(source : Eric Creaney)
A selection of articles from The Pelican magazine, Christmas 1957
a) contributed by Priory staff and students tttttttttttt
b) contributed by St Columba's staff and students
Superior at The Priory, Fr Paul Moody WF
It is perhaps significant to recall that two thousand years ago the sudden appearance of an unknown celestial body gave rise to similar apprehension in the court of an Eastern king. What did this portend? No catastrophe—except for the Powers of Darkness—but the coming of the King of Kings. Yet how obscure was that reality; a tiny babe on some straw in a cave on a Bethlehem hillside.
The Priory Staff
Very Reverend Paul Moody (Superior)
School Captain: Hugh Concagh.
St Augustine's House
Seniors donned football boots this season with no real worries and although on account of circumstances we were matched only once with the Xavierian team we managed to fire home two goals to their one. In basketball we have not been defeated. Some may say that luck has been on our side but I think that we might again earn the nickname "Globe Trotters" as did our House team two years ago.
Although we have not as yet progressed very far into the school year, we have had several games of football and basketball. Competition is much greater than in any previous year due principally to the fact that both Houses are well matched. At present the number of points gained by each House is almost the same.
NEWS IN BRIEF
Welcome to them all:
H. McDevitt arrived some weeks after the beginning of term having spent some time in hospital with a broken skull.
The army received due attention when the Fourth Form went to the Open Day at the Royal Engineers depot at Longmoor near Petersfield All found the visit most interesting and all but one found it enjoyable: the 'one' tried to ram a concrete pillar with his head.
SERVUS SERVORUM DEI
Anyone standing by the road from Rome to Castelgandolfo on that hot Wednesday afternoon in August would have noticed an unusual amount of traffic. And why not, for the Holy Father was holding an audience at his summer residence. After a hair-raising ride in a car driven by a voluble Italian with no road sense, we three Ghoan priests and myself arrived in the little town of Castelgandolfo with only twenty minutes to spare before the beginning of the audience.
Suddenly the air was filled with cheers and cries of "Viva Il Papa" for a tall figure clad in white had appeared at the window. As the cheers died away His Holiness began to speak in his native tongue. After that he addressed the people in French, German, Dutch, English, Spanish and Portuguese.
When he had acknowledged the greetings of the English speaking part of the audience, he spoke telling us that in the world in which we lived, although it was a harsh one, it was the duty of the Christian to let his virtues, especially charity, be an example to all men. He concluded with a special word for the members of the British and American armed forces present. The audience closed and the Pope withdrew but everyone knew that the more they cheered the more he reappeared and so the cries of "Long live the Pope" and "Viva il Papa" mingled with the other cheers. The Holy Father appeared three more times and each time everyone experienced the same feeling of holiness and serenity that had pervaded the actual audience.
As we sat in the car on the homeward journey nobody spoke for, I imagine, all were lost in the wonder of the experience of having been in the presence of His Holiness Pope Pius XII, the Servant of the Servants of God.
ON THE AIR
Of course there could be no direct transmission as school was to break up two weeks before the actual date of the broadcast, so a recording was made on July 11th.
Father Burridge, our Parish Priest, was responsible for directing preparations in the initial stages as he himself was to conduct the service. Having no proper organ it was imperative that one should be hired and for a few weeks we did have a real organ in the chapel, small but sufficient.
The choir spent many hours practising the hymns and it is certainly to the credit of both Father Monaghan, our master of music, and Mr Heath, organist and choir master, that the singing was so pleasantly successful. One of the main problems to be overcome in connection with the singing was the diversity of pronunciation among the boys, for Priorians come from every quarter of the British Isles, so speech training and singing were combined-to the benefit of both!
