Most churches do not need encouraging to rejoice and celebrate and in All Saints’Church, Marseille in the South of France they have just commemorated a rare event – celebrating a priest’s 70 year anniversary of his ordination
Amanda Haste from All Saints says:- “The church was packed for a celebratory Eucharist with four priests, over fifty worshippers and even two (well-behaved) dogs in attendance. Our ‘priest-of-honour’ was Felix Vivian Allan Boyse, who was ordained priest on 28 September 1941 and who, even at the age of 94, still preaches a mean sermon in a wonderfully sonorous voice and with impeccable diction.
(Pictured - left to right are Gabriel, Patrick, Felix, Eddie and Stephane
“Following an introduction by the chaplain, Fr Gabriel Amat, our bilingual service was co-celebrated by priests past and present, of whom Patrick Cassidy was also celebrating 44 years of priesthood and Edward (Eddie) Farrow the 40th anniversary of his ordination. Felix Boyse read the gospel, and also gave the sermon in French and English, his chosen theme being ‘time’ as he ‘[hasn’t] got much of it left’! His exploration of the moral as well as the temporal aspects of time, and of the idea of impermanence, was both entertaining and thought-provoking.
“The music was provided by the Trio de Belloi, All Saints’ resident classical musicians, who played Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus at Felix’s request following communion. Our musical horizons were further expanded when Eddie gathered all the children on the altar steps and, holding 5-month-old Océane in his arms, led us in a spirited rendition of ‘The Wheels on the Bus’, with simultaneous translation into French by our lay reader Stephane Javell. Unconventional but fun! The service was followed (naturally) by an excellent lunch in the church. “