Thursday, December 14, 2006
Meetings, meetings, meetings...
There won't be much time for blogging tomorrow as I have a whole series of meeting lined up. After the morning Mass I head off to the Cathedral for a meeting at our diocesan Child Protection Office. Before anyone is admitted to the seminary we are obliged to carry out a 'Criminal Records Bureau' check. This determines whether they have any criminal records, or anything at all on file that would call into question their suitability for work with children or vulnerable adults. I'm told that in the States you just pop in to your local FBI office and it's all done at the swish of an identity card. Here in England it's somewhat more daunting including all sorts of bits of paper that get filed in different places. I'm hoping someone will give me a staightforward flow diagram tomorrow!
After that I pop next door to see our diocesan Financial Secretary. Our students get a diocesan grant but the way it is paid varies from seminary to seminary. Sometimes they get it straight from the diocese. In other places the receive it from the seminary which is then re-imbursed by the diocese. The students often ask me about mysterious things called 'holiday grants'. I need to find out exactly what's what. I also need to speak to the Financial Secretary about one or two parish things: I have some questions about some issues to do with the employment of lay people by the parish, and I know that the FS wants to fill me in about some concerns he has about a parish club. All rivetting stuff! As secular clergy we are also stewards of the Church's inherited patrimony and we have a responsibility for the correct administration of temporal goods. Although many of us would love to be able to hand this over to deacons or lay people, it nonetheless true that as the one who presides over a community the parish priest has an ultimate responsibility to ensure that things are well-ordered.
In the afternoon we have a meeting of the diocesan Vocations Group. It seems daft to go home only in order to head back to the Cathedral again so I'm grateful for an invite to lunch at Archbishop's House. This is our first meeting since the appointment of a new Vocations Director. The group also has two new members and I am excited to hear their proposals for the deepening of vocations promotion in their areas of ministry (school chaplaincy and diocesan youth ministry). The programme of activities for next year has more or less been finalised and I will be presenting it to the group.
In the evening we have our Seekers' Meeting at 7pm, while in the Church at 8pm we have our annual parish Advent Service of Carols and Readings. Fortunately the presence of an assistant priest in this parish avoids the need for me to bi-locate.