Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas!

I know it's a bit early but as I probably will not have time to blog over the next week or so.
I hope all of you and your families have a very happy, holy and blessed Christmas!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Novena prayer to the Holy Infant King

O Divine Infant Jesus, I have recourse to thee. Please, through Thy Blessed Mother, assist me in this necessity...(mention intention here), because I firmly believe that Thy Divinity can help me. I hope with confidence to obtain Thy holy grace. I love Thee with all my heart and with all the strength of my soul. I repent sincerely of my sins and I beg Thee, O Good Jesus, to grant me the strength to triumph over them. I resolve never more to offend Thee and I come to offer myself to Thee with the intention of enduring everything rather than to displease Thee. Henceforth, I desire to serve Thee with fidelity and, for the love of Thee, O Divine Infant, I will love my neighbour as myself. All powerful Infant, O Jesus, I implore Thee again, assist me in this need. Grant me the grace of possessing Thee eternally with Mary and Joseph and of adoring Thee with the angels in the heavenly court. Amen.


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Getting ready for Gaudete!

Tomorrow there will be a Solemn High Mass for Gaudete Sunday at the Birmingham Oratory. Check out these vestments:
Notice that even the cinctures are rose!

I am not sure what the Kyrie is going to be because Mozart wrote several Missa Brevis!
The Sanctus and the Agnus Dei are from Plainchant Mass XVII

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Second High Mass

Today we went to the (now weekly) Solemn High Mass at the Birmingham Oratory. The Fathers have begun to have a High EF Mass every week instead of the Novus Ordo High Mass they used to have.
Last week the Mass setting that they used was beautiful. It was Josquin des Prez's Missa de Beata Virgine with Credo III. (Which has a very long Sanctus by which I mean Father had reached the consecration and he had to wait about 5 minutes before he could go on. Which is not fun if you're holding a smoking thurible just below your face!)
The Mass setting today was a lot shorter (which was good as I was thurifer again!) It was Missa brevis, one of Palestrina's 105 Masses!
Here are videos of both of the Mass settings:

Kyrie from Missa de Beata Virgine

Kyrie from Missa brevis

Monday, 21 November 2011

Pope Benedict meets Blessed Cardinal Newman

Last year my Granddad commissioned one of his many friends' sons who is an illustrative artist to paint a picture commemorating the Pope's visit to the UK to beatify Cardinal Newman.
 This is the result:
(This doesn't really do it justice).

(Please do not print this off !)

To raise some much needed money for the Oratory, I was wondering if anybody out there might like a copy to give as a Christmas gift. There are very few copies in circulation, but I can tell you that His Grace, the Archbishop of Birmingham, has got one!  The original hangs in the sacristy of the Oratory in Birmingham. His Holiness Pope Benedict was shown it on his visit there last year. (If you want to see a picture of the Pope looking at the picture go to page 18 of the following link: Private Visit to the Oratory of St Philip Neri.)
I can get you a copy of the picture for £20 P&P is included in that price for the UK! 50% of the profit will go to the artist and 50% will go to the Oratory.
If you are interested please leave a comment or e-mail this address:

Monday, 7 November 2011

Basketball with the Friars of the Immaculate

Yesterday we went to a Family day at the Franciscan friars of the Immaculate  at St Joseph's in Burslem. There were workshops (including a cartoon on Purgatory for the younger ones!!) for all the different age groups not to mention cake, biscuits and a game of basketball where Brother Peter took on about 20 children...and won!
He does have a slight height advantage and he is American, but some of the onlookers thought this probably didn't outwiegh the cheating that was going on on the other team...(net being held shut as Brother was coming to take a shot...3year old running off with the ball as Brother was coming to take a shot).....Fortunatelty, all this took place before confession, Adoration and Mass.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Downs of Rome!

By the way if you're reading this then I prayed for you in St. Peter's! (That's not on my list of downs!)

Downs: ( From worst to least worst.)
1. Dad and the girls weren't there... They would have loved it!
2. Too short a time there.
3. Not enough pizza napoli!
4. We didn't meet His Holiness!
5. Mom jumping in front of oncoming traffic all the time...
6. I was disappointed with the colloseum; it was really busy when we were there. (I had a dream it fell down last night as well...)
7. The Parthenon was really crowded and noisy. We couldn't find the Blessed Sacrament.
8. Our Italian needs some work! (Not sure whether some is the right word here...)
9. Having to go to an OF Mass on Saturday morning at St. Peters. Mom was worried as she could see no EF Masses going on at 7:45. I said we should wait for an EF Mass but she wanted to make sure we got to a Mass.
10. We had to come home.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Ups and downs of Rome!

