Items that may have been
added since your last visit



27th December 2005

Hello again—I hope that it was a good Christmas. Many thanks to all those people who kindly sent me a message of goodwill.

Vincent Celano's photos of the old Parish Church at Heston (etc) are now displayed in the Heston Church Appendix. ("Consecration of the new Church"). Click here to go straight to the appropriate page.

21st December 2005

You will find another entry in the REMINISCENCES Appendix — this time from Vincent Celano who was a parishoner in the days when the White Fathers ran the parish at Heston. Vincent has already given us a large collection of photos for the Heston Parish Appendix and it's a mystery to me how I missed this valuable email at the time.

He recently gave me two more photos, and I will try to display these before we break for Christmas.

If our domestic preparations for visitors get the better of me, may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a smooth passage through the coming new year.

14th December 2005 (well, almost)

There has not been enough time this week to bring you the next 2 chapters of Mud and Mosaics, but our modern-day equivalents in the form of Fr David Cullen and Brother Trevor Robinson have sent us their Christmas letters.

If you need to be reminded of the heroic work that is undertaken daily against great odds by friends such as these, please read their letters and see if you have any spare change left in your pocket after the Christmas madness.

You can access both letters via the APPEALS section.

13th December 2005 (well, almost)

It's ready : if you go to Page 39 of the HISTORIES section you will find a new layout which incorporates the following:

  1. A Brief History Of Blacklion
  2. The Opening Of The New Chapel
  3. The Black — Oh Yes, I Remember It Well by John Byrne
  4. Return to Blacklion 2005 by John Byrne

Many people have contributed to this celebration of the 50th anniversary of St Augustine's, Blacklion, not least of whom has been John Byrne, of course, who has worked very hard to create items 2 and 3.

Elswhere on the site you will find dozens of 'Blacklion' photos, of course — and again we have many people (such as Olivia, Tony Smyth, John Byrne, Robbie Dempsey, and a good few others) to thank for their generous contributions.

I am not likely to have any spare time for the next few days, so I hope that this latest addition will satisfy your lust for more, more and yet more again.

12th December 2005

1. There's an affectionate tribute to Fr Vincent Bailey WF from his colleagues on Page 9 of the OBITUARIES section, to add to the other contributions of that much-missed missionary. Mike Mearns told me that although he hadn't seen Vincent for several decades, the photo of Vincent was exactly as he remembered him during his days at St Augustine's. It's a pity that we can't always find such vivacious snapshots for all our obituaries ; surely, the best way to remembered loved ones.

2. Work is progressing steadily in the background on a final piece of work that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the opening of St Augustine's, Blacklion. John Byrne made a nostalgic trip to the area last month and put together an illustrated diary of his visit for us. It includes another batch of excellent photos. Hopefully, it will be ready by tomorrow.

8th December 2005

Mike Ellis has kindly sent me 3 photos which feature The Abbot of Quarr — Fr Cuthbert — aka Peter Johnstone. These are now displayed on Page 250 of the GALLERY — proof, if you need it, that although we are all getting older, some of you don't look it. Thanks, Mike.

There are several interesting items in the pipeline, but many emails to answer first. Thank you for your patience.

8th December 2005

The newly designed 'front page' will probably cause confusion for a little while to those who are used to entering our website by a side door, i.e. avoiding the page entitled 'http://www.thepelicans.org.uk' as intended and going straight to another webpage (such as the 'Welcome' page) which they have previously bookmarked.

The counter, which used to reside on the front page, tracks the number of visitors to this page (alone). It provides useful facts / figures about people who use the site — though nothing that is truly confidential. The number of visitors to the site is a great deal more than the figure recorded so far because people have bypassed the front page on which the counter resides.

The 'front page' is also the main page which search engine companies (such as Google) use to determine the priority of websites when people ask for a search. From their standpoint, the number of visitors to a website's front page indicates its popularity. Those which are popular go to the top of the list of sites which they present to the searcher.

Getting high up this ladder is important because people rarely look at more than the first 3 pages of sites that result from a search.

We have been losing our priority status over the years, therefore, whenever people bypass the front page. This diminishes our chances of catching the eye of people who don't know about us.

The new design has a front page which gives visitors immediate access to the website material, and will register every visitor to the site.

Apologies, in advance, for any temporary problems that you might have been experiencing.

28th November 2005

1. A little later than planned : Chapters 19 and 20 of "Mud and Mosaics", where you get the feeling that Fr Rathe will find it hard to leave Africa in Chapter 26.

2. Fr Peter Smith (UK Provincial) has kindly sent me a tribute to Fr Patrick Boyd, which you can now read on Page 9 of the OBITUARIES section.

3. It has been a busy week at this end but I have made time to solve the annoying 'echo' problem that I was having with the computerised telephone system known as "SKYPE"*.

The trick is to emulate the way in which you use a normal phone, i.e. speak into your computer's microphone (which relays your voice to the other person) and listen to their voice via a headphone. For most of us it means using a headset, costing less than £10.

This method cuts out your computer's speaker system, which would otherwise echo everything that you say— and would also be heard by the recipient.

My son Jeremy bought me a cheap headset and now all my calls are echo-free. He bought one for himself, signed up to SKYPE and immediately made a call to the States—which he said was clear as a bell. And FREE because the person he called was also a SKYPE subscriber.

I hope that this explanation makes sense to you and that this story will be of use to any of you who have friends and relatives living far away in the UK or abroad.

*Totally free calls to other SKYPE users anywhere in the world and very cheap calls to others who have not subscribed. (http://www.skype.com/ )

22nd November 2005

The lack of an official tribute to Fr Bernard Duffy has inspired Robbie Dempsey to get out his Latin primer and hymn a song of praise to him.

You will find this in the REMINISCENCES Appendix. I have also added it to Fr Duffy's entry on Page 3 of the OBITUARIES section — alongside the paean wrtten by Tim Pascall.

Our thanks to Robbie for shaking up the brain cells — with passing acknowledgment to Hilaire Belloc , Flanders and Swann, Kennedy, Shorter, Oliphant and all those other influences that found their way into those dark brown classrooms at The Priory.

20th November 2005

You will find two new entries on Page 9 of the OBITUARIES section — for Fr Vincent Bailey and Fr Pat Boyd. Though not complete, I have included contributions from Mike Mearns and Eugene MacBride.

19th November 2005

There's something for everyone, I hope, on the completed Page 42 of the HISTORIES section.

18th November 2005

There's a hard white frost covering everything here this morning and the pond has frozen over. It's so cold that even the internet has gone all sluggish on me.

On mornings like this I think of Mike Mearns, up there in the frozen reaches of Calgary, Canada — the lenses of his goggles misting over as he throws another log on the fire to keep the bears at bay.

He managed to get an email through today, however, and I've it copied straight into the REMINISCENCES Appendix. It's entitled "Vince, Pat and Kerry" for those of you who will know of his connection with these alumni.

Thanks, Mike. I hope that the socks and the chocolate reached you. (And sorry to hear about Oates disappearing with the last of the tobacco).

14th November 2005

I've gone back to transcribing items from the copies of The White Fathers magazine (sic) lent to me by Pat and Pauline Menzies. If you go to Page 42 of the HISTORIES section you will find the start of something which I hope you will find interesting. This Page starts with "Round and About", for example, summarising the movements of individual WFs to the Missions and elsewhere — plenty of names / faces that you will recognise and an interesting record of things that were happening back in 1966.

It is my intention to select items from each of these old magazines but the transcription process is quite slow, so please be patient.

13th November 2005

Robbie Dempsey suggested that you might be interested to hear about the work of Fr Emanuelle Mambwe MAfr, a young African priest who is serving in Uganda. Go to the NEWS section (under 'Other News') to read Fr Emanuelle's recent correspondence or just click here.

12th November 2005

Read / download this week's instalment of "Mud and Mosaics" (Chapters 17 & 18). For those of you who are keeping up with the story, you will find several people mentioned whom you might have met : Bishop Kiwanuka, Bishop Holmes-Siedle, Fr Arthur Prentice etc. After all, this journey of Fr Rathe's took place only 48 years ago.

11th November 2005

1. Pat McHale has discovered several useful websites for me in the past. This week he came up with one that is a very good source of facts and figures relating to the White Fathers : http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/diocese/dqmaf.htm I have added this to the LINKS Appendix for your/ my convenience.

2. I had to leave the site for the past 10 days to attend to some urgent re-decorating of my father-in-laws' house down 'in London'. (That's how we refer to the London suburbs up here). While I was away a new 'face' turned up : Jim Youdale from Cumbria. I met him during my stint at The Priory back in the mid-fifties. I'm always pleased to hear from people of that era, of course, because so few of them have made contact.

In the summer, I also discovered that Fr George Smith (also from Jim's time) is now manning one of the two WF houses in Ealing (London, England).

