Our friends from the Benedictine monastery at Norcia have been affected by the terrible earthquake yesterday in Italy. Norcia is the birthplace of St Benedict and St Scholastica, and a new and vibrant community of monks has been there again since the Holy Year 2000, to restore monastic life in its primitive form.
The monks have been painstakingly restoring the monastery and basilica, which have now both suffered grave damage in the earthquake.
It being the feast of St Bartholomew, the monks were already up at the time of the tremor. They led the people of Norcia in the Rosary in the main square.
The community is unable to occupy its buildings at present, because they may be unsafe, and so they are being sheltered at Sant'Anselmo in Rome. Two monks have remained behind to stay in tents near the monastery, to protect the monastic buildings and the basilica.
This Sunday we will have a second collection for the monks of Norcia, to help them to return home and rebuild their monastery as soon as possible
Some more mature and wise parishioners asked if they could have a punting trip, similar to that for Young Oratory last week.
The middle-aged punting expedition was in fact incomparably less raucous, more decorous and infinitely drier than that for those yet to achieve middle age. We floated placidly to the Victoria Arms and then back again after lunch.
This autumn we will have a series on Saturday mornings on some of the key characters of the Gospels, and how they relate to one another. On 24th September and 1st October, David Suchet's television programmes In the Footsteps of St Peter will be shown, and then, beginning on 22nd October, Fr Jerome will give a series of talks, based on his book, People of the Gospel.
Fr Jerome yesterday took a tour of Catholic Oxford, including Worcester College, pictured here. There will be another such peregrination on Sunday 28th August at 3pm.