CANON PATRICK’S 92nd LETTER

Dear friends,
I’m extremely grateful to Mrs Val Kirby for arranging posies of flowers for the Sunday School
and Small Church children to give to their mothers during our Family Service on Zoom today.
Present circumstances mean that it has not been possible to give flowers to all our church’s
grandmothers, great-grandmothers, daughters, sisters and aunts as we would normally do,
but that doesn’t mean that we don’t value your care and kindness and mutual support.
In the vicarage, my wife Helen is the one who holds everything together. Whenever the
children phone up and I answer, the response is “Hello Dad, can I talk to Mum?” From an
early age our offspring have learnt the best source for sensible and practical advice and
support. While over the years Helen’s dedication in caring for Llinos and Gwenllian in their
illness has been quite astonishing and deeply moving. Underpinning it all has been her quiet,
unostentatious but profound faith, which has kept her going even at the most difficult
times. Perhaps most miraculously of all she has put up with me for over forty years.

Saying thank you adequately for such love and dedication is difficult – particularly as Helen
couldn’t care less about the sort of things that people usually give their beloved.
Fortunately, I have discovered that it is possible to buy enormous bars of Cadbury’s whole
nut milk chocolate (Helen’s favourite) via Amazon, plus a couple of hopefully suitable
novels. I always buy books for Helen on the basic principle that they are ones that I would
never ever read myself. It seems to work remarkably well.
The original St Helen (the Emperor Constantine’s mother) is said to have discovered the
True Cross in Jerusalem, and Helen and I were married in Pinner Parish Church on Holy Cross
Day in 1978. Since then, as the mother of five children and the wife of a hopelessly vague
and didoreth clergyman, she has had to carry her own cross that must sometimes have
seemed enormously heavy – and yet her gentle cheerfulness has still survived, and (to my
eyes) she seems lovelier each year that goes by.

ZOOM SERVICES: Sunday 14 March (Mothering Sunday/Sul y Fam) 9am MOTHERING
SUNDAY FAMILY EUCHARIST (children’s readings); 11yb CYMUN SUL Y FAM (t.85); 5pm
EVENING PRAYER; Wednesday 17 March (St Patrick’s Day) 10.30am HOLY EUCHARIST
(p.287); Thursday 18 March 7pm ‘HOLY HABITS’ LENT COURSE; Sunday 21 March (Passion
Sunday) 9am HOLY EUCHARIST (p.88); 5pm EVENING PRAYER; Wednesday 24 March (The
Annunciation transferred) 10.30am HOLY EUCHARIST (p.243); Thursday 25 March 7pm
HOLY HABITS’ LENT COURSE Canon Patrick

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