Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dom Edwin Echeandia Loro-Our new Deacon

22nd December,is the feast day of several early Roman Martyrs and some very holy saints. St Zeno who died in the same year as St Julius and Aaron,who was a martyred soldier at Nicomedia(Turkey) After watching Diocletian (284-405) offering a sacrifice to the Roman deity Ceres, he burst out laughing, but was seized tortured and condemned to death. St Amaswinthus, Abbot of the Andalusian monastery of Silva de Malaga for forty four years, was a good and holy man who died much later in 982AD.St Chaeromon was Bishop of Nilopolis in Egypt during Trajanus Decius’ persecution, and was quite elderly when he and his friends fled into the desert and vanished. He is listed as a martyr and died in 250AD.St Flavian was another early saint who died in December 262. He was branded on the forehead and exiled to Tuscany, where he died in prayer. St Demetrius was a  Martyr with Honoratus and Flaviun. They died at Ostia, Italy. Possibly the same as Sts. Demetrius and Honorius on November 21.  St Hunger was Bishop of Utrecht in the Netherlans=ds and fled the diocese during th invasion of the Nortmans who died in Prum Germnanyi. All these men, whichever theoir epocht, their period lived out good and holy lives. However gruesome some of the stories, a young man giving his life to the service of
God is heartwarming, especially in the beautiful setting of the Abbey Church of St Michael and All Angels Belmont, where Dom Edwin Echeander Loro was made a Deacon by the Most Reverend Kevin Macdonald, Archbishop Emeritus of Southwark. The Mass, which had a beautiful liturgy began with Venantius Fortunatus (530-609AD) beautiful hymn Quem Terra pontus aethera \\(The Lord, whom earth and sea and sky adore and praise and magnify) followed by the Advent prose-the Rorate Caeli desuper sung in plainchant, led by their cantor, Abbot Paul Stoneham..
 The Scriptures were from Samuel, when Hannah takes Samuel to Eli to give him to the Lord (I:24-25) The Psalm was 'My heart exults in God my Saviour' and was the canticle Mary's Magnificat.
The second reading from the Act of the Apostles explains how the seven disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit (6:1-7)St Stephen was one of these disciples and he and the other disciples Philip, Prochurus,Nicanor, Timon Parmenas and Nicklaus of Antioch all had hands laid on them and they became deacons and the Apostles prayed for them. Stephen, as we know was one
of the first deacons to be martyred and is commemorated on 26th December.

Following the Alleluia and the 'O Antiphon' O rex Gentium was sung before the reading of Lukes gospel from the Magnificat. (1:46-56)Brother Edwin was then called forward and presented for ordination by Father Abbot,He was accepted, called to celibacy, obedience and prayer and there followed the Litany of the Saints.during which Brother Edwin prostrated himself before the altar., Then, as in the Acts of the Aspotles, Archbishop Kevin laid hands on Edwin and made him a deacon and then prayed the prayer or consecration and invested him the the stole and dalmatic. There followed the presentation of the Books of the Gospel, the Kiss of Peace, and the Ave Maria.

After that we went into the Sanctus and the Mass followed as usual. The Communion hymn was the Liturgy of St James translated by Gerard Moultrie.Let all mortal flesh keep silence.,There followed Ecce Virgo Concipiet and Alma redemptoris Mater.. This was a very beautiful singing and Deacon Edwin looked as if he had been assisting at Mass for ever.The guests were invited to Hedley Lodge for teas and refreshments, which were delicious and I met some very interesting people.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

HOLY ADVENT and preparation for CHRISTMAS

For all your favourite Christian Songs  Ave Maria, Schubert, Bach, Panis Angelicus, Our Father. Also available on iTunes!! Buy a track and give me a small Christmas Present!!!

This time of year is often one of reflection, looking back over the year and remembering the events and the people who have shaped the year.

Life is full of blessings and full of tragedies, looking at the terrible tragedy of the last week, the death of a 22 year old in a car crash. Hope in Salvation is a powerful joy, and all the things that make our lives worth living-family, our parents-even like my mother in a home with Dementia, to hold her hand and stroke her hair and see her smile is a powerful blessing. My sisters, my family and a growing list of good friends , old friends who have sent me Christmas cards and a good and loving husband and son! In fact life itself, its meaning is all wrapped up in whom we love and those who love us, a powerful gift of God, the God of Love and Christ, his love itself.


This year has seen several holy wells rediscovered and actively being refurbished. St Ffraed's at Skenfrith has yet to be dealt with. It has its own brown sign and pathway, but more of that in the new year. The Cope at Skenfrith, which was being used as a table cloth for a long time, has been sent to London for authenticating and and provenance  and the unfortunate Marian Priest John Aynsworth has been traced, who was martyred at the Priest's Well, now at the Sandhouse in Skenfrith. Piuctures are in the archive under Skenfrith. However BRYNGWYN -St Peter's Well has been found and will be restored as is St Teilos Well. Distinguished authoress on folk customs, Janet Bord asked me if I had ever found it and the Vicar  Father John Humphries found iut after talking to an 80 year old parishioner. Incidentally the head of the preaching cross at Llanarth, destroyed by Puritans was found in another well further down the road and was retrieved by Catholics in Llanarth, Paddy and Celia Nash and put on another plinth outside the Catholic Church. So interesting things going on there.

I also managed to find St Gwladys Well which was supposed to have been destroyed, It has not not been sensitively managed, in that the current owners did not know what it was. Finding St Gwladys Chapel (the mediaeval one on the site) was also very exciting. This was extremely strong as a string and was bath shaped, but now lined with black plastic pool liner and held down with two little pixies. Still I like to think St Gwladys would have approved!