Each Christmas, the French and English Communities - Anglicans and Roman Catholics alike - gather in the Church of St Andre in Alet Les Bains to sing Carols and re-tell the Nativity Story in both English and French in our bi-lingual service.
And afterwards - well, you can't have Lessons and Carols without mulled wine and mince pies...
This year was no exception, as we welcomed over 100 worshippers from as far away as New Zealand, the Lebanon, Cameroon and Switzerland to our service last Sunday.
We were delighted to welcome Abbe Alain Nginambaye from the Catholic Parish of John XXIII in Limoux, who joined Rev Canon Tony Jewiss and Linda Billenness to lead our worship. It was also our pleasure to welcome the Deputy Mayor of Alet, Monsieur Jean-Pierre Gayda, who delivered an opening address of welcome at the beginning of the service.
Our guest organist, Alec Evans, played a selection of Christmas carols which were sung with lyrics in English, French and.....Latin. Many familiar English carols have equivalent French language versions and we also included the very popular French carol "Il est ne, le Divin Enfant".
Readings were read alternately in English and French, with translations projected onto screen to enable everyone to follow proceedings.
After the service, we left the Church to enjoy mulled wine and mince pies in the warm evening sunshine. Thanks to everyone to helped prepare these delicious refreshments.
Members of the congregation also took time to admire the beautiful and intricate crib displayed within the church.
Finally, during the service a collection was taken which will be shared between the charities Secours Catholique and Restos Du Coeur, as well as for the work our Chaplaincy. Thank you to everyone for your generosity.
We are now looking forward to our Christmas services.
On Christmas Eve, we will be holding the only Midnight Mass with Communion in our Chaplaincy. This will be a highly traditional service and will include the blessing of the crib and altar with incense.
On Christmas Day, we will be holding a Morning Sung Communion Service.
Everyone is welcome to join us and share communion if you would normally receive communion in your own church.