Wednesday 28 December

Today is a day I always remember as the wedding anniversary of friends Martyn and Alison. 15 years ago today a group of friends met in Glasgow to sing at their wedding under the direction of John Bell. I always remember it because the feast is the Massacre of the Holy Innocents … a strange day to celebrate, I often think!

Last Wednesday I went into work late to do final preparations for choir practice. The choir worked really hard and we were joined by a couple of other parishioners who joined for Christmas.

Thursday was a work day until midday when the entire staff met for its Christmas social. We had a great meal time together and much frivolity besides. I stayed on during the afternoon to tie up a few loose ends. At 5pm I met for an evening meal with three of the choir. I was really tired but they were understanding and I walked away with enough for a further meal and a wonderful hamper of wine, cheeses and other goodies.

On Saturday I was back in the office around 2pm as we had the Christmas Play and Christmas Vigil Mass in Higgins Hall. This Mass is held in the Hall because over a thousand folk turn up. In the event there were 1400 people and all went well. At 6.30pm there was another Mass in the Church and at 11pm I met with the choir. It was great to see Art make an appearance. He is recovering from a quadruple heart-bypass. He looked lively enough if a little thin.

Midnight Mass went really well. We sang Bernadette Farrell’s ‘So certain star’, John Bell’s ‘Advent Lullaby’ and my own ‘Canticle of Tobias’ in addition to all the usual seasonal fare. I got home around 1.30pm and poured a whiskey before bed. In the apartment beneath me the natives were restless and decided to assemble on the balcony beneath my bedroom. Their noise kept me awake until 4.3pam when I called security to shut them up!

My friend Marty was playing the first morning Mass so I was able to grab a few more hours in bed. I poured a cup of tea and the cup broke! The morning Masses went well although it was disappointing that Fr Rock was not well enough to celebrate the 12.30pm Mass. I spent the afternoon back at my apartment nibbling at food, speaking with the family and sleeping. Back at church for the 7pm Mass I was amazed that people actually turned up! I ate my hat!

Back at my apartment I opened a fine bottle of red and watched some movies until sleep descended.

I awoke the following morning to discover that our Franciscan Fr Rock had died. Only the previous week he had given me some bookends which he had owned for 58 years! Next week would be busy with his funeral and the new bishop’s installation.

Monday and Tuesday were spent mostly at the beach in 85F


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