Newsletter 31: Lenten Rigour Edition

My dear Pelicans

Our 4th Rutherglen reunion was an A-l success despite the fact that at the start of February it was touch and go whether it would happen or not. (Was anyone going to come?). As ever, the Community made us enormously welcome, every one of them. Fr Herrity said Mass and spoke to us about Dr David's work in Tamale. For me, it was enormously gratifying to discover later that we had sent the man ?1,500 to speed his work among the destitute. Pelicans present over the two days were Bobby Brown, Vinny Callaghan, Pat Tierney, Chas Robinson, Dessie Fitzmaurice, Jimmy Johnston (who did much to make the reunion happen), Frank Dillon, Pat Burns, Pat Menzies, Fr Boyd, John Kelly and Mick Creechan.

Our next reunion is at Bishops Waltham on June 3rd and 4h. I calculated Pentecost last year without the aid of a calendar i.e. by lunar observation only and was told at Rutherglen I was a week out. However, and hoping Fr Buckley has no objection, I intend to hold to 3 and 4 June, the Saturday and Sunday in the week before Whit. Our Scots boys are on a 3-line whip to attend an RC version of the Gordon Riots on Pentecost Sunday so the 3 and 4 June would suit them fine. For those who are travelling from afar, I will repeat the 'phone numbers of places to stay at the end of this letter. I hope to make the Priory Inn our HQ and Fr Buckley might let us use the church hall for a short time on Saturday night. I'll ask. After Bishop's Waltham, and because the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel idea has proved such a damp squib, we meet at Preston on October 21 and 22 by kind permission of Fr Tom O'Donnell. It is Chas Robinson who has organised this and I am very grateful to him. Please 'phone Fr O'Donnell on 01772 72237g before 30 September to say if you are coming. Like Fr Boyd, Tod has worked very hard on our behalf and needs to know in good time so he can get things organised. He has treated us so well in the past, he deserves the courtesy of adequate notice.

At Rutherglen, we decided on Dublin for October 2001 if Ireland will have us. Fr O'Mahoney lays down his burden as Provincial in June so I will wait till then to ask permission of his successor.

Dan Sherry WF and Dick Cantwell ex-WF (?) both died at the end of l999. Dan taught at St Boswell's and then spent a lifetime on the missions. He was at Rutherglen surrounded by ex-pupils at the October 1996 reunion. Dick was the bursar who opened Blacklion in 1955.

His dad made the chapel altar and the benches. Some of us went down to Blessington near Dublin to see him during the Templeogue reunion in 1997. He was doing fantastic work but looking forward to retirement. May they rest in peace.

Tommy Price has had a slight stroke; the golden-voiced Jimmy Lee is having trouble with his larynx; Jarlath is still fighting his cancer with all the energy and stamina of a Grand National winner; Paula Yeomans (of the Burdett-Clark family, Bishop's Watham) has had an operation on her spine which I am told has been very successful, thank God; along with these, Louis Fitzmaurice, Brian Geraghty, Hugh Campbell and Fr Jimmy Wallace all need our prayers. Oremus pro invicem. My appeal to replace Peter McKenzie's headstone at Blacklion has had next to no response and I am thinking of going it alone when my ship comes in a year or two.

John Morton and I have found Bishop Walsh's gravestone here in Grantham and gave it a wash and brush-up in icy water as the snow drifted down one day in January. At Rutherglen, I was lent Fr Marchant's monograph on "Frankie" and have passed it on to Peter Finn to see if it plugs any of the holes in his history of the WFs in the UK.

Paul West is still in the process of preparing a web site. He has quite a small mass of material and is typing it up.

A source close to the Vatican tells me it might be possible to make a case for retrieving any savings lost to Wm Hill or Ladbroke's against the election of the new man at Westminster. Details are not complete (I do not know the name of the Prefect or his exact address) but betting on the election of a Bishop qualifies as a Good Cause and there exists a Congregation for the Restitution of Moneys (Congregation ad Restituendam Pecuniam) squandered on the projected election of Ordinaries (in futuram Ordinariorum electionem disiectam). Plain Christians who like a flutter are not expected to know infallibly which way the Pope will jump. It is funded by Peter's Pence but you will need your betting slip and must have been recently to Confession and Communion. Watch this space.

There was a rush for Pelican badges at Rutherglen once people saw how beautiful I looked in mine. I still have a few left at ?10 a piece p & p. This is a limited edition. Buy now and be the envy of badgeless Pelicans everywhere. Those Bishops Waltham accommodation numbers for June (repeated): Brent Villa B & B: 01489 890188; Priory Inn: 01489 891313; Upland Park Hotel, Droxford: 01489 878507; Marwell Hotel: 01962 777681; Bridge Hotel, Shawford 01962 713171

See you there! Eugene

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