Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

blog Dec 2016 – Jan 1 2017

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Fri Dec 9

After several busy days tidying & cleaning my unit, sorting out my affairs, packing 2 suitcases & last minute medical appointments, I flew to SD on Wed 7. The flight was the new revamped United Business Class called Polaris. Amongst improvements were slippers & PJ’s – see pic below.

Lots of things to do when I arrived & today I got a US cell phone #. Tomorrow I go to New Orleans for 3 days to see my great mate, Robert Dale, who moved there in July.

revamped United Business Class called Polaris

Wed 14

I am now back in SD after a nice weekend in New Orleans. Sunday started with Latin High Mass in St Patrick’s, followed by brunch with Robert, jazz concert in St Louis cathedral, & hamburgers in iconic Bourbon St diner. Tomorrow I fly to London & will have 4 days there, after which I fly to Munich for Weihnachten in Deutschland 🙂
New Orleans December 2016
New Orleans December 2016
New Orleans December 2016

Wed 21st
My 5 days in London were nice & the weather was kind. Sunday I went to Mass at St Gabriel’s, Pimlico, & enjoyed catching up with the assistant, Fr Lee, & his lovely wife. In the a/noon I visited an old friend from Fitzroy who has lived in London 15 years. Yesterday I flew to Munich – but my visit to Germany has been overshadowed by the terrorist attack in Berlin. I know where it happened, of course – & trust it will not deter the Germans. It certainly won’t deter me! Less tourists & less crowded Christmas markets will certainly suit me. I have 2 nights in Munich, go to Frankfurt tomorrow & to Berlin on Friday.

Today, after doing my washing at the laundromat, I visited the nearby Christmas market. Naturally I had a mug of Gluhwein! I then walked to Marienplatz to experience the market there. Wandering into the Frauenkirche at 3 pm I was surprised & delighted to find that Pontifical High Mass was about to be celebrated by the Archbishop. It was a special Mass to commemorate the Berlin terrorist attack. The church was full & the choir provided excellent music. It was a fitting way to conclude my time here in Munich.

Christmas-in-Germany 2016
Christmas-in-Germany 2016
Christmas-in-Germany 2016
Christmas-in-Germany 2016

Christmas Day

After a nice overnight stay in Frankfurt I caught the train to Berlin on Friday, arriving at 4 pm. It was already dark, so after settling into my hotel I went for a walk along Unter den Linden to see the Christmas lights on all the trees. The weather has been cold, but bearable. On Christmas Eve I attended a 3 pm Krippenfeier Service at St Hedwig’s cathedral. I thought this was a Crib service, but it turned out to be a lovely Carol Service. The cathedral youth choir sang carols & anthems by such composers as Faure’, Rutter, Britten & Willcocks. I was able to join in singing carols with my basic German. Some were familiar (O Come all ye Faithful, Silent Night) & there was one unknown to me that I soon picked up. Sung enthusiastically (which is saying something for Germans!) it had a wonderful tune & is traditionally sung at the end of Midnight Mass. “O du frohlicher” (O how joyfully) has featured at the end of each Service I have attended!

I arrived 15 mins early for for the Carol Service & it was packed with over 400 people. So for Midnight Mass I set out 30 mins early for the 9.30 pm carols beforehand & managed to grab one of the last seats. I was thrilled that the 1st carol was “Once in Royal David’s City”, sung in English, & enthusiastically joined in. By the time Mass started at 10 pm there were people standing all around the Cathedral, incl in front of the Crib.

The Mass was celebrated by the Archbishop & was lovely. The cathedral choir was accompanied by a small orchestra & I was able to join in all of the singing. A nice touch was everyone singing “O come let us adore Him” (in German) after the Eucharistic Prayer. Mass lasted just 1 hour (an object lesson for all clergy!) & I was in bed by midnight.

I returned to St Hedwig’s this morning for the 10 am Pontifical High Mass. This was a musical extravaganza – the cathedral choir were joined by the Berlin Chamber Orchestra & performed Mozart’s “Spaur-Messe”. Once again we concluded with a joyful “O du frohlicher”. I was impressed that the choir & orchestra remained for the organ postlude. On the way out I greeted the Assistant Bishop in German, explaining I was from Australia. He replied in English, wishing me a Merry Christmas & asking where I was from.

For lunch I enjoyed various things I had been given from the various hotels I have stayed in – chocolate santa, German cookies – enjoying them quietly in the exec lounge. Now I am about to return to the cathedral for Vespers. I seem to have attended as many Services as when I was Rector of All SS – tho without any of the work entailed nor organising the same!

Christmas-in-Germany 2016
Christmas-in-Germany 2016
Christmas-in-Germany 2016
Christmas-in-Germany 2016

New Year’s Eve

After a succession of wonderful Christmas Services in Berlin, Cologne turned out to be the icing on the cake. I arrived by train on Tues Dec 27. The next day I went for a walk & finished up at Great St Martin’s. I was fascinated to discover that this is now the home to a modern community of men & women. I stayed for the midday office……their singing in 4 part harmony (rather than gregorian chant) was pure delight. Afterwards I chatted with a Canadian nun of the community.

Wed was the Feast of the Holy Innocents & I attended the 6.30 pm Mass in the magnificent Dom. To my surprise & delight, this was celebrated at the High Altar. It is rarely used – on Sundays Mass is celebrated at the central altar & during the week in the Lady Chapel. This was a special Solemn Mass celebrated by the Archbishop, assisted by other bishops & 8 servers. There were about 100 people in attendance & I managed to get a seat in the choir stalls. The altar looked magnificent & the organist was in fine form. To make the Mass complete it finished with my favourite German carol, O du frohlicher.

On Thurs I caught the train to Munich. Chocolates were waiting for me in my room at the Hilton & I enjoyed my last night in Germany. On Friday my flight to London was delayed 3 hours by fog there. Having finally arrived at Heathrow I discovered that the Tube District Line was closed. So I got off at Earls Court & walked to the Hilton Olympia – a brisk 15 min walk in the fog. Upon checking into my room I was delighted to find waiting for me a bottle of pink bubbly & lovely nibbles. There must be a competition between the Hiltons in welcoming me!

A quiet walk around Kensington this morning concluded with my attending Mass at the local church, St Matthew’s. At 1 pm I watched the NYE fireworks from Sydney, as I opened the bubbly & had a glass. I am now having a quiet evening, concluding with watching the fireworks here on TV. Tomorrow I am going to Mass at St Mary’s, Rotherhithe – was last there 20 years ago. So 2016 concludes.

New years Eve 2016
New years Eve 2016
New years Eve 2016

blog August – November 2016

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Mon Aug 1

I had a nice relaxing week in the US. 3 days in New Orleans with stopovers in SD before & after. The trip to NO was to visit my good friend, Robert. He was due to fly from Melb to NO the same day as me, arriving there 5.30 pm. I was due to get there at 10.30 pm. By a strange quirk of fate Houston weather delayed Robert’s arrival & he was subsequently re-booked on my flight. This also was delayed by 2 hours, so (thanks to social media) we met up at the gate with 2 hours to chat. I subsequently got him upgraded, so we sat next to each other in 1st class, toasting our good fortune!

Today I am flying back to Melb & luck was with me again. This flight was booked via Sydney because there were no upgrades LAX-MEL when I booked the flight, but there were LAX-SYD. In Syd I connect to Melb on a Virgin flight, arriving there at 11.30 am. I hate Sydney airport, not least because you have to transfer by bus from international to domestic terminals. Also the flight arrives in Sydney at 6 am & you then have a layover of several hours, when you would rather be in Melb.

When I got to LAX & into the United Club I explained this to the staff at the desk & wondered if there was any chance of changing my itinerary to LAX-MEL. The man doubted it, but said he would see. 20 mins later he called me to the desk & said it was done……..what seat did I want? I could hardly believe it! So now I fly direct to Melb, arriving at 7.30 am & will be home just after 9 am, instead of 1 pm. I am looking forward to being back in St K very much. I have been travelling for over 3 months – the longest trip I have ever taken.

Sun Aug 7

I had a wonderful flight back to Melbourne & arrived early on Wed 3rd at 7 am. It was a breeze going thru passport & customs – but it was a shock to return to cold, wet, overcast Melbourne. I was home at 8.20 am…….surely the earliest I have got home. A full day of unpacking, sorting papers from the trip, laundry, shopping, bank – did I really spend that much! I was in bed & asleep by 7 pm. Thursday was another busy day – but at least the sun was out. I enjoyed re-acquainting myself with St K & also started back at gym. I managed to stay awake until 8.30 pm. Friday I went to the big C/wood game against Richmond. Thanks to my C/wood friend, Jenni Aldous, I had dinner in one of the MCG dining rooms with 4 of her friends. I was a thorn amongst the roses (all nurses!). It was a good game, even tho C/wood lost.
MCG dining room dinner with Jenni Aldous and 4 of her friends
Saturday I went to the pub where the Melb PAFC supporters meet to watch Port Adel play Sydney. It was a debacle…..I really don’t know what the solution to our terrible year is. I left before the end of the game & fell asleep watching the Saty night football. Today I am going to Mass at CC Brunswick. It will be good to see Bp Lindsay & everyone again. Then I have lunch with Helen & Steve, who are just a 30 min walk from the church.

Tues 16

I have had a busy week! Last Tuesday was the annual SSC Synod, held at CC Brunswick. It was good to see my colleagues & friends again, tho the attendance was low. This reflects the poor state of the Anglican Church in Australia & the anglocatholic part in particular. On Thursday I attended the 100th b/day celebration of my friend, Sr Angela, at Abbotsford Convent. This was a happy celebration & I managed to get myself (from the waist down) on the TV news! Friday I flew to Adelaide for the weekend. This was to attend the football on Sat night – which was a disaster for Port Adelaide! I also managed to have lunch with my cousins & catch up with other friends.

I flew back to Melbourne yesterday. At the airport I caught the new St K-Airport bus. This is by Skybus, who run the existing Airport express bus from the city. It was much quicker than catching the city Skybus then tram to St K. It got there in 30 mins & the 3rd stop after that was the Novotel, 2 doors up from me. The service started on Sunday & is free all week….another good thing! It only leaves every 30 mins, but I will use this to get to the airport from now on. 3 hours after I got home the doorbell rang. It was UPS with my new iPad from United for passing 3 mill miles. I then spent a happy hour setting it up & transferring all the links & Apps from my old iPad. I was like a kid at Christmas 🙂

Thurs 25

Nothing much to report since I got my nice new iPad. Catching up with various people, having friends over for dinner, going to Daily Mass & medical appointments are the stuff of a typical week! I also found time to see the new Jason Bourne movie. I am a great fan of the Bourne movies & (as a prelude to the latest) saw the 2 originals on my recent flights. Today I am catching up with someone from my time at St Martin’s, Campbelltown 35 years ago. Tomorrow I fly to the Gold Coast for Port Adel’s final game for the season. I always enjoy going up there for the footy, which has happened every year since I returned to Melb. Unfortunately both Port Adel & C/wood have had a terrible season & won’t feature in the Finals.

Fri Sep 2

I had a nice weekend on the Gold Coast. Beautiful sunny weather…..& Port Adelaide won. Returned home Monday & have been catching up with friends for meals/coffee each day. There is no AFL this w/e (which I do not like!) so I am going away. Flying to Perth, then to Kalgoorlie. I have always wanted to visit Kalgoorlie – I imagine it as a wild west gold mining town. It is also where my cousin was born, so will be taking pics for her. I return to Melb on Thursday.

Fri 9

I enjoyed my visit to Kalgoorlie. It really is a city of 2 towns – Kalgoorlie & Boulder. Lovely old Victorian buildings & an atmosphere of an old Aussie country town. Not to mention Kalgoorlie’s famous brothels! On Tuesday I did a tour on a hop on/hop off tram. I was fascinated to discover that Herbert Hoover lived here at the end of the 19th cent. His engineering skills were well used at the beginning of the gold rush. He built a very large house (5 bed, 2 bath) which stands in contrast to the small tin miners’ houses. The tour included a stop at the Super Pit – the huge gold mine still in operation.

I stopped at Boulder for an hour because I wanted to see the Town Hall, built 1908, with its famous painted stage curtain. It is magnificent (see pics below). I flew back to Perth on Wednesday. By coincidence, my very good friend who shares my b/day, Ann, was also in Perth – so Ann, Garry & I had lunch together. I last saw them in 2012 & it was great to catch up again. We all agreed we are doing well for pensioners! I flew back to Melb yesterday – to some winter weather again. It won’t stop me going to the Football Final tonight at the MCG, of course.

Kalgoorlie August 2016
Kalgoorlie August 2016
Kalgoorlie August 2016
Kalgoorlie August 2016
Kalgoorlie August 2016
Kalgoorlie August 2016

Sun 18

Last weekend & this weekend have treated me to some excellent footy finals. The games here in Melb on the past 2 Friday nights have been excellent – a real treat for footy lovers. And the results have all gone as I hoped! Now it is countdown with the Grand Final in 2 weeks. The 2 weekends have also seen me attend Mass at CC Brunswick & it was good to catch up with people there. Tues-Thurs I was in Adelaide. This was a quick visit to see family & friends before I fly off again for my annual visit to Walsingham in October.

Sat 24

Another week of the usual activities. This morning I attended Mass at All SS, E St K – the regular Mass for the Walsingham cell. Over brunch I spoke, at Bp Farrer’s invitation, about developments at the shrine, the appointment of a new administrator (recently announced) & Bp Lindsay Urwin’s legacy. Tomorrow I will attend Mass at Christ Church, St K. This is my local church, but I have only attended there twice. Tomorrow my good friend, Fr Ken Letts, is celebrating Mass & preaching, so I am going to support him.

Sun Oct 2

Another week of meals with friends & practical things to do. It was, of course, Grand Final week in Melb. The build up to yesterday’s game had an excitement & intensity missing in recent years. The Western Bulldogs were the underdogs (55 years since they were last in a GF & 62 since they won their only premiership) & getting thru to the GF with amazing victories in the Finals. Once again I was fortunate to get a ticket & it was a great experience. A fantastic game – it was tough & close with the lead changing several times. The noise in the stadium was incredible. In the last 1/4ter the Bulldogs got up & their victory was marked by scenes of jubilation & tears. And everyone stayed for the presentations – not a usual happening. It was one of the best GF’s I can remember.
AFL game October 2016
AFL game October 2016
AFL game October 2016
Tomorrow I fly off again! After a brief stopover in SD I fly to London. From there I go to Walsingham. Since I retired I have been assisting at the shrine every October, thanks to the kind invitation of Bp Lindsay Urwin. This year I am going just as a pilgrim, because the new administrator has not started yet. It will be good to be back & to catch up with my friends there. Then back to London & over to Berlin. From there I will travel by train thru Germany to Bratislava – a city & country that I have not yet discovered.

Wed 12

The night before I left Melbourne I attended a wonderful Walsingham Service at CC Brunswick. The church was packed & Bp Lindsay was at his best. Afterwards there was a great party in the vicarage, at which I caught up with lots of old friends. Unfortunately this played havoc with my preps for flying next morning. Before flying to US I go to bed about 7 pm & wake up at 2 am. Not only did the Service interfere with this, but I had wine & choccie cake at the party. As a result I got barely 2 hours sleep on the plane. So I was very tired when I was in the US.

In SD I caught up with friends & did usual practical things. On Wednesday I flew to London. I had a nice 4 days there, catching up with friends – but came down with the flu by Sunday. No doubt a combination of jet-lag, climate/hemisphere change & coughing passengers on the planes! Monday I caught the train to Norwich. Unfortunately it broke down at a town appropriately called Diss! So I missed the 2.20 pm bus to Walsingham, arriving there an hour later than planned, coughing & sniffling.

I have now been here 2 days & the flu seems to be abating. No doubt due to Walsingham being quiet, peaceful, a spiritual powerhouse & place of healing. Weather is nice, with occasional light rain. Everyone is pleased to see me again – tho one volunteer says he didn’t recognize my voice. I have mainly stayed in my room to keep warm. I attended Mass at the sisters yesterday & the Healing Ministries last night – receiving prayer & anointing rather than giving. Didn’t sing the hymns – which shows I am really sick! This morning I concelebrated at the weekly Pilgrims Mass, but didn’t assist in any way.

I shall now have a quiet time here until I leave on Monday. Am staying in the College this time – the section of the shrine where the priests stay. It was completely rebuilt last year & opened at Easter. The rooms are comfy, with the best bathrooms I have experienced here. I have stayed in every part of the shrine now (except the wing for disabled pilgrims) & will make the College my preference in future.
View from my room at Walsingham
View from my room at Walsingham October 2016View from my room at Walsingham October 2016

Thursday 13

I had a lovely surprise last night. Parishioners of my 3 churches may remember that I have a beautiful gold cope – a gift when I was ordained (for which there is a story). I haven’t used it since I retired & when I was here last October thought I should give it to the Shrine. So I asked the sacristan, Marc, if they would like it here at Walsingham. I joked that all the altars & vestments at the Shrine are for short priests & they needed to cater for 6 foot ones! Marc was delighted & accepted my offer (without seeing it). I brought it with me on Monday & handed it over – it still looks as beautiful as the first day I wore it.

Last night was the Wednesday night candlelight procession. As I was not well & still not up to singing, I decided to sit with the congregation & take a few pics with my iPad. Meanwhile, Marc & Stuart (his assistant) decided that the officiant should wear my cope – knowing it would be a surprise for me. When the sanctuary party came out at the beginning of the Service, I couldn’t believe it. Of course I had never seen it on anyone before, & it did look beautiful. Lots of wonderful memories came flooding back – it was a lovely surprise & thrilled me.

Donated gold cope at Walsingham October 2016
Donated gold cope at Walsingham October 2016Donated gold cope at Walsingham October 2016Donated gold cope at Walsingham October 2016

Thurs 20

The flu/cold hung around for the rest of my week in Walsingham & I mainly stated in my room. I was able to assist at the Concelebrated Masses on Saturday at 12 noon & 6 pm. However, I sang too much & consequently did not take part in the Sat night candlelight procession. I was glad I did because the procession took place indoors due to the weather. This is the first time I had seen that in my 42 years of coming to the Shrine. Subway I concelebrated the Parish Mass at St Mary’s & it was good to see old friends again.

I left Walsingham for London on Monday. From Tues-Thurs I stayed at the Charterhouse in the City proper. This was founded in 1371 as a Carthusian Monastery. During the Dissolution of the monasteries the monks were martyred at Tyburn & the property sold. In 1611 a wealthy man called Sutton bought the property & turned it into a hospital. It subsequently became a school & a home for retired clergy. It was bombed in the war, but beautifully restored, so that it is like going back in time. The mediaeval cloister is still there & there are lovely grounds & gardens.
www.thecharterhouse.org
These days it is a retirement home for single men of limited means. Residents include clergy, musicians, actors, etc. There is an infirmary & a modern wing which includes a library. The Great Hall is used for meals, 3 a day being provided for the residents . I stayed there thanks to an old friend who I was in seminary with, Howard Cocks. He retired there & I stayed in one of the 3 guest rooms available for guests of residents. Quite a comfortable room & very cheap considering all meals are included. I enjoyed meeting very interesting people at the meals & also worshipping in the lovely old chapel.

On Thursday I flew to Berlin. I will now be traveling thru Germany by train. Tomorrow I go to Frankfurt, Saturday to Munich & Sunday to Vienna.
Charterhouse in the City proper October 2016
Charterhouse in the City proper October 2016
Charterhouse in the City proper October 2016
Charterhouse in the City proper October 2016

Thurs 27

My enjoyable train travels thru Germany, with stopovers in my favorite cities, finished on Sunday night in Vienna. I was able to attend Sunday Mass in Munich’s famous Frauenkirche. The Dom choir was augmented by the choir from Salzburg Dom & sang a wonderful Mass. I was very impressed with the new Vienna Hauptbahnhof & also the new Hilton on the Danube, where I stayed. Monday I caught the train to Bratislava – just an hour away. I have not been to Bratislava & it was the goal for this trip.

Bratislava – Pressburg in German – was the temporary capital of the Hapsburg empire in the 17th cent & 11 monarchs were crowned in St Martin’s cathedral, incl Maria Theresa. It is not a big city (420,000) & is the capital of post-communist independent Slovakia. After I checked into my hotel I briefly explored the old town on Monday a/noon. I was surprised & delighted at how quiet it is……..hardly any English-speaking tourists.

Tuesday I walked around the old town, which has lovely little streets & squares. I went to the city museum in the old Town Hall & climbed its tower. After that I attended 12 noon Mass at the cathedral, which has been beautifully restored, & then went to the castle. The grounds are nice & the walls are thick, but not much is left of the Hapsburg palace. Thankfully it is being restored & contains an excellent museum. My day concluded with getting a haircut (only €9) with a barber who spoke no English. He did an excellent job!

