My husband’s first cousin once removed was ordained as a priest serving with the Society of Jesus on May 11 at St Paul’s Basilica, Toronto.
His parents and I assumed Young Ted (as he is known in the family) wanted other family members who were also ordained to attend (although I don’t think they would recognise my own ordination as an Elder of the United Reformed Church) so we travelled with Richard’s cousin Anne who never misses a family celebration if she possibly can.
There had been a chance that Anne’s first husband (another CoE clergyperson) might attend which would have been problematic since they divorced in order for him to marry Young Ted’s aunt, but he was not well enough to travel so awkward meetings were avoided.
The service came in at under two hours which was pretty good for an ordination service. Ted and another Canadian were being priested and five men were being deaconed (with priesting next year). They came from the US, Nepal and the Antilles.
Training for the Jesuit priesthood takes 11 years and includes such exercises as being dropped into an unknown city with virtually no money and told to get by. Ted had worked in slums in South America and on the Monday after ordination was going to a conference in Rome on the subject of refugees as the representative for his Province.
On 12 May we went to Our Lady of Lourdes (OLOL) to Ted’s first celebration of mass in the morning.
This was far more informal with far fewer saints included in the Litany of Supplication (I lost count at
the Ordination maybe they named all the Jesuit saints) and I was delighted that we sang a John Bell hymn and Bernadette Farrell’s “Longing for Light” which we sing each year at the Ecumenical Advent Carol service.
I thanked Ted for choosing two British hymns but he said he had no involvement in their choice and had been concentrating on getting his sermon across.
In the evening we went to Choral Vespers at the Anglican Church of the Redeemer near to where we were staying which included Bach’s Cantata no 31 “The Heavens laugh the earth rejoices” and “Urlicht” from Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony.
It was very well done with choir, soloists and orchestra. I think the church might be part of the University of Toronto or Ryerson because as well as two named clergy there were five Honorary Assistant clergy. Donations were invited at the end to help with the cost.
We moved on to Ottawa where Richard’s Canadian cousins are based but stayed in a central hotel where we found an Anglican church two doors away which offered Morning Prayer at 8am.
This had been started to offer a service for people working in the banks and insurance offices etc.
The church was in the process of being renovated and we had to bypass building materials and found the Sanctuary unheated and only one other person there who said he had only just started coming and that the service would probably be said by another layperson if the priest didn’t turn up.
The other layperson turned up but priest didn’t so Richard took that part and I resorted to my Kindle for the reading from Acts. Judging by the size of the building and the work going on, on Sunday it must be a very popular church but not on a cold wet Thursday morning.
Then to Chicago – no family apart from Cousin Anne and the 10.45am at the Church of our Saviour at Fullerton – sorry another Anglican one - on May 19. The Greeter said she came to London about once a quarter – I asked and learned she was an Insurance Lawyer visiting clients.
Richard felt at home immediately- there was lots of incense and they censed the Pascal candle which the OLOL thurifier had failed to do (High Anglicans notice these omissions).
It was the end of the Sunday School year and the children and their teachers were paraded and congratulated on their progress. The preacher had distributed a visual aid in the shape of a triangle with Soul, Body and Personhood on one side and various “fold here” instructions and comments on the back which I shall give to Ulrike.
The congregation was not large and they are starting a discipleship programme. The after church gathering was going to be focussed on the End of the Sunday School year so we did not linger. I wanted to suggest to the priest that he look at “Holy Habits” but he had announced he was going to the airport immediately after the service to start his holiday. We sang one Brian Wren hymn which I didn’t recognise from Rejoice and Sing which impressed Cousin Anne and I was able to say the writer was a URC minister.
I nearly forgot – we did visit another church in Ottawa but in the middle of the Canadian National Museum – a small wooden Ukrainian Orthodox church which had been transferred there and which was still consecrated and occasional services held.
I could go on about the museums and concerts and how we eventually found a Currency Exchange to cash in our pre-Millennium Travellers Cheques but that is enough for now.