Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The Catholic Church and Freemasons

There has been a programme on Sky TV "Inside the Freemasons". This has prompted some to ask 'Can a Catholic be a Freemason?' The lastest official document that I can find states as follows;
"It has been asked whether there has been any change in the Church’s decision in regard to Masonic associations since the new Code of Canon Law does not mention them expressly, unlike the previous Code.
This Sacred Congregation is in a position to reply that this circumstance in due to an editorial criterion which was followed also in the case of other associations likewise unmentioned inasmuch as they are contained in wider categories.
Therefore the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic association remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful who enrol in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.
It is not within the competence of local ecclesiastical authorities to give a judgment on the nature of Masonic associations which would imply a derogation from what has been decided above, and this in line with the Declaration of this Sacred Congregation issued on 17 February 1981 (cf. AAS 73 1981 pp. 240-241; English language edition of L’Osservatore Romano, 9 March 1981).
In an audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II approved and ordered the publication of this Declaration which had been decided in an ordinary meeting of this Sacred Congregation.
Rome, from the Office of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 26 November 1983.
Joseph Card. RATZINGER
+ Fr. Jerome Hamer, O.P.
Titular Archbishop of Lorium

Monday, 13 March 2017

Dermot Poston RIP

I have heard the sad news that Dermot died last week. I will post the funeral arrangements when they are known. This is a newspaper article on him:

Dermot was my English Teacher at school, he was a great influence on my and mnay others. In addition he helped run the Explorers' Club at school and introduced me to the delights of caving. He was a great man, one of the best.

Inline image

Inline image

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The NHS is stil working

Despite all the negative comments recent personal experience shows to my wife and I that the NHS is still working. Last Tuesday evening, 31 January, Julia, who had been unwell, noticed that her hands and arms were starting to swell and a rash was spreading on her body at an alarming rate. She dialed 111 and they said that a doctor would call back within the hour. Fifteen minutes later he called back, listened to her and asked some questions. He then said to go to the PRU (our local hospital) and hat he would send her notes over. We went to the PRU, the notes were there. We saw the triage people very quickly and some blood samples were taken for testing. Then came the one frustrating part, a five hour wait to see the doctor.
Once we saw the doctor things moved at a great rate, more tests, ECG, X-rays etc.A move from Accident & Emergency to a bed in the Emergency Assessment Unit and visits from two consultants. Late on Wednesday she was moved to a bed in the Chartwell Unit. Over the next few days she had more tests, CT scan, Ultra sound tests and regular blood tests. The diagnosis was vasculitis and she was out on a course of steroids.
Yesterday evening, Tuesday 7 February, Julia was discharged with a course of steroids to complete and a series of follow-up consultations to attend.
The treatment could not have been better, everybody; cleaners, porters, nurses, doctors, consultants etc were friendly and approachable. I suspect that if we were really try we could somethings that were not quite perfect. But overall the NHS delivered on its promise.
So do not believe all that you read. No doubt budgets are stretched and some people do not receive high quality treatment. But for us it was brilliant so a big thank you to the NHS, to the PRU and to all the staff who work there.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Where did 2016 go?

A week before Christmas and to the great joy of many and the disappointment of a few I suddenly realised that have not yet written the "Family Newspaper" to be sent out with our cards. Most of the cards are posted and so this year you will have to make do with an electronic copy which will save a few trees if nothing else.
As the title implies this year seems to have shot by at an ever increasing rate of knots. (As the year has flown by one should use an aeronautical term to describe its passing).

The family at Christmas

Christmas 2015 was spent at home. Hélèna and Sam were not with us but joined us on the 27 December. We had a good time marred by an accident to Emma. One evening whilst sat round the dining table she slipped and fell breaking her collar bone! As Lawrie is a policeman on shift work Emma could not easily look after a two year old with only one arm - so Emma and Henry stayed with us for January, this meant lots of days out for his grandparents. Lawrie joined us on his rest days.
With Auntie Hélèna and Uncle Sam at Greenwich

By the Thames

The Prime Meridian
At the end of January Emma had recovered enough to be able look after Henry. We then started on our bedroom project and redecorating the hall stairs and landings. This involved Julia and I decamping to the loft bedroom and many weeks of chaos. It is now all finished and it "will see us out" as they say - he said hopefully!