3. Eugene recently wrote of Fr Patrick Boyd, who died in September. I have added this to the REMINISCENCES Appendix and will incorporate it into the official tribute to Fr Boyd when it is sent to me by Fr Peter Smith, UK Provincial.

4. I'll get on with the hard stuff tomorrow. Ok ?

Oh, yes, the PS : Have you joined the growing band of people who make free phone calls via their computer ? I have been using SKYPE (http://www.skype.com) because I particularly enjoy something for nothing. However, I can't eliminate the 'echo effect', even after buying a high quality usb microphone. Do you know the solution to this ? (It mainly affects the person that you are dialling, unfortunately).

1st November 2005

Chapters 15 and 16 of "Mud and Mosaics" are now ready for reading and /or downloading. As the work unfolds, spare a thought for Robbie Dempsey, who slaved over a hot scanner for several weeks as he wrestled to send the next batch of molten text to our office in downtown Wrexham.

We also have two more books in the PUBLICATIONS Appendix : Tim Pascall's "Aids in Africa — How did it ever happen ?" and a brand new tome from Peter Jennings, entitled "Benedict XVI and Cardinal Newman."

I have just finished reading Tim's book and can thoroughly recommend it to you — and am hoping to get hold of Peter's new book soon.

Click here
to go directly to both reviews. (PUBLICATIONS has recently undergone a few changes to cater for expansion).

HELP! If you have sent me an email in the past few weeks and have not received a reply, I'd be grateful if you would re-send it. For the second time this year something has caused my email system to stop delivering mail. I have just had to deal with 50+ old emails ! I am now wondering if I have caused this to happen by not deleting old files. Apologies for my apparent bad manners. if you have been affected.

27th October 2005

The last of John Byrne's slides are now displayed on Pages 248-249 of the GALLERY. He only discovered our website a couple of months ago and has already made a huge contribution to our website — for which we are all very grateful. I am about to return his collection, along with a suggestion that he turns some of those wonderful panoramic views into A4/A3 prints ; such is the quality of the originals, after all these years.

Right - who's next ? The REMINISCENCES Appendix is one of my personal favourites. What about more of those stories ?

25th October 2005

Page 247 of the GALLERY is now ready.

25th October 2005

John Byrne's excellent slides are continued on Pages 245 and 246 of the GALLERY — with more to follow, asap.

17th October 2005

Chapters 13 and 14 of 'Mud and Mosaics' are now ready for reading or downloading.

This week I have been unable to find appropriate photos/ graphics for illustrating the text, try as I might. A huge number of photos must have been taken by Leo, the official photographer who accompanied Fr Gerry Rathe. If only I could get internet access to the White Fathers' photo library !

Click here to find it on Page 40 of the HISTORIES section.

16th October 2005

I am in the middle of preparing this week's instalment of 'Mud & Mosaics' but have managed to make the additions and amendments to Page 241/ 242/ 244 kindly sent to me by Tim Pascall and and Peter Finn.

Just a reminder to UK visitors to our site : you may recall that I recently 'advertised' £10-a-night Travelodge accommodation in the UK. It's worth getting on to their mailing list because I have just been informed by them that there are still plenty of these bargains available. At this price you can afford to do an overnight stay when you don't really need to!

If you are intending to fly from Heathrow, for example, you might consider staying at the Travelodge on the M4 at Heston — for which there are several £10 bookings available. But don't delay. This is the webpage : http://www.travelodge.co.uk/tenpoundoffer/?ref=20051013

14th October 2005

Page 244 of the GALLERY is now displaying some (more) excellent photos from Peter Finn and John Byrne.

For fear of boring you, I will try not to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH every time someone takes the trouble to send me things.

13th October 2005

You know what they say about the sixties : " if you can remember it, you weren't really there". Well, those of you who were mayfind the article I have added to Page 41 of the HISTORIES section very interesting — packed full of names that you might recognise. It's another snapshot of particularly busy times for the White Fathers in 1964/5.

12th October 2005

The ever watchful Pat McHale, who has given me several useful leads in the past, discovered news of a fresh appointment for Fr John Lynch M Afr. (from the WF's website). This is now covered in the NEWS section (as "Other News"). As before, I have included a list of John's contemporaries as a helpful reminder for those of us whose memories are fading. As well.

Our thanks to Pat, once again.

11th October 2005

On Page 41 of the HISTORIES section you will find a selection of articles and photos from an October 1958 copy of 'The White Fathers' magazine (sic). This is just the beginning : more will be added to this and to subsequent pages, as time and space allows. The items chosen will be snapshots of the past — though, in principle at least, I will avoid updating personal histories, if only because I am not qualified to do so. However, if you feel that anything ought not be published, please let me know immediately and I will remove any item which might offend sensibilities.

9th October 2005

You may not have seen the affectionate tribute that Fr Peter Smith, Provincial, wrote of his confrere, Fr Geoffrey Sweeney — who died last December (2004). For the record, this is now added to the chronology that was already displayed on Page 9 of the OBITUARIES section.

8th October 2005

Tony Smyth and Robbie Dempsey have provided further information which affects the page entitled "The Opening of the New Chapel at Blacklion". Click here to see the revised text and photos.

With thanks to both of them for this assistance.

6th October 2005

I have acted upon today's message from Robbie Dempsey and have included two more photos on the Page relating to the opening of the Chapel at Blacklion. Click here to go straight to it, or go to Page 39 of the HISTORIES section and access it via its context.

I am always pleased to get this sort of feedback. You have to remember that my direct experience of WF houses is very limited and that I rely a great deal on information received from visitors to the site. (Ask me any questions about Heston parish during the reign of the WFs or anything about The Priory during 1955-57, though). But no sport.

5th October 2005

One of Pat Menzie's WF /WS magazines contains an article about the opening of the new chapel at Blacklion in 1966. This has now been added to Page 39 of the HISTORIES section (which is dedicated to "The Black").

Also, the parish priests at Heston page has been updated to include more information about Bishop Owen McCoy, one of Heston's luminaries. Has anybody got a photo of the Bishop ?

I have recently neglected to keep the GALLERY searching facility up-to-date (which has to be informed of all new additions) and this now includes all the latest material. I am delighted to see how well this free facility from PICOSEARCH works — just as I thought it would.

(Initially I was worried, because they always say that there is no such thing as a free hunch).

4th October 2005

Chapters 11 & 12 of "Mud and Mosaics" is now ready— click here. (Gradually catching up with all the work that Robbie has done in transcribing this book for us).

1st October 2005 . . . this year is just galloping along

Go to Page 243 of the GALLERY to view a random selection of interesting photos taken from some of the WF / WS magazines that were recently sent to me by Pat Menzies. I am most grateful to him (and his staff) for lending me 16 editions, ranging from 1958 to 1971, as follows :

October 1958
Dec/Jan 1965
Aug/Sept 1966
Oct/Nov 1967
Dec 1967/Jan 1968
Aug/Sept 1968
Dec 1968/Jan 1969
April/May 1970
June/July 1970
Aug/Sept 1970
Oct/Nov 1970
Dec 1970/Jan 1971
Feb/Mar 1971
June/July 1971
Aug/Sept 1971
Oct/Nov 1971

Are YOU able to supply me with any more? Pat's contribution contains a wealth of items that are of interest — including many people and events as yet not featured on this website.


You may have noticed that I haven't published this week's edition of "Mud and Mosaics".

This time the 'short break' involved taking our daughter to her first year at University — a time of mixed feelings for all concerned, as you will know. We now have the house to ourselves (for the first time in 40 years!) but it doesn't feel like a time for celebration at the moment. Anyway,
"Mud and Mosaics" will be back on course shortly

25th September 2005

On Page 241 of the GALLERY you will find a set of photos sent in by Tim Pascall. You have probably seen his recent entry on the Messageboard (August 17th 2005).

Tim's photos include several individuals who have not appeared on our website before BUT I need your help with naming some of them. For this purpose I have (temporarily) included a list of students who were at Blacklion during 1963-64 — in the hope that this will help jog memories. Obviously, our SEARCH facility can only find people who are mentioned in dispatches, so please do your best to identify 'faces' and email me* asap.

THANK YOU TIM. My current bedtime reading is Tim's 'AIDS in Africa — How did it ever happen ?'. It's an important book that bears witness to the scale of human suffering involved, and is written with great commitment and conviction. It will shortly be added to our list of PUBLICATIONS— but it's available right now, of course ; Tim's details are in the CONTACTS section.

*My email address can be found on the WELCOME page, along with two of the founding fathers — Eugene MacBride (Prime Minister /President) and Pat Gibbons (Treasurer). For those of you who don't know, I avoid storing email addresses in their 'proper' format in order to elude detection by spyware software that is programmed to find legitimate addresses that can be sold on. So, for example, "f.strugnell@gemini.co.uk" is written as "f(dot)strugnell(at)gemini(dot)co(dot)uk" .

