Sunday, 10 January 2010

To real for comfort

Here is a little sketch just to warm up those laughter muscles in the bleak midwinter:

A bit too real!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

CREATE! Exhibition - Every Tribe and Tongue

It's nearly time for our 4th annual celebration of arts and crafts. This year, the CREATE group which meets at Marksway Scout Hut has taken on responsibility for the event. In addition to our usual, wonderful array of work by local artisans, Linda Herbert has been very busy and has managed to secure some funding to enable more workshop activities to take place. We have subtitled the event Every Tribe and Tongue to fit in snugly with Liverpool's Capital of Culture events so we hope to see diversity in all its forms celebrated. There will be the hugely popular WORD evening taking place on Wednesday evening (6th August) so dust off your favourite poetry book, write your own poems or get practising that musical instrument. There may well be a little glass of something to calm those nerves!

Much as it would be nice to think that all of this fabulous midsummer activity is organised by the CREATE! fairies, it actually takes a lot of hard work. We would be so grateful if you were able to spare an hour here or there to look after the church and perhaps serve some refreshments. It is a wonderful event to be part of and always brings with it its own rewards. We also need strapping people to set the whole thing up on Monday and help dismantle on Saturday. If you can help in any way, please email the team at or sign up on the list on the table at the back of church.

The event takes place from Monday 4th August to Saturday 9th August in the church. We look forward to seeing you, as an artist, as a visitor or even if you fancy coming along to do some art work in the wonderful ambience of our lovely church.

Entry form download PDF
Entry form download Word Document


CREATE illustration courtesy of, shared through a Creative Commons licence.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Going for a Song...

If we play our cards right, we could pay off our church debt and finance a church hall...always assuming Fr Pat and Rev. Jeff are up to the job...

Click here to find out how.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

!Felices Pascuas! 2008

Here is the latest message from Srs Jacinta & Marie:

Queridos Amigos,

Greetings from El Valle where all activities are now underway after the long school holidays. Already we are in Holy week and that has been brought home to us by the death of María Fernanda who had only completed one and half years and died last Friday. A group of us went to the house on Friday to pray for her and the family and on Saturday we accompanied the little coffin to the graveyard in the Valle. It was so sad to see the little grave and to lower the small coffin within. Please remember the family in your prayers. And so we continue to accompany Christ in his passion.

We continue with our services on Holy Thursday and Good Friday and Easter Sunday we have 5 adults for Confirmation and First Communion and a child for baptism so little by little the evangelization of the Valle is bearing fruit. Gracias a Dios.

I have just come from the Valle where we celebrated the Eucharist with the children from the College 250 in all and they were quite well-behaved!! As I work with the pastoral group, the priest asked me to say a few words during the homily.

Our Comedor (dining room)is going well and we are now opened 5 days a week with a group of mothers cooking each day and washing up. A new person has taken the role of co-ordinating everything which is a great help to us. Thanks to Appel du Pauvre for helping us with the funding and our Sisters in England with the Christmas appeal which provided funds too.

The Arco Iris Club (Rainbow Club) for children of 2 to 5 years is well subscribed. We have 22 children. Three mums help us with this and at the moment we are awaiting a new salon (thanks to a donation from Ireland and the Columban priests) the children will use this and leave the space they are now occupying for the Comedor. This should be finished in May. Buildings do not take long to construct.

Our classroom is open again for homework and reading and we have about 30 children each day and some come too on a Saturday to read a book so it is all go but we are happy that the response is so good.

We hope to run, with the help of teachers from Saint Marcus, a course on hairdressing. This begins next Tuesday,(no holidays for Easter here in Perú). So far 15 have enrolled and more will come on the day. Another couple are coming to teach craft work so the saloon is well used.

So we are on our journey towards the Resurrection and each one of you will be remembered in our prayers.

Marie and I are kept busy but we are pleased to be and there is time too to relax and get away now and again. One needs to see some greenery from time to time.

The light is coming slowly but surely. You need patience and much hope but the posts are now near the Capilla.

Next week we welcome our friends Fran and Tim from Austalia who will be spending 2 weeks with us. Fran will be able to see how much has changed since her last visit.