In the woods near our lodge
North Devon Coast
A rather rotund Barry
2016 marked the fiftieth anniversary of starting at Rugby College of engineering Technology. A few of us met up at Martin's house for a celebratory BBQ - it was great fun

Some of the ladies

Some of the men

We had several trips to the lodge in Devon and for us the high spot in the year was in July when we celebrated our sapphire wedding anniversary (45 years).
Reaffirming our wedding vows at Mass

Anniversary lunch

In the evening at home with Veronica

Our anniversary present form the children was afternoon tea at the Shard and a visit to the viewing gallery - it was great fun and something that we will always remember,

A nice touch

Recovering afetr the meal and trip to the top!

One of the other major celebrations of the year was son-in-law Sam's thirtieth birthday. this was celebrated in North Wales with his family. Andrew, Gaew, Lawrie, Emma and Henry, Julia and myself plus assorted Dugdale's were there. Some camped - we stayed in a B&B!!!

The birthday cake

Hélèlna andGaew


In the water

Monster from the deep

Two very dear American friends, Tim and Pat came over and stayed with us for a couple of weeks in September. They had been so kind to us when we lived there and when we went over in 2014 that it was good to be able to reciprocate. Apart form London, we took them to Stonehenge, Salisbury (Magna Carta) and Devon and Cornwall. We had a great time and we think that they did.

Chapel at the Royal Naval College

By the Cutty Sark

Lunching at Brighton

Lunching at Brighton


At Slapton Sands

Leaving the Lodge

In October Julia and I went on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. It was a wonderful experience and a very special time for both of us

Julia on the way to site of the first apparaition

Barry proclaiming the Gospel

Pilgrimage Party

The final happy event of the year was a four day trip to Donegal in Ireland for the wedding of Emma's brother Thomas. We had a great time and managed to visit the Giants Causeway on the way back to Belfast Airport.

Lawrie and Henry - Henry was the ring bearer.

The wedding party
By the water in Donegal with Lawrie, Henry and Emma

At Giant's Causeway
A cold looking sea!

Inevitably there were some sad moments during the year, two very good friends Tony Bargery and Malcolm Tomlinson died. Tony had a stroke a couple of years ago and never ully recovered. We had known Tony for over 45 years and I spent six months living with him and his wife Christine when we first went to Canterbury.
Malcolm was a friend of 35 years or so. We met when David started at St Joseph's Primary School and remained friends ever since. I conducted his funeral service which was an honour and a privilege. I just pray that I did him justice.

I turn 70 next year as do two old college friends John and Martin. We have booked a couple of nights away in Dorset along with our wives.  It should be great fun assuming that we all make it to next October!

Wishing you and yours all the very best for 2017 - HAPPY CHRISTMAS

Barry and Julia

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

I really am a dinosaur!

It is official I really am a dinosaur - The Baryonyx and l iive in the Barremian Age