This is just between you and me, of course.

22nd September 2005

You may recall that Peter McMurray recently expressed his concern about the arrest of Fr Guy Theunis, the Belgian White Father. This morning, Fr Peter Smith, the UK Provincial, sent me the "DOCUMENT PREPARED BY THE GENERAL EXECUTIVE OF THE MISSIONARIES OF AFRICA CONCERNING FATHER GUY THEUNIS", with permission to re-publish it on the Pelicans' website.

To read it, go to the NEWS section ("Other News") or click here.

21st September 2005

Chapters 9 & 10 of Mud and Mosaics are ready. Click here to read and/or download them.

19th September 2005

It's time to say sincere thanks to John Byrne for the huge contribution that he has recently made to the GALLERY. I've taken one final set of photos from his album and these are now displayed on Page 240.

I am about to send off the 20+ slides that he also gave me, and am looking forward to showing you these on their return.

By the way, immediately after my comments about slide adaptors for scanners, one of our regular visitors emailed with an offer to buy one for me ! He/she asked me not to identify them (so I won't) but I must say that I was very touched by this generosity. *

Also :

1. My request for pre-2000 copies of the White Father/ White Sister magazine has yielded 2 generous responses. Wundebar!

2. Olivia O'Dolan recently wrote an article marking the 50th anniversary of Blacklion, which has appeared in a recent edition of "Ireland's Own". She included an excellent plug for our website, so I am expecting 'visits from people who live in the Belcoo/Blacklion area — as well as other people across Ireland who know of the White Fathers.

Thank you Olivia, for this and all the other things that you have done to support the website and get people back in touch.

*As you will know, I have decided that it's cheaper to get them processed by the professionals.

14th September 2005

The tribute to Fr Jimmy Wallace by Peter Finn, Margaret Baker, Pat Menzies and Robert Clyde has been updated. My thanks to erach of them for their help with this.

Click here to go straight to Page 9 of the OBITUARIES section.

13th September 2005

As promised, yet another set of photos from Peter Jennings : up-to-date views of the St Boswell's area and 2 photos of St Columba's from the early sixties. In all, we have had over 30 high quality photos from Peter, adding significantly to our collection of photos of St Columba's.

Go to Page 239 of the GALLERY to view them or just click here.

Sincere thanks, Peter
— and to all of you who have contributed towards the store of approximately 2,000 photos to date.

This reminds me that Pat Menzies recently suggested that we could publish an annotated album of the photos that we have amassed already. This is an exciting idea — which might even be a means of raising some funds for the missions. However, as many of you will know, most website pictures are not designed with high-quality printing in mind. They have to be of a 'low resolution' to fit onto the screen (at 70-90 dots per inch) and be 'light enough' in terms of file size for fast transmission over the ether.

Also, the cost of producing a colour publication is prohibitive.

It goes against the grain to pour cold water over what looks like a great idea, but I feel that the facts speak for themselves.
What's your opinion ?

12th September 2005

Chapter 7 & 8 of Mud and Mosaics is now ready. You can find it by going to Page 40 of the HISTORIES section or just by clicking here.

Dogon territory this week, and a bit scary. For me, it's strange to think that while this was going on I was at The Priory and the author's brother, Fr Tom Rathe, was our Procurator. As you read these chapters, therefore, it is worth noting that Fr Gerard Rathe was describing what it was like just 48 years ago. (Just a blink away for some of us).

10th September 2005

1. Please have another look at Page 238 of the GALLERY : I've included an internal shot of the Chapel that I had missed earlier.

2. I've already found a cheaper source for scanning slides : 35p per slide at "The Dot Foundry" (0845 8385436)
http://www.TheDotFoundry.co.uk . At this rate (incl £5 postage) what's the point in buying an adaptor ?

9th September 2005

For those of you who are following 'Mud and Mosaics', please excuse me for running a little late this week. The redoubtable Robbie Dempsey has kept to his word and regularly sent me mountains of work that he has scanned, but I have not yet got round to my bit. (Coming soon).

In the meantime, a final page of photos from John Byrne : Page 238 of the GALLERY section — yet another set of interesting snaps of his days at Blacklion. These will soon be followed by some photos from Bob Clyde, Pat Menzies and Peter Jennings.

I am hoping to return to the rest of John's collection at a later date, once I have solved the next hurdle of scanning slides. (I'm working out whether it's cheaper to have them printed off as photos —69p per slide— or to buy an adaptor for my scanner for about £60. I mention this because I am sure that many of you have slides that they'd like to convert but are stuck with the same decision).

7th September 2005

You can now go to Page 236 & 237 of the GALLERY for the 5th and 6th page of John Byrne's photos.

6th September 2005

Go to Page 235 of the GALLERY for the 4th page of John Byrne's photos.

You will have seen the messages that Margaret Baker and Pat Menzies have recently sent regarding Fr Jimmy Wallace.
I have taken the liberty of adding these to Peter Finn's tribute on Page 9 of the OBITUARIES section.

I hope that people will follow their lead and use the Messageboard more often so that the website becomes more interactive.

1st September 2005

Chapters 5 and 6 of "Mud and Mosaics" can be found by clicking here or going to Page 40 of the HISTORIES section.

In Chapter 5, this week, there's a little bit of old-fashioned miracle working for your delectation.

I'm orf for a short break tomorrow. Be back soon.

(How can this man afford so many short breaks you ask yourself? What about the rest of those photos ?)

30th August 2005

Go to Page 234 of the GALLERY for more of John Byrne's photos.

29th August 2005

Many of you will have heard from Peter Finn of the sad death of Fr Jimmy Wallace. Peter's tribute to Jimmy can now be read on Page 9 of the OBITUARIES section, along with a photo that his friend Pat Menzies has sent me. Also included are the funeral details, taken from St Bernadette's parish magazine. If you have any photos or memories of Jimmy, please let me have them asap.

Any news of Joe McIntyre yet ?

27th August 2005

You can now go to Page 233 of the GALLERY for the latest page of John Byrne's photos.

26th August 2005

This evening, Robbie Dempsey wrote : "I have a melody going on in my head . . . Lauda Jerusalem Dominum, Lauda Deum tuum, Sion . . . ! We used to let rip on that one at Corpus Christi ! "

Just in case you are suffering from the same complaint, I have now included it in the "Familiar Sounds" Appendix and also will run it as the background music for the Message Board.

Robbie also asked if anyone had heard from Joe McIntyre. Any offers as to his whereabouts ?

IMPORTANT : Have you sent me an email and not had a reply ? My anti-spam software seems to have been corrupted. Yesterday, I witnessed the arrival of an email and then watched it disappear at the speed of light. This is very worrying. I have now turned off the filtering system, so things should be okay now*. Please re-send me anything that hasn't had a reply yet — and apologies for my apparent bad manners.

*Apart from the low-life sludge that always gathers at the bottom of the pond when you turn the filter off.

24th August 2005

Chapters 3 and 4 of "Mud and Mosaics" are now ready. You can access them via Page 40 of the HISTORIES section.

Are YOU experiencing the same problems as John Byrne, who writes "I'm still having trouble accessing the Message Board - it comes up, the music 'wobbles' and then Explorer shuts down - our technical boffins can't find the fault."

(I regularly access the site via Explorer, Safari and Firefox but don't get this trouble, so can you help ?).

John has also given us a further entry for the REMINISCENCES Appendix, for which, many thanks again.

22nd August 2005

If you were at Blacklion, you will enjoy reading John Byrne's account of his days there (in the mid-sixties). You can access this from the REMINISCENCES Appendix, and I have provided links to it via Page 39 of the HISTORIES section (which is devoted to a brief history of 'The Black') and elsewhere.

Alternatively, click here.

You can also find the second page of John's photo collection on Page 232 of the GALLERY.

Next : Chapters 3 and 4 of Mud and Mosaics.

21st August 2005

Another entry has been added to the Reminiscences Appendix—sent in by Tim Pascall, who has provided some comical reminders of the late Fr Bernard Duffy. These stories are also featured as a tribute to Fr Duffy in the OBITUARIES section (which until now has only displayed a photo of him when he was Superior at The Priory).

Are YOU able to provide me with further details of Fr Duffy's life ? I have been waiting for something to turn up for what must now be 5 years. I still don't know how to get hold of obituary notices (etc) that date back past 3 or 4 years (from the WF-WS magazine or from the WF's international website). Any ideas ? Have you got any copies of the WS-WF magazine that are over 5 years old, for example ?

20th August 2005

John Byrne has kindly sent me his album of photos that were taken during his time at Blacklion and Broome Hall (in the sixties). Obviously, I will take great care when handling these pictures and will return them to him as soon as possible. BUT it's very good of him to make that leap of faith on our behalf.

