Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Article excerpt

Byline: By Francis Wood

Informed PRAYER

D-Day, June 6, meant little to me until last summer, when I stood on the Pointe du Hoc in Normandy. This tall limestone cliff, well over 30 metres high, dominates the entire coastline from Barfleur in the North to Le Havre in the East. The beaches of the D-Day landings. From this position, the Germans, if they'd been looking, could have observed the whole invasion force approaching Normandy. No wonder they defended it so strongly.

To begin the battle, it received 600 salvoes from the US Battleship TEXAS. Then it took the full force of US Rangers and commandos with ladders and grappling irons, to take the position. Gaping craters and blockhouses witness to the intensity of the fighting. Only those who were there know (or knew) what it was really like on June 6, 1944, but they left an atmosphere which still haunts the spot. The films and memories we watch and hear on the TV screen mean little when compared with the feelings as you stand in the craters, or climb down concrete steps into a blockhouse.

Those who pray often long for their prayers to be informed with the facts. Cemeteries can tell us little but the places where events occurred, like the Pointe du Hoc, Pegasus Bridge and Arromanches-les-bains will always be places of pilgrimage for those who wish to inform their thanksgiving for the sacrifices of D-Day.

VENUS IN TRANSIT

There will be a transit of Venus on Tuesday morning. This is when Venus crosses the sun's disc and will be visible as a small back dot. It is only the fifth time it has happened since the first telescope. It is the event which sent James Cook on his voyage to the South Seas and so, indirectly, is responsible for the New Zealand cricket team visiting us this summer. The last time it happened was in 1882.

I received this information from the Rev Kit Widdows (St Thomas, Haymarket, Newcastle) who was an astronomer (no, not an astrologer!) before he was ordained. On Tuesday, he will be setting up his telescope to watch (by projection, of course) at 6. …

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