Your Church in Rhyme by Fr Andy Slowey
This your church explained in rhyme.
You might like to read it when you have the time.
It is an attempt to give you an explanation
And perhaps to others of a future generation.
While reading these lines now in your hand,
Next to the crucifix you are advised to stand.
After each verse read, please look around and see
Each feature and what it’s meant to be.
Overlooking Brighton Beach stands a church fair,
Many people come to see it from everywhere,
Admiring its architecture they stand and gaze,
Got very enthusiastic and loud in its praise.
Built to reflect the teaching of Vatican Two,
With emphasis on unity between altar and pew,
The benches are arranged in semicircular form,
Participation in the liturgy is now the norm.
Its atmosphere cheerful, spacious and bright,
Large windows letting in God’s heavenly light.
Kneeling in prayer and seeing the great ocean
One’s soul is raised up in profound adoration.
Entering the main door at once you must see
His sacrifice on the cross for you and me,
Reminding you to attend his sacrifice in sign
Re-presented under symbols of bread and wine.
Two beams through the church out the window project,
Symbolically meant to give this lovely effect
Of focusing the sacrifice from the cross on the wall
To the Mass on the altar, out the world to all.
This same cross at the window with no corpus thereon,
Indicates that Jesus Risen to the Father has gone,
That the church by his spirit now carries on salvation
Obtained through his death, going out to every Nation.
The beams lift the cross up towards the sky
From the earth where it stood when he did die,
Being the “Sign of the Son of Man” for our salvation
To “Appear again in the heavens” at the final consummation.
From all parts of the church the tabernacle you can see,
From whence Jesus keeps calling “Come unto me”.
There as a prisoner of love he sacramentally abides
From whence divine blessings he generously provides.
The altar is made of one huge granite block
In its original state as hewn from the rock.
On light supports it would seem to be floating
On the deep blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
The benches are arranged on a gently raked floor,
From the predella of the altar back up to the door
So that the altar you can see when mass is said
Your vision not obstructed by somebody’s head.
The Oberamergau stations Fr. Noel Coughlan obtained.
In them, the parish a real work of art has gained.
From Germany the large crucifix he purchased as well,
And I feel it is only right that to you this I tell..
The choir is now seated among the people of God,
Not up in a gallery which today would be odd.
In this way they encourage more participation
From the worshipping members within the congregation.
The acoustics are excellent, good and clear
No need much for loudspeakers the preacher to hear,
For the church is deigned in such a clever way
No trouble in hearing whatever one may say.
Our loving church, dear mother and guide,
Confessionals for sinners does provide,
That you may confess to the priest, pardon obtain
From sins that trouble you, God’s grace regain.
Anxious mothers with babies that like to cry
Must never feel embarrassed, be upset or shy.
Remember your baby is Jesus’ dear little friend
You may take it to the cry room, Mass to attend.
The main aisle in the church is seen off centre,
And we are assured that in this no one did falter,
For the object of the design must not be defeated
That directly before the altar more may be seated.
Both within and without, the walls look the same,
For this is the impression we hope you to gain,
Of not feeling enclosed from the world outside
Which God has redeemed and in which you abide.
Outside the main door is a wide-open space
To meet your friends, chat face to face.
For to love one another Jesus desires very much
Is just as important as praying together in church.
From the old church tower Mary’s statue was removed.
A very difficult task for the Zulu men it proved.
With most loving care at last they did succeed
In getting it down safely, were very pleased indeed.
For fifty long years on the tower it did remain
Exposed to the weather, the wind and the rain,
Now it is a link between the old and the new.
One day it will be the shrine for all to view.
Our Patron, St. Francis Xavier, did travel this globe.
His statue is near the altar dressed in a saffron robe.
For the Hindoo Yogies in the East, Christ he did preach,
On his missionary journey there, sailed past Brighton Beach.
If in visiting this church you see good vibrations,
And in praying in it you experience many holy sensations
You may ask yourself wondering why this should be so
Well! These verses have been written to help you to know.
To all generous parishioners this poem is dedicated
In thanksgiving for the funds you so generously donated.
For although it did cost nearly a quarter million rands,
As a monument to your love of God it forever now stands.
A tribute to Hans Hallen our architect we must pay,
Who ingeniously in it’s design church teaching did portray,
Combining bricks and mortar, steel, aluminium and glass,
Has produced a beautiful temple for our Holy Mass.
John Judge and Son the church did build.
The Architect’s plan he well fulfilled,
As the church is round with no straight line
It wasn’t an easy task at any time.
Message from Cardinal Napier | Message from Fr Stuart Bate OMI | Forward: Professor Joy Brain | Introduction | A history of the St Francis Mission | Establishment of the Church at Fynnland | The Church at Wentworth | Centralisation of St Francis Xavier and Building of the New Church | The Building of the Parish Hall | The Building of the New Presbytery | The Building of the Wall of Remembrance | The Architectural meaning of the New Church | Your Church in Rhyme by Fr Andy Slowey | The Human Contribution to the Growth of the Parish | Groups and Organisations that have contributed to the Parish | Current Groups within the Parish | Local Vocations | Awards and Recognition | An Armchair tour of the Parish | The Shrine to Our Lady of Natal | Landholdings of the Catholic Church on the Bluff | A Portrait of the Life and Times of St Francis Xavier | Picture Gallery | Timeline of incidents of the Bluff Parish