I am also very grateful for the carefully annotated list that he included. As I have said on previous occasions, I'd hate to think that someone might be hurt if their contemporaries haven't remembered their names. Equally, items cannot be found by the SEARCH facility if they haven't been labelled. So, it is a great help when people take the time to let me know of names to go with as-yet unidentified faces.

The first items selcted can now be viewed on Page 231 of the GALLERY section.

18th August 2005

Chapter 2 of
Fr Gerard Rathe's "Mud and Mosaics" is now ready. More next week.

16th August 2005

The serialisation of Fr Gerard Rathe's "Mud and Mosaics" starts today on Page 40 of the HISTORIES section. I hope to produce at least a couple of chapters each week from the material that Robbie Dempsey has scanned for us. He has undertaken a great deal of careful work on our behalf and I'd be grateful if you would find time to thank him personally.

I think that you'll enjoy reading this book. Why not go straight to it by clicking here ?

15th August 2005

The second page of Pat's photos is now ready on Page 230 of the GALLERY. Click here.

14th August 2005

The first of 2 pages of photos from Pat Menzies can be viewed on Page 229 of the GALLERY.

I have had difficulty with the identification of certain individuals in the group photo, so would be grateful if anyone could help me further with names and venue.

13th August 2005

See Page 228 of the GALLERY for a selection of photos from Arthur McGuigan (St Columba's 1957-59) and the first of many from John Byrne. Our sincere thanks to both of them for answering the recent call for more jigsaw pieces. We've also got a treat in store from Pat Menzies and John Byrne, as well as that publication from Robbie Dempsey, who is probably beavering away as I write this.

Fr Pat Fitzgerald was over here in the UK a couple of weeks ago, visiting the friends that he left behind for Long Island and celebrating his 80th birthday. For those of you who haven't seen him for many decades, rest assured that he is still his old self—with all that energy and commitment that puts us 'young'uns' to shame. If you wish to congratulate him or send him a present, you will find his contact details in the CONTACTS sections, of course.

2nd August 2005

Do you remember Phil Camp ? Danby Hall 1964-66 ? He is now a paramedic, working in London. I've copied an email that he recently sent me, along with some photos. Go to the 'OTHER NEWS' part of the NEWS section or just click here.

29th July 2005

The third and fourth pages of Robert Clyde's second batch of photos can now be accessed on Pages 226 and 227 of the GALLERY.

Bob has given us 56 photos, for which he deserves a round of applause. And he's only known about The Pelicans for a couple of months. Not a bad start . . . Many thanks, Bob.

Work in progress :
some historic pictures from Pat Menzies and a freshly transcribed publication entitled "Mud and Mosaics" from Robbie Dempsey.

29th July 2005

The second page of Robert's photos* is now ready to view on Page 225 of the GALLERY. It includes 3 more of the Corpus Christi Mass celebrated in The Priory grounds 1948.

On this occasion many parishioners made their First Communion, so I have included them on Page 38 of the HISTORIES section, too, which is devoted to the parish at Bishop's Waltham run by the White Fathers (from 'our' chapel).

*Another 2 pages to follow shortly.

28th July 2005

Robert Clyde has kept to his promise of finding even more photos from the forties. These start on Page 224 of the GALLERY section. His previous 5-page contribution can be found on Pages 217-221.

Thank you, Bob, for such a wonderful collection of little gems.

22nd July 2005

A second (and final) set of stills taken from the 1949 film "Seven Steps To The Altar" can be found on Page 223 of the GALLERY section. Thanks are due to Peter Finn, Bernard Melling and several others for tracking down this film and making it freely available.

20th July 2005

It was 8 days ago since my last update. Apologies for not informing you when I intend to disappear for holidays etc : I'm loathe to let potential squatters know when my house will be empty, you understand. I will, of course, warn you in advance if I have to abandon the site for a lengthy period. Not that it would gradually fade from your screens, of course, or meander aimlessly upon the ocean before disappearing over the horizon. But it would be nice to know if there's anyone 'there' when things go silent for a bit. (Don't try knocking on the screen. It doesn't work).

John Byrne was at Blacklion and Broome Hall in the mid-sixties. Many of you will remember him, of course — or will have read the message that he left today. Unfortunately, his name didn't appear on the records when Peter Finn was doing his research — but I have remedied that and have also placed his name on the CONTACTS list.

Amazingly, he has already written his appreciation of the late Fr Chris O'Doherty, which you can now read by clicking here: http://www.thepelicans.org.uk/obits9.htm. THANK YOU JOHN — and also for the loan of the photos that you hope to dig out.

Eugene and Zelda are visiting Ireland this week (for Cemetery Week etc). I'm hoping that they will meet up with Olivia O'Dolan while they are there. She needs some cheering up, having recently lost her much-loved brother Malachy.

12th July 2005

There are three new entries in the Obituaries section : Fr Tom McIllveney, Fr Christopher O'Doherty and Fr Geoffrey Sweeney. Click here to access them. Apologies for taking so long to record these. I had hoped to gather more about the lives of these three missionaries but reluctantly have only the 'chronology' from the international website of the White Fathers, which I have (most gratefully) adapted. Please let me know if you can supply me with any further facts or stories for these entries.

Eugene has asked me to let you know that Mrs Frances Murphy has recently suffered a double blow, having lost her husband George and brother Ged (Wynne) within the space of 8 months. (Gerry died 13th July 2004 and George, March 2nd 2005).

5th July 2005

John and Margaret Morton lent me their copy of "Maurice & Thérese" over a year ago and I've only just finished reading it, I'm afraid. I owe them sincere apologies and an explanation for the delay.

I was keen to read this story of the little-known relationship between a young, aspiring, White Father seminarian—Maurice Belliére, studying at Sommervieu in the diocese of Bayeux—and the 23-year-old nun, known to us now as Saint Thérese of Lisieux.

The book contains nearly two dozen letters that they exchanged as she lay ill and dying in the Carmel. Maurice, full of anxieties about his vocation to the priesthood, had written to her Mother Superior for spiritual guidance and Thérese had been selected to help him. The author, Bishop Patrick Ahern, a leading expert on Thérese, takes each letter in turn and adds his own insights and commentary.

We are talking here of a relationship that began less than a year prior to Thérese's death in 1896 — and five years before Maurice was ordained a White Father. More than a century ago, therefore, so you might expect these feverish exchanges to jar with some people in these increasingly secular times.

I found it heavy-going and kept putting it aside ; Bishop Ahern's contribution did little to draw me back into the book. Perhaps it was just not to my taste. On the book jacket, however, you'll find plenty of others, more qualified to comment, praising this book:
Mary Higgins Clark
: " . . [this is] truly a book about a saint for sinners." Perhaps I am too far gone.

Full details can be found in the PUBLICATIONS Appendix or by clicking here :
"Maurice & Thérese, The story Of A Love."

30th June 2005

September 1st 2005 will be the 50th anniversary of the opening of Blacklion. To commemorate this, a brief history has been put together on Page 39 of the HISTORIES section. My thanks to Olivia O'Dolan and Eugene MacBride for their help in securing the material used — and to the authors of "The History of Killinagh Parish" for their kind permission to use selected material from their book.

I will be adding to this Page from time to time, adding further detail and identifying individuals that appear in the photos.

25th June 2005

Page 222 of the GALLERY now includes pictures taken from the "7 Steps" film of the Jedburgh ordinations in June 1949. As you may know, the redoubtable Bernard Melling has transcribed the original on to a dvd for us.

Yes, it's a real oldie — but I'm hoping that you will be pleaseed to see some faces from that era, many of whom would have been familiar to you in your youth. If you are at least as old as me.

These are screen shots, by the way, so it's just not possible to achieve better quality

Do you remember Eugene's quote : "Yes, he left the Church to join the White Fathers" ?

Here's another : "They made him a canon and now he's one of the big guns in the diocese."

Chris Benson suggested that if you hope to attend the Make Poverty History rally in Edinburgh next Saturday (2nd July 2005), you might like to swop mobile numbers so that you can meet up with old friends.

If you email me your name and number, I will send you an email on 30th June with any contact details of other attendees that I have collected by that date.

22nd June 2005

Page 222 of the GALLERY has been started and there is an addition to the STREET CHILD AFRICA item in the APPEALS section (for which you can click here).

21st June 2005

Robbie Dempsey has found his vinyl album of the Missa Luba and has sent me a copy of the cover and sleeve notes. These are now added to the appropriate part of the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix. Click here to go straight to it.

Robbie is in the middle of transcribing a substantial publication for us, so I'm grateful to him for making the time to send this.