Wednesday I walked around the old town again & along the Danube, finishing with an exhibition in the state gallery. This was useful in educating me about Slovak history. In the a/noon I caught the train back to Vienna. Today I catch the train to Nuremberg & tomorrow go on to Berlin for the weekend.

View from my hotel room
Bratislava - View from my hotel room
Old Town Hall
Bratislava - Old Town Hall
Near the castle
Bratislava - Near the castle
Baroque burgher’s home
Bratislava - Baroque burgher's home
St Martin’s cathedral
Bratislava - St Martin's cathedral

Sat Nov 12

After a relaxing weekend in Berlin I returned to London & had 3 days there. On Tuesday I caught the train to Enfield Lock, an outer suburb where Fr Stephen Gallagher is the new Vicar. Fr Stephen was the Assistant Administrator at Walsingham during the time I have been assisting there & it was good to catch up with him & his wife. Wednesday I had lunch with Fr Andrew Newcombe, originally from Melbourne. In the 1990’s he was part of a small choir of uni students who sang for funerals at St Mark’s. That night I attended All Souls Day Requiem Mass at St Mary’s, Bourne St. A choir & orchestra performed Mozart’s Requiem in the context of the liturgy & it brought back memories of the annual AIDS Requiem Mass I organised at St Mark’s 1989-98.

I returned to the US on Thursday, stopped in SF for a day & returned to SD Sunday. I flew to Sydney on Monday, arriving on Wednesday. I had 24 hours there & spent most of it watching with fascination & surprise the Presidential Election – a prefect cure for jet-lag! On Thursday I flew to Melbourne & it was great to be back home in St K. Since then it has been a very busy time with the usual things that need to be done when I return home. Now I have just over 3 weeks before I fly off again!

Thurs 24

It has been a busy time since I got back to St K – catching up with people, organising my personal/financial affairs & preparing my unit to be used by the daughter of friends whilst I am away overseas for 4+ months. I leave St K for the US on Dec 7 & then on to Germany for Christmas & London for NYE. I return to SD on Jan 4 & will be living in the US until April.

Tomorrow I fly to Adelaide for 6 days. I collect a rental car at the airport & drive to Quorn, a small country town near the Flinders Ranges. Saturday I go on the Pichi Ritchi Railway – pichirichirailway.org.au – a restored railway that goes thru the hills. Then I have 3 days in Adelaide catching up with family/friends & concluding with a special members lunch at the Port Adel FC.

Pichi Ritchi Railway
Pichi Ritchi Railway
Pichi Ritchi Railway
Pichi Ritchi Railway

Thurs Dec 1

My weekend in Quorn was good. The train trip on Saty night was very interesting……..I saw emus & kangaroos running around as we chugged thru the hills. On Saty morning I set off on a leisurely drive for 5 hours, stopping at several little towns. Lovely scenery & plenty of historical sites. Port Germein Gorge was a wonderful example of the South Australian countryside. I finished at Port Germein, which has the longest wooden jetty in Australia. Back in Quorn, I managed to see the interior of St Matthew’s church, thanks to a parishioner. It is one of the most beautiful country churches I have seen. Once the headquarters of a Bush Brotherhood, it now only has 4 Services a year.

I drove back to Adelaide on Sunday. On Monday I caught up with friends & Tuesday enjoyed a lunch with 3 cousins, 2 partners + 3 daughters of one of the cousins whom I have not seen for years. Wednesday I attended an excellent lunch at the Port Adelaide FC. This was for their bequest society & I was inducted as a new member. It was a thrill to receive my certificate from Russell Ebert, a champion of the club who was a hero of mine 35 years ago. I also caught up with several old friends from those days.

I flew back to Melbourne Wednesday night & now have just 6 days to get ready for returning to SD. I will be away at least 4 months, so there is much to do!

train to Quorn November 2016
train to Quorn November 2016
train to Quorn November 2016
train to Quorn November 2016
train to Quorn November 2016
train to Quorn November 2016
train to Quorn November 2016
train to Quorn November 2016

blog May – July 2016

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

Tues May 3

My flight from Melbourne was good – except that I seem to have caught a bad cold on the plane. This is the risk on a plane, of course. So instead of having a nice relaxing week back in the US & a weekend visit to Michigan, I have spent most of the time sniffling, coughing & downing pills! I seem to be over the worst & look forward to flying to London today – in the luxury of 1st class from SF to Heathrow 🙂

Sun 8

The cold has not gone away! The sniffles have, but coughing & feeling tired took their place. Logically I resolved that if I was going to feel unwell, I might as well be in first class on my flight & a nice hotel when I landed! Wednesday I stayed at the Intercontinental on Park Lane – mainly because they give me early check-in & late check-out. Thursday I walked thru Knightsbridge & Kensington to Leighton House. This is a museum in the home of a well-known artist who left it to the City of Kensington & Chelsea. It is dedicated to art & had a special exhibition of Pre-Raphaeliye drawings. The house alone was worth the visit.

That night I checked into the Bankside Hilton, a brand new hotel in Southwark. Since deciding not to stay at St Mary’s, Bourne St, I have been checking out various hotels to stay. This was the first time that I have stayed south of the river & was one of the best Hiltons that I have stayed in. It is in an area where I worked for 2 months in 1974. After unpacking I went for a walk to rediscover an old convent I visited way-back then. The sisters of Reparation have died out now, but their convent still has the foundation stone. As I reminisced I gave thanks for the golden age of anglocatholicism over 100 years ago, which had such a great influence on me.

The Hilton Bankside is an excellent hotel with huge rooms & an excellent exec lounge. I thanked the staff & made a mental note to stay there in future. Friday I checked in at The Waldorf for the weekend. This is my favourite hotel in London & I am always looked after by Cristina in the exec lounge. A chocolate cake with “Welcome Back” was waiting in my room & was soon followed by chocolates & strawberries 🙂

Saturday I went to the national festival of the Society of Mary. A wonderful Mass was followed by a street procession past the very busy Camden Market. It is 20 years since I attended this & it was good to catch up with old friends & to meet new ones – mainly young priests. This morning I went to Mass at Holy Redeemer, Clerkenwell. I was going to have lunch afterwards with an old friend, but cancelled it because of not feeling 100%. Tomorrow I catch the train to Birmingham. I have not visited this city before & will spend 2 nights there before returning to London.

Mon 16

My 2 days in Birmingham were boring! The city itself is unremarkable – but it rained all the time & my cold was still hanging around. I returned to London on Wed & stayed at a Hilton near where I first stayed when I came to London in July 1974 – sleeping on a couch in a house full of Aussies where my brother lived. I walked around to that house & reminisced on those fun & exciting days in my youth. On Thursday I went to St Mary’s convent in Chiswick to visit Mother Teresa. She has been there since having a fall in February. We were both pleased to see each other & spoke mainly about her desire to return to Walsingham ASAP! After that I went exploring to a park called Queen’s Club Gardens. This was once part of a London sporting club called The Queen’s Club (which is still there) & is the site of the first Aussie Rules football match in the UK. It was between teams of Aussie soldiers in London on respite from the Western Front 100 years ago.

On Friday I caught the train to Liverpool. I had never visited Liverpool before & was looking forward to having a weekend of exploring. Upon arrival I went to visit the 2 cathedrals. Liverpool is unique in that it has 2 imposing cathedrals facing each other on hills at either end of Hope St. Both struck me as ugly – tho locals may differ, of course! At the RC cathedral I stayed for 5.15 pm Mass. Coincidentally, it was the 49th anniversary of the dedication of the cathedral. On Saturday I went for a long walk along the docks. Liverpool has a big maritime history & the dock areas have been rejuvenated well. In the afternoon I went searching for a famous anglocatholic church, SS Agnes & Pancras, to attend for Sunday Mass, but got lost! I settled for 6 pm Vigil Mass at a 150 year old church near my hotel. Sunday I went searching for that church again – & got lost again! After lunch I went for my own Beatles tour, which included The Cavern, where they first performed. I had no intention of paying for a tour, nor going to the museums dedicated to them. Afterwards I enjoyed a Pentecost Fair in Hope St, which concluded with an ecumenical procession between the 2 cathedrals.

Today I catch the train back to London. Tomorrow I will have lunch with Phyl – the woman I worked with in 1974/75, who has continued to keep in touch with me all these years. Tuesday is her birthday, which I have never celebrated with her. Then on Wednesday it is my birthday. I have deliberately booked a cheap hotel with no free breakfast on Tuesday night. Wednesday I begin my birthday with silver service breakfast in the United 1st class lounge at Heathrow. Then 11 hours in first class from London to SF. I shall enjoy a unique experience to celebrate my 69th birthday 🙂

Sun 22

Flying 1st class from London-SF was a wonderful way to celebrate my birthday! That night I arrived in SD late & checked in at the Hilton where I often stay. To my surprise & delight, in my room was a selection of cheeses, fruit & nuts, with a wonderful birthday greeting from the staff of the hotel. It was the perfect conclusion to my birthday. After 2 nights in SD I flew up to Seattle for the w/e. I stayed in the Arctic Club – a 100 year-old club for men returning from the Yukon gold rush. It still seems like a gentlemen’s club & it was wonderful to stay there. Weather was overcast with light rain, so I didn’t get out much. I was jet-lagged, so on Friday night had an early supper in the bar & then went to sleep at 5 pm. Woke up at 11 pm & watched the Port Adelaide game on TV live from Adelaide.

I fly to Germany on Tuesday. After 2 days in Frankfurt I catch the train to Hamburg. For 5 weeks I am to be the locum priest at St Thomas’ Church. This is the oldest CofE in Europe, being founded 400 years ago, & has a congregation large enough to sustain a full-time parish priest. I have already been in touch with the music director & when I submitted a hymn list he said that we have the same taste! I am looking forward to my time at St Thomas’, this being like a typical parish instead of just a small number keeping an Anglican Church going. There is only a Sunday Mass, so I anticipate exploring this part of Germany during the weeks that I am there.

Tues 31

My flight to Frankfurt was good. Got 5 hours sleep, which is excellent on a plane, even in 1st class. Thursday was a holiday for Corpus Christi. I attended the outdoor Mass in the Romerberg (town square) which was excellent, then followed the Eucharistic Procession to the Dom, where we finished with Benediction. The singing & organ-playing in the packed cathedral was awesome. Friday I caught the train to Hamburg. Waiting for me on the platform was Susanne, the Warden with whom I have been corresponding. We caught the subway to the fiat which will be my home for a month. It is in a building next to St Michael’s – Hamburg’s famous Lutheran church. That means lots of tourists all day, regular (& loud) church bells & even a trumpet player at odd times! After being guided around the fiat we went to the church, which is 5 mins away. It is quite nice, with all one needs for saying Mass. After a walk around the area I went back to the flat, unpacked & then settled in.

Saty morning I went shopping. Shops, cafes, restaurants & an outdoor market are all just over the road. Then I spent a couple of hours preparing for Sunday Mass. I convinced the music director (who seems to run everything to do with the worship) that we should celebrate Corpus Christi. That made my sermon easy. I had already chosen the hymns – all my favourites for this celebration. Late in the a/noon the internet disconnected. So I phoned the parish expert (a Peruvian who is a diplomat at at his consulate). He & a British friend from the church called by on their way to dinner. After fixing it I offered them a drink & we chatted.

Sunday Mass was good. There was a congregation of 100 & a choir of 8. Half of the congregation were African (Anglicans from Ghana, Nigeria & Kenya) & the other half were mainly English & German. there were 25 children & a lot of people were involved in the Mass. The singing was good & my sermon went down well. There was good music all the way thru & during Communion the choir sang Mozart’s Ave Verum. Afterwards (& also before Mass) I was warmly welcomed & coffee hour was noisy!

It had rained during Mass & as I left I slipped on the stone steps. This put paid to having lunch with some parishioners & I spent the rest of the day relaxing. During the week I have to attend to a home HC visit & 2 baptisms. Monday morning I did some errands, then checked how to get to the home that I must visit (a 95 year old German woman who married a British army officer) – just a 20 min walk.

So now begins 4 weeks of ministry & exploring Hamburg.

Monday June 6

It has been an interesting week. Not much work to do, but a few phone enquiries. One afternoon I went to Altona, a suburb, but once a separate town. I found an interesting 1930’s Bauhaus apartment building, now used as an academy. On Saturday I went to StadtPark to see an Aussie Rules game. There is an AFL Germany league & the local team is Hamburg Dockers. They were mainly Aussies & they were playing the Dresden Wolves, who were Germans. It could have been anywhere in Australia, except for the Dresden coach giving instructions in German!

Yesterday was my 2nd Sunday at St Thomas’ & I had trouble remembering who people were. This is mainly because there are over 100 (incl children). It would help if they came every Sunday – I had to introduce myself to about 25 who had not been there last week! Many expressed appreciation for my sermon & the way I said Mass. It seems the previous locums have been less lively & quite casual about the worship.

After Mass there was a cake sale…………& I bought a chocolate cake, of course 🙂

The sunny weather continues, so I take the opportunity to explore the parks & canals/rivers, of which there are many. I have a few things on this week, incl Church Council tonight. On Wed I will go to Bremen for the day (1 hour by train). I have always wanted to visit Bremen. Like Hamburg, it is a Frei & Hansa Stadt.

Sun 12

I had an interesting week. On Mon I walked thru the tunnel that goes under the river Elbe. In looking around the old wharves I found 2 plaques of interest. One commemorated the hundreds of Jews who fled Nazi Germany for the US in 1938 on the SS St Louis. Unfortunately they were refused admission into the US. The other plaque commemorated the Exodus which took 4,500 Jews to Palestine in 1946.

On Wednesday I went to Bremen for the day. I enjoyed exploring this city, which has a few historical buildings not destroyed in WW2. At 12 noon I gathered with lots of others in Bottcher St to witness the porcelain glockenspiels chime midday with a tableaux of explorers who have conquered the sea – incl SD’s Charles Lindburgh. The street consists of restored houses & shops from 100 years ago. One is a museum – a town-house of a merchant containing his family arte facts & furniture, as well as a silver treasury from a guild in Riga. After walking for 4 hours I decided it was time to sit in the town square for the great German tradition of coffee & cake!

On Thurs I took HC to a 95 year old parishioner. Rosie is a German lady who married a British army officer in Hamburg after WW2 (Hamburg was in the British zone). We conversed in both English & German & she had an interesting story of her life to tell. Friday night I attended Mothers Union. Having had a branch in my 1st parish I was interested to attend & surprised to find many of the members were young German women.

Today at Mass we commemorated the 90th b/day of the Queen. We also had a baptism – the 2nd child of Gert & Sara who are parishioners. It was a challenge to combine the themes – but I received lots of comments about my sermon, particularly from the visitors. With over 30 there for the baptism, the church was full & the singing great. At the end I said a special prayer for the Queen, followed by the choir singing a special combination of “Happy Birthday To You” & ” God Save The Queen”. This was immediately followed by the last hymn, sung to the tune, Austria – which is the same as the German national anthem!

After a busy coffee hour (with more new parishioners to meet!) I went to the Baptism party. This was a wonderful feast of German food & beer – & Aussie wine. Gert & Sara had spent 6 months on a horse farm in Western Australia a few years ago, visiting other parts of Australia afterwards, incl Sunday Mass at All SS, E St K. I was probably in the US at the time! I was given a ride there & back by a parishioner who has been to Australia & has friends in Adelaide – & who loves AFL footy!

Sun 19

On Tuesday I went to Koln for 3 days. I had friends to catch up with & enjoyed worshipping at the magnificent Dom each day. On Wednesday I caught the local train & bus to Vogelsang. This was one of 4 Ordensburg built by the Nazis in the 1930’s. They were places where youth were trained to be elite & future Nazi leaders. Only Vogelsang was not destroyed in the war, becoming a Belgian military base. 10 years ago it was given back to Germany & construction began to restore it as an education Centre. It is in the beautiful Eifel national park & has views over rivers & hills. Much of the original complex remains & is an fascinating example of Nazi architecture (see pics below).

Mass this morning went well & I talked with the kids at the end. Several people expressed disappointment that I only had 1 week left as their locum. It was announced that there would be lunch after Mass next week to say farewell. Where has the time gone?

My Sunday finished with a choir concert at St Michael’s Lutheran Church next door. There were 5 choirs present & the music was excellent. We also got a 10 min sermon – which I thought was very short for Lutheran clergy! I now have a busy week ahead……tomorrow I go to Kiel, the German naval base during the 2 world wars.
Germany June 2016Germany June 2016 Germany June 2016Germany June 2016Germany June 2016Germany June 2016Germany June 2016Germany June 2016

Sat 25

My last week in Hamburg has been busy & interesting. On Monday I went to Kiel for the day. This was the home of the German Navy in WW 1 & 2 & is still a major port. There wasn’t much to see so I wandered around the Harbour & explored the city. Coincidentally it was the annual Kiel festival & there were about 12 locations with stages, food & drink stalls. On Tuesday I had lunch with a parishioner. He lives in a typical 1930’s German apartment with a wonderful narrow elevator. We both share an interest in Germany & Romania, so it was a long lunch!

Wed night I attended the British Consular Agent’s cocktail party to honor the 90th b/day of the Queen. This was held in the Anglo-German club, which was established in 1947. It was a beautiful evening & the hospitality was excellent. There were over 100 there, mainly Germans. The Royal Engineers band played & I enjoyed mixing with my parishioners as well as meeting new people.

This morning I cleaned the flat whilst listening to the footy from Australia. Tonight at 6 pm there is a concert in the church by the Cardiff University Chamber Choir. Like many University & church choirs they are touring Europe at this time of the year & giving concerts. I will welcome everyone in German & English!

So tomorrow is my last Sunday. A shared lunch will follow the Service. On Monday I catch the train to Berlin, where I will spend 2 days, then go to Frankfurt for my flight back to the US.
Hamburg last Sunday June 2016Hamburg last Sunday June 2016
Sun 26

My final Sunday at St Thomas’ was wonderful! At the end Susanne the Warden thanked me, commenting on my teaching. She then presented me with small gifts to remind me of my time there: a walking map of Hamburg (because I like walking) a key ring with a minature track shoe on it (because I walk a lot) a Hamburg pen (because I communicate a lot) & chocolates. It was all done with humour & good wishes.

I called the children up after that & taught them hand actions for the chorus of the final hymn, “I, the Lord of Sea & Sky”. This was great fun. When I looked up, half the congregation incl the choir in the gallery were doing it! A lovely lunch followed. A magnificent chocolate cake had been made with a map of Australia in icing on top, the flag on the side & several koalas & kangaroos. It was amazing for just a Locum. As I circulated people expressed thanks & appreciation (particularly for my sermons). I felt sorry to leave – I had just got to know them. That is the negative with locums, of course.

pics of a roof-top cafe in Berlin which I visited
St Tomas June 2016St Tomas June 2016

Brunch after Mass in Hamburg with Eileen & Matilda

St Tomas June 2016Y

Sunday July 10

My flights from Frankfurt were all good & on time. For the July 4 w/e I went to Philadelphia. I wanted to be in an old east coast city & I chose Philly. On Sunday I went to Mass at St Clement’s, a famous Anglocatholic church. I preached there 6 years ago, but this visit was disappointing. In summer Mass is held in a chapel that holds 40 & just 25 of us were present for a Mass which was so old-fashioned, the only thing I enjoyed was the hymns. Afterwards 2 people said they remembered me (must be the accent!) but there was no sign of the Rector at the door or coffee hour.

A brief trip to SF was followed by a visit to Leon Guanajuato in Mexico. This is 2 historical towns that are off the tourist trail. In fact the International Airport has just 3 gates & a single runway, on which the plane has to turn. Getting thru immigration/customs took all of 5 mins! I am staying in Leon & everything is cheap. On Saturday I went to Guanajuato. This is a wonderful old town with a beautiful cathedral, theatre & market. Squares with fountains dotted the town centre, with its narrow streets. Built in mountains, there are underground roads going everywhere. This morning I went to Mass at a church 15 mins from my hotel. It is a huge French Gothic basilica. I am always interested in local customs at Mass when I travel, & today saw something I had never seen before. When the collection was taken up a man asked for change – & he got it! In the a/noon I walked around Leon, which is a commercial & cultural hub.
 Mexico, July 2016Mexico, July 2016
French Gothic basilica, Guanajuato Mexico, July 2016French Gothic basilica, Guanajuato Mexico, July 2016
There was a reason for this trip apart from visiting a new destination. Tomorrow when I fly back to SD I will pass 3 mill lifetime miles with United. This has been my big project for the last 4 years & became my main retirement activity. When United & Continental amalgamated in 2012 my total miles passed 2 mill. I subsequently discovered that on passing 3 mill you were given 1K elite status for the rest of your life. So I decided to do it. 1K status gives you free international upgrades & boarding group 1, amongst other perks. I can hardly believe that I am going to achieve this. It has taken clever planning & a helpful loan from my bank. I have made fascinating trips (EG 3 days in Shanghai) as well as visiting new & interesting places. I guess I will be excited tomorrow 🙂

Wednesday 13

Today I fly to London for a visit to Walsingham. When I got to the United Club at SD Airport the staff were waiting for me with a 3 million miler sash made by Kathy, crown, gifts & a card signed by all the SD United staff!
3000000 miles flown celebration with united3000000 miles flown celebration with united

Kathy escorted me to the gate & 3 supervisors appeared with cake & congratulations. They wanted to announce about it, but I said I would be embarrassed. I was called to board first & on the flight the FA, Peggy, made a fuss of me. On arrival at the United Club in LAX I happened to mention my achievement. I was congratulated & then given a private room by the Club manager, who later sent me a bottle of wine. At the gate for my London flight I was again called to board first. When I took my seat the Captain came up & congratulated me. Then the Purser sang to me! It was a wonderful flight & a memorable day.

