Dear brothers and sisters,
It was good that our expectations were proven wrong on Sunday, as we expected the weather would dissuade parishioners from making the journey to Cardiff, at least those from across the border. But, despite the wind and the rain, we had a good congregation for our Liturgy in Canton, with Cheltenham parishioners from the Forest of Dean.
Having celebrated the Meeting of the Lord in the Lady Chapel of St John’s on Tuesday, Saturday saw us celebrate the after-feast in Cheltenham, with a joyful Liturgy and lunch in Prestbury United Reformed Church, benefitting from much appreciated reinforcement from Cardiff.
During each Liturgy, when the day turned dark, as the wind howled and the rain lashed the church buildings, it was like being sheltered in the security and fastness of the ark, protected and safe-in-God.
I would like to thank all who contributed to a wonderful weekend in our parishes: singers, servers, sisters who fed everyone, and those who did the much-needed driving. May God bless you all.
It is a very busy and encouraging time in our communities, with eager new parishioners, some of whom are being catechised in preparation for baptism; other parishioners using catechesis as a refresher course; and a great sense of renewal and direction – recently encouraged by pilgrimages to Llancarfan and to the relics of St Alban in the Oratory Church, the blessing of newly-painted icons, new families with children, visitors seeking to learn about the Orthodox Church and the deepening spiritual lives of our parishioners.
My greatest hope is for the deepening of friendship between our Gloucestershire and Cardiff parishes, with the possibility of mission in the North Cotswolds, given the number of Wiltshire faithful we now have, and effectively connecting our communities. I look forward to visiting Wiltshire parishioners in the week ahead to bless houses and spend time with the faithful.
See below for this week’s services, and please note that there will be a baptism in Cardiff at 14:00 on Sunday.
Events this week:
Friday 25 February, in the church of St Mary, Butetown:
18:00 confessions, followed at 19:00 by our catechetical study group, to which all are welcome with refreshments provided. You do not need to be new to Orthodoxy, as we can always refresh our knowledge!
Saturday 26 February:
Depending on the need for Cardiff confessions, I may be available during the day. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday evening, as I shall be busy and away until very late on Thursday.
Sunday 27 February, in St John’s Church, Canton:
10:15 confessions, 11:00 Hours and Liturgy, followed by a bring-and-share lunch before the 14:00 baptism.
May God bless you all – Fr Mark