Saturday, 20 December 2008

"Diary of a small village catholic Church" - Episode 3

Pastors at St Mary’s did all they could to provide their congregation with adequate resources of Grace in order to prepare for the unforeseen. Though not for the faint hearted, an annual Novena took place in order to obtain the necessary assistance. (November, 14th 1869) "The Novena for a "Happy Death" begins next Sunday.” Advent, having a quasi-penitential character at this time, offered little succour to members of the congregation, even if you had completed Novembers Novena. The first two weeks of advent contained two fast days (November 20th 1880), "Wednesday and Friday are fasting days. Butter, cheese and milk may be used at collation." Week three was "Ember Week : Wednesday, Friday and Saturday : Fasting Days (December 12th, 1880) The final week of Advent reverts to a Wednesday and Friday fast With Christmas only a week away you could look forward to a feast. Or could you?

Notices for December 1875 "Warn about Xmas drinking - truce". The poor of the mission were not forgotten over the Christmas season. (December 22nd 1878) "Wednesday Christmas Day. Come to first (Mass), try to hear three — not obliged, no extra offering at door - but like Sunday make an offering on plate. Those who can, make up for those who can’t - if have nothing must not stop away. Drink- poverty - soup kitchen". And again in 1890, (December 14th) "Please do not forget the poor during this severe weather" (December 28th), "Please do not forget the poor boxes, for the receipts during the entire month have not been sufficient to supply coal for even one morning".

(December 19th, 1880) "Next Saturday (Xmas Day) is a holiday of obligation. The first public Mass will be at This is intended to take the place of Midnight Mass. It will be the principle Mass of the day, at which all who can should make an effort to attend. The other Masses will be at 7.30. - 8.00. - 9.00. - 9.30. - 10.00 and 1030. After the last Mass there will be Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. There will be no evening service and the church doors will be closed at 5.00pm. All are requested to take an interest in the becoming decoration of the church and Altars for the Xmas Solemnities. Plants and flowers may be sent in early on Friday - Evergreens any time ether Wednesday morning. Offerings for Xmas decorations may be put in the boxes marked for that purpose".

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