When one begins formation for priesthood it feels as though you are in for the long haul and can’t get to the finish-line quick enough. Suddenly, I find myself at the end of fourth year and receiving candidacy -- the Church’s formal recognition of a clerical vocation -- and so the countdown to ordination next year (first as deacon) has begun!
Bishop Paul Mason, bishop to the military, presided over the mass and preached on how God intends us to soar like eagles, but with the Holy Spirit in our wings. I must say, I was quite on air myself. From this point onwards, I may dress in clerics (priestly garb) so as to witness to my intention to complete my formation. The rite involved us being asked if we were “morally certain” of a call from the Lord, and if we are “resolved” to carry on with a view to ordination? I can say that I do now feel interiorly free and happy enough to say yes to Christ and His Church. I was very conscious of the number of you who continue to pray for me. No man makes it through without such support. Thank-you.
It seems, however, that I might be part of the old guard who receive candidacy at the end of year 4 of seminary. The Bishops of England & Wales are currently deciding on how to readjust the “ministries” conferred on a discerner so as to bring formation in line with the wishes of Pope Francis. Since he created the lay ministry of catechist it has become more theologically acute that the ministries of reader and acolyte are primarily baptismal ministries that are open to all the faithful and not just those of us progressing towards ordination. As a result, candidacy may be moved earlier on in the process or left up the seminarian to express when he feels ready to take this step. For the moment, however, no-one knows just how everything will develop. As for me, although aware of my many faults, I praise God for calling me to minister soon enough in our Archdiocese and express here, once again, how lucky I feel to have shared the journey thus far with so many wonderful priests and parishioners along the way.
Synodal Path Meeting and the Parish Pastoral Council
As we journey with the Synodal Process, it is a moment to remember the purpose of the Parish Pastoral Council.
It is not intended to be a group of people who do things for the parish, but a group of representatives who share your thoughts and suggestions with the parish clergy so that the parish priest can make informed decisions about pastoral priorities of the parish.
The Parish Pastoral Council was therefore keen that the work along the Synodal Pathway should continue in the Parish well beyond sending the report of our listening activities to the Diocese. For this reason, there was an open parish meeting on 7th May, to look at how we could move forward across 8 areas of parish life:
1. Participation and Outreach
2. Access and Communication
3. Young People
5. Learning about our faith
6. A place for all
7. Support for the poor and marginalised
8. Parish Liturgy and Music
Following discussion of the issues that emerged from the listening activity, several potential actions were proposed by those attending, which you can see in this attached document. However, this is just a starting point, and there is an opportunity now for others to also become involved.
We are looking to set up a number of short-term task groups, where each group will consider one of the areas, for example ‘Learning about our Faith’. Such a group would agree and add to the priority actions as appropriate and come up with ways that these actions could be taken forward in our parish.
If you have a particular interest in an aspect of parish life, and would like to contribute your enthusiasm, your skills and knowledge or your ideas for the future, please consider joining one of the groups. We know that many people are busy juggling work and family life, or for other reasons find it hard to come out to meetings, so there will be flexible ways you can get involved so that as many people as possible can feel part of these next steps.
If you would like to get more involved in whatever way, please email the Parish at email@example.com and put “Walking Together” in the Subject Line, or phone the Parish Office on 01902 341343 leaving your name and contact number and which area you are interested in, and someone will get back to you. There will also be opportunities over the next few weeks to hear more about the particular strand of activities, and sign up to one of the groups then.
This is an exciting time in the life of our Parish, as we get back to a new normal, following two difficult years. I very much hope that many people will feel able to answer the call of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to walk together to help make our parish life together better.
This Thursday is the Solemnity of the Ascension and then we begin the ancient Novena of Prayer for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Let's pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us in all these new initiatives in the parish.
We have been experiencing problems with our internet provider, Vodafone, and there was no internet connection to the house all morning today. This mean that Mass could not be livestreamed at lunchtime. Many apologies for this. Hopefully, the disruption has finished and we will not have problems on Sunday, Fr Mark
Today we pray for Vocations to the Priesthood, Diaconate and the Consecrated life, that many will hear the call to follow Christ to chare the Good News! There will also be a special vocations webinar hosted by the Archdiocese on Tuesday evening at 8.00pm looking at models of holiness which will be all about our parish patron Blessed Carlo. If you would like to sign up for this webinar, go to - Quo Vadis? | Birmingham Vocations Then on Wednesday we will be having our monthly Blessed Carlo Mass, which this month will be at St Bernadette's, and we will also be praying for vocations at that Mass.
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