Sunday, March 30, 2008
Finally, after the busiest Holy Week I think I have ever experienced, I was able to have a couple of days off, visiting old friends of my family, which was a most welcome respite. The frantic pace was not just the experience of the Triduum; sadly the parish has lost a number of parishioners through Holy Week and the Octave - all those I anointed through those days have now died - but what a beautiful time for believers to go home! My impression of the Holy Week ceremonies was of a deep peace and joy for all concerned - the high point being the Baptism, Reception and Confirmation of nine adults and one child at the great Vigil. We had a good attendance at all the services and the neophytes still seem to have a glow a week later! That is surely one of the most satisfying aspects of priestly ministry - to see the deep joy and peace of those who have come to faith in Christ and His Church. In the midst of so much death in the parish, it is a great blessing to see the new life - and it puts some of the struggles with those who are never happy unless they are expressing some concern or complaint - into some perspective - they will probably have a problem with Heaven too! Then two of the three signs that Spring is on the horizon have been seen: the Canada geese are flying back, in their thousands - and a Creamee Stand has opened in nearby St. Albans (for English readers, a Creamee Stand, if that's how you spell it, is what we would call a Mr. Softy ice-cream stand - sadly though, no Flake chocolate over here to stick in your ice-cream - they were 99 pence whenI was a teenager, I wonder what they are now?) Today is also a very special day because of the Feast of the Divine Mercy, surely one of the great gifts of John Paul the Great to the Church. Different parishioners from both the parishes have given an image of the Divine Mercy for the two confessionals - I will be burying the dear lady who gave the image for the big Church this Tuesday - she was anointed on Good Friday and was enthusiastic about meeting Her Maker!