I just thought I would put down the top 10 and bottom 10 things we did in Rome!
1. EF Mass at the Altar of the Transfiguration St. Peter's 7:00am (ok time is not so good!)  Fr. Mark Withoos. (Thank you!)
2. St Paul's outside the walls. (An unexpected favourite for Mom. It was her favourite Major Basilica.)
3.Gesu et Maria on the Via del Corso, the ICKSP say Mass there every Sunday. It was their patronal feast on Sunday. Mass was beautiful with benediction with a ciborium after Mass! The Infant of Prague is beautiful.
4. Going up the dome in St. Peter's. There are some amazing views of Rome from the top. ( The number of stairs you have to climb to get to it is not so good!)
5. Pizza napoli everywhere!
Me eating pizza napoli!
6. The Vatican gardens bus tour. Very relaxing after all the walking plus the bus almost to ourselves. Also there is a 3 hour walking tour not so relaxing and the bus kept getting in their way!
7. Pizza napoli...
8. The Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel at night. No crowds, St. Peters by moonlight, lovely, beautiful, fantastic stunning... Did I mention the pizza napoli after that? (Mom couldn't have one because she's a pescatarian and it was a Friday). We had to wait between 45-55 minutes for it. We didn't get to sleep until midnight because of the wait! (Maybe this should be on the downs!)
9. San Clemente: 1 Church, 4 or 5 layers of history and a very nice ice cream shop across the road!
10. Chiesa Nuova;the Roman Oratory. It makes it on to this list because of St. Philip Neri's tomb.  We were actually a little disappointed with the rest of the church, which also has a versus populum altar..tut tut. We are actually just a bit spoilt because the Birmingham Oratory is so beautiful. From what we could see, Birmingham also has more people there for Sunday Mass.

The Downs will be coming up next post because I have run out of time!

Pictures of Rome.

Here are some pictures of Rome!
This is the view from the hotel window! You can see how close the metro is!

The Alps as we were flying over them.

The altar of St Gregory the Great where we heard Mass on the first day.

Inside the Vatican on the Vatican gardens bus tour

Saint Peter's from behind

Saint Peter's from the Vatican gardens!

A beautiful fountain in the Vatican.

The replica Lourdes grotto. The Altar is the original one from Lourdes
The statue of the Immaculate Conception.
The Altar from Lourdes.

Opposite to the Lourdes grotto.

A bit of mosaic somewhere in the Vatican gardens.
The full mosaic.
Another statue of Our Lady donated by the people of Pope Benedict XV home town.
Radio Vatican.
Some flowers and a tree trunk!
An icon of Our Lady.
A bridge over the Tiber

A view of Rome from the Dome of Saint Peter's up 571 steps. (I lost count after that!)

Saint Peter's square.
Looking up Saint Peter's from the bottom of the dome.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Happy feast day!

Happy All Saints day today! Their will be a low Mass at the Birmingham Oratory at 5:45pm today and tomorrow there will be a High Latin Mass at 7:30pm for All Souls day.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Four major basilicas and a pizza napoli!

Over the weekend we have seen all 4 major basilicas, we walked to St. Peter's, St. Mary Major and San Giovanni in Latereno and we caught the metro to  St. Paul's outside the walls. We also went up the dome in St. Peter's and on a bus tour around the Vatican gardens. (Thanks to Fr. Julian Booth for this one!) Also we went around the Vatican museums at night! (Again thanks to Fr. Julian Booth for this one!) Today we went to Mass at Jesu et Maria where the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest offer a traditional Mass on Sunday, for their feast! I have eaten a lot of pizza Napolis this weekend and Mom says that I will begin to look like one if I have any more!
I'll include all the other amazing things we've seen and done on the journey home tomorrow..if I haven't turned into a giant pizza, that is. Also, photos to follow (there are lots!).

Friday, 28 October 2011

Mass at Saint Peter's.

This morning we tracked down an EF Mass in Saint Peters basilica. The priest who was from the USA and was at school in Rome. Lots of nuns were singing in the background. After we came back and ate breakfast!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

5 metres from the metro!

We have arrived safely in Rome but whether we survive the night is a different matter, because our hotel is 5 meters from the metro! (Also Mom has gone all Italian and keeps crossing roads even if its a green light for cars!)
 When in Rome, do as the Romans!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


Tomorrow we fly to Rome! My Granddad has very kindly offered to take us to the airport. (to get there on time we have to leave here at 6:30am!) Thank you all for your kind help and comments, I will say a prayer for you all there!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

My beautiful sisters

In dresses that they made!

Leek and potato soup!

