Dear brothers and sisters,
Today saw the celebration of the first Sunday of the Nativity Fast in Nazareth House, and we were relieved that we had fifteen minutes more than usual to set up for Liturgy – not much it may seem, but a significant help for us. I was happy that though today saw a fair few parishioners with commitments or circumstances keeping them away from Cardiff, we still mustered a goodly sized congregation for the beginning of Advent.
We were glad to have Hierodeacon Avraamy back with us, after being in Florence and only arriving home in Swansea in the early hours of last Sunday morning. We are very fortunate in having two deacons for Liturgy, and the solemnity that their concelebration adds to our services.
Thanks to all who contributed to today’s celebration, especially our servers, who though only two in number did so much, especially with the tidying up and packing away of the church.
It was lovely to see such sociable post-Liturgy fellowship as eighteen of us relaxed in our local café, with the clergy and students being the last to make their way home after animated conversation.
I neglected to announce that tomorrow’s Liturgy for the feast of the Presentation of the Mother of God in the Temple will be in Llanelli, with the Hours at 10:00 and the Liturgy at 10:30.
At least one person has understandably asked why there would not be a Liturgy in Cardiff in the morning, and that is due to a few reasons and not a casual decision.
With the parish lacking clergy-accommodation in Cardiff, it is not always possible to stay in town, and – as mentioned in the announcements – the present industrial action already has a major impact on travel from Llanelli to Cardiff. I spent ninety minutes standing and squashed in a corner on extremely crowded trains yesterday, after and before three mile walks at either end of the journey. As some of our parishioners know, trains are constantly cancelled or late, making the those that are running extremely overcrowded, and every journey a gamble.
Each Liturgy requires the church to be set up after the end of Catholic masses of various and unpredictable length, someone to sing the Liturgy, and then for everything to be put away again. Without a guarantee that this support can be provided, Liturgy is Cardiff will not be practicable and our weekday Liturgies will be in Llanelli when there is no assistance for me in Nazareth House.
Such decisions are not taken casually, and I would ideally wish to see every festal Liturgy in Nazareth House, not to mention the celebration of Saturday Liturgies, but for this to happen, we need guaranteed support.
Given this weekend’s Saturday mission Liturgy in Cheltenham, I will make Thursday the confession weekday, and will fit in with parishioners’ needs in the afternoon and evening, though there will be a pause in confessions to chant an Advent Moleben at 16:00, as was done last week. May I have confession requests by noon on Wednesday, please.
Confessions can also be heard at the time of setting up the church in Cardiff, but we would like requests, given that we will be doing so on the way back from Cheltenham.
Looking ahead, may I remind you that Monday 11th December will see the Penarth Community Choir’s Christmas Concert, which our parishioner Marina (who sings in the Community Choir), hopes parishioners will be able to support. The performance will be in Tabernacle Baptist Church, Plassey St, Penarth CF64 1AE and starts at 19:00. Tickets cost £5 for adults and £4 for children.
Later in the week, Wednesday 13th December sees the charity concert in St John’s Church, Canton, CF5 1NX at 19:30. Masha, Edmund and Aldhelm will perform to raise money for the support of our communities in Israel’s West Bank in this time of crisis and urgent need. There is no entry fee but there will be a retiring collection to raise money for this needy and worthy cause.
Finally – we have heard the sad news that Paddy, whom we first met at St John’s died last week. Few people understood that this homeless man was a man of faith, with a deep knowledge of the scriptures and lively trust in God. His cancer noticeably wasted him over the time in which we knew him, and during that time he never asked for anything material, though members of community tried to give a little financial assistance. He did, however, always ask to pray, and constantly gave thanks for life, despite being destitute, seriously ill with little hope of recovery, enduring homelessness to avoid the culture of drugs and alcohol in hostels.
After our return from St John’s, he was able to overcome his fears and visit us, having grown up as an abandoned child in Nazareth House. Having talked of moving to accommodation in Northampton to have a clean break from negative influences in Cardiff, we were unaware that he was even in the city, until hearing the sad news. Please remember him in your prayers. Memory eternal! May the Lord have mercy upon his soul, and remember him in His Kingdom.
In Christ – Hieromonk Mark