(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

Man's vision of reality tends to be so constantly obscured by sentiment that it becomes increasingly difficult for him to value things objectively; he loses a true sense of proportion and consequently lives not in a world of fact but sees, judges and acts according to the fictions of his own mind. His vision is coloured not always by the light of truth but by the light of his own desires, so often shaded by the gigantic trivialities arising from his own selfishness.

A mere speck on the lens of a telescope may obscure the view of a liner on the horizon. Yet we do not argue from that fact that the liner is the lesser object. Our vision of reality has been obscured: the reality has not been lessened.

During the past few weeks no inconsiderable agitation and excitement has been caused by the sudden projection of a comparatively small satellite into the ionosphere. Does this speck on the political telescope conceal some impending catastrophe? The answer is locked in the hearts and wills of men.

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.

Is not the advent of this new "star" from the East a reminder and a warning? A warning that perhaps we have given up the search for the Reality! Our life in the seminary is meant to be constantly directed towards It. As you read through the following pages you may not be continually conscious of the fact—you cannot see what is concealed behind the shadow: yet there is the reality of one superb ideal—the complete service of God, the supreme reality of man's life for it is the very purpose of his being.

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The Priory Staff

The Priory teaching staff remains unchanged from last year:

Very Reverend Paul Moody (Superior)
Father Fitzgerald
Father Monaghan
Father Rathe
Father Thompson
Father Fowles
Father Lynch

(source : Paul West)

Priory staff and visitors, taken in the summer of 1957

However, there have been changes in the rest of the community:
Father Burridge has taken over the parish from Father Burton and
two Brothers have joined Brother Aelred: Br Joseph Francis and Br Casimir.

School Captain: Hugh Concagh.
House Captains: Augustinians: Robert Griffin; Xavierians: Hugh Concagh.
Games Captain: Robert Griffin

Prefects: Paul Ashby, Anthony McCaffry, Graham Hoxley, Charles McLaren.

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St Augustine's House


When the sound of voices echoing through classrooms and dormitories heralds the opening of a new school year,apprehension is always aroused as to how the House teams will be balanced. New boys are constantly cross-examined about their academic and sporting abilities and no time is lost in giving them the opportunity to prove their claims. This year, however, there need have been no cause for worry, for as the term draws to a close, it appears that the House teams have never before been so well matched.

Our House has always been renowned for the spirit of determination within its ranks and this year with spirits high we have zealously begun to prove ourselves worthy opponents for the Xavierians.

The younger members of our House are finding it a bit of an uphill fight in the junior clashes. But if they continue with the same determination, I feel sure that they will be shining with glory in the near future. To add encouragement to these young gallants, I notice that in their last engagement with the Xavierians at basketball, to their credit, they gave their opponents a sound hiding to make up for past defeats.

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.

With Christmas almost upon us and the first round of the Inter-House competition coming to a close, I wish all members of our House success in their endeavours and to all, the blessings of Christmas-tide.


St Francis Xavier's House


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.

Our seniors have had bad luck in both basketball and football, always being beaten by a margin of not more than one goal or point.

All credit goes to our juniors who have so far lost only one match and that in basketball.

There are five of our House in the First XI football team; six members of the school basketball team are Xavierians. This in itself proves what little difference there is in the talent of the Houses. However, we hope that that little bit of difference will be more to our advantage in the future.

I must congratulate our boys on the fine spirit they have shown so far! I have the greatest confidence that it will continue to play a major part in all their activities in the future.

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On September 7th seventy-five boys arrived at The Priory to begin a new school year. Of the twenty-nine new boys all but one were destined for the Third Form.

Welcome to them all:
A. Harrison, J. Allan, K Bagshaw, C. Benton, W. Baker, J. Bingham, C. Burleigh
J. Carolan, B. Carvill, E. Cherrey, A. Cowe, M. Donovan, S. Duggan, W. Hart
L. McCanna, J. McDonald, R McKenna, A. McLeod, A. Mooney, M. Nolan
M. Nertney, D. O'Rourke, D. Pendlebury, T. Power, J. Robertson, P. Russell
G. Sexton, S. Shevlin, B. Stokes.