This weekend I had a most enjoyable encounter with Fr Patrick Shanahan, when he made an appeal for Street Child Africa at Lache, near Chester. (Just 15 miles from where I live). More of this and several other items soon.

Did you know that Eric McCormack has been living in Canada since the late 60's and has written several highly praised novels ? I have emailed him with details of the website and I will let you know if he gets in touch.

Tony Smyth once identified all our Canadian 'contacts'. I'll dig out this list and see if you can add any more.

17th June 2005

Page 221 of the Gallery is now complete, with two further photos of Mike Mearns on his current tour of the UK with his wife, Kay.

Mike has been living in Canada since 1968 and for much of the time has been working for the United Nurses Union, organising, negotiating and doing a great deal of arbitration work.

He once told me that he had had enough of the UK's grey and overcast weather to last him a lifetime; he now enjoys winters that can drop below -20 degrees (C) BUT almost always against a backdrop of bright blue skies.

On separate occasions he has met up with Sean Murphy, Mike Goodstadt and Bob Griffin — all resident Canadians now — and thinks that one day they might be able recruit a few more people and hold their own 'Pelican reunion'.

15th June 2005

There's another photo of Bob's added to Page 221 of the Gallery— which I missed. There is a question surrounding this photo and you may have the answer.

There's a letter from Brother Trevor Robinson in the APPEALS section ("Summer 2005 Update and Thank You"). He and his team are doing some excellent mobility projects for the disabled — and much more. Obviously, people like Trevor are very pleased to receive this financial help but finding time to say thank you like this must be difficult.

Tomorrow I am going to meet up with Mike Mearns, who is on holiday in North Wales. Unfortunately, Mike will be travelling back to the south as Fr Pat Shanahan arrives in Chester ('next to' North Wales) to do an appeal.

Apologies if I have not replied to your email that you sent recently. Next week I'll be able to get back to responding more promptly.

14th June 2005

The 3 remaining pictures of Bob's collection are now displayed on Page 221 of the Gallery.
THANK YOU Bob for a unique contribution to our GALLERY. (Ready for the next batch !)

13th June 2005

The fourth page of Bob Clyde's photos is now ready : Page 220 of the GALLERY.

ALSO (in the APPEALS SECTION) : an update by Eric Creaney on a very successful fundraising event in aid of STREET CHILD AFRICA.
(Click here to go straight there).

12th June 2005

I hope that you are enjoying Bob's photos as much as I am. The third page is now ready : Page219 of the GALLERY.

Bob has labelled most of the pictures, but I'd be grateful if you can add anything to the annotation.

9th June 2005

The next set of Bob Clyde's photos can be seen on Page218 of the GALLERY.

8th June 2005

The first few photos of Bob Clyde's collection can be seen on Page217 of the GALLERY.

1st June 2005 (almost)

We enjoyed a very happy 'mini reunion at Preston on Monday (6th June), in honour of Les Croughan and his wife Joyce, over here from Alburquerque, New Mexico. A photo of the people who attended (minus Chris Benton and Norma Gibbons) can be seen on Page216 of the GALLERY (now complete). Fr Patrick Harrity and his staff could not have made us more welcome.

Coming soon : a large stack of photos from Bob Clyde — some real gems that have been waiting patiently over many years for their day in the sun.

1st June 2005

There are now 4 photos on Page 216 of the GALLERY
, thanks to Mike Byrne and Eric Creaney (who is working closely with Fr Pat Shanahan's STREET CHILD AFRICA charity). I hope to meet up with Fr Pat and Chris Benton (I hope) in 2 weeks time when they launch an appeal in the Chester area (in my neighbourhood).

(Never tell people where you live. They'll be after my money, for sure).

1st June 2005 (almost)

Page 216 of the GALLERY has been started and 2 photos have been added to Eugene's Newsletter 48 which described the recent reunion. My thanks to Michael Byrne, who kindly sent me photos of the reunion.

31st May 2005

You may have noticed that the photo of the opening of Blacklion on Page 214 of the GALLERY has been corrupted. After so much effort to set up this complicated/crowded picture, the system removed all my special annotation ! I have now re-done it, so please trot along to see all the wonderful effort that various people have made to identify the faces.

Special thanks must go to Olivia O'Dolan, who recruited help from Patsy Smith, Bud Greene and Fr O'Dowd (now serving in the *Kilmore diocese).

Typically, Olivia has been the driving force behind getting this photo annotated and I am very grateful to her for the constant help that she has given since she discovered our website.

*Pity his local GP

27th May 2005

Robbie Dempsey has been racking his brains to add missing names to the Blacklion student listing and Peter Vale-Humphreys has provided nearly all the student names for Pages 47 & 48 of the GALLERY.

This effort is much appreciated. In Peter's case, he was supplying names for 2 pages which have been up and running for about 5 years now.

Hopefully, others will rise to the challenge to identify every face in every photo displayed on our website. It bothers me that someone might come across the site and find that theirs is the only face in a pageful of faces that has not been remembered.

22nd May 2005

Apologies for not including certain students on the Blacklion listing. Certain seminarians (such as Eugene Macbride) started their first 'Philosophy' year at Broome Hall (1954) and then went on to St Augustine's in 1955.

21st May 2005

The Student Listings Appendix now includes details of those people who attended St Augustine's (Blacklion) during the 15 years of its existence (1955 - 1970). I am forever grateful to Peter Finn, who compiled the original database from which this latest listing was extracted.

Eugene MacBride's 48th Newsletter can now be read, via the NEWS section. It's a lively account of the reunion held at Bishop's Waltham last week. As I read it, I regretted not being able to attend this time. As I have said to Eugene, there's something special about The Priory at this time of year. All those nerves building up with the start of the GCE exams, the beginning of the cricket season and longer evenings down at the pitch, the knowledge that another batch of faces will soon disappear into civvy street or onto Blacklion etc. etc

And I was only there for 2 years . . . . all those decades ago. Funny how some periods in your life stand out so clearly, while others are a complete blank. Is it the alcohol ? Or is this the last bit of memory that is still functioning properly ?

20th May 2005

You will find a photo of Br Trevor Robinson receiving his MBE at Buckingham Palace in 2000, on Page 215 of the GALLERY.

A little late in the day, I'm afraid!

I've also extended his Christmas thank-you letter with some photos of the solar cookers and wheelchair trikes that they make at his base in Tamale, Ghana. This can be found via the APPEALS section, or by clicking here.

In the pipeline : a brief history of Blacklion, to mark its 50th anniversary and some excellent work being undertaken by Robbie Dempsey : "Mud and Mosaics, An African missionary journey from the Niger to the Copper Belt by GERARD RATHE, W.F." — first published in 1960.

11th May 2005

Another photo has been added to Page 215 of the GALLERY section, from Robbie Dempsey's collection. (Thanks Robbie).

PicoSearch have generously allowed me two free search facilities for our website (to cope with the number of webpages).
I'd be grateful, therefore, if you would also send them a thank-you email for this substantial contribution.

A reliable search 'engine' is essential for a website of this size, of course. I sent an email to them, explaining our need and the nature of the website and they allowed me to have these two facilities free of further charge, instead of insisting that we pay for the professional version — which, as I have said before, costs about £150 per annum.

The new QUICK SEARCH is now up and running, therefore. PLEASE help to put more names to faces in the GALLERY so that it can yield maximum results. Just a couple of new names make a huge difference, of course.

8th May 2005

When a White Father, Brother or Sister is 'incardinated' into a diocese (thereby, leaving the Society) it becomes more difficult to find information about their whereabouts. Just by chance, then, I discovered that Fr Alexander McGarry is now Canon Alexander McGarry of St Brigid's Church, Kilbirnie, Ayrshire.

He was ordained as a White Father in 1958, so many of our visitors will remember him. Go to the OTHER NEWS part of the NEWS section to read more about Canon McGarry (or just click here).

6th May 2005

There is a new SEARCH FACILITY which I would like you to trial. It is easy to use and offers a more flexible and precise service than the previous one. Unfortunately, because it is the FREE version, it involves a certain amount of advertising, but I hope that we can live with this. The 'Professional' version costs about £150 p.a. so you can see why I hope that the freebie is a satisfactory compromise.

Please let me know what you think about the service, or if you come across serious flaws.

There are some excellent sites included here, some of which have been suggested by people such as Robbie Dempsey. Can you recommend any ?

5th May 2005

Peter Jennings has come up with yet another 2 photos for us, which can be seen on Page 215 of the GALLERY. He recently met up with two of his contemporaries : Peter Johnson (Abbot Cuthbert Johnson of Quarr OSB) and John Scully.

Peter writes : "I very much look forward to hearing from and entertaining more people who were at St Columba's September 1959 to July 1961. It would be lovely to hear from Father Christopher Wallbank WF, who came from Leamington Spa."

