Tuesday, 13 July 2010
It's funny what happens when you don't write on a blog for a while...
Back in June, the twenty-sixth of June that is, our fifth year brother, Pádraig, was ordained to the diaconate in Oscott Chapel, along with his peer of the archdiocese of Birmingham, Craig, by the Ordinary of that See, Archbishop Bernard Longley. We always enjoy the Archbishop's visits to the college, and for him to ordain our new top year was a great blessing, not only for our seminary community, which has two wonderful new deacons to minister to our manifold needs, but to both our dioceses, and to the Church. Congratulations on your ordination!
The ordinations to the diaconate happen, of course, every year, and, traditionally, mark the end of term, and the beginning of summer. This year, however, was different. A week after the ordinations, we seminarians returned to find the Rector's lawn festooned with teepees, and, very soon, we were to be over-run by young people in tents. It was the weekend of Invocation 2010, the first large gathering of people discerning a particular vocation in the Church as priests or religious. There were a variety of liturgies, workshops and talks, but, principally, it was an arena for the Holy Spirit, and it was evident that he was at work in the hearts of many of the people who were present. The Chapel was packed full to brim, and over, for Mass and the Offices, and said new deacons were granted a baptism of fire, and managed to tick off three of our nation's Archbishops at the event, +Bernard, +Peter (close to our hearts round these parts, of course), and +Vincent.
These two chappies made an appearance with our own Bishop Michael, this last Saturday, 10th July, in our Cathedral in Norwich. For our two seniors have managed to escape from seminary and be ordained priests!
The purpose of seminary is not to live in a permanent religious community, which can be a danger, though, thank God, is not the case in reality. A seminary is for the formation of men for the priesthood: to sanctify the Christian people, and to offer sacrifice to God.
It was with great joy, and - I'm sure I'm not only speaking for myself - great pride, that two of our brothers and friends, who began this blog, and indeed, set the ball rolling for the current crop of E.A. Seminarians, were ordained to the sacred priesthood.
It was such a beautiful sight: the Cathedral packed full of priests, deacons and lay faithful, surrounding the Bishop, as Michael and Luke were called forward to be ordained by him. The prostration, the promise of obedience, the laying on of hands, the clothing with priestly vestments, the anointing with Chrism, presentation of the chalice and paten, and the first concelebration of Holy Mass, brought several tears to my eye, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one!
It could be a fairy-tale, but it isn't, it's real: two new priests for the Church in East Anglia! Two good and holy men have offered their entire lives for the service of God's people in our diocese.
Ad multos annos, Father Luke and Father Michael!
May God bless your priestly lives, and may we all remember you in our prayers.
As soon as we get more pictures of the ordination, the first Masses in Peterborough, Ipswich and Walsingham, we'll write lots more! Do send in your snaps, if you have any you would like to share, to our e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.