Hope you all have a very good Easter and t hank you for all your help so that we can continue our mission here in Jicamarca.

Con mucho carino a todos,
Jacinta and Marie

If you want to see photos of the work done at the project, there are two blogs which can be accessed by clicking on the links below:

Wednesday, 19 March 2008


Friday, 4 January 2008

Remember the lonely...

Worth more than all of the material things that we may receive at Christmas, the best gifts must be time to spend with loved ones. But, of course, this is not true for everyone. I have just received this e-mail which reminded me of the way in which I sometimes take for granted the warmth of relationships with family and friends:

Dear All,

I am writing to Christian relations, friends, and contacts to draw attention to a news story that appeared in the press this morning. Below is a link to the article published in The Daily Mail:

May I ask you to pray that Olive will be welcomed into Heaven by her creator who has valued and loved her as nobody on earth appears to have done for many years. Perhaps you might also ask your parish priest/ church minister to make a brief mention of Olive, the sad end to her life, and the plight of others like her when addressing his congregation.

In Christ,


Saturday, 29 December 2007

A Christmas Tale by Tom Herbert

The Unfinished Shepherd

The woodcarver sat in his armchair beside the fire, reading a newspaper. Slowly, he turned a page. “Well, Tiger” he said to the ginger cat lying contentedly on his lap. “Christmas is drawing on.” He was looking at a colourful advertisement, with lanterns, stars, and a big Santa Claus. It announced a “Grand Christmas Fair” at the local market. “What shall I do, Tiger? Perhaps I will carve a set of Nativity figures to sell. You know, Mary, Joseph, the Child Jesus in the manger, and so on. But I won’t make them very big or they’ll not be finished in time. Mmm, I must look and see what I can find”.The next day he went to his wood store where he examined a few logs. “They’re too big,” he sighed. “I am only making small figures, such as would fit on a mantelpiece.” Then he took out a branch that he had cut from the old pear tree in his garden, and which had been seasoning for several years. “Ah, this is better. My pear tree is too old to produce much fruit now. But it provides shelter for the wildlife, and now it will produce fruit of a different kind.”

He took it back to his shed, got out his carving tools and shaved the end of the branch down about six inches. He decided to make a shepherd first, to be sure of his technique, before he carved the Holy Family. He outlined the face, and robes; and then refined the details. This took several hours, but after the final smoothing with sandpaper, there stood a shepherd complete with a little lamb in his arms. “It could be better,” he said to himself, “but it’s ok. I must press on with the others if I am to be ready for the fair.”

Next, he carved Mary and Joseph. He was quite pleased with them and put them next to the shepherd. “I could do with another shepherd now,” he thought. “One kneeling down perhaps; that shouldn’t be too difficult, I’ve already made one shepherd”. He took the branch again, shorter now after having cut the other figures. And he shaved it as before. He then outlined the main details and began to refine them, but try as he might he could not get it right. Using various knives and gouges he persevered, but they wouldn’t cut as he wanted. He thought perhaps they weren’t sharp enough, so he ground the blades on his stones, and polished them on his leather strop, until they were razor sharp, but still he could not cut the wood as he wanted. In fact the piece was ruined. “Oh dear,” he thought, “it’s no good. I really can’t afford to spend any more time on this one.” So, regretfully, he cut it off from the branch, and the little figure fell to the floor of the shed amongst all the debris such as wood shavings, saw-dust, and scraps of used sandpaper.

The woodcarver started work on another shepherd, and when this one was successfully completed he carved some sheep, an ox and an ass. Next he carved three wise men, and even a camel. He was quite pleased with them all, and bought some special coloured polish to finish his figures, but he thought it would be a good idea to try it out first on a piece that wouldn’t matter, if it went wrong, or if he didn’t like it. Just then, he thought of the unfinished shepherd, lying on the floor of the shed. “I’ll try it on that”, he thought, “if I can find it”. Surprisingly enough he found it quite easily. He squeezed a little of the polish from its tube on a piece of rag and rubbed it over the unfinished shepherd, then buffed it with a soft cloth, turning his mantle a beautiful burnished terracotta red. “That will do,” he said to himself, and he popped the unfinished shepherd into his pocket

The woodcarver polished all the figures the same lovely colour, and it lent them a warm glow. Now all that was needed was a stable. So he set about making a little rood shelter for them with two pieces of the branch he had been carving, a flat piece of wood for the floor, and one for the roof which he covered with pieces of bark. When it was complete, he arranged his figures in it, and stood back to see what they looked like. “They don’t look too bad, but it’s not quite complete, there’s something missing, and I can’t quite think what it is. Anyway, I haven’t got time to carve any more now, I must take them to the fair tomorrow, besides, there’s nothing left of the branch.” He fingered the unfinished shepherd in his pocket, took it out, and looked at it. “Mmm..."

