Sunday, October 19, 2008
Where I will be this week
Hopefully a dose of 'Nightnurse' will help shake off the flu-like cold that really took hold of me yesterday because tomorrow I have to catch a flight to Madrid. A friend of mine, Fr Peter Newby, chairs the Art and Architecture committee for the Archdiocese of Westminster. He has to advise and oversee Church re-orderings. Currently he is engaged in the important project to restore St Patrick's, Soho. Fr Alexander Sherbrooke is carrying out a tremendous apostolate in one of the seediest parts of London and the plan is both to repair the delapidated Church and to provide facilities for the various activities that go on there.
Fr Newby can't impose anything on parish priests but he has produced some sensible guidelines for the priests of his diocese. These days it's not often a priest gets a chance to build a church from scratch but being an architect himself Fr Newby is very interested in the whole 'form and function' debate. We will be staying the parish of Our Lady of Cana which has a large modern Church to cope with its Sunday Mass attendance of some 15,000. If there's time we might also visit the parish of St Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, another vibrant parish with a new church building.
On Wednesday we are going to visit Talleres de Arte Granda just outside Alcala de Henares. TAG has a team of architects and also a factory for both the design and production of ecclesiastical art. Many parishes in England, including my own, have vestments and chalices from TAG. Their Tabernacles are second to none and are a truly fitting place to repose the Blessed Sacrament. Our Sacristy was also designed and built by TAG. The purpose of our visit is to let Fr Newby see the quality of workmanship TAG offers because it cannot be matched here in England. Apart from a tour of the factory we also have scheduled a meeting with the architectural team which should be very interesting and we plan to visit some of their current projects in Madrid. On Thursday we are going to Toledo for a tour by Jaime Castenon, the Cathedral architect.
It will be a busy week but, since I'm acting as interpreter, I hope it doesn't involved too much technical language! On Friday I get back to the parish to discuss a film project with some members of the Quo Vadis Group before heading off to London Colney on Saturday where I'm down to give a couple of vocations talks at the Family Conference.