Christmas at Margate

Praise the Lord, my holy predecessor left midnight Mass at midnight. A superb young organist put our electronic instrument through its paces and the sung Mass (mostly English but with Mass VIII de angelis for the ordinary) was suitably moving with a full Church and plenty of enthusiastic carol singing.

The above photo was taken on the Tuesday before Christmas, but is not an entirely honest portrait of our current weather. I am regretting a missed photo opportunity since today (a very busy day) I did not get a chance to snap Marine Drive covered in sand after high winds overnight. Perhaps another time before winter is out. One of my parishioners who comes over from the Westbrook side of the parish said that there seemed to be more sand on the road than on the beach.

On St Stephen's day the altar servers turned out in good numbers for the investiture of a new member, and the renewal of their own promises. The Mass was celebrated as an English sung Mass with full ceremonies and a hearty rendition of Good King Wenceslaus as an enthusiastic devotional piece after Mass. Then some eager volunteers peeled several sacks of potatoes in record time to be taken up to Cliftonville for the Open Christmas lunch today.

Fr Holden is my genial neighbour at the gothic (pointy architecture) parish of Ramsgate. I have decided to make the most of the fact that Margate is the oldest Church in Thanet, dating back to the beginning of the end of penal times. Therefore I think that in the respectable north side of Thanet we must hold onto the English baroque tradition, perhaps synthesised appropriately with the early movement towards the pointy stones.

Over the Christmas period, Fr Holden is host to two visiting Dominican priests from the United States Eastern Province, Fathers Aquinas and Austin. Father Austin's visit was a chance for him to visit sites associated with his holy patron.

Foolishly, over an informal supper, I let slip that I was "a bit of a Scotist", forgetting that with young Dominicans, I might as well have said I was a bit of a serial killer. I spent the rest of the evening protesting that Scotist tendencies did not necessarily lead to nominalism. Fr Holden rescued things by taking out a box of Balderdash cards so that we could pit Oxford English deception against Ivy League subtlety (which I pointed out was not exactly Thomist in ethos.) To be fair, honours were equal by the time we had to face the fact that pastoral work must begin again in the morning.

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