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22nd December 2009
• There are 15 Christmas carols in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix, listed together for convenience.
Whether you like Christmas or not, it's impossible not to have a Pavlovian response when you listen to some of these carols. Take 'In Dulci Jubilo', for example : where does it take you when you hear it ? For me, it's Midnight Mass with 'Ted Heath' and the Priory choir, cocoa in the Ref and the prospect of going home soon.
• To end the year I must pass on this piece of advice from Rob Brydon : he says that whenever he has to face some awful moral dilemma he takes a moment to reflect and then says to himself "What would Rod Stewart do in this situation?"
• Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all the staff.
8th December 2009
• Robbie Dempsey has supplied some very useful commentary for the photos displayed in GALLERY Page 367 —for which many thanks again, Robbie.
6th December 2009
• Owen Gormley passed on some photos to Robbie Dempsey who passed them on to me. Some have yet to be labelled, but you, yourself, may remember the who / where / when and could therefore email me. See GALLERY Page 367.
• When I introduced the 'Sounds Familiar' Appendix all those years ago I intended it to be for the 'Sacred music' that formed the background to our time with the White Fathers. Mostly, it would be plainchant, I told myself. Gradually it included Catholic hymns—but I soon became ecumenical with 'The Truth' and slipped in some Methodist / Anglican / etc songs of praise. Then came the truly secular (such as 'Into My Arms' by Nick Cave and 'Reconciliation' by Ron Kavana).
This is how the rot sets in, I'm afraid, but I hope that some of you, at least, are happy to live with both The Sacred and The Profane.
Today's new entries: Schumann's 'The Walnut Tree' , 'The King of Love My Shepherd Is' and 'There is a Green Hill Far Away'.
2nd December 2009
• I have tested the new security feature with three browsers (Firefox, Safari and Opera) and would like to hear from those who use a different browser to see how they have fared. If you have any problems please let me know—and make sure you email me to get pass-codes if you need them. I have emailed dozens of people over the past 2 days but have not been able to contact everyone.
The CONTACTS section should now be completely private, as long as people are careful not to pass this information to 'non-Pelicans'
If you receive 'Nigerian scams' please delete them immediately, preferably without opening them. Some are pretty obvious, but others are not, e.g. the recent invasion of our friend's email account which allowed the scammers to send emails in his name (and to read all his mail, no doubt). It also makes sense to delete the recent email that I sent you.
I have been reliably informed that an email address on its own is not enough information for a 'take-over'—so our previous set-up was probably quite harmless, given that we are relatively small-fry. HOWEVER, we are a site that is associated with donations to various African countries and we may therefore be attracting some of the bad guys who view us as people who might fall for a hard-luck story.
I am most grateful, once again, to Morgan West (of www.studioblip.com) who gave up precious time to write the code to produce the code.
21st November 2009
PLEASE READ THIS ENTRY. APOLOGIES THAT IT HAS TO BE SO LONG.
• It's good to see the Messageboard being used more regularly. It's a fast and easy way of communicating with all visitors to the site—whether it's to broadcast urgent news, make wry observations or simply to introduce yourself as a newcomer to the site.
Every time that someone leaves a message, the providers of the system (Bravenet) send me an email and this gives me the ability to monitor developments. I always look forward to these emails and only rarely do I have to edit the content.
The current Messageboard facility has been running for 10 years and as far as I can remember I have only deleted three or four contentious messages. Today I took the decision to remove the recent message from Jim — Anonymous Jim — because it made reference to an aspect of website security :
He wrote : " Having everyone's e-mail address on the Contacts section even if some have "dot" instead of "." is pretty much of a give away! "
If this is a matter of fact, why am I interfering with Jim's right to make this observation ?
Firstly, the comment should have been made privately (to me) and not broadcast in such a way as to further compromise the security of our colleagues' contact details. The last thing we need is for attention to be drawn to this aspect of how we hold such information.
Secondly, I have put a lot of thought into how to provide people with easy access their friends/ contemporaries by email, phone or letter. (Ask around and see how this has enabled the rapid expansion of peer-groups, for example).
A long time ago I kept all contact details as an alphabetical file held in a 'secret' place on a specific web page. You may recall that to access the information on this page you had to find the BLACK SPOT (Jim). The system was a failure because the instructions on how to access the file couldn't be broadcast openly. Consequently, I had to send emails to people individually (to all known and unknown visitors to the site). Worst of all, the contact data could be stolen by 'spiders', i.e. robot-like programs that hunt for contact information that can be sold on.
Eugene MacBride used to send out printed lists of these contact details, keeping them up-to-date until about a year before his death in November 2006. This was a very expensive and time-consuming service, of course, but Eugene was a very generous person and dedicated to making 'The Pelicans' work.
From the start of the website, I ran a parallel system, thinking that this was a more sustainable medium for managing the inevitable amendments to individuals' details and the insertion of new records. However, now that Eugene has passed on, the integrity of the file depends upon individuals letting me know of changes.
To improve data security I decided to create 26 separate files of contact information, one for each letter of the 'surname-alphabet'. To deter detection by 'spider programs' further, I camouflaged the parts of all email addresses that signal their presence, e.g. writing "at" in full for @ and "dot" for "."
So firstname.lastname@example.org because jim21(at)hotmail(dot)com
It's certainly not perfect but these two strategies undoubtedly make it more difficult for spider-progs.
BUT ANYONE CAN READ THE LISTS, YOU CRY!
Yes, but these b-companies don't pay real people to hunt for contact lists by actually reading websites. Instead, they run spider programs flat out 24/7 and small fry such as us are not of interest. In general.
If you can devise a improved system, please let me know—though not if it involves a great deal more time and money!
Please note : to pull off a scam such as the one that John & Margaret Morton recently suffered you'd need more information than which is held on the website.
19th November 2009
• If you've read the Messageboard today you will know that Ludge McGovern died in September. I have started a tribute for him on Page 15 of the OBITUARIES section and have included some heartfelt comments by John Byrne on the occasion when he met Ludge in Belcoo (May this year. See the REUNIONS section).
