The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

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Our Little Feathered Brothers

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Puffin numbers are declining in one of Britain’s key colonies. In five years the population of Puffins on Farne Island, off the coast of Northumberland in England has decreased by a third. This has puzzled scientists and researchers from the University of Newcastle have begun an investigation into their demise. Why however would I mention these lovable birds? Well I feel an affiliation to these beasts.

Puffin is a modification of the old Anglo-Norman word pophyn or poffin but the proper Latin name for these marvellous creatures is Fratercula or Little Brother. This name refers to the similarity of the birds white and black plumage to the habit of our Order. Ignoring the colourful beak, the Puffin resembles a cappa-wearing friar with his capuce up. The beak however can be said to resemble our preaching of the Gospel - the primary mission of our Order and of every Christian. The glory of the Gospel supersedes all colours of the spectrum; but when we preach we should aim to proclaim the Gospel in a way that stands out within the humdrum world as the beak of the Puffin stands out from its monochrome colouring.

Mark Davoren


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