Sun 17

I arrived in London safely & on time Thursday. On Friday evening I attended the Patronal Festival of Holy Redeemer, Clerkenwell. This is a well-known Anglocatholic church whose congregation is mainly locals. I have often attended Sunday Mass here since a young priest whom I know was appointed Vicar about the time that I stopped staying at St Mary’s, Bourne St. The Festival was inspiring: High Mass with a full church, including 12 robed clergy, began at 7pm followed by a Eucharistic Procession thru the streets. A brass band & choir led the singing, including a haunting drum when the music stopped. Being Friday night, the pubs & restaurants were full & the patrons spilling into the streets seemed stunned at what must have seemed old-fashioned religion – or maybe just strange!

We returned to the church for Benediction, followed by a marvellous party in the hall. I caught up with several people I knew & was made welcome by parishioners & clergy alike. Saturday I caught up with an old Fitzroy friend whose health is not good. I keep encouraging him to return to Melbourne!

Today I went to Sunday Mass at St Magnus the Martyr. This is another famous Anglocatholic church that I enjoy attending when in London. There are so many in London & all different – I am spoilt for choice & it is the beauty of retirement. By coincidence, I attended the Patronal Festivals of both Holy Redeemer & St Magnus when I lived here in 1975. The Rector gave an excellent sermon – a rare experience for me in my travels these days! Afterwards there was a BBQ lunch, which I was warmly invited to by several people. It is a very friendly parish & I was told that under the Rector’s leadership it has grown, mainly with younger people. A Rector who is friendly, welcoming & preaches well will do that – that was my secret, I am told! By coincidence, the BBQ was cooked by 2 guys from Melbourne. They did not know me, but were interested in my adventures, both as a priest & when I lived in London like they are now.

Am now watching the Proms on TV, featuring Kings College Cambridge choir. The highlight is Faure’s Requiem. I loved attending the Proms when I lived here, often going straight from work & getting a cheap balcony or promenade ticket.

Tomorrow I catch the train to Norwich & then the bus to Walsingham. I will be there until Friday – a shorter visit than usual. As always, it will be great to be back there – but no Sunday Mass at the Parish Church, unfortunately.

Sun 24

I had a nice week at Walsingham & it was wonderful to see everyone again. The weather was warm all week, which is not what I am used to, as I usually come to Walsingham in Feb & Oct. I think the last time I was here in summer was when I brought the SD pilgrims in Aug 2007. On Tues I said Mass in the shrine for all my intentions: parishes, friends, SSC, sick & departed. Wed I concelebrated the Pilgrims Mass, reading the gospel. Thursday was the St Margaret’s Day festival at the Priory for associates of the community. It was a lovely day. I was one of 10 concelebrants at the Mass, which was followed by lunch. Good to catch up with friends, esp Bp Peter Wheatley, the Visitor of the community. I first met him in 1974 & as I have only seen him twice since then, we had lots to catch up on. EP & Benediction concluded the day. On Friday my friends, Stephen & Jo, drove me to Norwich for the 12.30 pm train to London.

London has been warm all weekend & full of tourists. If I return next July I will stay in Walsingham for Sunday Mass & not be in London for the w/e! Saty a/noon I went to the British Museum to see an exhibition on Sicily. I wanted to see this because in 2008 I spent the month of August as priest at St George’s Church, Taormina near Mt Etna. I explored & learnt a lot about Sicily in that month & found the exhibition very interesting. This morning I am going to St Gabriel’s, Pimlico, for Sunday Mass. This is not the church I attended when I lived in Pimlico in 1975, but I know the newly ordained curate, so thought I would attend. It is a 45 min walk from the hotel – the path I took when I worked in The Strand in 1975. Tomorrow I fly back to the US & have just 1 week before I fly back to Melb.

Mon Aug 1

I had a nice relaxing week in the US. 3 days in New Orleans with stopovers in SD before & after. The trip to NO was to visit my good friend, Robert. He was due to fly from Melb to NO the same day as me, arriving there 5.30 pm. I was due to get there at 10.30 pm. By a strange quirk of fate Houston weather delayed Robert’s arrival & he was subsequently re-booked on my flight. This also was delayed by 2 hours, so (thanks to social media) we met up at the gate with 2 hours to chat. I subsequently got him upgraded, so we sat next to each other in 1st class, toasting our good fortune!

Today I am flying back to Melb & luck was with me again. This flight was booked via Sydney because there were no upgrades LAX-MEL when I booked the flight, but there were LAX-SYD. In Syd I connect to Melb on a Virgin flight, arriving there at 11.30 am. I hate Sydney airport, not least because you have to transfer by bus from international to domestic terminals. Also the flight arrives in Sydney at 6 am & you then have a layover of several hours, when you would rather be in Melb.

When I got to LAX & into the United Club I explained this to the staff at the desk & wondered if there was any chance of changing my itinerary to LAX-MEL. The man doubted it, but said he would see. 20 mins later he called me to the desk & said it was done……..what seat did I want? I could hardly believe it! So now I fly direct to Melb, arriving at 7.30 am & will be home just after 9 am, instead of 1 pm. I am looking forward to being back in St K very much. I have been travelling for over 3 months – the longest trip I have ever taken.

Blog- Feb – Apr 2016

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Sat Jan 30

I am at Newark airport, waiting for my flight to London. This time last week it was snow-bound & all flights cancelled. Today the sun is out, there’s a little snow on the ground & NYC looks nice in the distance.

I have had  10 interesting days since I left Melbourne, starting with a brief stopover in SD. I then a few days in New Orleans, meeting up with Mike, a local who is the friend of Robert who looks after my St K condo when I am away. On Monday I flew to Bogota, Columbia. This was to be an adventurous 2 full days in a country I had never visited – but it did not turn out as I thought.

Because of fog (a regular problem) we could not land at Bogota on Tuesday at 6 am. So we were diverted to Panama. Most passengers were put on flights next day, but I managed to get an evening flight to Bogota. So, instead of having Tuesday to explore Bogota, I spent it in Panama airport! I duly arrived in Bogota at 9.30 pm & crashed into bed.

Wednesday was now to be the only day of discovering this new place. However before setting out I tried to check-in for my Thursday flights, but I was unable to. Unperturbed, I set out to walk to the old city. By chance I soon came across the United Airlines office. So I called in & asked if they could check me in. To my horror & their bewilderment, my itinerary had been cancelled – no doubt because of the non-arrival on Tuesday. An hour later (which included going back to my hotel for my passport) my itinerary was re-instated & I had my boarding passes.

So at 1 pm I set out, getting as far as the old bull-fighting ring & the national museum, which I found very interesting. In the end I had just 3 hours exploring Bogota instead of 2 whole days 🙁

Now I am heading for London. It is a strange visit. Instead of seeing my friend, Joan, & driving to Walsingham with her, I will attend her funeral on Tuesday & catch the train to Walsingham via Norwich on Monday Feb 8. It will be strange to be at Walsingham without her this time – we first met there 20 years ago. I will be saying a Requiem for her in the shrine when I arrive & in the evening go to dinner at the local pub with our mutual friends, Stephen & Jo, when we will toast our dear friend.

Ash Wednesday, Feb 10

I am now in Walsingham. It was a good week in London. Especially good to participate in Joan’s funeral vigil & Solemn Mass for Candlemass on Tues 2nd. On Sunday I went to Mass at Holy Redeemer, Clerkenwell – a church I have been wanting to visit. As well as the 2 priests in the parish, I was pleased to meet up with 2 other old friends in the congregation – incl one I was in seminary with & had not seen for 20 years.

On Monday I caught the train to Norwich & stayed there overnight. Yesterday I caught the bus to Walsingham. It was sunny, if cold, & everyone was pleased to see me. At 4 pm I said a Requiem in the Holy House for Joan, which was attended by 10 people. She would have been pleased. In the evening I went out for dinner with Stephen & Jo to toast Joan’s memory. Today I concelebrated the 11 am Solemn Mass & in the afternoon met with the new Interim Administrator, Fr Philip. I knew him 12 years ago, when he was the Assistant Priest at the Shrine & we enjoyed catching up on what we have been up to. It is good to have him running the shrine whilst we all await a new appointment.
Walsingham Solemn Mass Feb2016Walsingham Solemn Mass Feb2016Walsingham Solemn Mass Feb2016

Tues 16

Today I fly back to the US. I have had a nice week in Walsingham – apart from a throat virus that started last Wednesday! This meant that I mostly stayed in my warm room apart from Services & meals. On Thursday I said a Mass in the shrine for all my intentions, incl several people recently diagnosed with health problems. The Partnership Weekend was very good, with excellent talks & entertainment. On Sunday it was good to be back at the parish church & see various friends. in the evening I went to the pub with the young people who work at the shrine (despite my Greta Garbo voice!). Whilst we were there it snowed & the shrine looked lovely. I was driven to Norwich next morning, spent an hour with my old friend, Fr Martin Smith, then caught the train to London. Last night I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Gloucester Rd. I have stayed here before & like it because in 1974/75 I lived & worked near here.Walsingham Feb2016

Mon 22

I am in Quito, Ecuador. I have been wanting to visit here for awhile & am not disappointed. Quito is a lovely city with a well-preserved Spanish Colonial centre. And I think Ecuador is the nicest of the 7 Latin American countries I have been to. I arrived at midnight on Saturday night. After a blissful sleep I headed out for the national basilica. This is a huge French gothic structure rising up on a hill in the city. It has beautiful shrines but not much art work. Mass started 15 mins late & included a 20 min sermon (in Spanish, of course)……….sometimes Sunday Mass is more duty than joy!

After Mass I wandered around the old city. Cars are banned on Sunday, so was pedestrians & bikes only – a mix of locals & tourists enjoying a sunny day. Entertainers, incl bands, added to a colorful atmosphere. I managed to visit 3 Spanish Colonial churches which were magnificent in their extravagance. The Jesuit church was covered in gold from the roof down. All were obviously houses of worship & Mass was still being celebrated in 2 of them.

Wed 24

On Monday I had one of the most exciting experiences of my travels – I went to the equator. Ecuador is named after the equator, so it would be a shame not to actually see it. The bus ride there was as adventure in itself, reminding me of how I would happily take busses/trains to remote places in my early travels in the 80’s & 90’s.

The actual site of the equator is within a park managed for many years by a family. It is adjacent to the official government park – Mitad del Mundo – which is 300 m away. I latched on to a group of 5 young people from various countries who were also looking for the real location. Being with them reminded me of my travels 42 years ago. On arriving at the smaller park a guide gave us a tour of their displays of the history/culture of Ecuador. Then we were taken to the actual line of the equator. Various experiments were done for us, incl water going the different ways in the 2 hemispheres, then straight down on the actual equator. We all had photos taken standing on the equator..Standing on the equator in Ecuador Feb2016

On Tuesday I ventured into the old city & visited 3 special churches: the cathedral, St Francis’ & Our Lady of Mercy. Each were stunning (esp the cathedral, of course). I finished the day by going on a tour of the Presidential Palace. I was the only non-Spanish speaker & the guide kindly gave me an individual commentary in English. He was obviously proud of his country & the palace. Of particular note were the various gifts given to the president by other heads of state.

It has been a wonderful 3 days in Ecuador. I am now back in SD (in order to do my tax filing) & on Friday fly to Munich.

Sat Mar 5

I arrived safely in  Munich a week ago. After checking in to my hotel I went out to the Hofbrauhaus. I have been there before & have pics to prove it, but wanted to look at the painted ceilings – a remnant from the 1930’s. At 5.30 pm I attended Vigil Mass in the iconic Frauenkirche. Sunday I caught the train to Berlin. I had 5 nice days there, despite it being very cold.

In Berlin I didn’t do as much walking as usual because of the cold & threat of rain – also because my knee was still sore from the fall in London. On Monday morning I went to the DDR museum, which was really for tourists, not an amateur historian like me! In the a/noon I went to the Stasi museum, which is in the headquarters of the former DDR secret police. This was sobering – & people can still access their files there. Those 2 visits concluded my project about the Nazis & Cold War, which has been my mission for visiting Germany since I retired.

On Tuesday I went to Charlottenberg Palace, where the Prussian crown jewels are on display. I think they are better than the English – simpler & more striking. Wednesday I went to the famous zoo. After so many years visiting Berlin & using the Zoo station (the main West Berlin station before reunification in 1990) it was about time I went there! Thursday I went to Spandau Citadel. This is a mediaeval fortress & is still being renovated for tourists, because it was in the border area until 1990. After exploring it I went into the old city centre.

I caught the train to Frankfurt yesterday, staying overnight. Right now I am in the train to Munich – yes, Deutsch Bahn has free wifi on its trains! Tomorrow I fly back to the US & have just 1 more week of travels before returning to Melbourne.

Sun 13

My flight a week ago back from Munich was good & on time. On Tuesday I flew to Winnipeg (where it was very cold) then onto Toronto. I wanted to catch up with an old friend in Winnipeg & then enjoy Toronto, which is a lovely city. And it now has a new train from the airport to city. Take note, Melbourne!

Now my 8 weeks of travel is at an end. It had been quite different, starting with Joan’s death before I left, her funeral in London when I was there, a throat virus & other ailments, falling over & hurting my hand & knee in London & several flight delays, incl spending a day in Panama airport. But there have been good things & new places. And, of course, a week in Walsingham.

I am now in LAX, waiting for my flight back to Melbourne. It will be good to be back in St K. I have a busy 2 weeks, incl several meals this week & the start of the footy season on the Easter w/e!

Sun 20

I arrived back safely in St K on Tues. It took only 12 mins for me to get thru customs & passport…..very unusual! The rest of the week was busy, incl 3 visits to friends for meals. I also have the usual round of Dr, dentist, optician & podiatrist. Today I went to All SS, E St K for Palm Sunday Mass. It was a beautiful Mass with excellent music. It was the nearest to Palm Sunday in SD that I have experienced since retiring. Holy Week I will spend in Melbourne, then on Saturday I fly to Adelaide for the AFL opening round & Port Adelaide’s 1st home game on Easter Day.

Mon Apr 4

It was good to be back in Adelaide – & to see Port Adel win their 1st home game. Thanks to my friend, David Dornan, I sat in a corporate box at Adel Oval – a very pleasant way to watch the footy! I flew back to Melb on Tues & had a fairly busy week. On Thurs I received a phone call from my best friend, Waine, advising of the death of his mother, Coral. At his request I will fly to Adel on Wed & conduct the funeral on Thurs. Yesterday I went to Mass at Christ Church, Brunswick, which was nice, with an excellent sermon. Numbers & singing have both improved since I was last there in January. Now to prepare for Coral’s funeral.

Mon 18

A 2 week gap since my last entry shows that i have been busy! Going back 10 days, the funeral for Coral Justice went well. It was good to see all the family again & I enjoyed time with them. I stayed on for the football on the w/e, which Port won. Then back to St K & 2 dinner parties with friends. On Friday I flew up to Canberra to see Port Adel play. It was a disaster – the worst I think I have seen Port play. It is not a good sign for the rest of the season, which is very equal this year. I now have just 8 days before I fly back to the US. So there is much to do & organise.

Mon 25

Anzac day & St Mark’s Day. I always remember the wonderful Patronal Festivals we had at St Mark’s. Today I will go to the MCG to see the traditional Collingwood vs Essendon game – sitting in the MCC members, thanks to Jen Aldous. Then it will be an early night. Tomorrow I fly back to SD. I have spent the past week packing for the trip, organising things for my time away, cleaning my unit, etc. I am away for 3.5 months, the longest I have been travelling that I can remember.

After a week in the US I fly to London for 2 weeks, This is pure holiday & will include visits to Birmingham & Liverpool – places I have not visited before. The highlight is the last day, which is my birthday. I am flying from London to SF in 1st class. Originally I wanted to be in SD for my b/day, but I was offered an amazingly cheap fare & decided to spoil myself. Being waited on hand & foot for 11 hours sounds like a good way to celebrate turning 69!

After a week back in the US I fly to Germany on May 24th. I am to be the priest at St Thomas’ Anglican Church in Hamburg for 5 weeks. It is a lively church & I look forward to my time as locum. It will also give me an opportunity to live in a famous German city & explore northern Germany. I return to the US on June 30 & then have a month of travels. This is when I will pass 3 million miles flown with United, which has been my mission since I retired 🙂

DAILY BLOG – in descending order

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Mon Jan 9

I arrived back in SD from London on Tues 3. 1st thing on Wednesday I bought a Senior’s monthly transport card. I am now getting used to different bus routes. On Thursday I moved into the  residential hotel where I will be based for 3 months. I had 4 suit-cases to load up at the home of Kevin & Natasha in La Jolla, then drove to Hillcrest & unload. I picked the one day it rained in SD! The move was successful & then I had to go shopping for essentials – in the rain. It was interesting unpacking, as I couldn’t remember all that I had packed! I packed the largest suitcase last Sep & stored it at La Jolla in Oct.

The residential hotel is okay for the price. I live in a typical hotel room – it is not up to Hilton standard, but has all I need. There is a large kitchen on my floor (complete with electric kettle!) & on the ground floor there is a laundry, gym & some computers. After unpacking & shopping I took myself out to dinner at a familiar restaurant. It was interesting walking around Hillcrest, noting familiar cafes & restaurants & several new ones.

I was in bed by 7.30 pm & slept like a log. There was hardly any noise in the hotel, which was an unexpected pleasure. Still jet-lagged, I was awake at 2 am. At 4 am I did a load of washing. Then I completed online the renewal of my green card. It had been a challenge doing it online & I felt quite satisfied, almost triumphant – when I received a confirming email from US immigration services.

Friday was a busy day, including meeting with Fr McQueen in the afternoon. Saturday I was at All SS for the Societies of Mary monthly meeting. This was a group I started & it was a joy to once again lead them in the rosary, say Mass & then speak about Walsingham over lunch.

On Sunday I preached at both Masses at All SS & was deacon at the High Mass. Returning to one’s former parish is not easy – not least because of changes in both liturgy & parishioners. But everyone was so pleased to see me. I did enjoy preaching – it was almost like old times. It was good to see so many old friends & some people came especially to see me again. The music & choir was as good as ever. Coffee hour was busy & afterwards I had drinks with parishioners who live nearby. It was a lovely day.

Today I have been busy with many practical things, as tomorrow I go to London for a week. Saturday is the 1st anniversary of my dear friend, Joan, & I will be attending Mass at her parish church. It will be cold, of course.

Thurs 19

I had a lovely week in London. I stayed at a hotel that was new to me, just near Southwark cathedral. It was very nice & staff excellent. Friday morning it snowed! I planned to visit 2 places that I have wanted to see: Olympic Park & Crystal Palace. By the time I got off the tube the snow had stopped – but it was bitterly cold & windy. I enjoyed wandering all around the site of the 2012 Olympics – like Sydney, it was an industrial area that had been transformed, with old canals now teaming with birds, ducks, etc. From there I caught the tube & overground (train) to Crystal Palace. I enjoyed walking around what was the site of a huge exhibitiin centre in the 19th cent.

On Saturday I went out to Kenton for Mass to mark the 1st Year’s Mind of my dear friend, Joan. A parish council consultation was being held, so there were about 20 at Mass, many of whom knew me. It was a lovely Mass, with 2 Marian hymns, & the Vicar spoke nicely about Joan. Afterwards I walked to the tube station via Joan’s home, for old times sake, then got a hair-cut (cheaper than in central London!).

Sunday morning I went to High Mass at St Magnus the Martyr, which was a 10 min walk across the river. The Vicar, Fr Philip Warner, remembered me & I received a warm greeting. As on previous occasions when I have visited, Fr Warner preached a brilliant sermon with one of the funniest lines I have ever heard! The usual lovely brunch followed & I found myself chatting with 2 other Aussies as well as a woman I knew.

