Greetings from Australia where I have been for the past month enjoying an unusually warm Autumn.
This land of my birth is a stunning country- the sea shimmmers under a wide blue sky,parrots of bright hues swoop through the gum trees, and there is mile upon mile of beach and bush. It is a place for daily moments of awe and wonder.
This trip I have been privileged to go inland to see the cathedral of Australia’s indigenous people- the great rock standing in the desert once called Ayer’s Rock now known by its Aboriginal name of Uluru. I watched it change from red to purple at sunset and sunrise as the light caught the iron ore on its surface. I felt it deserved our silence but instead the air was disrupted by the chatter of tourists and I confess that in the evening I had a class of wine in my hand. ( Mind you it was not easy drinking wine through the flynet.)
But walking round Uluru’s base was almost more inspiring than seeing it from afar. We heard ancient myths of how the dramatic boulders, caverns and boulders were formed. Dingoes wandered near as we learnt by the waterhole how the first peoples hunted their prey while living within the natural environment rather than seeking to suppress it. Respect is the key word. The aboriginals respect the land, and they respect their elders acknowledging the sources of stories, dancing and skills by saying that they paid their respect to the person who taught them.
I write this in Sydney- part of me eager to get home and the other part knowing how deeply I will miss this wonderful land when I leave.
Forget me nots in bloom on the parish boundary at Park Range
In 470, during a time of unusual natural calamities, St Mamertus of Vienne (in France), originated the custom of processions of outdoor prayer. These ‘rogationtide processions,’ with litanies, spread quickly to other places and became popular in England, especially in Eastertide, near Ascension Day. The processions developed to become walks around the parish boundary, a custom still observed in several parishes today.
At St Chrysostom’s we often walk the parish boundary at Rogationtide. We ask for God’s blessing on the work done in the parish, and upon the land itself. Last year we did it with cakes and ale.
This year, we are having a virtual procession of the boundary as, through our Facebook group, Philip, parish assistant, is sharing photos of different parts of the parish boundary, with a request for pray for our parish, its land and its people.
In our parish may God’s will be done, not only ‘on earth’ but ’in earth as it is in heaven.’
Children and staff enjoying their church visit
Year 3 children from St Chrysostom’s School visited Church today. They investigated symbols and language and enjoyed learning about the church as a place of spirituality and prayer.
It was also the beginning of May and the children joined in the informal ceremony of the Crowning of Our Lady’s statue. We all lit candles, sang ‘Ave, ave, ave Maria’ as the veil and crown were placed upon the statue.
This simple ceremony, clearly loved by the children, has a lesson for us all about the Gospel: the greatest in the kingdom of heaven are those who are foremost in serving and in love.
Our Lady Mary was the humble servant of the Lord, she gave herself utterly to the love and caring of her Son.
She said YES! to God.
Now in the glory of heaven she prays for us, cares for us and is an inspiration and encouragement to us who also seek to love and serve.
They came from Newcastle and Herodsfoot (where’s that?), from the Isle of Man and Brighton and more. Nineteen people exploring their vocation to ministry came for a Vocations weekend organised by SCP (the Society of Catholic Priests) and St Chrysostom’s.
Discussion, visits to churches, worship, meals (including curry in Manchester’s curry mile), and lots of encouragement and laughter made a great weekend. We were pleased to be joined by Revd Catherine Williams, the Church of England’s National Vocations Officer, who also preached at mass on Sunday at St Chrysostom’s.
What did those who came have to say:
Wonderful Lovely to meet with others on the same journey Amazing
inspiring and well-organised weekend It was brilliant
All the stuff that happened was valuable but the beginning of new friendships (and deepening of old ones) is what I’d call my highlight.
Next one, next May!
We had a fantastic three course meal yesterday at the St Petersburg Russian restaurant on Sackville street.
We had a Russian food “beginners” menu to select from which offered us an introduction to Russian cuisine accompanied by a complementary shot of Russian vodka or liqueur.
Spirits were high and conversation lively (even if we did struggle with one or two of the Russian words) as people mixed with one another and compared the individual dishes we had all ordered.
Included in our Slavic feast were dishes both familiar, such as beef stroganoff, Russian salad and cheese blini, and completely new dishes like Golubsty, boiled cabbage leaf stuffed with rice and either vegetables or meat. Everyone commented on how exciting it was visiting a new restaurant with food and drink that they had never experienced before and with huge portion sizes everyone felt more than happy with what they received, in fact some were even unable to finish their Russian sized meals!!!
Ann said how much she enjoyed the variety of people and the conversations she had with members of the congregation she had not normally been able to speak with, whilst Philip marvelled at the technical ability of the Russian chefs.
All in all the meal was a great success and showed how adventurous our diverse congregation can be, as well as how many in the church are partial to a shot of vodka or two!
Family, friends and former colleagues of Fr Mark Dalby gathered at St Chrysostom’s on Saturday, 21st April for a memorial mass for Fr Mark. Some attending had travelled great distances to be there – from London, St Albans, Gloucestershire, Yorkshire… Fr Mark kept in touch with many people and it was good to have such a wide range present – school friends, bishops, former parishioners, archdeacons, friends from student days …
We celebrated a beautiful mass of the resurrection, and afterwards people of St Chrysostom’s had prepared a lovely buffet lunch. Those attending were able to meet and share memories informally together, to view photos of Fr Mark’s life, and even be encouraged to travel, as he did, by taking one of his many travel books. It was a splendid day, and all that was missing, one of the guests said, was sherry! (Mark’s favourite alcoholic drink).
Here you can download:
The Memorial Mass Address given by Fr Nicholas Roberts
The Memorial Mass Oder of Service
and a booklet of memories from friends and family entitled: A Sharing of Memories
Some comments from those who attended:
”such a lovely service and I greatly valued sharing the Mass with you” Bishop Stephen Venner
“a lovely service that helped focus my many happy memories of Mark. I should also like to thank your church for their generosity and welcome.” Martin Pizzey
” It was a ‘splendid send off’ and one which Mark would have greatly appreciated…. and your people excelled themselves with the buffet.” Archdeacon Alan Wolstencroft
This coming Saturday (20th April) there will be a Mass of the Resurrection with thanksgiving for the life of Fr Mark Dalby, former Archdeacon of Rochdale, a dear friend of Fr Ian and a supporter of our work at St Chrysostom’s. Fr Mark had a keen interest in hymns and here is a list of ten of his ‘priority’ hymns with his suggested tunes. They are older hymns which he felt were almost ‘lost’ and should not be forgotten. Inevitably such a list is a personal one, and influenced by hymns one has once sung and loved. One suspects in some cases the language would have to be modified if the hymns were to survive.
A man there lived in Galilee (Tune FOREST GREEN)
Come, sinners to the gospel feast (Tune BOSTON)
Glory to thee, Lord God! in faith (Tune CORONA)
Jesus, by thy simple beauty (Tune HALTON HOLGATE)
Jesus, whose all-redeeming love (Tune STRACATHRO)
Long ago the lilies faded (Tune ST MABYN)
Once to every man and nation (Tune HYFRYDOL)
Praise the Lord, his glories show (Tune LLANFAIR)
Spouse of Christ, in arms (Tune GOTT WILL’S MACHEN)
Ye fair green hills of Galilee (Tune ST CATHERINE)
For a more fullsome list of Fr Mark’s ‘priority hymns’ to be preserved before they are lost click - hymns-to-be-preserved
Have you a hymn you feel is in danger of disappearing which you would add to the list?