Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Cawdor Castle - 1

Welcome to Cawdor Castle - my 'local'!

Cawdor. A magical name, romantically linked by Shakespeare with Macbeth. A superb fairy-tale Castle, and just what every visitor is looking for ... Scottish history that you can touch and see and sense for yourself. Cawdor Castle is not another cold monument, but a splendid house and the home of the Cawdor family to this day.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Feast of Sts Peter & Paul

No - this could hardly be a photo of today's feast as the celebrant is wearing white vestments! The celebrant is none other than my own Bishop - Bishop Peter Moran of Aberdeen, celebrating an Old Rite Mass in May of this year for the Transalpine Redemptorists on Papa Stronsay.

I am including this photo because I have received a request to publicise a traditional retreat for Young Catholics this September. This request came from Damian Barker, Co-ordinator of Young Catholic Adults - part of the Juventutem Federation.

Today we celebrate the unity of our Church under Pope Benedict XVI, and it seems appropriate that this blog, which is very much in the Modern Liturgical tradition, gives enthusiastic support to such a worthy cause.

Many of us Catholic bloggers are far more broad minded that our critics think. You only have to look at the favourable treatment that the Transalpine Redemptorists give to me in their blog! We have much to rejoice about on this Happy Feast!

Some Good News! Young Catholic Adults Douai Abbey Retreat Gets Bigger and Better

During the weekend of the 18-20 September 2009. Young Catholic Adults (YCA are part of the international Juventutem Federation) will be running a Traditional Retreat at Douai Abbey in the south of England, the weekend will be led by Juventutem Ecclesiastical Assistant Fr de Malleray. Summorum Pontificum must be working - at least in a "brick by brick" fashion, just look at the following:-

-For the first time Young Catholic Adults will be using the main Abbey Church for Mass

-For the first time YCA will be organising a Missa Cantata, sung by the Douai Singers; this will be followed by a Marian Procession

- YCA has booked out the whole of the retreat complex this year, on the advice of Douai Abbey itself, as the monks were so pleased with the YCA retreat last year

Places are limited so please book early

-YCA will have the retreat centre to itself
-There will be a social in the evening
- Fr. de Malleray FSSP head of Juventutem will preach the retreat, all Masses will be in the Extraordinary form
- There will be a Sung Mass (Missa Cantata) on Saturday 19th September 09’ at 10am. The choir will be the Douai Singers, in the main Abbey Church, followed by a Marian Procession at 11am (starting from the main Abbey Church) around the extensive grounds of the Abbey (weather permitting, if the weather is poor there will be Marian devotions in the main Abbey Church )
-The weekend will be full-board (except for the Sunday lunch)

How to book

The cost of the weekend will be from as little as 25 pounds for students (or 48-88 pounds for non students) for more details, please see http://www.youngcatholicadults.co.uk/news.htm or email juventutemcatholicam@yahoo.co.uk or ring 07908 105787

Events Open to the Public

The Sung Mass (Missa Canta) on Saturday 19th September 09’ at 10am followed by a Marian Procession around the extensive grounds of the Abbey at 11am (starting from the main Abbey Church) are open to the public.

There are also a few rooms allocated for all age groups (not just YCA) so please book soon.

There are limited places so please reserve your place early!

Tomorrow we are off to Cawdor Castle.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Todays Gospel is all about the raising of the daughter of Jairus.

Awake! Awake! Fling off the night,
for God has sent a glorious light,
and we who live in Christ's new day
must works of darkness put away.

Awake and sing, with praises strong,
in psalm and hymn and spirit-song.
Let love our words and works renew
with all that's good and right and true.

Let in the light; all sin expose
to Christ, whose life no darkness knows.
Before the cross expectant kneel,
that Christ may judge, and judging, heal.

Then rise as children of the light.
Be neither proud, nor hide from sight.
Be careful how you live, and wise
to sift the truth from cunning lies.

Through Christ give thanks to God, and say
to other sleepers on the way:
"Awake, and rise up from the dead
that Christ may shine on you instead!"

Happy Sunday!

Tomorrow we shall celebrate the Feast of Saints Peter & Paul.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Eilean Donan Castle - 6

Here is a glorious view of the castle at dusk - which at present is around 11.00 pm.

The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended,
The darkness falls at Thy behest;
To Thee our morning hymns ascended,
Thy praise shall sanctify our rest.

We thank Thee that Thy church, unsleeping,
While earth rolls onward into light,
Through all the world her watch is keeping,
And rests not now by day or night.

As o’er each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor dies the strain of praise away.

The sun that bids us rest is waking
Our brethren ’neath the western sky,
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high.

So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never,
Like earth’s proud empires, pass away:
Thy kingdom stands, and grows forever,
Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.

This hymn is very popular in Scotland.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Eilean Donan Castle - 5

I have already visited this beautiful castle on two occasions.

I hope to visit it for a third time before long! The setting is truly breathtaking.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Eilean Donan Castle - 4

Here we see inside the heart of the castle complex.

