Sun Feb 1

I attended the 10.30 am Solemn Mass at St Peter’s. About 300 of us gathered before the marvellous reredos. Lovely Latin Mass with dignified ceremonial. A choir of 20 sang the Mass & antiphons beautifully. 40 concelebrants, mostly younger than me, & 20 old cardinals in choir. “The see gave up her dead”! After Mass I joined the crowd in the Piazza for the Pope’s Angelus & message. Then to celebrate Sunday in Rome I got a delicious gelato at one of Rome’s well-known home made gelaterias. In the a/noon I caught the Metro to EUR. This is an area built by the facists for a big Expo in 1942 that never happened. It has impressive buildings in that triumphant style favoured by the nazis & facists – incl a relief of Mussolini. At 7 pm I had dinner with Fr David & Margie Richardson at their apartment in  the Anglican Center. They also invited 2 Melbourne people I knew, who happen to be in Rome also. Lots of talk!

Mon Feb 2 – Feast of the Presentation

Today is the 29th anniversary of my priesting. In the morning I went to the Vatican Museums & had 3 enjoyable hours there, finishing with the amazing Sistine Chapel. At 6 pm I attended Candlemass at St Mary Major. We began with the blessing of candles & procession. The choir sang wonderful music. I was hoping to meet the Music Director, as last Nov our choir sang an anthem he composed – but another organist was playing this night. Tuesday I flew home. Excellent flights over 18 hours – but I did not sleep 🙁

Fri Feb 6 – Commemoration of Japanese Martyrs

I have been rather tired since I got back, waking up very early in the mornings. Good for saying my prayers – & doing a load of washing! Back into routine, with Communion/Confirmation study groups & several sick people to phone. Bible study this morning was fun – challenging readings to preach about. Diocesan convention dinner tonight – hope I don’t go to sleep!

Sat Feb 7

I did not go to sleep at the dinner! Sheila Hilliard & I enjoyed the company of Fr Wayne Sanders & his wife, & caught up with various people from around the diocese. Saty I drove our 3 delegates, Sheila, Nell & Ed, to the convention. Always fascinating to experience diocesan worship. As I commented to Nell, it makes you appreciate All Saints’ even more 🙂

Sun Feb 8 – Epiphany 5

Disaster today! After I finished my sermon at 10 am I realised the tape had not been working. This means Terry will have to type it up just from my notes – not an easy task, esp as today it was a powerful sermon in which I deviated from my notes at various points. It is now posted, but lacks the passion!

Tues Feb 10 – St Scholastica

I have been most concerned about the bushfires in Australia & getting reports from many people. It brings back memories of Ash Wed 1983, when 75 people were killed. A parishioner phoned wanting to have a parish appeal for those affected. He offered the 1st donation, a generous act. He had lost his home in the fires here in October 2003, just after I arrived as Rector.

Vestry met at 7 pm. A full meeting, with a new Vestry, many practical things to arrrange & matters to deal with from 2008. They enthusiastically supported the Bushfire Appeal. When I got home I emailed Bishop Andrew Curnow, & got a reply about the real need in that diocese, already reeling from the drought & recession. I emailed various people about the appeal, including the diocese. There should be a gr8 response.

Friday Feb 13

It’s been a busy week. New people to follow up from last Sunday, matters from Vestry, classes, & emails about our bushfire appeal. It has now been publicised by the diocese. Today I was up at 3.30 am to watch the AFL football match from Melbourne on cable TV. It raised $1.5 mill for the appeal. At end of the match it was announced that Aussies have now given over $100 mill! To focus me nearer to home, news this morning of a plane crash in NY, killing all on board.

Sat Feb 14 – St Valentine’s day!

This morning I followed on the internet the Forward-in-Faith assembly in London, meeting to consider the General Synod’s latest move to have women bishops. Marvellous to be able to listen to speeches from London shortly after they happen. Societies of Mary today: 19 for Rosary at 11 am & Mass at 11.30 am. Young Andrew served – his 1st Low Mass. Lovely to hear a 10 year-old join in the Angelus. The usual delicious lunch followed, with heart decorations & chocolates 🙂

The a/noon was spent meeting with our Music Dir, Bob, about a major project, & visiting someone recently in hospital.