Some of the most affectionate memories that we all have from our days in any one of the WFs Houses of Study are those of people who cooked, cleaned, farmed and ferried students and staff. Ludge was one such person, so I'd be grateful if you would supply me with more material that I can display in his honour.
17th November 2009
• Look who's surfaced after all these years—on GALLERY Page 367.
15th November 2009
• I haven't been able to keep my promises this week, but I have managed to add the following :
a) a couple more tracks to the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix (by The Choirs of Britain's Cathedrals)
b) some links to the menu of the St Columba's Appendix that point people to the superb photo collections
we now have of the site as it is today (donated by people such as Gerard Lenaghan, Peter Jennings and Mike Ellis).
• It was heartening to receive the following email today
I'm so glad to have come across your beautiful website. I have lived in Newtown St. Boswells for the past 5months only, used to be a Church of Scotland minister but now am a full-time writer and I spend a lot of time walking with my dogs whilst thinking up the next chapter for my latest book! My late father was Roman Catholic.
I came across the building which used to be called St. Columba's not long after I moved here. I have enjoyed walking through the grounds. Last week, I came across the orchard which is terribly overgrown now although I'm sure it was beautiful in its day. There are still lots of apples in the trees and on the ground, and different kinds of fruit and trees - it has all grown wild but I am able to imagine how it would have looked in the past. I also came across three graves and decided today to try and find out more about the people who were buried there. Fr. Drost and Fr. Jean-Marie Rijkers - I remember their names because I didn't have a notebook with me and their names were easy to remember because they were unusual. I will return later this week to get the name of the other Father who is buried there, although I've no doubt you will have notes of him. The burial ground is overgrown too which is quite sad. Your website has helped me to find out a little bit more about the White Fathers, and I saw a photo of Fr. Drost. Fr. Rijkers and the fellow White Father whose name I didn't remember, died very young. Do you have any further information about the three of them and any more photos? I also wondered if there were other graves in the same small burial ground, because on the opposite of the three graves with headstones, there are what looks like three other possible graves but without headstones, but all is overgrown now?
I have enjoyed reading the website and thank you for keeping history and the memories of people alive for future generations.
With best wishes.
since sending my email to you, I have since found on your site a really interesting history of the White Fathers in Scotland, where my curiosity was satisfied! So no need to reply to my first email.
9th November 2009
• The tribute to Vinny Callaghan now contains more photos and an extract from the funeral service (with thanks to Eric Creaney). Click here to view the additions. (More to come).
6th November 2009
• By popular request, I am encouraged to add more items to the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix. Today, two traditional/favourite hymns : 'Guide Me Oh Thou Great Redeemer' and 'For All The Saints'. (Several more to come this week).
Did you ever sing the Haydn Mass at The Priory, under the guidance of Fr Hugh Monaghan and 'Ted' Heath ? If so, can you let me know which one was it ? Please let me know: I am keen to add it to our collection.
• I am working on material that was sent to me a long time ago by Eric Creaney. Hopefully, some of it will be ready during the coming week, so please don't go away.
5th November 2009
• You will be aware, of course, that 'Vinny' Callaghan's funeral was held today. Eric Creaney sent me a copy of the front page from the service, now on display in the OBITUARIES section. Click here to view it and judge whether you would like to add your own comments. (If so, please send them to me via email and I will post them immediately).
Our thanks to Chris Benton and Eric for keeping us informed of events.
30th October 2009
• I have added two more photos have been added to GALLERY Page 367 taken by Mike Ellis at a lunch in Guilford with John Joyce, John Mattock and his wife Lynn. Thanks, Mike.
• Mike and Ian Scott would like your views on a proposed reunion for next year. Click here to read their flyer. (Repeated in the REUNIONS section)
28th October 2009
• Mike Ellis sent me 36 photos of the recent reunion at Melrose and these are now ready for you to view.
Go to the REUNIONS section and work your way through the 'Melrose Reunion' item. I have chosen 20+ from the Mike's batch and have quite deliberately included a few of the excellent portraits of certain individuals who have appeared before.
THANK YOU MIKE, once again—and to those others who have recently been rallying the troops. You have given the association a much-needed buzz.
• Have you seen the message from George Dunnion on our Message Board ? I'm sure that he'll be particularly pleased to see these up-to-date photos of his contemporaries at Melrose.
• Please check your address details (etc) in the CONTACTS section and let me know if they need updating. I'd be grateful if you would also make sure that I have information about re-discovered 'Pelicans' who are not featured there.
• My apologies for the recent lack of activity on the website. The latest round of redundancies left me without secretarial help, so a stack of emails accumulated and had to be given priority. (Doris still comes in to tidy up, though, bless her).
14th October 2009
•Regular visitor to the site will be familiar with the excellent letters that are sent to us by Fr David Cullen, stationed out in Chipata, Zambia. I display them in the APPEALS section, even though he never directly asks for money to help the people that he supports. His account of life at the Mphangwe Prayer Centre speaks for itself, and, as a consequence, many 'Pelicans' continue to help Fr David via our Treasurer, Pat Gibbons.
I never know how he finds time to ensure that his friends and colleagues have a regular update on life at the Prayer Centre and the way in which he carefully distributes the small amounts of money at his disposal. I hope, therefore, that you, too, can find time to read his account—and, perhaps, send a donation to help him with his work.
Fr David's most recent letter can be read by clicking here.
•Mike Ellis and his contemporaries have organised many a successful reunion recently, all of which are now documented in the REUNIONS section, along with many photos of those who took part. I'm pleased to say that you'll see several 'new faces' that haven't featured on the site before.
Please read Mike's suggestion for a 2010 reunion, included in his account of the Melrose get-together.
2nd October 2009
•There is just one 'new' photo on Page 367 of the GALLERY , sent to me by Robbie Dempsey. I've done what I can to improve the quality, but the original is very poor. HOWEVER, if you were at St Columba's in 1960 you might be able to identify some of your year-group.
Please note that I scoured through ALL the old Pelican magazines some time ago and reproduced every available photo / article of interest. I originally rejected this latest photo because it was almost unreadable and at that time I couldn't find a way of improving it.
