Parish News: 29 January

Dear brothers and sisters,

The obvious first comment in this week’s news is obviously our return to St John’s, Canton, with the setting bringing an instant change to the feel and dynamics of Liturgy.

I have to admit to missing the sanctuary/altar of Nazareth House, but the layout of St John’s brought an intimacy and warmth to Liturgy, in terms of the faithful being in proximity to one another rather than being scattered across a vast building, the gentler light, and – of course – the very welcome opportunity to share a relaxed and sociable trapeza, with a designated eating area and the kitchen.

Though our set-up (pre-unpacking!) was rather minimal, we shall make ourselves more at home next week, and I will ask some of our young people to help distribute icons and candles around the building.

It was good to have Father Luke and some of the Llanelli mission-parish with us, and a pleasure to welcome new parishioners, and especially for time to talk and get to know one another over our bring and share lunch.

We are very grateful to all at St John’s, especially given the surprise of our arrival with everything from Nazareth House, rather than the limited possessions we had us when we previously used St John’s.

I very much hope that after discussions with the church-warden, we may be able to celebrate more services when the building is quiet, and not in use. However, having just arrived we need to be patient on that front.

We are fortunate that the Sisters in Nazareth House are happy for us to continue hearing confessions in the chapel, and this week, I will hear confessions on Thursday, so requests by noon on Wednesday, please.

Sunday’s confessions were held up by numerous preliminary conversations regarding storage and sacristy use, but this Sunday, confessions should commence around 10:15. I was pleased to able to start proskomedia at the designated time of 11:00, when the blessing was given for the Hours, and this will be our pattern.

Please be aware that confessions will ordinarily end with the dismissal of the Hours in future, even with a second priest, as there should be no confessions during Liturgy.

Our first Liturgy back in St John’s came after an extremely busy week following the previous Sunday’s Liturgy, and our Wessex parishioners were happy to have house-blessings, a narrow-boat blessing, the blessing of the River Wylye at Hanging Langford, and a pilgrimage for a carload of us, with Whitchurch Canonicorum and the shrine of St Wite as our sacred destination.

We look forward to our Wessex prayer meeting on the last Monday of the month, and the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on the second Saturday of the month. Through the good offices of the feoffees who hold the trust of the Chapel of St Laurence in Warminster, and the parish of St Laurence in Bradford on Avon, we hope to have liturgies in Wiltshire, with Warminster offering a little more warmth in the colder months of the year! St Laurence of Rome seems to be in charge here, which is wonderful, given what an inspiring martyr-saint he is.

Thanks you to all in Wessex for such a wonderful few days, and the foundation of what is to come.

My return to Cardiff was necessitated by our Wednesday move to Canton, and am grateful to Norman for organising things.

Sunday evening saw a student gathering for supper, and it really is good to know that our band of students enjoy one another’s company outside services, some of them shared a Burns Supper last week, as well as meeting socially and having musical events to look forward to attending, whether in the Royal College or venues in the city. 

Turning to even younger parishioners, we look forward to having the parish children contribute to Liturgy by singing the responses to some of our litanies, and working with members of our kliros and me to learn some chants. Also, as we look forward to festal processions, I hope to find ways in which the children may participate in liturgical life.

Thank you all who contributed to the collection for Leprosy Sunday. Together with previous donations we have £200 to pass on to the Commandery of the Knights of St Lazarus, for international leprosy projects. If anybody would like to contribute, we will be happy to receive donations next week.

As Deacon Mark requested, please endeavour to find parking in the area around St John’s, rather than on church grounds, leaving the very limited parking space for clergy, for those with limited mobility and small children. The Anglican parish breakfast will mean that parking around the church will not be available until considerably later than before.

When you are in St John’s, please not that there are collection baskets for the food-bank behind the main-door, and considering contributing something each week, even if it’s only a tin or packet. Now that parish-life has returned to St John’s, we really should be part of the mission area’s support of those in need.

On a final note, just a reminder that the service ends with the last amen of the thanksgiving prayers, and that thanking the Lord for His self-giving in the Holy Gifts, is an important part of our worship. So let’s listen to the prayers attentively, as they are offered on behalf of all who have partaken of the Holy Mysteries.

May God bless you all.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

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