St Elizabeth of Portugal, Richmond (Roman Catholic)

History and appearance

The following webpage goes into far more detail about the history and appearance of the church than I could have managed from the notes I took:

http://taking-stock.org.uk/Home/Dioceses/Archdiocese-of-Southwark/Richmond-St-Elizabeth-of-Portugal

Clergy

The service was taken by a priest wearing green vestments with golden trim. He seemed very friendly, and welcomed me as I entered the church.

The priest was assisted by three altar servers – two boys and a girl – in white and red vestments. A lady from the congregation went up to the pulpit to give some of the readings, and a choir of six or seven were in a gallery at the back of the church.

Congregation

The congregation numbered about ninety people, of a wide range of ages and roughly equal gender balance. The congregation was predominantly white, with a few people of an ethnic minority.

Service

The church has two Sunday morning services, one at 9:30 a.m. and another at 11 a.m, the latter of which I attended.

The service followed the Mass of Paul VI, the order of service ordinarily used, which has a basic structure of introductory prayers, Bible readings, communion, and concluding prayers. There were also some hymns sung during the service, the words of which were in hymn books given out as one entered the church.

The first Bible readings were from Isaiah 62:1-5 and I Corinthians 12:4-11. Psalm 95 was also recited with responses. A lady from the congregation came up to the pulpit to give these readings and preside over the reciting of the psalm. There then came the gospel reading, John 2:1-11, which was given by the priest.

The sermon was given by the priest after the gospel reading. The reading from John had been the narrative of Jesus turning water into wine in Cana, and the sermon focused on the last verse of this passage, which calls it a “sign”. The priest spoke about different signs pointing us to Christ, and on the challenge of recognising what those signs tell us.

After the sermon came the part of the service with communion, which the majority of the congregation went up to the front of the altar to receive. This part of the service also included the Nicene Creed, which was recited in Latin.

Notices and announcements were given by the priest and a youth group leader at the end of the service, which concluded with a final hymn.

Afterwards

Most of the congregation left after the service, with the priest standing at the door to goodbye to them. Others stayed inside the church for a while talking or listening to a short recital by the church organist. No refreshments seemed to be available.

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