Monday, 10 September 2018

Back to School

Paris schools opened last week and the traffic increase was noticeable! As a child, I never liked 'Back to School' adverts. It was nice, though, to welcome back friends from last year and to meet new people.

This past weekend after Mass people at St Joseph's had a variety of activites: voters from USA were signing up for postal votes in the November mid-terms elections. [Pity the Irish 'Diaspora' gets no vote in any Irish or European elections!] The bookstall offers Bibles and Religious goods while coffee, tea and orange juice are served as people chat and children play.

Arrangements were being made for next week's beginning of CCD (preparation for Sacraments for children and youth). This year once again, there are more applications from families for places than we have space for classes. No a bad complaint! There will be 200 students each Sunday over two sessions, 9.30 a.m. and 11.00 a.m. with 40 volunteers and assistants taking a one-hour class. Most volunteers are not trained teachers but follow a clear and definite programme of Religious instruction and formation. These parishioners have a desire to share and hand on their faith. The high-point will be on 8th June 2019, with First Communions will be celebrated and the next day, Pentecost Sunday, Confirmations. That weekend is always special with relatives coming from all over the world.

This is not me 'blowing my own trumphet'. With me the one priest now here and for the foreseeable future, all that happens is laity-driven, as it should be. But, I am not alone! Each weekend 2,000 people cross the threshold into St Joseph's Church to take part in five weekend Masses. These come from over 40 different countries to worship in English. Being in the heart of a tourist area of Paris, beside the Arc de Triomphe, St Joseph's Church welcomes many tourists who join us for Mass.

That is my 'bit of religion' for the moment! Maybe next time I will tell about a great French/Irish wedding I was at last Saturday!                                                                                                AT

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