Thursday, 22 May 2008

Joys and Sorrows

Often a day in the life of a parish presents you with extreme highs and lows. Today has been one such day. Early this morning I celebrated a Funeral for a 28 week year-old baby who died in her mother's womb after several months of struggle. It was the first time in my five years of Priesthood that I have been asked to do this and the grief of the occasion was very tangible. It was also very moving to remind people that, despite the age of the baby and the tiny size of the coffin, this was a human person, just as precious in the eyes of God as any of us - it was doubly appropriate to do this after the anti-life legislation passed this week by Parliament. Please say a prayer for little Cristiana and her parents.

Then, on returning from Enfield Cemetery, it was time to mark the traditional Feast of Corpus Christi at our Primary School with a procession and benediction. We started in the playground, where an altar had been set up, and processed to the school hall, singing hymns. We were led there by our First Communion candidates, who wore their suits and dress - some of them scattered petals.

In the hall, we listened to a powerful sermon from Fr Albert, the Nigerian chaplain - seen here carrying the frame for the canopy to the school:

Then it was time for Benediction. This didn't quite go to plan because when I turned round to beckon the pupil who was holding the boat, I discovered that he had just vomitted all over it - so no incensation was possible during the Tantum ergo! Still, as one of the other priests pointed out, it made the occasion even more 'incarnational'!!!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not an easy funeral and almost nothing can be said that seems to help. They say a man is not supposed to carry his own childs coffin. I could add (having been in that position just over three years ago) that a man is not supposed to see his son carry his grand daughters white coffin. She died on same day she was born.
In a year (2004) that had its share of family bereavements it remains the one I find hardest.
Still it was made easier by a good priest and I am sure you also eased the burden. Blessings.

12:57 am  

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