Monday, 21 January 2008

St Agnes' Day.

Saint Agnes, Pray for us.

This Chasuble was given to me by a group of parishoners when I started training. It contains the baptismal shawl of a one time European Monarch, and was worn at the morning Mass as it will be in the evening Mass today. It is particularly suited to female martyrs, I think.

Detail of the back.

Before Mass this morning, I was sitting at the back of Church chatting to some of the people who attend Monday morning Mass. We were discussing St Agnes, I mentioned how it is that the order of nuns she founded still provide the wool for the palliums which the Pope confers on Metropolitan Archbishops and how fitting it is that our statue of her has a lamb at her feet. One of the congregation said that when she was a girl she was at a Catholic School and the girls could join the Agnesians, who led a parade one a year, the youngest girl at the front with a lamb walking beside her on a ribbon! And here I am, about to have a lamb sandwich for my lunch! Somebody else mentioned how he had lived near St Agnes' RC Church in his home town as a boy and remembered how the Priest from his (Anglo Catholic) Church used to keep a great feast for the day, while the RC Church had stopped having a Solemn Mass for the feast some years before, leading to quite a few people crossing over the Tiber in quite the opposite direction to usual that day!

It is always good to share memories, for our lives are intricately woven into the stories of each other, that is why closing a Church. or having a naughty Priest affects so much more than the active parishoners, but the lives of everyone interconnected with the place. Sharing memories reinforces our similarities and reminds us that we are all part of a continuing tradition which, at it's heart, has Christ with us, Emmanuel, leading us and guiding us each step of the way. Christ is the cloth, if you like, that we each weave our stories onto, and woe betide us if we think we know the pattern that our lives will take on the cloth and do not ornament others by our work, or we will stand out and our disharmony will show when we eventually study the cloth with Christ at our side.