At 3 pm I joined Bp Andrew St John for Evensong at Westminster Abbey. The music was very good, but the sermon dreadful, heresy really. Such is the state of the official Anglican Church today! Afterwards we adjourned to a local pub to catch up on our lives, then to supper in a Piccadilly restaurant. On Monday I had lunch with Phyl, my work-mate from 74/75, enjoying a walk along the riverbank to get there. How London has changed since I lived here! At 5.30 pm I attended Evensong in Southwark Cathedral. A choir of girls & men sang interesting music – & no sermon, thankfully 🙂

I flew back to SD on Tuesday. Since then I have been busy with practical things. Today I will watch the inauguration of President Trump. Like most Americans, I am not sure what it will mean for the US & like most Aussies, not sure what it means for the world!

Tues 31

Altho SD has had a lot of rain in Jan, the usual sunny days are here again. It has been nice to walk around my old neighborhood. Most days I have caught up with parishioners for meals or visited those who are not well. A week ago I caught the train to LA, enjoying the lovely views of the coast. I got off at Anaheim & was met by my great friend, Fr Stephen Powers, whose health is not good. We had lunch & lots of chatting! Another afternoon I rode on the SD trolley lines. I have been on the one to the Mexican border, but not the other 2. The secenery was great, esp to El Cajon.

Last weekend I went to DC. I always enjoy visiting the nation’s capital with its grand buildings, monuments, parks, etc. When I got to my hotel the street was blocked off & I had to go thru 2 security checks & a sniffer dog. Men in suits with ear-pieces were everywhere & lots of people with their iphones ready for pics! It seems there was a dinner in the ballroom & Ivanka Trump was attending. In contrast, Sunday a/noon there was a demonstration at the White House. Then on Monday morning it snowed. Tomorrow I go to New Orleans – a quick trip to celebrate the anniversary of my priesting on Thursday with my dear friend, Robert, who was part of my time at St Mark’s 25 years ago. My 37th anniversary will be officially celebrated at All SS on Sunday, when I am preacher & celebrant at the High Mass.
Washington DC Jan 2017
Washington DC Jan 2017
Washington DC Jan 2017
Washington DC Jan 2017
Solano Beach Jan 2017

Tues 8

I have had a great celebration of my 37th anniversary. On Thursday (the actual day) I was in New Orleans & went to Mass with Robert & his friend, Mike. Afterwards we had lunch at my hotel. Then they dropped me at the airport for my flight back to SD. I would have stayed longer, but I had a very important appointment on Friday. This was the biometrics for my new green card (fingerprints & face pic) & is the reason I am living back in SD. I have been pleased at how quickly it has been processed. The office was in Chula Vista & I caught the trolley there. Now I wait for my new green card.

On Saturday I said Mass for the monthly Societies of Mary meeting. So to Sunday & the parish celebration of my anniversary. I preached at 8 am & once again there was a larger congregation than usual. At 10.30 am I was the celebrant at High Mass with the Candlemass ceremonies. We used the same service as for my 30th & it was as if I had never left. The music was superb. A parishioner wanted a copy of my sermon, not knowing that I have always preached from notes. He was stunned later as I handed him my notes, complete with arrows, abbreviations & 🙂

Afterwards I enjoyed drinks with friends then lunch with parishioners. It has been a wonderful weekend for me & everyone said they want me to keep returning! Now a few busy days catching up with more parishioners. On Thursday I fly to London for my usual February visit to Walsingham. This time I am joined by my former Warden, Clare. We shall have the weekend in London, then catch the train to Norwich, from where we will catch the bus to Walsingham.
Presentation of our Lord at All Saints' and 37th anniversary of my ordination-FEB 5, 2017
Presentation of our Lord at All Saints' and 37th anniversary of my ordination-FEB 5, 2017
Presentation of our Lord at All Saints' and 37th anniversary of my ordination-FEB 5, 2017
Presentation of our Lord at All Saints' and 37th anniversary of my ordination-FEB 5, 2017
Presentation of our Lord at All Saints' and 37th anniversary of my ordination-FEB 5, 2017
Presentation of our Lord at All Saints' and 37th anniversary of my ordination-FEB 5, 2017

Fri 17

Clare & I had a nice w/e in London, the highlight being Sunday Mass at St Magnus the Martyr. On Monday we caught the train to Norwich, where we stayed overnight. We were in different hotels, but came together for dinner. We caught the bus to Walsingham on Tuesday & it was great to be back. The shrine had just a few guests & no weekday programme. I said Mass each day – so many people & intentions to pray for. Last night we went for dinner at the local pub with my friends, Stephen & Jo. This has become a tradition to remember my friend, Joan, who died a year ago.

Tonight the Partnership w/e begins with Mass at which I will concelebrate. Walsingham Partners are a group of people who pledge financial support to the shrine & about 120 (incl guests like Clare) are booked in for the w/e. We will hear from the new administrator, Fr Kevin, along with 2 other speakers, a formal dinner & a chance to tour local historical sites. Sunday I will concelebrate Mass at the parish church, as usual. Clare & I will go back to London on Monday & on Tuesday I fly back to SD.

Fri 24

After a lovely week in Walsingham & an overnight stay in London, I arrived safely back in SD on Tuesday night. Since then it has been a busy 3 days with the usual things after a trip. Today I go to Roswell NM for the w/e. This town is (in)famous for the supposed landing of a UFO in 1947 (about the time I was born!). As a sci-fi lover I have always wanted to visit Roswell. I don’t believe it, of course, but will enjoy the kitschy museum. I may even buy a souvenir!
Roswell-NM-Feb24-2017

Fri March 3

I am now in Berlin! I will have the weekend here, then travel around Germany by train for a week. It was sunny today, so I walked around the old East Berlin. I came across the Soho House a hotel. It was built in the 1920’s as a department store. Subsequently the Jewish owners were forced out by the Nazis, who used it for their Reichs Youth organisation. After the war it became the communist party headquarters.
March 3 2017 in Berlin
March 3 2017 in Berlin
March 3 2017 in Berlin

Wed 8

The weather was sunny for the rest of the weekend until Sunday a/noon. On Saturday I walked around the heart of the former West Berlin. Calling in at St Matthias Church, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s first church, I was in time for an organ recital. Sunday a/noon I went to the Berlin Film Museum to see an exhibition about sci-fi in the movies.

I arrived in Koln yesterday. It was raining today & I caught the train to Aachen. This was the capital of Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire. The Dom is fascinating & is where 30 emperors were crowned. Charlemagne’s relics are in the stunning choir. After time in the Dom I visited the treasury, then to the Rathaus. This is built on the site of the royal palace & contains the coronation hall, built in 1349 for the banquets held after the ceremony. It was a good day for me experiencing more German history.

March 11 2017 in Aachen, Germany
March 11 2017 in Aachen, Germany
March 11 2017 in Aachen, Germany
March 11 2017 in Aachen, Germany
March 11 2017 in Aachen, Germany

Sun 12

I have just had a pleasant w/e in Bonn. I have only been here before on a day trip back in 1991, so was interested to explore the city. 1st impression: Why on earth did they choose this as W Germany’s capital in 1949? It could only have been because it is Beethoven’s birthplace. And now the capital has been moved to Berlin, Beethoven is its main attraction. The town has a few interesting buildings. of these, tye Munster is quite beautiful – a mix of romanesque & gothic architecture. There are just 2 other churches of note. Sat night I attended Mass in St Remigius, where Beethoven played the organ at the 6 am Mass. No wonder he went deaf, playing at that hour!

On Sat I walked along the Rhein to the former federal government area, now the site of a UN headquarters, a “world conference centre” & several museums. I had to go to the museum of BRD history because of my interest in modern German history. I thoroughly enjoyed it & spent 4 hours there…….surely a record for me to spend in a museum! Sunday I crossed the river & walked up to a village called Schwarzrheindorf. My purpose was to visit the Doppelkirche of Our Lady & St Clement. Built in 1151 for the Prince Elector, it is actually 2 churches. The lower church is the main one & on top is another church. The prince could sit in the upper church watching Mass thru an octagonal opening without being seen by the congregation!

The church building is quite beautiful & is in the process of being restored. Inside there are stunning romanesque wall paintings. I concluded Sunday by having typical German Eis in front of the baroque Rathaus (1737). Tomorrow I catch the train to Frankfurt & on Tuesday fly back to SD.
March 12 2017 in Bonn
March 12 2017 in Bonn
March 12 2017 in Bonn
March 12 2017 in Bonn
March 12 2017 in Bonn

Wed 22

I have been back in the US a week now. It’s been a busy time, as in a little under 3 weeks I return to Australia. So there is much to do – including filing my US tax return & renewing my Calif driver’s licence (a written test!). This Sunday I am celebrating the 8 am Mass at All SS & preaching at both 8 am & 10.30 am. It will be good to be back.

March 22 2017 in San Diego

Thurs 30

Where did the past 8 days go? My final visit to All SS last Sunday was nice & my sermon was well received. It was a joy to celebrate the 8am Mass (tho it is a little different to when I was Rector) & was pleased that at High Mass I sang the paricularly long gospel without a mistake 🙂

A delightful lunch followed at a parishioner’s home – where I managed to spill wine over the host. Another guest managed to smash her glass also. One could say it was a riot of fun! This week has been busy having meals with parishioners as well as things to do for the move out of my flat next week.

San-Diego-2017-March30
San-Diego-2017-March30

Thurs April 6

I moved out of my room at Studio 819 yesterday. Quite an ordeal! I moved in 3 months ago with 4 suitcases full of stuff + my travel backpack. I go back to Australia with 2 + backpack. I brought things from Australia that I intended to throw away, so the local Goodwill store got a suitcase of clothes, etc. I am now staying in a guest flat around the corner. I walked from one to the other – it only took 3 trips of 6 mins to move my stuff there.

On Saturday I say Mass at 11 am for the 10th wedding anniversary of Troy & Teresa. I had promised them I would return to celebrate a special Mass for them several years ago. Their anniversary is actually on Good Friday, so we settled for this Saturday, being the last day before Holy Week starts. It will be a nice finish to my time here.

San-Diego 2017 April 6 Teresa and Troy 10th anniversary

On Sunday I fly back to Melbourne, arriving there on Tuesday. I have been away 4 months & had a lovely 3 months living back in San Diego. My return to All Saints on 3 Sundays was great, esp the anniversary of my ordination in Feb. I have especially enjoyed catching up with parishioners socially. I think I only had 4 meals alone! There were some wonderful travels, too – both in the US & to Europe/UK. But now I am keen to return home. I do look forward to being back in St Kilda, in my own bed. It will be good to catch up with friends……& of course, to go to the footy 🙂

Easter Tues

I have been in Australia a week now. The flight home was good & I managed to get my 2 suitcases & 2 small bags on to the St K bus & into my condo. It was a nice sunny day & felt good to be back. The unit was clean & tidy with the bed made ready, thanks to Jen who looked after it whilst I was away. I spent 4 hours unpacking the bags + 4 boxes of things I had stored in my study. Then I shaved/showered & went down to the bank, P.O. & shopping. Not much mail, but 20 Christmas cards! A load of washing was next on the agenda. I hit the sack about 6.30pm & woke up at midnight……the joys of jet-lag!

In the early hours of Wednesday I sorted all the papers, files, etc from the last 4 months. Walked to All SS for 10.30 am Mass & it was nice to reacquaint myself with St K. After Mass & the usual morning tea I went into the city to organise a new Aussie cell-phone. On returning home I made various appointments & started advising friends of my new phone #. Another early night & woke up at 1.30 am. Thursday at 8 am I met my old friend, David, for coffee at a beachside cafe across the road – it felt like I was now really home. In the evening I went to the Maundy Thurs Mass at All SS, which was nice.

Good Friday I flew to Canberra because Port Adel were playing the Giants on Saturday. My flight was late, but I arrived in time to attend the Good Friday liturgy. In the past I have stayed in south of Lake Burley Griffin, but this time I am staying in the north of the city, near parliament house – just a 10 min walk to the footy ground. So on Saturday morning I enjoyed a long walk exploring this part of Canberra. At 2 pm I went to the Eastlakes Football Club for the pre-game gathering of Port Adel supporters. At the game I sat behind the goals with the Cheer Squad. Port played well in a close, exciting game…..until the last 1/4ter. Then the Giants moved up a gear & we lost the game 🙁

The game finished at 7.15 pm & I literally walked across the road to attend the Easter Vigil at St Paul’s,. Manuka. This church was built in the 1930’s when Canberra was first built & is a nice building, But the Service was very disappointing. It was quite uninspiring with no sense of drama, let alone Easter triumph or joy. Thankfully there was no sermon! It was similarly disappointing at 7 am Mass next morning – made worse by the priest not even reading the words properly. It was a lovely sunny morning & I walked from the hotel to the bus stop south of Lake Burley Griffin – a pleasant 50 min walk. Was glad to be home & I had a good sleep. Yesterday was a relaxing day & in the a/noon I went to the footy at the MCG, which wasn’t much of a game until the 2nd half.

Blog- Oct – Jan 2016

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

Oct 15

Joan & I had a smooth trip to Walsingham on Monday. The weather was sunny, but on arrival it turned cold & light rain has continued since then. We gave a ride to Fr Graham, the Shrine priest, who was in London. He is a happy, cheery Irishman, so lots of conversation ensued. It was nice to be back at Walsingham, of course, & I received a great welcome from the staff. Groups here this week who remembered me from previous years also welcomed me enthusiastically. I can’t remember them all, but they certainly remember me………must be the accent! One group of priests have asked me to be their chaplain next year & I have accepted.

The first 2 days I had no duties, so said Mass for Joan & my intentions. However, I have been given plenty of tasks since then, including some new ones. On Wed & Thurs I said the 7.30 am Mass & on Wednesday night I assisted at the Pilgrims Mass & gave the homily for the outdoor procession in the evening, for which the rain held off. Today was the great festival of the Translation of Our Lady of Walsingham. A lovely Solemn Mass was celebrated at 11 am. I was on duty at Sprinkling this a/noon & an old Melbourne friend arrived, knowing I was here.

Tomorrow my long-time friends from St Paul’s, Port Adelaide, David & Peter, arrive for the w/e. It will be great to give them the pilgrimage experience.

Tues 20

David & Peter arrived safely on Friday & had a marvelous w/e. Were impressed with the accomodation & meals & the staff they met. On Fri night we spent time with the 4 young people who are doing Y4D this year. On Saty morning I said a special Mass in the shrine for St Paul’s, Port Adelaide. The rest of the w/e they experienced all the usual Services, which inspired them – esp the Pilgrims Mass & Candlelight procession that night. The Parish Mass on Sun morning was wonderful, with over 200 present. As always, the singing in Walsingham is fantastic. Sun a/noon David was thurifer for the Eucharistic Procession, which proved an excellent climax for them both. Although the weather has been dull & cold, we were able to have both processions outdoors.

Mon morning David & Peter left for Liverpool. Later Clare & Ruby arrived from San Diego. This is their 4th visit & it was good to see them. They arrived just in time to participate in a walk of reparation thru the Priory grounds. This was new to me & was a series of devotions & prayer at various sites of the old priory in reparation for the sins & violence done to the shrine at the reformation. It gave us the opportunity to explore the grounds, which you usually have to pay to enter! I said a special 4.30 pm Mass in the shrine for All SS, then left them to themselves, as I had dinner planned with some retired priests at one of the pubs.

Today Ruby & Clare came to the 7.30 am Mass which I said & at 10.15 am we visited the sisters at the Priory. At 12 noon we attended St Mary’s for a special Mass which concluded a 2 day conference at the Shrine for 30 young priests & deacons. It was wonderful to see all these newly-ordained clergy of the anglocatholic tradition, with their bishops. Bishop Norman Banks convenes this conference for young clergy here every year at this time & invites me to be involved as a friend & mentor. It is a privilege to meet all of them & to concelebrate the Mass with them. I met a 25 year old Fr Jack Noble & was thrilled to see another Fr Noble just beginning his ministry as an anglocatholic.
Walsingham sun came out Oct2015

The above pic was taken on Friday, when it was a lovely sunny a/noon. But mostly the weather has been cold & overcast. Last week was busy each day until Friday. Clare & Ruby enjoyed being back.

Mon 26

On Fri night an Aussie priest whom I know, Fr Rene, arrived. This was his 1st pilgrimage & he didn’t know I was here. So I organised him saying Mass at 10 am Saty & gave a tour. Saturday turned out to be a very busy day full of twists & turns. At 12 noon I said the Day Pilgrims Mass for about 40 people who had come for the day. They were here this time last year & remembered me, incl the newly ordained assistant priest who enjoyed concelebrating with me.

At 2.20 pm I returned to do the Sprinkling Service……..only to find 120 Ukrainians had taken over the church! This was a last minute arrangement, but no-one told me. It was chaos – so I postponed our Service until 3.30 pm. I returned for that & had just begun when the orthodox priest who was saying Vespers came down & said I was too loud!

So to the 6pm Mass, for which we had a large number staying for the w/e. At the last minute I was asked to preach. So I changed the 1st reading to suit my sermon. To my horror, the reader read a different one! So I revised my sermon there & then. Then for the 8.15 pm Candlelight Procession Fr Graham realized they hadn’t chosen an officiant – so looked at me & said, Fr Tony? It was a crazy day, & I slept like a log.

Sunday St Mary’s was packed for the Parish Mass. Very few villages get 250+ on a Sunday. As usual, the singing was wonderful. Ruby & Clare left for London after that & should now be arriving in NY. I did not do anything special for the a/noon Service & after supper went to the pub with Fr Rene. This morning I attended his Mass in the Holy House, followed by a quiet day. Tonight we began Bible Week – a week-Long conference with about 160. In the absence of Bp Lindsay I will be doing quite a few things I haven’t done before, incl preaching & celebrating the Wed night Mass.

Thurs Nov 5

Bible Week was very busy & very good. It finished with a lovely Sung Mass on Friday. Joan arrived that a/noon – whilst I was having tea with 2 parishioners I have become friendly with. In the evening Joan & I went to the Black Lion for dinner & on Saturday we had lunch with our good friends Stephen & Jo, who took us to a delightful pub overlooking the sea. The weather for the w/e was beautiful & sunny – gr8 for the candlelight procession on Saty night & for the procession on Sunday. I said farewell to the parishioners on Sunday at yet another packed St Mary’s. They all asked when I would be returning – the answer being February 🙂

We drove back on Monday – with a delay of 30 mins due to road works & passing the end just as they were removing the signs! I attended the All Souls’ Day Sung Requiem at St Mary’s & had a good sleep – up early & caught the first tube to Heathrow. Good flights to SD & a busy day yesterday. Today I fly to Costa Rica for 5 days – a country I have not visited.

Sun 8

CR is as nice as everyone said. I arrived at night & it was raining – but in the morning I had a stunning view from my hotel room on the 19th floor. In the background are huge, lush hills & below are nice houses, trees, shrubs & a huge park where the original airport used to be. On Friday I walked into the town centre (35 mins). It is a typical Latin American country, with Spanish colonial buildings – but the infrastructure is in good condition & there is a peaceful atmosphere. This is probably because most of the people are of Spanish descent (the Spaniards having wiped out the natives!) & the fact that the military was abolished in 1949.

I enjoyed exploring the city & discovering churches, museums & interesting modern buildings. There is even a suburban railway, tho I didn’t see any trains running. In the evening I relaxed in the hotel. There is no exec lounge, but at the Sky Bar there was Happy Hour with free food. I ordered a beer & was told it was free because the free food had not arrived!

Saturday Morning I went for a walk thru the park & continued my favourite occupation when I travel – looking at old houses, etc. This included the Vatican embassy. In the a/noon I walked into the city to attend a concert at the stunning National Theatre. This is a beautiful building erected in 1890. I got a seat in a balcony box for what was a very interesting concert. The 1st half was by the National Youth Orchestra & the programme had a British theme: Walton’s Crown Imperial, Holst’s Hammersmith Prelude & Scherzo & Lincolnshire Posy by Percy Grainger. If only they knew there was an Aussie from Melbourne in the audience!

The 2nd half was by 3 different choirs of the National Youth & Junior Choir. They sang 15 different pieces from as many countries, sung in German, French, Latin, Hawaiian, English, Spanish, Hungarian & even a Kyrie. They were delightful & professional. Afterwards I attended the Vigil Mass in the cathedral.

Today is my last day here & I will do more exploring. The days have been beautiful – 25c – but there are clouds over the hills today. I fly back to the US tomorrow & will have a few days in Connecticut, a state I have not visited yet.
Costa Rica out hotel room 11nov2015

Monday 16

I had a nice 3 days in Hartford CT. There was light rain on Thursday, but it didn’t prevent me exploring the old Capitol & the Athenaeum Museum of Art. The collection in the Museum was not large, but it was a wonderful selection of art with some well known artists represented. Friday it was sunny but cold. This allowed me to do a lot of exploring on foot, incl the stunning modern Capitol. Now, after 6 weeks of interesting travel I am at LAX waiting for my flight back to Melb. It will be good to be back home in time for summer.

