DECEMBER 22, 2006 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
‘They were children so young...’
Pics: Rev Fiona de Quidt
Detail from the 13th Station of the Cross at Fatima
Continued from page one
chapel to recite the rosary, in changing languages from decade to decade, with elaborate introductions of the succeeding mysteries. This is followed by a procession, with an illuminated cross at the front and the statue of Our Lady of Fatima borne towards the rear. Each pilgrim carries a lighted candle throughout the service, holding it high during the Gloria Patri , always sung in Latin. We took part in the procession on the three evenings that we were there, more of us each evening. The air was always still and I made my 20-cent candle last all three evenings. There was never enough wind to blow it out. Its flame burned steadily in its paper lantern. I have brought its remnant home. We sang the Fatima anthem most of the way round the
domain, circling in front of the basilica and ending back before the Capelhina, with the Salve Regina . “Good Night” from the celebrant (in sundry languages). We were meant to go silently but whispered chatter would bubble up, reproved by attendants. I don’t think Our Lady minded much. Mothers never do. On the Thursday, our last night, there was Benediction after the rosary and the Blessed Sacrament was processed under a gilded canopy instead of the statue of Mary. With others, I deposited petitions entrusted to me. But I must go back to my original evening excursion. A great statue of Christ, a monument to His Sacred Heart dating from 1932, stands on a column in the centre of the domain, a hundred yards or more below and south of the basilica. Centred on the basilica is a
magnificent curved colonnade that functions as an ambulacrum. It rises towards the entrance with a total of 40 steps. It took me three minutes, walking slowly on my last day, to walk the full curve of this colonnade. On that first evening I went into the vast, but nearly empty basilica. The 12,000-pipe organ was being played as I entered the great church. The 15 Mysteries of the rosary are presented in golden panels in altars ranged down either side of the nave. There is a melting poignancy about the tombs of Francisco Marto, who died aged 10, set in the eastern chapel to the right of the altar, and that of his sister Jacinta, nine, laid in the chapel on the western side. The cause for the canonisation of the two children was opened in 1952 and Pope John Paul II declared them Venerable in May 1989. He
came to Fatima to beatify them on May 13, 2000, a miraculous cure having been substantiated. If further cures attributed to the children’s intercession are declared miraculous their canonisation is sure to follow. Lucia, the children’s cousin and co-visionary, was laid to rest beside the children last year. She had begun her religious life as a Dorothean Sister but everybody knew who she was and wanted to engage with her. She needed peace and recollection and so, on March 25, 1948, she entered the Carmel of St Teresa at Coimbra, the beautiful university town 50 or so miles north of Fatima. She took the name Sister Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart and spent almost 57 years in enclosure there. The priests in our group said Mass for us every day and on our visit to Coimbra the Mass was in the public chapel of
‘My abiding impression of Fatima is one of awe that Our Lady should wrought so great a work via children so young’
that Carmelite enclosure. But it had been much earlier, in 1925, when Our Lady came again to Sister Lucia and revealed the devotion of the Five First Saturdays. Sister Lucia also received an extraordinary vision of the Trinity during those Dorothean years. That the late Pope ascribed his improbable survival from assassination in 1981 to the maternal intervention of Our Lady of Fatima is well known and he was to visit the shrine three times. You can see what drew him. Fatima, for all its splendour, retains a simplicity that is very touching. A beautiful Way of the Cross, paid for by emigré Catholics from Hungary, runs past the Loca da Anjo and we joined pilgrims in solemn procession along the route. Our courier also took us to the houses where the visionaries were born and where
little Francisco died of pneumonia. Both families were large yet the rooms were tiny. A nephew of Lucia, dapper and obliging, welcomed us to the Marto household and one of her nieces, also beaming, welcomed us to Lucia’s family house. We sat in quiet contemplation by the well where the angel appeared and then visited the parish church where all three children were baptised. In the graveyard opposite we stood beside their family graves. The two little beati were first buried here, their remains being transferred to the basilica in the early 1950s. I recommend spending time in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel presenting one’s hopes and setting down one’s burdens. A little further up is a new Chapel of Reconciliation, a welcome recourse for pilgrims.
