Friday, 4 February 2011

About Time

Well, Simon has been keeping this blog from petering out in the last few months, and despite our 'liesurely' posting some people apparently still read it, so I thought I'd better pull myslf together and log on once again (after reacquainting myself with the new password). 

I've just been on a 5 month placement in North Walsham (where's that?) in North Norfolk (oh!). The parish priest is also vocations director and temporary vicar general, which is quite a lot of hats, considering he is also the dean, and has three Mass communites in his large rural parish. Sunday mornings were always hectic as we flew around insane bends on tiny roads to get from one Mass to another. There were no parish institutions such as schools or major hospitals, but there was still plenty to do, and I spent a large part of my time house visiting. This is something I hadn't done much of before, and I found it to be my favourite part of the placement. There was a large number of retired people in the parish, who had fascinating stories about their lives, their families, where they had lived and what they had seen. Perhaps it is the hallmark of a 'rural' community that it is particularly generous and welcoming towards newcomers. Everybody knows everybody. And I certainly found it hard to eat all the delicious goods that came the presbytery's way!

The other members of my year had good placements as well, and now we are in the midst of lectures again. I'm enjoying my courses this term: holy order, social ethics, canon law (more fun than you might think!), Reformation history, the sacraments. It is good to approach these studies after my experience in the parish, knowing that both realities need one another. Parish life must be informed by the truths we study in theology and other disciplines, and academic study must receive its life and 'colour' in the human experience of a parish. Now I'll go do some more reading of 15th century English para-liturgical life in Eamon Duffy's Stripping of the Altars!

1 comment:

Lucy said...

We love that book - it is so eye-opening to those of us who were brought up to think the reformation was some great act of providence on God's part. The Church before the so-called reformation is so beautifully and lovingly described in that book - I almost wish I could go back in time. My husband and I went to college in N Walsham. It is a nice place - and special to us since we met there.