Saturday, 6 August 2011
Emerald Choir Dates and details
The Emerald Community Singers of Montserrat
Sunday 14 August 7.30 pm
at the Hall of OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY, JUBILEE ROAD, BUCKLEY Flintshire CH7 2EH Concert to begin 7.30 Entry £6 In honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, Buckley and the Poor Clare Colettines, Hawarden who are hosting the choir.
Monday 15 August 7.00 pm
at ST ANTHONY'S, SCOTLAND ROAD, LIVERPOOL
There is no charge at the door as this concert is in the Church, but a contribution would be gratefully received.
THE EMERALD SINGERS are friends of Ty Mam Duw and will be giving a private concert for the little sisters as well as the two public listings above. We came to know them through the father of one of our Sisters who was working on the reconstruction on Montserrat after the volcanic eruptions.
From the 15 mile long Caribbean island that has seven active volcanos, the Emerald Community Singers of Montserrat were founded forty years ago. The Montserratian, Caribbean and Gospel music that the group performs has mostly come out of the beautiful islands in the Caribbean Sea but also reflects the Irish heritage of Montserrat (the first European settlers on the island were Irish).
Their repertoire of Gospel and folk pieces includes songs about the volcanic eruption of the Soufriere Hills that ravaged Montserrat in 1995 and made more than half of it dangerously uninhabitable. But has not stopped them singing - it strengthened their community service and love of music,
The 24 strong group has toured Britain, the USA, Central America, South America and the wider Caribbean region, They have appeared at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, at the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Houses of Parliament in London and at a variety of music festivals in the Americas and Britain. After their spell in England & Wales they will be touring in Ireland.
EMERALD COMMUNITY SINGERS PRESS RELEASE
The tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat is one of the few remaining British Overseas Territories left in the world and has a population of just 5000. Particularly beautiful , it has stunning coastlines and mountain ranges. It is the home of the Soufriere Hills Volcano which has been erupting for over 16 years giving residents and visitors alike spectacular views of the eruption.
It is also the home of the longest established Caribbean folk group, The Emerald Community Singers. (Emerald because the first European settlers in Montserrat were Irish , fleeing the reign of Oliver Cromwell). The well travelled group is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and to celebrate this important milestone they are touring England, Wales and Ireland. They will appear in Liverpool on Monday 15 August at 7.00 pm at St. Anthony's Scotland Road, Liverpool
The 25 strong group's repertoire of Gospel and Folk Songs includes over 1000 pieces and they will present a selection of these at the Liverpool Concert.
The Caribbean group’s manager, Richard Aspin hails from Lancashire but has lived in Montserrat for nearly 40 years. He served as the "The voice of the volcano" in the earlier days of the eruption bringing information through the airways to both local and international radio and TV audiences. He told reporters "They were very difficult times as there had been no volcanic eruptions on the island in recorded history and people did not know what to expect. Around 60% of the island was destroyed and the population dropped drastically as folks moved away." Mr Aspin added "Montserratians are a resilient lot and we are re-developing the north of the island in style with a new capital city at Little Bay."
He pointed out that the eruption had led to a cultural awakening with music, prose, painting and photography all produced with a volcanic theme. "It was difficult for the group to keep performing during the eruption but we managed it and are now moving from strength to strength" said Mr Aspin.
This will be a great chance for Liverpool residents to witness a slice of Caribbean life in all its colour
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Lent at Ty Mam Duw 2011
What does it mean to be baptised? This Lent we did what the Church suggests all those not baptised as adults should do, we made a journey through the course of Christian Initiation for Adults. It is fascinating. We followed the preparations taking place in Churches and Cathedrals around the country with the Catecheses and Scrutinies of the rite. It centres around the gospels of the Samaritan Woman, the Blind Man and Lazarus; these were presented a dramatized monologues - and we include the texts in the following sections.
13 april 2011 lent banner baptism
TMD's Lent banner, above, depicted the three gospels, all of them images of Baptism.