1st October 2009
Many of you will have known Fr Tom Conway who died in August at the age of 94. The tribute to him from the British Province can now be read on Page 15 of the OBITUARIES section. I will be pleased, of course, to add any comments that you may wish to include.
I am grateful to Peter Finn for sending me details of his training for the priesthood.
26th September 2009
• If you go to Page 366 of the GALLERY you will find photos of two 'mini-reunions' that were held in London recently. We're grateful to Mike Ellis for providing the pictures and for the work involved in arranging these events. One took place at the East India Club in St James's, London, courtesy of club member Peter Jennings.
When time allows, these reunion photos will soon feature in the REUNIONS section.
• Were you a contemporary of John Mattock ? If so, you may wish to know that I have just updated his details in the CONTACTS section.
11th September 2009
• We've got two reunions taking place this month: Peter Jennings has arranged for a few people to join him today at his club in St James's (London) and Mike Ellis and Ian Scott have organised a get-together at the George & Abbotsford Hotel in Melrose for 26th September. Though not able to attend these sessions myself, I hope to receive some photos to mark these occasions.
•Nobody seems to have noticed that the PASS-IT-ON Appendix is no longer with us. It was intended to be a mutual-aid device for all of us to share advice and information that might be of benefit to others. I was the only contributor, as it turned out, so I thought that it might be best to discontinue the service.
So how do I let you know about the excellent media player that I bought a couople of months ago for less than £80 ?
This is a device that allows us to enjoy ' stuff ' stored on my computer—such as films, photos and musical tracks—via the digital tv that's set up in the comfort of our main lounge.
Amazingly, I can even copy items on to a memory stick and just take the stick into the lounge, plug it into the media player and watch a film immediately, for example.
Ideally, though, you need to buy a portable hard disk as well, on which you can store a library of material.
They even supply the hdmi cable that links the media player to the tv.
To find out more, go to the following link :
(Tell me if you found this interesting / useful).
3rd September 2009
• John & Margaret (Morton) came across some photos of the 1999 reunion in Rome and these are displayed in the REUNIONS section (see left pane).
As a general policy, I do not remove material from the website, knowing that newcomers to the site and others might wish to catch up on what went before. Whenever the opportunity arises, I try to fill in gaps, such as the 1999 reunion in Rome (as above).
Our collection of Eugene's Newsletters is still incomplete, unfortunately. I digitised all copies that I had in my possession, but I was a relative latecomer to The Pelicans—the website and I only go back 11 years. So, would you kindly go to the NEWS section and look to see if you have a 'missing' Newsletter that you could send me ?
30th August 2009
• As you may know, the following was recently posted by Martin Whillis on the Messageboard :
" Married priests: Others who visit Pelicans may be interested to read a letter proposing the establishment of a married African clergy, which was written in 1890 by Cardinal Lavigerie, and addressed to Pope Leo Xlll.
24th August 2009
• John & Margaret Morton sent me some material for creating a tribute to Zelda—now displayed on Page 14 of the OBITUARIES section. Please let me know if you would like to add anything of your own to this short celebration.
23rd August 2009
• GALLERY Page 364 contains a reminder of things that might still go ictus* in the night for some people PLUS 4 photos from John Quinn, who may have been a contemporary of yours at Blacklion or Broome Hall in the early sixties.
*n. 4th declension
21st August 2009
• Four items have been added to our SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix, in preparation for a record of Zelda Macbride's funeral : Myfanwy, Cwm Rhondda, Amazing Grace and Our God reigns.
17th August 2009
• I have been out of circulation during the past two weeks, involved in preparations for my daughter's wedding. Consequently, I have a bit of catching up to do. This UPDATE is a priority, however. Olivia O'Dolan has passed on news of Ludge McGovern from John Byrne. Below is an extract of their emails :
From: Olivia O'Dolan
Sent: 17 August 2009 11:53:36
To: Paul West
I received this message from John Byrne this morning. It is to let us know that Ludge McGovern who used to take the WF students around in 1960s (and older students) is very ill at Sligo General Hospital.
Perhaps you would include this news in any update on the Pelicans.
Thank you. God bless, Olivia.
From: John Byrne
To: Olivia O'Dolan
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 11:34 AM
Subject: Ludge McGovern
Hello Mairead, Olivia and Charlie,
I've just had a very sad phone call from Susan McGovern.
She is very distressed as Ludge was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last week and is in Sligo General Hospital. The prognosis is apparently not great. Susan has asked for our prayers, hence this e mail.
I will keep in touch with her as she has been very kind to thank us all for what we said about Ludge and the joy which the May reunion brought into his heart.
God bless for now, John
4th August 2009
• Mike Ellis organised another Pelican reunion on 27th July—this time in Edinburgh. Attendees included Mike himself, Pat McHale, Robbie Dempsey, Robin Russell, Ian Scott, Tom and Mary Canning. Go to GALLERY Page 363 to see photos that Mike took of the occasion.
Our thanks to Mike for his efforts to bring together as many friends a s he can from the past.
• The following arrangements have been made for the funeral of Zelda MacBride : a Requiem Mass will take place at St Mary the Immaculate in Grantham at noon, Thursday 13th August. The commital will be at the Crematorium in Grantham, followed by a Reception to celebrate Zelda's life (venue to be arranged).
Please let John Morton know if you hope to attend or if you have a message of condolence that you would like to forward to Zelda's family.
• It must be said again, at this poignant moment, that we owe a debt of gratitude to Jarlath and Eugene for doing the work that originated and maintained the life of 'The Pelicans' , ably supported and encouraged throughout by our dearly departed, Zelda.
1st August 2009
• If you have read today's Messageboard you will know that Zelda died yesterday evening, in the company of her family. Her parting is such a sad thing.
Bernie (Eugene's sister) will let us know about the funeral arrangements and I will pass these on immediately, of course.
31st July 2009
• A new entry to the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix : Nick Cave's "Into My Arms". He's well known for his religious doubts, of course, but I hope that you find this interesting.
• Yes, I am awaiting news.
30th July 2009
• Fr Patrick Odhiambo MAfr has written an article about his life in Konadougou Parish, in the western part of Burkina Faso. I decided to display this in the APPEALS section because of issues that he raises in the closing paragraphs.