Sunday 22

I arrived safely back in St K on Wednesday. A busy few days, with the usual things to sort out, bills to pay, appointments…..& next year’s travels to plan! Jet-lag saw me asleep by 8 pm & awake at 2 am until last night. I did make time to see a recently released Aussie movie, The Dressmaker. I thought it was marvellous, with a great cast & story. Today I went to Mass at Christ Church, Brunswick. In the 6 weeks I have been away there are noticeable changes, not least in the music. 2 old friends were present & agreed with me as to the excellent sermon we received. Numbers have increased & included 3 street people. One entered during the sermon & in his usual way Bp Lindsay said, Welcome my brother – then continued on with his sermon! Afterwards I had brunch with Bp Lindsay in a local cafe where he is already known. Now another busy week ahead for me.

Mon 30

Wednesday night I went to the opera – The Marriage of Figaro. This was my last opera because I am not renewing my subscription in 2016, on account of being overseas April-Aug. The same with my symphony sub. Last week I was patiently waiting for a new washing m/c, as my old one broke down whilst I was away. Rob, who looks after my place when i am away, arranged warranty reimbursement & I purchased a new one the day I got back – with expected delivery of 1-2 weeks. By Friday I had a pile of washing to do & still no m/c, so went to the local laundromat. Also on Friday a tradesman came to put new skirting boards in a corner of the living room. This was due to water damage a year ago. Now with winter past & no further damp, it was time to fix the boards. He was supposed to come on Thurs, but changed to Fri at the last minute. This gave me the opportunity on Thursday to see another movie I wanted to see – Bridge of Spies. Having walked over the Glienecke Bridge in Berlin last Aug, I was esp interested in seeing the movie.

Saty a/noon I went to an organ concert in St Patrick’s cathedral, which was excellent. To my delight, I saw an old parishioner of St Mark’s, Brenton Fyfield – a violin maker. he was a good friend & I officiated at his wife’s funeral & daughter’s wedding. It was so good to catch up with him. Sunday I went to Mass at CC, Brunswick. The AGM followed & Bp Lindsay gave a stirring Vicar’s Report, which was really a charge & plan for the future. Sunday 5pm I went to the Advent carol Service at All SS, E St K. It was followed by drinks on the vicarage lawn & everyone was pleased to see me again.

Tomorrow I am off to Cairns for 2 nights. I have been visiting here each December since I returned to Aust. On this visit I am going to the Gr8 Barrier Reef – another thing on my “to do” list!

Sun Dec 6

My visit to Cairns was a nice relaxing time. The highlight was the Great Barrier Reef. On Wed I caught a ferry to Green Island, where I boarded a glass-bottom boat. We cruised over the Barrier Reef & had great views of the coral & fish. Such lovely coral & beautiful fish. After the boat trip I had 2 hours walking around the Island, which is quite small. Half of it is a National Park with a interpretive signs along the board walk. It was both instructive & interesting. The tropical forest & the beaches were beautiful. I finished up entering Marineland Melanesia – a family owned park with Melanesian artifacts & crocodiles. The lunch-time feeding of the crocs was fascinating.

I flew back to Melb on Thursday. On Saturday my new washing m/c finally arrived. the rest of the day I did all the loads of washing that had been piling up. This m/c is much better than the previous one & also has a bigger tub, even tho it is the same small size as the last one (in order to fit into the space in the laundry). This week I am off to Sydney Tues-Sat. I will be going to the Blue Mountains – another 1st visit! My purpose is to visit my old & dear friend, Fr Andrew Duncan, who was in seminary with me. He visited me in SD in September 2008 & I have been trying to visit him since I returned to Australia 4 years ago.

Fri 11

I have just had a wonderful 2 days in the Blue Mountains. After staying overnight in Sydney I caught the train to Lithgow on Wed – a 3 hour trip. Andrew was waiting for me & drove me back to his home for lunch. Here I met for the first time his wife, Pam. She had heard about me & there was lots of chatting & reminiscing about our time together in seminary. Later he drove me to Katoomba, which is the tourist centre of the Blue Mountains. I was staying at The Carrington, a 19th cent historic hotel. It was wonderful & furnished in 1930’s style.

Thursday after breakfast I walked to Echo Point – 30 mins downhill. Here you have a magnificent view of the Blue Mountains & the famous 3 Sisters. I then walked around the hillside to the Skyway – the highest cablecar in Australia. This takes you to Scenic World – a family owned park which started in 1945 when a brother & sister bought the old mines to develop into a tourist attraction. The admission fee was well worth it as they have preserved & developed the rainforest & mining history into a lovely park. From the Scenic World centre at the top I caught the scenic railway – the steepest passenger train in the world. It landed in Jamieson Valley where paths led thru the rain forest. After exploring I caught the cablecar back to the top. The admission included unlimited rides on these 3, which I took advantage of. I also walked all the way from the top to the bottom, which led thru the National Park. You can walk between the 2 parks, but must have the pass to take the Scenic World rides.
5 hour walk in the Scenic World park5 hour walk in the Scenic World park5 hour walk in the Scenic World park5 hour walk in the Scenic World park5 hour walk in the Scenic World park
After 4 hours of wonderful exploring I walked back to the hotel, where I enjoyed afternoon tea in real style. It was a wonderful day of exploring. This morning I caught the train back to Sydney, where I am staying tonight. Tomorrow I catch an 11 am flight back to Melb.
Tea after a 5 hour walk in the Scenic World parkTea after a 5 hour walk in the Scenic World parkTea after a 5 hour walk in the Scenic World park

Sun 20

After my wonderful visit to the Blue Mountains I returned to Melbourne. Life was back to normal routine, with nothing much to report. We have just endured a heat-wave here in Melbourne & of course, it is the crazy build-up to Christmas. I do enjoy a relaxed approach to the great festival now that I have few responsibilities 🙂

Boxing Day

This was my 2nd Christmas in Melbourne since I went to San Diego & was very nice. Midnight Mass at All Saints’, E St K was beautiful, with stunning music. Christmas day Mass at CC, Brunswick was also nice – tho a small congregation, as is common on Christmas Day. In contrast Christmas Eve came with sad news of the death of Naeidra Layton, my pastoral assistant at St Mark’s for 15 years. A wonderful faithful woman who was gr8 support to me & the parish.

For Christmas lunch I joined my good friends, Ian & Dale, at the Pullman Hotel. Very pleasant & relaxing. Afterwards I visited more friends for drinks (as if I needed any more!). A nice relaxing day. Christmas is when I miss being a parish priest – but I have 30 years of wonderful memories to reflect on & enjoy! Now for a quiet few days.
Christmas photo 2015

Jan 2 2016

I have just had a nice few days in Adelaide. For the first 2 days I stayed at Seaford (on the south coast) with my friend, Fr Reg. This included lunch in Goolwa with former parishioners from St Mark’s, Marc & Sylvie. On Wed I went to Port Adelaide to stay with my old friend, David. Whilst there I caught up with a guy who was one of my altar boys at St Catherine’s. It was 30 years since left there & it was great to see him again. Going out to Elizabeth brought back memories of my 3 years there & the streets were all familiar. On NYE David organised a party for a small group of old friends from St Paul’s 45 years ago. It was a quiet night. On Friday I walked from the Port to Sema4, where I grew up. The place has changed, but as I walked along the Esplanade I enjoyed reminiscing about growing up there. I flew back to Melbourne today – St K is still intact after new year!

Mon Jan 11

Last week began with the installation of new air-cons in my study & bedroom. These are mainly for heat during Melbourne winter. The rest of the week was spent catching up with friends for meals. A highlight was lunch with Bishop David Farrer & his wife Helen, whom I have known for 45 years. After being Vicar of Arundel in the UK he has returned to Melbourne to be Vicar of All SS, E St K, for 2 years. Tomorrow I go to Brisbane for 3 days, returning Thurs night. Then it will be just 5 days before I fly back to the US.

Sun 17

My visit to Walsingham in 3 weeks time has a pall over it. My dear friend, Joan Hooton, died suddenly on Thursday. I met Joan 20 years ago at the shrine & we became close friends thru our shared love of Walsingham. From 1998 she began driving me there & back on my annual visit. I would catch the tube to her station in Kenton (she lived right next door to one) & we would drive from there. It was a 3 hour drive full of fun, laughter & church chat. When I retired & started assisting at the shrine Joan offered to store things that I needed there. This saved me bringing cassock, alb, clerical shirts, shoes + winter sox, beanie & scarf from the US or Australia. We had been enthusiastically planning our visit there on Feb 8th & later in October.

The news was a real shock & my visit in February will not be the same. I have now re-arranged to get to Walsingham by train via Norwich – something I have done in the past. There has also been contact with her Vicar & friends, as well as the shrine. Everyone there is shocked, as I am. The first thing I will do when I get there is say a Requiem Mass for Joan in the Holy House, where we first met.

Now to prepare to fly to the US on Tuesday.

Blog – July-Sept 2015

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Wed June 17

I arrived in SD last Monday. Unusually for me, I didn’t get much sleep on the flight from Mel, so have been quite tired. Tomorrow I fly to Shaghai – the 4th visit to one of my favourite cities. I will spend 4 days there, returning to US on Monday night.

Wed 24

I had a relaxing time in Shanghai. From my hotel room I had a great view of one of the prominent temples – Jing’An, which has stunning golden roofs. Each day I explored parts of the French Concession I had not visited before. Always fascinating being the only anglosaxon on a subway packed with Chinese! For Sunday Mass I went to the old RC cathedral. It is a replica of Rone’s Gesu Church & has been stunningly renovated inside.

Now I prepare to fly to Milan, Italy tomorrow. I will have the weekend there, then go by train to Genoa, where I am to be the Anglican priest at the Church of the Holy Ghost for July.

Mon 29

I have had a nice weekend in Milan. I was here 20 years ago & remember what an interesting city it is. However, I was too jet-lagged on Friday to do much exploring. The Central Station is certainly an impressive example of facist modernism. Saturday I went for a walk, exploring parks & churches. Sunday was a great day. I went to High Mass at the Duomo & it was an inspiring liturgy. The Milan diocese has its own Mass rite, called the Ambrosian Rite, with interesting differences in both rite & ceremonial. The Greeting of Peace is before the Offertory, as in Anglican rites, but was not over-the-top. I was particularly taken with the way they did the censings – complete circles for everything, incl the congregation.

Before Mass I wandered around the Piazza, taking in the interesting architecture. I discovered a small piazza nearby which had not been devastated during war bombing. It contained the old city hall & market. After Mass the Piazza del Duomo was buzzing. I walked to the nearby Church of St Maurizio. This is a former convent built on the side of the old city walls around 1500. It is an art treasure, with wonderful frescos by Bernardino Luini, a follower of Da Vinci. I sat there, taking it all in, then spent time looking at the wonderful paintings in both the church & sisters chapel. The old convent is now a museum of archeology, so I wandered around that, noting esp the tower of the old city walls.

I now have a relaxing few days before catching the train to Genoa on Thursday.

Sat July 4

I arrived safely in Genoa at 2 pm on Thursday. It was easy to get to the church from the station – but not much fun pulling a heavy bag uphill on cobblestone paths! I had been instructed to get the key to the priest’s flat from a bar near the church, but the address of the flat was not in any of the papers I had been sent. The barman told me it was #18 & I worked out which street he meant. Fortunately the flat was labelled amongst all the door-bells.

It is a nice flat – much more spacious that the ones at Heidelberg & Taormina, where I have previously served in Europe. Thankfully there is a queen bed (the others only had single bed) & also a 2nd bedroom. After unpacking I phoned the sacristan to say I had arrived. Food & drinks had been left for me, so I had supper & went to bed early. Next morning I went down to the church & looked around. It is 140 years old & in need of care – a restoration project has been initiated. In the a/noon I went shopping, then explored the town. It is what one imagines………interesting old buildings in various conditions, narrow alleyways, lots of cafes/bars & some impressive churches (more inside than exterior). All the churches I explored contained beautiful art, reflecting Genoa’s high point in the 17th cent. The Gesu has 2 significant paintings by Rubens & St Donato had similar valuable paintings. The cathedral is stunning.

Today I went for another walk in the early morning, this time down to the harbour. The weather is very warm, so long walks are not a good idea. In fact, the heat combined with jet-lag & walking up & down the city makes me tired & I am falling asleep by 8 pm! I have done all my preps for Sunday Mass & look forward to it tomorrow at 10.30 am.

My apartment – the 3 windows to left of the entrance
Genoa July2015

Church of the Holy Ghost
Genoa 8MAR2015

local park
Genoa 8MAR2015

Tuesday 7

Sunday Mass was okay, considering the heat & humidity at that time of day. Some of the regulars were away, including the organist – instead a young woman would play the violin to accompany the hymns. I sang the Alleluia – but everything else was said. The faithful sacristan was there early & we went thru the geography of the Service. The congregation numbered 10 adults & 4 young children: 1 Brit (sacristan), 1 Japanese (violinist) her Swiss husband, 2 Italians & the rest were from Africa. After Mass I invited people to stay for coffee. This got the response: This is Italy…….we have wine!

I relaxed at home for the rest of Sunday. Monday morning I was up early & went off for a long walk around the harbor. In the a/noon I walked up a large flight of steps at the end of the street & eventually found the church which has the shrine of Santo Volto. This is the pic of Jesus’ face on a cloth that is well known in pictures & cards. I did not realize it had its home in Genoa, having been a gift to the Doge by the Emporer in Constaninople in 1362. I was pleased to find that Mass was about to start, so stayed. Afterwards I decided it was time to go out for dinner. Opposite the church is an outdoor bar/ristorante with huge umbrellas, so I decided to check it out. For 26 euros I got 2 drinks, a big plate of antipasto, some delicious fried veggies & pasta in pesto sauce. I even got to take the leftovers home!

This morning I went for another early morning walk, this time discovering & exploring more churches. It is good to walk before the heat descends & also interesting to see the Genoese going to walk or having coffee in the bars. This a/noon I plan to go on a nearby funicular. Because Genoa is surrounded by hills, there are several.

Old city gate
Genoa 8MAR2015

Duomo
Genoa 8MAR2015

Fri 10

On Wednesday I said the usual 12.30 pm Mass. Only 1 person present! Lots of people who have asked for my prayers were prayed for. After Mass I treated myself to gelati & fruit at Caffe Gelateria Balilla, founded in 1934. The decor & atmosphere matched the icecream. On the way home I stopped at a bakery & bought a local delicacy, torta paschalina. This is a pie made with filo pastry stuffed with pesto, cheese & boiled egg & was delicious. Yesterday was an interesting day. In the morning I went to the Duomo museum. This contains ecclesiastical art-work, incl a huge silver ark for the Corpus Christi processions. There were also several dubious relics – in particular the holy grail & the plate that carried the head of John Baptist. Both were of exquisite beauty & obviously not 2,000 years old! My admission included entry to the diocesan museum, so I visited there in the a/noon. Wonderful paintings from Genoa’s golden era of art were on display.

In the evening I joined some parishioners at the reception to celebrate July 4th. This is an annual event hosted by the U.S. consul agent & attracted 200 people – mainly Italians, but Americans & others were also present. It was held in the Palazzo Bianco, one of the imposing palazzi nearby. It is an art gallery these days, so I got a free tour. We gathered on the large patio above the street, which was appropriately decorated in red, white & blue! A string quartet accompanied a young soprano singing the Star Spangled Banner, followed by long speeches in Italian from the consul agent & the U.S. Ambassador. Then drinks & eats were served. I met some interesting people, including the local baseball team!

Mon 13

We had 15 adults at Mass yesterday. Most importantly, the organist was back, so we sang parts of the Mass. It was not so humid & in the a/noon I went for another walk. Saturday I caught a funicular up the hills & explored an old castle. I also visited S Giovanni di Pre, a 12th cent Romanesque church built by the Knights of the Order of St John. Attached to it is a pilgrim hostel, which was used by pilgrims embarking to the Holy Land. The previous day I had visited another Romanesque church of the same era, St Stefano.

This morning I attended a lovely Mass in the Duomo. There are so many churches in Genoa (much like inner London) & I aim to attend Mass in a different one each day – apart from my duties at Holy Ghost on Sundays & Wednesdays, of course. This afternoon I discovered a Romanesque church from the 12th cent – St Mary di Castello. It is on the highest point of the city where Genoa first started. In the 15th cent it was given to the Dominicans, who added a monastery with 3 levels of cloisters. As I was wandering around a delightful lady invited me for a tour of the cloisters & monastery. She spoke impeccable English & gave a wonderful tour, explaining the beautiful paintings, etc. She was proud of the church & pointed out that the monastery was paid for by the Grimaldi family, mentioning that although they live in Monaco they are really from Genoa!

Tues 14

Today I had a real thrill – a visit from a distant cousin whom I had not met. Tricia is the daughter of Joan Robinson, a cousin of my stepmother. I met Joan when I was living in London in 1975. I caught the train to Suffolk one Saturday & had a lovely meeting with her. I told her that I was returning to Australia to train for ordination & she was thrilled. Her father was Fr Hugh Severn, a C of E priest who worked as a missionary in South Australia 100 years ago. He lived on a boat & went up & down the River Murray, conducting Services in a small chapel on the boat & ministering to people in river settlements. The boat was called the Etona because it was paid for by Eton College. In 1989 I returned to England & visited Joan. I preached in her parish church & was a special guest in the town. I never met her daughter, Tricia, because she lived in South Africa.

In 1991 I had my 1st sabbatical. In the course of travels in Europe I visited Milan & met Tricia’s daughter, Zilla. I got on well with Zilla – an outgoing young woman running a horse stud farm for a rich Italian. My diary records that I rode on a 1million Lira horse! I was subsequently invited to her marriage with Kurt – a 3 day event in a South African game park! I didn’t get there as I had already used up my annual leave that year. A few years ago Joan died & I made contact with Tricia thru the priest who ministered to Joan, Fr Andrew Mitcham – an old friend who is now Vicar of Walsingham.

Tricia subsequently moved to live with Zilla. They have a lovely home on the shore of a lake north of Milan. I was eager to contact Zilla & see if I could catch up with them whilst I am here in Genoa. Fortunately they were able to visit me in Genoa today. It was wonderful to meet Tricia at last, & also Kurt. I bought some Genoese cakes, incl a chocolate tart. We had a lovely reunion.

Tomorrow after the 12.30 pm Mass I catch the train to Florence. I will be there 2 nights & returning to Genoa Friday evening.

Saty 18

The train trip to Florence was lovely, going right along the coast to Pisa, then across to Florence. The ocean was a brilliant blue & as we crossed Tuscany the scenery changed. I arrived at the Florence station at 6 pm & then caught the hotel shuttle bus. The traffic was crazy! The hotel is in the suburbs & took 25 mins – but it has the advantage of being modern. From my room the views over the countryside were wonderful. After settling in I went to the exec lounge to relax…..fortunately happy hour went until 9pm 🙂

Florence July2015Florence July2015

Next morning I had early breakfast, then caught the shuttle bus into the town centre. It was quiet & not crowded – great for exploring the streets. Discovering there was Mass in the Duomo at 9.30 am I attended. Not only was the Mass nice, it gave me an opportunity to explore the sanctuary end of the Duomo. Florence not only has marvelous churches, buildings & galleries, the churches all contain wonderful art. Attending Mass not only gives you an opportunity to pray in these wonderful churches – which they were built for – you see parts not open to visitors, do not have to pay admission & there are no tourists!

Coming out after Mass the tourists had descended! Groups with their flag-bearing leaders & families. There were the usual Americans – but mainly Chinese & Italians. I avoided all the places they were frequenting & continued exploring. At 11 am I caught the bus back to the hotel, as more tourists descended & the weather heated up. In the a/noon I returned to the town & spent a wonderful hour in St Maria Novella. Marvelous to look at stunning altars, paintings & crosses from the Renaissance. As well as more wonderful works of art, there is an historic cloister. The crowds were down at this time of the day & I enjoyed more exploring & churches.

Friday morning I had another early breakfast & was on the 8 am bus to the town. This time I attended Mass in the Servite church. The Servites were founded in Florence in the 13th cent & their church has a famous shrine of Our Lady. After Mass I explored a bit more before catching the 10 am bus. I checked out of the hotel at 11.30 am & caught the bus back to the station for my trip back to Genoa. Once again the views along the coast were beautiful.

Now back in Genoa & ready for Mass tomorrow.

Mon 20

Visitors from London, Scotland & Hong Kong swelled the numbers at Mass to 30 adults. It made a difference to the atmosphere & singing – as well as my sermon, I think. Or maybe it’s because I am feeling part of the parish now. In the evening a lovely breeze appeared – so I went for a walk around the harbor where there are beaches. One area was covered in red & white striped umbrellas, sheds & chairs. I noticed several bars/cafes serving aperitivo & made a mental note for future visits.

