I received my copy of our Diocesan Magazine yesterday in the post. Certainly, many of our faithful in the UK rely on this printed medium since there are still fewer computer and Internet users this side of the Atlantic. I am very honoured to have been given two pages!
The holiday season is over for most people, but if there are some retired stragglers in their campers who feel like a visit to Normandy, they would be most welcome. I can recommend them the places to visit in fair weather and foul (rather the latter for the past week and into next week). I am available for their pastoral needs, and they are welcome to my humble chapel.
I renew my thanks to Bishop Damien Mead and his Board of Ministry for having obtained the consent of our Metropolitan Archbishop Mark Haverland for extending Diocesan Oversight outside the frontiers of the United Kingdom and having received me into the ranks of the ACC-UK diocesan clergy. There are parishes and missions in England that are further away from our Diocesan See in Canterbury than I am just over the English Channel.
It is a pleasant part of the world, not unlike the south coast of England. Normandy is less “rugged” than Brittany, but has some wonderful bits of coastline including the iconic cliffs of Etretat.
Further inland, as we live in the Pays de Caux, there are many things to see both in the towns and the countryside. Our area produces linen from locally grown flax, cultivated and gathered in the traditional way. Normandy has its own “Sussex Downs”. This is a view of the cliffs at Sotteville sur Mer looking towards Dieppe. The cliff in the mid range is Varangeville, where there is a beautiful house and garden in the Arts and Crafts style by the English architect Edwin Lutyens. The house is privately owned and opened to the public only once a year, but the garden can be visited any time – Le Bois des Moutiers.
Many of our churches are practically “untouched” apart from the presence of a nave altar for Mass facing the people. The old baroque altars are almost invariably intact, even if they are in their “Good Friday” state – bare and neglected.
Normandy and the Pays de Caux are well worth a visit, even by people who live in Kent and Sussex. There are fewer people over here and the traffic on the roads is lighter outside the main arteries.
My ministry is a chaplaincy, which means in this context an availability of a priest for the pastoral care of English tourists and expats. I don’t “tout for business”. If people want to live their lives without churches or formal religion, they are adults and are free to do and think as they want. Mass and Office are celebrated in this chapel, whether people come to them or not.