Friday, 10 September 2010

Here and there and back again...

The Guild of All Souls is the patron of this Parish. Every year the Guild invites its incumbents for a 24-hour stay that includes prayer, reflection and fellowship. Over a dozen incumbents gathered together at Ascot Priory where Canon Philip Ursell pulled out all the stops to make us welcome and comfortable, which he did brilliantly.

Leading us in the 24-hour stay was the President of the Guild, Bishop Keith of Richborough.  Bishop Keith is truly an inspiration for Parish Priests, we are very fortunate to have this quality of leadership.

This was a truly good time enriched by the sharing of good practice and friendship of clergy who come from different traditions within the Church but are ready to accept and uphold each other. How good to be in such environment. Fr Feeney from St Stephen’s House delivered a very good paper on priesthood.

Ascot Priory was hallowed by the presence of none other than Dr Pusey himself and in the Priory Church one can still see the altar upon which he offered the holy sacrifice. It was also the home of the sisters of the community of the Holy Trinity, the last Reverend Mother dying some few years ago. At one time, this was a thriving community with heroic sisters witnessing to Christ their bride in several places. Some of these sisters were the nurses who accompanied Florence Nightingale in the Crimea in the mid nineteenth century. Here is a very interesting painting, marking the occasion.

A very short stay in the Parish and this afternoon Fr James and I will be off for another 24-hour stay this time in Oxford. We will be there for the meeting at St Stephen’s House of young men exploring their vocation to the sacred priesthood. I know that this meeting is oversubscribed! Both Fr James and I look forward to support these young men at this difficult time in the CofE. Difficult indeed it is, but also so fruitful as never did Anglo-Catholics have brilliant opportunities as they have now. Maybe one day I will attempt to comment on the different opportunities I see ahead. Wherever you are, over this weekend please pray for these young men at St Stephen’s House. Fr James and I will be back (DV) in time for the Walsingham Cell Mass, talk and Supper tomorrow at 5pm.

And do not forget to keep on praying for the visit of the Holy Father Benedict XVI to these shores, less than a week now!!!

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