Baryonyx (/ˌbæriˈɒnks/) is a genus of theropod dinosaur which lived in the Barremian stage of the early Cretaceous Period, about 130–125 million years ago. The holotype specimen was discovered in 1983 in Surrey, England, and the animal was named Baryonyx walkeri in 1986. The genus name, Baryonyx, means "heavy claw" and alludes to the animal's very large claw on the first finger; the specific name (walkeri) refers to its discoverer, amateur fossil hunter William J. Walker. Fragmentary specimens were later discovered in other parts of the United Kingdom and Iberia. The holotype specimen is one of the most complete theropod skeletons from the UK, and its discovery attracted media attention.
Baryonyx was about 7.5 m (25 ft) long and weighed 1.2 t (1.3 short tons), but the holotype specimen may not have been fully grown. It had a long, low snout and narrow jaws, which have been compared to those of a gharial. The tip of the snout expanded to the sides in the shape of a rosette. Behind this, the upper jaw had a notch which fitted into the lower jaw (which curved upwards in the same area). It had a triangular crest on the top of its nasal bonesBaryonyx had many finely serrated, conical teeth, with the largest teeth in front. The neck was less curved than that of other theropods, and the neural spines of its dorsal vertebrae increased in height from front to back. It had robust forelimbs, with the eponymous first-finger claw measuring about 31 cm (12 in) long.
Now recognised as a member of the family SpinosauridaeBaryonyx's affinities were obscure when it was discovered. Apart from the type species (B. walkeri), some researchers have suggested that Suchomimus tenerensis belongs in the same genus and that Suchosaurus cultridens is a senior synonym; subsequent authors have kept them separate. Baryonyx was the first theropod dinosaur demonstrated to have been piscivorous (fish-eating), as evidenced by fish scales in the stomach region of the holotype specimen. It may also have been an active predator of larger prey and a scavenger, since it also contained bones of a juvenile Iguanodon. The creature would have caught and processed its prey primarily with its forelimbs and large claws. Baryonyx lived near water bodies, in areas where other theropod, ornithopod, and sauropod dinosaurs have also been found.

Monday, 14 November 2016

What diesase should we die from?

I was just watching some Breakfast Time TV on BC1 (sad I know). They had a very good piece on deaths from cancer and what is being done/what could be  to prevent this. It seems that the majority of deaths in the UK and cancer related; it is the No 1 killer. The numbers of people dying from cancer must be reduced - given that 100% of us do die what would the medical profession like us to die from?

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Remembering a blessed experience on our pilgrimage to Medjugorje

On Saturday 22 October, some 27 pilgrims left Heathrow bound for Medjugorje. For some, this was the first experience of visiting the places where Our Lady has appeared with such regularity; for others, it was a return to a place they loved.
There were nine of us from St Joseph’s, including Father Tom, some from neighbouring parishes and a few from further afield.
As a first timer, these are the standout memories for me:
  • Going to Adoration on the first night and finding some 4,000 people gazing on and praying to Our Lord in complete silence.
  • Deaconing at the English Mass on the Sunday in a packed conference hall holding some 1,500 people.
  • Praying the Rosary as the group walked up Apparition Hill for the first time.
  • Seeing people queue for an hour or more to go to confession.
  • The overall feeling of love and devotion that pervades.
  • Getting up early to go to Apparition to pray the Rosary with 200 or so other pilgrims led by Ivan, one of the visionaries. As we walked up the hill, the sun rose over the hills. A truly memorable experience.
  • Visiting Community Cenecolo and hearing testimonials from recovering addicts and former criminals on the transforming effect that Our Lady’s words have had on their lives.
  • Hearing the testimonial of Patrick on how Our Lady changed him from a man whose God was money to someone who is giving all he has for the benefit of others.
  • Climbing Cross Hill and praying the Stations of the Cross as we climbed. One of the party was struggling and two people sacrificed their own hopes of reaching the top in order to help her down. This willingness to help others is so typical of Medjugorje. “I” is no longer important; it is of giving to the Lord and to others that is the dominant theme.
  • Celebrating Mass in a small chapel in Split a couple of hours before we flew home.
There is so much more to tell, it was a truly blessed experience. All I can say in conclusion is that I am so glad that I went and so blessed that my wife, Julia, was there at my side. I do encourage you all to go. You will not disappointed.
Finally a big thank you to the whole pilgrimage party for being so warm and friendly: to Angela Callan for organising the pilgrimage; To Father Tom for his spiritual direction and guidance; and to our wonderful guide Slavicia who really made it a very special experience.
God bless.