Many of our castles have a very different feel once you get inside them.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Eilean Donan Castle - 3

Today we celebrate the Birth of John the Baptist - midsummer day.

Partially destroyed in a Jacobite uprising in 1719, Eilean Donan lay in ruins for the best part of 200 years until Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap bought the island in 1911 and proceeded to restore the castle to its former glory. After 20 years of toil and labour the castle was re-opened in 1932.

Happy Feast!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Eilean Donan Castle - 2

Although first inhabited around the 6th century, the first fortified castle was built in the mid 13th century and stood guard over the lands of Kintail. Since then, at least four different versions of the castle have been built and re-built as the feudal history of Scotland unfolded through the centuries.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Eilean Donan Castle - 1

As one of the most iconic images of Scotland, Eilean Donan is recognised all around the world. Situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet, and surrounded by some majestic scenery, it is little wonder that the castle is now one of the most visited and important attractions in the Scottish highlands.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

12th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today we think about Jesus calming the storm.

Sweet Sacrament divine,
hid in thine earthly home;
lo! round thy lowly shrine,
with suppliant hearts we come;
Jesus, to thee our voice we raise
In songs of love and heartfelt praise
sweet Sacrament divine.

Sweet Sacrament of peace,
dear home of every heart,
where restless yearnings cease,
and sorrows all depart.
there in thine ear, all trustfully,
we tell our tale of misery,
sweet Sacrament of peace.

Sweet Sacrament of rest,
ark from the ocean's roar,
within thy shelter blest
soon may we reach the shore;
save us, for still the tempest raves,
save, lest we sink beneath the waves:
sweet Sacrament of rest.

Sweet Sacrament divine,
earth's light and jubilee,
in thy far depths doth shine
the Godhead's majesty;
sweet light, so shine on us, we pray
that earthly joys may fade away:
sweet Sacrament divine.

Happy Sunday!

Tomorrow we are off to Eilean Donan Castle.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Castle of Mey - 6

The castle kitchen benefits from the wide variety of fruit and vegetables grown here, varieties all chosen for their resistance to wind and salt. Raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, apples, currants, potatoes, peas, beans, carrots, turnips, onions and leeks all thrive here and, happily, the exotic globe artichoke does extremely well too!

Although The Queen Mother contributed greatly to many royal gardens, it is perhaps the Castle of Mey's that are more hers than any other. It is no coincidence that her grandson, Prince Charles, is today one of our most celebrated royal gardeners. He is helping the Trustees with their plans to extend the growing season for the benefit of our early season visitors, which is no easy task this far north. He greatly enjoys the gardens during his annual visits, just as his grandmother did before him.

This romantic and unique garden is a reminder that, however daunting the weather, it is often possible with a little vision and energy to create and maintain a garden in the most unlikely of locations.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Castle of Mey - 5

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Severe winter gales in this remote part of the country are reputed to be strong enough to pluck a cabbage from the earth and fling it 60 feet! Without the 12-foot high 'Great Wall of Mey', the working garden, comprising around two acres, would not enjoy protection from the fierce winds and salt spray that blow in from the Pentland Firth.

The Queen Mother's experienced green fingers ensured that the garden at The Castle of Mey has prospered. She even managed to nurture her favourite old rose, Albertine, into scented abundance behind the Great Wall of Mey. The garden is full of marigolds, pansies, dahlias, primulas and nasturtiums, while old-fashioned shrub roses and climbers form the highlights of the Shell Garden.

Happy Feast!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Castle of Mey - 4

The Castle of Mey was built by George, the 4th Earl of Caithness, for his second son William Sinclair.

When visiting the family seat Girnigoe Castle in1573, William was murdered by his older brother John, who had been imprisoned there for about six years by his cruel father. John had been planning an escape but William found out about it and told their father.

John was in turn murdered and the castle went to the third son, George Sinclair, who founded the family of the Sinclairs of Mey and succeeded to the Earldom in 1789. He changed the name of the castle to Barrogill Castle.

The castle then became the seat of the Earls of Caithness for the next one hundred years.

In 1819 the twelfth Earl commissioned the architect, William Burn, to make various ambitious alterations to the castle. This was when the grand entrance and the dining room were added. His son, Alexander, was responsible for erecting the monument, now known as 'Lady Fanny's seat as a tribute to his friend, Charles John Canning, who later became the first Viceroy of India.

George, the fifteenth Earl died at the age of 30; he had never married and having no children, left the castle to his friend F G Heathcote, on condition that he changed his name to Sinclair. His widow eventually sold it to Captain F B Imbert-Terry, who subsequently sold it to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1952.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Castle of Mey - 3

Here is another dramatic view of the Castle.

Small wonder the Queen Mother fell in love with the building!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Castle of Mey - 2

Having acquired the most northerly inhabited castle on the British mainland, The Queen Mother renovated and restored it and created the beautiful gardens we see today. For almost half a century she spent many happy summers here and shorter visits at other times of the year.

