Thursday 21 January 2021

Prayer workshops

 Our desire to pray comes from the very root of our lives. We do pray and we sometimes talk about prayer, but we rarely explore together the great potential that we have, as baptised people, for intimacy with the Lord. During Lent this year, I would like to place prayer as a particular focus and, in order to nurture this focus, to offer some workshops on prayer.

Every person needs a ‘centre’ in his life, a source of truth and goodness to draw from in the flux of the different situations of everyday life and its toil. Everyone of us, when he pauses for a moment of silence, needs to feel not only the beating of his own heart, but more deeply, the beating of a trustworthy presence, perceptible to the senses of faith and yet more real: the presence of Christ, heart of the world.” (Pope Benedict XVI, 1.6.08)

I am offering weekly workshops, via Zoom, starting before Lent so we can look to discover a deeper personal contact with the Lord. My hope is that, together, we can nurture our prayer with new vision and rhythm.

The workshops (25 minutes) will take place on Sundays at 5pm, starting this coming Sunday, 24th January. If you would like to take part in these Zoom calls, please send your email address to

Monday 18 January 2021

Sad news


Earlier today I learned, from social media, of the death of Mrs Daphne Mcleod, a leader of the Catholic Faith, and especially of Catechesis, in our country.

As a young man, I met Mrs McLeod on two occasions in the early 1980s; once in Preston and once at Westminster Central Hall. Both of these occasions were hugely inspiring and influential for me as they occurred just before I went into seminary. Almost single-handedly she set me up for what I was to encounter at seminary, and how to respond from a Catholic perspective. I am still deeply grateful to her.

I know too, that she was a tremendous presence in the Church in this country for decades, informing and forming many people's consciences and intellects about the Faith and the Church. I don't know where we would have been without her. I think that we had a saint in our midst!

I hope that in due course her life will be written up more fully, by those who are competent to do so, and so that her life and her witness can be helpful to, and inspire new generations. I will offer Mass for her next week.

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Monday 11 January 2021

A Novena to St Joseph


On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception last year, Pope Francis inaugurated the Year of St Joseph, whose aim he said, is to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal.

This year is the one hundred and fiftieth Anniversary of the proclamation of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church, and we can look with great confidence to St Joseph as we try to live with the effects of the pandemic, seeking both his intercession and leadership.

A Novena to St Joseph in the nine weeks leading up to his Feast Day on 19th March, taking place on nine Saturdays at 5pm, via Zoom, starting on Saturday 16th January, and finishing on Saturday 13th March.

The intention of this Novena is the safety and Christian lives of our families.

Each Saturday we will have a short reflection on St Joseph (based on Fr Gildorf’s book, Go to Joseph), followed by the Litany of St Joseph and the Novena prayer. The Novena is led by Fr Richard Aladics, each session lasting around 12 to 15 minutes.

If you would like to take part send your email address to

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Last year's reads


A very happy new year!

We often see, at this time of year, recommendations of good books for the year ahead. I can reveal the books that I read during 2020, in the order that I read them.

"The Shallows" by Nicholas Carr. This book about the influence of the internet on the way in which we think, is a very important book - we will learn more from this book than we do from the internet! Things have moved on since this book was published, but I wonder if anyone has developed Carr's presentation.

"Letters by J.R.R. Tolkien." Wonderful, especially the letters to his son, Christopher, during WWII. Tolkien's view of the world is very much mine.

"In the school of the Holy Spirit" and 'Time for God" by Jacques Philippe. I used to recommend this author to the seminarians when I was in Sydney and wanted to catch up on some of his books. They are good.

"Sherry" by Ben Howkins. Excellent. I really wanted to learn about sherry, how it is made etc, and learned so much from this book. I can see now why there is a new sherry revolution taking place in Spain, and this book draws you in to that revolution. "Sherry" and its namesake is truly excellent.

'The Buildings of Tudor and Stuart Wakefield" by Peter Brears. This book is fascinating and a total revelation. Wakefield had some of the best building of these eras in the whole country, but living on the edge of Wakefield, as I do, I would not have known. This book is written so well and with such detail. There is a sadness associated with this book since many of the buildings which the author describes were lost in the 1960s and 1970s. Wakefield could have looked fantastic - and it still could, if a real project to develop the two was put in place.

"The day is now far spent" by Robert Cardinal Sarah. This Cardinal is a true prophet. I will read this book again and recommend that you do too.

"Transformation in Christ" by Dietricht von Hildebrand. I read this book for the first time ten years ago while I was in Sydney. This second reading, enabled by lock-down, was wonderful and set in motion a series of texts about the Christian life that I then wrote for families in my parish.

"Opening the door of faith" by Jim Sullivan. This author indicates the new evangelisation and ways in which we can enable it. I recommend this book especially to lay people in parishes.

"Companion to the Order of Mass" by Bruce Harbert. This booklet was published at the time that the new English Translation of the Altar Missal was published. We gave copies to all the seminarians in Syndey. Again this is my second reading of this excellent work which opens up the Scriptural basis of our Liturgical texts and the Mysteries that they express. This booklet is for every Catholic.

"Life of the Cure d'Ars" by Abbe Francis Trochu. My third reading of this definitive biography. I enjoyed this reading even more and continue to be surprised by St John Vianney and his modelling of the priesthood.

"Cranmer's Godly Order" by Michael Davies. This book is a masterpiece. It presents the English Reformation at the level of faith and shows how keenly a new version of Christianity was devised and then imposed on the people, distorting both the faith and its practice. I met the author twice when I was young and wish that he were still around today.

"The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles" I have dipped into these ancient texts before but never read them through. It was a fascinating read, helping by referring regularly to Wikipedia to look up names and places which were unknown to me. I was amazed at how devastating to the English were the Viking raids, and at how quickly a power struggle developed between Church and state. Reading these texts has sent me in search of learning more about the first Dark Age for this country.

I look forward to getting into this year's line-up of books on my dresser.