Saturday, 3 November 2007
Last wednesday Michael, Luke and I met up in Bury St. Edmunds (I being on my half-term and they being on placement not far away) to give a vocations talk to the parish confirmation group. Though there are only seven confimandees, they had been promised a prize for the one who brought the most friends with them! Needless to say, there were fifteen or so teenagers there. We watched the film 'Fishers of Men', and after that each of us gave a brief talk about what had attracted us to the priesthood and how we came to be in seminary. The experience of working in the world and the pull of marriage were some of the issues that came up, and we emphasised that priesthood wasn't necessarily an easy life to lead, but that it was a call from God like any other vocation. In the chapel Michael gave a brief reflection on Jesus calling the apostles to be fishers of men. The kids were very attentive, and we can only pray that some of them went away thinking about priesthood and religious life more seriously. In a time when a lot of parishes nationwide are gearing up to close down or amalgamate it is important to remember that the Church's future is in the next generations, and that no administrative plan will substitute the need for vocations.
After the session we joined the curate Fr. Martin Fears in the parish presbytery for dinner (and a very good dinner at that). Fr. Martin is the youngest priest in the diocese and the last East Anglian to be ordained from Oscott - in 2000. In the morning we went to Mass and then had a long-anticipated fry up. It was good to have a coming together of the brethren, to talk about seminary and to 'fortify one another with pious discourse' in the words of one of those youtube videos from a seminary across the water!