It's been an interesting week or two. Last night we held a Eucharist for young people at St Paul's Grangetown in Cardiff, using the BBC series Doctor Who to explore the figure of Christ. It was amazing the amount of interest and comment it created in the week before - some favourable, others critical, some curious, others comical! We were mentioned in various blogs and news forum, news sites and newspapers, not to mention radio and television and Fr Ben (the parish priest) even had an invitation to appear on the The Alan Titchmarsh Show (which didn't materialise in the end!). Actually, we were doing nothing new: just using popular culture to share the gospel and communicate with people in a language they understand. Nothing radical about that! There were 109 people there (quite a precise figure, I know!) of all different ages and I think it went well - but who am I to say?
This morning I was at the Bishop of Llandaff High School for an Assembly with year 10 pupils. Fr Ben was also taking an assembly in another part of the school and we were accompanied by Sister Jane Louise from Walsingham who has been spending a week in Grangetown as part of their parish mission. I love watching people's reaction to seeing a 'real' nun! A mixture of bemusement, surprise and curiosity as if some strange alien has landed in their midst. To a lesser degree, clergy get a similar response with stares and double takes. Mind you, is it really the collar the does that? This afternoon though, I slipped my collar out: I was delivering a PSE lesson in Radyr Comprehensive School on behalf of Bulliesout, an anti bullying charity, so I removed my collar so as not to confuse the young people! Or was it not to confuse me? Maybe a bit of both. I'm confused now!
On Saturday, at last, I visited the island of Flat Holm, sitting five miles off the coast of Cardiff. It's situated in the Parish of Cardiff where I live and Fr Graham (the parish priest) tries to get across to say Mass once a year with parishioners, though he hasn't been for several years: the crossings are often cancelled due to the weather and high winds. It was a great experience: we had an outdoor Mass to celebrate St Cadoc who often visited and stayed on the island in the sixth century. It was a still, warm day with no wind across the island and it was hard to imagine that the sea had swallowed a contemporary of Cadoc, St Baruc as he was returning from the island back to the monastery at Llancarfan. Mind, you I suppose he was sailing in a coracle not a boat carrying forty other passengers armed with packed lunches and cameras. His body was washed up at Barry Island: hence the place name, and when I was curate in the parish of Merthy Dyfan in Barry I could see across the channel from my flat to the island and had always wanted to visit but was one of the many little things I hadn't got round to.