This week has been quite busy in the parish. The Funeral of Mrs Sheehan on Tuesday was edifying with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren gathered from across the globe. She had a particular devotion to St Oliver Plunkett so I was glad to bring in some reflection on his life in the homily. On Thursday we had the funeral of a five month old baby, Ellie whose short life was a great gift to all those who cared for her. Ellie had been baptised in hospital so it was lovely to celebrate Mass with white vestments and affirm our certainty that she is in heaven with all the saints.
The parish is also in top gear now preparing for our Confirmations next week. We have 39 young people aged 12-13 preparing to receive the sacrament and it will be the first visit of Bishop Pat Lynch to the parish for Confirmation.
People are taking up my suggestion from a sermon a few weeks back that I would always be happy to go to bless houses in the parish. I find that this is a good way to do some purposeful visiting of families. Wednesday saw the meeting of Bexley Council at which this year as "Mayor's Chaplain" I lead the prayers. There were civic awards presented to various local people who have been nominated for recognition of their voluntary service to the community.
After Rosary and Benediction on Thursday, I led the RCIA meeting on the subject of the virtues and vices as presented in the excellent programme Evangelium and on Friday, before the Confirmation rehearsal, we had our weekly lenten Stations of the Cross. This is a devotion that I really love. It is simple, direct and moving, especially with the two schemes of meditation provided in the old Manual of Prayers. The first is St Alphonsus but I am not sure whether the second is also. It certainly bears the same character.
All of this has left me too little time to finish off properly my lecture at the SPUC University Students' Conference but God is good and the lecture went down well. Today was something of a "Day off" in that I made an exception and went away from the parish on a Saturday. Fr Charles Briggs said my morning Latin Mass, heard confessions and gave Benediction while I took an early bus to Oxford.