Monday, 31 May 2010

Visitation of Mary

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth.

Now in holy celebration
sing we of that Mother blest,
in whose flesh for men's salvation
God incarnate deigned to rest,
when a kindred salutation
named in faith the mystic Guest.

Lo, the advent Word confessing,
spake for joy the voice yet dumb,
through his mother's lips addressing
her, of motherhood the sum,
bower of beauty, blest and blessing,
crowned with fruit of life to come.

"Whence," she cried, at that fair meeting,
"comes to me this great reward?
For when I first heard the greeting
of the Mother of my Lord,
in my womb, the joy repeating,
leapt my babe in sweet accord!"

Lo, at that glad commendation
joy found voice, in Mary's breast
while in holy exultation
she her Maker's power confest,
at whose word each generation
now henceforward names her blest.

Triune Godhead, health supplying,
Ruler of eternity,
on the fount of grace relying,
we uplift our hearts to thee,
praying that in realms undying
we at one with Life may be.

15th Century - from the Latin

Happy Feast!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Trinity Sunday

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity.

All hail, adored Trinity!
all hail, eternal Unity!
O God the Father, God the Son,
and God the Spirit; Three-In-One.

To thee upon this festal day,
we offer up our thankful lay;
thou hearest in thy love's great wealth,
and praising thee is all our health.

Three Persons praise we evermore,
our only God our hearts adore;
in thy sweet mercy ever kind
may we our sure protection find.

O Trinity! O Unity!
Be present as we worship thee;
and with the songs that angels sing
unite the hymns of praise we bring.

Words: Anglo-Saxon, before the eleventh century
Trans. J. D. Chambers, 1852

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

St Andrews - 6

Please click on the photo below for more fascinating information.

St Andrews Castle was the setting for many important events. Great people from home and abroad were richly housed and lavishly entertained within its walls; others less fortunate were held in its grim dungeons.

Friday, 28 May 2010

St Andrews - 5

On a headland to the north of the burgh of St Andrews stands the castle. Steep cliffs protect is to the north and east, whilst rock-cut ditches once defended the landward approaches. The castle was the main residence of the bishops and archbishops, and as Scotland's leading churchmen, they lived in a manner reflecting their status. They also had to be prepared to defend themselves and the property of the Church, hence their strongly-fortified castle.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

St Andrews - 4

Here we see part of the crypt of St Andrews Cathedral.

Well, we are now leaving the Cathedral and going for a short walk in a North Easterly direction to St Andrews Castle - the main residence of the bishops, and later the archbishops, of St Andrews.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

St Andrews - 3

Here we see the ruined East End of the new Cathedral - which is located very close to the tower of the former St Rule's Church.

The new Cathedral was enormous. You get some idea from this photo which shows the East End at the left hand side of the picture and the West End at the right hand side. In fact at first the Cathedral was even larger, but the original West End which collapsed and had to be rebuilt closer to the East End.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

St Andrews - 2

Here we see part of the tower of St Rule's Church - the predecessor of the much larger Cathedral that was to be built on the site.

Click on the photo below to read further details.

It is possible to climb to the top of the tower which provides a marvellous view of St Andrews.

Monday, 24 May 2010

St Andrews - 1

Recently, I paid my first ever trip to St Andrews.

This beautiful historic town was once an important ecclesiastical centre of Scotland - it now contains one of the leading universities in the world. Let us not forget St Leonard's School which is located close to the ruined Cathedral on the Fife coast.

St Andrews is also famous as a centre for golf.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

8th Sunday (50th Day) of Easter - PENTECOST

What a treat for this Festival Day! A photo of His Eminence reading the Gospel on the Day of Pentecost 2009.

Hail thee, Festival Day!
Blest day that art hallowed forever;
day wherein God from heaven,
shone on the world with his grace.

Lo! in the likeness of fire,
on them that await his appearing,
he whom the Lord foretold,
suddenly, swiftly, descends.

