Friday, 30 January 2009

In the tomb with Christ

We had a great time in Belmont, and Br Andrew's profession was very moving. As the Rev Johnson says on his blog, the abbot gave a thought-provoking homily about how monastic life is a witness to the existence of God in a busy world, like men standing at a bus stop, waiting. The liturgy was beatiful, and during the profession Br Andrew had to sing three times the Suscipe me Domine, which translates as:

'Uphold me Lord, according to your promise, and I shall live, and do not bring to nothing all my hope.'

At the end Br Andrew's hood was indeed pinned up, and he was led away to spend three days in silent retreat, a symbol of his death to the world with Christ in the tomb. I expect he'll be very talkative when he comes back to study at seminary!

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Fr Paul Johnson

Just a quick plug for a new addition to the blogosphere. Take a look at Paul Johnson's new blog.

Paul is a good friend of ours and is currently a transitional deacon training with us at Oscott. God willing he will ordained to the Priesthood this year on July 12.

A very warm welcome Paul!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Perpetual Profession

Tomorrow the whole seminary is off to Belmont Abbey for the Solemn Profession of Dom Andrew Berry OSB who has been studying with us for the last three years or so. I've never been to a religious profession before (for those who don't know that's the moment when a person makes their religious vows, which for a Benedictine are: obedience, stability and conversion of life) so I'm really looking forward to it.

...someone told me that the ceremony involves tying the persons hood up but I'm not sure if they were pulling my leg...

Belmont Abbey

Start of Term

All back now to the seminary to begin the new term. I have to confess to being a little scared because it's an especially important time for two of us because the fifth year are currently being assessed as to whether or not we should be ordained as deacons in the summer. Please do pray for us!

We've already started our course on the more practical side of what it means to be a deacon. The course includes thinking about the nature of the promises the candidate makes at Ordination (which includes 1. respect and obedience to the Bishop, 2. celibacy, 3. to pray the Divine Office and develop a suitable life of prayer). Today we focused on the deacon being configured, through the Sacrament of Orders, to the person of Christ the Servant.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Operation: Placement!

A belated Happy New Year to all. I had a nice time at the Youth 2000 retreat, having recharged my spiritual batteries for the year ahead! We seminarians are now on a three week placement before we go back to Oscott. I'm in a little town in Suffolk called Haverhill, where the parish is situated in a large and rather labyrinthine housing estate. It is a very different parish from my last placement in Peterborough, being much smaller for a start. The community seems very friendly and close-knit. I'll be doing a bit of work in the parish primary school, but the main thing will be visits to the local prison, which is one of the parish priest's main ministries. Also, at the moment there's a big push to build a new church, because the present one is too small and is little more than a makeshift hut. Still, I find it easy to pray there, and I'm drawn to the large, beautiful wooden crucifix that hangs over the tabernacle. It makes me think of the crucifix in the Don Camillo books/ movies (which Fr Tim Finnegan posted about some time back on his blog)... Unlike Don Camillo though, who secretly takes the hefty crucifix with him when he leaves the village, I don't think I'll be carrying this one back to Bury St Edmunds!