Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Food for the Homeless, Struggling through Advent & a Desultory Ecumenism

St Vincent de Paul
Last Saturday saw the annual Christmas Lunch for the Homeless at Holy Trinity.  It has been going on for many years and is a parish initiative.  We fed about 300 in two sittings and at least another 300 had a meal to take away.  The parish also feed about 100 or so at lunchtime 5 days a week and the St Vincent de Paul Society feed another 250 on Monday evenings and the Medical students from Wits have set up a medical centre in a custom-built  pharmacy and consulting rooms recently built by the church in the crypt.   The most encouraging thing about the SVP is that most people are under 30 and black so I rather stand out like a sore thumb if I turn up there!  This gives the lie to the urban white myth that black people are not interested in volunteering and expect to be paid!

The Christmas Lunch is hosted by a complete cross section of the parish which not only underlines that but shows that we whites are in the minority......  Holy Trinity reflects the Catholic Church in Africa, young, vibrant and committed.

I've been working my way through Fr Russell & Annemarie's Advent book. Remarkably I have only missed one day (is this a record?)! (Scroll down for more information)

 The only problem with it is the readings.  Isaiah, so far, a bit of Psalm and a bit of Gospel.  Sometimes they are too bitty....verses 1 to 4 and 9 to 12...that sort of thing.  It would have been much better to have included the readings in the book despite the size being doubled along with the price.

Ecumenical Advent Service
This is how it is billed:

Ecumenical Advent Celebration 

A combined song-service, for the Advent of Christmas, by all churches (Catholic, Anglican, 
Orthodox and Protestant) on the Jan Smuts Ave Axis, will be held at the Maranatha Church, 3 
Sherborne Rd, Parktown (right next to St George's Anglican Church) on Gaudete Sunday (11th
of December) at 17h00.
 All welcome: do come and share this most joyous celebration day on the Christmas calendar.

I get the impression that our priests have been pressured into this one and with a 6,00pm Mass someone will have to stay behind.  Maranatha is a Dutch speaking Dutch Reformed Church ( as opposed to Afrikaans).  I do wonder about the value of these things, and I am a former Chairman of the Jan Smuts Axis.  Our parish priest made an appeal for people to go as Catholics are never well represented and our congregation is bigger than all the other churches put together.This joint service was formerly on Ascension Day which gave us a good let out as it is a Day of Obligation so no-one could go!  Priests were told to wear copes!  How odd!  The Anglicans will certainly have better copes than us and they like wearing them more than we do.

I'm not sure what the service is for....the most joyous celebration day on the Christmas calendar?  I think not.  Is it to show that all we jolly Christians can get together and share our commonality?  It's a mystery to me.

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