Saturday, 13 December 2008

Saint Lucy V & M, 2008

I have spent the day in London today at the HQ of Forward in Faith. I went for the Vocations Day. It started at 10.30am with yours truly speaking about Spiritual Discipline, followed by Fr Matthew Bemand about the Education criteria and concluded by Fr John Brownsell on the Pastoral criteria for selection. After these talks we all assembled in the chapel upstairs for the Holy Sacrifice which was pleaded by Bishop John Broadhurst who spoke about the calling of the first disciples and our own calling that some times will take us into places which we would not choose just like what happened in the life of St Lucy who to keep her body and soul fixed on Christ received a horrible death which obviously she would never had chosen.
After Mass we had a splendid lunch lovingly prepared by Fr Tim Bugby and Reg (in photo). Reg and his wife Doreen are stalwart Anglo-Catholics, a married couple who are truly an example to all of us who are married.
At 2 pm we re-assembled to look at various ways how we can live the diaconal or priestly calling and also to hear experiences by some who are in various stages of their selection process. I was moved by a young man called Richard at the eloquent and theological competent way he spoke about religious life, which I firmly believe, is the most noble of Christian callings.
I was enormously encouraged by being with over 40 young men who in spite of the difficult time that we Anglo-Catholics face are still being generous in answering the call, and deeply moved that Jesus is still calling from among us - those who speak so loudly about our death should take a close look at the picture above.
Many thanks to Fr John Brownsell for organising this day, for his long experience in helping out with Vocations to the Sacred Priesthood; well done Fr John!
I shared my journey back to Sevenoaks with Fr Mark and an enquirer from our Parish. We spoke about how the day was moving and helpful and felt very content to belong to such a living and blessed part of the Church of England. Please keep these young men in your prayers.
As we give thanks for St Lucy and her example we ask her intercession on all those who suffer with eye illnesses and also pray for people in Nordic countries who today venerate the memory of this saint by special traditions as in the photos below.
St. Lucy's Day is a holiday celebrated in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Bosnia, and Croatia. Before the reform of Gregorian calendar in the 16th century, St. Lucy's Day fell on the winter solstice.In Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland, Lucy (called Lucia) is celebrated today in a ceremony where the eldest girl in a family, portraying Lucia, walks, with a crown of candles, ahead of a procession of other women holding a candle each. The candles symbolize the fire that refused to take her life. The women sing a Lucia song while entering the room, to the melody of the traditional Neapolitan song Santa Lucia, still well-known through the recording by Enrico Caruso but, whereas the Italian lyrics describe the beautiful view from the harbour area Santa Lucia in Naples, the various Scandinavian lyrics are fashioned for the occasion, describing the light with which Lucia overcomes the darkness. Each Scandinavian country has their own lyrics in their native tongues although commonly it is the melody of Neapolitan which is used. After finishing this song, the procession usually continues by singing Christmas carols or more songs about the Virgin Martyr.
Wherever you are make sure you enjoy your pink Sunday!

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