Sunday, 10 June 2007

A Picture of Parish Life

I don't often write about parochial life and so, at the risk of boring you, allow me to write a little about the last 24 hours or so.

It's been a non-stop weekend, culminating with our First Holy Communion Mass this afternoon. This is, of course, one of the highlights of the parish year and the goal of much preparation and hard work. However, it was hard to fully enter into the joy of the occasion - especially because of the sweltering temperatures, which must have made priests up and down the country look rather miserable under their multi-layers of vestments!

Added to that was the usual problem of crowd control. The 55 children behaved very well and you could see the delight and excitement on their faces. The same did not apply to many of the guests, who seemed to be either lapsed or non-Catholic. Despite an announcement about Church etiquette before the Mass and regular reminders, there was a lot of noise and chatter. However, this is part of the 'First Holy Communion experience' and, with about 600 people packed into a hot and sticky church, largely beyond anybody's control.

A quieter moment was provided half an hour before the Mass. We realised at the last minute - due to some lack of communication - that two of the candidates had not yet been baptised! So it fell to me to correct that deficiency, trying terribly hard (but not very successfully) to avoid messing up their hair as I washed them in the waters of baptism.

Yesterday I had a rather edifying experience, showing the fruits of wearing a collar and being recognisable as a priest. As I walked past the bus stop near our church, a young lady asked if I was a Catholic priest and whether the church was Catholic. We started chatting and she asked if she could make her confession, since she hadn't been since the time of her First Communion, nearly two decades ago. So we went into the church and, on the way out, she asked about Mass times and whether she could join the choir. Such are the random meetings that fill a priest's life!
I had a rather late night since I was invited to the presbytery at Hackney (St John the Baptist) to celebrate the 5th birthday of the two resident dogs, Bosco and Tomas (boxers), who spent the evening slobbering over me. So I think I'll have a quiet and early evening to prepare for the coming week. Noctem quietam et finem perfectum concedat nobis Dominus omnipotens.

Labels: , ,


Blogger ali said...

wow, the story of that lady is amazing! One time I was stuck in an airport at 4 a.m. having problems and feeling miserable, then out of the blue a priest walks by, roman collar and everything which in Mexico is really special since wearing a collar was illegal until 1985. It made my day.

5:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't like being negative but First Communions are becoming more superficial as time passes, no matter where they take place. If the children come from uninstructed, lapsed and semi-lapsed backgrounds, no matter how well they have been taught, they won't benefit from a semi-detached environment. Thank God there are still practicing Catholic families but increasingly they represent a minority.

7:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This congregation thing for First Holy Communions & Confirmations seems to be pretty universal. It's a shame for the well-prepared children..did you have 2 classes making theirs?

God bless

7:21 pm  
Anonymous Catholic granny said...

I have a daughter and son-in-law who are both practicing Catholics. They have two sons, one of whom has not long gone to a good Catholic primary school. Of the entire intake he was the only one who knew the Lord's Prayer. Why? Because they pray as a family every night before putting the boys to bed and he has known it ever since he learnt to speak. I should say that neither of their parents are fanatical. They simply believe and carry their faith into daily life. This will make a great difference when their sons are ready to make their First Holy Communions.

2:56 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>