Fr. Lee Kenyon, Dean of St. John the Baptist Deanery, Canada, and pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish, Calgary, has written to inform me that he has restarted blogging. You can find his blog by going to the parish website and clicking on the tab “blog” on the right.
Here is a section of his entry for yesterday, 31 August, in which he talks about developments at St. John’s:
It was good to be back at St John’s this morning. I was up at 4.30 a.m., the jet lag evidently still working its magic, but I used the time to finish my homily and go to church to set up for the day’s Masses. I offered the 7 a.m. Low Mass, went home for a cup of tea and bacon butty, then returned to church for Mattins at 8.30 a.m. Then it was into the Confessional from 9 a.m. to 9.30 a.m., which left half an hour to prepare for the Parish Mass at 10 a.m., which I offered, and at which I preached. The Sunday Mass concluded at its usual time, around 11.45 a.m., and then our fellowship in the hall went on until 2 p.m. Then to Evensong at 4 p.m., and now it’s time to rest for the remainder of today. Such is the Sunday pattern at St John’s.
There were lots of visitors at the Parish Mass today, which was surprising given that it’s a long weekend, Labour Day falling tomorrow, and a number of our regular parishioners were away. We had 7 at the Low Mass and 129 at the Parish Mass, which was encouraging. I know numbers aren’t everything, and certainly aren’t the only indicator of growth, but it does gladden the heart, all the same, to see average Mass attendance increase consistently across the months. In August 2012, our first year as a Catholic parish, it was 116, in August 2013 it was 123, and August 2014 we have seen an average attendance of 135. In the latter days of the old Anglican parish that was St John’s we would be lucky to get 50 on a Sunday in August. So, things have certainly changed in recent years.
Other than the fact that our initial growth was because we became part of the Catholic Church, within the Ordinariate, — that certainly put us “on the map” — there are many reasons for our continued growth. These range from the sort of liturgy we have to the kind of hymns we sing, but I would offer that it’s largely down to the people of St John’s. They are, without fail, welcoming, joyful, and genuinely interested in the well-being of one another, and of their souls’ health. A two hour fellowship after a two hour Parish Mass speaks volumes about the nature of community in this place, and I really do count it to be an immense pleasure to serve, and to be served by, the community here at St John’s.