Saturday, 12 March 2011
A Day full of grace
Ave Maria! is the greeting that is exchanged with the Day with Mary team. Today at Blackfen, we were blessed with a Day with Mary, supported by the lay people who form the team, Fr Agnellus FI who travelled down from his parish in Stoke, and the dear Sisters who sang for Mass.
The Day with Mary is a whirlwind of devotions, including a procession of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, Mass, adoration and procession of the Blessed Sacrament, meditation on the Passion of Christ, prayers for the dead, Benediction, enrolment in the brown scapular and the miraculous medal, and various hymns and prayers from Fatima. It's a Catholic day.
At lunchtime, I get to eat some lovely Philippino food and then jostle with others at the bookstall which is always a great attraction. The team always insist that the priest is allowed to take any books he likes free of charge: I always come away with two or three lovely volumes. Today, I have the life of Blessed Margaret Castello which several people recommended to me, some meditations by St Alphonsus (you can never have enough of those) and an intriguing book "AA-1025" which is about Communist infiltration in the Church. I don't feel right just taking these for free, so a pro-life charity will benefit from the generosity of the DWM team.
As Parish Priest, I was able to dedicate my parish once again to Our Lady Immaculate, asking her intercession for all our families and parish groups. Thanks be to God, the Church was packed (we ran out of hosts at Mass and I had to start breaking hosts towards the end) and there was a good number of young families with their children. People come from far and wide to these days and it was good to talk to people from various countries in Africa, from Asia, especially the Philippines, and, closer to home, some great people from the Traveller community. Nowadays I feel more and more affinity with the Travellers since, in their independence from the mores of society, they have preserved the traditional family as a part of their culture.
As the statue of Our Blessed Lady was taken in procession at the end of the day, I had a little problem with my eyes: I think it must have been the incense.
The last photo is from Mulier Fortis. You can see more at her Flickr set.