1st May 2005

Page 214 of the GALLERY is now complete, with extracts taken from a 1988 edition of the White Fathers / White Sisters magazine — kindly supplied by Pat Gritton. These publications are an invaluable source of material for our website and I would be very grateful for any copies that you might still have (preferably pre-1998).

Chris Carabine : Scarborough,Ontario
Dessie & Geraldine Fitzmaurice, Consecon, Ontario
John & Carole Fowles : Pickering, Ontario
Lawrence Geraghty : Winnipeg, Manitoba
Mike Goodstadt : Toronto, Ontario
Fr Bill Lynch : Scarborough, Toronto
Eric McCormack :
Mike Mearns : Calgary, Alberta
Ken Miller ??
Tony Shann : Radway, Alberta
Tony Smyth :

The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltha

Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's Waltham St Columba's Broome Hall Blacklion St Edward's Totteridge The White Fathers The Priory Bishop's

27th April 2005

Your assistance is needed, please. Please check Page 214 of the GALLERY and see if you recognise any more faces. A lot of help has already been given by the indefatigable Olivia O'Dolan, but we need help to identify the various seminarians.

Point your mouse at a 'face' and see if it's already been identified — the name will appear in the space below.

I would like to annotate most of this photo, in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the opening of Blacklion.
(This is an incomplete page, of course).

24th April 2005

Maurice Billingsley
sent me another article about his contemporary Brendan Gormley, chief executive of the DEC Committee which co-ordinated the fundraising for the recent tsunami tragedy. You will find this via the 'OTHER NEWS' part of the NEWS section. (Or just click here).

THANKS are due again to Maurice for keeping a watchful eye open.

Has anyone been in touch with Brendan, by the way? In the article he says that he's not one for nostalgia. But nor are we. This website is for remembering (mostly with affection) — not for wallowing, of course.

21st April 2005

The final page of Paul Glover's photos is now ready. The collection stretches across Pages 209 - 213 of the GALLERY section. Looking at the backs of these photos, I think that Paul actually took them out of an album for us — which is very good of him. THANK YOU Paul for this valuable contribution to our library of photos. Let's hope that some of the people who feature in them will get in touch.

Please let me know of anyone that you'd like to trace so that I can put the details in the MISSING FRIENDS Appendix. We have had one success so far, all due to the ingenuity/initiative of one of our regular visitors. The aim is purely to let them know of the existence of the website ; this is not about 'stalking' people who would prefer not to get involved.

21st April 2005

Paul Glover's Blacklion photos are now displayed on Page 209 - 212 of the GALLERY section . (Including some of Danby Hall and very evocative pictures of Galleydown). The rest of his collection should be appearing within the next day or three. Thank you, Paul. You've given us some faces that have rarely appeared on the site so far.

In the pipeline : a short history of Blacklion, via those stalwarts, Olivia and Eugene — plus various items from material that Pat Gritton has found in his attic. I'm constantly amazed at the way in which material keeps coming in. Just when I think it's all over, someone comes up with more stuff. (Keep the faith, I hear you say).

You may have heard that a 'mini reunion' is being held in Preston on June 6th. So, if you can't get down to Bishop's Waltham, how about something nearer home ? Mike and Kay Mearns will be visiting North Wales round about this time, so Mike may just want to join me and the others as guests of Fr Packy Harrity for the day. (Further details from Eugene).

17th April 2005

At long last, this collection of nearly 3,000 files are happily settled into their new and spacious home. There don't seem to be any breakages — but you must let me know if anything appears to be missing.

Thank you for your patience during this unsettled period.

Peter Jennings'
collection of high-quality photos is now installed, so nip along to Page 208 of the GALLERY section to view them. (Or just click here). I have also added his family photo to the article in the 'OTHER NEWS' part of the NEWS section.

The 'Blacklion mural' of the Golf Course has been shifted to Page 209 of the GALLERY ; this will be the start of fresh material that has been sent in by Fr Paul Glover who has dug out a lot of photos from his time at The Priory and Blacklion. I am grateful to Paul for finding time to do this within his busy schedule of parish work.

13th April 2005

As you may have read on the Messageboard, Eric Creaney has discovered the first of our 'Missing Friends' : Fr Michael Kelly, who is now serving as parish priest in the diocese of Mbeya in Tanzania.

Mike's work is doggedly supported by St. Augustine Of Canterbury Roman Catholic Church, in Leeds (his home 'town'). The parish has raised large sums of money to fund the various projects in which Mike has been involved.

To catch up with Mike's progress you can go to the parish website at http://www.st-aug-leeds.co.uk/twinning.htm
. Hopefully, Mike himself will be able to write to us about his work when / if he gets a spare moment.

Note: I have included a link to this website in the OTHER NEWS part of the NEWS section.

9th April 2005

Apologies for disappearing lately : I took a few days off to sample the delights of Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Largs and Arran Island. Not the best time of the year to visit, but a most enjoyable (wintry) break. On my return I found 18 emails waiting for me ! One was from Pat McHale who pointed me to an article about our very own Archbishop (Michael Fitzgerald) who is 'between jobs' awaiting the outcome of the election of a new pope. Go to the 'Other News' part of the NEWS section or just click here.

Thank you Pat.

The move to a new webspace has not been smooth, so I have had to leave some things hanging (such as the rest of the photos sent to me by Peter Jennings) because there is still very little room for explansion. I hope that everything will be sorted out within the week.

25th March 2005

The first of many pictures sent in by Peter Jennings is displayed on Page 208 of the GALLERY.

Peter has presented me with a problem because this high-quality set of photos of St Columba's actually complements previous contributions from several other people (such as Chris Benton and Mike Goodstadt). It would make more sense at this juncture to have a special section for all these photos of the 'up-to-date' St Columba's and the area of St Boswell's. I will ponder this for a while before presenting you with more of Peter's collection.

On this page you will also find a photo of the mural that Fr Kevin O'Mahoney painted for the Blacklion Golf Club. The club owners (the McCann family) made it available to Olivia O'Dolan and her sister Frances, so that they could send me a picture of it for the website. It's quite a stunner.

I am very grateful to all concerned for the trouble that they went to.

TO 'NEW PREMISES', but please don't panic if you see the removal vans driving off into the distance. We will come back to pick you up, though it's quite a journey and we may have to make an overnight stay. It's worth the wait : there'll be bags more space in the new place.

22nd March 2005

We have the start of many new photos from Peter Jennings, who has gone to some trouble to prepare this material for us.

Click here to go straight to Page 208 of the GALLERY section.

Also, there's some interesting stuff about Peter's life in the NEWS section, if you haven't spotted it already.

The ever-watchful Olivia O'Dolan has sent me a cd and other material relating to Blacklion — exactly what I needed to mark this Jubilee Year. (Officially opened September 1st 1955). Sincere thanks, once again, to Olivia.

20th March 2005

Larry Shine's photos are now completed — and spread across Pages 205 - 207 of the GALLERY.

(and Danny O'Hagan for passing them along).

Please let me know if you can identify any of the un-named faces/ venues or add some background information.

16th March 2005

Page 206 of the GALLERY is now ready, awaiting help with some names, please.

A reminder from Maurice Billingsley that
' . . . . Kubrick filmed part of the 'Clockwork Orange' at St Edward's (Totteridge). The bits in the young offenders' unit, naturally. The scene that caused us the most inconvenience was cut - warders marching the new inmate along the M1 main corridor ! '

16th March 2005

Page 206 the GALLERY has been started, with a topical photo that Mike Mearns sent this morning.

Mike's picture introduces this page, which will be the start of a batch of photos from his contemporary Larry Shine.

How are we doing with MISSING FRIENDS ? Any more candidates or clues ?

15th March 2005

Talking of yon McGonagall, ye'll love tae visit :

15th March 2005

Permission has been granted to copy over the article about the election of Peter Jennings as a Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society. This is now displayed in the "OTHER NEWS" part of the NEWS section, along with an interesting email that Peter sent me.
(Click here to go straight to it).

Peter has also been very quick to respond to a request for photos : a batch will be heading this way in a matter of days.

Remember Larry Shine who originally came from the Dublin area and joined Blacklion in 1959 ? He has kept in touch with Danny O'Hagan over the years and recently handed him some photos for the website. This is one of those periods which has not yet been represented very well, and I think that you will be very pleased with the new material. (Currently being prepared for the GALLERY section).


1. What's all this about 'new management' then ?
I'm waiting for the company that holds our website name (www.thepelicans.org.uk) to transfer 'ownership' to a new 'host'.

To explain : it doesn't look as if I can actually buy the name, even though I was offered it some time back for about £100. However, for £25 FREENETNAME are willing to transfer it to another company, who will act as the new host. This new company will also provide me with a large amount of webspace — so you will be able to send me hundreds more photos etc — and their monthly charge is not much more than their predecessors !

