Today and the Coming Week

Dear brothers and sisters, in thanking those who contributed to today’s Liturgy in so many ways, we really must begin with our singers, who sang so beautifully and joyfully. It was difficult to believe that such chanting was by only four singers, and the Cherubic Hymn was sung particularly well.

We were so happy to hear Metropolitan Nicholas, our newly elected and enthroned First-Hierarch, commemorated in the litanies and at the Great Entrance, and we pray that we may hear that name for many years to come.

As we look forward to this week, we ask the prayers of the faithful for our young parishioners Oswald, Alexander and George as they travel to Greece on pilgrimage – where they will no doubt pray for our parish and paishioners at the many holy places they visit. We also pray for Vladika Irenei as he returns from the Holy Synod in New York; for Masha and her family as they travel back from Bordeaux; and for Peter and Anne, as they fly to the Canary Islands for a well-deserved holiday.

As you know, we had to cancel last week’s catechesis session on Friday and move confessions to Saturday, due to road closures in Butetown, but we will be back in St Mary’s, this Friday at 19:00, for a talk on the themes of confession and repentance. We will meet at the back of the church, as the parish room is still out of use, after the discovery of dry-rot in the kitchen-floor. As the kitchen is out of use, any beverages will need to be brought in flasks!

I intend to hear confessions in church before our talk, and would appreciate requests by Wednesday night to allow me to see whether any afternoon confessions are needed in addition.

As announced at Liturgy, the next two Sunday Liturgies will be followed by baptisms, so please be prepared for simple refreshments, as there will only be 25-30 minutes between Liturgy and the baptisms. If the weather allows, trapeza can be laid out in the garden, allowing more time to eat, drink and chat. Crucially, the Liturgy must begin on time, and there will be no possibility of any additional confessions after the Liturgy, as we must set up for the baptisms, and I must at least have a chance to sit down, given blood-pressure problems at the moment.

Today – and feeling very under the weather this evening – has reminded me of how strenuous Sundays are, and I will have to seriously start placing some limits on activities and slow down for the sake of self-preservation! Please remember that, sometimes, the clergy are on their feet for whole days on end. Some people seem to forget how many others have problems, questions and requests, in addition to themselves. Please watch the clergy when you are with them, and reflect on the fact that they rarely have a chance to stop, sit down, and catch their breath. You can all help on this front, by being sympathetic, and patient when response to communications may appear slow. There is a far bigger picture than the bit you may see.

Several of us will be in Chiswick this Tuesday and Wednesday for the Nativity of the Mother of God and I look forward to being with some of our parishioners in the cathedral for the altar-feast.

The next great feast will be the Exultation of the Life-Giving Cross on Tuesday 14/27, when we will celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the Church of St Mary, Butetown. As there is no daily mass until the evening, we will celebrate the Hours at 10:00 and the Divine Liturgy at 10:30. After the wonderful feast-day Liturgies of the summer, we very much look forward to returning to St Mary’s for the feast.

Next Sunday will be the Leave-Taking of the Nativity of the Mother of God, so we will celebrate the last day of the feast together. The variables for the Liturgy may be found in the usual place:

Having celebrated the feast of Saints Peter and Febronia, during the past day, we pray especially for the married couples of our community, and ask the prayers of the Holy Wonderworkers  for all of our parish families – encouraging everyone to turn to them in prayer, for the preservation and strengthening of Christian family life, based on the values of the Gospel and Law of God.

May God bless you all. Asking your prayers.

In Christ – Fr Mark

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