My initial and abiding impression of Fatima is one of reverent awe that the Mother of God should have wrought so great a work via children so young, so utterly simple. Their bearing of her message brought them great suffering and, for two of them, was followed by an early death for which, mercifully, she prepared them. The contrast between Fatima and Lourdes is striking. I love Lourdes –its bustling café and market life no offence to the kind of Catholic that I am –but Fatima is much quieter and that, in itself, must attract many who do have a problem with the French shrine. There is a factory in Fatima that makes religious artefacts but I don’t think I mind. Even G K Chesterton praised the innocence of men and women working together to make a little money.
I bought a handful of finger rosaries in Fatima because I have been losing them steadily over the years. I have always had an image of the finger rosary as the sword that pierced Our Lady’s heart softened into a circle, the sword handle becoming her Son’s Cross. I expressed it this way in a poem I began writing 30 years ago and that, finally, I finished at the shrine.
You are the circling of the sword. When we wear this ring we are yours in prayer. You are where we bring what we cannot bear. You are the Mother of the Word.
Kevin Grant travelled to Fatima with Pax Travel. For further information, telephone 020 7485 3003 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
A pilgrim’s feast
Redemptorist International Pastoral Centre
The Three-Month Renewal Courses Hawkstone Hall re-opened in June after a six-month refurbishment programme offering improved facilities including access for people with disabilities. It continues to serve the needs of the universal Church as a centre of renewal for women and men in ministry worldwide. With over thirty years’ experience to draw upon, the team of Redemptorists, religious, and lay people offers the Course three times a year. The Course provides a balance of lectures, a choice of workshops, daily liturgy, spiritual accompaniment, personal space, and social time in the setting of an international community.
8 January – 22 March 2007 23 April – 19 July 2007 10 September – 6 December 2007 During the Course break, optional pilgrimages are offered to Rome / Assisi, or to Scotland / Iona Week Courses - Spring 2007 Journey into Wholeness 15 – 19 January Fr Daniel O’Leary The Beginning of the Gospels 22 - 26 January Fr Denis McBride CSsR Death & Resurrection of Jesus 29 January – 2 February Fr Denis McBride CSsR Living Pathways 4 – 7 February Mrs Margaret Silf True Self-esteem 19 – 23 February Fr Jim McManus CSsR The Public Ministry of Jesus 26 February – 2 March Fr Denis McBride CSsR Managing Trauma and Grief 5 – 7 March Mr Patrick Strong Prayer and Eucharist 8 – 9 March Fr Maurice O’Mahony CSsR Changing Models of Church 10 – 16 March Fr Rafael Esteban M.Afr
Retreats 2007 Lenten Weekend
23 – 25 March Fr Kevin Callaghan CSsR
‘Be still and know ….’ Lenten Retreat 26 – 31 March Mrs Margaret Silf ‘On the road with Jesus – a Lenten journey’ Holy Week Retreat 2 – 8 April Fr Maurice O’Mahony CSsR & ‘From Passion to Compassion’ Sr Assumpta Hegarty OSF Summer School 20 July – 3 August Fr Ittoop Panikulam SVD ‘Journey into the Inner Self’ Preached Retreat 4 – 11 August Fr Ralph Heskett CSsR ‘Plentiful Redemption’ Women’s Weekend 11 – 14 August Mr Patrick Strong & ‘Working with trauma and grief’ Sr Jackie Smith SP Advent Retreat 7 – 9 December The Hawkstone Team ‘Journeying as a pilgrim people’
For further details of all courses and retreats, please contact: The Secretary, Hawkstone Hall, Marchamley, Shrewsbury SY4 5LG, England Tel: +44 (0)1630 685242 Fax: +44 (0)1630 685565 Email: email@example.com Website: www.hawkstone-hall.com
FR TIMOTHY GARDNER A TASTE OF PORTUGAL
The cuisine of Portugal is often unfairly imagined to be merely a variation of what is found in Spain, rather than a distinctive cuisine in its own right. While there are similarities between the food of Portugal and that of her larger Iberian neighbour, there are also differences, and Spain has probably borrowed as much from Portugal as vice versa. The country’s colonial possessions were not only in South America, but also in the subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Africa. As a result, Portuguese taste buds have been influenced by culinary traditions as diverse as those of Brazil, China, India and Angola. Portuguese cuisine has managed to remain distinctive largely thanks to Portugal’s relative isolation under Salazar’s dictatorship, when rural systems remained unchanged and self-sufficiency was the order of the day. As a result, Portuguese food is still highly regional. The inhabitants of Oporto are known as tripeiros , tripe eaters, though they probably enjoy a richer, more extensive, cuisine than those of Lisbon, the city of alfacinhas , or lettuce eaters. Cooking in the Algarve is affected by the need to cater for tourists coupled with relatively infertile land. All coastal areas, however, offer a
