The Summer of ’89

Someone once quipped “If Bishops and Priests went on strike, would anyone notice.” Don’t answer, please!

From many comments such as “It’s alright for you, you only work one day a week!” and “Priesthood? That’s a cushy number. That’s why you never see it advertised at the Job Centre!” I have had my share.

On the 17th of June 2019 I will celebrate 30 years of priesthood. (Not looking for a fanfare and balloons) I have never gone on strike, but I’d like to hope I have been of some relevance to some people over that period.

Reflecting on the years gone by, I thank God for the call to ordained priesthood, for the opportunity to respond to that call (sadly not the case for many others) and for the places, people and plethora of positions the call has put me in. All in all, I have been blessed.

During the ordination rite, the Bishop asks the Superior, “Do you judge him to be worthy?” I read someone once saying that this is the wrong question. It should be “do you judge him to be unworthy?” For Christ calls the weak, the unworthy, the last … as his co-workers and I identify with that. I studied with many people, of both sexes, who would have been better equipped than me for ordained priesthood, but that is not Jesus’ criteria.

Over the 30 years I have made mistakes, I have fallen short, I have been unfaithful, I have let people down, I have let myself down…but I keep trying my best, limited at times as that may be.

However, I have been blessed and encouraged by the priesthood that we all share as Baptised. And that has inspired me to be better. Be it the women in the Base Communities in Brazil rowing for hours to teach other mum’s good child care, be it Hattie Williams in South Side Chicago opening her doors to bring the black and white communities together, be it Mrs. Murphy who gives her £5.00 every week for the missions, be it the many great men and women, who we can all think of, who have brought Christ to others, the catechists, the Eucharist Minsters, the folk who make the coffee after mass, those who visit the sick, collect for the poor, volunteer for this and that… this is the priesthood we all share, and I thank God for the priests (non-ordained) who have enriched my life and encouraged me.

I would like to believe that at our Centre here in Preston, we can create a space for all priesthoods to be welcomed, celebrated, encouraged and empowered. The body of Christ has many parts…but all part of the same!

Have a look at the range of activities on the go and maybe bring something yourself. We all have pieces of the jigsaw and together we can make the picture more complete. After all God didn’t do it alone – the Trinity, that we celebrate reminds us of the perfect community, each one playing different parts…creating, redeeming and empowering.

The late great Norman Walsh used to joke when someone was celebrating a wedding anniversary… “Did you have a minute’s silence?“ On Monday I will take a minute or two to thank God for priestly ministry, mine and others. Please take a minute too, to do the same.

Jim

Spirituality for Summer

We have the Saturday Retreat “Spirituality for Summer” coming up on Saturday the 22nd June.

The organisers would be grateful for an idea of numbers so they can plan ahead. If you you are thinking of coming it would be very helpful if you would let Rose and Greg McCrave know by completing the form at the bottom of this page.

New “Women at Prayer” Group

This new small group is now launched and on the calendar. We will meet on the 1st Wednesday of each month commencing Wednesday 3rd July 2-3pm. £3 donation in support of the centre would be appreciated. Refreshments available. We will spend some time sharing, reflecting and praying. All women welcome.

Website content & updates

From time to time it is good to have a break from the normal routine and go away and do something else. It is that time for me. I am going on a little bike ride to see some of England, sleep in a tiny tent and probably get quite wet.

Whilst I am going to take my phone, I am going to be constrained by limited phone battery. Hopefully there will be chance to charge it in cafes and so forth, The little capacity that I have will be spent on navigation, searches for the next campsite and photographs. For that reason I suspect I will not be able to maintain the normal level of postings of news and new events.

I have no idea when I will get back but it will be before the end of June.

Happy Birthday!!!

If like me you are shying away from Birthday celebrations when the cake looks like the Towering Inferno and there is more wax on it than Madame Tussauds, well today let’s make an exception.

Happy birthday to one and all! On this feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the birthday of the Church, not just any Church, but the Missionary Church. Today we are reminded that we are to continue the mission of Jesus, to be the proclaimers of Good News to the ends of the earth and to build up his Kingdom, here!

The disciples filled with the Spirit spoke to all in their native languages – yes even Glaswegian! The Spirit came to empower the motley crew of followers to move from fearful, frightened people to become a fearless, feisty power, that is the Church. The community is to go, to reach out, to be bearers of good news to all peoples in all parts of the world.

Our decision to take over from the Carmelites, was a spirit filled discernment, a Pentecost moment. The resources, the contacts, the good will, the challenges, the opportunities… are exactly what that first community faced when from a small group in a little corner of the world, it grew to become the world’s largest religion – 2.2 billion that is a third of the earth’s population.

And we too continue that mission in our trying to be Church here in Preston. In the activities that so many people attend and organise, in the coming together, in our reaching out, the new initiatives, in the searching to be more of a resource and service to the local Church and community as well as thinking globally, we try to keep Pentecost alive!

The Xaverian Mission Spirituality Centre uses the reference to Spirit, not loosely but deliberately. We are inspired by the Holy Spirit to be the missionary Church, here and now.

The D Day remembrance 75 years on and the 250 major wars since the end of the Second World War where over 50 million have been killed reminds us that the Spirit of Pentecost which unites the divisions and celebrates the differences, must be re-discovered.

Let’s repeat the words of Saint Pope John XXIII at the beginning of Vatican II – “Renew in our days oh Lord, your wonders as in a new Pentecost!” and lets try to repeat the bold actions of the first community. We still have plenty to do and extra miles to go. Let’s joyfully do it together. Happy Birthday!

Calendar update: A talk on parenting the teenager you love

Sarah Marie Place is giving a talk on parenting teenagers at the Centre on Tuesday 25th June at 7pm. The talk is applicable to both Parents and Grandparents. As usual there will be an opportunity for tea/coffee and conversation both before and after the event.

The talk is based on a book by Gary Chapman called “The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers”.

If you want to ask Sarah anything beforehand then please use the contact form on the the calendar event which can be found by clicking here.

Reminder: Spirituality for Summer retreat 22nd June

A retreat day led by Rose and Greg McCrave.  A time to refresh, renew and restore our souls by drawing closer to the warmth of God’s love .

Date: Saturday 22nd June 2019

Time: 10.30am – 4.00 pm (with refreshments from 10.00am)

Cost: £15 please bring lunch

To book: Contact Rose McCrave by email using the form here.

Something New For Women of All Ages

WOMEN AT PRAYER

If you would be interested in coming along to chat about starting a women’s prayer group monthly on a Wednesday from 2-3pm at the Xaverian Missionary Spirituality Centre you are welcome on 12th June 2019

Please contact Rose by email using the form here or call her on 07866 736067

New Calendar Event

The World Community for Christian Meditation (North Manchester and Lancashire Region) are holding four Quiet Days in Preston at the Centre during the remainder of 2019. Each day runs from 10.30am to 4.00pm

The dates are
Saturday 22nd June
Saturday 24th August
Saturday 5th October
Saturday 7th December

You can find more details by following this link to the calendar.