He is not directly asking for financial help ; the narrative speaks for itself. It would be wonderful if someone took an interest in his work and, at least, provided moral support for the hard work that he and his colleagues are undertaking. Even a single email to this effect might help.
(Patrick is in correspondence with Robbie Dempsey, who forwarded the article to me).
• More sad news on the Messageboard. Were you a contemporary of Seamus McShane ?
29th July 2009
• It would appear that poor Zelda's condition has deteriorated substantially. I will let you know of any developments.
27th July 2009
• As promised, photos of the reunion that took place in Bishop's Waltham to celebrate the blessing of the 'new' parish church in 1998 are now on display in the REUNIONS section. This was prompted by the photos that Margaret and John sent me recently. Subsequently, I rounded up all the relevant photos from other parts of the GALLERY and re-displayed them in their REUNIONS 'home.'
26th July 2009
• Peter Jennings has sent me an update regarding the beatification of Cardinal Newman. It includes some detail of the 'miraculous cure' on which this process hinges and clarifies issues that have fuelled some of the speculation in the press. Go to the NEWS section to read his article or click here.
(Peter is Press Secretary to Bishop William Kenney, CP, Diocesan Administrator, and the Archdiocese of Birmingham).
25th July 2009
• John & Margaret (Morton), regular contributors to the site, have come across yet more photos from the past. I've displayed them on GALLERY Page 362 and will later re-present them in the REUNIONS sction, appropriately filed.
Please can you help with some names that are missing on Page 362 ?
24th July 2009
• Tony Smyth also took some photos of the reunion at Bishop's Waltham, held in May this year.
You can view them by going to the REUNIONS section (where there are now 3 pages of photos of this event) or by selecting GALLERY Page 361.
Our thanks to Tony for this contribution.
Later, on 21st July 2009
• Eugene's sister Bernie sent this brief email to John Morton today :
It is 9am Tuesday morning and Stefan has just rang me to say that he is with Zelda in the hospital and she has regained consciousness. Thank God.
Will keep you informed.
• Looking through Eugene's 'Pelican Files' I found a tribute that he wrote to mark Fr Chris O'Doherty's death. I have added this to John Byrne's great appreciation of the man. See Page 9 of the OBITUARIES section by clicking here.
I get quite sad when reading through Eugene's stuff ; the spirit of the man comes over very strongly in his writings.
Let's hope that Zelda pulls through and confounds the medics. Who knows ?
21st July 2009
• Patricia Hawkins recently sent me an article from "Sunday Vision" entitled "Missionaries say sorry to Uganda". It's a revealing insight into the way in which the WFs operate in Africa today.
As you may know, Patricia is a regular contributor to our website. Some of you may have known her father, Dr Hawkins, as the local GP during your time at Blacklion.
Question : was St Augustine's also the parish church for the local Catholic congregation ?
John Byrne writes :
The answer is no. The local parish church is in Killinagh. The church is situated on a hill just a few hundred yards from the former St Augustine's. Sometimes priests from the college community assisted by saying masses there. Also, in 1966 Frs Eddie Brady, Maurice Cunningham and Joe Mullen were ordained in that church.
This was confirmed by Patricia.
Thank you both for such a speedy response.
20th July 2009
• I have just received some sad news from John Morton, telling me that Zelda has suffered a serious stroke and is now in a deep coma. The prognosis is not good, I'm afraid, so she needs your thoughts and prayers at this critical time. If there is any further news I will let you know immediately.
Our thanks to Bernie (Eugene's sister) for getting in touch with John so swiftly.
19th July 2009
• Vincent O'Neill (now living at Castle Pollard, Co. Westmeath in Ireland) has sent us what I suspect is his final, final batch of photos. Go to Page 360 of the GALLERY to view them. He has provided us with some careful annotation, too, but there are still a few gaps that you might have a think about.
THANK YOU Vincent, again. Don't let me dissuade you from finding some more!
• I've been re-reading through some of Eugene's Newsletter this week. It's hard to believe that he left us for something better nearly 3 years ago. I'm hoping, of course, that he's had an opportunity to work through an introductory course on using the internet. I was never quite sure if he'd actually seen the Pelicans' website. His computer preferred word-processing, in the main, I think.
(If YOU want to read his Newsletters, go to the NEWS sction).
16th July 2009
• The 'informal' reunion that was held near Guildford on 12th July was a real success, apparently. People gathered at The Queen's Head in East Clandon for Sunday lunch and drinks, after which they all trundled back with John and Janet Joyce to spend a few hours at their place. They all agreed to meet up for another enjoyable reunion in 2010.
Mike Ellis took a superb set of photos of those who attended. These are now on display ion the REUNIONS section (left).
THANK YOU Mike (once again).
13th July 2009
• John Scully will be discussing his forthcoming sponsored run with Three Counties Radio tomorrow at 4.00pm. I hope to be able to feature it on the website for those of you who are not able to hear it. (Nothing to do with your actual hearing, you understand).
• Patricia Hawkins de Medina writes (26th June) : " I thought I would send you this -- Brother Paddy's ghost tractor maybe . . . Not really, but I was driving into Blacklion behind this old tractor in the snow and my husband took this quite evocative silhouette against the wintry Blacklion sky."
Thank you Patricia—a wonderful photo (and even better when see in its original size). I will add this to the Blacklion Appendix.
10th July 2009
• Margaret & John Morton sent me a copy of the video they took of the recent reunion at Bishop's Waltham (May29th-31st). For various reasons (mostly technical) it has taken me nearly 3 weeks to make it available on the website. I've been forced to slice the original into 6 clips, unfortunately, but I hope that the result is acceptable.
Go to the REUNIONS section to view it.
THANK YOU once again, Margaret & John.
In the meantime, material has been sent to me by Patricia Hawkins, Vincent O'Neill and Tony Smyth, all of which will apear in due course.
2nd July 2009
• I was delighted to receive the following note from Mike Ellis today :
We have got a nice little group of some of our generation getting together at the Pub for Sunday lunch on Sunday 12th July.
We hope to meet at the Queens head at East Clandon - east of Guildford at 13.30! The pub is subject to confirmation!
