Tuesday, 9 December 2008

All Over the Place.

The busy Church on Sunday, attracted by the Christmas lunch, produced a flurry of devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham and a rush after Mass to get out and bag a seat in the golf club. Thus it was that all but one of the votive candles needed lighting yesterday to burn them down, ready for more devotion on Sunday. But, I hear you say, was not yesterday the Memoria of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, born spotless and fair? Did we not have a Church ablaze with candles and where, moreover, are the pictures Gunga Din? Ah, indeed. We did have a Mass for the Immaculate Conception and I did just remember to surround the statue of Our Lady which stands by the platform which something called a 'nave altar' (no, haven't a clue, sorry) once stood on, with tall candles and to put out a Marian chasuble, but I was distracted.

Our Parish Priest, you see, was taken ill and was in hospital. He is out now, do not worry, and well on the road to recovery, so there were suddenly a hundred and one things to arrange with school play rehearsals and sick calls and who to say the Masses and all. As it happens, there was no need for alarm, but we had a good 'drill', I suppose. I rather enjoyed drill at school, but am afraid that I rather lacked application and was surprised when the Major suggested that I toddle off and take a look at Sandhurst. Yoiks!

'Don't go South to Sandhurst, go North to ..........' the angel is saying from our reredos and all will be revealed as to where he is pointing soon, for he pointeth to where I will be doing my curacy, God willing. More next week, I think. It has been a strange process, this looking for a curacy. In times gone past, I imagine there was little choice, this time I had a list of offers and suggestions and whenever I mentioned this to anyone, another Parish needing - and allowed - a curate was suggested. There was one to which I felt called, though, from the start and that is where, I think, I shall be going. Pray for me and pray for them.

Rose, of course, is the colour of this weekend, which means that our rose High Mass set from Haggerston is coming out with our other Roman rose concelebration chasubles. This lectern fall is part of the very complete High Mass set which also includes a cover for the book of Gospels. A few extra candles on the altar are allowed and we might even break out into a rash of acolytes, not usually had in Lent and Advent. Torchbearers are the preserve of Christmas and Eastertide usually, but we would love another server or two for special occasions to add to our excellent, devoted team.

The sacristy is home to a rare colony of birettas, who have been breeding during the cold months. You can see the red tufted and rarer model perching on top of it's family. There is another reclusive member of the tribe, enormous in it's height and displaying a magnificent and huge red plumage.

I have also been to the city centre of Manchester recently to collect some new Psalm Books from the Catholic Truth Society. They are, says the publisher, the last four in the world, found at the back of the publishers warehouse and probably not to be reprinted. As I was chatting to the proprietor of the store, one of our flock was studying the little plastic statues of Saints and came over to express happiness at one of the Infant of Prague, a representation of Christ which caused no stir in devotion within me when I saw the 'real thing' and had a similar effect as a five inch plastic figurine. Christ is not a little child and should not, in my opinion, be venerated as such. My friend the statue fancier then said that 'of course, I should like these things, being an Anglo Catholic', which caused the proprietor to start, clutching his psalm books to his chest as if unsure that the last four Psalm Books in the western world should be sold to such as me. 'Of course, my friend continued, confiding in the proprietor, 'when we have Benediction' (near faint of Prop.) 'Andrew can't sing a note anyway, so he will have to say everything when he's a Priest' (mop of prop. brow). The books were handed over with hardly a word and I get the feeling that there will be penance done in the CTS tonight. It was a scene worthy of Barbara Pym.

Anyway, do continue to hold Fr Ronald Croft, Parish Priest of these parts, in your prayers as well as your scribe as he tries to discern God's will for him. We will not be having Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at Mass, although we will be having it during the school Christmas concert this week.