IHOPE Catholics will be stimulated by the news of the fund to be raised to maintain the historic churches of this country to take an interest themselves in these wonderful monuments of English pre-Reformation Catholicity. Do we think as we drive or walk past any one of those thousands of churches which stand so finely at the heart of town, village and often hamlet, that it was built with loving Catholics' hands to be the shrine of the Blessed Sacrament. and that indeed it was so for a hundred, two hundred or even more years?
ISPEAK with the enthusiasm of a recent convert in this matter, having just had the occasion of visiting a large number of such churches. I had always had some esthetic and architectural interest in them, but for some reason a new comprehension of the closeness of their link with us, of their Catholicity, of their being the living link between us exiles and dispossessed and our English Catholic past, has come to me. And since aesthetic appreciation in the abstract is a bloodless thing and often hardly more than a pose. this realisation of what these churches really are enormously stimulates a real interest in their architecture, their ornaments, their surviving relics of their past and their purpose. They were built for the practical purpose of enabling God to be praised and the Blessed Sacrament to be adored, and built as well as the men of the time knew how. They were not built to fulfil an abstract esthetic need. So it is far more historic and true to see their beauty in terms of their purpose.
T WROTE of St. Albans, once an 'abbey church. A similar example is the great Cathedral of Peterborough. where Catherine of Aragon is buried and where Mary Queen of Scots was first buried. Until Henry VIII it, too, was an abbey church, though we can scarcely comprehend how these enormous churches could be no more than abbey churches. Around the church there are precious remains of the abbey buildings, arches standing out picturesquely, but shorn of purpose.
Inside I was especially moved by the so-called "Monks' Stone," a stone carved to the shape roughly of a The Monks' Stone
coffin with saints' figures on it. This work, said to commemorate a massacre by the Danes, was done almost exactly 1,200 years ago, in 750. In a dark corner the eye can hardly discern the details. but the camera can bring them out. and my picture shows one of the carvings (possibly St. Peter). Despite the wearing of the stone, it still makes a striking and vigorous impression.
NOT far from Peterborough is the only Dominican se conda r y boarding school in the country at Laxton Hall. The school, I believe, was at Hawkesyard first, and was transferred to Laxton in the twenties. Until recently Fr. Gerald Vann was the headmaster. but Fr. Ralph Hodsoll has now been appointed. Though the picturesque Hall, at this time of the year covered with brilliant red creeper, looks very large, it can only accommodate 70 boarders, owing to space inevitably wasted in adapting a large mansion to school needs. The school which stands in lovely grounds has, together with its preparatory, Llanarth, in Monmouthshire, a reputation for giving an individual, humanistic and consequently very Catholic, in the deepest sense, education.
THE two most important photographic exhibitions of the year are on in London, the "Salon" in Conduit Street, and the R.P.S.'s in Princes Gate. The visitor to either or both will be rewarded by quite a large number of photographs of Catholic interest, notably at the "Salon" a very striking study of the colonnade of St. Peter's in which the giant columns dominate a clerical figure walking through them. Murillo's Immaculate Conception is the point of interest in a foreign street scene. and there are other pictures in which church or choir girls or monks have attracted the photographers' search for an outof-the-way composition. These shows seem to attract a professional-looking and even scientific type of visitor, including many young people, as compared with painting exhibitions.
YOUR DAILY MASS GUIDE
Sunday, October 12. 19th after Pentecost, sd. 2nd Prayer A runctis, 3rd at choice, Cr., Pref. of Trinity. (Green.) Monday, October 13. St. Edward, d. 2 cl. (White.)
Tuesday, October 14. St. Callistus, d. (Red.) Wednesday, October 15. St. Teresa of Avila, d. (White.) Thursday, October 16. St. Hedwig, sd. (White.)
Friday, October 17. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, d. (White.)