Many congratulations to The Rev’d Charles Bradshaw on his widely-reported officiacion at Jordan’s colourful wedding at Woldingham. Charles quite rightly condemmed the hissy fits after the wedding, and as usual managed to keep his sense of humour whilst trying to maintain the dignity of the occasion. Charles has just come back from a highly successful pilgrimage to Oberammergau, from which we received some excellent feedback from participants. He is also leading a small group to Syria this September (two places remaining for those interested). I tried to persuade Charles to add a visit to Jordan to the Syria pilgrimage, but he seems to have gone off the idea!
I have just returned from a visit to Sordevolo (North of Turin) to see the incredible Passione (Passion Play) which is performed every five years to Oberammergau’s every ten years. Oberammergau without doubt offer an incredible teutonic spectacle, but I was very moved by the emotionally-charged portrayal of Holy Week, leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection. Performed entirely by amateurs from the tiny village and its surrounds, this production punches well above its weight. It was enjoyed by our group of 25 Pax pilgrims who were staying at the nearby sanctuary of Oropa (1100 metres above sea level) which has one of the five Black Madonna’s in Europe! Where are the other four? To the first correct answer from my readers, I will offer a £200 reduction on our final visit to Sordevolo this Summer, from 9th – 12th September (six places remaining).
Back home, my feet hardly touched the ground before travelling to Birmingham to visit Cofton Park, Rednal, with Fr Richard Duffield, promoter of the cause for the Beatification of John Henry Newman. At the Holy Father’s request, it is on this spot that he will beatify Cardinal Newman on September 19th. Melanie McDonough of the London Evening Standard states that Pope Benedict will beatify Newman on the site of the abandoned Longbridge car plant. Ok, Melanie, you go there on September 19th and sit among the 1000 or so parked coaches. I will be half a mile up the road in the beautiful park, next to the site of Newman’s burial. So will the Holy Father and up to 80,000 devoted Catholics form around the world. Enjoy the Longbridge plant! At least there’ll be 1000 coach drivers to keep you company!