Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Mervile Day 3
Fr Peter Geldard, a bike & a plane...
Yesterday I had a upset stomach and took to my bed with strong medicine after the evening Mass. I wasn't feeling great today but not bad enough to justify staying in bed. I got up at 6.30am and made my way somewhat bleary-eyed to the chapel. The temptation to duck out of the morning's activities was strong but somehow I found myself in the room with everyone else for the presentation by Fr Paddy Sweeney from Dublin. I was glad to be there because he treated us to a very amusing exposition of what he described as 'grit in the shoe': those little things that can irritate or upset us as priests that, if ignored, can develop into serious problems. For the most part they were trivial things, delivered with great humour, but we could all see how they could build up in someone's imagination and had the potential to become real issues.
Aerial View of the Pastoral Centre
Perked up by the morning I then had to decide what to do for the free afternoon. I wasn't particularly keen to visit the local Church and monasteries, so I accepted an invitation from Fr Geldard to go for a flight in his plane.
This involved riding collapsible bikes (punctures repaired) to the airfield when the plane had been parked (free of charge). The fact the the local 'yoof' laughed at us as we cycled past on the odd-looking cycles was made acceptable by the knowledge that in a few minutes, as they continued scratching their noses, we would be taking off in a plane.
Having made all the necessary checks and received clearance for take-off, we were soon looking down on the diocesan pastoral centre - our home for the week - and heading westwards towards St Omer where we landed to look at the RAF memorial.
We then flew back to Merville and made our way to the pastoral centre with a good hour and a half to spare before the coaches arrived to take us to a hotel for a very pleasant evening meal.