wealth of first-class fish and shellfish. Breakfast, as in Spain, is a rather unimportant meal in Portugal. Workers or people in the country will often snack on one or two pesticos (tasty morsels not unlike tapas) before lunch, often served in bars and usually washed down with wine from the casks. Salgados , salty pastries with spicy fillings, tend to be sold by specialist bakers. The national dish of Portugal is Calde Verde , green soup, which comes, appropriately enough, from the same region as Vinho Verde, green wine (the wine is called “green” either because it must be drunk young, or because the area which produces it is verdant, not because the wine itself is green). It is based on one particular variety of cabbage from Galicia, couve galega . This cabbage is one of the elements that shapes the entire look of the landscape in Minho and northern Portugal. It grows
successfully under vines and is a feature of most Portuguese gardens; even backyards in Lisbon. What might otherwise be a rather plain potato and cabbage soup is enlivened by the addition of chouriço , a fatty paprika sausage still made in most rural kitchens. A common Portuguese dish is cozido à portuguesa , which parallels the French pot au feu and the Spanish cocido . As with such dishes, its composition depends on the cook’s imagination and budget. A truly lavish cozido may include beef, pork, pork sausage, blood sausage, bacon, trotters, cured ham, potatoes, carrots, turnips, chickpeas, cabbage and rice! Tripas à moda do Porto , tripe with white beans, is said to have originated in the 14th century, when the Castilians set siege to Lisbon and the citizens of Oporto organised a supply fleet that managed to slip through the blockade. Since all available meat
CALDE VERDE (SERVES FOUR)
Wash, drain and thinly shred one (300g) green cabbage (assuming you are unable to find the Galician genuine article). Peel one large onion and two cloves of garlic and chop finely. Peel and thinly slice 500g of potatoes.
Heat three tbsp of olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, add the potato slices and when they start to brown, add enough water to cover everything generously. Simmer for about 25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Remove the pan
from the heat and either mash the potatoes or blend.
Fry 150g sliced chorizo (assuming, once more, that you have no chouriço to hand) for about 10 minutes and drain away the fat.
Return the soup to the heat and add the sliced chorizo. Warm everything through, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Add the shredded cabbage and simmer for about five minutes. Add a slug of olive oil and serve with crusty bread.
was sent to the capital, Oporto residents were limited to tripe and other organs. Others claim that it in 1415 Oporto deprived itself of meat to supply the expedition that conquered the city of Ceuta, in North Africa. Portugal’s favourite fish (at least on the coast) is the sardine, of which some 100,000 tonnes, 40 per cent of the entire catch of fish, are caught annually. The taste of a truly fresh sardine, simply grilled with sweet peppers, is a pleasure that is not even hinted at by the tinned variety. In the Algarve, carapaus, which is a kind of mackerel, are often used instead of sardines. Very small ones are nicknamed carapauzinhos , and large ones, more than 10 inches long, are called chicharro . Except in the fish and chip shops of the Algarve, fresh cod is rarely consumed, though bacalhau (dried and salted cod) is close to a national obsession. Columbus had barely discovered America when Portuguese fishermen were landing huge quantities of cod off Newfoundland, and the drying and salting process was carried out on board ship so that the cod would not spoil during the long journey home. The Portuguese attitude to food is simple and imaginative, traditional and inventive. Above all, enjoying good food and eating out are valued aspects of everyday life. From informal cafés to world-class restaurants, all budgets and occasions are catered for. Tiny cafés and tascas , often no more than holes in the wall, abound. The opportunity to sample this still largely unknown cuisine in all its variety is one of the real rewards of visiting Portugal. THE CATHOLIC HERALD DECEMBER 22, 2006
Lionel Blue first encountered the idea of ‘going on retreat’ as a student. He explains why retreats reach the parts other spiritual exercises fail to reach The reality of the bewildered
Photo: Lou Boileau
Idiscovered retreats when I was studying at Oxford, not long after the Second World War. Or rather, trying to study, because I was suffering from adolescent love and lust, or rather the lack of them, as was common in those pre-hippy times. I was also suffering from doubt: doubt in Marxism, further confused by a religious experience after I literally fell into a Quaker Meeting. But I found a chap studying theology who knew exactly what was right for me in my confused state, who told me to retreat to an Anglo-Catholic monastery, where the Almighty, he said confidently, would sort it all out. When I said I wasn’t even a Christian –let alone a Catholic of any type –he just told me to “go along with the flow”, and I’d be OK. My new friend was Colin Winter, who would one day become the Anglican Bishop of Damaraland-in-exile, a fervent Catholic of the Anglo-type and an anti-apartheid warrior. But