Hail thee, Festival Day!
Blest day that art hallowed forever;
day wherein God from heaven,
shone on the world with his grace.

Forth from the Father he comes
with his sevenfold mystical dowry,
pouring on human souls
infinite riches of God.

Hail thee, Festival Day!
Blest day that art hallowed forever;
day wherein God from heaven,
shone on the world with his grace.

Hark! in a hundred tongues
Christ's own, his chosen Apostles,
preach to a hundred tribes
Christ and his wonderful works.

Hail thee, Festival Day!
Blest day that art hallowed forever;
day wherein God from heaven,
shone on the world with his grace.

Praise to the Spirit of life,
all praise to the Fount of our being,
light that dost lighten all,
life that in all dost abide.

Hail thee, Festival Day!
Blest day that art hallowed forever;
day wherein God from heaven,
shone on the world with his grace.

God, who art giver of all
good gifts and lover of concord,
pour thy balm on our souls,
order our ways in thy peace.

Hail thee, Festival Day!
Blest day that art hallowed forever;
day wherein God from heaven,
shone on the world with his grace.

God Almighty, who fillest
the heaven, the earth and the ocean,
guard us from harm without,
cleanse us from evil within.

Hail thee, Festival Day!
Blest day that art hallowed forever;
day wherein God from heaven,
shone on the world with his grace.

Kindle our lips with his live bright coal
from the hands of the Seraph;
shine in our minds with thy light;
burn in our hearts with thy love.

Hail thee, Festival Day!
Blest day that art hallowed forever;
day wherein God from heaven,
shone on the world with his grace.

Bishop Fortunatus (530-609)

Well tomorrow, as we return to Ordinary Time, we are off to St Andrews.


Saturday, 22 May 2010

Benemerenti - 6

Here we see the official photo of the happy event. Bishop Peter, Don, Ellen, and Father James Bell.

When the presentation was over, Don retired to the Meeting Room where he graciously agreed to hold an audience! Here we see him meeting two of the faithful.

Don only agreed to all these photos appearing on my blog if I gave a link to our Appeal Fund! We still need a further £300,000 to pay off the loan from the Diocese of Aberdeen for our new church building. Any contributions will be most gratefully received. You can even ask Don for his autograph!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Benemerenti - 5

On behalf of Pope Benedict, the Bishop also presented Don with a magnificent framed certificate to hang on the wall.

Don was not alone - although he was completely unaware that the presentation was happening. He was told that there was going to be a bit of a family get-together for the Bank Holiday Weekend. In addition to his wife Ellen, their four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren were there to watch him receive the medal and certificate from Bishop Peter Moran.

Here we see Bishop Peter presenting Ellen with a bouquet, whilst the Parish Priest and Area Dean, Father James Bell, leads the applause.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Benemerenti - 4

Well done - good and faithful servant!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Benemerenti - 3

Here we see the Bishop holding up the Papal Medal for all to see, before he pins it on the lapel of Don's suit.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Benemerenti - 2

Here we see Bishop Peter Moran carefully explaining to the faithful why Don was judged worthy of this great award. Part of the evidence was clearly visible for all to see - the new church building. Perhaps it is Don's warm smile which is his greatest gift to us all - for the Lord loves a cheerful giver!

Don has given most generously of his time and talents - but we still have a debt of £300,000 to pay off. Don would not be pleased if I didn't use this opportunity to invite donations to our appeal!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Benemerenti - 1

On the Fifth Sunday of Easter, the Bishop of Aberdeen came to celebrate Mass at St Columba's. At the end of Mass he presented Mr Don Williams with the Benemerenti Medal on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI.

This must have been one of the best kept secrets of all time. I was tipped off 12 hours previously and told to sneak my camera into the sanctuary. Don had absolutely no idea - as this photo shows! He was deeply moved by the presentation.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

7th Sunday of Easter

See, the Conqueror mounts in triumph;
see the King in royal state,
riding on the clouds, his chariot,
to his heavenly palace gate.
Hark! the choirs of angel voices
joyful alleluias sing,
and the portals high are lifted
to receive their heavenly King.

