Friday, 26 January 2007

A Victim of the Ripper

Blogging is light at the moment because it's a busy week in the parish, especially in terms of funerals and catechetics.

I celebrated a large West Indian funeral today and made my first visit to St Patrick's Cemetery in Leytonstone, which is one of the oldest post-Reformation Catholic cemeteries in the country, having been founded in 1861. I normally try and chat to the gravediggers - who have a pretty thankless task, especially given the British weather - and asked them if anyone famous was buried there. I was hoping they would mention a noteworthy Catholic ecclesiastic, writer or celebrity.

However, the only famous Catholic they could think of was Mary Jane Kelly, the Victorian prostitute who became Jack the Ripper's last-known victim in November 1888. So, as I was waiting for the mourners to fill the grave with earth, I said a prayer for this unfortunate lady, hoping that she had now found a place in the heavenly banquet.

The Church is indeed for sinners trying to become saints!

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Blogger Fr. Dwight Longenecker said...

What a wonderful place England is! I can remember the gravedigger at my medieval Anglican Church on the Isle of Wight. He'd quite often dig up ancient human remains in a churchyard that dated back to the Norman invasion. He was quite a cheerful old fellow, with a couple of yellow teeth and a crazy woolen hat on his head in teh winter....straight out of Hamlet he was.

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