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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Mass at Blackfen with the Franciscans of the Immaculate

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Fr Giovanni Mannelli of the Franciscans of the Immaculate (the nephew of Fr Stefano Mannelli, co-founder of the Institute) came to Blackfen yesterday evening to celebrate Solemn High Mass for the feast of the Transfiguration. I was deacon and Fr Simon Heans of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was subdeacon. Father preached an inspiring sermon on the Transfiguration: this was quite a feat as English is not his first language but he managed very well. The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate sang for the Mass and included a beautiful setting of the Ave Maris Stella at the end.

After Mass we had a gathering in the Hall which was a great opportunity for people to meet and chat to the sisters. As I said to them, their presence and their habits are a witness to the religious vocation. I was especially glad that lots of children got to meet the Sisters too: it is great that they grow up knowing that cheerful, kindly and devoted religious sisters are a normal part of Church life.

I did ask for prayers for the Institute since, as everyone knows, there are some internal difficulties just at the moment. I pray that these will be overcome by the spirit and practice of obedience and charity that is so evident in the Institute, and that St Francis will triumph with pace e bene. That was certainly evident at Blackfen last night.

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Photo credit: Mulier Fortis
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