Sunday, 16 December 2012

Gaudete Sunday

Yesterday I forgot to mention that while I was watching the wedding I noticed, along the Sant Agostino balcony railing overlooking the Gulf of Naxos, sixty-odd small padlocks attached to the ironwork. Some small, some old and rusty, some heavy and expensive looking. One even had a combination lock dial. I recall hearing back in the autumn a news item about a bridge across the Seine in Paris festooned with padlocks. Couples pledge their love to each other then throw the key into the river as a symbol of permanent dedication. I take it this romantic phenomenon has now reached Taormina as well 

Advent III, Gaudete Sunday, aka Ministry Sunday, but I forgot to remind them to pray for vocations. Today the ministry of President Obama was in our thoughts, raising the issue of gun control in the aftermath of the infant school massacre in Connecticut. There were six of us for this morning's Eucharist. Churchwarden Una came from Catania and bravely played the organ, declaring herself to be a still a learner. She had to practice two hymns before the service began, and played slowly, but we got through just fine. One member of the congregation brought her four year old granddaughter. During the service she stayed happily with caretaker Salvatore. "She loves him. He's a wonderful substitute grandfather." I was told.

Next Friday morning, the congregation, nearly all women, will get together to build St George's nativity scene. Next Sunday we'll sing carols. I think I'll rearrange lessons as well, and make the Ministry of the Word more of a lessons and carols type service, as some of the congregation will be unable to attend Christmas Day. And why not adapt. The important thing is that God's people are fed when they need it most.

I made another experiment cooking pleurotte mushrooms as part of lunch today with a mix of lentils, chick peas, onion, tomato, red pepper and garlic, served with rice. They still taste a bit bland to me. Next time I buy them, I'll try marinading them first.

It was mild enough to walk out with no top coat on this afternoon. The setting sun in a cloudy sky was once more spectacular and unique. I've taken more photos of Mount Etna in all weathers than any other subject. It's irresistible, spellbinding in late afternoon. Which makes me wonder at what time of day do lovers come out with their padlocks in this most public of places?

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