A Pioneer Diocese
Fete at Harold Hill A BOUT 10 months ago the Bishop !of Brentwood was kind enough to take me for a tour round the new housing estates and towns which in the east and north-east of London are such a feature of his diocese. In them many thousands of Catholics. are to be found. Indeed, the diocese is steadily increasing in population, having recently topped the 100,000. At that time, the first of the Hallscombined-with-Church were being built to cater for the Catholic life of the people. The idea was to develop the spiritual and social Catholic life together. especially as social and civic life generally had hardly begun in these areas. At Harold Hill, Essex, the hall was being built and we published a picture of workmen perilously situated on the still open roof. Last Saturday I was again at Harold Hill, with the Bishop, on the occasion of a garden fete to raise funds. The whole place was not only a going concern with church-hall well established and presbytery built, but a hive of activity with more and more people turning up for the fete as the sun began to shine after a dreary morning's rain. If there scorned to be more children than grown-ups, well, that was a good sign, too.
On the ground-floor UNTIL quite recently Fr. Foley, the parish priest, was living in a council house, a picture of which we once published. Now from his elegant and conveniently laced presbytery, he is in charge—believe it or not—of a parish of 2.900 souls. The rapidity of the change and the speed with which almost normal Catholic life had been established made me think of the real romance of these beginnings of Catholic life in these areas. Thanks to the episcopal enterprise. Catholics are in on the ground floor, as it were, and the pioneers of today are building a great Catholic life of the future in which many conversions from religious indifference may, please God. he expected. Already, in a speech from the platform, the Bishop was being openly asked for a real church, is opposed to the church-hall. and it is evident that more priests are urgently needed. One priest for 2,900 rather scattered Catholics!
Bishop Ward School ON the way to the Harold Hill fete, the Bishop took me to see the magnificent new secondary modern school at Dagenham. which is to be known as the Bishop Ward School. It is opening next week, I understand. though when we saw it there still seemed to be quite a lot to do with it. So impressed was I by its size that I supposed it must be meant to cater for large tracts of the diocese. Not at all. It is only for Dagenham, and though it opens for boys and girls. it will be a school for 600 boys only. Lavish equipment, endless schoolrooms, many of them specially designed for a variety of practical crafts, a great hall and stage. kitchens, cleverly laid-out showers, etc.—and everything tastefully decorated in bright and cheerful colours, all of this makes the older educational establishments seem like slums. One hopes that this lavish material equipment will pay spiritual and cultural dividends.
Priest on the staff IN one way the Dagenham school Lis unique up till now, and the new feature should help enormously towards a deeper education. A priest is on the staff. thanks, I understand, to a new regulation, and consequently the school will have a spiritual heart. with Mass said in it every day. This need has become particularly urgent with schools covering a number of parishes, since the old parish-school link will tend to disappear. The Bishop expects to build 10 of these schools. though seeing that each involves a six-figure sum. it will take many years to cover the programme. Cheerful energy ON my return to the office from holiday, the first thing I saw on my desk was the above happy picture of Fr. Martindale reading his CATHOLIC HERALD. It made a delightful welcome, and 1 repaid it by promptly sending the veteran worker Jocrgensen's twovolume life of St. Bridget of Sweden for review. Within a few posts the review was in my hands and will be published in our Book Issue next week. If we could only grow old like that Effects of the good red wine of France?
Ira ISCERNING readers of this L./paper who noted in this column references to the good red wine of France may have wondered about its longer-term effects. A caption under a picture of Rheims Cathedral was printed with the second line above the first. and the reference to Rheims in this column might have led to the belief that the picture, des cribed as taken by a "C.H." photographer, was in fact taken by "Jotter." Far worse, the very intimate relationship between "Jotter" and "Editor" might have led to the view that the effects of French wine were discernible in the leading article, called "Two Enemies." since sections of it read totally incomprehensibly. Plausible as these inferences must have seemed, they were only partly correct. "Jotter" was indeed concerned in all these features; but not the red wine. The caption for the picture left editorial hands the right way round. only to turn up the wrong way when the paper was printed: and the leading article, when written, at least made sense.
The late Father Lattey 0 many English Jesuits had been students of Fr. Cuthbert Lattey, whose recent death is announced in another column, that he acquired the status of an old uncle --or aunt—mention of whose name raises a laugh or a joke. well tempered with real affection. One gathers that as a lecturer he was sound rather than inspiring. hut there is no doubt that he made his impression. 1 ms self only met him once or twice, the last time early this year. I found him younger in spirit than I had expected and full of charm. But what struck me most was his humility. I had occasion to ask him for an article dealing with a Scriptural matter. He was delighted to accept what he called the honour of writing for us, but, smilingly, he looked around the room where the faculty of Heythrop was gathered. and whispered : "One of them is my censor, and I don't know at all whether he will pass my article." This, from one of the most eminent scholars in the country. and one whom another context did not mind saying: "What's wanted in this country is more men with a European reputation—like me." There is always somethingvery charming about the combination of great personal humility with an objective realisation of one's worth. R.I.P.