Deacon Peter writes...
Hello again everyone, first of all I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Fr. Ross on the occasion of his Ordination anniversary for June 4th 2016. “The true profession of faith is a life lived in close proximity to the Lord” (Taken from the Homily for the first Mass of Fr. Ross at the Cathedral).
I am glad to hear that you are all still keeping safe and well and hopefully making the most of this glorious weather we continue to experience. but, I have to apologise to you all in advance, as one afternoon last week I washed down the outside of the conservatory and had the car washed and then it rained on Wednesday! although I did check the weather app on my phone before starting and the weather looked good for at least another week and with the official figures showing that it has been the sunniest spring on record I crossed my fingers and got to work, oh well, the best laid plans.
As you may or may not know, over the last couple of months, the diocese has been setting up new e-mail accounts for all the clergy. This now looks as though it has gone relatively smoothly and while undertaking the changes I was also kept busy undertaking the diocesan on-line safeguarding course provided by EduCare, a provider of e-learning services, I have to say, parts of it were hard-going and lengthy and many of the slides could have been condensed down, that said, I am happy to have completed such an important subject which has far-reaching issues for us all.
Staying on the subject of the diocese, there has also been a lot of information and some dialogue during the lockdown with regard to parishes and how they should proceed once the restrictions have been eased and also some of the sacramental programs such as confirmation and First Holy communion either being cancelled or postponed until another date can be agreed. This means for us as a pastoral area that confirmation classes which would have started in early 2021 have now been pushed back to the following year with confirmation taking place at the Cathedral in 2022.
Following the feast of the Ascension of the Lord on Thursday 21st, I sat in the garden until about 10:30pm for some reflection time. It was still quite warm, the birds were still singing but the light was fading, it was all very peaceful and tranquil. I found myself looking up at the sky, there was an almost half-moon and my eye also caught the glint of a passing satellite and I tracked its flight path until it disappeared, but as I followed this object, in my peripheral vision I notice some of the stars starting to emerge in the night sky. Now you know when you look directly at something after a while you get a ‘blind spot’ and the image disappears, then as you look away it comes back into view, this is what was happening with the stars. As I looked back and forth there appeared to be six brighter stars in what I initially thought was the form of a cross, but as I looked away it wasn’t a cross I could see but the shape of the letter ‘Y’ and it reminded me of the image of Christ Crucified looking down on earth as depicted in the Salvador Dali painting, Christ of St. John on the Cross, his arms spread wide and his head leaning gently to one side, (this image is also used on the cover of the 2019-20 diocesan calendar) and I began to reflect not on the letter ‘Y’ but ‘Why’? as I looked forward to Pentecost and prepared to celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit coming down not just on the apostles but all of us as well.
I was very sad last week to learn of some deaths which were particularly poignant for Melinda and I. Firstly, Celia Moore who was a kind and gentle lady whom we have known for a number of years and indeed the family, so our thoughts are with them all at this time. The second was Bernard Tallon who we didn’t know but I had the pleasure of marrying one of his daughters a few years ago in St. Patrick’s. I remember quite vividly on the recession the bridal party (and myself) dancing down the aisle to Farrell Williams ‘Happy’ I was later informed it had been posted on twitter so I prayed the Bishop did not see it!! but needless to say it was a very happy occasion. We then heard about dear Margaret Kavanagh, again Margaret and the family and especially Melinda, we have known for many years and lastly was the death of George Floyd, the African American in Minneapolis while in police custody which was particularly brutal and has resounded across the globe. I pray for all those involved in his death and for all families grieving loved ones at this time.
I am also pleased to report the Vegetable garden is now planted with runner beans, lettuce, spring onions and tomato’s all showing great promise, but not I hasten to add, as productive as Fr. Ross’! which I saw in the week as we met to discuss reopening plans for St Patrick’s. As a lot of the spring colour begins to fade, Camelia, Azalea and Rhododendron in particular, the summer plants and shrubs are taking control with Peony, Lupins, Poppy and Roses taking centre stage. With all this activity in the garden I am now having the annual battle with the squirrels. This year as I put out the wild bird food, I have also hung a half coconut full of suet etc. While it looks comical to see the squirrels hanging upside down trying to prize the coconut from its place and then watch them scatter across the lawn as I clap my hands, it is nonetheless frustrating watching it disappear almost overnight and the birds not getting a look-in, so I’ll have to come up with a cunning plan to thwart them.
This last month Melinda and I have also been on a journey around the world, although we haven’t breached the lockdown rules! it’s been a journey with the different types of tea we happen to have at home and not got around to using but now we are both home all day we are taking the opportunity to use them so from Vietnam to Australia from Canada to China, we are trying them all. I have to say I am now quite a fan of Earl Grey, something which I never thought I would say, but I had to draw the line at the Australian Billabong tea (sorry Australia) but never to be tasted again!
God bless you all, and stay aware in these continuing uncertain times,
6th June 2020