A Year in Margate


On Tuesday the second of September last year, I trundled down to Margate followed by a van full of boxes, most of which were filled with books, most of which have now been put onto shelves. I loved Margate from the day I moved in, and still love it. At lunchtime today I wandered down to the harbour, had a sandwich in Cafe G, a hot chocolate in Bernie's Chocolate bar, and checked out the superb Pararphernalia antique shop, noting a couple of things that might be useful for the sacristy and making a mental note to bring a tape-measure next time.

In the parish, we are planning for the autumn Quiz Night, pre-Christmas fair, and yes, the Christmas schedule, at least in terms of dates. We have a new organist for the 9.30am sung English Mass on Sunday, and the beginnings of a new choir. The 11.30am traditional Latin Mass is going well, with good numbers and again a few more volunteers for the schola. There is a healthy attendance at weekday Mass and it is great to have extras like the Rosary on Wednesdays and Benediction after Mass on Friday evening.

Getting to grips with administering a new parish takes time, even when it has been left in excellent shape as was the case when I came to Margate. I sometimes think that one measure of good pastoral balance is not to spend too much time in front of a computer. In fact some of the time can be well-spent if it means setting things up so that the computer does some of the work in the future. So I have devised databases that I always meant to set up and never got round to and they are beginning to pay off.

Unfortunately, the blog has suffered from the busyness of the first year in a new parish, but I hope that I can get going with it a bit more now - a friend commented the other day that it seemed to be creaking, puffing and emitting odd bursts of steam over the past few weeks.

A bonus of living in the original seaside town is that people do come down to visit. It reminds me a bit of my time in Rome when we often heard more about events all over England than did the people living there. I have had the pleasure of catching up with many people over the summer and, thank God, most of them have experienced Margate at its most attractive, with glorious sunshine, as well as getting to see our lovely Church of St Austin and St Gregory.

Tomorrow in the modern calendar it is the feast of St Gregory, and so our weekday Mass will be a sung Mass with sermon. We will also celebrate it as an external solemnity on Sunday in both forms. Please remember the parish and myself in your prayers.

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