H. McDevitt arrived some weeks after the beginning of term having spent some time in hospital with a broken skull.


Every school year begins with a three-day retreat. This year the preacher was Father Marchant, an experienced missionary, and the Superior of our home at Dorking. We are most grateful to him for setting so clearly before us the ideal at which we are expected to aim.

(Photo: Fr Leonard Marchant)


Soon after his arrival back at school, Peter McMurray was one morning wandering along the middle of a local highway meditating upon the beauties of the countryside, when his reverie was rudely and brutally interrupted by the sudden appearance of a fast saloon car. Being a polite young gentleman Peter stepped to the side to make way for the new arrival but either he had not judged its speed or its temper for it gave him a smart blow on the back of the neck and Peter had to spend a few days in Winchester HospitaL He is now very much alive and has completely recovered. (Photo: Peter McMurray)

Asian 'flu reached the Priory long before the epidemic had made itself generally felt in the South but the attack was slight and of short duration. In spite of all the boys' prayers, the Fathers did not succumb and classes were carried on as usual.

At long last the entire exterior woodwork of the Priory has received a well needed coat of paint. Although the colour scheme has not been chang edged—brown and white-the appearance of the school has been immensely improved. The study hall has also been painted but here the colour scheme has changed to cream and eau de nil-which makes the place quite gay in spite of the fact that studies still have to be done there. The change has been generally approved although some of the more conservative pupils have been heard to pass such comments as 'Bathroom' and 'Express Bar.'

The visit of the American fleet to Southampton after the NATO exercises was an event which could not be ignored. About half the school spent a Wednesday afternoon aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Forrestal. All were duly impressed by the immensity of the ship but thought it a pity that so much energy had been used to construct this engine of war. We were interested to learn that a third of the crew of three thousand was Catholic. The chaplain said that there were sometimes as many as six hundred men at Mass on a week-day! A note of incongruity was struck by the sight of one of the crew placidly fishing, his line through one of the anchor hoists.

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.

A very welcome newcomer to the Priory is a real organ for the chapel, more is said about this on another page.

Father Thompson is once again hard at work preparing for thc Christmas pan to. This year's choice is Jack and the Bean Stalk. Judging by all the hard work that is going into the rehearsals and into preparing the stage, costumes and scenery, we can look forward to the usual 'successful and spirited' performances on December 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st.

No uncertain alarm has been caused among cabbage lovers and haters by the enormous numbers of cabbage flourishing in the kitchen garden. An astute mathematician has calculated that if half of them develop into self-respecting cabbage there will be enough of the vegetable to supply the community with a liberal helping everyday for about three years. For this 'all time record' we give all credit to Fr Fitzgerald. Having gained considerable driving experience on an N.S.U. he decided he could handle a rotivator to advantage. This implement has proved its worth and now the problem is to keep the balance between production and demand. One suggestion was to hold a slug rally in the garden!

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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.

We jostled with countless people all trying to get into the courtyard below the window where the Holy Father was to appear. Getting through the narrow gate-way and passing the tall Swiss Guard, we made our way to the roof where we managed to secure a view of the window.

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.

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Each Sunday evening the B.B.C. broadcast a religious service on their overseas transmission and we felt very honoured when we were asked to supply one of these half-hour services for the end of July.

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 now has a real organ, with blower and swell and pedals. For the broadcast, short as it was, we had to hire, at considerable cost, an old pipe-organ without box, with pedals too diminutive to use, and with a blower that had been a ventilator motor in a ship, and made a noise like the arrival of a flying saucer.

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.