Tomorrow I having a/noon tea with an old school friend of Teri, a parishioner of All SS. She is from Genoa, so I look forward to going to one of the well known cafes here 🙂

Thurs 23

I have had 3 excellent experiences in 3 days. My meeting with Teri’s friend, Susy, on Tuesday was fantastic. It seems she is a former member of the European Parliament, running as an independant. And what a personality Suzy has……I was both entertained & enthralled! As well as working in politics, she is also a Dr & was about to work for a month as a Dr on a boat between Genoa & Sardinia. Her life & enthusiasm reminded me of myself. We drove to a famous cafe & Suzy calmly double-parked in the street out the front…..another Italian experience for me 🙂

Wed morning I went for my early morning walk up the hill to a train station. This is where a narrow gauge railway runs 24 k. To Casella. It is a wonderful trip, but unfortunately is currently closed – a gr8 disappointment to me. However across the road was an amazing castle. It was at the junction of the old city walls, which I enjoyed exploring. But I was rather disappointed when I discovered that it was called Castle Mackenzie & only built in 1906!

On my early morning walk today I discovered a hidden church on a salita (steep steps) near where I live. It was 6.40 am & Mass had just begun, so I ventured in. 12 nuns were offering Mass in a beautiful chapel – a sung Latin Mass with hymns. Afterwards I asked a friendly nun, Parla Inglese? A novice was summoned who spoke English. I discovered that the community is the Daughters of St Joseph & Mass is offered every day. I researched them when I got home & discovered they were established in Genoa in 1517 & are only found in Genoa. Their emphasis is on prayer & the liturgy combined with work with young people & reminded me of the sisters at Walsingham.

Sunday 26

Today was my last Sunday at Holy Ghost Church & it was very nice. During the Mass I blessed the wedding of a young African couple. Wedding blessings are quite common in European Anglican churches. However it turned out to be more than a simple blessing! They arrived dressed as bride & groom accompanied by family & friends. They also had rings to bless & exchange. Fortunately I have done enough weddings to do vows, bless & exchange rings & say prayers for their love & fidelity!

After Mass we had a parish lunch. This was the biggest meal I have had since I arrived, as I have been content with simple apperitivo if I decide to go out to eat. Very delicious it was, too. And nice words said about my ministry with them. I am here until Thursday, so my last Mass will be Wednesday at 12.30 pm, usually attended by the 4 faithful stalwart workers of the church. Thursday I catch the train to Milan.

Sunday Aug 2

My Italian adventure has come to an end & tomorrow I fly back to the U.S. My final night in Genoa proved eventful. At 1am I heard a noise in the kitchen. When I checked it out, there was a mouse on the sink! It seems that when I was mopping & cleaning the floors on Wednesday I had inadvertently knocked a cover off the wall, exposing a hole for mice to come thru.

On Thursday I caught the train to Milan, staying there overnight, & on Friday I caught the train to Padua. I wanted to finish my time in Italy by visiting the great Shrine of St Anthony. Exactly 67.5 years after I was given his name in Baptism I finally did it. I set out on Saturday morning & did the official pilgrimage. This began with prayer, then visiting the saint’s tomb, then the relics, then the Blessed Sacrament, then making confession & finally receiving a personal blessing. I explained to the priest (who was African with a great accent) that I was also a priest & was named Anthony – so he gave a very personal blessing to “my brother Fr Anthony”. I felt very blessed indeed.

The church itself is magnificent, in a Byzantine style. The shrine of St Anthony is very ornate, which I felt a bit much for a saint who loved poverty & whose shrine is served by Franciscans. The visit was a wonderful experience & afterwards I spent several hours wandering around the town. Padua is very lovely & was not crowded. I finished by having coffee in the famous Cafe Pedrocchi. It is built like an Egyptian temple & has never closed its doors since it was opened in 1831.

The hotel was 20 mins out of the town, as in Florence, & once again the hotel had a shuttle bus. However, because I did not want to be tied to a return time I caught the public bus back to the hotel, which went thou suburbs & villages like the bus that goes from Norwich to Walsingham. I guess if you are staying in a modern hotel in an old Italian town it will be out in the suburbs! I walked to the local church for Mass Saty night & this morning caught the train back to Milan.

Saty 8

I am now in Munich, having spent 2 days here exploring sites associated with WW2. This has been a project of mine since I retired – hence my regular trips to Germany. This interest arose when I was learning German in High School & the Berlin Wall was erected. The story of Count Claus von Stauffenberg added to this interest & I visited his home town in 2011. I have been assisted in my adventures by some excellent books I bought in Düsseldorf in 2012. These books contain maps, historical pics & notes. I still have more of Munich & Berlin to explore. Today I catch the train to Berlin, where I will spend 5 days.

Tues 11

It is great to be back in Berlin. The staff at the Hilton welcomed me back & once again I was given the huge suite overlooking the square. Sunday a/noon I set out on my exploring of Cold War sites. I caught the train to Treptower Park where there is a huge Soviet memorial where over 7,000 soldiers are buried. I came across yet another Wall watchtower & the little red brick path denoting where the Wall was. After this I walked back thru a very long park to Potsdamer Platz. This park is where the railway lines to Potsdamer Platz station used to run. Berlin, like London, had several main stations for its distance railways which were not interconnected. The WW2 bombings & subsequent building of the Wall meant some stations fell into disuse & ruin. Potsdamer Platz was one & I remember going there in 1974 & seeing the Wall turn into it no-man’s land. I also remember riding on the U-bahn thru the ghost stations which had been closed by the E Germans. I have been interested in Berlin’s railways ever since!

On Monday I caught the train to Wansee – one of Berlin’s beautiful lakes. The trip took 45 mins. From the station I walked to the Wansee conference centre. This is the villa where the Nazis met in 1942 to decide on the “Final Solution” to the Jewish “problem”. It is a beautiful villa on the lake & now houses a museum of that conference & the Nazi’s antisemitism in general. It was sobering to stand in the beautiful grounds of the villa & reflect on the evil that was planned there.

After that I caught a bus to Glienicke bridge. This is the bridge that went over the lake where the border was & where the Russians & Americans swapped spies during the Cold War. I walked over the bridge & found more Wall memorials. I had now been walking for over 4 hours & I headed back to the hotel.

This morning I caught the train to Wansee again, but this time got off at the station before it. My purpose today was to walk to Schwanenwerder Is. This small island was a very exclusive area for wealthy Germans & the Nazis moved in during the 1940’s. They built villas for Hitler, Goebels & Speer. These were used by the Americans after the war & then fell into ruins. Only one old mansion remains, surrounded by impressive houses for the wealthy. I then caught the bus to Schloss Babelsberg, walking from the bus stop thru a former E German enclave that was stuck in the American Zone. Babelsberg is a vey impressive castle – but alas it was closed for renovations. It is now on my list for future exploring! After another 3 hours of walking I returned to the hotel.

Wed 12

This morning I went to the laundromat (I have been here a week now). Glad to find the prices had not changed! In the afternoon there was time for a final Cold War exploration & I went for a guided tour of the former Stasi prison. This was chilling as we were shown terrible cells, fully padded isolation cells & interrogation rooms. What those political prisoners suffered is unimaginable. Here was this prison in the middle of suburban housing – yet it was not marked on any maps.

So my exploration of WW2 & Cold War sites has come to an end. Tomorrow I catch the train to Frankfurt, staying there overnight. Friday I go to Munich & on Saty I fly back to the U.S.

Sun 23
I arrived home safely on Wed 19th. All the flights were good & I saw some delightful movies, incl several new releases. It was a little cool in Melbourne, but the sun was shining. When I got to St K the bay looked stunning in the morning sunshine. A few busy days awaited me, with the usual things (shopping, banking, dry-cleaning, Dr) + several jibs I had left notes about for myself. I also had to submit my tax return. This was a little complicated, so I saw my old tax accountant join Friday. I have not had to use him since I retired – & he didn’t charge me 🙂

I went to the symphony on Thursday night, but was jet-lagged & & kept on nodding off. So I left at interval, missing Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben. I made a mental note not to return from o/s trips the day before a concert! Friday night Port Adel were playing Hawthorn here in Melbourne. Altho I am always hopeful, like everyone else I expected Hawthorn to beat us. It was not to be. In fact Port played exciting footy in a tough game. No chance of jet-lag overtaking me & I stayed to the end, enjoying the victory. I now have a sore throat from all the cheering! On Saturday I went to the MCG to see Collingwood play arch-enemy Richmond, starting with lunch in the Collingwood dining room. This was in marked contrast to the previous night…..Collingwood were woeful. I was pleased to leave during the last 1/4ter!

Now to go to Sunday Mass at All SS & have a relaxing a/noon watching footy on TV.

Saty 29

A week later & I am on the Gold Coast for the w/e. Since I retired I have been visiting the Gold Coast every year to see Port Adelaide play the GC Suns. It was raining when I left Melbourne yesterday & sunny when I arrived here. Another sunny day today – but the forecast is for rain. Last year when I came up there was a huge downpour during the game & I got soaked. This year I brought winter clothes with me!

Fri Sep 11

Am remembering my American friends on this anniversary of 9/11. I remember it as if it were yesterday.

Have had a pleasant 2 weeks. It rained all thru the game against the Gold Coast, but we won. On the Sunday I caught up with an old friend from my St Mark’s days, Jenni, who moved to the Gold Coast in 2001. So much to catch up on & talk about 🙂

Last weekend I went to Adelaide for Port Adelaide’s final home game. Unfortunately my phone company blocked my cellphone because I had gone over my monthly limit – so I couldn’t call anyone. There was a carnival atmosphere at the ground, even tho we didn’t make the Finals. At the end of the game something happened I had never seen before. As usual, all the players went to the edge of the stadium to greet the fans – then they walked into the crowd & up the aisles, signing autographs & having selfies taken. It was fantastic, more-so because it was unexpected. As the crowd pressed around I found myself next to one of our stars, Jay Schulz. When I got back to the hotel I switched on the TV to see the post-game coverage….& there was me, standing next to Schulz with a big smile on my face 🙂

On Sunday night my friends, Nigel & Ali, took me out for dinner in Adelaide’s Chinatown. It was father’s day here in Australia & during the meal a woman was navigating the tables offering Lindt chocolate bars to all the fathers. When she came to our table Nigel mentioned that I was a priest, a spiritual father! So she gave me a chocolate bar. It was called Divine Hazelnut 🙂

This week was mainly catching up with friends for meals. On Wednesday I caught the train to Castlemaine, 90 mins out of Melbourne. At the station I boarded a steam train – a tourist train run by volunteers which goes to nearby Maldon. We had 2 hours at Maldon & I enjoyed exploring the town. I do love our old country towns.

train out of Melbourne Sept_2015
train out of Melbourne Sept_2015
train out of Melbourne Sept_2015
train out of Melbourne Sept_2015
train out of Melbourne Sept_2015

Now the weekend is here & that means the AFL Finals. I will attend the 2 here at the MCG & watch the other 2 interstate ones on TV. It’s a footy weekend!

Mon 14

Tomorrow I am going to Ayers Rock (Uluru). I was prompted to do this when my SD friends, Ed & Judy, came to Australia a year ago & stayed in St K for a month. During that time they went all over the country, incl Uluru. I had never been to this very significant place & decided that I must go there. So I am!

Fri 18

I had a wonderful trip to Uluru. It started with my flight from Sydney to Uluru. I was the only person in Bus Class & was served by 2 wonderful flight attendants, Jessica & Kelly. These 2 lovely young women were some of the best FA’s I have experienced. They made the fight so much fun. Flying into Uluru was amazing. The rock just looms out of the red desert. I was transfixed at the sight.

The resort has various forms of accommodation as well as a camping ground, pub & shops – all in a circle. I stayed in the cheapest hotel, which was a series of lodges & quite comfortable. Tuesday I watch the sunset over the rock from 2 different look-outs. Having been up at 4 am for my flight from Melbourne, I slept very well that night.

Wednesday I was up early & back to the main look-out to watch the sunrise. At 8.30 am I caught the bus to the rock. It is amazing to see it up close, an experience I easily describe as awesome. Like most people, I set out to walk around the rock, stopping to take selfies & look at lagoons & other interesting features. The 10 km walk took me 2.5 hours. After completing the walk I sat in a shelter just looking at the rock.
Ayers Rock Sept_2015
Ayers Rock Sept_2015
Ayers Rock Sept_2015
Ayers Rock Sept_2015
Ayers Rock Sept_2015

Returning to the hotel I went to a performance of an aboriginal legend & explored the galleries & gardens. In the evening I had dinner at the pub, where you cook your own BBQ in a typical Aussie setting. Once again I had a good sleep. On Thurs I flew back to Melb via Sydney. It was a lovely surprise to find Jessica & Kelly on my flight & they greeted me like a long lost friend! Once again I was the only person in Bus Class & they certainly looked after me. It was a lovely finish to a wonderful trip.

Thurs Oct 1

After my wonderful trip to Uluru I was back in Melbourne for 2 weeks. On Sunday 20th I went to Mass at Christ Church, Brunswick. My old friend, Bishop Lindsay Urwin, has moved here from Walsingham to be Vicar of the parish & I will be attending Mass there from now on. Last w/e I made a quick trip to Adelaide to have dinner with a friend from 50 years ago visiting our home town from the UK. The visit gave me an opportunity to have lunch with my last surviving uncle & auntie. They are moving to Queensland to live with their daughter at the end of the month & this was probably my last chance to see them. Now to prepare for the AFL Grand Final on Saturday – I have a ticket, as usual. Then on Monday I fly back to the US on my way to Walsingham to assist at the shrine for 3 weeks. I look forward to returning & seeing all my friends there – but it will be strange now that Bishop Lindsay is not the administrator. Will be keeping the Blog updated, depending on internet connection.

Sat Oct 10

I arrived safely in London on Thursday. I was quite tired as the flight was via Chicago, which doesn’t allow for much sleep. A new experience was using the e-passport gate at Heathrow. Earlier this year I was enrolled as a frequent traveler by the UK government & my Aussie passport is now programmed to use the gates that UK & Euro residents use. It took all of 1 minute to pass thru – no paperwork or stamp in my passport! I was greeted by a sunny day & this weather has continued.

It was good to be back at St Mary’s, Bourne St. They are waiting for a new Vicar, so I may not be staying here in the future. Fr Bunker, the locum, welcomed me & had the guest room all ready. After unpacking I hit the sack & had a blissful 4 hours sleep. After that I went for a walk in the sunshine, visited the bank & my favourute supermarket. The day concluded with 6.30 pm Mass & an early night.

Yesterday I walked to Westminster to meet with the staff of the Diocese in Europe. We discussed possible positions for me in 2016. In the evening I walked to Lupus St, Pimlico, where I lived in 1975. Had a beer at the pub & bought fish & chips at the local shop. The food is still terrible! Tomorrow Joan will join me for Sunday Mass & then we will have lunch somewhere. On Monday I catch the tube to Joan’s & we will drive to Walsingham.

Blog – April-June 2015

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Thurs April 16

I arrived home safely & on time on Sunday. A quick shower & I was off to Mass at All SS. Because this trip was very quick, without the usual stopovers in the US, I was very jet-lagged & fell asleep before 7 pm. Then I woke up at 12 midnight! Each day since has been similar, gradually waking later & later. But no sooner had I got home than I was into a project!

For some time I had been unhappy with the shower I had installed in my condo in 2011. In London I experienced a very good shower & decided I would renovate when I got back to St K. An email to our management c/tee resulted in recommendation of a plumbing co. At 9.30 am on Monday I called them. They arrived 2 hours later, complete with tools. Where were my fittings, he asked. I replied that I wanted to explain to him what I wanted, which I did. A quick search on the internet & we were off to Reece’s bathroom supplies, where I found exactly what I was looking for. A visit to another of their stores & we had the new shower & tap.

Back to my place & the work started. I would need a tiler, so he phoned his office – but their tiler has retired. So I searched on the internet, found someone & phoned him. Have you got the tiles, he asked – call me when you have them. Another search on the internet & I found a tile showroom within walking distance. The plumber left at 5 pm, saying he would return at 8 am next morning. And he did! The job was finished at 11 am, with temporary shower for my use. So it was off to the tile co, with large tile in tow. I found a match & ordered them, to be delivered Wed at 8.30 am. And they were! As soon as they arrived I phoned the tiler. He could come today, but I have my SSC Mass & meeting. So he will come tomorrow at 8 am. After he has done his job the plumber will return & attach the new shower. I am amazed & delighted at the prompt & on-time service from these tradesmen.

Mon 20

On Saty night Port Adelaide played Nth Melb here in Melbourne. A gr8 day, a gr8 game & a gr8 victory. The link below is to an article written about the day from a Port fan perspective & includes flattering ref to me as the founder of the PAFC Cheer Squad 50 years ago.

Round 3 – North Melbourne v Port Adelaide: In the name of the father, the son, and the holy goallllllll!

Wed May 6

I came down with a cold last week, & spent 2 days at home to get rid of it. One a/noon I cooked a whole lot of pasta sauce & another a/noon I checked all my travel plans & flights for the rest of the year….useful activities. During the week my shower was finished & I also caught up with friends for meals. Sunday morning i was feeling much better – but was left hoarse after Mass due to high Easter hymns! This didn’t stop me meeting up with footy friends to watch the Port Adel vs Adel Crows game at our hotel. The game was very exciting & I was left even more hoarse. It was commented that since I returned from overseas Port has been winning!

This week I have been visiting friends, incl catching the train to Geelong to see by seminary friend, Fr Tim Gibson. The weather was terrible…..wintry weather is here. Tonight i am off to the opera (Madam Butterfly) & tomorrow a train trip to the outer suburbs to see my old friends Ian & Ros. So life is back to normal 😉

Tues May 19

I am now 68! For my birthday I went up to Brisbane for the weekend. Port Adelaide were playing Brisbane Lions on Sunday………unfortunately we lost. It was the worst game they have played since 2012 & put a dampener on my b/day celebration. I flew back yesterday, enjoying business class as a b/day treat, & at 5 pm the electrician came to install 2 new lights that were long overdue. At 6.30 pm my neighbour took me out for dinner to a local restaurant that was surprisingly full (& noisy) for a Monday.

Today is the SSC Provincial Synod at All SS. This is a new arrangement at a new time of the year. When I was the Provincial Master we were hosted by different Chapters & Synod was held all over the country. All the time I was in SD it was held every year in Sydney in Sep. Hopefully we will have a good attendance & I look forward to seeing my clergy brothers again. Tomorrow I fly to Adelaide. Port Adelaide play on Sunday & as another b/day treat I am going to Yorke Peninsula for their annual Cornish festival. This part of SA was settled by Cornish immigrants in the 19th cent & in recent years they have cashed in on their heritage with the Cornish festival to attract tourists. It certainly has worked with me, given my connection with the Cornish village of Cury.

Sat 23

I have had 2 nice days on what is called the Copper Coast – from the copper mines discovered in the 19th cent. The festival centers on the 3 main towns which were the centre of the copper mining industry. Wallaroo was the port & this is where I stayed. On Wed when I arrived at Sonbern Lodge motel they were celebrating its 100th b/day. I was invited into the dining room for what was a typical country a/noon tea, complete with Cornish pasties & cream puffs. I then explored the town. When I returned to my room an email was waiting from my cousin, Noelene. I had been spotted taking a pic of the old P.O. by the cousin of her partner, who lives there & who remembered me from my taking my aunt’s funeral 7 years ago!

On Thurs morning I drove to Moonta. This is the largest of the 3 towns & in the 19th cent was the largest town outside Adelaide, with 12,000 residents. It has lovely old buildings & was much busier than Wallaroo, with lots of Cornish festival activities. Because of the festival the Moonta Mines railway was running. Moonta Mines was where the copper mines were, now just a hamlet. However there is lots to see from the copper mining days. The train ride was fascinating & the driver gave us a very interesting historical commentary.

After the train ride I drove to Kadina, which was also bustling with festival activity. Another interesting walk around town & then it was back to Wallaroo. Friday I drove back to Adelaide, calling at various towns on the way. Each had war memorials & historical plaques, so I learnt a lot about the history of this part of SA. Now for a weekend in Adelaide, with footy on Sunday a/noon. We have to win this week!

Thurs 28

I returned to Melbourne on Monday very disappointed after Port Adelaide’s bad loss on Sunday. Not to worry………onward & upward! Yesterday I went to the dentist for some root canal work. I spent 1.5 hours in the chair, had a numb face for the rest of the day & paid an expensive bill! In the evening I went to the opera – Verdi’s Don Carlos. It was 4 hours of grand opera.

Today I am off to the podiatrist for the 1st time, on the recommendation of my Dr. Then to Fitzroy for a/noon tea with a dear friend from St Mark’s, then dinner with others from my time there as Vicar. On Friday I fly to Alice Springs. Port Adelaide are playing Melbourne there on Saturday – an arrangement Melbourne has with the NT government. I have never been to Alice & am looking forward to it. After the w/e there I catch the Ghan to Darwin. This is the famous train that runs from Adelaide-Darwin – another thing on my “to do” list. It is a 24 hour trip. After staying in Darwin I fly down to Adelaide for another footy w/e. By then I hope Port Adel are back to winning!!!!

