Friday 16 October

Saturday started with a rehearsal at 1030 with visiting musicians from Connecticut (some nuns) before a Memorial Mass at 1130. At all too frequent intervals our rehearsal was interrupted as people ventured in for a sisterly embrace. After a few of these I left to set up the microphones and returned to find the embraces still on-going. I am reminded of an occasion in France when at an adjacent table as each guest arrived there was a kiss on each cheek from each of the assembled folk.  My friend Kieran Donnelly commented ” Couldn’t they have just said “Hello”?

In the event we got through the Mass although there were some hairy moments.

A wedding followed almost immediately and all was slightly delayed as some artiste placed sea shells along both sides of the main aisle. No one seemed to know why this was happening but I was disturbed to discover the shells still there after the wedding! The artiste was withdrawn from the party and requested to tidy up after herself.

the Vigil Masses started the usual sequence of weekend Masses but the high point was the arrival of the Bishop to formally install the Pastor into the parish. It was an occasion of real joy and a very large congregation attended. I had assembled musicians from across the parish including from the Hispanic Mass and we contributed to what was a bilingual celebration. I am happy to say that all were very generous in their praise for the music. The bishop described it as the best he’d heard in 20 years!

On Monday I had another funeral with Fr Rock presiding. It was a real joy as Rock spoke so lovingly of a woman he’d known so well and whose condition had only allowed him to bless her with the Body of Christ on each visit as she was unable to consume anything by mouth. this condition lifted days before her death and she was able t consume what she revered so much. She was so filled with joy at each visit that she always sang a verse or two of Cielito Lindo so I sang this again as a post-communion song.

I spent the rest of the day at the beach and then the bar! Tuesday saw me wrapped up in preparations for the weekend Masses and also for Friday’s Staff Retreat Mass. At 2.35 a colleague announced that he was leaving for lunch. I decided to join him. it was only at 2.50pm that it dawned on me that I should have been leading the weekly Liturgical Music Practice with the school!

Wednesday started early with School Mass and was followed by a Liturgy Committee Meeting at which we invited to state what we were good at and where improvements could be made. it was a great session.

I had felt unwell the previous day and was feeling no better today so after a wedding meeting I was completely out of it when it came to the evening choir practice. we managed to learn my ‘Draw near to the Lord’ as well as a new Mass setting to be introduced this weekend.

Thursday was a day off which started with a visit to the dentist for a 6-monthly cleaning. then I visited the beach and joined friends at a local bar. I had missed an bar incident during the week in which an 86 year old was accosted by 75 yr old. One disagreed about having a life size speaking pirate model in the bar and it got physical. You couldn’t imagine it but I later found the older gent in another bar and he told me all. It was difficult to keep a straight face  as he recalled unresolved incidents over 30 years.

Today Friday the School and Parish staff met at the Salesian Centre in Tampa for a Retreat led by our newly ordained Fr Chuck. He did a good job in addressing Pope Francis’ call to Mercy. Unfortunately he referred at one moment to the overflowing of love as a dilation. Well, whilst I was perfectly happy to consider dilation of the eyes the School Vice-Principal was determined to share her dilation at child-birth! So when, during the closing Mass, we were invited to share a word which brought to mind the day you can imagine what word I chose!

I did not feel at all well during the day but was made to feel better when the Pastor informed me that I had been allocated a newly decorated and substantially larger office. I would move in during the next week.

During the evening I dropped into my local for a couple of beers … long enough to catch up on the latest news relating to the octogenarian’s feud. I was introduced to the gent who had magnanimously stepped in to separate the warring factions. we had a good laugh about it all before I returned home to watch Midsomer Murders. That seemed somehow appropriate!


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