On the left, the Samaritan Woman, dimunitive in stature, but powerful in personality, clasps her water jar to her.
On the right, Christ gazes through the eyes of the blind man.
In the centre, the Lord raises Lazarus out of the waters of death.
The Samaritan Woman at the Well
John 4:5-42 Third Sunday of Lent
woman at well 13 april lent banner 2
Everyone’s talking about him now: you can feel a real excitement, a real freshness in the air. They’ve nearly all been down to the well to listen to him. That’s something already, him being a Jew and all.
I would have offered him some water if he hadn’t been a Jew. It was so hot and stuffy - but you know how it is.
But he looked straight at me and asked me for a drink. To be honest, I was a bit taken aback. Before I had time to say anything, he said if I’d known him I would have asked him for a drink. Even if he had been a Samaritan I wouldn’t have asked him for a drink. I pointed out that he didn’t have a bucket anyway. So how could he have given me water?
But there was something in his eyes! As if he wanted to do something for me. He carried on. He said that the water he would give would be better than well water, that whoever drank it wouldn’t get thirsty again.
It sounded bizarre. In normal circumstances I would have laughed and made a joke and thought the man was a crazy. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t help but be curious. There was something drawing me in. There was something in his voice that riveted me.
He talked about living water, that he would give, that would be inside you, like a spring - I could almost feel something happening inside me as he said it.
It sounded fantastic, unbelievable, but I wanted to believe him. I wanted to believe.
Calmly I heard myself ask him for some of his water. ‘Sir,’ I said, ‘give me some of that water.’ I didn’t feel calm, I was kind of shaking all over.
And then he said, ‘Go and get your husband and come back ...’
He knew I’d had five husbands; mind you, that’s common enough knowledge around here. But he knew all about me.
It flashed through my mind that perhaps he was a fortune teller . . . but no . . . it wasn’t like that.
It was as though he were telling me he knew not just about me, but that he knew me, he knew me in a way that nobody else knew me, not even my husbands, not even myself.
Then I thought, well, perhaps he’s a prophet. I thought I’d ask him about worshipping God. He didn’t seem to be bothered about Jerusalem, he was more interested in truth and spirit. Then I told him I believed in the Messiah and that he would come to us. I thought that he would say that the Messiah was for the Jews. Then he said he was the Messiah.
Just like that. I looked straight into gis eyes and it seemed like he looked straight into all that was inside me. I wanted to run: I did run. I forgot my water jar; it’s still by the well now. I ran into the city. I told them all to come and see him.
It was strange, really: they didn’t laugh at me. As soon as I said, ‘Can he be the Christ?’ they looked at each other, and without saying anything started to make their way down to the well.
Lots of them are still there. Some of them have come back: they say he is going to stay with us for a while - they think he’s the Messiah too.
So the Messiah has come to Samaria. who would have thought that I’d ever speak to the Messiah? I mean, me!!
The Man Born Blind
John 9:1-41 The Fourth Sunday of Lent
man born blind 13 april lent banner 3
I was born blind - never saw a thing, just darkness, darkness, and more darkness, and that’s how it was till I met Jesus. I was sitting in my usual place begging, when I heard all this commotion - There seemed to be a lot of excitement about something, and people were shouting things like, ‘That’s Him!’ and ‘Get out of my way, can’t you! I want him to heal my gammy leg!’
Then, right beside me, a voice said, ‘Rabbi, look at that blind beggar - Is he like that because of his sins, or did his mum and dad do something wrong and he’s paying for it? Honestly! The cheek of it, no thought for my feelings at all. But then this other voice, a quiet, kind sort of voice, said, ‘His blindness has nothing to do with his sin - In fact, God is going to use it to show his healing power. As long as it is day I must do the works of Him who sent me . Night is coming, when no one can work - while I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ Deep, isn’t it? Well, I didn’t have a clue what he was on about - but then, wow! I could see this bloke meant business. He came and sat down on the ground right next to me. He spat on the ground and I could hear him making a muddy sort of concoction, which he rubbed over my eyes. Then he told me to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. Don’t forget that I hadn’t said a word to him - I never once asked for healing; it was given to me, free and gratis.