She died on Holy Saturday (30 March) 2002. May she rest in peace.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Castle of Mey - 1

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother first saw what was then Barrogill Castle in 1952, while mourning the death of her husband, King George VI.

Falling for its isolated charm and hearing it was to be abandoned, she decided to save it.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Corpus Christi

Today we give thanks for the Institution of the Holy Eucharist.

Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendour,
first-begotten from the dead.
Thou alone, our strong defender,
liftest up thy people's head.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Jesus, true and living bread!

Here our humblest homage pay we,
here in loving reverence bow;
here for faith's discernment pray we,
lest we fail to know thee now.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou art here, we ask not how.

Though the lowliest form doth veil thee
as of old in Bethlehem,
here as there thine angels hail thee,
branch and flower of Jesse's stem.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
We in worship join with them.

Paschal Lamb, thine offering, finished
once for all when thou was slain,
in its fullness undiminished
shall for evermore remain.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Cleansing souls from every stain.

Life-imparting heavenly Manna,
stricken Rock with streaming side,
heaven and earth with loud hosanna
worship thee, the Lamb who died.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Risen, ascended, glorified!

Happy Feast!

Tomorrow we shall be visiting the Castle of Mey.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Balmoral Castle - 6

Here we see Crathie Kirk, where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II attends Divine Service each Sunday that she is in residence at Balmoral Castle.

Today is her official birthday (83 years), and so we pray for Her Majesty in the words of The National Anthem:

God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen.

Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour,
Long may she reign.
May she defend our laws,
And give us ever cause,
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Balmoral Castle - 5

The Queen loves the sound of the bagpipes, and has them played every day that she is in residence at Balmoral.

Here we see Her Majesty talking to a group of pipers in the grounds of the Castle.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Balmoral Castle - 4

Here we have another fine view of the castle.

Her Majesty plans to stay at Balmoral throughout August and September this year.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Balmoral Castle - 3

Here is another fine view of the Castle with the lovely gardens in front.

Small wonder Her Majesty looks forward to her weeks in residence so much!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Balmoral Castle - 2

Here we see Her Majesty enjoying a lunchtime drink in the gardens of Balmoral Castle following Divine Service at Crathie Kirk.

The Queen is set to open a bar at Balmoral Castle - so her staff can unwind at the end of their shifts.

Aides, servants and protection officers will be able to relax with a drink in a cosy lounge in the Piper’s Hall, 50 yards from the Highland castle on the remote Aberdeenshire estate.

Previously thirsty workers had to go to the village of Ballater ten miles away.

A senior aide to the Queen said: “Piper’s Hall is a great setting, right next to the river. I guess you could say it’ll be one of the most exclusive bars in Britain.

“The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will visit the new bar without a doubt. The staff fancy dress party has been held in the Piper’s Hall and she always popped in to pick the winner.

“She’s partial to a gin and Dubonnet while the Duke likes a single malt.”

Applications for planning permission and an alcohol licence have been submitted.

The bar will open seven nights a week from August until March but the hall will revert to a tourist cafe and shop when the estate is open to the public.

Deacon Peter is looking forward to an invitation to drinks with Her Majesty!

We shall all be raising our glasses this evening at St Columba's, as we celebrate the Feast Day of our Patron Saint.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Balmoral Castle - 1

Here we see the Scottish Country Residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Isn't it magnificent?

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Trinity Sunday

Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy sceptre claim,
All in Heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign.

Hark! the loud celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord.

Lo! the apostolic train
Join the sacred Name to hallow;
Prophets swell the loud refrain,
And the white robed martyrs follow;
And from morn to set of sun,
Through the Church the song goes on.

Holy Father, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit, Three we name Thee;
While in essence only One,
Undivided God we claim Thee;
And adoring bend the knee,
While we own the mystery.

Happy Feast!

You had better be on your best behaviour tomorrow - because we are off to Balmoral Castle!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

The Highland Games - 6

Here we see some traditional sword dancing at the Highland Games.

It is great hearing the sound of the bagpipes!

Friday, 5 June 2009

The Highland Games - 5

It is unclear to me, whether it is more dangerous being a participant in the Highland Games...

... or a spectator!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

The Highland Games - 4

I'm afraid I have no idea of what this event is - perhaps it's some form of musical chairs!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

The Highland Games - 3

He makes it look so easy and effortless!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The Highland Games - 2

Here we see the thurifer at St Columba's performing at the Games.

I hope he knows what he's doing!

Monday, 1 June 2009

The Highland Games - 1

The Highland Games will be held in Inverness on 18 and 19 July.

These will be the biggest Highland Games staged in the North of Scotland featuring one of the highlights of the 2009 Homecoming Celebrations - the Masters World Championships. Come and enjoy the spectacle of 100 Master Heavies (Athletes aged 40 years plus) from all around the world battling for one of 9 World Championships over 2 great days in the Highland Capital.