Sunday, 3 September 2006

Tomorrow is D-Day!

It's a strange feeling sitting in my study this evening having said farewell to the parish. And what a day it has been! I sang my final Mass in Willesden this morning - the congregation even included our local TV celebrity, Louis Theroux! The constant stream of people saying 'goodbye and thank you' afterwards got a bit too much and I became rather tearful (for the first time since Ordination) - and that was something I didn't expect, though I've seen it happen to other priests on similar occasions.

Having made an emotional display of myself, I had a very enjoyable lunch with the priests and catechists in the local Portuguese restaurant and, fortified by wine and liqueur, returned to church to 'preside' at Vespers and Benediction (we do this as a Marian Devotion on the first Sunday of the month).

Unfortunately for the parish, it was also announced today that our Kenyan assistant priest, who has been with us for 18 months, is leaving in a fortnight's time. Parishioners don't like the clergy to move around too much - a parish is, after all, supposed to be a sort of family. At least a retired priest will be moving in shortly. Rather amusingly, he is a former-Anglican and, in a previous incarnation, was Vicar of the church across the road. The guy who replaced him is still there - I wonder how he feels to find his predecessor returning as a 'papist'! Hee, hee.

This time tomorrow I'll be sitting in my new rooms in my new parish and Chapter 2 of my priestly life will have begun.

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