Sunday, 2 December 2012

Advent with a bang

So we are underway; for the first time our little Group in Southbourne hosted an event for the whole Pastoral Area of Avon/Stour. The parishes responded splendidly. Our own parish priest, Fr Gerry, joined in the procession and gave the Blessing. There were singers, servers and readers from all over the area - including some friends who are still in the Church of England. Best of all, it was a really holy occasion, a good beginning for the keeping of Advent.

Everyone had woked very hard to prepare the Church. The central altar was removed, and a frontal found for the High Altar. There were candles everywhere, and every bit of brass had been polished within an inch of its life.

Our organist had worked hard with a handful of singers, some from our Group, others friends from neighbouring churches. The result was far better than we had dared expect. Afterwards visiting Catholics from other Churches expressed their appreciation; but some said that they had known none of the hymns. I fancy we have a good deal of gentle teaching to do - "Come, thou long-expected Jesus", "O Come, O Come Emmanuel","On Jordan's bank the Baptist's cry"... these are surely part of the Patrimony which we must be eager to share.

Indeed, the whole format of readings and hymnody came as a surprise to many - but we hope a pleasant one. Others said it took them back to their former days in the Church of England. For me it was an example of the Ordinariate seeking to bring out of its treasures "things new and old" for the benefit of the whole Catholic Church. We had printed a hundred service sheets - they ran out and our sidesmen were dashing about getting people to share... altogether a happy and holy occasion, a little contribution to the Year of Faith - with maybe an element of evangelisation within it.


No comments:

Post a Comment