Confirmations, converts and men in white

The parish Confirmations are always a most enjoyable occasion for me. Seeing twenty-five young people come before the successor of the apostles to be anointed and receive the Holy Spirit's grace for strengthening is a sign of hope for the Church and a joy to the parish priest.

Today I also received two converts into full communion with the Catholic Church and we have four more to be baptised at the Easter Vigil next Saturday. It is wonderful to welcome people into communion with the See of Peter and through that bond into communion with every Catholic Church throughout the world.

On Wednesday evening I visited the Priory of St Philip at Chelmsford to give a talk on Lumen Gentium and the theology of the Church. On a cold evening it was impressive to see a full hall. The Norbertines are running a healthy large parish in Essex with fine Liturgy, including their own traditional rite. I had the chance for a chat with some of the Fathers afterwards. This morning, looking at the news feeds, I mused that Chelmsford it was rather like Castel Gandolfo with the men in white.

Holy Week now beckons: Palm Sunday is the most gruelling part of it for parish priests since we have our normal Sunday Mass schedule with all the add-ons in the Liturgy, including the Passion. The Triduum itself I find more peaceful since we have only the major services each day (though I always take the opportunity to hear confessions after everything.)

May the merciful Lord bless us all at this dramatic and richly blessed time as we follow His footsteps in the sacred Liturgy.

We adore Thee O Christ and we bless Thee.
Because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

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