Sunday, July 02, 2006

Just an Ordinary Sunday

It was a big day in the parish today. We launched next year's 'Cradle to the Grave' catechetical programmes. Catechesis is a very important part of our parish ministry. Many people only have a confused understanding of the faith cobbled together from partly remembered RE lessons at school and the editorials of secular newspapers. Ours is a young parish (the average age of Mass goers is 26!) and it is really important that today's young parents be equipped to pass on the faith to their children. We've always had lots of catechetical programmes but in the last few months we've been looking at the gaps and how to fill them.
Today we presented two series of activities. One programme is for children from 3 to 16 years of age and offers courses and activities for each year group. The other is for adults and targets specific groups: yo9ung adults, parents, returning Catholics, non-Catholics, as well as some general interest courses. It really is catechesis from cradle to grave! Last year some four hundred people took part in our catechetical activities which is a good proportion given our Mass attendance is 1100. Next year we want to reach even more people.
Apart from launching the programme, for which we ask your prayers, I also had the joy of baptising five babies today. Tomas, Emily, Sofia, Jack & Marie are five brand new Catholics and members of Holy Ghost parish. It is always a joy baptising babies. In my sermon I try to encourage Christian families to take their lead from the Acts of the Apostles. The first Christians were identified by their fidelity to the Teaching of the Apostles (faith), the Fellowship (charity), and the Breaking of the Bread and the prayers (hope). I also remind them that children are a gift from God and a tremendous blessing. It is very humbling to be the minister who imparts "the hope of eternal life" on their children. Parents are always grateful but for us it is a privilege. We still baptise individually, which is a bit difficult especially when it's as hot as it was today. One little miracle was that no-one chose Gospel No. 4 - 'suffer little children to come unto me'. I reckon that along with the Lord's my Shepherd, that Gospel is the one most read by priests in their priestly ministry.
It's now 11pm - a bit late to be writing this blog, but after the evening Mass we met up with some of our youth workers who are joining me in Valencia for the World Meeting of Families. It may be late and with four Masses, confessions and five baptisms a busy day - but after all, in the vocations video Fishers of Men it does say: "Priesthood is tough. You've got to be a real man if you want to be a priest!" :o)

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