day. I have met some nice people. On the w/e an American priest & his wife from Naples FL arrived, having never been to OLW before. I was very happy to explain, guide & advise them. They were in awe of everything & will definitely return. If only more clergy would sample OLW! 2 parish groupie arrived on Monday who remembered me from last year, incl from Guernsey. An invitation for me to visit was re-issued! An interesting group was young clergy under the care of the Bishop of Richborough. Many were SSC & it was wonderful to see young, enthusiastic & committed catholic priests. It reminded me of my early days. I know Bishop Norman & he invited me to concelebrate their final Mass on Tuesday. That evening 2 Aussies arrived – 1 from Melbourne & 1 from Yea. They were doing a tour of shrines & cathedrals & left on Wed, but came back that night! After the Procession & Benediction we had drinks in the bar. Very interesting women. Wed & Thurs a/noons were sunny, giving me the chance to go for long walks. Yesterday it was to Wighton. Today I walked to Gr8 Snoring, then thru the fields to Houghton St Giles, then along the old railway line back to Walsingham – a pleasant 2 hour walk. Tonight I led Shrine Prayers (the evening rosary) & it was a real thrill to discover that amongst the intercessions tonight was the Walsingham cell at All SS, San Diego 🙂
I have had a wonderful w/e. On Saty a/noon 60 priests arrived – members of the Oratory of the Good Shepherd. OGS is similar to my priests society, SSC, tho with a smaller membership. They were here for their International Chapter. The 7 Aussies were all known to me, altho I had not seen most of them for 20 years. It was a real surprise for them to see me at the altar for the 6 pm Pilgrims Mass. But most surprised was an American priest from NYC, whom I had met in June. He greeted me with complete surprise like a long lost friend. There were also 5 Africans & it was a real thrill at the 8.15 pm Service & Candlelight Procession when they sang a few verses of the pilgrim hymn in Zulu, all in wonderful harmony. Sunday morning I was celebrant & preacher at 9 am Mass at St Peter’s, Gr8 Walsingham. Walsingham is actually 2 villages (Gr8 & Little) but everything is centred on Little W. St Peter’s is a real village church & I really enjoyed the Mass with the 24 parishioners. Then it was onto St Mary’s for the 11 am Solemn Mass. This is quite a contrast, with 200 present, thanks to all the pilgrims attending. And as they are mostly keen Anglocatholics, it has a gr8 atmosphere & singing. Because I knew the pilgrims & many of the parishioners I felt comfortable in the pulpit, like I was in my own parish, & my sermon was well received & commented on. At 2.30 pm I was completely in charge of the Sprinkling, Procession, Benediction & Last Visit, which is the climax for the w/e pilgrims. Thanks to the 2 young sacristans, Mark & Stewart, it went well. In my homily I referred to my sermon at St Mary’s – a rare coincidence in themes. In the evening I was able to catch up with the OGS brethren, who were intrigued to know of my work here as well as my retirement. After supper I had drinks with the NY priest & met other Americans. All in all a busy & happy day. Now I begin my last week & I wish I was staying longer!
Yesterday I again caught the bus into Norwich. This time I met up with Canon Jeremy Haselock, Precentor & Acting Dean of Norwich Cathedral. We planned to meet up when I was at Walsingham in Feb, but it didn’t work out. So it was good to finally catch up. An enjoyable lunch was had in the cathedral refectory – a marvellous new building which is part of a large welcome centre & music department. Norwich cathedral is one of the best cathedrals & Fr Haselock & fine priest. In the evening I had dinner at the home of friends who moved to Walsingham 2 years ago. Stephen was director of Forward in Faith UK for almost 20 years & kept it in the forefront of church life & influence. He has a gr8 sense of humour & I have enjoyed knowing him all these years. This was my 1st opportunity to have a meal with him & his wife, Jo, & I did enjoy it. They were gr8 hosts & turned on an excellent meal cooked by Stephen. I look forward to seeing more of them as I keep returning to Walsingham. The rest of the week I am a little busy as Bp Lindsay & other staff members are fully involved with OGS. Joan arrives tomorrow & we drive back to London on Friday. Thurs 31 My time at Walsingham has come to an end – & I am sorry to be leaving. Tonight I will attend dinner at the home of one of the Shrine MC’s – a fundraiser for Houghton St Giles church. Tomorrow I will celebrate the 7.30 am Mass for All SS Day, remembering my 2 churches in SD & St K. Then the drive back to London & will stay at St Mary’s, Bourne St for the w/e.
Sun Nov 3
I have had a wonderful w/e in London. Saty morning was sunny & I walked along familiar streets to St Alban’s, Holborn for their All Souls’ Day Requiem. It was a beautiful Mass with superb music. The choir sang the Faure’ Requiem, which brought back memories of the AIDS Requiems I celebrated at St Mark’s from 1989-1999. Sunday High Mass at St Mary’s, Bourne St was interesting. There is major work being done on the church & the interior had lots of scaffolding. As well as having a crowded church it made for interesting ceremonial.
At 5 pm I attended the Patronal Festival of All Hallows’, Gospel Oak. It was a magnificent service, assisted by a brilliant organist & good acoustics. Have not seen so many candles on an altar since the centenary of St Mary’s, Bourne St in 1974! The Vicar welcomed me in the notices, saying I had come from Melbourne, Australia. Over supper I met several clergy I knew, as well as meeting some young SSC priests. As I left fireworks ushered in either Guy Fawkes Day or Diwali (who knows?).
I am now in Germany for a week. The weather is sunny & not cold – & this is November! Such a contrast to when I was here in May. Last night I stayed in Munich & enjoyed the view of the Frauenkirche “onion domes” from the balcony of the hotel lounge. This morning I had breakfast with the same view. Later I catch the train to Vienna, where I will spend the weekend.
I had a pleasant w/e in Vienna, attending High Mass at Stephensdom. On previous visits I have attended Sunday Mass at Augustinnerkirche, as they have a magnificent choir. My experience of the Dom back in 1991 was ordinary – no grand music & not even incense. However this time I was not disappointed. Beautiful liturgy, complete with incense & sung gospel, & choir & orchestra sand Mozart’s superb Waisenhaus Mass. Wunderbar!
At 12.50 pm I caught the train to Munich. That night I had the best sleep on this trip.Monday I caught the train to Frankfurt, where I received my usual warm welcome from the staff. Additionally, I was welcomed by the new manager, Martin Driskoll. I knew Martin when he was Manager of the New Orleans Intercontinental. In fact he gave me a wonderful experience there for my 65th b/day. It is an amazing coincidence that he is now manager of another hotel where I regularly stay & it was good to catch up.
Today I catch flights back to San Diego, where I have a brief stopover before flying ion to SF & then home. I have had a nice holiday. The weather has been superb for November……sunny every day except for light rain in Vienna on Saty a/noon.
I arrived home safely yesterday, having had 6 hours sleep on the plane – a good result. Melbourne welcomed me with a warm, sunny day & when I got off the tram at St K the lovely sea air greeted me. Whilst I was away an old friend looked after my condo. Not only did Robert leave it clean & tidy – he also left me a TV. This was very generous of him & I will be very grateful when the footy season starts! I had a busy a/noon & was in bed at 8 pm. Woke up at 2 am, which was to be expected. So far I have resisted the temptation to watch breakfast/news on TV!