Having ascended to the right hand of the Father, Christ our God reigns as King over all. The Father sends the Holy Spirit in Jesus' Name (Jn 14.26) into the hearts of His followers, that Spirit Who proceeds from the Father (Jn 15.26) and sanctifies His children here and now.
Jesus had promised that He would not leave his disciples comfortless, but, when He returned to the Father, He would send another comforter. One of the meanings of comfort, indeed THE meaning until the 17th century, is strength. So Jesus was promising that the Church would be strengthened by the Holy Spirit. And He will abide with the Church for ever.
The Holy Spirit didn’t come to compensate for Christ’s absence, but to ensure His presence, the presence of the Jesus who had said, “Lo, I am with you always.".........and indeed He is!
Christ our God ascends to His Father, reigning in glory, and so ends our Paschaltide. Now we await the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
EASTER 2013 Christ is risen!
After the fasting and prayerful preparation of Lent, we now emerge into the great joy of Easter! Our Holy Thursday Liturgy included the washing of feet, following, symbolically, Our Lord’s command that we should serve one another. On Holy Friday we celebrated Vespers of the Shroud during the course of which the figure of Christ was first nailed to the Cross – the mallet blows were spine-tingling – then later in the service the figurine was taken down and wrapped in the shroud and laid on a table for veneration. The congregation joined in the various parts of dialogue during the reading of the Passion Gospel. Then on the evening of Holy Saturday we had the Vigil, during which the Paschal fire was lit outside (tricky as it was pretty windy!) and the Paschal candle was blessed and lit and carried into the chapel where the beautiful Exsultet was sung. We then continued with the Easter Liturgy, with many exuberant acclamations – “Christ is Risen!” Afterwards we had a fast-free bean-feast! What a wonderful time it has all been.
Meanwhile, at our monastery in Brittany our sub-deacon Cwyfan was ordained DEACON!
Congratulations Rev Father Deacon Cwyfan, and blessings on your ministry.
Paschal blessings to you all! Fr Leonard
NEW YEAR 2013
I do hope that you have all had a most blessed and joyous Christmas! As we begin 2013 I offer my warm wishes and prayers to all who visit this website – and may God bless your New Year…….and may He guide you into the way He wishes you to follow in the coming year.
We had a joyous and meaningful Nativity Liturgy, here at S Gwenn’s, as we celebrated the feast of our Saviour’s Incarnation. Fr Luke Penkett concelebrated with me and provided us with the homily. Fr James Baker intoned the gospel for us. Afterwards, we broke the long Advent fast and enjoyed steak and ale pies and mince pies, etc with a variety of drinks, hot or alcoholic depending on whether we were drivers or not!
Where do we go from here? We have had some discussion about the options for the future of our Parish. If, by the grace of God, our numbers continue to grow the time will come when we will outgrow the present Chapel of S Gwenn in our home. Suggestions so far have included a Victorian school room in the Marshwood Vale, and an Anglican church in Wareham which does not hold Sunday services.
Those who came to the Christmas Liturgy will have noticed that I have now made further alterations to the chapel of S Gwenn. Most agreed that this has made a significant improvement in terms of accommodating our present number, and perhaps a few more, so the urgency of making a decision has been relaxed for a while at least, so no move is on the immediate horizon.
If, at some stage in the future, we are to consider “renting” alternative premises, we would first need to establish a Church Council, including a treasurer who could oversee the financing of such a venture. One might say, “Trust in God to provide,” but I am a practical man, and I believe we would be irresponsible to commit to a venture until we can see that we can afford it. At present we do not take a collection at S Gwenn’s, and only one donation has ever been received by the parish……which is fine because S Gwenn’s’ costs are modest.
As to location, it is worth bearing in mind the dedication of the parish, and the reason for it. S Gwenn was chosen because she was a Celtic saint who lived out the later years of her life here in the Marshwood Vale, and she was martyred here. It is almost certain that she is the saint whose (complete) bones are entombed in the neighbouring church of Saint Wyte (Gwenn means white) at Whitchurch. Set against that, however, there is the consideration of moving to somewhere with a higher “profile” and in a busier area. But then, Celtic monasteries were traditionally built in remote locations, yet people came from near and far. There is much to consider…..but, as I say, this is for the future.
