Monday, 27 June 2011


After much agonising and soul-searching, i believe the time has come to speak out about Bristol Rovers' decision to sack manager Paul Trollope in December last year. Who on earth did the Board think they would find to replace him? Jose Mourinho? Alan Shearer perhaps? In the end they appointed Dave Penney, and then sacked him after only a couple of weeks - as if Steve Coppell's resignation at half-time during his first full game in charge of City, in August, hadn't heaped enough embarrassment on Bristol football. In a bitter irony, the full details of Fifa executives' deliberations over who should host the 2018 World Cup are only now starting to emerge. Apparently, when they saw 'Bristol' on the list of potential host cities for England's bid, they immediately thought to themselves "Yes, at last, World Cup football at the Memorial Stadium" - only to have these hopes dashed when told that, in fact, it was City who had a half-baked plan to build a new stadium in someone's garden - and the person hadn't even agreed!

On Tuesday there was a last-minute clarification at the Russian Consulate and i had to criss-cross town to change my train ticket; then it seemed really 'miraculous' that i had just enough money, to the nearest 50p, to pay for a six-day transit visa. In addition, the later train meant i had plenty of time to make my way, at last, to Ozjornoje.

At the parsonage of a Church near Ozjornoje
From what i gather, the entire population of a village which had been in Eastern Poland, now the Ukraine, was forcibly settled there, now northern Kazakhstan, during the War. One winter, faced with starvation, the inhabitants made a concerted effort to pray the Rosary for deliverance. The spring thaw came more quickly than usual, leaving a huge lake next to the village ('Ozjornoje' means "of the lake") - full of fish! Their lives were saved, and when the Soviet Union had crumbled in the early '90s, villagers and their descendants set to work building a really beautiful Church, dedicated to Our Lady, Queen of Peace - though no priest arrived until it was completed, around ten years later. There is now also a Carmelite Convent and Benedictine monastery, with plans to build a much larger Carmel. Thousands of pilgrims visit, from Europe as well as Kazakhstan and Russia, each year. I was glad at least to be able to walk the last 30km on Friday the 24th June (the birthday of St. John the Baptist), and was given a marvellous welcome and supper, followed by a drive around the lake in pouring rain, by Fr. Lucian, the parish priest. The next day, the 25th of June is (usually) the Feast of Our Lady, Queen of Peace. Not least it also seemed providential that i was able to make a "Thank You" card, using a postcard which my Dad had given me when i set off. It features the stained glass window at St. Mary the Virgin Church, Fairford; specifically the "Miraculous catch of fish".

I hope to visit the shore of Lake Baikal in the few days that i have here in Irkutsk before, God-willing, flying to Seoul, South Korea, on Friday.

Here is Our Lady's message from 25th June;

“Dear children! Give thanks with me to the Most High for my presence with you. My heart is joyful watching the love and joy in the living of my messages. Many of you have responded, but I wait for, and seek, all the hearts that have fallen asleep to awaken from the sleep of unbelief. Little children, draw even closer to my Immaculate Heart so that I can lead all of you toward eternity. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

No comments:

Post a Comment