And a celebration at the end of the Centenary Jubilee Year of the Knights of St Columba
On Wednesday 21stAugust, 68 people - Knights and accompanying Priests and parishioners - made a Pilgrimage to Paignton and Fr Ralph Candy's Parish Church of The Sacred Heart and St Therese of the Child Jesus, where we had a special Mass followed by a handsome Cream Tea.
People came from the Parishes of Ilfracombe, Barnstaple, and Bideford and Torrington, on two coaches, which were extremely comfortable. Fr John came from Barnstaple, and Fr Edward came from Bideford. We were joined by Fr Ralph at Torquay Harbour, and a further 10 Knights and friends from the Torbay Council. We made a lovely day trip out of it. The coaches took us through the beautiful Devon countryside to Torquay, where Rowland Conibere gave us tickets for the day's journeys . Then we had an hour and three quarters on the Dart Venturer riverboat to Dartmouth, along the South Devon coastline with its fascinating geology. This was accompanied by an explanatory commentary over the sound system.
We had an hour and a half to take lunch and explore in Dartmouth, which is a lovely place, with a park, still unspoilt with character. A Bideford parishioner had brought sandwiches for all three priests, and a group of us had a picnic with them on the grass..
Then we had been told which ferry to catch across the
Dart, and we all got the steam train from Kingswear to
Paignton together, and Fr Ralph led us on a very pleasant
walk through their park to the Church, where we soon
began the Mass.
Rowland Conibere arranged two readers and two Ministers of the Eucharist. Fr Ralph celebrated and Fr Edward concelebrated. Fr John sat at the front. We sang hymns and the Gospel Acclamation.
Fr Ralph sang the Doxology. Fr Ralph announced that the day and the Mass were to celebrate the end of the Centenary Jubilee Year of the Knights of St Columba. He reminded us of the celebration in Bideford a year ago for the beginning of the Jubilee Year. There were many Knights present, wearing their ceremonial sashes: one had come especially to the Mass from his holiday in Newton Abbot. One read the Second Reading, and I think one or two were the Ministers.
We had Isaiah 63, praising God's Providence; Psalm 137, thanking and glorifying God; St Paul's letter to the Colossians, on how to behave in Christ; and St Luke 10:17-24, when the 72 whom Jesus had sent out reported back to Him, and He blessed the Father, telling them how blessed they were, or happy.
Mass was followed by the excellent cream tea, with welcome teas and coffees, served by Fr Ralph and his parishioners.
He invited us to look around the Church. Then the coaches collected us from right outside the Church and got us back to North Devon in very good time, to go home and relax after a really fabulous day. There was a raffle during the cream tea in support of the Knights in North Devon's chosen charities this calendar year, namely Widows and Orphans in Rural Kenya, and the Children's Hospice South West. Rowland announced that they are based in Kingsbridge and Fremington, respectively, and are well-supported by the North Devon parishioners and Knights.
There was some discussion of a possible Knights' Christmas trip to see Cardiff Christmas Market, and Rowland took a show of hands. A lot went up, so I suggest anyone interested speak with him.
It only remains to thank the Knights warmly for putting on these regular coach trips, and for including the general Church population in their celebrations. It is so enjoyable to mix with all the local Churches.
We were really spoiled to have three priests with us, and everyone seemed really to enjoy themselves.
To coin a phrase, a great day was had by all.