Sun 31

I have had a nice w/e in Alice Springs. Made really wonderful by Port Adelaide defeating Melbourne yesterday & playing their exciting brand of football that we came to expect last year. Weather has been hot & this made for a different experience at the footy. It was like a country game, with people sitting on the mounds, etc. I had a lucky day – I bumped into a fellow Port supporter I knew from Melbourne, Hailey. She had a spare ticket for a corporate area. I had not bought a ticket & was just going to pay at the gate. Instead I spent the a/noon enjoying the game with free drinks & food until the final siren. I told Hailey it was a good omen……….& it was 🙂

I have also enjoyed exploring the town. This is real Australian desert, with a special beauty. I am excited to be traveling on the Ghan tomorrow. The scenery should be interesting, if mainly desolate. My ticket in gold class includes my own single bed cabin, a day trip when we stop at Katherine on Tuesday & meals in the special dining car. It cost a lot, but will be gold class service!

Tues June 9

The Ghan trip to Darwin was a great experience. The food & drinks (all included) were excellent, as was the excursion to Katherine Gorge. I spent a night in Darwin, then flew to Adelaide to stay with my old friend, David at Port Adelaide. On Saturday I went to Port Adelaide’s home game, which was a good victory, then back to Melbourne on Sunday.

Monday was the Queen’s Birthday holiday & I went to the MCG to see the traditional Collingwood vs Melbourne game. A friend took me as her guest into the MCC members. We had front row seats on the 1st level & went to the Collingwood FC lounge for lunch & a/noon tea. It was a real Melbourne experience & was made all the better by a great game & a C/wood victory. I now have a busy week as I prepare to fly back to SD on Monday 15th.

My Ministry at All Saints’

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Changing and Remaining

A History of All Saints’ Church San Diego

Stephen Cox

For a PDF of this article: click here.

Chapter 16

Arriving at the Future

The drama of 1999-2002 emphasized the changes that had taken place in the All
Saints’ community since the days of Father Satrang.
For one thing, the community wasn’t as large as people had thought. The parish’s
annual report to the diocese for 2001 revealed that it had only 195 members in good
standing, down from 644, as estimated in the year before. (Some vestry members
had speculated that there were 250; others realized that they had no idea.1) That was
a shock–but the change in numbers should not be misinterpreted. It hadn’t
happened because hundreds of people had suddenly left the parish; it happened
because the rolls had finally been purged of people who had drifted away over the
course of many years but whose absence had not been recorded or (perhaps) noticed.
The phenomenon was probably similar to the one that was finally noticed by the
rector and congregation in the early 1930s.
According to the parish records for 1991–to cite a typical year–there had been 19
baptisms and four confirmations in that year; seven people had transferred in from
other Episcopal churches, 18 had transferred out, one had been identified as inactive,
and five had died. These were extraordinarily small numbers for a parish that said it
had started the year with 783 communicants. Any community would count itself
fortunate if fewer than 1 % of its members died in a given year. Any urban church,
such as All Saints’, particularly a church with a good representation of very mobile
military families, would count itself equally fortunate if fewer than 3 % of its
members stopped attending in a given year. Clearly, no one was keeping track of the
many people who had silently left, as people very often do from churches.
Allegedly, just one person did that in 1991. From 1992 through 2000, nobody did,
so far as the official reports were concerned. Apparently little effort was made to
contact the disappearing members.2


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A more realistic, though still an overstated, idea of membership is offered by an
estimate unearthed from the parish data base (mid-2001): “235 active members; 209
in good standing.” A second way of looking at the size of the congregation is to
consider attendance at scheduled services. It was 28,788 in 1986, Father
McClaskey’s first full year as rector; 23,532 in 1991; 17,878 in 1996; and 14,160 in
2001. A third way of picturing the congregation is by considering pledges of
financial support. For 1986, there were 305 pledges; for 1991, there were 247; for
1996, there were 143. In 2001, in the immediate aftermath of the controversy over
Father McClaskey, the number had fallen to 99 (for 2002). Yet the proportion of
communicants who pledged financial support had risen steeply. In 1986, soon after
Father Satrang’s retirement, it had been 37%; and by 1991 it had sunk to 31%. But
pledges for 2002 stood at 51%.3 Comparing the distribution of pledges for 1991 and
2002, one sees a reduction in the proportion of small pledges and an increase in the
proportion of large ones, although “large” for All Saints’ still means “large” in
middle class or working class terms.4 The community was smaller in population but
larger in individual commitment.
In early 2002, Bishop Hughes appointed Father Douglas Woodridge as interim rector
of All Saints’. In the late 1960s and 1970s, Woodridge had served as curate under
Father Satrang; it was he who had blessed the baby elephant. He had then become
the rector of St. Michael’s, Carlsbad. He had retired and moved to Oregon, but he
was willing to come back to help All Saints’. An apartment was rented for him in
the neighborhood. His mission was to help the congregation heal its wounds and
“look to the future.” Woodridge served until Thanksgiving, 2002, when he returned
to Oregon, after which several local priests provided ministry. The vestry told
Woodridge that its own most important concerns were “healing,” “reconciliation,”
“more communication” within the congregation, and “outreach to the surrounding
community.” He advised vestry members to lead by example, “communicate with
people” themselves, and “spend some time each day with God.”5
In 2002, Sunday attendance stayed up, and offerings were recovering nicely, but All
Saints’ remained in a state of financial “austerity.”6 And it still had to find a
permanent rector. During the past five decades, it had not been required to go
through this process. In 1951, it had accepted, by acclamation, the services of young
Father Satrang, who had shown up on its doorstep with little to recommend him, at
the time, except his Anglo-Catholicism. In 1985, it had accepted, by acclamation,
Father McClaskey, impressed by Satrang’s endorsement of his protege. Now it had


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to deal with the complicated and interesting and ultimately educational process of a
modern church “calling.”
Expertly assisted by Deacon Jenny Vervynck, a canon of the diocese, the parish
performed a self-study and self-description that could be read by candidates for the
job. According to the documents, the parish wanted to maintain its practice of
“classical Christian spirituality,” while committing itself to reaching out to its
neighborhood and becoming more of a “cross section of the community.”7
Even before Father McClaskey officially left the parish, the vestry had been trying to
bring All Saints’ closer to Hillcrest and the adjacent neighborhoods, sending out
special Easter invitations to all people with 92103 zipcodes.8 Now, outreach and
evangelism committees designed advertisements to be inserted in the local papers,
and a door-to-door canvass of the neighborhood to let people know about All
Saints’. The parish began an annual custom of participating in the neighborhood’s
City Fest event on Fifth Avenue. The committees’ target audiences included the gay
community, single parents, and singles in general (“feed them and they will come”).
The parish newsletter summarized the idea as “carrying out God’s command to
connect the Holy Truth of God found at All Saints’ with the diverse communities
under All Saints’ geographical and social influence.”9
The vestry had a new interpretation of “faith financing”: “We do believe in Faith
Financing but the Finance Committee would have a lot more faith if the budget was
at least a balanced one.” Yet the vestry wasn’t stingy: it interested itself very
actively in maintaining the church’s property for succeeding generations, expending,
for example, $42,000 on a major repainting of the church and parish hall.10 The
financial responsibilities of All Saints’ were eased when its mission of Christ the
King became at last an independent parish, having achieved financial selfsufficiency
in 2001. All Saints’ vestry gladly voted to transfer its property at 1460
Midway Drive, Alpine, to Christ the King.11 All Saints’ began 2003 with 160
members in good standing, pledges that were higher than anticipated, and Sunday
attendance still “holding steady.”12
After evaluating at least 16 candidates for the rectorship, the calling committee
decided on Father Anthony Noble, an Australian Anglo-Catholic. Father Noble
agreed to come, after experiencing three “signs” that he should accept the
unexpected challenge in America.13 (On one occasion, when a person making an


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announcement to the congregation used the expression “good luck,” Father Noble
made a counter-announcement: “We’re Christians; we don’t believe in luck.”) He
began work at All Saints’ on October 1, 2003.
Tony Noble was born in Salisbury, South Australia, in 1947. He was trained as an
accountant and followed that profession both in Australia and, for a year during the
mid-1970s, in England. He then (1976-1978) attended seminary at St. Barnabas
Theological College in Adelaide, South Australia, and was ordained deacon (1979)
and priest (1980). He worked in several parishes in the diocese of Adelaide, then
became vicar of St. Mark’s, Fitzroy, in the diocese of Melbourne (1985-2003)–an
older, inner-city church. The ministry of St. Mark’s included a center for the
unemployed and street people, and under his leadership developed Australia’s first
parish ministry for people with AIDS (1986). He successfully completed a
comprehensive restoration of the historic church building.14 St. Mark’s was a
smaller parish than All Saints’, but under his leadership it did great things. Father
Noble promised the congregation of All Saints’, “As your priest I will be
accessible–and hopefully one that you can easily relate to. We Aussies are casual
and outgoing. You will already notice that I like to be called Father Tony–but I
won’t say G’day, even if you want me to!”15
“Father Tony” immediately became known as an outgoing, enthusiastic, and efficient
manager and priest. Efficient management doesn’t always correlate with
enthusiasm, but in this case it did. To visitors from the neighborhood, with which he
was immediately on congenial terms, he advertised the church not only as a defender
of tradition but also as the place “where we have more fun than the other churches
do.” His Australian brashness seldom concealed itself, but that was part of the fun.
Visiting England, he located a nineteenth-century brass tabernacle (the object on the
altar in which the consecrated hosts are placed after mass), and arranged for it to be
shipped to All Saints’, which had been using a wooden one. The metal tabernacle
was extraordinarily heavy and required special arrangements for transportation and
installation. It arrived at the port of Long Beach, but the shipping company delayed
sending it to San Diego. After several fruitless phone calls, Father Tony told the
company, “I’m an Australian. We get things done!” The tabernacle immediately
appeared at All Saints’.16
The energetic new priest found it easy to restore the congregation’s sense that All
Saints’ was a permanent institution. His unpretentiousness and exuberant sense of


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humor made him very popular. “New” people began coming to All Saints’, and
“old” people stayed. All Saints’ remained a bastion of theological tradition; indeed,
Father Noble significantly increased Anglo-Catholic and especially Marian
devotionalism, organizing pilgrimages to the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in
England and adding the Angelus to the end of regular services. But there was no
longer a perceived barrier between All Saints’ and the surrounding community. At
the same time, he was a convincing and trusted raiser of material support. In 2006,
the church was forced to comply immediately with a municipal order to retrofit the
Parish Hall for earthquake safety. Seventy thousand dollars were required to
strengthen the structure with steel supports at roof level. Enthusiastic parishioners
contributed the funds within six weeks.
One of the new rector’s biggest tasks was finding a solution to the problem of the
school. At the beginning of 2006, the preschool was doing very well; it had 39
students, the great majority of them newly enrolled, and was more than breaking
even financially. The academic school was not. An effort was made to offer fewer
classes by combining grades, but the situation remained unsustainable. Serious
marketing efforts had attracted only four new students for the current school year;
only 5% of the students who toured the school eventually enrolled in it; and the
projected enrollment for 2006-2007 was only 49. Deficits were enormous; the most
favorable projection for 2005-2007 was a deficit of $200,000.17 These were heartbreaking
figures for many people in the parish, especially those who had worked
courageously to keep the school going. But there was only one choice available.
Advised by the rector, the vestry decided that the school should close in June 2006.
The preschool, which had become financially self-supporting, continued. It is now a
significant source of church income. It uses the facilities that Father Satrang had
constructed in faith many years before, though it gives them a somewhat different
educational role.
It has been said that the parish, including members who had sent their own children
to All Saints’ School, finally realized that for many years the church had been
“educating other people’s children.” Most parents who sent their children to the
school were “unchurched,” or members of other churches, and stayed that way.18
But to most people in the parish, closing the school was a heavy blow. For over half
a century, the school had provided its students with a sound education–a caring,
Christian education. The priests and people of All Saints’ had worked selfsacrificially
to keep the school running and to keep its quality high. In recent years


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the Parents’ Association had provided exceptionally energetic support. But a small
private school could not compete with large, tax-funded institutions, or with private
schools supported by rich people. All Saints’ had maintained its school for more
than half a century, but it could maintain it no more, without threatening its own
existence. The school was closed. In former years this might have produced a rift in
the congregation. In 2006, it did not. The church took new pride in its unity, and
new interest in the intensification of its spiritual life.
One of its challenges was the strengthening of its music program. The spiritual life
of a church almost always has something to do with the inspiration of music, and
this has been particularly true of All Saints’. Two of its rectors, Father Murphy and
Father Stevens, were directly involved with the church’s music. No rector has been
accused of slighting it. Like most leaders of All Saints’, Father Satrang thought there
was an urgency about good music in the church. In 1963 he put a notice in the
service bulletin begging for eight or ten more volunteer choir members. All you
needed, he said, was “a good average voice with some knowledge of music.” But:
“Please . . . There are so many lovely anthems that cannot be sung until the choir has
grown.” The bulletin from a Sunday service in late 1952 lists seven hymns and an
anthem, besides the prelude and postlude. 19 That’s a lot of music; but music, of
certain kinds, is a distinguishing characteristic of Episcopal worship, and the higher
church a parish becomes, the more distinctive its music tends to be. All Saints’ is
very high church.
The organist and choirmaster under Father Noble was Robert MacLeod. In his late
teens, MacLeod had visited an evensong at All Saints’ and had loved the church ever
since. He had served briefly as All Saints’ organist in the early 1970s, and he had
returned to the position, after work in other churches, in April 1997–a fine choice by
Father McClaskey.20 MacLeod wanted to give his beloved church the quality of
music appropriate to its architecture and ritual.
High-church Episcopal music emphasizes complexity and sophistication. A
dedicated volunteer choir can do impressive things, but a choir that includes
professional voices can attempt much more. All Saints’ had no professional singers
until 2000, when a parishioner, the late Jack Merkel, provided money to employ one
singer, a soprano.21 During the next several years, MacLeod won support from the
congregation (and emphatically, Father Noble) to employ three more excellent
professional singers. They, together with the many fine volunteer voices in the


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choir, began to exploit the tradition of serious church music in ways that All Saints’
had never heard before. The choir showed what even a small church can do when it
values its musical traditions and is determined to make the most of them.
According to MacLeod, the 1973 organ is a good instrument, with a good “sweet”
sound, although its power might be increased by the addition of pipes or
contemporary electronic aids. Since the organ chamber is full, the second alternative
is the one that recommends itself to the future. Nevertheless, the musical quality of
the church has been greatly enhanced during the past few years–not only by the
expert work of MacLeod and the choir, but by the simple expedient of removing the
carpeting from the aisles of the nave and chancel, a project championed by Father
Noble.
No one knows when carpeting was first installed at All Saints’, though (as we have
seen) it was a feature of the chapel in 1908 and the new church in 1912.22
Carpeting was an amenity that became predictable in American churches in the
twentieth century. But it was a mixed blessing–carpets deadened the sound of the
choir. So, by the end of 2010, the church had been freed from its carpeting, the floor
and the pews had been refinished, and the choir had begun to project itself more
forcefully down All Saints’ long nave. The amazing reverberance of the original
building was then revealed. Nobody had realized how many “s” sounds there were
in the hymn book, or how splendidly the choir could project.
A comparison of All Saints’ condition at the end of 2001 and the beginning of 2011
shows solid progress. The number of communicants had fallen slightly, from 188 to
167 (after bottoming out at 157 at the end of 2004), but the church had reached a
sustainable level, with new people coming in to replace the inevitable losses.
Attendance at scheduled services was up–to 15,500 in 2010, compared with 14,160
in 2001. Income from unrestricted pledges had risen from $92,000 to $197,000, and
receipts from the collection plate had risen from $1700 to $5800–great
achievements, especially for a congregation that was hit very hard by the economic
crisis of 2008 and its aftermath, and had not fully recovered.23
Careful management had been required to make the congregation’s money go as far
as possible, so it is good to note that in 2010, the parish recorded revenues of
$146,000 from its properties, mainly its preschool and the space in the former
rectory on Seventh Avenue, now rented for other educational purposes. During the


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2001-2011 period its total revenues had almost doubled, from $284,000 to $524,000.
Since 2001, total expenditures had risen from $344,000 to $495,000, but the budget
deficit for 2001 was $60,000, while the budget surplus for 2010 was $29,000.24
It was easy to see what had happened. The parish had united to maintain itself–by
individual contributions (often sacrificially made), by wise husbandry of resources
bequeathed by earlier generations, and by the hard work of self-management. A
high-church Episcopal parish requires the dedicated work of a very large proportion
of its communicants–vestry members, acolytes, members of the altar guild, greeters,
lectors, choir members, Sunday school teachers, volunteers for almost every
conceivable project. The people of All Saints’ kept doing the work, willingly and
successfully. They showed that an Episcopal church is not a structure of authority
but a structure of spontaneous order and commitment.
The parish therefore found itself in good shape when the next change occurred.
Early in his tenure at All Saints’, Tony Noble had recovered quickly from a bout
with cancer, but in 2010 he took some time off to recuperate from stress; and,
mindful of his health, on December 7 of that year he told the vestry that he would be
retiring on March 6.25 In his Advent sermon on December 12, he emphasized the
theme of Christian joy and urged the congregation to join him in making the final
three months of his work at All Saints’ a period of celebration. At his retirement
party on March 5, 2011, his ministry was celebrated by a throng of friends.
In spring 2011, Father Wayne Sanders, then in retirement, accepted All Saints’
invitation to return to the parish as interim rector. As this book is written, the parish
is preparing to search for its next spiritual leader, and it is looking forward to
celebrating the centennial of its church in 2012. The mood is confident. The past
century has demonstrated All Saints’ ability to remain, and prevail.
Only stories that have an ending can have a climax. All Saints’ has survived and
prospered, often against great odds. That makes an interesting story, but it does not
make a conclusion. This book now ends; the story of All Saints’ continues. If the
past has any predictive power, All Saints’ will continue to enact a story of faith,
hope, and love–and also of risk and daring, foolish mistakes and providential
victories, fervent devotion and productive eccentricity, and the confidence that
comes from staying true to oneself.


!9


All Saints’ has never been rich or powerful. Many times, it has appeared to be
dying; several times, it has appeared to be dead. From its own point of view,
however, that simply proves its vitality. St. Paul wrote about this seeming paradox.26
He was describing himself and his friends in the early Christian church, but the
description will do well enough for all such communities as All Saints’–
communities that continue “as having nothing, and yet possessing all things . . . as
unknown, and yet well known; as dying–and, behold, we live.”


!10

Parochial Report for 2001; V 1 4/10/2001; minutes, parish meeting, 6/11/2000.

2 See the Annual Reports, presented at the Annual Meetings for the relevant years;

and minutes, parish meeting, 6/11/2000.

3 The proportion for 1996 is impossible to calculate, because the stated number of

communicants, 695, is exaggerated.

4 V 8/14/2001; Annual Reports for relevant years; “Analysis of All Saints’ Episcopal

Church Stewardship Status” (pledges for 2002).

5 “From the Interim Rector,” WF 3/02; Interim Rector Letter of Agreement,

3/14/2002; V 3/12/2002, V 3/17/2002, V 11/12/2002.

6 V 9/10/2002; Budget Summary, All Saints’ Parish Semi-Annual Meeting,

6/23/2002. In August 2002, over 600 people attended mass, and August is ordinarily

a bad month for church attendance.

7 Position Profile, 10/17/2002.

8 V 4/10/2001.

9 V 7/9/2002, V 9/10/2002; Outreach Committee outline; Bill Moreno, “Evangelism

Mission of All Saints’ Church,” WF 3/2002.

10 “Stewardship Report,” WF 3/2002; V 12/10/2002.

11 V 3/11/2003, AM 1/ 27/2002; grant deed, recorded 12/30/2003.

12 V 10/8/2002, V 12/10/2002.

13 “Are You Any Closer to Calling a Priest Yet???”, WF 4/03; Tony Noble, interview.

14 Tony Noble, interview and personal correspondence.

15 Tony Noble, column, WF 9-10/2003.

16 Tony Noble, interview.

17 Business Administrator’s Reports, 5/10/2005, 1/10/2006; V 2/8/2005.

!11

AM 1/ 24/96. According to a friendly e 18 stimate in 1980, “of the 148 [students]

presently enrolled–8 are from the Parish, 20 are Episcopalians and balance from all

over. Most come because of the Day Care from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.”–the provision for

students to stay and play or study after school (V 3/18/80).

19 Service bulletins, 9/1/63 and 11/30/52.

20 V 4/8/97.

21 AM 1/ 21/2001, 1/ 27/2002.

22 In addition, it is recorded that in 1940 the parish received the gift of a carpet for

the sanctuary, and in 1948 the gift of a “beautiful new carpet” for the aisles (rector’s

Annual Report, AM 1/16/41; V 4/14/48).

