SATURDAY Nov 1st – All Saints’ Day

11.30 am Mass today, followed by lunch for the Societies of Mary. With Joan & Eric attending it is a reunion of our pilgrimage to Walsingham last year.

SUNDAY Nov 2nd – Patronal Festival

Good attendances at Mass, incl 129 communicants at 10 am. The music was excellent, & the new gold vestments were stunning. During the offertory hymn 16 children processed in dressed as various saints, whilst we sang “I sing a song of the saints of God” – a hymn I remember Fr Bill Johnson teaching us in RI at Ethelton Primary School!

At 5 pm we had Evensong & Benediction, with 70 attending. the music was excellent. Afterwards we had a lovely reception, with many of us lingering over a glass of wine! 

MONDAY Nov 3rd – All Souls’ Day

50 years ago today I was confirmed in St Peter’s cathedral, Adelaide. A gr8 anniversary. I hardly knew what an adventure I was starting out on!

Today we have special Requiem Masses for All Souls’. Fr Krulak celebrates the 9.30 am & I celebrate the 6 pm. He & I divide the parish list in halves. Even tho All Saints’ has nice black vestments, we wear purple 🙂

Wednesday Nov 5

We have a new President! I followed the election on TV with gr8 interest. 4 years ago I didn’t really understand the US system, but I think I do now. The partying all over the country after the result was something to behold. Now the task awaits Obama. His election will certainly gain new respect & influence for the US around the world.

Friday Nov 7

Went to 2nd Symphony concert tonight. Wagner: Die Meistersinger Prelude; Saint-Saens: Concerto for piano & orchestra; Bartok: Concerto for orchestra. Quite enjoyable.

Sunday Nov 9

A bit dull & cool today. Lots of people complaining that winter is here. My response was that people in Philadelphia would love this weather for winter! A few regulars absent at 8 am…..maybe it is the weather (or the comfort of a warm bed!). Another beautiful anthem at 10 am, which fitted the sermon.

Monday Nov 10 – St Leo

My day off. Tmorrow is a Veteran’s Day, so  I get 2 days off. This happens when there is a holiday on Monday & Tuesday – & gives me the opportunity to have a long weekend. I usually go somewhere that I have not visited before, flying out on Sunday a/noon. This time I flew to Columbus, OH. “Why there?” I was asked – just like when I went to Detroit & Cleveland! 

It is always interesting arriving in a new city at night. Buildings are lit up & I note things I would like to look at in the daylight. Columbus is like most other cities I have visited….. A modern downtown with lots of parking lots that are empty at night, giving a feeling of a ghost town. There was also the usual new arena/stadium, where restaurants & bars have been opened.

What really interested me was the German Village – an area on the edge of downtown settled by German immigrants in the 19th cent. It was rejuvenated in recent years & now is a lovely historic center with restored German houses/cottages, shops, restaurants, etc – even a German Bier Garden. I enjoyed wandering around, finishing up at a lovely park called Schiller Park (in honor of the German writer). I returned there in the evening to eat in a very upmarket restaurant. They even had Australian wine 🙂

Thursday Nov 13

I have an article published in this week’s edition of The Living Church. TLC is a weekly Episcopalian news magazine. The article was based on my sermon about the economy & is the 2nd article they have published from me. I have also had several letters published – mostly criticising liberal clergy! In 5 years in the USA I have had more articles published than in my 22 years as a priest in Australia.

Friday Nov 14

Walking to church this morning I came across the bishop & his wife having coffee in the local shopping center. We talked about what we do on Fridays – usually sermon preparation. I mentioned that after our 9.30 am Mass we have a bible study which looks at the Sunday readings. It is a fun group & as I explain the meanings & we discuss them that I often got new ideas or insights for my Sunday sermon.

After Mass Doris presented me with a poem she had written, To Our Rector. Doris is Fr Edwards’ wife & has discovered a gift for poetry recently. The poem is posted on the All Saints’ Church page.

Sunday Nov 16

Serious fires in LA. And worst of all in Santa Barbara, where the Mt Calvary monastery (Holy Cross Fathers) was destroyed. I have been meaning to visit that monastery since I came to San Diego… it is no more.

