Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Wedding and the Light - The Fog and the Dark

Yesterday 22nd December 2006, two voluntary helpers from HCPT Group 35
were married. Their Nuptial Mass was celebrated by Phelim McGowan SJ,
whose ability to combine prayer with informality, occasion with welcome and
jokes with solemnities,
created a holy and memorable liturgy for them and everyone present. It was
lovely too to have a break from Christmas caroling, through the singing
of hymns that Group 35 usually sings with teenagers
in The Rotundes de Jeunesse in the Lourdes Prairie during April.
The wedding mass ended and the crowds gathered outside the Church in the
light of the day.

The reception was as convivial as one would expect. Neil and Felicity
had booked Pembroke Lodge in London's Royal Richmond Park. Normally the
view across London from there is amazing. Yesterday however the
fog which had for 3 days substantially restricted London's Heathrow airport,
limited vision to about 19 yards ahead. Richmond Park unusually for
London, has no artificial lighting, is home to 750 wild deer and has
iron wrought gates, over 20 feet high which are locked shut at sundown.

When after much good company, food, drinks and speeches
the time came for us to leave, it was pitch black, freezing cold
and everything was shrouded in dense fog. Trying to find our car was
quite humorous really as it is a VW. All modern VWs look the same
in the dark and they are usually alarmed...

Eventually we found the correct VW.
Driving through the intense dark and fog was very atmospheric
but the possibility of one of the many deer leaping out of the
blackness into our path was not a little unnerving.
Eventually too we found Richmond gate and a gatekeeper to let us
out on our way. The sodium lit streets of Petersham seemed
rather tame by comparison. Modern urban society loses some significant
contact with nature, by the prevalence of so much electric
street lighting.

Felicity and Neil's wedding and their wedding vows yesterday
mrs maytrees and myself of our own wedding years previously,
which is another cause for celebration.

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