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Great Weekend

2009 December 11
by Gordon Reid

A great weekend begins this evening when I will have dinner with a priest friend at the Union League. When I first came to Philadelphia six years ago I used the Union League under the reciprocal arrangements which exist with my old Club in Edinburgh, the New Club. (Of course, in the usual wry British manner, this is the oldest club in Edinburgh, just as New College, Oxford is arguably the oldest college of the University). But after a year or so, I told the President of the League that I thought it was high time I stopped free-loading and became a proper member and paid my dues. Reciprocal privileges are for travelers, not residents.

Then tomorrow, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, I will be conducting an Advent Quiet Day (or, rather, a Quiet Morning) in St Clement’s. We begin with Rosary at 9.30; then a Sung Mass of Our Lady, an Advent Devotional Address, and Benediction, finishing off with lunch in the Rectory.

Sunday is, of course mid-Advent Sunday when the Introit commands us to Rejoice, and one of the ways we do this is to wear rose-coloured vestments instead of the usual purple. We will also commemorate St Lucy, who was martyred by having her eyes plucked out. The Swedes will be having their lovely services of light in honour of that brave young martyr, which I first encountered when I was Chaplain of the English Church in Stockholm. One of our Episcopal churches here in Philadelphia, with the splendid dedication of “Gloria Dei”, keeps this tradition, because it used to be the church of the original Swedish settlers.

I’ve just noticed that the Communion Motet on Sunday is the Faure “Ave verum Corpus”. Truly we are blessed this weekend.

And to round it off, I will have dinner with two friends on Sunday evening – truly Our Lord knew what he was doing when he chose a meal to symbolize his love for his friends.

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