LLSLIE KIRKLEY, the Quaker Director of OXFAM, who was appointed last week a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Sylvester by Pope Paul VI, became chief executive of OXFAM in 1951. He has been decorated by the governments of Tunisia and South Korea, as well as by the Pope.
Born in Manchester in 1911, Mr. Kirkley, who is pictured in the next column with a carved wooden bowl presented to him by a grateful " refugee family, worked in local government in Manchester and then as a cornpany secretary in Leeds until OXFAM decided to expand into a national fund-raising organization in 1951, and appointed him its General Secretary. He was later re-designated Director.
While in Leeds, he had founded the Leeds and District European Relief Committee, and had acted as its Honorary Secretary. He had already gained experience in relief work during the war. when he was helping refugees in Europe.
The Order of St. Sylvester was founded by Pope Gregory XVI on October 31, 1841. St. Sylvester was Pope from 314 to 335. He became Pope less than a year after the Emperor Constantine had allowed Christianity to be recognised as a tolerated religion.
The award, I understand, is to be formally presented to Mr. Kirkley in New York, by Bishop Swanstrom. Auxiliary Bishop of New York, and Titular Bishop of Arba. Mr. Kirkley will be in New York between November 10 and 14, and will receive the award then.
Shipbuilding TODAY is a historic day for the 1 shipbuilding industry of Great Britain. and we shall all read in our newspapers tomorrow news of the launching of a new 85,000-ton tanker at Sunderland. it is the largest tanker ever built in this country.
Why, you may well wonder, ;hould this be of interest to the -ceders of the Camosic HFRAI o? [he fact is. a correspondent tells ne, that, overlooking the whole cene as the tanker is launched, tends the ancient church of St. 'eter's, Monkwearmouth. which Benedict Biscop built in 674.
Only the Saxon doorway, and the tower of the church. as it now is, are ancient. but it is through this doorway that St. Bede must have entered the church as a boy. St. Bede. of course, began his monastic life at Wearmouth, which is now part of Sunderland. It is just possible that readers of this paper will catch a glimpse of the famous old church when the launching features in the television news.
The shipyard lies close to what was once known as Lady-land. a name which, it is believed, derives from the chapel and convent founded at Wearmouth by St. Hilda. forty years before Benedict Biscop built St. Peter's as the first of his twin monasteries, the other being St. Paul's, which he founded eight years later at Jarrow.
Just as history is being made today by the launching of a great ship within sight of the old St. Peter's church. so it was being made in Biscop's own time, for he brought masons over specially from France
to build his stone church. Historians believe that it was only the third stone church to be built in England.
He brought over as well John the Cantor from Rome, and Wearmouth became a centre for training in the Gregorian chant. Another innovation was the fitting of bells to the church.
Glassmaking It is also believed that glassmaking was first established at Wearmouth by Benedict Biscop, and Sunderland is still the centre of a flourishing glass industry.
There was originally a landingstage at a point right below where the great bows of the great ship stands today, and it was from steps here that Coelfrid. we are told by Bede, left for Rome "early in the morning or the fourth of May. Mass was said in the Church of St. Peter . . . and they went down to the shore with him . . and hio trig kissed the CAMS. mounted his horse and departed, leaving in his monasteries about six hundred brethren",
The ship which is being launched today is a Norwegian vessel named "Borgsten", which means the stones from which castles are built. Not only do shipyards and glassworks flourish in Sunderland, but the faith that Benedict Biscop knew is still strong, despite the adversity of history, in this town, where the local parish church of St. Benet. which is in the hands of the Redemptorists, overlooks the small, but Still famous, Church of St. Peter.
Sea Congress THE 14th International Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea, (Apostolatus Maris), will he held in Liverpool in the summer of 1964. It is expected that the speakers will include Cardinal Confalonieri. Secretary of the Sacred Consistorial Congregation; Archbishop Carpino, Assessor of the same Congregation and International President of the Apostleship of the Sea; Archbishop Heenan of Liverpool; Mgr. Rossi, Delegate for Works for Emigration and Apostolatus Mans in the Consistorial Congregation; and Mgr. Lambrechts. International Executive Secretary, of the Apostleship. The organising committee would welcome notice as soon as possible of the numbers likely to attend from the various centres. The overall charge including accommodation, meals, literature, etc.. will be approximately SIO per person. Provisional bookings should be addressed to 1964 Congress Committee, Atlantic House. Liverpool. 1.
DESMOND FISHER tells me front Rome that he had an interesting lunch the other day with Fr. John Xavier Murphy, the American Redemptorist who is generally fathered with the authorship or part-authorship of Xavier Rynne's Letters from Vatican City, But Fr. Murphy, as befits a New York Bronx Irishman, was giving nothinF away. "I am not Xavier Rynne ', he declared in answer to the blunt question. And when asked if he were a member of a "Xavier Rynne team". his somewhat evasive answer was that he did not think Xavier Rynne was a team.
The coincidences that led to his identification with Xavier Rynne were that his own middle name is Xavier and his mother's maiden name was Rynne.