Monday 5 January

On Saturday I awoke still depressed about Chelsea and hoping that they would fare better against Watford in the FA Cup! I had a funeral in the morning. There had been great communication even though my contact lived in Manhattan. When we met 30 minutes before the funeral she turned out to be a Presbyterian minister who knew well my friend John Bell!

During the funeral I had to say a few cautionary words to three senior citizens who did nothing but criticise somewhat loudly what was going on. Why were they there?

I returned home to relax and do some ironing. It does seem that even though my apartment is a fraction of the size of my Sheffield pied de terre I spend a lot of time doing house cleaning and the like.

During the early afternoon I got an email from a concerned neighbour who reported a large gathering of Asian men at my house. That is why one has agents, so I informed the agents with whom I am in some dispute as I have received no rental payments since the tenant arrived in November!

Back at St Lawrence for the vigil masses I was pleased that I was still able to play the C major Prelude (and fugue) of Bach. I don’t get much time to practise here as there is so much else to do.

On Sunday it was more of the same with the usual four masses in the morning. The choir re-appeared for the 1100 without a rehearsal (who rehearses on New Years Eve?). They did rather well coping with my Epiphany communion antiphon at sight! After a return home for a rest the evening mass required no preparation as I was not expecting instrumentalists. In the event the trumpeter and cantor did arrive unexpectedly but they were very amenable.

I delayed my arrival at work until noon on Monday which I had decided to work as there was much to prepare. Once a month I produce a new song sheet for the 4 school masses. This takes some planning and at this early stage a fair amount of typing of new material. I then rehearse with the junior school on Tuesday afternoon, with the school choir after that and once a month with the senior students on Friday if I feel like it! The mass is on Wednesday morning.

Tonight I had set up the SING OUT EPIPHANY event, a first for St Lawrence, and a way of extending the celebration of Christmas. I had to plan this during the afternoon and write some prayers for the Pastor to offer. It is an informal affair in which we just delight in singing carols, most of which had been requested by a poll of those wishing to attend. Catholics generally don’t turn up for anything unless it is Mass so I was delighted to find about 45 people willing to give it a go. As well as the traditional carols I also introduced ‘Come all you people’ from Kenya, ‘Emanuel est la’ from DR Congo (with a wonderful line: ‘Emanuel, he’s a very handsome man!’) and John Bell’s unpublished ‘Anti-Christmas Carol’. Of course it is not anti-Christmas at all but it does ask some searching questions.

Happy Christmas, one and all. …even to those who have taken down their decorations and moved on to Valentine’s Day!

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