At last July 11th arrived. Technicians had installed mysterious apparatus in the study hall and planted microphones at various places in the chapel. Late in the afternoon Father Agnelus Andrews arrived to supervise the recording. He first of all pointed out to us the importance of what we were going to do-real missionary work, carrying Christ's message into the homes-and hearts-of many thousands who might otherwise never bother about Him. We then went through the whole service-the motet and three hymns, the scripture reading, the sermon and the prayers and finally the blessing. Father Andrews was satisfied with what he heard and after making sure that We knew exactly what to do, the microphones received final adjustments and we waited in breathless silence. Suddenly the red light flickered a few times and then remained glowing brightly. The conductor's hand came down and the choir broke into the rich flowing melody of the "0 Quam Glorifica"--the Priory was "on the air."
The Priory has still not found all the money to pay for its new organ, which was bought on an interest-free loan from a good friend. The bulk of the cost, however, will be covered by the sale of the old harmonium and especially by the proceeds of the Saint Cecilia (Musical) Draw. If you did not have tickets for this, you missed something. Time was short. Our promoters had to look sharp and not let the thing go flat. No one quavered; no one was crotchety; and we raised more than a minimum.
For all the good work and the generosity that contributed to the success of the Draw, and for the blessing of a reliable instrument in the chapel, we are very grateful.
Pythagoras and Euclid are both the same:
That mess on the board is called a quadratic;
The custom of visiting Romsey is a very old one and has always been enjoyed by Priorians. Our First XI and Under Fifteen teams play theirs at football and although the results have been in our favour for a long time, both sides enjoy the games thoroughly.
The Montfort boys usually come to the Priory in the second term and they always are very welcome guests. The Priorians look forward to meeting the friends they made on the visit to Romsey and all members of the school are made happy by the fact that the evening is free. T
he Priory and Montfort College have one important thing in common-both are seminaries, and it follows that the boys in both places have similar daily routines. Our ages are about the same; we go through a similar course of studies; we have the same sports and interests, and above all we all hope to be priests and missionaries some day.
As I left Romsey that same evening with the cheers of Priorians and Montfort boys ringing in my ears, I thought, and remarked inwardly, "How nice it is to have good friends and neighbours!" -neighbours who have so much in common and, above all, neighbours who have the same great ideal in life.
THE HAGGIS HAS BAIRNS
The Scottish and American troops assembled round the box, but the haggis did not appear. Getting impatient, one of the American Scouts put his hand in the box and felt round the straw. Suddenly he jumped back, giving an angry cry. His finger was bleeding; he said that it had been bitten by the haggis. The cage door was shut and the Scots boys said that it was better to leave it alone.
When the Americans had left them the haggis owners doubled up with laughter. The cut finger sustained by the American was due to a nail and not "the vicious" haggis! A few days later, the Americans were told that the haggis had had young and that they could come that night to see them. They crowded round the cage and saw in the shadows of the box the five young ones, but no sign of the parent which the Scots said was hidden in the straw.
A plan was made by the Americans to capture the haggis and its young. During the night they stole into the Scots camp and captured the booty. In their own camp the box was opened, the straw scattered and in the light of their torches five sausages were seen. Now they knew that they had been hoaxed, but did not know how to get their own back. The box minus the sausages was returned with a little note, "I was hungry."
The next morning a notice was put up by the Scottish troop: "All are invited to join in the Haggis hunt this afternoon."
Those who do take school seriously generally live a far fuller life once it is over: they can appreciate the new developments in science, criticise literary works and distinguish between good and indifferent music. Yet, though it is often thought so, these people did not have to make abnormal efforts to acquire this knowledge, nor did they find their task uninteresting.
Those who have a bent for the classics realise that in Virgil they have a story-teller as great as anyone today; Horace's Odes are as delightful and witty as any contemporary poetry. In our own language, Chaucer and Shakespeare present as fascinating and pleasing picture of human nature as any modern writer. The sciences too have their disciples. There are, strange as it may seem to many schoolboys, some who take pleasure in playing with x's and y's and who can enjoy juggling with triangles and circles. Some find the study of electrons and protons, U235 and U238 most absorbing. It is not that any of these people are abnormal. It is, in fact, the sign of a normal healthy mind seeking to know and understand the world in which it exists for its own benefit and that of others. Study should, and can, if approached in the right manner, be a lively, interesting and healthy exercise. Naturally one doess not expect a beginner to start mathematics with calculus, or Latin with Tacitus but if the student is helped to progress gradually he will be able to appreciate fully the value of learning and so make his life both interesting and helpful.