The hand-over process may take up to a fortnight, so I'll be able to introduce more material within the coming week, I should think.

By the way,

a) I don't understand this webname ownership thing any more than you do . . .

b) none of this is costing big bucks, given that I would have had my own broadband system anyway (being of the spoilt brat generation).

2. Are there any other problems ?
Yes — just a small one. The QUICK SEARCH facility is no longer adequate for our needs, now that the website has expanded.

We now have an opportunity to upgrade to a better system which we own. The service that we currently get from BraveNet takes a shot-gun approach to the problem. If you dare to search for something that involves more than one word, the whole bookcase falls down on your head. (©McGonagall).

Using part of the generous contribution that was recently made for the upkeep of the website, I intend to cancel the monthly fee to BraveNet and make a one-off payment for an improved system.

13th March 2005

Who said "Philately will get you nowhere" ? Not true.

If you want to see how far it got Peter Jennings (SC 1959 - 60), start by looking at http://www.indcatholicnews.com/philat.htm and check with Google to see how many other articles have been written about him.

(I have written to the Independent Catholic News for permission to reproduce their article).

I am grateful to Pat McHale for discovering this and passing on the information so promptly — but not quick enough because his second email arrived almost immediately with an astonishingly quick response to the MISSING FRIENDS
Appendix. I've a feeling that the long lost Michael Kelly will be re-discovered this week because of Pat's initiative.

For which we all say Many thanks to Pat, once again, for his vigilance — and the way in which he spends all his spare time watching his monitor!

(Quis cusodiet ipses custodies comes to mind)

12th March 2005

I am now functioning on 3 cylinders, but there is still lots of spluttering when the clutch is let out. Consequently, little progress was made last week. Even so, a new Appendix called "MISSING FRIENDS" is now operating and I hope that this will act as a focus for seeking out more of our 'old' classmates / colleagues who haven't re-connected yet.

It goes without saying that there is always great rejoicing in Devon when we catch up with just one new face — and this week, there's much excitement because Peter Finn has re-discovered Desmond Boyle. (More, later in the week).

Please have a look at
MISSING FRIENDS and let me know if you have anything to add to what has been started.

And have you looked at today's entry on the Messageboard ? Sychronicity or what ?

5th March 2005

If you are following Maurice's GAP YEAR
(Page 179 of the GALLERY or go straight to it by clicking here) more has been added today.

At present, we are not sure how much from that period can be used. Maurice is scanning his slides and transcribing letters sent to his family etc.
If it gets to be quite sizeable I will move it to the HISTORIES section, where, logically, it belongs.

I have caught the dreaded 'man-flu' and don't want to breathe all over you — so forgive me if I disappear to bed to write my will and put my affairs in order.

4th March 2005

Pat McHale thought that you might find the following of interest, if you attended St Columba's:

Thank you, Pat.

1st March 2005 (Surely not!)

Maurice Billingsley's Letter From Fribourg can be reached via Page 179 of the GALLERY or go straight to it by clicking here.

28th February 2005

You will find that the GALLERY's Page 204 is now complete and Page 205 has been started. Thank you, Mike Mearns and Maurice Billingsley for this. More to follow, shortly.

27th February 2005

Follow more of Maurice Billingsley's 'GAP' year, either from Page 179 of the GALLERY or go straight to it by clicking here.

Please note : As it unfolds, you will see that Maurice's postcards from his year in Gap are a sort of diary. I persuaded Maurice
to pass it on to us because, amongst other things, it is a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of the daily minutiae of seminary
life of nearly 40 years ago.

26th February 2005

Believe me when I tell you that there is a cunning plan behind this website. It's simple, really : where possible I try to deal with each item in strict 'date order'. However Mike Mearns sent me another contribution for the REMINISCENCES Appendix and I just had to let it jump the queue. THANK YOU Mike — I laughed out loud when I read about the bread wrappers.

The website has nearly used up all of its available SPACE : in fact, it has been running on empty for some time now. Consequently, I just cannot find enough room for any more audio material (such as David Walker's cd of the Pueri Cantores or more tracks available from the Bundoran album).

As you may have already noticed, the website 'inhabits' two web spaces, one owned bY FREENETNAME and the other by PLUSNET. The latter cannot allow me any further room unless I upgrade to a more expensive / expansive 'business package'.

I still have plenty of space available with FREENETNAME (who charge me for the website name www.thepelicans.org.uk*). However, they don't seem to be allowing me to store any further material on their site, even though I pay their monthly charge. Hopefully, this impasse will be resolved in the coming week or so and I will be able to bring you 'the big stuff'.

OLIVIA O'DOLAN has very kindly sent money to Pat Gibbons to pay for the upkeep of the website. What a friend we have here! This is a lovely gesture, but it embarrasses me. This space problem WILL be solved soon, I'm sure, and it shouldn't involve any further cost.

*FREE NET NAME — get it ? A couple of years ago I had the chance to buy the site name from them for £99 but didn't, because I felt that I had been trapped into it. Owning the name gives you long-term security and allows you to get it 'hosted' anywhere.

18th February 2005

If you knew the late Sean Hughes MP, you will be pleased to find a further tribute to him in the OBITUARIES section — this time by HON. ROBERT G. TORRICELLI in the House of Representatives, USA.

17th February 2005

1. The latest letter of thanks from Fr David Cullen WF is now displayed in the APPEALS section. It is certainly worth re-reading. You might even want to print this off, if you have thoughts about raising money for him locally. He takes great care to tell us exactly how the donations are spent and every time he writes we get a good insight into the marvellous work that he and his colleagues are doing.

His email address is ddavid(at)zamnet(dot)zm if you want to contact him directly.

2. The Familiar Sounds Appendix now has a second extract from the St Matthew Passion — the haunting Finale Chorus. I notice that I've chopped off a bar or two at the end, but who's countin' ?

16th February 2005

Maurice's Stations of The Cross now has an accompaniment from the St Matthew Passion — which is less than 1 mb and therefore easier/ faster to download. (Go to the PASS-IT-ON Appendix to find this).

You will also find this piece of music in the FAMILIAR SOUNDS Appendix, in which I store some of the (beautiful) music that I remember from my own days with the White Fathers.

If there are any glaring omissions, please let me know. So, before you rush to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboards, the following will soon be stored there : Allegri's "Misere mei" and the "Sequence" from the Requiem Mass — which I have always remembered by its first line : Dies irae, dies illa.

(with much-belated thanks to 'Ted' Heath and Fr Monaghan)

PS Recently, you will recall that DAVID WALKER worked his socks off to create a cd of the Pueri Cantores. Some of you will already be in possession of a copy (and, like me perhaps, still need to reimburse him for the production/mailing costs). This is the next item that I will 'showcase'.

14th February 2005

Olivia O'Dolan and Mike Mearns will be just two people who will be pleased to know that "Beautiful Bundoran" is now available in the Familiar Sounds Appendix — sung by Kathleen Fitzgerald, main vocalist in the Richard Fitzgerald Ceili Band album. It was recorded in the sixties, and rumour has it that some of the backing vocals on this album were added by Blacklion boys Eric Creaney, Danny O'Hagan and others.

Did I tell you that Kathleen is now living in Bundoran — and Barney and Ritchie are still performing as a duo ?

SINCERE THANKS to Olivia, Una & Mike for this (first) track.

13th February 2005

Maurice Billingsley is asked by his parish to take charge of The Stations of The Cross once every Lent. Recently, he sent me a copy of the material that he has used for the past few years. I thought that some of you might find it very useful, so I have reproduced it in the PASS-IT-ON section.

The music that I have chosen to accompany this item is Allegri's Miserere mei, but it is a hefty 9.5mb and I will have to find a way of reducing its size — or choose a smaller piece.

The PASS-IT-ON section is visited very often but this contribution from Maurice is the first that I have not entered myself. What about it ? We've all come across something in our lives that might benefit others if we share it. I'll add a seemingly trivial item now to show you what I mean.

10th February 2005

Sorry — I messed up the layout for the Rogation Day plainchant.

Go on : have another go. (Click here to go straight there).

9th February 2005

Eugene MacBride has added his memories to the tribute to Gerry (Ged) Wynne. Click here to go straight to it, or go to the OBITUARIES section (left)

Robbie Dempsey suggested that when people listen to the Rogation Day plainchant, they may wish to follow the responses — so, click here to go straight to it. (Alternatively, go to the Familiar Sounds Appendix to select it).

Another offering from Maurice Billingsley coming up.

(No, I haven't forgotten the 3 other items promised!)

8th February 2005

We have excellent friends in Olivia O'Dolan and her sister Una. This morning I received the "Fitzgerald's Bundoran Ceili Band" album that Olivia promised me just yesterday. I have reproduced the cover and you can see this on Page 204 of the GALLERY. The album belongs to Una, who has kindly lent it to me for the duration, i.e. until I have created a cd and a website copy for the "Familiar Sounds" Appendix.

