Saturday, 13 June 2009

Church Going in Rhodes

St Francisco Roman Catholic Church, Rhodes Town

One thing I like to do when I go away is to visit the local church. It isn't always easy to find a Roman Catholic Church in Greece but it is in Rhodes Town. There are two! I usually go to this one called the Church of San Francisco, (St Francis) mainly because it's on the bus route from where we stay and there's a bus stop right outside the church.

The other church is an older one in the centre of the town near the casino. I had a problem finding it the first time I visited Rhodes and I've never gone back to it. What a luxury finding two churches so close together!

It's quite a modern church and it has a huge, wonderful painting of St Francis on the altar. I wanted to take a picture after the service but unfortunately another service followed immediately afterwards so I could only take a picture from the back of the church very quickly. It's quite poor unfortunately, you get the scale of the painting but not the detail. I'll be back in Rhodes in September so maybe I can get a better one then.

What I found strange last year was they have started to do the Mass in Latin and with a lot of singing. I'm ashamed to admit I've forgotten most of the Latin I used to know and they didn't have a Mass card in Latin and English, or if they did I didn't get one.

There are greeters at the back of the church and they welcome you and give you a sheet with the readings in your language. Not sure they had them for all the nationalities there but the main ones are covered. I don't know why they have gone back to the Mass in Latin but it was quite nice and brought back some memories. The priest sounds like he's from Yorkshire, he's been there for quite a long time but he is quite a serious chap! He speaks a few languages and has a bit of a chat to people in French, Italian, Greek and English which is quite nice.

If you go there for Mass be prepared, it starts at 10 am on Sundays but it's quite a bit longer than ours. The last one I went to was nearly an hour and was followed by benediction. The week before it lasted over an hour as there was a local couple renewing their wedding vows after forty years which was quite nice.

It's interesting too that the church is also used for Anglican services.

Outside the church is a statue of St Francis with the prayer inscribed around it in numerous languages including Hebrew. I did take a photo of the prayer and checked that it was quite clear to read but I can't find it on the camera now. Weird!

St Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.