Monday, 30 June 2008


For those of you who have commented on our blog, I haven't been able to respond to them for some reason (some problem with my email address), but I remember one lady, Mrs. Pea, asking how she and her family could encourage vocations. This was the topic of the homily at a First Mass I was at on Saturday (when a newly ordained priest celebrates his first Mass, and invites another priest to give the homily). The first thing I think is to foster vocational awareness in the home; make it known to your children that there are any number of vocations that God could be calling them to, and that you would be delighted to see them become a priest or religious as much as you would be to see them married. In your own parish, you could ask an individual who you think would be a good priest or religious if they have ever considered such a vocation. The thing is, they can't discern a vocation if they haven't been introduced to the possibilities, and for most people priesthood and religious life isn't even a blip on their radar screen. The other thing is, that even if they have considered it, they are not likely to do anything about it unless they receive some encouragement from outside. So it's up to us!

As for supporting priests and seminarians, the best thing is to pray constantly for them! I think it's easy to forget that they need just as many prayers as everyone else, maybe more, to stay on the straight and narrow. Also, you can encourage them just by showing that you appreciate what they do; in East Anglia priests often have to slog it out on their own and probably don't always realise the extent to which their ministry is needed and appreciated. When they meet with a kind word or a thank you I am sure they will feel that all the difficulties they undergo are worth it! I wonder if anyone else has ideas about how to effectively encourage and support vocations?

School's Out

Well, the academic year is finished now and we're well into our summer holidays, though there are still things here and there to keep us occupied. This last week and next week sees the ordinations of the five deacons who have spent the last six years at Oscott. These have taken me to Wales, Luton and Northampton, and I'm discovering that it's no short spell travelling on public transport across the country from East Anglia!

Two of us are going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and two of us are leaving this Saturday for World Youth Day in Australia - as I'm going on the latter, I'm thinking of making a cork hat as a gesture of cultural good will (well, really just for the fun of it). I'm certain we will have a wonderful experience of the worldwide Church there, as the last two WYDs in Toronto and Cologne have been a great witness of the love which young Catholics have for their faith, and also the admiration which they have for the Pope as their spiritual father. Plus Cardinal Pell and Bishop Anthony Fisher seem to have put a lot of time and thought into the preparation.

In August I will have my first pastoral placement, in All Souls, Peterborough. It is apparently a vibrant, active parish with many international parishioners. The other day I was changing trains in Peterborough, and two of my trains were cancelled, so I took the time to go find All Souls. When I got there, there was a Polish Mass taking place (at which there were about twenty to thirty people) followed by adoration. The church has some nice features, particularly the large wooden Stations of the Cross. Visiting there has given me a keen sense of anticipation, and I'm now looking forward to a busy couple of months!