We always make New Resolutions in the New Year. However, September and October are also useful times to reflect on the next months ahead and changes we might make. September/October marks a new school term, new university term and, for most, a return to normal work after, hopefully, some time for relaxation over the Summer. Of course, this year, has been a very different start to the academic year. As I write, COVID-19 outbreaks are still rising and we may face more serious lockdown as the weeks progress.
For me, October marks, God willing, my priesting in Chester Cathedral on 3rd October. This will be a very curtailed ceremony as the cohort will be divided into three groups, with only two visitors per candidate allowed in the cathedral. There will be a live screening in the refectory for three additional visitors only. However, one shouldn’t complain. It is the culmination of several years of discernment and a rollercoaster of a journey shared with friends and family members. It is not about personal validation or supremacy. The role of the priest is a humble role; it is one in which we are servants of Christ and would do well not to forget that. This is a ministry of servanthood and, as Stephen Cottrell, the Archbishop of York, writes in his new book “On Priesthood”, the stoles we wear around our necks are ”towels of service.” Paul also writes to the Philippians “ Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” So, my priesting will be a small ceremony but that is fine.
<span style="font-size: 1rem;">My greatest sadness is that this Autumn is my first birthday without any parents to spend it with, and also no parent to share my priesting with. I am what is now defined as an “adult orphan.” Without the protective illusion of a parent’s timeless presence, the future suddenly seems more urgent. There are precious memories which contain the roots of life, but parents are the last connection to that unless we have siblings too, which share in those moments, and I am an only child.</span>
So, life is brief, we must all use our time wisely and as Stephen Cottrell also writes ”Find enough time to sleep, enough time to pray, then do what you can.”
Please keep me in your prayers as I begin life as a priest and I pray that all our ministries would bring the message of Christ to others.
Blessings to you all,