Anyway, I shoved off and went and did as I had been told. Pow! As soon as the water touched my eyes, I could see - just like that! I just wandered about in a kind of daze, until I noticed some people looking at me and whispering. One of them sort of sidled up and asked, ‘Aren’t you that blind fellow who used to sit begging by the side of the road? If not, you must be his twin!’ I said I certainly was that blind fellow who used to sit begging by the side of the road. They were just blown and asked, ‘How can you see? What happened to you?’ I answered, ‘A bloke called Jesus made some mud and rubbed it on my eyes and told me to wash in the pool of Siloam, so I did, and now I can see! Satisfied?’
They didn’t look too overjoyed, and asked, ‘Where’s this fellow gone?’ ‘I dunno,’ I replied. ‘What’s it to you, anyway?’ There’s no satisfying some people and they insisted on hauling me off to the ecclesiastical top nobs, the Pharisees. I might add that all this hoo-ha was due to the fact that it was the Sabbath and on the Sabbath (according to them) you can’t blink your eye, let alone be given your sight back.
Anyway, I was hauled up in front of these stuffed shirts and they put me through the whole caboodle. ‘How did I get my sight back?’ ‘Did I know it was the Sabbath/’ ‘Did I realise that no one who came from God would ever, ever, ever work a miracle on the Sabbath?’ (They were a bit divided on this last; some of them thought it might be taking things a bit too far.) I answered as civilly as I could manage. - Then off we went again.
‘You say he cured you of your blindness.’
‘Yes, I did say that.’
‘Well, what is your opinion of Him?’ (You notice, they never use his name.) I told them that in my opinion he was a prophet. But then, would you believe it? They refused to believe that I really had been blind! Thought I was shamming - just to get money or something! Or at least, they pretended to think this.
Anyway, they sent for my mum and dad and began the third degree with them. ‘Is this your son?’
‘Yes, he’s our son.’
‘You say that he was born blind?’
‘Yes, he was born blind.’
‘Well then, how can he see?’
My parents didn’t want any trouble and passed the buck on to me - they were scared stiff.
‘We know he is our son and we know he was born blind but we don’t know how he can now see or the man who healed him.’ (Very important, this last statement. They didn’t want anything to do with Jesus - it meant trouble.) ‘Our son is old enough, ask him; he can answer for himself.’ From this you can see that I was still pretty young, twenty maybe.
Anyway, my parents were allowed to go, and they began with me all over again.
‘Promise to tell us the truth.’ What did they think I’d been telling them?
‘We know that the man who healed you is a sinner.’ (Now they were at least admitting that there had been a healing.)
I was getting really fed up with all this, so I just said, ‘Please yourselves, all I know is that once I was blind and now I can see.’
‘What did he do to you? How did he make you see?’
It was obvious to me that if I could now see, they definitely could not hear, so I said, ‘I’ve told you are least three times and you don’t believe a word I say. Why do you want it all again? Maybe you’d like to be his disciples.’
That put the cat among the pigeons! The BBC accents disappeared. They called me every name under the sun and ended up, ‘You can be one of that fellow’s disciples. We are the followers of Moses - as for that fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.’ (Too true!)
I wasn’t scared of these phonies. I could see right through them, so I gave as good as I got and said, right in their faces, ‘Well, that’s really strange: you don’t know where he comes from and yet he was able to heal me of my blindness and we know that God doesn’t listen to sinners - only to those who do what is right. This man couldn’t do anything unless God was with him. That did it! Then they really yelled at me! ‘You desiccated skunk!’ (See what I mean about being called names.)
‘You’re a no good, ignorant so and so - get out of our sight!’ I got out. I didn’t need telling twice! Phew! What a hell hole!
Then this bloke came up to me. I knew at once it was him, and he just said straight out, without even introducing himself, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’
‘Who is he?’ I asked. ‘Just tell me, so that I can believe in him.’