As I am writing this I am making leek and potato soup! Winter is coming closer and there's nothing like a good hot bowl of soup to warm you up  Here is how you make leek and potato soup:

2 large leeks,
3 medium potatoes,
2 medium onions,
2-3 stock cubes (add to taste),
A large knob of butter,

1. Put a large knob of butter in a medium-large saucepan on a medium heat.
2. Finely chop the onions, add them then slice the leeks and put them in giving the pan an occasional stir.
3. Peel and dice the potatoes and then add them.
4. Add boiling water so the pan is about 3/4 full and then add 2 stock cubes then taste it and add more to your taste.
5. Boil it for 20 minutes on a medium high heat so it boils but doesn't boil over!
6. Take it off the heat and let it cool off enough so you can blend it.
7. Blend it all up and then heat it up to a temperature that you like... serve it up and enjoy!

Prayer intentions for Rome.

This time next week we will be flying to Rome! If anyone has anywhere that you would like me to pray for you at, just leave a comment and I'll take your intentions with me!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Something for the weekend.

Here's something to encourage Friday abstinence!

This one made Mom almost die of laughter!

Of course, there are times when abstinence would be more of a struggle:

Thursday, 6 October 2011

40 days for life.

On Monday we went to the Birmingham Oratory for the lunchtime Mass. After that we went to Calthorpe Clinic to say the rosary. Although there is no sign to say so,this is an abortion clinic. They don't seem to like advertising what they actually do, as on the website, the unborn babies are described as "products of conception." From now until the 6th November there is a prayer vigil outside for the "Forty Days for Life" campaign. If you want to stay 1 hour and pray outside between 8am and 8pm, here is the link to the website:

Friday, 30 September 2011

First Holy Communion.

 A week ago last Sunday, my sister Frances made her First Holy Communion at the Birmingham Oratory. Afterwards we went back home with family, Godparents and friends...and ate cake! We had some sandwiches but more cake than anything else; all this made possible thanks to a kind and brave aunt who was not afraid to loan us her kitchen the day before for the preparations. Most  people would be running scared if 5 children turned up at their house armed with the ingredients I had for my special Rocky Road recipe, top of the list being 1.4KG of chocolate! (We love you, Aunty Jo!) If anyone is still reading, I'll post some of the recipes we used later. That's not a threat, by the way!
 The week before there was the 40 hours devotion on at the Birmingham Oratory and Mom was worried because Frances hadn't got any white shoes or socks for the Big Day on Sunday and Mom also wanted to go to the 40 hours as well. Although Mom often says at times like these that she's working on her bilocation skills, she hasn't ever managed it yet, and the decision was that Adoration was probably more important than white socks and even shoes. So that was the week gone but I'm not sure how much time Mom spent in proper Adoration and how much time she was actually just asking Him to sort out the footwear problem for Frances.Well if she was, it really did work, because on one of the evenings Mom was walking back through the village and as she went past the little shoe shop (which never has shoes in the right size!) she saw some white sandals in exactly the right size in the window and went in to ask if they could reserve them for her. The next day when she took Frances to get the sandals she was a bit worried thinking there would still have to be a trip into town for the socks which we didn't have any time for, when, out of the corner of her eye some white knee high socks in Fran's size caught her eye! So Mom has decided that Adoration is definitely better than bilocation as she was always a bit worried that being in 2 places at once might have been a bit tiring or stressful anyway. Frances was also worried about her tooth which was one of her front ones which was really wobbly but wasn't coming out. She said it felt a bit funny and she was worried it might come out just as she was receiving Communion for the first time! So I think this may have been on her mind when we spent some time in the Forty hours. Well, guess what! Fran's tooth came out the night before her First Communion, so Jesus really did get everything sorted! We had the Gospel "Don't worry about what you eat or wear" as well, just to wrap it all up. As Mom says, (quoting , I think from a cheesy TV show she used to watch, (she does this a lot))..."I love it when a plan comes together!"

Monday, 19 September 2011

What were you doing 1 year ago?

We would have been collapsing at home after waiting from midnight for the Pope to come and beatify Cardinal Newman at Cofton Park! Here are some photos:

Thursday, 15 September 2011

40 hours

Sorry for the lack of posts over the last few days we've been quite busy recently!
 This week, the Birmingham Oratory is very busy with lots of things like the 40 hours devotion this week from Tuesday until Thursday with two Novus Ordo High Masses which I will be serving not to mention the JHNILM which will be launched on Saturday with a Pontifical Sung Mass in English  celebrated by the Archbishop.
 Please could you say a prayer for my little sister who will be making her First Holy Communion on Sunday morning. 

Monday, 5 September 2011


My mom and I are going to Rome for a long weekend this October. Any recommendations for for places to stay (not to expensive!) and places to visit are very welcome!   

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Jam making!

This afternoon we have been making jam! So far we have got 18 jars of jam and we still have lots more to go! We picked the damsons this afternoon (on our shed roof!) and after that it has becomes very messy! Dad has been in charge of things so far and all has gone relatively well! (Dad has only a few minor burns... Nothing to bad!) There is a last batch in the sauce pan as I write so I had better go and help.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Faith summer break!