25th June 2009
• At the recent Bishop's Waltham reunion we discussed the epic journey that John Scully will be undertaking in late July to raise money for StreetInvest. We were all concerned that this mammoth run might be too much for him and that he might endanger his health. We wondered whether it would be irresponsible to encourage him.
Mike Ellis met up with John this week and found him in bullish mood and looking fit as a flea (as I didn't at his age).
And here's the photo to prove it.
To read about John's sponsored run, click here.
It's an even longer way from King's Cross to St Boswell's if you travel by National Express—but perhaps this could be the 'healthier option' for John.
24th June 2009
• GALLERY Page 358 and 359 are now complete. Included is a batch of photos sent in by Robbie Dempsey, taken when he met up with Pat McDermott for a short visit to Sligo, Fermanagh, Leitrim etc earlier this month. THANK YOU ROBBIE, once again.
I was undecided about whether to display these photos in the REUNIONS section—given that Robbie and Pat also paid a visit to Olivia in Belcoo. (Where three or more of you are gathered together etc). So, I featured them in both places, given that people need to know that various mini-reunions like this are probably taking place all the time.
If you do meet up with old friends, don't forget to let me know—in advance or afterwards. This will increase the chances of more connections being made. For example, someone who lives in North London might be delighted to discover that their old contemporary Pat McDermott lives near them.
So go to the REUNIONS section instead, if you wish.
19th June 2009
• Please read the latest entry in the Message Board from Chris Benton.
• Some interesting photos have been added to GALLERY Page 358—with thanks to Mike Ellis, Maurice Billingsley and friends.
15th June 2009
• There's an item in the NEWS section for you to read, sent to me by Peter Jennings, Press Secretary to the Archdiocese of Birmingham and the Diocesan Administrator, Bishop William Kenney C.P.
Peter was in high spirits when he rang yesterday—he's a man who obviously loves his job, some bits of which are pretty high profile (as you will see).
He tells me that on 11th September it will be exatly 50 years since he arrived at St Columba's. No doubt he will be celebrating that milestone in style with some contemporaries.
• It's a day for philately : Peter Finn has sent me a Zambian stamp which celebrates the birth of St Ignatius Loyola—now added to GALLERY Page 358.
13th June 2009
• On GALLERY Page 358 we have two photos taken by Zacharie Sorgo, sent to us by Maurice Billingsley.
Zacharie, from Burkina Faso, and his confrére Robert Ubemu from Congo, have both worked in Uganda, but recently completed a course in Spiritual Leadership at St Anselm's Institute in Margate.
• Have you heard of (or used) 'Spotify'yet ? It's a relatively new internet feature that provides free music on demand. It's intended for listening only and is obviously a copy of our 'SOUNDS FAMILIAR' facility !).
12th June 2009
• Jim Youdale was quick off the mark with an email address for John Conlon. This was the immediate reply from John :
Hi Paul, you are welcome to include the bit I did for the BBC on the Pelicans' website. I'm not able to access the website right now, but I'm sure it is fine. I have looked at the site a few times in the past and I want to say well done for giving me access to a nostalgic foray. John
• You will remember that Francis Mackle died recently. I've added his name to the Remembrance List in the OBITUARIES section
along with a some words from his brother Tom. (You will find several photos of Francis if you use the QuickSearch facility).
10th June 2009
I'm taking a liberty with today's entry. On the one hand it is legal—as per the rules for taking items from the BBC website—and on the other, I have not sought the permission of the contributor.
John Conlon will be remembered by many of you who met him at, Broome Hall, for example. He recently contributed a story to the 'Days Like This' section of the BBC's website (Northen Ireland). I discovered this by following the link passed from Patrick McHale, to Robbie Dempsey and through to Maurice Billingsley. (For which, many thanks).
It is such an inspiring story ("My Days In Malawi", as I have dubbed it) that I couldn't resist transcribing it for our REMINISCENCES section.
I have included the (audio) recording that John Conlon made, proof, if you need it, that he typifies the kind of missionary that inspired you and me way back in our youth. Just recently, I had an email from a very disillusioned contributor to our website. I hope that this recording goes some way to ease the rightful / righteous anger that this person is currently feeling.
John now lives in Northern Ireland. If you know how I can contact him, please let me know immediately so that I can ask for belated permission.
9th June 2009
Last week's reunion at Bishop's Waltham was a real success. We enjoyed excellent weather throughout and by Sunday (31st May) 16 people had attended. This is pretty good by any measure, particularly as the last set of students left The Priory over 40 years ago and only a few landmarks remain (such as The Priory cemetery in the grounds of the 'new' parish church).
Martin Hickey came all the way from the US (via his relatives in Cork, in Eire) ; Tony Smyth zigzagged his way by coach from Salford ; Tommy and Margaret Kelly travelled over from Essex ; Maurice and Janet Billingsley drove from Canterbury ; John & Margaret Morton raced in from Sutton Coldfeet—straight off the plane from Italy (almost) —and John Dawson took the early coach from Sheffield, arriving Friday pm.
All-in-all, people made considerable efforts to attend and, as a consequence, it was an excellent weekend.
One of the highlights was Maurice Billingsley's account of the life of Archbishop Hughes WF which, by popular demand, was repeated at the Mass held in the church on the Sunday morning. Thank you, Maurice. Read Maurice's biography of the Archbishop in the PUBLICATIONS Appendix.
Although I have not yet completed the whole account of the reunion, two pages of photos can be seen by clicking here.
Still to come : a video of the weekend that was taken by Margaret Morton (star) and any spare photos that you might have.
26th May 2009
John Byrne has completed the labelling of the photo collection that he produced from the recent Blacklion reunion. (He hadn't identified the location of some of those wonderful landscapes). Go to the REUNIONS section to see them.
THANK YOU, John.
Thought for the Day (Radio 4, Chapt 3 v 9) : "
Don't condemn a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes ".
(By which time he will be out of earshot, anyway, so you can then say what you like).
And you've now got his shoes.
26th May 2009
Regular visitors to the site will have noticed that the APPEALS section has been pretty active this month. On my return from a short break I re-vamped the main APPEALS webpage so that the most recent items are at the top of the table, rather than the reverse. Also, dates have been added to illustrate this.