Who is this that comes in glory,
with the trump of jubilee?
Lord of battles, God of armies,
he has gained the victory.
he who on the cross did suffer,
he who from the grave arose,
he has vanquished sin and Satan,
he by death has spoiled his foes.

He has raised our human nature
on the clouds to God's right hand;
there we sit in heavenly places,
there with him in glory stand:
Jesus reigns, adored by angels;
man with God is on the throne;
mighty Lord, in thine ascension
we by faith behold our own.

Glory be to God the Father,
glory be to God the Son,
dying, risen, ascending for us,
who the heavenly realm has won;
glory to the Holy Spirit,
to One God in persons Three;
glory both in earth and heaven,
glory, endless glory, be.

Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Springtime Garden - 2

Here are some pansies in my back garden - growing in a very ecclesiastical-looking container!

The head that once was crowned with thorns
Is crowned with glory now;
A royal diadem adorns
The mighty victor’s brow.

The highest place that Heav’n affords
Belongs to Him by right;
The King of kings and Lord of lords,
And Heaven’s eternal Light.

The joy of all who dwell above,
The joy of all below,
To whom He manifests His love,
And grants His Name to know.

To them the cross with all its shame,
With all its grace, is given;
Their name an everlasting name,
Their joy the joy of Heaven.

They suffer with their Lord below;
They reign with Him above;
Their profit and their joy to know
The mystery of His love.

The cross He bore is life and health,
Though shame and death to Him,
His people’s hope, His people’s wealth,
Their everlasting theme.

T Kelly (1769-1854)

Friday, 14 May 2010

Springtime Garden - 1

Here we see some lovely wallflowers and tulips growing in my back garden.

Sing we triumphant hymns of praise,
New hymns to Heaven exulting raise:
Christ, by a road before untrod,
Ascendeth to the throne of God.

The holy apostolic band
Upon the Mount of Olives stand,
And with the virgin mother see
Jesu’s resplendent majesty.

To whom the angels, drawing nigh,
“Why stand and gaze upon the sky?
This is the Saviour!” thus they say,
“This is His noble triumph day!”

“Again ye shall behold Him, so
As ye today have seen Him go;
In glorious pomp ascending high,
Up to the portals of the sky.”

O grant us thitherward to tend,
And with unwearied hearts ascend
Toward Thy kingdom’s throne, where Thou
As is our faith, art seated now.

Be Thou our joy and strong defense,
Who art our future recompense:
So shall the light that springs from Thee
Be ours through all eternity.

O risen Christ, ascended Lord,
All praise to Thee let earth accord,
Who art, while endless ages run,
With Father and with Spirit One.

The Venerable Bede (673-735)

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Ascension Day

Today we celebrate with great joy the Ascension of Our Lord.

Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia!
to his throne above the skies; Alleluia!
Christ, the Lamb for sinners given, Alleluia!
enters now the highest heaven! Alleluia!

There for him high triumph waits; Alleluia!
lift your heads, eternal gates! Alleluia!
he hath conquered death and sin; Alleluia!
take the King of glory in! Alleluia!

Lo! the heaven its Lord receives, Alleluia!
yet he loves the earth he leaves; Alleluia!
though returning to his throne, Alleluia!
still he calls mankind his own. Alleluia!

See! he lifts his hands above; Alleluia!
See! he shows the prints of love: Alleluia!
Hark! his gracious lips bestow, Alleluia!
blessings on his Church below. Alleluia!

Still for us he intercedes, Alleluia!
his prevailing death he pleads, Alleluia!
near himself prepares our place, Alleluia!
he the first fruits of our race. Alleluia!

Lord, though parted from our sight, Alleluia!
far above the starry height, Alleluia!
grant our hearts may thither rise, Alleluia!
seeking thee above the skies. Alleluia!