Last week I went on the faith summer break with my sister and my best friend Owen. It was great fun! As I assured you before I went there was a Chasuble and a real Chalice! (In fact I was asked by Fr. David Standen whether it was good enough!) The theme of the talks was "On a mission from God" and all of them were excellent! There were 4 talks: the first was an introduction. The second one was God on a mission, which was about  how God originally planned to come down to earth as a Savior but after the fall He had to come down to earth as a Redeemer as well and to found the Church. The third one was about how the Church carried on God's mission. The final talk was you on a mission and it was about God calling you in a vocation and how we all have a general vocation which is to love each other and a private vocation which God has given each one of us.
 Meanwhile at Alton Towers Me, my sister and Owen were on a mission to ride some very scary rides. One of them was called Oblivion and it is the first roller coaster in the world to have a vertical drop in it! It was very, very scary!
Some photos will follow when Owen e-mails me his photos! 

Monday, 29 August 2011

An epic mountain walk!

I'm writing this on Dad's Iphone in North Wales!
Yesterday we went on a very memorable walk, which should have covered 6 mountains but we only did 3 because of unforeseen reasons! (Such as low cloud, a 3 year old who refused to be carried and rain!) We decided to take what at the time seemed like a short cut. (It actually took 5 hours, a waist-deep encounter with a bog for my aunt which resulted in a new catchphrase"say goodbye to dry" and ended with a call to mountain rescue made by a very anxious Dad who had gone ahead to get the car a few hours before... it was canceled!) I got some lovely photos but (another excuse) I lost my camera on the walk and at the last minute I took lots of photos randomly on Dad's Iphone. Here are some of the better ones:

My best friend (who was with me on the faith summer break) took some photos with his camera. He will hopefully email me some pictures of the walk and also the retreat!
A post on the retreat will follow tomorrow!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A retreat!

This week I will be on the faith summer break, so there will not be any more posts; but watch out over the weekend because I'm hoping to get some action shots!
( And I can guarantee there WILL be a chasuble and a chalice even though the retreat is at the same place as the last one!)

Monday, 22 August 2011

Queenship of Mary

 Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the  moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array?
  Happy Feast to us all!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

High Mass for our Lady's Assumption

Sorry about the gap between the last post!
On Monday there was a High Mass at the Birmingham Oratory for Our Lady's Assumption which was beautiful! The Celebrant was Fr Anton, the Deacon was Fr Guy and the Sub-deacon was Fr Paul. The thurifer was absolutely fine, unlike last time!  I was 1st acolyte and everything went as planned! The MC very kindly lent me another book on the Mass; I'm hoping to review it soon.

Friday, 12 August 2011

A lovely recipe!

Here is a recipe that I found on the internet after Mom said she would like cherry and almond cake out of nowhere! So late at night I began making it! It turned out very well for a first try. (Unfortunately it turned out a bit too well as it had all been eaten before I could take any photos!)


  • 250g (8oz) butter, softened
  • 250g (8oz) caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 250g (8oz) plain flour
  • A few drops of almond extract
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 200g carton glacé cherries, halved
  • 125g (4oz) ground almonds
  • 4tbsp milk
  • 50g (1¾oz) flaked almonds
  • Icing sugar, for dusting
  • 20cm (8in) round cake tin, lined with baking parchment


  1. Set the oven to 160ºC (320F / gas mark 3). Place an oven shelf just below the centre of the oven, so that the cake will sit in the middle.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time, along with a spoonful of flour with each egg and beat in the almond extract.
  3. Sift the remaining flour and baking powder over the mixture and fold it in, then fold in the cherries, ground almonds and milk.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the lined cake tin and level the surface. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds. Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 1¼ -1½ hrs or until the cake has risen and is just firm to the touch in the centre.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for at least 30 mins. When cool transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Dust the top of cake with icing sugar just before serving and then cut into 12 slices.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

First time thurifer!

Before reading this try to saying first time thurifer three times quickly!
 That was me on Sunday! I got a crash course (not literally!) in how to thurifer about 1 hour before Mass that lasted 5 minutes... all went well (unlike the last High Mass at Corpus Christi!) At least it didn't set on fire as in this video! Mass was lovely; it was a solemn High Mass with Fr. Agnellus Murphy F.I., the Deacon was Fr. Christopher Miller and the Sub-deacon was Fr. Julian Booth.
A little girl, whose family we know, made her first Holy Communion, which made it even nicer! The party was in the presbytery afterwards and celebrations (which involved a lot of cake!) continued late into the evening...

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Caterpillars and butterflies! (or moths)

 Me and two of my sisters have been collecting caterpillars over the past 4 days. Although none of them have pupated yet,  it is still early days, and at least they are all still alive! (One of them nearly drowned when we first set up their little habitat...whoops!). Here are some photos of them:

When they emerge from their chrysalis they will be cinnabar moths; a colourful daytime moth.