Re: Christmas & New Year Memories

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Posted by murrisk on December 30, 2000 at 21:22:26:

In Reply to: Re: HAPPY NEW YEAR posted by Tempus Fugit on December 30, 2000 at 12:36:41:

Where we live we have one priest and we are lucky to have him. Our current pastor is from Poland - a gentle, spiritual man.
We have quite a mixed congregation of Canadians (Anglofone and Francofone), Metis, Aboriginals, and emigrant
English, Scotish,Irish, Philippinos, Vietnamese, Chinese, Croatians, Poles, Sri Lankans, Mexicans, German,
Austrian and sundry others. In other words, a typical group of Canadians! Silent Night was sung in about six
languages. Two hymns were sung in Latin. As a child, I remember being taken by car from our distant abode to
the parish church for 7:00 or 7:15 A.M. mass on Christmas Day. Always a starchy new white shirt for the day!
Memories of Fr. Shannon directing the choir in 2nds, 3rds and maybe even 4ths, and making beautiful music ("Crown Him...).
As was often said "it would make the hair stand on the back of your neck". I think the organist was an engineer
who lived on Chappel Street. His son was Barry ???? The crib at the left back of the church just inside the entrance - the
smell of the straw and the wood, and to small kids the life sized statues - all so real and never to be forgotton. The respect
and camaradarie in the church at Christmas was tangible. Happy memories of serving mass, lots of priests distributing
communion, golden and silver patens, black sandshoes, white surplice and black soutain, all carried in a brown music
bag (which also saw service for my piano classes with Sister Cecilia and Mrs. Gillard), "Fr. Pat" directing affairs in
the sacristry and frequently on the altar, and the great traffic jam of communicants in the aisles as everybody rushed
forward and attempted to return by the same route. The children's mass at 9:00A.M. - girls to the right and boys to the
left (were these held at Christmas?). People snoozing in the shadow of the pulpit where you couldn't see the altar. More
people snoozing beside the storage heaters and in the crush at the back of the church where the seatless stood. Down on
one knee at the consecration - kneeling on the inside of the cap or on a hankey to keep the pants clean. The stifling heat
at the front of the church. The lucky boys chosen to ring the bell - when you got the motion going you could be carried
many feet into the air on the thick rope.

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