The next morning the woodcarver took his crib set to the Christmas fair, and set it out on a stall along with other seasonal craft items. Passers-by often stopped to look at it. Some even picked up the figures and examined them. At one point, a lady said she would love to buy them, but she had to see to her family’s needs, and didn’t think she would be able to afford the crib as well. “Strange,” thought the woodcarver, “that a tableau reminding people of the poverty of Christ should, itself, be a luxury.” The day wore on, and finally the stall-holders began to pack up. The woodcarver hadn’t, sold his crib set, so he packed up too. “Never mind,” He thought, rather disappointed. “I will have to sell it elsewhere. I have a friend who runs a gift shop. Perhaps he will sell it for me.”

The following Sunday, he went to church as usual. It was the first Sunday of Advent, and the theme was preparation. Children were buying Advent calendars at the back of the church. Some of them couldn’t wait until they got home, and were excitedly opening the first window, which revealed an angel. It was then clear to him “That’s what I need to complete my crib, an angel, but the branch is finished, and it would look odd if I carved it out of something else.” He put his hand in his pocket to take some money out for the collection at the door, and felt the unfinished shepherd. He drew it out and looked at it. Some friends asked him, “What have you got there?” “It’s an unfinished shepherd,” said the woodcarver. “It was going to be part of the crib that I have made, but it went wrong.”“What a shame” they said. One of them said, “he can go in my crib anytime.” Another one said, “What will you do with it?”“I think – I think- “the woodcarver said, “I think I will turn it into an angel.” So, when he got home, he took the unfinished shepherd, and selecting a V tool, cut a deep furrow down the middle of his mantle, dividing it in two. These two halves he carved into a pair of wings. Then he reduced the size of the head, and refined it to match them. He then refined the robes so they flowed as if the angel was in flight. Finally he screwed a small hook in his shoulders so that he could be suspended from a little eye screwed in the roof of the stable. “Well, Tiger,” he said, stroking the cat’s warm fur. “Now my crib is complete, but who will buy it?

A few days later, the woodcarver was shopping in his local supermarket, when someone touched his arm. “Didn’t I see you at the fair?” It was the lady who had wanted to buy his crib. “I don’t suppose you still have the crib you were selling, do you?”“Yes, I have,” he said.Oh, I’m so pleased, I was so afraid you may have sold it.”“No, no, it’s still at home.”“I would very much like to buy it.” So she paid the woodcarver then and there, and he delivered it to her door the next day. Now he was content. His Nativity set had gone to a good home, and he looked forward to going to the Midnight Mass with his family. There, he would see the church crib, decorated with evergreens and coloured lights, and like the shepherds and wise men he would kneel in worship and welcome the new-born king.
The lady set up the crib in her front window, with all the little figures watching and waiting. For days and days they waited. The woodcarver had not made a manger with the baby Jesus for this set of figures because he had made one last year for a set he was going to make, but had never continued with. At midnight, the lady quietly slipped the Infant Jesus in the manger between Mary and Joseph. All was silent. Far off in the night a church bell rang. Then; softly, softly, softly the snow began to fall. The first delicate little flakes, on touching the ground, melted away in seconds, yet soon everything was clothed in pure white, as in renewed innocence. How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given. Reflected by the snow, the moon filled the little stable with a wonderful light. From his place in the roof, the little angel, no longer an unfinished shepherd, kept watch over the Holy Family. From somewhere in the house, the clear voice of a single choir boy could be heard singing “Silent night, holy night- “ Christmas had come at last. Hope was rekindled, and the Christ Child was born once more in the hearts of believers.