My sermon received lots of positive comments…more than usual!

Tuesday Nov 18

Busy day, concluding with monthly Vestry meeting at 7 pm. It was a full meeting, & took time looking at the 2009 budget. The usual laughter from time to time!

Thursday Nov 20

I woke up to fog over the canyon – a lovely sight. The fog came in late last night. It was gone once the sun came up. Sent out 68 stewardship reminder letters to those who have yet to pledge.

After adult confirmation group I hurried home to watch one of my all-time favourite movies, “Rebecca”. This was Alfred Hitchcock’s 1st American movie & the opening scene was filmed at Monterey. I went to the location in 2004 – Joan Fontaine lives nearby.

Sunday Nov 23 – Christ the King

I love this Feast, & today’s High Mass was wonderful. The choir sang an anthem (the American premiere!) by Juan Paradell, the organist at St Mary Major Basilica in Rome – Jubilate Deo. The anthem was given by the composer to our organist, Robert McLeod, some years ago, & at last it has been performed. It was difficult, & they acquitted themselves well. At the end of Mass we had the traditional Procession of the Blessed Sacrament & Benediction. This was glorious, with no mistakes or stumbles – thanks to the MC, Terry. Altho we had big, wonderful Masses all the time at St Mark’s, this was always a ceremony that never seemed to be perfect!

Monday Nov 24

For my day off I had an appointment in LA. My plan was to drive up there Sunday a/noon, stay in a motel & return Monday a/noon. Alas, there was a crisis! Driving to church Sunday morning I had car problems, which were a danger for a 2 hour drive to LA. So I booked the 3pm train to LA, cancelled the hotel I had booked (because it was not near public transport) & booked a new hotel near the Hollywood Metro station. It was a relaxing 3 hour train trip, with lovely view of sunset over the ocean. I caught the Metro to the hotel & was there by 7pm. I then went out for dinner & found a delightful Italian restaurant in a typical 1930’s building in Hollywood Blvd. The waitress was Italian & was thrilled to learn I had been in Taromina in August 🙂

Next morning I caught the Metro to LAX airport for my appointment. This was with Customs & Border Protection, to get a GOES pass. A GOES pass allows American citizens & residents to by-pass passport control when they enter the USA. You go to a “kiosk”, insert your passport, record your fingerprints – & you get a slip of paper that allows you thru. No waiting in long lines & no hassles! I was approved, had my pic & fingerprints recorded, my green card was encrypted & I was shown how to use the kiosk. I caught the Metro back to my hotel, then back to Central Station to catch the 4.10 pm train to SD. Very relaxing again & I finished reading a marvellous book on the Titanic by Stephen Cox. Professor Cox is a parishioner & also a friend, & he gave me the book following my sermon on Nov 9.

Wednesday Nov 26

A great downpour of rain last night. We need it – & the canyon looked lovely this morning.

Walking to church everything looked washed & fresh. The shops were busy, with Thanksgiving tomorrow. On arrival at the church the Wed team of ladies were preparing the envelopes for the Dec magazine. Terry had also printed off the special Advent devotional books I had prepared. I went & announced to the ladies that I had a gift for them today. Marion replied: “More work?”!!! You gotta love my parishioners 🙂

Thursday Nov 27 – Thanksgiving Day

The USA is unique in having a special day to give thanks to God for his blessings. Entwined with that is thanks for family – so this is the gr8 day for family dinners, much like Christmas Day in Australia. It rained again overnight & this morning, which affected attendance at the 9 am Mass & also the community lunch. The Mass was beautiful, & there was lots of food provided for the lunch. 22 homeless people came + a good team of parishioners & friends. Good fellowship. Now for a quiet a/noon.

Sunday Nov 30 – 1st Sunday of Advent

Attendances down today – probably because it is Thanksgiving w/e. Music good at 10 am. At 5 pm we have a World AIDS Day concert by the SD Men’s Chorus. SDMC use our hall for rehearsals & in return they give us 2 concerts, which are previews of their Spring & Christmas shows.