St Clement’s Day
Today is my seventh St Clement’s Day as Rector of St Clement’s, Philadelphia, and I am sure it will be as memorable as all the others.
A Patronal Festival is always a very special day in a Catholic parish, when one asks the patron to intercede with God for us, to join us in our prayers for the home-bound, the sick and the departed, and for the continued growth of our parish in the love and knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The congregation at the High Mass will be at least double the number who come on an average Sunday. This is because of the phenomenon which ecclesiastical sociologists are just beginning to recognize, that many people have “a Second Church”. Normally they will go to their own nearby church, but on special days they will go to another church which they often value as highly as their own church. This is very true of St Clement’s, and never more so than on St Clement’s Day itself.
Of course, we are lucky to be the only St Clement’s in the area (there was another, a Roman Catholic one, but it was closed several years ago), so we have no competition, unlike churches with dedications like St Mary, St John, St Paul or Christ Church. But tonight I am sure we shall see well known faces of friends who come not just on our Patronal, but also on Corpus Christi, the Assumption, and other feasts not observed by many Episcopal churches. It is always a delight to welcome these “Second Churchers”.
With a lovely Mozart setting of the Mass, accompanied by a small orchestra, and our Diocesean Bishop presiding from the Throne and preaching, I am sure my seventh St Clement’s Day will be as uplifting as the last six have been.
Come and join us.