Such a decision has not been easy to reach. I was Inducted to the Parish in July 2001 whilst still a Franciscan and my transition from Religious Life to secular priesthood was aided by the welcome given me here. I was also deeply touched by the way in which the parish accepted and welcomed my partner and have always treated us with great respect and affection. I have felt a deep bond with people here and it isn’t easy to face separation.
However, it has become clear to me that I need to move on. I believe that the parish is strong and, from the responses I nave so far received, it seems clear that people will greet the future with confidence. S. Andrew’s is known for its welcome and has consistently shown a warmth and acceptance of all who pass through our doors. The Catholic Faith, which has nurtured and nourished generations, offers a treasury that will continue to enable all to grow. In 2012 they will celebrate their 150th Anniversary, which people are beginning to recognise is an opportunity not only to give thanks for the past but to look forward to the future.
Chris and I are now in the process of finding somewhere to live and we are being greatly helped by the Church of England Pensions Board. After 25 years as a Religious I do not have sufficient funds just to sit back and do nothing! But I also see retirement from the responsibilities of being a parish priest as an opportunity to develop my interest in spirituality and will continue to offer my ministry of Spiritual Direction and Supervision and, in time, to offer my priesthood for use elsewhere.
I have a clear sense that this move will provide an opportunity for new growth to develop both for the parish and myself and take heart from the words of that great Christian and international statesman, Dag Hammarskjöld;
For all that has been, thanks;
For all that will be, Yes!