Congratulations and Prayers
We rejoice with Susan and Desmond Meharg at the birth of their grandson, Jacques, and we continue to pray with them for the full recovery of happy Mum Jessica following the troubling difficulties at Jacques’ birth.
We need to reach some musical souls who would be interested in forming a small choir to lead our singing. At present, our scope for adding harmony is limited. Our worship would be greatly beautified if we could have a positive lead in our singing, plus the extra dimension that comes through harmony. At present we have a Liturgy once a month (third Sundays).
VISIT TO THE HOLY PRESENCE MONASTERY (Nov 2012)
Fr Leonard and Br Cwyfan have just spent a week at our monastery in Brittany. It was a very fruitful time. Br Cwyfan was able to deepen his growth in the monastic life and Fr Leonard worked hard with Bishop Paul (from America) to finalise the English translation of the Celtic Liturgy in use at the monastery. The aim is that all English-speaking parishes should use the same text.
WELCOME VISITORS TO St GWENN'S
In the past couple of weeks we have been delighted to welcome new faces at St Gwenn's - Christopher, Desmond and Susan. We hope that we may be moving towards establishing a regular congregation. The music for the Liturgy is beginning to take shape with a distinctly Celtic/Gaelic 'flavour.'
DEDICATION OF EXTENDED CHAPEL OF St GWENN
The recently extended Chapel of St Gwenn at Marshwood was Blessed and Re-dedicated on 1st September 2012, and the Celtic Liturgy of The Holy Presence Monastery was then celebrated by Fr Leonard assisted by Sub-deacon Cwyfan.
Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!! Easter or Pascha has come! Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice! Paschal blessings on all who visit this website.
This afternoon (3pm) Fr Leonard served Vespers of the Shroud, and was thrilled to be joined by some local Anglicans who had no Good Friday service of their own. The sound of the mallet blows on the cross are always moving and awesome. Now the shrouded figure of Christ lies in the Altar as we await the joy of EASTER.
CELTIC LITURGY AT BOURNEMOUTH
Fr Leonard celebrated the Celtic (Saint-Dolay) Liturgy at S Joseph's, Bournemouth, on Sunday 25 March - The Annunciation - as Fr John was away. It was a good experience for priest and people.
RELICS OF CELTIC SAINTS
Already uplifred by his retreat, Father Leonard is now in a state of profoundly spiritual euphoria! A Celtic artist friend, Courtney Davis, has gifted to him an authenticated relic of Saint Patrick to reside in the Chapel of Saint Gwenn. Grateful thanks, Courtney. Relics of Saint Brigit and Saint Columba are also on temporary loan at Saint Gwenns.'
SENSING THE SACRED
Fr Leonard has just returned (29 Feb '12) from a Benedictine Oblates' Retreat at Buckfast Abbey. The retreat was led by Sisters Miriam and Judith of Turvey Abbey, and they ably helped us to develop our sense of finding the sacred in spaces, places, and people and objects around us. To me the most profound sense of the sacred actually came through our shared periods of silence. A group of 20 people, each profoundly entering into spiritual communion with God, is a truly gratifying experience!
Finding God in all things and praising Him in and through all things is, of course, very much of the Celtic spirit.
GREAT LENT 2012
FINDING GOD IN THE SILENCE
Fr Leonard is spending a quiet day at the Ammerdown Centre, Radstock on 9th Feb, and will be on retreat at Buckfast Abbey 27th -29th Feb. Both are Benedictine oblate events.
MEETING or PRESENTATION of Christ in the Temple [2 Feb]
On the Sunday following the Feast of The Meeting, Presentation, Purification or Candlemas, at Fr John's invitation, Fr Leonard preached at the Liturgy at St Joseph of Arimathea Church in Bournemouth.
On the Sunday following Theophany Father Leonard joined Fr John at the Bournemouth parish of St Joseph of Arimathea to concelebrate the Liturgy. Priests and people then walked to the end of Bournemouth pier and blessed the sea.