He said, ‘You already know Him. He is talking to you.’
I answered, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and knelt down before him.
John 11:1-45 Fifth Sunday of Lent
The last thing I saw was Martha looking disquieted and Mary in tears.
Everyone loved Martha. and Mary, her sister, and Lazarus, her brother. In that order, Even Jesus. Martha’s brother - that’s me.
I was so interested in the sight of them - Martha, put out, and Mary upsetting herself - that I did not notice that I had stopped breathing. Breathing: the biggest thing in existence, and in the end it just gets turned off.
I remembered nearly drowning in Gennesaret the summer Mother died and we were all packed off to the poor relations in Capernaum. It was a big business nearly drowning; every time my head came up I was too surprised to breathe, and I was back down under the blurry waters, my lungs burning, my eyes bulging. Then somebody grabbed my hair and dragged me out. ...
Martha was still looking put out, just as put out as she had three minutes ago, but the picture was fading like the painting on an old temple I’d seen in Egypt as a child. Then she leant over and closed my eyes.
And I thought, with a good deal of surprise and interest; “I’m dead!”
It wasn’t what I had expected at all. I mean, nobody really expects to die, do they? And Martha had sent for Jesus. And she knew yanking me out of a series of heart attacks (the old system never really got over the drowning business up on the big lake) was an obolsworth to him. She had faith. Not as a suicidal assent to a series of irrational fallacies, but that calm sort of bow of the head to an absolute concrete reality...
I was dead. And Martha had just shut my eyes, but it was not dark: it was pleasantly light. I wasn’t exactly hovering in the air looking down on my own body. But I was even more conscious of saying goodbye to it than I was of the bowed heads of my sisters, my aunt,the physician and the servants and my priestly kin. Eleazar, that’s what ‘Lazarus’ is short for. The zeal of Eleazar, son of Aaron. I could hear the slightly sonorous voice of Uncle Simon, who’d been a leper till Jesus cured him. Uncle Sim - now there was a funnyosity! Jesus healed him and he never came back to say thanks. I’m not even sure why he felt he had to be in at my deathbed.
I am dead, The brain, which I thought begot this sort of ceaseless rambling, ought to be curling up and drying out. I see the Greeks are right - well, fairly right - memory, intellect and will are faculties of the soul - and you don’t see with your eyes: you see through them! There weren’t any eyes to get in my way. I could see everything. Or as one says when one is alive - ‘I can see it all now.’ Now I could see it all Everything at once, the stars and the islands at the end of the world and the things on Martha’s mind, and that rather nice Greek girl who lived down the road, whose hair had an alluring way of escaping from her veil. And the high priest, my fifth cousin twice removed, sacrificing the evening lamb on the altar with majestic ceremony and absolute atheism. The home of the seas, the place of the ice, the souls of the just, like sparks.
I couldn’t quite see the thing that was bearing down on me from the rear. At first I thought it was Martha. It had what one might call a strong moral character. When it laid its hand on what would have been my shoulder if I had one, I realised I knew it even better than Martha. Not it. he. Ninety feet high and uncompromising, I thought of it as my conscience. But that was because I’d had Greek tutors. It was an angel. We didn’t exactly chat. At least, not to begin with. But he was friendly and purposeful. We were going somewhere or everywhere. Finally I asked, “What’s happening?”
“Well,” said the angel - he sounded a bit like me, but I suppose the wing is on the other sandal and on earth I sounded a bit like him - “You are dead.” “Yes,” I admitted. “I guessed. Bright lad, our Latzy. Got it in one!”
“Don’t be flippant,” he replied austerely. “Small responses are out of place in eternity. Stick to joy, awe, ecstasy and bliss; they are much more fun.”
“Ahh,” I said, not knowing what to say.
“Flippancy is vain. Like that small moustache you grew on earth to impress people.”
“Yes,” I admitted, “but it didn’t really impress anyone, you know.”
