Saturday, 4 June 2011

"Oh God I love saying Mass!" Fr Beeching (in "Fr Ted")

Well, Thursday began as usual with the recitation of the Office (1570) and Mass... of the feast (Ascension Day)! I realise, of course (being an avid reader of the "New Tradition's" blogs), that there's a suggestion "floating around" at the moment that the [Roman] Catholic Bishops' Conference of England & Wales is about to revert the local Ordo to a "traditional" observance of some feasts (e.g. the Epiphany), together with their recent pronouncement of the reinstatement of Friday Penance (I do find this "reclamation" of Catholic culture and identity since the Papal Visit... rather ironic). That's as may be... a little like "closing the stable door after the horse has bolted" though, I fear. Afterall, the "Catholic Church" in this country is judged to be losing approximately 30'000 souls per annum since VCII?

After the 8am Mass I popped back to "Domus Ecclesia" to catch up with some paperwork before returning to the Annexe for the Noon Mass. Persuaded the server to give me a lift to the hospital to pop in on a friend in Intensive Care. There I co-anointed him with an Anglican priest (also a friend) using the traditional Rite of Unction in both Latin and English. Having just finished anointing, another nurse came asking what denominations we were, I replied "Catholic and my colleague, Anglican" and the nurse stated he had a Protestant patient who'd like to see a minister, I deferred to my Anglican colleague and left to make my way to the farthest corner of the hospital to visit another friend just recently out of Intensive Care, an ex-Cistercian. After a cup of tea and three biscuits (first opportunity to break-fast after the Noon Mass) and promising to bring in "The Catholic Herald" the next day and some Nivea for him (hospital does dry out the skin,) as I left the Ward I was called over by another acquaintance who suffers from some Seasonal Disorder (always goes a bit loopy with the hot weather) and epilepsy. Returned to "Domus Ecclesia" to prepare the Bulletin and Proper's handout for Sunday, answer some messages and then went to "keep the Feast" with the local (immediately to me) Anglican MC who bemoaned the fact that his parish ("more Roman than the Romans") was observing the Feast on Sunday! Whilst enjoying a pint or two, I also met up with a parishoner who's wife I buried before Easter who'd popped in with his family to listen to the Jazz band I introduced him to and with whom he's played a couple of gigs with since, much to the delight of his daughter who says its "really helped him to cope with mum's absence".
"Keeping the Feast!"

Yesterday (Friday) was an equally busy day. After the 8am Mass (for St Charles Lwanga & Companions) I took everything down (Altar etc) for the Al-Anon (support group for families of those suffering alcoholism) to use the Annexe (Central) and went to the office to publish the Bulletin and Propers Handout for Sunday and then broke fast in the Cafe next to the Annexe and caught up with the Chef's from the Salvation Army Homeless "Drop-in" comparing notes and observations about the folks we saw on Wednesday. Then hot-footed it to the bus-stop to catch a bus to the entrance of the Crematorium (North) before walking up the long hill to the Chapel for a funeral (1030). After the funeral I walked back down the hill to the bus-stop, took a bus home (West), checked emails and phone messages, had something of a conventional "lunch-break" (how novel I thought) and then took a bus again back to the Crem' for another funeral (1430). After this I walked back down the hill from the Crem', again, to catch a bus back into the centre of town (South), changed buses for the Hospital (East). Got off halfway to pop into the RC Church to buy a copy of "The Catholic Herald", spoke to a drunk and then walked the rest of the way uphill to the Hospital. Got halfway to the Instensive Care ward and remembered I promised to get some Nivea... so back down the stairs to the Eastwing to the WRVS shop, only to find them fresh-out of skin-lotion! So back to the front of the Hospital to the main shop, Nivea duly bought, and back up the stairs and the lifts to the Instensive Care ward. Friend much better than yesterday, so something worked - as it should - having been doubly anointed yesterday! Friend in good spirits, but the person in the next bed kept trying to get my attention. An hour and half later, when said person's sister arrives, I realise its the woman who runs the Catholic Repository in the next bed who's been trying to say hello! A chat with them after sorting out a social worker for another patient in fear of being evicted from their home whilst their in Hospital, and I went back to the farthest corner of the Hospital to catch up with my ex-Cisctercian friend, only to find that he had finally been moved for muscular re-hab' and my efforts to get the paper and the cream were entirely wasted! But, saw the other chap again on the same Ward and spent sometime catching up again with him and with one of the Orderly's.

After all this, I returned to the Annexe via two buses to set up everything for Mass on Saturday (Altar, shrine, chairs etc) and at 7pm finally got on a bus homewards (West)! Literally a twelve-hour day as I'd started by leaving home at 7am! Feeling the need for some refreshment, I stopped off at my local and was treated to a pint by a local restauranter and we chatted about iTunes and iPods as he's thinking of getting one for his business. Then a friend popped in who would be seeing our mutual friend just recently transferred from the Hospital for muscular rehab' so gave him "The Catholic Herald" to take with him! Phew. Returning home for a "slam in the oven" fisn n'chip supper (it being Friday, some of us don't need to wait till September 16th as we've never stopped the observance) I started catching up again with paperwork before finally, after reciting Compline and Vigils, retiring to bed. Comforting myself I wondered if I had been "a good and faithful servant" and though conscious of my failings, drifted off into a deep sleep... ("at least Mass on Saturday is at 9am" I thought drowsily...)!

Right then..., Mass said, meeting taken, now off to a local Church's "Summer Fayre", the Hospital and... ;o)


Anonymous said...

Father, may I ask if you are a "tentmaker priest" with a job to keep body and soul together or whether you get by on Mass stipends, etc.?

Canon Jerome Lloyd OSJV said...

I make do on a very modest stipend, gratuities, stole fees and the providence of God - all of which enables me to operate a full-time ministry for which I am truly thankful ;o)