The poor cassock was enough for you
and the poor ordination too.
Because you knew who you are for God
and you knew God gave you.
You did not hear His words,
He did not knock on your doors.
However you come to Him:
He would give you His Cross among ways of life.
You knocked and stood by His doors.
Whatever Jesus could give you
apart from the difficult way.
Whatever He could say by way of greeting.
He knows very well how difficult His ways are
and mostly He talks about vocation.
You experienced lots of beautiful moments,
you said goodbye to your family house.
You knew you would never come back
and your life would be different from then.
If you want me to serve only your heart,
if you love me just a little,
lead me Jesus, lead me please, my unequalled friend.
In casual vocation's robe dress me.
The translation may not be perfect English but I hope you get the sense.
I did not preach today, handing over to the summer supply priest Father Peter (Piotr) Kaczmarek. But the Gospel was most appropriate for a final word to my parishioners. The Lord said that we should rejoice that our names are written in heaven. Our parish church, our celebration of the Liturgy, our life of community and communion with one another, needs to be experienced as a foretaste of heaven. Over the last few days, I have been praying very specially in this church that only God knows whether or not I shall visit again. Gradually it has become very beautiful.
Only last Monday, the lights were changed to provide a much needed improvement to the lighting, and yesterday a Divine Mercy image was placed upon the wall of the sanctuary. I had hoped to leave everything perfect. Father Peter and I were even up a tower scaffold replacing a spotlight yesterday! But the Lord designs things so that our pride does not become inflated: one of the new lights decided not to work today, so a new bulb will have to be purchased tomorrow to replace it.
Here are some pics of how the Church looks today, my final Sunday here:
All I hope for is that parishioners find St Simon's a place of prayer.
There was, also, a fine farewell party a week ago last Friday to which a fantastic number of parishioners came. There's no need to share here anything of the evening except to say it was a lovely occasion to give thanks and rejoice in the Christian happiness that was clearly present. I am grateful to my parishioners for their most generous financial gesture which was presented in the form of a few cheques and many, many notes in a photograph album. I joked about all the photos of Her Majesty! I hope everyone understood I was referring to banknotes.
I gather last Thursday's Kentish Express reported the farewell party but I have yet to see it. Will post it if someone gives me a copy.
I could also refer to the School farewell assembly also a week ago Friday. Each year group presented a song/drama/poem and huge cards with personal messages. All of them were moving, funny, touching.
Year 4 performed a drama of something I had told them a long time ago but which I was amazed that they should remember.
One day as a teenager I was returning home late from school on the London Underground. Almost alone on a station platform I was approached by three or so youths who demanded I give them my money. I replied, truthfully, that I didn't have any. They asked me to jump up and down and, when I did so, something in my pocket jangled. They asked me to empty my pockets and I revealed to them a small metal crucifix and my rosary beads. They were so surprised that they appeared to be stuck to the floor and so I made my getaway to the station office. I used this story to tell the children that Mary will always protect us. In school I have also run a 'rosary club'. So the children recited a rhyme about never forgetting my rosary and never forgetting to turn to Mary.
I am always amazed at what children will remember and come out with. We can learn so much from their innocence. Of course, we adults have the grave responsibility of nurturing the environment in which this seed sown in childhood can grow to maturity.
Could go on but will sign off for now. Hope to write a little more about this, and more serious subjects again soon.