Dear brothers and sisters,
Our busy weekend continued with our celebration of the Divine Liturgy in Nazareth House, and we were very pleased that our kliros was well provided with singers, making for strong and confident singing. Together with the continued blessing of double-deacons, this made for a splendid Liturgy and I greatly appreciate having two deacons with whom to concelebrate and share the Holy Mysteries.
Though we were a little thin on the ground due to half-term, we were very happy to have four new students visiting and experiencing their first Orthodox service, and were able to chat after the service.
After refreshments to break to our fast, we held our AGM, with reports from the clergy and treasurer. Among the topics discussed were the provision of resources and information for visitors and those exploring Orthodoxy, the availability of printouts of the creed and Lord’s Prayer for visitors, developing pilgrimage and reflecting our local culture in parish life – including use of Welsh in the Liturgy. With our bishop having blessed a parish brotherhood, we also touched and the need to invigorate our parish sisterhood, noting that it is not simply our catering department.
As announced at the Liturgy, I will be serving in Walsingham this week, travelling with Norman and Georgina tomorrow. We look forward to the joy of being with our friends there, especially Mother Melangell, whom we have known for many years. Our Liturgy will be blessed by the presence of Father Mark Tattum-Smith from Mettingham, with whom I will concelebrate as a priest for the first time, and with whom we will be discussing local devotions and promoting ROCOR pilgrimage to Walsingham – with our diocesan connections going back to the very first days of the shrine church. We look forward to the development of local Orthodox Walsingham cells.
Whilst I will obviously be contactable in emergencies, may I remind you that Norfolk is a very long way away, and any interactive pastoral needs need to be directed to Fr Deacon Mark. So that he is able to arrange any provision of support.
However, we will be VERY pleased for us to email us with requests for intercessions and intentions: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will return on Friday, in time for our pilgrimage to Llandaff cathedral on Saturday, where we will celebrate our moleben to St Teilo at 10:00. After our service and time around the cathedral, we will enjoy the hospitality of the Maltster’s Arms for drinks and lunch at midday.
Just to remind you that we are in the eve of Cheese-Fare week and that meat should be consumed by tonight, though fish will be permitted throughout next week. As Orthodox maximalists, we refute the idea of pancake day… but rather enjoy a whole week. So… enjoy!
The first opportunity to hear confessions will be in Nazareth House on Saturday, after our ‘pilgrim lunch’, and I would like those wishing to confess to email me by 16:00 on Thursday to allow me to email as we will be travelling for much of Friday.
Sunday will be Forgiveness Sunday, and we will celebrate the Vespers of Forgiveness after Liturgy, marking the liturgical beginning of the Great Fast.
Please make the most of the week and get ready for the Fast – in terms of food, prayer and reading.
Looking forward to the Fast, it is our hope that by finding twenty readers to commit to reading a kathisma of the Psalter each day, it may be read every day until the eve of Lazarus Saturday. We really need commitment to this rather than people wanting to join in for a week or two, so if you would like to participate in this spiritual offering, as an act of intercession for our parish, please email email@example.com for further information.
With love in Christ – Hieromonk Mark