his message to the monastery must have confused them because they thought I had come to be baptised at Easter! It got even more confused when they unearthed an ancient bishop who was at first willing to confirm me, but then refused even to meet me. I got into a terrible muddle trying to go with a flow which didn’t even know in which direction it was flowing. But the bishop’s refusal, however dismissive, sort of saved the lives of my even more confused parents, who threatened suicide if I dared to do any such thing, so I consoled myself knowing that every cloud has a silver lining for somebody. However, the monks and students had graver matters than my adolescence to present before God, one of which was whether the Church of South India had apostolic succession. I prayed dutifully alongside them for guidance about it too, but it was so remote from my adolescent concerns, that I felt rather like Alice in Wonderland who had fallen down a theological rabbit hole. Strange as it may seem, a number of things, both exalted and matter of fact, did become clear to me on my first retreat. The first and greatest was that the contemplative life and liturgy were pointing in the right direction, wherever that was, and had touched me so deeply that I would never be free of either.
Second, that the emptiness of a silent chapel felt full if you surrendered yourself to it and went along, as my friend Colin had promised, with the flow. Also, and this may be the most important, an inner conversation started up in my mind which still continues within me nearly 60 years on. In a wobbly way that retreat pointed me towards a heaven I didn’t believe in, though I think I do now because I’ve experienced it. These were the exalted truths. I learnt as well not to be competitive in prayer and not to put on the ecclesiastical style. I also found that prayer and meditation (I hardly ever got to the level of contemplation) made me hungry, ravenous, so like the novices I consumed doorsteps of bread smeared with marge and marmalade. I also
The retreat was in a chateau on top of a Midlands coalmine. Fissures opened up beneath our feet, as in Don Giovanni , with a similar theological lesson
appreciated living under a rule. A semi-institutionalised state suited me fine in my disorganised state, for a while at least. I also learnt not to take the barbed remarks about Jews in the Lent and Easter liturgies to heart. (After all, the Gospel characters were Jews!) What helped me was the kindness and friendship I have received at nearly all retreats. Real religion really rubs off on to people’s lives. My next retreat was a very Roman Catholic affair at Spode, a retreat for novices for both men and women on prayer. The retreat master thought a Jewish voice might add some spice. I only agreed to come because the retreat wouldn’t take place till six months time and might never happen. But, of course, it did and I fell in love with the dotty Dominican charms of Spode House at first sight. It wasn’t a house but a French
Chateau built on top of a Midlands coalmine. What ho for the chateau! Fissures could open up beneath your feet as in Don Giovanni , with a similar theological lesson. One fissure occurred in the ornamental pond and whiterobed Fathers slipped and slurped in the mud trying to save the silly fish in buckets. At Spode, if you walked down one corridor you fell into a chapel and if you walked down another you tripped over Fathers and Brothers hanging out their smalls. They trusted us to help ourselves from the bar noting down our own debts. They took in everybody: Reformed rabbis like me, skiffle groups, odd bods for whom Spode was their only home, and organisers of novenas, whatever they were. I was impressed. There was the same creative chaos and generosity as in the homes of Slavonic Jews and I felt very much at home. I liked praying there because you were allowed to be yourself and not the fulfilment of other people’s expectations. So when the novices asked me to describe Jewish prayer life I didn’t bamboozle them with the Zionist ideal or Fiddler on the Roof country but with the reality of the bewildered. Jewish suburban communities trying to work out what God had said to them through the Holocaust. When Spode was sold many people like me lost their spiritual home. No other retreat house was less fussy or more respectful of their retreatants’ freedom. At Spode I encountered my first Discalced (no shoes) Carmelite. Once again, he invited me to his priory in six months time and, once again, I agreed because it would never happen and once again it did. So I drove morosely through suburban England to wet, cold countryside with dripping leaves. It was very cold and the drips froze even as I looked. The retreat house had not yet been built so the conditions were monkish: no central heating, board beds and a makeshift chapel in a prefab. But I felt monkish and authentic! I also enjoyed some blessed benefits of the old regime, such as being read to at meals. This has gone, of course, and the austerity has become cheerful and chintzy. The novices (and on one occasion me) no longer do the cooking but benefit from the talents of an obliging professional retreatantfriendly chef.
