After Sunday Mass I sometimes stop off in Chiswick for breakfast : which was what I did last Sunday.
The café I frequent is more or less opposite the rather delightful parish church of Our Lady of Grace & S. Edward – I rather like it, because it’s a sort of red-brick pastiche of an Italian church, and it seems to be busy, with large congregations spilling out all over the pavement after Mass, being greeted by the Celebrant.
On Sunday I did a double-take : to be quite honest I thought for a moment I was losing the plot . . . yes, OK, there was the celebrant – but a zuchetto ? Still more, a scarlet, moiré, zuchetto ? Yet no trace of Pontificals, or retinue ?
And then the Celebrant turned half-way towards me, and I realized that I wasn’t seeing things . . .
So now you know what retired Cardinals do with their Sunday mornings . . . they go and help out hard-worked Parish Priests, and then enjoy chatting with the Faithful afterwards, the way they used to years ago when they just wore plain black cassocks the same as all the other priests.
Full Marks, your Eminence; and I hope you enjoyed yourself . . . I know it made my heart lighter seeing a Prince of Holy Mother Church doing his old job. God Bless you, ad multos annos.