Monday, April 5, 2010

Greater numbers than ever at Church this Easter

After the Easter ceremonies last year I made a note that there was an extremely good attendance at the ceremonies, particular the Easter Sunday morning Mass. This year, there was an even greater number. This must confound the 'The Catholic Church is Finished' rhetoric of the media. As well as being the Church's major feast of the year, I think Easter possibly speaks to people at a more profound level than Christmas. It really is a feast of hope and joy. No matter how 'dead' the Church might seem, it always rises again. Perhaps in the midst of Her current difficulties, fuelled mainly by media who won't accept 'sorry' from the Pope no matter how often and in how many different ways he says it, the Church is a sign to a huge number of people who perhaps know they are not living 'up to the mark' in terms of regular church attendance, marriage, etc, etc, yet they see a Church that is made up of and welcomes sinners and gives them hope.

I reflected yesterday on the fact that the first witness of the empty tomb and of the Risen Christ was a woman who had had seven devils cast out of her. The Magdalen was a sinner, and it was as a forgiven and healed sinner that she proclaimed to the doubting apostles the fact of the Risen Christ. She is an example of the new batch of unleavened bread, the corrupting old yeast having been cast out of her. The mysterium iniquitatis was there at the beginning of the Church's proclamation of the Resurrection, and so it will be with the Church until the end of time. But that does not invalidate Her proclamation. In fact, it makes it all the more credible to those who need to live their lives in the hope of becoming something better than they are at present. The impossible is, with the power of God, possible.

A message received from a parishioner of mine this morning:

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

What a wonderful week of masses and ceremony. I feel refreshed and renewed.

You, and all involved, must have worked very hard so that everything went off smoothly, it was a joy being in church to worship our dear Lord.

Here is a photograph of St. Simon's altar decorated so beautifully for Easter morning.
God bless you for everything.

Thanks are due to everybody who worked really hard to prepare the church and the liturgy: cleaners, flower arrangers, choir, sacristy, MC, and particularly to our servers. We had a full complement at the Easter Vigil, with sufficient numbers to have torches, and an excellent turnout of servers at the Morning Mass. Fantastic!

Congratulations to Rachel Numas who was received into the full communion of the Catholic Church and who received Holy Communion with us for the first time during the Easter Vigil. She, together with five other adults (her husband Nigel, Martial and Sandrine Eba, Aude Alecks and Annelise Moore) were confirmed, taking as confirmation patron saints respectively: Therese of Lisieux, Thomas More, Gabriel, Rita, Joanna (one of the women who went to the tomb on Easter morning), Catherine of Sienna.

Two of the lads who have been popping into church recently came to the Easter Sunday morning Mass. I saw them at the back as I processed in and took them down to be near the front, placing them in the safe hands of the same parishioner who wrote the above appreciative message. Their sister and a friend popped in this morning and told me that one of the lads is telling everyone he wants to be a Catholic.

Saturday morning saw a packed church (I have never seen the Church so full) with the Polish blessing of food which, as last year, I did using the Latin formulae for the blessing of Lamb, Eggs and Bread at Easter found in the old Rituale Romanum. (See slideshow below). The Kentish Express photographer was present so we might see a few photographs in this Thursday's edition (see the KE's announcement here, search later this week for a report).

And on Good Friday evening some of the Polish community organised a very inspiring 'son et lumiere' Way of the Cross followed by a homage to Pope John Paul II whose fifth anniversary it was. Although I could understand nothing of what was said or read, the language of prayer and faith was all I needed. Congratulations to them. They made a huge effort in decorating the church with votive candles, including a cross on the church floor, and power point images taken from The Passion of the Christ etc. Very prayerful, very devotional. It took a couple of hours to set up and lasted for two hours. Congratulations to all involved.

Happy Easter everybody.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely pictures, Father.

    Happy Easter to you. The full church is a reflection on the Holy Father and yourself, so well done and God bless.


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