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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Youth at St Paul's Monaco: light in the darkness and service to the world

St Paul's in Monaco regularly celebrates Confirmation and usually in the season of Advent. It is an appropriate time of the year to celebrate this sacrament as the Advent message of light shining in the darkness underlines the commitment of the newly confirmed to bear Christ's light in the world. In the confirmation liturgy the candidates receive a lit candle at the conclusion of the rite, and carry that candle out into the world.

This year in St Paul's I administered the apostolic rite of Confirmation to another class prepared by the parish priest, the Very Revd Walter Raymond OGS. This latest celebration has brought the number of candidates that Fr Walter has presented to me to 40 in total during his 8 years of ministry in the Principality. The spiritual life of the congregation seems in good heart!

The Advent confirmations also frequently coincide with the huge charity bazaar held each year, called the Kermesse. It is a major ecumenical event as well: the clergy of the Principality, Roman Catholic (including Archbishop Barsi of Monaco), Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant, gather for a festive lunch and time of sharing. The Spanish speaking parish and the Greek Church provide the food for the clergy, and this year, the Greeks broke into an impromptu folk dance at the lunch.

St Paul's has a very active presence at the Kermesse, with many volunteers from the parish working hard on various stalls. Fr Walter emphasises that this giant charity event also provides the confirmation candidates with an excellent opportunity to roll up their sleeves in service to the community - another dimension to the sacrament in which they pledge to seek and serve Christ in all people, loving their neighbour as themselves.


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