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Monday, 5 June 2006

Priestly life - never a boring day

Pentecost Sunday is one of the rare occasions we bring out the 150 year old French red velvet High Mass set purchased from Luzar complete with spade-ended maniples, chalice veil and burse. I have to brave the cries of "No! Father, please get a polyester horse-blanket with meaningless squiggles on it." (Not).

My neighbour, Fr Charles Briggs, is away in France for the traditional Pilgrimage to Chartres so I agreed to stand in at St Mary's Chislehurst for his monthly old rite Mass at 4pm. This is followed by Benediction and then the Consecration to the Sacred Heart.

On Sunday evening I had to motor off after 6pm Mass round a snarled-up M25 to Purley to talk to the youth group there on the Da Vinci Code. Numbers were down because of A-Levels but the group were charming and I hope they will be joining the Faith Summer Session.

Today, I opened a pile of post - most of it going in the bin as usual. Also catch up with the latest on our "Too Catholic" College of St Luke. Then I get to go to Parkminster for the course for the novices. We have reached the scriptural and patristic roots of the Sacrament of Confirmation (not the easiest part of the course.)

They often give me little gifts. Today, waiting for me in the classroom was "La prière, entre combat et extase" with the author simply described in the customary phrase par un Chartreux. I regard this as a treasure and look forward to savouring its wisdom. You can perhaps imagine how daunting it is when Carthusians start discussing the spiritual life with you! The Charterhouse had an extra silent day for Pentecost itself so they are celebrating today with Recreation and solemn Vespers. Just glorious!

Oddly enough, I am back in Chislehurst again this evening for a wedding rehearsal for Kellie and Rob who are to be married there on Friday. They are both Catholics so we will have a Nuptial Mass. They have asked for some Latin during the Mass because they were so impressed with it when they attended the wedding of two other parishioners last year. While in the Church, we have a look at the monuments to Napoleon III and the Prince Imperial.

Kellie's mum, Chris(tine) runs our Holy Shop and is brilliant at finding exactly the right books for children, first Communion and Confirmation presents, statues and rosaries. Time for another plug, I think. Every Catholic home should have at least the following:
  • Crucifix
  • Statue/picture of Mary
  • Statue/picture of the Sacred Heart
  • Holy Water stoup with holy water in it
As it says in the old introduction to the marriage rite:
Keep a place for Our Lord in your home. Where he is, there is no room for the evil things that can destroy your happiness and drive God’s grace away.
Tomorrow, after Mass, I have to go to the Dental Hygienist and then I will be travelling to the parish of the Most Sacred Heart in Ruislip at the invitation of Fr Mark Vickers' to talk on "Same sex unions in the light of Evangelium Vitae and the moral teaching of John Paul II".

As I sometimes say to youngsters when encouraging vocations, the life of a priest can be hard work sometimes, it has its mixture of joys and sorrows. But, hand on heart, I have never had a boring day.
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