Monday, 9 July 2012

Of priests and deacons...

2012 cannot be said to be an uneventful year, and I hope that you can understand, therefore, why it has taken so long (nearly 4 months) to write another article for you.

First of all, Simon left the seminary on Palm Sunday for personal reasons. He is presently employed within the diocese, and hopes to use this time to gain more experience in the wider world and wider Church, and, after such a time that his personal situation has improved, the diocese and he may discuss whether it is prudent that he should return to priestly formation in the future. Please keep him in your prayers during this uncertain and difficult time.

Shortly after Simon left Oscott, Ben was taken seriously ill, and, after examination, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It soon became clear that Ben's earthly sojourn was drawing to a close, and, as we are presently without a shepherd (it is at such times at these that we need especially the pastoral love of a bishop), our temportary ordinary, the diocesan administrator, Fr Bagstaff, granted permission for Ben to be ordained to the presbyteral order, so that he may enjoy this most precious of times as a priest, and that he and others may receive many graces.

Ben was ordained first to the diaconate and then to the priesthood at the same short Mass, by His Grace, the Archbishop of Birmingham, on the afternoon of 30th June. Several priests and faithful of the diocese were able to assist this Mass, which was a very moving and noble occasion.

Now that the seminary term has concluded, Ben has moved back home to East Anglia, where he may receive care and convalesce, and be close to his family and friends. He was able to concelebrate Sunday Mass at his home parish of Bungay this last weekend, and has written a letter to the faithful of the diocese. Parishioners in East Anglia may have received this letter in their parishes, otherwise they may request it of their parish priest. As you may appreciate, I don't really have the words to write more here, so if you are able, please read Fr Ben's message to you.

We are all praying for Fr Ben, and thank God for his ordination to the priesthood.

Also on 30th June, in the morning, Henry, our fifth year seminarian, was ordained to the diaconate by the Archbishop, an event that we may also give thanks for! Henry's first liturgical function after his ordination was to assist the Archbishop at Ben's ordination a few hours later.

Henry is now undertaking a placement in Cambridge before the summer holidays start, and then he shall return to Oscott in September to undertake his sixth and final year, wherein he shall complete his theology baccalaurate, and, God willing, be ordained to the priesthood in one year from now! We are also conscious that Henry is now our only seminarian. We keep him especially in our prayers, and we continue to pray for vocations to the priesthood.

Finally, we must thank all our readers, not only for reading our articles, but particularly for your prayerful, and sometimes, also practical, support during our formation! So, thank you, and God bless you.


Lucy said...

We are also praying for Fr Ben. And now we will pray for Simon and Deacon Henry. May God bless all of you. Thank you for letting us know how best to pray and support you: it is a joy to our family to do so.

Fr Christopher Back said...

Very good to see the blog re-started. Fr Ben's Ordination has been an inspiration to all of us. The community meeting at Blackfriars for the Extraordinary Form Mass on Sundays has had him in especial remembrance.
God bless you.

Fr Christopher Back