You need to walk briskly down the hill shrouded in a cassock as the rest of Yorkshire is in turn shrouded in mist and drizzle. I quickly got used to the workers crammed in steamy busses staring out of the windows looking at me. What did they make of me? I felt uncomfortable but then I knew I would get used to this. Today Mirfield does not use cassocks any more, ordinands are the poorer; and those they shall care for too.
You had to walk down in silence, joining the dots with the silence around and searching for the silence within. Silence broken by unoiled gates and heavy doors. The welcome warmth of a corridor after the cold outside and then back to the sharp cold of a short walk to a silent underground church, for more silence, and prayer and Mass, and then a silent breakfast – I loved those mornings, they still live within.
You need to live with other ordinands and study and work and pray and talk to monks. Acquaintances shaped, joys and sadnesses shared, aspirations analysed. Two years that set the pace for ten and more; experiences that forged the handling of experiences yet to come. Two years in Mirfield that upheld the many years one lived before and paved the way for those yet to come.
Two years of prayer, and study, and laughter; forgotten laughter that still echoes brightly at the threshold of the Ordinariate.