A simply marvellous time at the Oremus garden party...

Yesterday, I popped along to the courtyard behind Westminster Cathedral for the Oremus summer party.  It was hugely enjoyable. A high summer celebration of the magazine Oremus and the people who make this magazine such a success.  Oremus is Westminster Cathedral's monthly magazine.  It became free in 2013.

On arrival, we were greeted with glasses of Pims, but I sought out a glass of dry white wine and soon I had a plate that was heaped with delicious salmon sandwiches, canapés of mushroom and goats cheese and strawberry shortcake. My only regret is that I did not take a photo of the lovely spread. 

Oremus is edited by my friend of many years, Dylan Parry who commissioned my piece on Padre Pio's vocation story. Dylan made it onto The Catholic Herald honours list at Christmas 2011 for his role in founding the bloggers' guild. 

Dylan spoke a few words, in the presence of Cardinal Vincent Nichols. Reflecting on the role of Cardinal Vaughan who died 112 years ago that day, Dylan spoke on the fact that +Vaughan had not only built Westminster Cathedral, but also founded the Cathedral magazine.  Dylan placed the magazine under the protection of Our Lady, something that will keep it in good stead.

Dylan Parry, editor of Oremus

Then it was Cardinal Nichols turn to take the floor.  Cardinal Nichols said that Dylan's decision to make Oremus a free magazine was 'brave', gave credit to Dylan for attracting advertisers and said that the magazine was doing very well on account of it being a free publication that reaches so many people. 

A celebratory cake with candles in the form of champagne bottles was brought out, which had an Oremus cover done in icing, the cover being the re-decorated interior of Westminster Cathedral.  

The garden party was a lovely occasion for meeting with friends old and new. I bumped into my friend of ten years, John Newton, whoops, I mean Dr John Newton.  John and I were both teachers at Chavagnes International College in France and he was a great colleague, whenever I had a teaching dilemma, I could say to John, 'I've no idea how I'm going to teach this!' And John would find me a solution. Here we are with Farm Street's Fr Dominic Robinson. John and I had a fascinating conversation with Fr Dominic about the real-life exorcism that inspired Blatty to write The Exorcist. John has corresponded by email with Blatty and Fr Dominic knows the Jesuits in Georgetown where the film was set.   

Dr John Newton, Mary O'Regan, Fr Dominic Robinson

Dylan introduced me to Philip Smyth, who hails from Northern Ireland. Philip knew Sr Gen O'Farrell, the gusty sister who defied the IRA and who was known as 'the only man on the Falls'

Ben, Fabio, Philip and Dylan

Many more photos are available on the Flickr site. There's also a photo of me and Keith Day, who shares my love for dogs. His dog, Cocoa has her own Facebook page and Helen Mirren has sent Coco a friend request. Peter Sheppard, Chairman of The Catholic Herald and I had a chat about The Go-Between, LP Hartley's most famous novel, and the meaning of the infamous line, 'the past is a foreign country, they do things differently there'. 

A great evening was had by all, in the surrounds of the warm red brick walls. A big thank you is due to Dylan for his hard work and painstaking efforts in making Oremus a great magazine: everyone who has a role in the mag can be very proud of their work. 


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