Sun Feb 15 – Epiphany 6

My sermon today began with the Aussie bushfires & raised the question of innocent suffering, based on the readings. The anthem at High Mass was lovely. Tomorrow is Presidents day holiday, so I have 2 days off. Another new city to visit, St Louis. Getting cheap flights is not so easy this year – but my frequent flyer miles are creeping up!

Tues Feb 17

St Louis was cold – but sunny. I explored the city, & the old French settlement. I climbed the Arch, of course. A nice relaxing 2 days. 

Thurs Feb 19

Generous donations to the Bushfire Appeal have taken the total to over $10,000 already. This is a cause for much thanks. A visit to the dermatologist yesterday seems to have solved a skin rash problem 🙂

Fri Feb 2o

It’s been a busy week, but also pleasant, with meals every day with parishioners 🙂

Sat Feb 21

This morning the Altar Guild attended 9 am Mass. Terry read the other 1st reading appointed for today, so instead of having the nice reading from Hebrews 1 – “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for” – we had St James lamenting that “the tongue is a fire”. This caused much smiling & questioning amongst Guild members that it had been chosen esp for them! After Mass they had their annual brunch. Always a lovely gathering, with nice food. At 10.30 am I had the Personnel Review c/tee. Last year the c/tee reviewed me & Terry, the parish administrator. Now we have to review the business manager. At 4 pm we have the “Newcomers Dinner”. Hardly any RSVP’s…..hopefully they will just show up at the door. Otherwise Cheryl & I will have lots of lasagne to eat before Lent! 

Sun Feb 22

Good attendances at both Masses – but no visitors (unusual). The gospel today is always the Transfiguration in ECUSA. One of my favourite subjects. A good entree into Lent (for Americans, that is not the main course!). No – I did not have left-over lasagne for lunch 🙂

Feb 24 Shrove Tues

Woke up to fog over the canyon, but the sun was out by the time I went to church. Time to get ready for Lent! Tonight I am having dinner at St Paul’s Manor with 6 parishioners, then to the Hillcrest Mardi Gras. I was given a free ticket to the sponors booth. My last indulgence of alchohol & chocolates 🙂

Ash Wednesday

A busy day, with services, visits & a class. Good attendances at Mass. 7 am: 20; 9.30 am: 53; 7 pm: 85. High Mass was quite stirring. The choir sang well & there was a gr8 atmosphere, with many teenagers present. My parish loves Ash Wednesday! It was a day of strict fasting for me & this had me very aware spiritually by the time I got to High Mass. A very good homily, if I do say so myself.

Fri Feb 27

My Lent has started well in the area of fasting, reading & prayer. Fasting all day sure heightens your senses for Mass at 6 pm. 16 at Mass this morning….should have been more, but some are home sick. Most stayed for the bible study, which had a bigger attendance because of Lent. News that the man to whom I gave Last Rites yesterday died peacefully this morning…..the power of the sacrament. Facilities c/tee at 11 am discussed major projects & important maintenance.  Meanwhile Terry & Marty are moving the music office into 2 new rooms for the choir & music director, across the alley in the school building. This not only gives them more space & a dedicated rehearsal area, but will free up the Fireside Room for the Sunday school – giving them a much-needed larger room, complete with piano. 

Stations at 6 pm not well attended. Afterwards I went to the Symphony (yes, I know it’s Lent!). Excellent program: Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides, Dvorak’s Serenade in E major & Brahms’ Piano Concerto 2. The latter was magnificent.

Sat Feb 28

Today is the 154th anniversary of the fonding of SSC. I give thanks to God for SSC, & all it has meant to me. I offered the 9 am Mass for SSC, & will email my brethren around the world later. 10 am I had a baptism interview. Tomorrow is an excellent day for a baptism…..not only is Baptism one of the themes of Lent, but all the Mass readings are about it. At 11 am we had an acolytes’ practice. Well organised by Terry, I started it with prayer & joined them for lunch. At 6 pm I have Exposition & an hour of silent prayer – one of our extra Lenten Services.