THE PERFECT PUPIL
Answers: lc, 2a, 3a, 4c, 5b, 6b
If you have scored five or six points you are the perfect pupil: three, four or five, there is a good chance of your becoming one; two or less, there is not much hope for you and you are letting the class down badly.
The subject of their conversation had been her only son, Mickey. Mickey was a lad of eleven years at the time and, to put it mildly, he was a young: devil. His father had been killed in the war and he had been left with his mother. He was not a bad boy but he just loved mischief. He was good at school and enjoyed a game of football or cricket, but whenever there was a chance of doing something a bit more dangerous-like scrumping or crossing the electric railway or annoying a bull-Mickey was always there.
In an attempt to quieten him his mother had made him join the altar servers' guild. He soon learnt to serve Mass, but at the same time found out that quite good fun could be had in the sacristy. Accordingly, it was not long before he was up to his tricks. Father Brown knew about them all but said nothing until one day Mickey tried to singe the lace on a small boy's cotta. He was promptly sent home and so his mother went to plead for him for the last time. When the boy arrived home from school that afternoon his mother told him that he. had another chance to make good. His mother was almost in tears as she told him how ashamed his father would have been. And so it was a subdued Mickey who before going to bed that night asked God to make him a good boy. In the months that followed Mickey became better and better.
Naturally his high spirits did not disappear. On one occasion his mother caught him trying to scalp the twins that lived next door. The sound whacking he received made him think twice about keeping up his Red Indian habits! Winter moved towards Christmas. At the Parish Church servers were preparing for the Midnight Mass. Most of the younger boys were hoping to be chosen for thurifer for he was to wear a purple cassock and a beautifully frilled cotta. On the First Sunday of Advent it was an excited Mickey who ran all the way home from the servers meeting with a large brown paper parcel under his arm. "Mum, Mum, I've been picked for thurifer at Midnight Mass. Look, here is the lovely cotta I told you about." Mrs Donovan was overcome with joy and gratitude. She hugged Mickey, and solemnly promised that the lovely cotta would be starched and ironed as well as she could do it. Practice followed practice and at last Christmas Eve arrived. The ceremony was due to begin on the stroke of midnight. Mickey was ready at a quarter past eleven in his best suit and shining shoes. "Let me comb your hair," said his mother. "Stand still, there's plenty of time. There, that's fit for a bishop."
"Don't say that, Mum: Bishops are holy men," said ,Mickey. "It must be queer to be a bishop!" "Get along with you now or Father Brown will be cross."
And so Mickey tore off down the road towards the church with his stiff starched cotta under his arm.
The clock in the sacristy said seven minutes to twelve. All the servers were ready; Mickey looking almost saintly in his purple cassock was gently swinging the thurible. The ministers were almost vested.
At that time Mrs Donovan was just locking the front door. She walked out on to the path and then all went black. Mr and Mrs Smith, who were just leaving their house, heard a faint cry. "Good Lord, David," exclaimed Mrs Smith, "look at Mrs Donovan: she's collapsed."
In the sacristy the hush which always precedes the bowing to the crucifix had fallen. Just then Mr Smith rushed in. He brushed past the servers and spoke very quickly to Father Brown. Mickey never forgot the next few moments. He was briefly told that something was wrong with his mother. Father Brown delayed just long enough to get the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy oils::, Mickey still wearing his cassock and cotta got into Mr Smith's small car and in a few minutes they were at home. Father Brown went straight to Mrs Donovan's room and heard her confession. Trembling, too shocked to cry, Mickey waited outside. Father Brown signalled him to come in. His mother was coloured with death and barely able to speak. Mickey stood by her and she saw his anxious face.
"It's all right, son. I'm going to God. You look lovely in your cassock and cotta. What. . . a pity.. . you could not serve." She closed her eyes and died.
Mickey did not serve Midnight Mass that Christmas but with his mitre and crozier he will pontificate at Midnight Mass this Christmas.