23 Annual Reports, AM 1/ 27 /2002, AM 1 / 30/ 2011; Parochial Report for 2004,

5/10/2005, vestry records. The number of communicants stated in the report for

2001 is probably somewhat too high, because this was the first report after the

difficult attempt to remove from the statistics several hundred parishioners whose

absence should have been noted before. And probably the report’s statement of the

deficit for 2001 is somewhat too low, because of confusing accounting practices

related to the parish school.

24 See Annual Reports for the relevant years.

25 Tony Noble to parishioners, 12/7/2010; “From the Rector,” service bulletin, 12 /

12/2010.

26 2 Corinthians 6:9-10.

Appendix

!12

Blog – Dec ’14-April ’15

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Sun Dec 7

Last Sunday 3 friends came for lunch after Mass at All SS. This began 4 days of having friends for either lunch or dinner…..one of them an old friend who has just returned to Melbourne after living in Canada for 20 years. Thursday I attended the opera, Falstaff, & on Friday it was the MSO – an Arabian theme featuring the marvellous Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov & Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto #5, equally wonderful.

On Saturday I flew to Cairns for 3 days. Thunderstorms threatened to disrupt flights, so I went to the airport early & Virgin put me on an earlier direct flight. I arrived at 11.30 am & my room at the Hilton was ready. The view from my room is spectacular – another nice hotel to put on my list! Main highlight of the trip will be going on the historic Kuranda train on Monday. I decided to do this after my neighbors, Beata & Bob, told me about their experience in gold class – which includes champagne & eats 🙂

Wed 17

Like all Australians I have been stunned by the terrorist attack in Sydney. Saddened & overwhelmed emotionally by what the hostages had gone thru & the awful loss of 2 young Australians who were full of life & love. All day Monday I had the news on in the background & woke up later that night at 2 am to see the awful end. The last time I felt like this was 9/11.

Such a tragedy puts a sober atmosphere on everything. On the tram next morning there was a subdued silence. I also reflected on the 2 occasions I came close to a similar experience: 40 years ago in London, when I had to walk past a possible IRA bomb scare, & in February 1991 on a train in Croatia when it seceded from Yugoslavia.

Prior to Monday I had enjoyed meals with friends each day & attending The Messiah by the MSO & chorus. This was the first time I had attended its performance for some years. I enjoyed the conductor’s interpretation & was very impressed with the chorus.

Tuesday 23

I have had a relatively quiet time. No meals out with friends – just relaxing days with walks along the beach. Sunday was the exception. Bp Lindsay Urwin was at All SS, E St K, for High Mass & the Carol Service. Both were well attended & the music was superb. After Mass the All SS Walsingham cell had lunch with Bp Lindsay at the local pub.

Today I fly to Adelaide for a week – the first time I have had Christmas in my old home town since 1984. I will spend 3 days with my friend, Fr Reg, who lives near the beach. This will include Christmas lunch with other oid friends. I will then go to stay with friends in Port Adelaide. This will include Sunday Mass at St Paul’s, where I have fond memories of many Christmasses in my youth. My week will conclude with lunch in Elizabeth with a woman who was one of my altar servers at St Catherine’s 30+ years ago.

Tuesday 30

I have had a wonderful week in Adelaide. Not too hot, but still lots of memories from my youth. Too much romantic nostalgia perhaps? Christmas Eve & Day were quiet, causing me to reflect on 34 years of busy Christmasses as a priest. Good to catch up with old friends – esp lunch yesterday with Bronte, my altar server at St Catherine’s 1982-85. She has turned out to be a fantastic young woman with a nice family. Now it is back to Melbourne for NYE.

Jan 5 2015

I had a nice NYE at the home of a St Mark’s friend. His condo in Nth Fitzroy has a marvellous view of the city & we had a marvellous view of the fireworks. He lives on the direct tram to St K, so I got home easily……..on a tram that was full of interesting people in various conditions of frivolity!

Since then 40c heat has resulted in bushfires in both SA & Vic. I spent Fri & Saty indoors keeping cool & up to date on the fires. I was particularly concerned about the bushfire in the Adelaide Hills. They are the worst since Ash Wed 1983, which I remember well. I was PP at St Catherine’s, Elizabeth Downs – part of my parish included One Tree Hill & the same area is affected again. It was like a furnace all day in 1983, with 47 deaths. Just before I went over to the church for the 7 pm Solemn Mass I received a phone call from my MC to say that their home was in danger & he could not make it. I announced this to the congregation before the Mass & said we would offer it with special intention for Peter & his family. The ashes ceremony had a sobering reality. It was one of the most emotional Masses I have celebrated. Fortunately no harm came to them.

Today the weather is cooler – but the Adelaide Hills are still at a dangerous level.

Thurs 15

Our crazy weather continues…..rain last Saty, beautiful sunshine on Sunday/Monday & winter weather since then! I have had a relaxing 10 days, incl 3 meals locally with friends. Tomorrow I fly off overseas for exactly 2 months. I will visit the US, Manila, Hong Kong, Berlin & London. Whilst I am in the UK I will go to the shrine at Walsingham for a week. In the US I will visit San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, DC…..& San Diego (of course!) thanks to some United Airlines vouchers received last year. The flight tomorrow is the new United MEL-LAX flight, which I flew back to Melb in November. The flight leaves the same time as before but eliminates a 2 hour stopover in Sydney, which will be wonderful. I arrive in LAX at 7.15 am on the same day I leave 🙂

Sun 18

My flight was nice – the new Dreamliner is a wonderful plane. I left St K on a beautiful sunny morning & it was the same in LA. It’s always good to be back in the USA, esp now I am in SF, a city I love almost as much as SD. On Tuesday I fly to Manila, arriving there on Wednesday night.

Fri 23

It was quite a journey getting to Manila. 4 different flights taking a total of 19 hours with stopovers in LAX, Honolulu & Guam. I did not get much sleep & was tired when I arrived. A nice welcome at the hotel was indicative of the reputation Filipinos have for being friendly. Even the police say Good Morning. No doubt this is in part due to the Philipinnes being a catholic country & not muslim.

Manila is a metropolis of over 11 million people (1/2 the population of Australia!). I am staying in Makati – one of the many cities that are part of Manila. Here there are large hotels, condo blocks, shopping malls & office blocks. It reminds me of Singapore, incl crazy traffic & crowds of people. Thursday I walked around the area, encountering interesting churches & parks. I discovered a catholic chapel in the shopping mall across from the hotel. It is called a chapel because it is not a parish church & is circular with open walls, set on a lake teaming with goldfish in the middle if the shopping complex. It is very active, with 4 Masses a day & a lively community. I went to the 12.15 pm Mass, which was attended by over 100 people, mainly young. Sung Mass with small choir & quite an experience of devotion. After it was over they all applauded & didn’t seem to want to leave.

Today I caught the metro into the old part of the city. Not that there is much to see that is old, as most of Manila was destroyed towards the end of WW2. The hotel concierge told me that the metro was very crowded…….she was not wrong! It was also very slow. I eventually got to the central area. I wandered around without a map, but there were hardly any colonial or Art Deco buildings to admire (which is what I like to do). I walked along the Passig River & found myself walking thru slums – terrible living conditions (some just made from boxes) & children playing in the dirt or wandering around naked. Roosters, chickens, cats & dogs completed the scene. Such a contrast to the golf club I later passed.

I found the catholic cathedral – the 7th on the site – but didn’t enter as I was wearing shorts. I finished up at Rizal Park, a huge park where the Pope had celebrated Mass for 6 million people last weekend. Tomorrow I shall do more walking. My flight leaves Saturday night.

Sunday Feb 1

I am now in Hong Kong & fly to SD tomorrow. It is my 3rd visit & I have done all the tourist things before. This time it is a relaxing visit. I have a lovely hotel room with a view of the wonderful harbour. HK is magical all lit up at night. I have done lots of walking, taking in the culture & atmosphere, explored parks & discovered the HK Heritage Centre. HK is a fascinating city, with a wonderful mix of Chinese & Western culture & architecture. It is a pity it is no longer the final outpost of the British Empire!

Wed 4

I have had a relaxing 2 days in SD. Good to have meals with a few parishioners. Tomorrow I fly to London. I will have the w/e staying at St Mary’s, Bourne St & on Wed Joan & I will drive to Walsingham. I take with me a lot of prayer intentions.

Sun 8

I arrived safely at Heathrow – but very tired. London was dark & cold at 6.45 am! I caught the tube to St Mary’s & got there in time for the 8 am Mass. It was a pleasure to meet Fr Robert – the priest looking after the parish now that the Vicar has left. After unpacking & settling into the guest room in the presbytery I jumped into bed & had 3 hours sleep, which was wonderful! After showering I had coffee with Fr Robert, telling him of my long association with St Mary’s & finding out about him. I then went for a walk along Kings Rd & did some shopping for food.

Saturday morning there was a Requiem in the church for the much loved organist, David Trendell, whom I knew & admired. David died suddenly last October & I was here for the Low Mass of Requiem shortly after. This time it was a full Solemn Requiem with stunning music & a large congregation. In the a/noon I went for a long walk & encountered lots of young NZ-ers on a pub crawl! They were dressed in various costumes for what seemed like a London tradition. I don’t remember Aussies doing that when I lived here 40 years ago!

This morning I will attend High Mass with Joan & then we shall go to the local pub for lunch. On Monday I am having lunch with Phyl, with whom I worked in 74/75. We will meet out the front of our old office in The Strand.

Sun 15

On Wed Joan & I had a nice drive to Walsingham on an overcast day. When we arrived we received a lovely welcome from various staff. It was very good to see Bp Lindsay again. Marc, the sacristan, arranged for me to say Mass at 5pm, after which I renewed my friendship with the 4 young people working at the shrine & met the new shrine priest, Fr Graham. He is Northern Irish & full of fun.

Thursday it was cold & overcast again. I said Mass, particularly remembering that exactly 40 years ago I heard the call of God to be a priest here when I came to Walsingham on pilgrimage. Little did I think then that I would return regularly to Walsingham as a priest & would assist at the shrine. Joan & I visited the Priory & had morning tea with the Sisters.

Thursday evening I took Fr Graham out to dinner, so I could get to know him. We got on very well & I look forward to working with him. I was very impressed when I asked him why did he come to the shrine…..he replied that after 4 years since ordination he wanted another curacy. Would that more young priests had that attitude!

Friday morning I said Mass with special intention for SSC. In the a/noon 120 arrived for the Partnership w/e. This began with dinner, where we renewed friendships. I have been a partner for 10 years, but this is only my 2nd w/e – because when I ran a parish it was impossible to come the w/e before Ash Wed. Afterwards a few of us went to the local pub, The Bull.

Saturday morning it was sunny. At breakfast Joan & I had lots of laughs with Bp Lindsay & other friends. A busy programme followed, incl an exciting report from Bp Lindsay about projects, growth & future plans & a talk from the shrine archivist. Most inspiring was an interview with the 4 young people (all 19) working at the shrine. As they talked I cast my mind back 40 years ago & reflected on my decision here to be a priest, my growth as a Christian & my priestly ministry. The 6 pm Pilgrims Mass had a wonderful atmosphere. I concelebrated with Bp Lindsay & Fr Graham & read the gospel. In the evening there was a formal dinner. 2 years ago I was the after-dinner speaker & this year it was Fr Graham. He was delightful & not long 🙂

Sunday morning was a nice crisp morning. We all attended the 11am Parish Mass at St Mary’s. As well as concelebrating I read the gospel (for the 1st time) & also sang the Alleluia verse – but my voice was not at its best. The parishioners were glad to welcome me back….& wanted to know when I was returning! After Benediction all but a few left. So I enjoyed the usual quiet Sunday night. Tomorrow Joan & I drive back to London.

Mon 23

I have just had a very cold w/e in DC. Snow came on Saturday night & altho it looked pretty, walking in it was scary. It was my 1st experience of walking to church in snow! Tomorrow I fly to Berlin for 6 days. I will be interested to see if the Berlin Hilton upgrades me to the luxurious suite they gave me last November!

Fri 27

Wednesday I arrived in Berlin on time & tired. The hotel welcomed me &, sure enough, had put me in the same suite as last time. It felt like coming home! The weather was sunny, but cold. After a refreshing shower I went off to an exhibition about West Berlin that I had noted on my visit last November. Next day I went to 8 am Mass at St Hedwig’s (just 6 mins away) which is familiar & always a good experience, not least as I can follow Mass in German. Because of the cold I decided to spend the day visiting museums. In the morning I went to the Markischen Museum, which I came upon last Nov. It is a purpose-built museum presenting the history of Berlin. In the a/noon I visited the German History Museum. I have visited this before, but last time missed the 2nd floor, covering Germany up to 1918. I found this very interesting, given my knowledge & interest in German history & politics.

Today I visited Museum Insel. This is a UNESCO world heritage site containing 5 museums. I visited these 20 years ago, when the Berlin State museums were combined after reunification. All of them have been renovated – a project which is ongoing. The Neues Museum was so damaged in 1945 that it remained closed after the war until 2009. I was very keen to see this, as it contains the famous Schliemann collection from Troy & the Egyptian collection, the highlight being the bust of Nefertiti. The building itself is beautifully restored, reflecting the period it was built. The other museums were equally wonderful.

As much as I love museums, they can be tiring…….& today saw enough Renaissance & gothic art to last another 20 years! Tomorrow I hope to visit another museum – this one more contemporary. But first I must do a load of washing & get my hair cut!

Fri Mar 6

My 5 days in Berlin were relaxing & enjoyable. It was sunny every day, but quite cold. On Sunday I caught the train to Frankfurt – & it rained! I was welcomed back to the Frankfurt Intercontinental by the staff who have known me over the years. Next day I flew back to the US. The last few days I have been in Atlanta. Unfortunately the weather has been cold & wet – not as bad as the East coast, but it has prevented me from going for long walks. I have been to Atlanta before – this trip was to use one of the 4 travel vouchers I received from United a year ago for flight problems. They all had to be used before mid-March. The final one will be used when I go to Seattle on Monday.

Atlanta to San Francisco 8MAR2015

Atlanta to San Francisco 8MAR2015

I took these pics from the window of my flight from Atlanta to SF. I don’t know where it is – I just raised the blind to see the view when there was a break in the movie I was watching.

Wed 11

I have just had 3 nice days in Seattle. Sunny on Monday, foggy on Tues & raining this morning! Yesterday I had an interesting experience. Across the road from the hotel was Pilgrim Congregational Church. To my surprise, they were advertising an RC Mass at 12.10 pm. So I attended, along with 25 others. It was in a circular chapel with a round table as the altar. It was a proper Mass, but they were using the chapel communion vessels, as they were made of glass! It turned out that this was one of 4 weekday Masses celebrated in this chapel as part of the Mass schedule of an RC church called Christ Our Hope – a most unusual RC dedication.

After the Mass I decided to check out the church of Christ Our Hope, which was 10 mins walk away. The Church was the ground floor of an old apartment block now used as an RC low-cost housing project (I think for women). Next to the church was an office with various programmes, etc. The church had a full Mass schedule & parish programme. It had obviously grown out of a mission project, probably started by the pastor. I was impressed – not least because it was an unusual setting for an RC (or Anglican) church.

Back to SD tonight – & then home to Melbourne on Friday.

Fri 20

I arrived home safely in Melb on Sunday 15th. But I did not reckon with the Melb Grand Prix, which disrupted all trams to St K. It was good to be back in St K – but I am only home for 10 days. Next week I fly to Walsingham, where I will spend Holy Week & Easter. So there is no point in adjusting time zones! The week has been productive, with so many practical & financial things to catch up with after being away 2 months. I have caught up with various friends, incl a Port Adel FC gathering on Mon night (for which I actually stayed awake) & a b/day dinner on Wed at the local Greek restaurant. Tonight I am off to the symphony – The Damnation of Faust, by Berlioz. Tomorrow I shall join my Port Adel friends at our usual pub to watch the practice game against the arch-enemy, Adelaide Crows. The w/e will round off with Mass at All SS, followed by lunch with a good friend. Then just 1 day to repack for my flights on Tues 🙂

Mon 30

After a 24 hour stop-over in the U.S. I arrived safely in London last Thursday at 12 noon. I haven’t flown a direct flight to London for 25 years, preferring to have a few days in SD either side of the flights. The result this time is that I have been quite jet-lagged…..something I usually get over quickly. Not so, this trip – waking at 1am each morning!

On Sunday I attended the famous Anglocatholic church of St Alban, Holborn, for Palm Sunday procession & Solemn Mass. I like St Alban’s & have a vivid memory of attending the liturgy here on Good Friday, 1975. It was the first time I heard the wonderful hymn, My Song Is Love Unknown, & I was pleased that it was the Offertory Hymn at the Mass. Altho there was light rain, the procession went off well. Complete with 2 donkeys & lots of excited children, we processed around the streets & into the church for a very nice Mass.

Today Joan & I drive to Walsingham for what will be a special Holy Week. Every year at this time I think of the wonderful celebrations of Holy Week I have experienced in my 3 parishes. Jerusalem in 2011 was an even more wonderful experience……but I think this year in Walsingham will be the best.

Maundy Thursday

We arrived safely in Walsingham – the roads seemed quiet for a Monday. I was warmly welcomed back by all the clergy & staff…….it was only 6 weeks ago that I was here! At 5 pm I said Mass in the Chapel that commemorates the Carrying of the Cross. It is my favourite chapel to say Mass because it is the SSC chapel. Tuesday was a quiet day. At 10 am I said Mass in the Chapel of the Agony of Christ. I have not said Mass in this chapel before, but it seemed most appropriate, with its depiction behind the altar of Christ in Gethsemane with the Abbey arch in the background.
Holy Week 2015 in Walsingham
Holy Week 2015 in Walsingham Chapel of the Agony of Christ

The above pics are of the altar where I said Mass on Tuesday & of the hail we experienced that a/noon. The view is from my room in St Augustine’s, the cottage that has been restored & renovated for study groups & which contains the 2 libraries.

Wednesday was the Chrism Mass. I know bishop Norman Banks & it was an honour to concelebrate with 40 priests as we renewed our vows to him. It was good to catch up with priests I know, incl an old Aussie friend. The Shrine Church was packed & it was a beautiful liturgy. Afterwards I had lunch with several of my Walsingham friends. Today the focus shifts to the parish church, where I will join in the wonderful Services for the Easter Triduum, beginning with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper tonight. These are not celebrated in the shrine as it is appropriate that we are all at St Mary’s as one community.

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper was beautiful. As well as the joy if concelebrating the Mass, I was privileged to be invited to be one of the 12 for the foot-washing liturgy. This was a first for me….for 30 years I have organised & done this, but never been a recipient.

Good Friday

The Shrine was wonderfully quiet & deserted – an atmosphere I embraced. It was a cold day & I froze during the Stations of the Cross! This was in the grounds of the shrine & Bp Lindsay had prepared a moving liturgy. At the conclusion we returned to the shrine church for a Service of Veneration of a relic of the Cross, which the Shrine possesses. Despite reservations some might have about relics of the Cross, it was a moving spiritual experience.

At 3 pm I joined a large congregation at St Mary’s for the Liturgy of the Passion. It was good to be in the for this. As with last night’s liturgy, it was beautiful, quiet & inspiring. The singing was superb & Fr Andrew’s sermon was brilliant, again. Now for Holy Saturday & the magnificent Easter Vigil.

The pics below are of St Mary’s parish church on Easter morning. Christ is Risen! Alleluia!!

Holy Week 2015 in Walsingham
Holy Week 2015 in Walsingham
Holy Week 2015 in Walsingham
Holy Week 2015 in Walsingham
Easter Monday

It has been a wonderful Easter in Walsingham. The Easter Vigil was celebrated beautifully & the church looked superb decorated with Easter Lillies. Both the music & sermon were inspiring. A very nice party followed – I was impressed that the Churchwarden remembered that I do not like bubbly & produced a bottle of red!

At 11 am on Easter Day Bp Lindsay celebrated the Solemn Mass & preached a remarkable sermon. We returned to the shrine for the traditional lunch of roast beef & I discovered that Port Adelaide had lost their opening game by a close margin. I can expect the usual messages about Port losing when I am overseas! The day finished with a very special Service in the shrine, Maria Consolata. This comprised Evensong, Benediction & the crowning of the image of Our Lady Of Walsingham with a silver crown. For this Bp Lindsay ascended up 2 precarious sets of steps in a beautiful old cope, with attendants ensuring that he didn’t fall or knock over candles! A drinks party followed, giving me a chance to say goodbye to many of my Walsingham friends.

Today I say Mass at 10 am in the Holy House, after which we drive back to London. 2 nights there, then I fly to SD for a 24 hour stopover before my flight back to Melb,