The Friars of Canning Town
Looking back at this blog, there aren't many posts about my parish and the activities that take up 95% of my time. Of course, it wouldn't be appropriate to publish posts about many aspects of priestly ministry since it would be an abuse of the 'internal forum.' However, I will write a little about today, when I took 21 of our teenagers to Canning Town (East London) to visit the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal for a Confirmation recollection day (see group picture above).
The Friars are based at St Fidelis Friary on Killop Close, in the midst of a housing estate. The building was originally a parish hall and is used by the Friars, amongst other things, as a soup kitchen for the poor.
I greatly admire the Friars, partly because they are so good at talking to young people - the American accents, long beards and radical lifestyle all helps to make them appear authentic and appealing as followers of Christ. We had a series of talks on the meaning of Confirmation and the importance of Mass and Confession. We then had an opportunity for Confession and, as far as I know, every young person went - inspired, no doubt, by the talk one of the brother's gave, mentioning things like pornography, sex, drugs, alcohol and bad pop music. Here is a photo of Br Martin in full flow. Note the very Franciscan life-size crib behind him. We later said Mass beside it, which I found quite moving:
In the break there was an opportunity to play basketball. I chose to remain a spectator but took the following pictures, just to show that the Franciscans know how to combine praying with playing:
And finally here's an exclusive video of a Friar playing basketball (apologies for the quality).