Sunday, October 29, 2006
Yesterday I drove down to Glastonbury for the youth festival taking place in the parish there. It was a surprisingly long journey: three hours there and three and a half coming back. Good job the clocks changed last night!
Glastonbury is a lovely old village with profound Christian roots but these days it is also a focal point for all sorts of new age and pagan groups. I was amused to hear that there has been a split amongst the town's pagan inhabitants - no doubt over the language used for incantations or the acceptable length of one's broomstick. I have to say, it was rather disturbing to see people wandering round the town dressed as witches and to come across the following advert outside the pub where some of us had lunch:
Chesterton once commented along the lines that when men stop believing in something, it's not that they believe in nothing, rather they begin to believe in anything. I didn't see any green men although I was tempted to sign up for 'sound healing with ancient Tibetan singing bowls' but decided to give it a miss and instead was very pleased to catch up with Tim Ritchie whom I hadn't seen for a while. Tim was with his new girlfriend Kate. It was great to hear Kate's story: she had been a Pentecostalist, but was always uneasy at the way some people she met would deninigrate Our Lady. Then, as God's providence would have it, she went to World Youth Day with some friends and realised there that she had to become a Catholic. Her brother has also become a Catholic and, she tells me, ought to become a priest...
One of the activities was to walk to the top of Glastonbury Tor as a sort of pilgrimage in honour of the Martyrs who died at the time of the Reformation. At the top there is a tower where we gathered to read and account of their martyrdom, pray and sing hymns.
In the evening, as at all Youth 2000 retreats, we had a reconciliation service. John Pridmore was there and spoke about the need for forgiveness and reconciliation in our lives. He always has a profound effect on the lives of the young people who listen to him and I could see that a number were moved to tears. As usual we priests were kept busy afterwards with lots of Confessions. I found it a bit awkward and hard to hear at the back of the Church(obviously a mistake to have missed the 'sound healing'), so was grateful to Roberto who would feed people my way and we could then go for a walk for Confession or a bit of advice.
I left at about 10.30pm and encountered all sorts of strange things driving home, getting back here at about 1.30am! But it was worth it. I was able to renew contact with a number of lads thinking about the priesthood and to fix up another meeting with some of them.
To give you a flavour of the prayer service on Glastonbury Tor here's a short video clip: