Newsletter 32: Eastertide 2000

My dear Pelicans

Jarlath is dead. He died in the early hours of 8 March after three years fighting his cancer and fifty years to the day from when I first set eyes on him up on the reader's podium in the refectory at St Columba's reciting with gusto a humour poem about some Irish kids re-enacting the Battle of the Boyne. Andy Murphy had given it him to learn as a party piece for Frs Walsh and Bouniol celebrating the 25th and 50th anniversaries of their ordination at St Boswell's on that day.

His funeral service took place on 13 March, eight years to the day we had met in Euston and decided (more him than me) to set up the Pelicans. Pat Boyd and Tom O'Donnell concelebrated the Mass. From the church we left for the crematorium to give the coffin a last pat of farewell. And then a wonderful thing: the recording of a Russian choir belting out the Internationale. There was a sharp intake of breath throughout the chapel then smiling faces everywhere. Jarlath was no Red but his Socialism was pronounced, to say the least.

pictured left: Jarlath (Hynes) with Eddie (Mulraney) at their first reunion in Spilsby, Lincs, August 1996. Each had left the Priory on the same day - 12th March 1952. Eddie died in July '97, of course.

Also dead is Wee Herb, Fr Herbert Herrity, who took such good care of us at Rutherglen in February. He died during a heart operation on May 4. Herb worked on the missions in Ghana for many years until he developed bad eye trouble and then was in charge of 4, Grove Street in Edinburgh. May they both rest in peace.

pictured left: Herb (in the white pullover) at Rutherglen this February at the Pelican reunion.

Don't forget: our next reunion is at Bishop's Waltham on June 3 and 4. Fr Buckley will be saying Mass on Saturday night at 6 o'clock and says we can use the church hall after for as long as we like. Mass on Sunday is at 9.

Don't forget either: we meet at Preston on October 21 and 22 by kind permission of Fr Tom O'Donnell. Please 'phone Tod on 01772-722378 before 30 September to say if you are coming. Like Fr Boyd, he 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.

I have decided to cut the Gordian Knot and have gone ahead with a firm order for a new headstone for Peter McKenzie's lonely grave at Blacklion. I am very grateful to those of you who have subscribed. Peter was the epitome of a Priorian and WF Philosophy student and deserves the best we can do.

Have you seen the movie Topsy-Turvy? For some of us, the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas produced by Mr Heath are an indelible part of our memories of the Priory. Topsy-Turvy is Mike Leigh's account of the conception of the Mikado. The night I saw it, the audience sat stunned at the end, unable to move. If it's out of General Release in your area, may I recommend the video? Check it out!

Peter Finn's wife, Brenda, has written a sequel to Jane Austen's Emma. It is called Anna Weston and is a beautiful read. I would recommend it as unreservedly as Topsy-Turvy. If you want a copy, please send £10 to Hedera Books, Alderbrook, Springvale Road, Headboume Worthy, Hants S023 7LF; or you can e-mail your order to hederabooks@) Anna Weston is also available at £11.99 from bookshops and on the internet from Amazon. Check it out!

On the topic of books, many of you will know that Peter Finn has been working very hard on the story of the WFs in England as of 1912 (The Priory) and in Scotland as of 1936 (St Columba's). Peter is loath to commit to print unless he is certain of his public i.e. that we will all buy at least one copy and perhaps several so as not leave him sorely out of pocket. Watch this space for more on this subject which I would hope to discuss when we meet at Bishops Waltham.

Thanks to Paul West's hard work we now have a website: I am quite overwhelmed at what Paul and his sons, Daniel and Morgan, have accomplished. Give it a hit and be ready to be astonished! Thank you, Paul. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Please add Vinny Callaghan and Jimmy McDermott to your list for prayers. I hear neither is as well as might be.

Here are the words of the hymn we used to sing at Night Prayers which some of us have been trying to remember at one reunion and another. Chas had them and Peter Finn got them from him.

Sancta Maria,
Succure miseris,
Iuva pusillanimes,
Refove flebiles,
Ora pro populo.
Interveni pro clero,
Intercede pro devoto femineo sexu;
Sentiant omnes tuum iuvamen,
Quicumque celebrant tuam sanctam commemorationem.

But can you sing it?

God bless, see you at the Priory June 3 and 4.


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