Tuesday, 9 December 2008

I am just back from my annual retreat in Walsingham. This is a very special time when away from the context of where God is calling me to be day in and day out, I can have holy space available for prayers and reflection. I have prayed for all those who visit this blog and ask God’s blessing on it now that it is a week over a year old.
Walsingham had nice cold winter weather, as ever the food was good and in plenty and the liturgies uplifting. This year too my annual retreat coincided with the Advent retreat organised by the Shrine and this year led by Br Paschal OSF. I have not been to his meditations but all retreatants I met afterwards where singing his praises. I think we are very fortunate to have a Franciscan community in Walsingham complementing the community of sisters. Please keep these religious in your prayers.
It was good to have time to catch up with other people in Walsingham and on Sunday lunchtime the generous hospitality of the Smalleys.
I suspended my Advent reading for the retreat and replace it with St Francis de Sales especially his “Introduction to the Devout Life”, I forgot the pure and fresh springs available in that little great work and I do recommend it.
My last day of retreat was also the last day of the Pilgrim Season. Canon Warner celebrated the Mass of the solemnity with many concelebrants. Afterwards the staff and all those who work behind the scenes took part in a splendid meal. It is indeed a great blessing to see together under one roof all those who make the Walsingham experience possible. Bro Paschal also concelebrated the Mass and was congratulated on the 25th anniversary of his solemn profession in the Franciscan Order – Ad Multos Annos! Prayer places everything in its proper perspective. It enables us to trust God and His generosity and to look with joy for another year in His service and company.
Back into the swing of things today after Lauds and Mass I had the opportunity to greet some new comers to the Parish and whilst Fr Mark took Collective Worship at School I enjoyed welcoming the pupils of Walthamstow Hall School as they come and prepare for their Carol Service tonight at 7pm. This will be followed by a meeting of the Standing Committee.
Tomorrow our school will be inspected, please do keep us in your prayers as we look forward for the help we will receive from the inspectors to build our future.

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