We have had many visits from people who have offered to sponsor John Scully's mammoth run—including some well-known celebrities, apparently. John was pretty down-hearted about the response a couple of days ago but now things are picking up.
On his behalf : THANK YOU to all those generous people who have taken up the cause.
Robbie Dempsey has now completed the 7th GALLERY index for us (Pages 301-350). As I have said before, it's one of those backroom chores that provides a very useful facility for people who want to scan quickly through the (huge) collection of photos that we have accumulated. THANK YOU ROBBIE.
ALSO : if you hope to attend the reunion at Bishop's Waltham this coming weekend, please go to the REUNIONS section for the latest information.
16th May 2009
John Scully will be taking on a massive sponsored run during the last week of August—from King's Cross, London, to the site of the old St Columba's College in Scotland.
A total of 450 miles, give or take a few blisters !
Please go to the APPEALS section to read about the event and think about sending John some money to help him on this epic journey.
13th May 2009
I have just read a tribute to Fr Tom McKenna WF, which was kindly sent to me by Robbie Dempsey during the run-up to the reunion in October (St Boswell's). I feel doubly guilty about the delay now because I'm pretty sure that Fr Tom was very popular with the students in his care at St Columba's, during the late fifties. To quote from the text : "He had a great deal of common sense and natural kindness and the boys trusted him".
Go to Page 13 of the OBITUARIES section to read about his life.
Thank you Robbie for this inspiring story‚—and for waiting patiently for it to appear.
12th May 2009
There has been another reunion taking place in Belcoo/Blacklion which John Byrne splendidly recorded for us. He has written up a diary of the event which includes a collection of outstanding photos—many of which look as if they have been borrowed from the National Geographic(!). Go to the REUNIONS section to see the evidence for yourself.
Many thanks to John for the time and effort that he put into this and to those who took part. (Not forgetting people such as Olivia O'Dolan, Bud Greene and Ludge McGovern who helped make this such a memorable occasion).
7th May 2009
Have you ever listened to David Ritson singing 'Sancta Maria' ? If not, go to the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix. The words and music have been added today, kindly supplied by Eric Creaney.
5th May 2009
Please go to the APPEALS section to read about two charities in Africa that urgently need your help.
Eric Creaney has asked me to waste no time in getting this message to you because the situation in Zimbabwe, particularly, is very urgent.
You will find
I realise that this makes three news entries in the APPEALS section within the week—but, as Eric points out, the world economic crisis is hurting the poorest the most.
EMAIL FROM JOHN BYRNE
5th May 2009
I've put up a request for anyone who remembers Ludge to contact me. Ludge is a really decent guy and has been unwell of late. He was very touched that we had remembered him, and it would be very good if I could pass on to him the memories of others who he had been kind to.
3rd May 2009
There's a new piece of music in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix : Bach's Double Violin Concerto, Largo Ma non Tanto, which I hope that you will like.
I will be working my way towards creating 100 Best Tunes if I'm not careful. I hope that you don't find the choices too twee / simple / clichéd.
30th April 2009 (Thursday)
If you are a regular visitor to the site you will be familiar with the work of Fr David Cullen, over in Zambia. He runs a Retreat Centre in the diocese of Chipata and cares for the six Mass Centres that make up the Parish which is attached to the Centre. He has the help of just one Zambian priest (Fr Mark Mwale) and Brother Simon from the local congregation.
Although he is extremely busy, Fr Cullen makes time to send us regular letters to update us with the progress that they are making and how they are spending the funds that people send him. It's an inspiring story, though there are inevitable setbacks in a situation where resources for helping needy parishioners are so scarce.
Please take time to read his latest letter and see if you can help by sending a donation (however small) via our Treasurer, Patrick Gibbons.
(All of Fr Cullen's letters can be found in the website's APPEALS section).
29th April 2009 (Wednesday)
Searching through Eugene's 'Pelicans' legacy that Zelda MacBride entrusted to me, I came across a type-written account of Fr Tom Dooley's experience as a prisoner-of-war. He was one of the WF students who were interned, as war broke out, at the St Denis POW camp in Paris. His fellow prisoners included two priests—Frs Jack Maguire and Tom Moran—who made sure that these Philosophy and Theology students carried on with their studies throughout the 5 years of internment.
Tom Dooley's story is now reproduced on Page 52 of the HISTORIES section. You may also wish to read Fr Kevin Wiseman's account of his harrowing experience as a POW, by going to the PUBLICATIONS Appendix.
•To mark these wartime memories I have included the haunting theme tune from Band of Brothers in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix. (Care: do not play this track repeatedly or you will find that it goes round and round in your head for days).
27th April 2009 (Monday)
We have some more photos to view on Pages 356-7 of the GALLERY, mostly from Fr Kevin Wiseman's collection.
We aren't doing so well with identifying people and places with this batch, I'm afraid. Only a couple of photos have information written on the back. Do you know of anyone who would be familiar with his generation of missionaries ? Pat Menzies hopes to get some help from his Dutch colleagues and Celia Bermingham (Kevin's sister) might recognise some of the WFs.
As I've said before, the QUICK SEARCH facility can only find people on this website who have been named in the annotation attached to photos. Currently, there are over 4,400 photos for it to search through!
So, thanks for any help you can give me with this.
25th April 2009 (Saturday)
Please note that there have been CHANGES made to the arrangements for the Bishop's Waltham reunion (end of May) :
While investigating the proposed trip to Romsey Abbey, Peter Finn discovered that the town is so busy on Saturday mornings that parking is a major problem. As a consequence he has chosen Winchester School as an alternative visit for Saturday (30th May). Please go to the REUNIONS section (left) or just click here for further information.
The following people have booked to attend the reunion :
John & Margaret Morton
Chris & Josie Benton (if possible)
Maurice & Janet Billingsley
Michael Byrne & Andrew
Chris & Mary Cooper (unconfirmed, as yet)
Peter Vale Humphreys
Please contact John Morton if you wish to be included.
24th April 2009 (Friday)
Over the weekend I expect to add some new material to the site. In the meantime, an addition to the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix which I hope you will like : Part 3 of Handel's Messiah, 'I know that my Redeemer liveth' , sung by Kiri Te Kanawa.
If you are still thinking about attending the reunion at Bishop's Waltham at the end of May, please let John Morton Know asap. Details of the event can be seen in the REUNIONS section. (Zelda MacBride telephoned today to let me know that she is unable to join us. Unfortunately, she has had several months of ill health—now slowly on the mend).
9th April 2009 (Thursday)
Have I exceeded my sick leave entitlement for this year already ? If so, sincere apologies, and 5 more photos to show you on GALLERY Page 356.
(With thanks to Patricia Hawkins de Medina, Gerry Lenaghan and Maurice Billingsley).
Happy Easter to you all.
22nd March 2009 (Sunday)
Take a look at the new batch of photos on GALLERY Page 355 and see if you recognise anyone. Then let me know. (Please).
Gentle reminders :
HAVE YOU LET JOHN MORTON KNOW WHICH MENU YOU HAVE CHOSEN ?
HAVE YOU BOOKED ACCOMMODATION YET ?
DO YOU KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT ?
21st March 2009 (Saturday)
There's another page of photos that Eugene left behind—again, they look as if they were part of Fr Kevin Wiseman's estate. Go to GALLERY Page 354 to see them. As you will see, we need help with identifying the individuals featured.
Eric Creaney has kindly added some names to Page 353, as well, so see if this jogs your memory even further.
16th March 2009 (Monday)
You may recall that Patricia Hawkins de Medina alerted us (via the Message Board) that there would be an item about the Fermanagh/ Cavan area in this weekend's "Country File". If you missed it, or wish to view it again, I have made a copy for our VIDEO Appendix.
THANK YOU PATRICIA (once again).
The clip lasts for only 5 minutes, unfortunately. It reminds me that most people who own a digital camera will have a built-in facility for taking short movies. The results, though simple, make highly effective 'family' videos.
Next time that you attend a reunion of old friends—wherever it is held—please take a 'moving picture' that I can add to our collection.
11th March 2009 (Wednesday)
If you were at Broome Hall during 1961-62 you would certainly have met Laurens ten Horn, one of the Dutch noviciates. He has sent us some particularly evocative photos of that period, which you can see if you go to GALLERY Page 353.
(WARNING : Adjust your pacemakers before clicking).
THANK YOU LAURENS.
Laurens included a couple of photos that are already in the GALLERY, one of which I have included again because it is slightly enlarged. When searching for Larry Shine's original, I was struck by the way in which I am now able to be far more relaxed about the size of what I re-present. In the early days of this website, Broadband didn't exist—it was all done in 'dial-up' mode. As a consequence, the 'weight' of each photo displayed had to be kept to a minimum because anything that was 'heavy ' (byte-wise) would overload the system or take ages to appear on screen.
Thank goodness those cat-whisker days are over. Of course, when we all get the super-fast, fibre-optic broadband, I can display some photo-quality images which you can hang on the wall!
(Or will I be past my sell-by date?)
9th March 2009 (Monday)
I have changed the introductory Page to the OBITUARIES section, following a suggestion by Peter Finn. I hope that you will inform me of anyone whose name you would like to be added.
It was a pleasure to hear from our friend Martin Hickey today, phoning from Florida to ask me to book him some accommodation for the BW reunion (29th-31st May). Many of you will remember him from the trip to Rome. He was in a very positive mood, despite the loss that he has suffered recently.
8th March 2009 (Sunday)
On GALLERY Page 352 there is another batch of photos that was left by Eugene—again, most are probably associated with Fr Kevin Wiseman.
EMAILS : if you are awaiting a reply to an email, please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.
I am steadily working my way through the backlog that built up earlier in the year.
Have you made your mind up about BW reunion ? For details click here.
7th March 2009 (Saturday)
Several people have already booked accommodation for the BW reunion at the end of May. More information has been added to the Page dedicated to this event. Click here to go to this part of the REUNIONS section—on which you will also find a menu for the Saturday Evening communal meal. John Morton has made a reservation for 15 people with Banks's Bar and Bistro (in BW village), though more can still be added within the month by if the demand is there.
Banks's need to have your menu choices in advance, so please help John by providing this information at the earliest. (As Chris Benton and John Morton will tell you from previous reunions, this part of the organising is the biggest headeache).
6th March 2009 (Friday)
If you are interested in attending the May reunion at Bishop's Waltham, please go to the REUNIONS section and, later, to MAPS & ACCOMMODATION .
Details of the proposed Saturday evening meal will be published soon. We will need your quick response in choosing from the menus that will be provided—and please act as soon as you can when choosing accommodation.
You may be surprised to see that Tom Wilkie is still operating his B+B. He tells me that although the houses have been completed, he is having trouble selling them because of the current climate. The B+B is an important source of income for him, therefore. His wife is currently at a hospital in Oxford, awaiting assessment for a transplant by a leading US specialist. They have been to hell and back since she contracted the MRSA bug all those years ago, and we all wish her the very best with this latest attempt to bring about a permanent cure.
Tom was very pleased to hear from me and tells me that there have been no bookings (so far) for our reunion weekend.
4th March 2009 (Wednesday)
We are planning to base the forthcoming BW reunion in and around Bishop's Waltham itself. I am currently checking out the local accommodation facilities—which are limited, though good. It is important that people make their reservations early, so I'll be back with confirmation regarding this aspect within the next couple of days. (The Maps and Accommodation Appendix will have been re-checked to ensure that it is up-to-date).
3rd March 2009 (Tuesday)
By some amazing coincidence, the late Fr Kevin Wiseman's sister, Celia Bermingham, happened to visit the website on the very day that her brother's photos appeared (GALLERY Page 350-1). She has added a couple of comments that you can read on GALLERY Page 351. (Thank you Celia).
Please note : photos do not just 'appear' on the website (!) though there are probably many 'silent watchers' out there . . . . spooky.
John Paul Dawson has some unsettling news for us. Go to the NEWS Appendix (or just click here) and let me have your views on what should be done about it.
(Thank you John Paul).