There we shall with thee remain, Alleluia!
partners of thy eternal reign, Alleluia!
there thy face forever see, Alleluia!
find our heaven of heavens in thee, Alleluia!

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

Happy Feast!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Rogation Wednesday

Here we see the young Victoria plum tree that I was given as a retirement present from Latymer Preparatory School. I am delighted to see it in blossom for the first time.

God of mercy, God of grace,
show the brightness of thy face.
Shine upon us, Saviour, shine,
fill thy Church with light divine,
and thy saving health extend
unto earth's remotest end.

Let the people praise thee, Lord;
be by all that live adored.
Let the nations shout and sing
glory to their Saviour King;
at thy feet their tribute pay,
and thy holy will obey.

Let the people praise thee, Lord;
earth shall then her fruits afford;
God to man his blessing give,
man to God devoted live;
all below, and all above,
one in joy, and light, and love.

Henry Francis Lyte, 1834

Well, at least it wasn't 'Thy hand, O God, has guided' by E H Plumptre!

Let us pray.

Almighty God,
whose will it is that the earth
should bear its fruits in their season:
Direct the labours of those who work on the land,
that they may employ the resources of nature
to your glory,
for our own well-being
and for the relief of those in need;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Rogation Tuesday

Here we see young petunias and busy lizzies in seed trays on my patio - they are back in the conservatory now, as we are forecast to have sleet today in the Highlands!

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind’s delight,
For the mystic harmony
Linking sense to sound and sight.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For each perfect gift of Thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of Heaven.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

F S Pierpoint (1835-1917)

Let us pray.

Almighty Father,
you have provided the resources of the world
to maintain the life of your children,
and have so ordered our life
that we are dependent on one another:
Bless us in our daily work,
and, as you have given us the knowledge to produce plenty,
so give us the will
to bring it within the reach of all;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Rogation Monday

Todays we start three days of special prayer, asking God to bless our growing crops. Here we see some tiny tomato plants growing in my conservatory. I think they are in need of your prayers!

I am reminded of the story of the Mirfield Father who was sprinkling the growing crops in the Community Garden with holy water - he told the altar server holding the aspergillium that he had more faith in well-rotted manure!

Lord, in Thy Name Thy servants plead,
And Thou hast sworn to hear;
Thine is the harvest, Thine the seed,
The fresh and fading year.

Our hope, when autumn winds blew wild,
We trusted, Lord, with Thee:
And still, now spring has on us smiled,
We wait on Thy decree.

The former and the latter rain,
The summer sun and air,
The green ear and the golden grain,
All Thine, are ours by prayer.

Thine too by right and ours by grace,
The wondrous growth unseen,
The hopes that soothe, the fears that brace,
The love that shines serene.

So grant the precious things brought forth
By sun and moon below,
That Thee in Thy new heav’n and earth
We never may forgo.

J Keble (1792-1866)

Spring has now arrived in the Highlands - just!

Let us pray.

Direct us, Lord, in all our doings,
with your most gracious favour,
and further us with your continual help;
that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in you,
we may glorify your holy name,
and finally by your mercy attain everlasting life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

6th Sunday of Easter

He is risen, he is risen!
Tell it out with joyful voice:
he has burst his three days' prison;
let the whole wide earth rejoice:
death is conquered, man is free,
Christ has won the victory.

Come, ye sad and fearful-hearted,
with glad smile and radiant brow!
Lent's long shadows have departed;
Jesus' woes are over now,
and the passion that he bore--
sin and pain can vex no more.

Come, with high and holy hymning,
hail our Lord's triumphant day;
not one darksome cloud is dimming
yonder glorious morning ray,
breaking o'er the purple east,
symbol of our Easter feast.

He is risen, he is risen!
He hath opened heaven's gate:
we are free from sin's dark prison,
risen to a holier state;
and a brighter Easter beam
on our longing eyes shall stream.