“Good,” he said. “You are now progressing in the direction of truth.”
“It is all coming back tome,” I said, rather uncomfortably.
“It does,” he said.
The thing that was absent from his voice, if it was a voice, was sympathy. He was kind and compassionate, but you could tell that he’d never made a fool of himself in his life. If he’d been alive.
“I’m dead,” I mused. “Time is over.”
“You are prone,” said my Angel with his consistent lack of sympathy, "to confuse Divine Revelation with Greek Thought. Time is not so much over as moved to one side. In eternity there are seven dimensions. The first three, on which those in the world you just left are modelled, are the same; height, width, and depth, but they are not arbitrary in their true operation here. You are moving into the four eternal dimensions: Love, which is the motive power of eternity; will, which is the absolutised dimension of choice - and ‘coronay’ shall we call it? - the freedom to interact, which is like a crown of many points of light. You could even call it simultaneity, the one thing that cannot happen in time” He paused while I took it all in. I found I could (just) understand what he was saying.
“That’s, er, only six dimensions according to me ..?”
“Well, of course!” he said with his usual want of sympathy. “Who do you think the Final Dimension is?”
“Ahh,” I said, trying to think. “Ahem. Where is He?”
“Here. In Him we now live and move and have our being, as somebody you haven’t met yet, called Paul, is going to say shortly (quoting Epimenides, who’s around here somewhere).”
“I, umm, like this! All these seen and unseen things coming together. It’s going to be infinite fun. But somehow I had expected to see ... well, .. Him, you know. Sitting on a throne of light. Possibly with a pair of scales of the Book of Life, or something.”
“He doesn’t do scales,” my Angel said, unsympathetic as ever. “Or books, He’s the Word. When you’re ready, he will call you.”
“Ohh.” I had this kind of tickly feeling all over (like you get when you’re only a soul). “Ohh. You mean, I’ve been ... judged and it’s okay. You mean I’m In!!! I’m In!!!”
Then it came, The Voice. The Voice of the Word.
Just that, not (I mean, not) Martha’s brother.
There was this strong rush of light.
“Lazarus!” I’ll go anywhere and do anything for that voice.
“What did you say?” I whispered. “Come out? I’ve only just got In!” And then it began. The thing I principally noticed was the cold. It was terrible. I was unskinned in an ice sheet. There was a kind of flash of burning heat. Like I was still in an ice sheet but my veins were full of alcohol. Then I was uncomfortable all over and I itched like hell. I’d have started scratching, but I was tied up like a mummy. As sensation returned with a vengeance I shifted upright and hit my head on the empty tomb slab above. It hurt! But it wasn’t half so uncomfortable as some of they other things they’d done to me! I shuffled off the edge. I couldn’t get my arms out and I had to circumnavigate uncle Besa’s skull on the floor. It was a bit close in the cave and I could only shuffle out into the light with my ankles tied. Honestly! What did they want to tie up my ankles for? I bet Mary did it. She was always fussy about feet!
The Voice. Well, at least I was now under no illusions about to whom it belonged.
The Voice said, “Unbind him and let him go.”
The cloth came off over my face. I looked Martha in the eye. Jesus loved Martha. Everyone adored her; even me. But I was not going to take my sandals off when I went in; not for any amount of Persian rugs. And this time I would grow a beard!
I felt a sensation somewhere about my left shoulder. He was still unsympathetic. But he approved.
I tried thinking about the Greek girl - they were trying to untie my ankles. The answer was ‘No’ - and I knew it. I’d been In and now I was only on Leave of Absence. No girls, Greek or otherwise. I could just see myself as Archbishop of Marseilles, with Martha organising famine relief and Mary founding contemplative monasteries....
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Nearly thirty years ago, Mr Jennings came to mend the gate and he and his sons and grandsons after him have helped our community since with gates, walls, roofs and other calamities.
He rests in peace with the Lord after a long life of service.
