A Festal Day
A busy day with two parish/school Masses, a morning spent running round the presbytery like a headless chicken and a delightful festal lunch with the Ursulines of Jesus in the neighbouring Convent (luckily they are a French Order, founded in the Vendee, and so there was a good bottle of Bordeaux!).
Then I made the journey to Epsom for the Ordination of Bruno, the last of my seminary contemporaries to be ordained. I am now officially a dinosaur and won't be automatically on the Ordination invitation lists in the summer.
St Joseph's church in Epsom (diocese of Arundel and Brighton) is as modern as they get. There is very little religious iconography - indeed when we sang the Salve at the end of the Mass none of the concelebrants could find a Marian image to turn to! I think this photo, borrowed from the comprehensive parish website, gives a good impression of the interior (note the full immersion font):
Everyone got a sore neck during the Liturgy of the Word since the readers and cantor were effectively behind us. The tabernacle is hidden behind the glass screen that surrounds the sanctuary. I had a good view of the ordinand's family from my seat - and they are quite a family! Fr Bruno's sister belongs to the Community of St John and his sister-in-law is the courageous Abigail, a recent 'Catholic Woman of the Year.' It was lovely to see the joy on their faces. In the Order of Service, Fr Bruno wrote a brief introduction to the ceremony and chose a beautiful quote from St Gregory:
This configuration [of the priest] to Christ and to his ministry is essentially founded on a deep personal bond with Jesus Christ. Saint Gregory the Great, the spiritual father of the English clergy, eloquently speaks of this essential connection between the interior life and ministry: "What else are holy men but rivers that water the parched earth? Yet they would dry up if they did not return to the place where they began their course. That is, if they do not abide in the interiority of the heart and do not bind themselves fast with chains of longing in love for the Creator, their tongue withers up. But out of love they continually return to this inner sanctuary, and what they pour out in public they draw from the well of love. By loving they learn what they proclaim in teaching."