Dear brothers and sisters,
This has been a very busy weekend for our clergy, with services in Cheltenham and Cardiff.
Our Saturday started early and finished late, with a prayerful Liturgy in Cheltenham to celebrate the feast of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. We greatly enjoyed being with our small, but faithful and loving community, honouring the Mother of God in the place where we had venerated her wonder-working icon only eight months before, with yesterday’s Liturgy and feast bringing us together from South Wales, the Forest of Dean, Bath, the Cotswolds, Cheltenham and Gloucester.
We were very pleased to admit Germaine and Kyle as catechumens before the Liturgy, and we pray for God’s blessing on their journey towards the Mystery of Holy Baptism.
Having celebrated the Liturgy, it was lovely to relax over lunch and to have time to chat and socialise. We then made a hospital visit so that I could hear a confession and perform Holy Unction.
After collecting prosphora for the Liturgy on our homebound journey, we arranged the convent chapel for this morning’s Liturgy, looking forward to not only celebrating the Liturgy, but serving a litia in honour of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God.
Today’s cold start made us wonder whether parishioners from the valleys beyond the Severn would make it to church, but we were very happy to have faithful from Merthyr Tydfil, Bath and Wiltshire, who were determined to make it to Liturgy… and what a beautiful and prayerful Liturgy it was, ending with the litia before our copy of the Kursk-Root Icon, and St Nectarios’s ‘O Holy Virgin’ chanted during the kissing of the cross.
Many thanks to all who contributed to the celebration, serving, singing, giving lifts, doing crafts with the children, bringing flowers, and packing away – as well as those who have given support throughout the week.
This week will be a rather static one for me, given the train strike, so I intend to hear confessions on Saturday afternoon after setting up the convent church for Liturgy. Will those requiring confession please email me by Thursday midday.
May God bless you and your continuing journey through the Nativity Fast.
In Christ – Hieromonk Mark