England and Chichester - St George and St Richard
Memories: 'The Scone Tea'
St George's Jubilee in 1995
published in the Easter, 1994 Edition of St George's News.
S George is well known in legend and stories. He has featured in folk tales, in Shakespeare and in other national songs and poems. As patron saint he has become the embodiment of all that we desire as qualities in citizens of England.
There is very little factual knowledge about S George. He is, nevertheless venerated in many countries. The cult of venerating S George goes back many years. Recorded history shows that S George propagated the truth about Jesus, that he supported the church, fought against evil and was martyred for the faith. What is known about him may well be related to our everyday life. With that in mind we may keep him busy in his heavenly realm with our invocations. Our patron saint is there to be referred to when difficulties beset our nation. Whatever the truth may be of his legendary fight with a dragon, it symbolises S George's fight against evil.
There is much to be proud of in the history and current times of our country but it does no good at all to pretend that there are not problems. The problems of many people in our country are such that it is easy to list the intercessions that may be presented to S George. Such a list may include all those unfortunate sufferers or addictions of various kinds, for the homeless, for the perpetrators and victims of domestic violence. The list may continue to include those involved in many kinds of crime.
Prayers may also be offered for the assistance of those brave and dedicated people trying so hard to help the afflicted. Not only professionals, doctors and nurses, but voluntary workers in the Red Cross, Samaritans and many other organisations.
There is an increase of racism in our land, indeed in a recent television programme the problem of racial harassment in Southampton was illustrated. The invocation of S George seems to be particularly relevant in the issue of racism since S George is patron of a country which he may never have seen. In a way he may be seen as an immigrant saint. Yet one of the glories of the catholic church is that we need not even consider such terms as immigrant applied to Saints and Fathers of the Church since the very Founder of the faith, though born into the Jewish nation, is in fact the creator of all mankind.
Throughout the long history of the cult of S George there have been prayers for his help in military victories. Now is the time to invoke his aid for help in victory over ignorance, crime, persecution and other social evils.
S Richard of Chichester is venerated, according to an old calendar, on the 3rd April. Richard ended his life in 1253 as Bishop of Chichester. He was born in 1197 at Droitwich of a tanning family. Here is a saint renowned for his practicality as well as learning. In spite of his studious disposition he nevertheless worked for some years on the family farm in order to assist through a difficult period. He might have settled down and become a prosperous farmer but he was impelled to study at Oxford, Paris and Bologna.
He was concerned for clerical reform and in 1240 became a priest. He worked as a parish priest in Kent. Eventually he became a bishop but owing to difficulties between church and state he had difficulty in occupying the see of Chichester as was his appointment. He lived in a priest's house and carried out his pastoral duties by visiting his diocese on foot. It is stated that he was a model bishop, being charitable yet at the same time demanding high standards of his priests. At a time when there was corruption in the church, there were good clerics like S Richard maintaining the very highest standards of service to God and their people. We are fortunate to inherit from S Richard his famous prayer which includes the words,
"O Merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, day by day."
written by the late Jeffrey Hammond [RIP]
published in the February 1997 edition of St George's News
Product of field
of farmers worked soil,
of dairymaids skill
and bakers hot toil.
The texture, the colour,
warm and yet crisp,
the aroma there drift.
Butter that melts
under burden of jam,
topped off with cream
and served by 'our mam'.
In front of coal fire
or garden in sun.
Devoured by all
with stories and fun
The clink of the spoon
in saucer replaced
and tea sipped quietly,
little finger upraised.
Along with a pot
of leaves abrew.
A group of friends.
Such memories anew.
written by Garry Coy
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