The winners in the Draw, in case any of our readers still have not heard, were:
1. "Harmony" Tea Service: Miss Frances Davie, Dennistoun, Glasgow.
2. Scale of Heinz Varieties: Mrs J. Crawford, Wilkie's Lane, Dundee.
3. Horn of Plenty (3 botts.): W. J. Clark, 1 Crescent Wood, London, S.E.26.
4. Drum of Apples: Mrs Paice, Michel Restaurant, Southampton.
5. A bass Fiddle: Mrs Clancy, 142 Percy Road, London. W.12.
6. Per-Cushion Cover: Rev. Father Grady, Bromley, Kent

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.

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Maths! maths! glorious maths!
Nothing quite like it except for the baths!
You fiddle with x's, you juggle with y's,
And when you have finished you end up with Pi's.

Pythagoras and Euclid are both the same:
You study and study them till they're a game.
A2 plus B2 equals those squares plus these squares:
This angle plus that angle is the same as. . . but who cares?

That mess on the board is called a quadratic;
And if you know you're a little phlegmatic,
And you force your attention on the answer that's there,
You'll solve it somehow. . . sometime . . . somewhere!

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THE coach drove steadily up the straight road and slowed down to turn sharp right. Looking through the window we saw the large brick building with a statue before the front door. "Here we are," someone shouted and we all piled out of the coach. We had arrived at the Montfort College which we visit each year with two football teams.

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.

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G. SHORT (Form IV)

This little incident is one of the many that happened at the Boy Scouts' Jubilee Jamboree at Sutton Park in August. A Scottish troop had spread the story that in the "grub" tent they had a haggis in a box covered at one end with wire mesh. The American troop camping on the adjoining site asked whether they might see "the thing." They were told that it only came out at night, and when disturbed become very vicious. The Americans, not to be outdone, announced their intention of calling the following night.

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."

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D. SMITH (Form V)

It strikes me that man is rather a peculiar creature. The welfare state in which we live declares that all shall be educated; schools are provided, equipment obtained, teachers trained, so that this order may be carried out. Yet the individuals for whom all this trouble and expense is undertaken do not appreciate it at all. After a few weeks of school life the novelty wears off and the child is left with the next ten years of his life mapped out for him in a way he can neither understand nor enjoy. Later in life, however, after the "happiest days of his life" are past, the young man suddenly realises how woefully deficient he is in learning; the new scientific discoveries are merely incomprehensible phenomena; the latest excavations and archaeological discoveries recall no stirring memories of Greek and Roman civilisations-they are dry and uninteresting. So our young men take courses at night school and attempt to learn all that they missed in those days when all knowledge was being handed to them without the asking.

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.

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J. McQUADE (Form IV)

Answer the following questions truthfully, then check with the answers given below.

  • 1. If the master is called away during class do you(a) Read. a book quietly? (b) Continue studying? ( c) Raise a general riot?
  • 2. If you are told to stop talking during class do you (a) Make a face at the teacher and begin to whisper? (b) Stop talking? (c) Talk louder and raise a riot?
  • 3. When told to change for Physical Training do you (a) Take off your blazer, loosen your tie and go out? (b) Wear the regulation dress? (c) Not turn up at all?
  • 4. If you are asked to do a job do you (a) Do it with a good will? (b) Do it half-heartedly? (c) Forget and play football instead?
  • 5. If you are sent out of class for being a nuisance do you (a) Continue studying in the study hall? (b) Go to the rec. room and listen to the wireless? (c) Read a good thriller?
  • 6. If you are told to read good literature do you read(a) Charles Dickens? (b) Agatha Christie? ( c) Joseph Conrad?

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.

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"Well, Mrs Donovan, I will try him just once more but remember that if he misbehaves again then I will give him no more chances." "Thank you, Father," said Mrs Donovan, "I can assure you that he will behave himself in the future." But it was a very thoughtful Mrs Donovan who said good-bye to Father Brown at the Presbytery door.

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."
"You are coming, aren't you, Mum?"
"Of course, but I must lock up and see that all is in order. Don't worry: I'll be there."

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.

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Go to the part contributed by St Columba's staff and student