The adjustment from being a parish priest is beginning to bite. For ten years I was ‘known’ and acknowledged. Now, as I walk down the street I am not known. For ten years I had a church where I could celebrate the Office, pray and say Mass and trust that maybe some would celebrate with me. Now I must find a church and a place to say Mass. It’s an odd sensation which in time, of course, will change as I begin to network in this new Diocese and receive permission from the bishop to officiate. But right now the anonymity is strange - and refreshing. I was used to greeting nearly everyone I passed in the street – now, without a collar most of the time, I have to take care of the reaction I might receive from strangers!
Today I returned to my Alma Mater (All Saints, Margaret Street) for the Sunday in the Octave of All Saints, always a wonderful event and, today, they were also celebrating the completion of their Restoration. The choir sang Mozart’s gorgeous ‘Kronungsmesse’ and the Anthem, ‘Faire is the heaven’ by Harris (1883-1973) and hymns so rarely sung in the past ten years concluding, as ever, with ‘In our Day of Thanksgiving’, which always moves me to tears. And a good sermon from the Dean of Worcester who reminded us of the life of Bp. Edmund King, a saint in everything but name. As he spoke I recalled the way in which S. Ignatius talked of how the lives of the saints inspired and enlivened him. It spoke into my situation and helped and I’m glad I went. The church itself was almost full, just as it always was when I attended Mass on a regular basis – forty years ago! It was good to be back.
And on the plus side we are really enjoying our new home which, sitting atop this high hill in south London, affords the most wonderful panoramic views across almost the whole of the capital from whatever direction we gaze. And everytime we do we find it inspiring and refreshing. How good the Lord is to those who trust Him and follow in His ways.