Lionel Blue: ‘Prayer made me ravenous, so like the novices I consumed doorsteps of bread smeared with marge and marmalade’
Nostalgically, I miss the muddy home-made beer and “rubbish” –a tasty mixture of porridge, parsnip and curry remainders, simmered to perfection through the night on an Aga. That was the earthly side. On the spiritual side I still pop in and pop out of Carmelite Boars Hill many decades later, because that’s where my inner conversation takes off. It takes two to dialogue, as well as to tango. Therefore it is my gate to another dimension. In the
early days I even wondered if it was possible to become a Carmelite without becoming a Catholic or even a Christian, but sadly it seems you can’t. I recommend the priory as a good place for holiness, food and quality silence in the chapel. I go a few times most years but only for two or three days at a time. Why not more? Because it takes me months to assimilate what happened in those silences at Boars Hill and how it fits or doesn’t fit
into my daily life. I even begin to have a glimmer of what the Carmelite Saints are trying to tell me and what I am trying to tell them. Needless to say, there is ample bread, marge and marmalade and even digestive biscuits and chocolate chip cookies. Finally, a grateful word to the Amerdown Centre, where I used to take retreats with a Dominican friend and perhaps may do so again. The lovely Sisters of Sion aren’t there now and I shall miss
them sorely, but I’m sure the tradition of good company, good food, a sympathetic ear, the trolley full of chocolate bars by the bedrooms, the cosy bar and honest, prayerfriendly chapel will remain. And, what’s more, I think the rooms may now be en-suite. I used to despise such blandishments but now, at 76, and falling to bits, I go along with the flow. And I’m grateful. Retreats are one of the greatest gifts that Catholicism has ever given me.
KINNOULL Redemptorist Centre of Spirituality
In 2007 we are offering the following much appreciated courses and retreats:
Seven Week Sabbatical Renewal Programmes. (May / June / October / December 2007) A two week training programme in personal counselling, inner healing and spiritual direction: An integrated model of ministry (28 Jan - 9 Feb) Weeks on Healing in Spirit: A Spirituality of True Self-Esteem (Holy Week, 2 - 7 April; 7 - 11 May; 15 - 19 October)
Week on The Theology of the Body - Pope John Paul’s legacy to the Church (30 April - 4 May 2007)
Retreat for Religious and Priests (17-24 August 2007)
Week on the Healing Power of Forgiveness (27 - 31 August 2007)
Week of Spirituality: A Time of Retirement (3 - 7 September 2007)
We also welcome retreatants for private or directed retreats throughout the year. Details: The Secretary, St Mary’s, Kinnoull, Perth PH2 7BP
Tel: 01738 624075 Email: Copiosa@aol.com www.kinnoullmonastery.org
Turn to page 4 for Villa Palazzola’s Retreats
30 minutes from the centre of Rome and over looking Lake Albano......
If you are a Religious Order who provide retreats and are interested in advertising your own details, contact our Advertising Display Manager, James Quantrill, for further information about rates and sizes. Tel: 020 7448 3601 Email: James@catholicherald.co.uk