Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas and Beyond

Having got back from Ars just in time for Christmas Eve it has been understandably busy here in the parish. I'm glad to say the Christmas ceremonies went very well. As usual we had about twenty servers for Midnight Mass - all drilled to perfection! The Choir was great and the Church was packed - this year we had over 1,600 people at our Christmas ceremonies. On my return from France I found a package waiting from me from Malaga. It was a gift from some of the seminarians who had been here over the summer and included some 'Three Kings Incense' - the stuff they use in Seville. We used it for the first time at Midnight Mass and filled the Church with clouds of sweetly smelling smoke!
Boxing Day was spent preparing two things: the weekend and the Archbishop's visit on 27th December for the Feast of st John. This is traditionally a day on which the seminarians and those thinking of the priesthood gather with the Archbishop simply to relax in each others' company. After Mass we had a meal together followed by some light-hearted fun and an exchange of Christmas presents.
Sunday was quieter than usual not only because lots of parishioners are away but also because those who stayed in town took the opportunity fo the weekend to visit friends and relatives. That was just as well because I needed time to get things ready for the New Year Retreat which began last night. The first impression is that numbers are down a bit on previous years but that there are lots of new faces. We're expecting quite a lot of people to turn up today.

Some of you may have seen this video of a previous retreat but I'm posting it again just to give you a flavour of what the retreat (or "prayer festival") is like. Typically we found that the heating in the school had broken down yesterday but our excellent school-keeper soon got it sorted. More worryingly the eight of us staying in the presbytery got up this morning to find that the heating had also broken down in the presbytery and that, with a thick frost on the ground outside, a freezing shower was the only thing on offer at home. I've now fixed the boiler (I hope) and the house is beginning to warm up again.
Oops! Time to go - some ladies have turned up wanting to cook soup for three hundred in my kitchen???!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


A very Happy and Holy New Year - may the Lord shower you with Peace and blessings and further enrich your ministry in bringing forth many Holy Vocations to the Sacred Priesthood.

From a Brother Priest