Tag Archives: carols

17 December, Advent Light XVII: Carols by lamplight.

What made me think of carol singing in the run-up to Christmas? Whatever it was, my thoughts turned to Ireland in 1968 when I was a student at the Missionaries of Africa’s Saint Augustine’s College in Blacklion, Co Cavan and we continued the tradition of walking the local lanes and the village streets, calling at every house, including the Protestant pastor’s down by the lake.

Away from the village, Blacklion had many small farms with big dogs; there were dark skies and hedges to darken the way further, but we went everywhere and no-one got bitten. We had a couple of good farm lanterns but others were candle ends in jars, slung at the tops of poles. It was a challenge to read the words on the sheets, but we knew all of them and often enough in four voices.

Patricia Hawkins de Medina was living in the village;

My father, Dr. William Hawkins, was medical officer for St. Augustine’s in Blacklion, all those years ago. I have fond memories of attending some of the Christmas pantomimes as a child way back then, and I can remember many of the Fathers. And the students carol-singing at Christmas in the village, and all coming into the hall of our house in Blacklion. So many memories.*

We were creating memories for ourselves as well as the villagers. We were bearing witness to the coming of the Lord, both to our neighbours and to ourselves, as a community of committed young men. But this witnessing brought us face to face with the local families, good, hard-working, struggling people as well as those who were better-off, like the Hawkins family. It is good to be told how special it was to have a male voice choir singing under Patricia’s roof well after bedtime.

Not quite a band of Angels, but we were proclaiming peace on Earth, a grace that certain people in Ireland turned their backs on for years, as they still do in so many parts of the world.

We enjoyed our carol singing, and so did our audience: feasts are given to us to enjoy. Let us not yield to cynicism this Christmas, but pray for peace in our land and peace within our homes and families. Amen.

* See The Pelicans Website

Photograph: Children and staff at Brocagh, a local school, in 1968; some of them will have heard our singing.

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6 January: Going viral LIX, Epiphany Carol Service.

You might like to attend St Mildred’s Carol Service for Epiphany, especially if you are unable to be present in person under the current Covid arrangements where you are. Follow the link.

Many thanks to Revd Jo and her team: Oh that we were there!
Epiphany carol service from St Mildred’s
.

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5 January: Star of Wonder

Star from Hales Place Jesuit Chapel, Canterbury.

Christopher M Graney of Sacred Space Astronomy has shared his reflections on the Star that led the wise men to Bethlehem. An enlightening extra post for us today, bearing in mind tomorrow’s feast of the Epiphany.

I can still say Happy Christmas till then, so Happy Christmas and a blessed new year to all.

Will.

Mary Mother from Hales Place Jesuit Chapel, Canterbury

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Going Viral LVII: Zoom, zoom, zoom to the manger.

Saint Dunstan’s from SE.

Another story from Rev Jo Richards of Canterbury. Thank you, Jo. Looking forward to the nine lessons and carols; we’ll copy your order of Service on Friday. WT.

Good morning to you all, and I do hope this finds you all well, as we are here. So yesterday I had a first, in terms of zoom Carol Service – always in St Dunstan’s we hold the annual Parkinson’s Christmas Carol Service – and a huge number come along to it, including the Mayor. Well, this year it was on zoom, and 55 of us gathered for the service. To be honest it was good to have a really good sing of a number of carols – we were all muted I hasten to add, but actually bearing in mind the current circumstances – it was ok. I know it wasn’t the real thing, but to see so many folk who were obviously thrilled to be there, catching up with one another and singing was really encouraging.

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