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Community Routes

 A pilgrim in Santiago de Compostela

Joyce with Sr Maria Asuncion inside the Cathedral of St James, Santiago de Compostela

Joyce with Sr Maria Asuncion inside the Cathedral of St James, Santiago de Compostela

Joyce was given the opportunity of being on pilgrimage with a group from Southwark Cathedral to Santiago in May 2013, led by the Dean, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn. The day they arrived in this holy place, where the apostle James is buried, about 1100 other pilgrims had their Pilgrimage passport stamped at the Cathedral Pilgrims’ Office. It was amazing to think of those numbers arriving each day, almost all in response to faith. At the Pilgrims’ Mass she was invited to sit by the Dean within the rails in front of the altar. It was the sublime experience of the pilgrimage for her. After the reading of the Gospel, she and the Dean went to the microphone, where he read the Southwark Invocation to the Apostle and she gave the gift of a box of Mucknell Abbey incense.

After communion, which took some time in a packed cathedral, the men who swing the Botafumeiro appeared, and it was filled with the incense gift. The thurible was raised and swung higher and higher into both transepts, the inferno within it quite visible, an impressive sight as the smoke and smell filled the cathedral. Initially the thurible was introduced to cleanse the building of the smell of the pilgrims. Though not necessary these days, it represented the prayers of thanksgiving of all present, rising with the smoke heavenwards.

The cantor at the Mass was Sr Maria Ascuncion who sang beautifully. She and Joyce’s paths crossed after the service when they warmly greeted each other as sister pilgrims.

 

 

From the Invocation read by the Dean:

‘We believe that the Camino to Santiago is a road to life and a source of goodness and peace in this world. We believe that all who walk the Way are drawn deeper into faith, and come to know our Lord Jesus Christ just as you knew him as his Apostle and friend.’

 

CIR in Poland

Peter and Christine James took part in the biennial CIR (International, Inter-confessional Congress of Religious) held at the Benedictine Monastery at page 10 CIIR Chris J, Peter and Jim PTyniec near Cracow in Poland. The Congress was attended by nearly 50 members of religious communities from different denominations, from Eastern Orthodox members from Romania to Lutherans from Germany and Switzerland and Roman Catholics from many places, together with a small contingent of Anglicans.

Originally founded in the eleventh century, the Monastery has had a rich history through dissolution in Napoleonic times to re-foundation in 1939. The buildings, on an outcrop of rock overlooking the flood plain of the River Vistula, are a mixture of styles from Romanesque simplicity behind black marble and gold baroque decorations with modern, comfortable guest accommodation. The food was Polish, healthy and excellent. The resident community of monks of a wide range of ages gave us a true Benedictine welcome and we shared their offices of Lauds (in Polish) and Vespers (in Latin). Although the Gregorian chant was beautiful, Peter and Chris James felt glad to still be Franciscans.

The theme of the Congress was ‘Seeking Unity on the Banks of the Vistula’ and was a mixture of talks in French, German or English with papers translated beforehand into each of the three languages. There were also dialogue groups in each of these three languages where the presentations and other related topics could be discussed. Just as important were the informal opportunities for conversation with the other participants.

A significant part of the Congress was the visit to Auschwitz Birkenau where the participants were split into language groups and given a guided tour of the concentration camps, the sombre and, at times, harrowing site of human suffering and inhuman deeds. The following day, some of the members of the Congress shared how the Second World War had affected their families. Some had relatives who had been killed in concentration camps, some had first-hand experience of being bombed in Warsaw and some had relatives who had served in the German forces. The time of listening to each other’s stories was one of respect and very heartfelt sympathy. Unforgettable was the haunting improvised song which brought together the suffering of so many different peoples in wartime by a Polish sister with Jewish ancestry.

The Congress brought home the fact that, as professed Brothers and Sisters, we have much in common and that work towards Christian Unity is both desirable and necessary. Quoting the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer from one of the talks, ‘Let us hear the all-embracing sound of the world, which invisibly spreads around us, all your children’s praise.’

 

‘Pray at all times’

David Jardine writes about a mission to Colombia in March, 2013 with members of the team from Divine Healing Ministries.

When we left Belfast on this latest mission to Colombia we knew that we were surrounded by a volume of prayer. What a difference that makes! Right from the beginning good things began to happen. While we were waiting for the plane to Miami we met the singer Lulu, who was on the same flight. We had a long conversation with her about faith, forgiveness, healing and love.  We offered to say a prayer with her, and right there in a public place she said ‘I would love you to say a prayer.’ When we finished she said ‘Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus.’

That incident seemed to set the tone for the whole mission in Colombia. In a country where there is potential for things not to go right everything seemed to go very smoothly. Every time we spoke we got a great anointing of the Holy Spirit. There were two or three engagements every day, and that involved praying with sometimes hundreds of people. One of the team, Philip McKee, has a gift for praying with people on the street. On one occasion, while the rest of us were inside a church speaking and praying with people he went outside. After a couple of hours he came back and told us he had prayed with at least forty people. Only three had turned him down.

Those of us who have been to Colombia a number of times before were particularly pleased to see that violence is not as bad as it was. Things are settling and there is still a spiritual vitality amongst the people. Que Dios siga bendiciendo el pais y la gente de Colombia!

Round up

At the SSF Francistide Chapter, Peter was elected to Life Profession, Christopher Martin and Joseph Emmanuel to First Profession, and John was elected Guardian of Alnmouth Friary. Jason Robert moved to Glasshampton in October.

A video, ‘The Anglican Franciscan Way’, has been produced about our life and can be viewed on the provincial website – click on ‘Our Calling’ for the link. A shorter version is available on Youtube and on the provincial Facebook page. f