The Lord was a builder; he built salvation on the wood of the cross and he built the Church on the rock of St Peter, Christ was a carpenter whose hands held a hammer - as well as the universe - and he knows our prayers by heart
We give thanks for the Church, whose doors are always open.
Remember us O Lord in your Kingdom
We give thanks for the life of our Mr Jennings, who was always just ‘Mister Jennings’: a man of quiet, personal dignity and kindness.
We give thanks for Mr Jenning’s vocation as a father and teacher, who made hard things easy for his children and apprentices.
We give thanks for Mr Jennings who was ungettable on Saturdays, as that was his day for Mrs Jennings. We ask the Lord to comfort her and give her peace and faith in his merciful love.
We give God thanks for Mr Jennings faithful service of our community here; there is hardly a slate or brick or beam that he has not seen to, or supervised his sons and grandsons so doing.
We give thanks for Mr Jennings faith, his unvarying reverence to the Lord’s presence in this house and his gift of the great cross in the sisters’ cemetery. He loved to hear the sisters sing as he worked - and he loved to hear their laughter in the distance at recreation.
We give thanks for our many memories of Christ’s servant, Tom, because, for us, your little sisters, the are all happy - and joy is the first gift of the Kingdom.
We place our friend under the patronage of our glorious mother St Colette as he travels into eternity and we turn to Mary, Mother of all the Living, asking that she may present Tom to her Son: Hail Mary
Let us pray
to live is to love
and to have loved well is holiness,
as you are the Resurrection and the Life,
grant eternal life to your servant Tom Jennings
and comfort and peace to his family and friends.
You who live and reign forever
The Photo shows Mr Jennings at the shutter in the chapel
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Mother of Millions - St Colette
This year's feast of St Colette brought a wonderful congregation! Even in the front row were two mothers with babies - one of whom, called Colette (it is quite amazing how this name is becoming popular!) solemnly ate a picture card of her patron saint, with no ill effect, during the course of the blessing.
We had put an ad in Catholic Life (they were very generous and mostly donated the space) - but in point of fact the yearly increasing congregation mainly hears about it by word of mouth.
It is an occasion of great grace for us, too, for we are spiritual mothers. One of our shares in Mother Colette's concern for the young has been to pray for the orphanage for the handicapped run by Bishop Jia of Zhending in China and we sang the song made by our sisters about their plight after communion.
Haizi is mandarin for child and/or children. We made this song for our beloved Bishop Jia for whom we pray daily. Please pray for him and the hundred handicapped orphans, for whom he cares, and for the faithful Catholic Church in China.
Mother of Millions
This song is dedicated to the Catholic Bishop of Zhengding, China, Julius Jia Zhiguo, who, twenty years ago found an abandoned handicapped baby on his door step. In between prison and re-education camp, and usually under house arrest with 24 hour surveillance, he has cared for the hundred or so handicapped orphans that followed the first with the aid of a community of religious sisters. The Chinese authorities now demand that the Bishop should sign over the children or spend the rest of his life - he is 75 - in re-education camp.
The Mother of Millions of the refrain is St Colette, the Poor Clare patron saint of children. Haizi is mandarin for child. The words and music were created by the little sisters of the Poor Clare Colettine Community of Ty Mam Duw Wales, who also sing it on this track.
Now, while we keep our hand in by singing Friday Compline, the daily Veni Sancte Spiritus, Missa de Angelis, Credo III, the Paternoster and the lyric Transitus of St Clare (and St Francis) etc in Latin plainchant, it is only as part of that universality an international Catholic community is bound to uphold. We did not volunteer for Universal's efforts and to this day are not quite sure why they asked to come and see us, but we sang some of our own music for them and provided a bit of variety in the BBC programme Nuns Aloud, broadcast 15 February 2011.
We also made some very kind friends that included, as well as the Universal and Thames Talkback crews, that artist with the still camera Venetia Dearden and the endearing terrestrial star-gazer Chrissy Iley.
This led by holy indirection to the making of a You Tube to make the sufferings of the Catholic Church in China better known - and especially the desperate position of Bishop Jia, see above.....