1st March 2009 (Sunday)
Go to GALLERY Page 351 to see more of the photos that Eugene left behind—many featuring Fr Kevin Wiseman and his colleagues. The time is moving on (for all of us!) so we need to identify the characters who are as yet un-named. Have you any WF colleagues or friends who were contemporaries of Fr Wiseman, who could help, perhaps ?
There has been an excellent response to my request for help with Pages 348 -349 by the way!
After having two reunions last year, some of us thought that maybe we ought to wait until next year before another event was suggested. Much to our surprise, however, quite a few people have already asked for details about the trip to Bishop's Waltham in May (this year) and others are planning a 'mini-reunion' over in Ireland.
Organising a reunion is a bit hit-and-miss—as some of you will know. We need local and affordable accommodation for up to 20 people and a suitable place for a communal meal on the Saturday evening. Finding a local church for an (optional) Sunday morning Mass is no problem, though it would be nice to have a place where we can have a short and informal meeting for people to air their views and make suggestions about The Way Ahead And The Universe.
As Chris Benton and John Morton will tell you from their separate experiences last year, the biggest headache is the quality of the accommodation/ service and getting people to commit early enough to secure a group booking discount and making their meal choices for the Saturday evening.
So expect some hard news soon
and think about a BW reunion over the weekend that starts Friday May 29th - 31st. (Those of us who live some distance away generally book in on the Friday).
21st February 2009 (Saturday)
Tony Smyth is back on dry land and has taken up residence in Salford. (see the CONTACTS section).
He has helped me a lot with identifying people that feature in Brendan's photos, so go to GALLERY Pages 348-350 to see these additions.
THANK YOU, Tony.
20th February 2009 (Friday)
Maurice (Billingsley) always manages to dig out some photos when times are hard. He found three this time, and they are displayed on GALLERY Page 350.
I have added one of them to the GAP Appendix (on the second page of the GAP Picture Gallery).
Thank you Maurice—you are now entitled to free membership for one year, ending February 2010.
19th February 2009 (Thursday)
There have been comments added by Olivia, Patricia and Maurice, so look at GALLERY Pages 335 and GALLERY Pages 348+ and see if this helps you to identify some more people / places.
And how about this help with my Latin from Chris Benton :
Paul, I seem to recall that the locative can be used also when referring to a state or condition.
Thus in 'Rome is at war' , at war would be in the locative not dative. Somewhat academic since the dative of bellum is belli as is the genitive of bellum. Nevertheless, I suppose 'in glorious colour' could equally be regarded as a state or condition. So, under the rule that no preposition is used in the locative, I believe that colore splendidae (ie without preposition) would be correct.
This assumes that color, oris is a feminine noun of the 3rd declension and its adjective splendidus-a-um declined as 1st & 2nd declension.
If color is masculine then it would read colore splendidi because the locative for 1st & 2nd declension nouns is the same as the noun's genitive case genitive in the singular and the noun's dative/ ablative case in the plural. In third declension nouns locative for both singular and plural is dative/ablative form of the noun.
No wonder Pat Fitz didn't waste lesson time!!. Regards, Chris
(I knew all this already, of course. Honest).
17th February 2009 (Tuesday)
Eric Creaney has added some helpful information and a photo to GALLERY Page 348 and Tom Canning has given some more thought to the collection of photos that he gave us—for which you need to go to GALLERY Page 330 and the pages that follow.
Thank you for this assistance, Tom and Eric.
Do you remember the locative case, or is it still mired in the memory with the vocative case ? I think that I've used the ablative case by mistake on Page 348.
In the past I could always turn to Eugene for help with my inconsequentials.
See what you think and help me sleep at night.
15th February 2009 (Sunday)
To see some photos that were sent to me by Brendan Gormley, go to Pages 348-9 of the GALLERY section. Once again, your help is needed with identifying faces and places because thse photos were taken long after my time.
To see what Brendan has been up to in his spare time (!), click here.
THANK YOU, Brendan, for this and the recent help that you have given me.
May I draw your attention to Michael Ashe's message in the Messageboard, on which I have duly acted. (see the Danby Hall Appendix).
6th February 2009 (Friday)
Fr David Cullen has sent us his New Year bulletin, writing, as always, from the front line and full of stories that make you want to reach out and help him (and others) who are working so hard to help their fellow wo/man.
Go to the APPEALS section (left) to read the entry enttitled " News from Chipata, Zambia ". It takes 3.5 minutes to read his letter but no doubt much more of his precious time to write it.
Good news from this week : John Scully and Brendan Gormley turned up on the doorstep ; Fr Patrick Fitzgerald is recovering well from his knee operation and has recently returned from a 7-week stint in a parish on Long Island ; Jeremy Clarkson was forced to apologise for making derogatory remarks about someone who lost an eye when he was younger. Pig.
2nd February 2009 (Monday)
Go to GALLERY Pages 345-7 to view 30+ photos from Mike McNamara, via our friend Robbie Dempsey.
24th January 2009 (Saturday)
Remind me not to promise deadlines that I cannot meet. It seems to be one of those years so far. However, we now have a new Index for the GALLERY, providing more information about the content of Pages 300-350, which I hope will prove useful as a 'manual' search for photos. The Quick Search facility has turned out to be most efficient but the Indexes are very helpful when you can't remember names etc.
Once again, we have Robbie Dempsey to thank for compiling this latest Index.
There is certainly a lot more to come, such as a whole bunch of photos—care of Robbie—that were resurrected for the occasion of John Strain's 60th birthday. I will get to work on them next week and hope that by next Saturday some of them will appear on the site.
(Don't forget : you heard that here first.)
21st January 2009 (Wednesday)
Gerard Lenaghan starts the year for us with four more photos of Danby Hall—pictures that he wasn't able to take on his previous visit. One of these is particularly evocative, as you will see. This set of 5 pages of photos is a magnificent reminder of times past, particularly for those who were billeted at Danby Hall after the fire at St Columba's.
Go to the Danby Hall Appendix (left) to view these photos.
Gerard deserves a thank-you from us all for the time, care and expertise that he put into this contribution to our website.
More material to come (tomorrow).
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