Sincere thanks, then, to Una and Olivia — and to Mike Mearns who started the ball rolling, way back in September 2003.

7th February 2005

A tribute to the late Gerry Wynne, written by his friend Pat Cassells, can be found on Page 8 of the OBITUARIES section.

Our thanks and condolences to his sister, Frances Murphy.

3rd February 2005

You may recall that Tony Smyth and John & Margaret Morton lent me copies of the Wopsy books, from which I was able to create Page 35 of the HISTORIES section.

Recently, I started work on transcribing one of the stories but soon found myself sinking in the mire : Fr Scriven had a wonderful knack of story-telling and his illustrator(s) were inspired BUT much of what is written is wholly unacceptable in modern times. As a compromise, therefore, I have reproduced just the first chapter of "Wopsy and the Witch Doctor", which can be accessed via Page 35 (at the bottom) or by clicking here.

If you are desperate to find out what happens next you might ask John, Tony or Margaret to borrow the book — or you can buy one which is currently on offer at eBay and elsewhere!

2nd February 2005

Firstly, may I point you to some work in progress on Page 204 of the GALLERY ? Here you will see an example of some initial co-operation between Fr Michel Groiselle who runs the "International Website of The White Fathers" and ourselves. He has given permission for me to 'borrow' the odd photo (etc) from that site — and I am very pleased to hear that he already uses our site for the same purpose!

Secondly: Fr Peter Smith (UK Provincial) will soon be sending me tributes for several WFs who have died recently. I am very grateful for his help with this ; in the past I have had to wait for this sort of information to filter through rather slowly. So, soon we will have tributes to Fr Geoffrey Sweeney (Priory 1956, St Columba's 1964/5), Fr Christopher O'Doherty (Blacklion 1965-69) and Brother George McNulty and more information about Fr John McNulty (Superior at Ratho, 1966).

In case you don't already know, Eugene is sorting out dates for a 'mini-reunion' at Preston in June and a full-blown over-nighter at The Priory in May. Contact him via eenzee(at)aol(dot)com or ring him (01476) 561 890.

This is a good time to get up in the attic and bring down that Big Book of The Old Days.
We need your stuff and we need it fast. (Have you noiced how the lights keep flickering of late ?). Do it.

24th January 2005

In October 2004, Dr Mike Goodstadt came over to the UK from Toronto, for a two-week trip. He and his his brother Paul made a visit to St Boswell's and there met up with John Martin and his wife Ann. With John's connections, they were able to see inside "St Columba's" (as it was, once). Later, they went on to Dryburgh.

Mike took some photos of the trip and kindly sent them to me. They are now displayed on Page 203 of the GALLERY section.

Mike writes: "
I am now "officially" retired . . . However, I continue to teach at the University, supervise students there, and get involved in various research projects.

I have recently been in touch (again) with Mike Mearns and Tony Visocchi. I have also learned that Robin (Bob) Griffin lives in Ottawa; we hope to get together soon. I see Father Bill Lynch form time to time. As you know, he is in a retirement centre in Toronto. Unfortunately, he is becoming increasingly frail and unwell; prayers would be greatly appreciated. I also managed to get together with John Fowles last year; it was great to see him again."

21st January 2005

On Page 8 of the Obituaries section you will find an initial tribute to Fr John McNulty WF, who died 23rd December 2004. This was taken from the Scottish Catholic Observer, kindly sent to me by Mrs Frances Murphy.

Fr Peter Smith
, Uk Provincial, will also be sending me a further tribute, which will be added at a later date.

18th January 2005

Maurice Billingsley has been mulling over a photo on Page 55 of the GALLERY (
"Deaconite Ordinations at St. Edward's Totteridge 1971") and has come up with several more names.

Thanks for this help, Maurice.

17th January 2005

I have completed the INDEX for Pages 51 -100 of the GALLERY section. If there were more time, I would have made it more detailed ; instead, I have provided just enough information for people to judge whether any particular page is of interest or relevant to them. I hope that this will suffice.

Would someone please test it out and see if I have made any glaring errors?

15th January 2005

Robbie (Jack) Dempsey and Maurice Billingsley have both written to draw attention to articles about Brendan Gormley, Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee, currently managing the enormous sums of money that are being contributed by the British people towards the tsuunami appeal.

Brendan was a contemporay of theirs who served his time at Blacklion, Holland Villas, Birkdale and St Edwards', Totteridge.

I have reproduced two articles about Brendan, from The Times OnLine and the Tablet in the NEWS section. (Click here).

My thanks to Maurice and Robbie for pointing me in the right direction.

13th January 2005

I thought that you might like to read the following extract from the letter that Kees Neeft sent me recently:

"In Holland we have every year a reunion of former students of White Fathers (VOSWP).

Most of the time I meet there classmates of the first (6) years of seminary and of philosophy. In the afternoon usually there is a lecture by a missionary who is on holidays.

Those reunions are also attended by missionaries on holidays and resigned white fathers (and brothers even with their wives).

We don't have a website such as The Pelicans. I think it a good idea to suggest to the committee members of the association."

11th January 2005

Some recent additions and re-arrangements to the the GALLERY that have been made :

a) Page 198 now contains photos that have been emailed to me recently by Olivia O'Dolan

b) Page 199 is the start of more photos of Broome Hall

c) Pages 200 to 202
are devoted solely to the photos that Kees Neeft sent me of his noviciate
ooyear at Broome Hall (1962/3)

OLIVIA has spent a lot of time over the past weeks trying to identify 'un-named faces' that have appeared in photos of Blacklion throughout the GALLERY. Many requests for help with this are made but, unfortunately, few people respond. I am very grateful to Olivia for the trouble she has taken — and also for providing us with some interesting and up-to-date photos of the Blacklion /Belcoo /Holywell area. (Check these out before you finalise your holiday plans).

It has been very encouraging, also, to receive the contribution from the Netherlands made by KEES. I hope that other parts of Europe, Canada and the US will follow soon. THANK YOU KEES for helping to start what I hope will be a regular flow of memorabilia and reminiscences.

Olivia also sent me this photo of Fr Packy Harrity.

On 3rd December she wrote this message :
"Hi just to say that Fr Packy Harrity, who is based in Preston, England, spent an enjoyable week of his two week break in October with our family here in Belcoo, County Fermanagh. He visited his cousins in Blacklion ''the black''. He and Brid had a nice chat about the old days at Loughan House. He hopes to return in the summertime for another break."

(Fr Packy Haritty is conected to Olivia's family through her late mother and his late mother. They were second cousins — as was Bud and Caith's mother in Blacklion).

Not fogotten : David Walker's cd and the Gallery Index for Pages 51 - 100 (which is a slow slog!)

5th January 2005

The last of Vincent Celano's photos have been added to the 'Heston' Appendix :
pupils of St Mary's in 1954

4th January 2005

The WF's Parish at Heston Appendix has one more page of photos added : pupils of St Mary's in 1954

3rd January 2005 (Where does the time ago ? Only a year ago we were just getting over Christmas).

In his youth, Vincent Celano, was a parishioner of Our Lady Queen of Apostles church in Heston, when it was run by the White Fathers. He has dug out some photos of his time at the school which they operated in the Church Hall, plus some of his First Communion pictures. This delightful addition of new faces has enlarged this section to such an extent that I have converted it into an APPENDIX : "WF's Parish At Heston". This will also make it easier for ex-Parishioners who want to access the site purely for this material.

As always, a sincere THANK YOU is due to Vincent for the contribution he has made.

some of Vincent's photos have yet to be displayed.

1st January 2005

Very Best Wishes for the New Year

We start the New Year with an addition to Page 198 of the GALLERY. Thanks to Olivia O'Dolan, we now have some up-to-date photos of the Blacklion/Belcoo railway station, which must have been familiar to everyone who attended St Augustine's. Have you been following her Reminiscences ?

In the pipeline :

1. a valuable contribution to Page 31 of the HISTORIES section, which is devoted to the old WF parish of Heston in Middlesex
2. some recordings for the "Sounds Familiar" Appendix, taken from the excellent cd that David Walker recently produced.

Just for the record, the visitor counter now reads 13,300. There is evidence, however, that quite a lot of visits are not included because people have 'bookmarked' pages which follows the WELCOME page. (So they bypass the Welcome page).

I'd be grateful if people would avoid doing this because people searching for our site have more chance of finding it if search engines notice that
our website is increasingly popular. I have registered the site name (http://www.thepelicans.org.uk) with Google, for example, and am hoping that they may be persuaded to put us nearer the top of their list of suggested sites, following a search request. So, for example, when someone uses Google to search for "Blacklion", our site might then appear on the first page of sites that Google produces.