In the late 80s, in the early years after ordination, it seemed that most of the work in the parish was impossible. Trying to provide pastoral care for cancer patients was particularly difficult when pastoral training had given no information whatsoever about the illness.
Bill a member of the church, was a consultant anaesthetist and dealt a lot with pain relief, prompting me to question him. “Is there nothing published that would help a new curate understand what was going on?”
Bill was suspicious of anything simplistic, “What do you …
“ . . . they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was”. Matthew 2:9
‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For the journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
The opening lines of ‘The Journey of the Magi’ by the poet T.S.Eliot, lines he took from the English bishop Lancelot Andrewes, …
‘My people will be filled with my bounty, declares the LORD’. Jeremiah 7:14
It is extraordinary to look back at the newspapers of three years ago. The economy was booming, millions were being made, there was nothing that could go wrong. The economists on the radio assured us that all was well. They would concede that prosperity could not continue to grow as it had done, but were firm in their belief that there would be a ‘soft landing’. Like false prophets in the past, they said what the rulers …
It was important to hold onto Christmas for as long as possible. One year, maybe 1985, this meant listening to choral evensong on the radio on all the holy days from Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day. There was Christmas, then Saint Stephen’s Day on the 26th; Saint John the Evangelist on the 27th; the Holy Innocents on the 28th; and then there is a gap in the memory until the 31st, Saint Sylvester; followed by the Circumcision on New Year’s Day. Not being the greatest fan of choral music, …
Beside the holy well, there was a heavy iron box fixed to the ground. Perhaps it had once been for offerings people might make; now it is covered with an odd assortment of items – memorial cards, funeral notices, prayer cards, a picture of Padre Pio, hand written requests, a child’s doll, the plastic cover from a Ventolin inhaler. It was like some religious version of Kim’s Game. Everything was soggy and the print had run on some of the cards.
To a hard-nosed old Protestant, there seemed a deep …
Perhaps it was Mr Buchanan’s teaching, his Scots upbringing made him suspicious of the English Establishment, but from teenage years there was a respect for Irish rebels. The leaders of the 1916 Rising were heroic figures.
The passing years raised questions about our naive idealism, but some of the personalities remained fascinating. There was Thomas McDonagh, the gentle Tipperary school teacher. McDonagh was one of those immortalised by W B Yeats in his poem Easter 1916.
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,