Here are my notes for today’s sermon.
“Fire engines blessing;
Crowning of Mary;
Procession of the head of St Columbanus in San Columbano, Italy;
Procession of OLW through Tollcross, Edinburgh;
Folk Religion & Sacramental Christianity”
That’s all I will need in the pulpit, but maybe a few words of explanation would help.
Last week, I took part in the blessing of fire engines and their crews at Christ Church, Woodbury, New Jersey. Then we had a procession to the church which was packed to the doors. I preached on heroism and St Florian, patron saint of firefighters.
Today we have the May Procession in honour of Our Lady, and the crowning of her image with a circlet of rosebuds.
When I was Archdeacon of Italy I represented the Church of England at a significant anniversary of St Columbanus, the Irish missionary to northern Italy. There was a magnificent procession of the head of the saint in a gilded reliquary round the town of San Columbano.
At St Michael & All Saints, Edinburgh, we often had processions through the streets of Tollcross, and in one Assumption procession (I was clothed in a cloth-of-gold cope of course!) as the thurifer, acolytes, banners and litter passed two old Edinburgh ladies, one said to the other in a stage whisper: “That Father Reid thinks he’s in Spain”!
All serving as an introduction to the vital doctrine that the Christian Faith is sacramental and about the whole of life; that material things point to heavenly realities.