Fr Dominic Rolls, parish priest of St Joseph's Dorking, hosted a day for Faith Priests in his parish today, providing us with a good lunch and a most informative reflection on the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians.
Corinth was put to "fire and the sword" in 146 BC by Lucius Mummius but then refounded in 44 BC by Julius Caesar who was conscious of the strategic importance of its location. Populated by freedmen of Rome, Corinth was very much a "new city", despised by the Patricians and noted for its wealth and immorality. St Paul stayed in the city for a year and a half, trying to persuade the Jews that Jesus was the Christ until, tired of the "gainsaying and blaspheming", he turned to the Gentiles. His first letter offers fatherly admonishment and correction with the desire of bringing unity to the Christian community there.
On a table in the presbytery, there is a fine statue of St John Vianney, the Curé of Ars. It looks as though he is ready to preach on Laetare Sunday.
There was an unwelcome visitor dressed in clericals but betraying herself by wearing obviously false glasses and forgetting to leave her handbag and bright red bonnet at home. Fearing that she might be a spy, we persuaded her that it was a day of "centering prayer" and that she needed to stand in the natural wood shelter outside, contemplating man's wounding of the environment while we sneaked into the presbytery to discuss St Paul.