Cecil Frances Alexander, 1846

For the next three days we shall be observing the traditional Rogation Days.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Springtime in Dunkeld - 6

The Dunkeld House Hotel is located on the banks of the River Tay. With 280 acres of woodland to explore, it is an ideal setting for fishing, horse riding, or walking.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Springtime in Dunkeld - 5

Originally built by the 7th Duke of Atholl as a summer home for his wife, the Hilton Dunkeld House Hotel is a fabulous country house hotel. It is as elegant and comfortable as you would expect, with wood panelling, a stone fireplace and ornate furnishings.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Springtime in Dunkeld - 4

Further along the drive you come across this lovely 'Hallelujah! Chorus' in narcissi.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Springtime in Dunkeld - 3

Dunkeld Cathedral provides a wonderful oasis of peace and refreshment in this busy world.

The Lord my pasture shall prepare
and feed me with a shepherd's care;
his presence shall my wants supply
and guard me with a watchful eye;
my noonday walks he shall attend
and all my midnight hours defend.

When in the sultry glebe I faint
or on the thirsty mountain pant,
to fertile vales and dewy meads
my weary, wandering steps he leads,
where peaceful rivers, soft and slow,
amid the verdant landscape flow.

Though in a bare and rugged way,
through devious lonely wilds, I stray,
thy bounty shall my pains beguile;
the barren wilderness shall smile,
with sudden greens and herbage crowned,
and streams shall murmur all around.

Though in the paths of death I tread,
with gloomy horrors overspread,
my steadfast heart shall fear no ill,
for thou, O Lord, art with me still;
thy friendly crook shall give me aid
and guide me through the dreadful shade.

Joseph Addison, 1712

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Springtime in Dunkeld - 2

As you move along the driveway, you soon get a view of Dunkeld Cathedral - partially hidden in the trees.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Springtime in Dunkeld - 1

I have just returned to Inverness after spending a marvellous week at one of my lodges in Dunkeld, on the banks of the River Tay.

Here is the drive way to the lodges - it is 1 mile long! In the distance you can see sheep grazing in the fields.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

5th Sunday of Easter

Come, ye faithful, raise the strain of triumphant gladness;
God hath brought forth Israel into joy from sadness;
Loosed from Pharaoh’s bitter yoke Jacob’s sons and daughters,
Led them with unmoistened foot through the Red Sea waters.

’Tis the spring of souls today; Christ has burst His prison,
And from three days’ sleep in death as a sun hath risen;
All the winter of our sins, long and dark, is flying
From His light, to Whom we give laud and praise undying.

Now the queen of seasons, bright with the day of splendor,
With the royal feast of feasts, comes its joy to render;
Comes to glad Jerusalem, who with true affection
Welcomes in unwearied strains Jesus’ resurrection.

Neither might the gates of death, nor the tomb’s dark portal,
Nor the watchers, nor the seal hold Thee as a mortal;
But today amidst the twelve Thou didst stand, bestowing
That Thy peace which evermore passeth human knowing.

“Alleluia!” now we cry to our King immortal,
Who, triumphant, burst the bars of the tomb’s dark portal;
“Alleluia!” with the Son, God the Father praising,
“Alleluia!” yet again to the Spirit raising.

St John Damascene c. 750

Tomorrow, I shall start a new series of posts entitled 'Springtime in Dunkeld'.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Springtime in Cromarty - 6

The town was looking really smart and clean in the late afternoon sunshine. The Black Isle attracts many visitors during Mary's month of May.

Bring flowers of the rarest,
Bring blossoms the fairest,
From garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
Our full hearts are swelling,
Our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest flower of the vale.

O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.

Their lady they name thee,
Their mistress proclaim thee,
Oh, grant that thy children on earth be as true
As long as the bowers
Are radiant with flowers
As long as the azure shall keep its bright hue.

O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.

Sing gladly in chorus,
The bright angels o'er us
Re-echo the strains we begin upon earth;
Their harps are repeating
The notes of our greeting,
For Mary herself is the cause of our mirth.

O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.


Happy May Day!