The Feast Day of St Thomas of Canterbury crept out of a winter's mist. After snow and frost, now we are enveloped in a grey gloom, and walking through St Thomas' Churchyard was an eerie experience; at any moment Magwitch might jump up from behind a tombstone.
I recalled celebrating on another St Thomas' Day at an altar in the Keep of Dover Castle where the martyr himself is believed to have said Mass. That was in early December, the 9th I believe, one of several feast days kept in his diocese besides today, the anniversary of his Martyrdom.
This morning the churchyard path led me not to the Anglican Parish Church, but to the Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Joseph, where I have been attending Mass for the past several weeks since being advised that I should cease celebrating as an Anglican. The little church is squeezed into a narrow space behind a handsome Georgian house which is the Presbytery. The recently appointed parish priest, Fr Danny McAvoy, has had the interior cleaned and painted, and it makes a very cheerful — and warm — setting for the Mass. The crib sits beneath the Altar, a jolly reminder that we are still in the Christmas season.
As the New Year begins we shall see the Ordinariate for England emerging from the mists of speculation to become a bright new homeland. It will take some getting used to; but many of us feel we have waited long enough. The first announcements are due early in January; and Bishop Andrew has suggested somewhere that it might be good to keep the middle of that month free of appointments. A trip to Westminster might be a good thing to consider. As for me, you may have to wait a little longer to have news about recycling.
In the last picture [below] a car is emerging on the left from the Catholic Church into the High Street still decked, as you see, with festive lights!
In case any of our American readers should be deceived into thinking that England is always enveloped in fog, can I reassure you that since the Clean Air Act of the 1950s there has not been a genuine pea-souper, a "London Particular". I had the problem of travelling across London on a December day in 1952 to catch a train at King's Cross. After asking at the ticket office which platform it left from, I had to return to ask just where that platform might be …. now those WERE fogs. Today's was just a little romantic mist. Sorry to disappoint you.
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