Friday, 1 December 2006

Salvete flores martyrum!

As Fr Tim has reported on Hermeneutic of Continuity, a small group of priest friends gathered together today to celebrate the forty-four martyrs of the Venerable English College, Rome. This was one of many such gatherings up and down the country. Our location this year was St Mary Magdalen's, Willesden Green (which neighbours my old parish of Our Lady of Willesden). The church looked rather impressive, despite its 1930s vintage:

After Mass and Te Deum we had some champagne. Meanwhile Fr Tim, after sitting for over an hour in choir, needed a cigarette break, which was caught on the camera of the Roman Miscellenist. Fr Tim was following in the footsteps of St Pius X, who I believe was himself a chain smoker, and St John Kemble, not one of the Forty-Four but a priest martyr who calmly smoked his pipe just before his martyrdom in 1679.

We then sat down for a fine meal, courtesy of a team of kind parishioners, followed by liqueurs and cigars. I should stress, in case any readers of a more delicate disposition are shocked, that for most of us this is a very occasional pleasure, reserved for the great feasts of the Church:

The assembled company are (left to right) Fr Hugh MacKenzie (our generous host), Fr Tim Finigan (blogger extraordinaire), Fr Mark Vickers (new chaplain to the University of Hertfordshire), Fr Marcus Holden (co-author of Evangelium), Fr Richard Whinder (a familiar face in the blogosphere), your humble blogger and Fr Stephen Boyle (brother of South Ashford Priest). Note the two 'orbs' in the photo - perhaps a sign that the martyrs were present with us?! Finally, here's a shot in sepia:

A great festal day, constituting a sort of 'carnevale' before the penitential season of Advent...

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Blogger Fr Tim Finigan said...

On saintly smokers, don't forget St Titus Brandsma who chain-smoked dutch cheroots while writing the anti-Nazi paper which got him martyred.

11:21 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shouldn't you all have been at Tyburn to meet up with various ex-priests and hear an edifying sermon about the Martyrs and ecumenism?

11:23 pm  
Anonymous Mrs Bella Premunt said...

Ah, so that's why I didn't get my First Friday Holy Communion!

12:02 am  
Anonymous striving to order said...

as maurice would have said:

its SO good to see happy orthodox clergy!

buona fiesta!

8:42 am  
Anonymous Anon. 2 said...

I hope you sang 'Faith of our Fathers'!

12:16 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Thanks for your comments. Yes, it was a happy day. I'm afraid we sang no hymns - the music was simply Missa de Angelis (and Te Deum) and organ music. We did sing the Ad multos during lunch.

1:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks rather Anglo-Catholic to me.

9:18 pm  
Blogger Ttony said...

A persistent rumour since the Conclave has the Holy Father as a 40-a-day man. Do you, or any of you, have an inside track to the truth of this rumour?

9:22 pm  
Blogger Fr Tim Finigan said...

ttony, I heard from a reliable source that there is absolutely no foundation for the rumour about the Pope smoking. Apparently, he has never smoked. Pity!

11:12 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

I wouldn't say that cigars and strong beverages are the preserve of the Anglo-Catholics, and are, indeed, a very 'Roman' and incarnational way of celebrating a great feast.

9:08 am  
Anonymous Peter said...

Few of them seem to be enjoying them much.

8:16 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

We had a fantastic day, thank you, with lots of laughter and 'priestly fraternity'. The photos perhaps don't do the day justice - after all, you can't really smile while puffing on a cigar! Even I look rather grumpy!

8:36 pm  
Blogger hilary said...

Anglos are too effete to smoke cigars. Real men stay in union with Peter and smoke real tobacco.

6:22 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Thanks, Hilary - that comment deserves to be in the Oxford Book of Quotations!!!

6:45 pm  

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