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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, April 30, 2007
I have been here at St. Mary Magdalen's for seven months now and I am pleased to be able to announce that I have been accepted by the Diocese of Westminster to begin training for the priesthood. By the Grace of God, I will start this in September at Allen Hall in Chelsea. This training is another step in my discernment – I'm not measuring up for clerical dress yet, but hopefully I will be ordained after completing six years of training.

The reason I came here (besides the generosity of priests and parishioners on whose support I have gratefully been able to rely) was to help me decide whether to do this. By living and working among you, by praying aloud with you and in silence on my own, I have been able to take this step towards priesthood. I have been privileged to spend time with the young people of the parish especially in helping with our youth projects, with people who are new to the faith in our “Jour-ney in Faith” group and to try to contribute something to the community through my work in the liturgy and with various Holy Hours and whatever help I can lend.

Such experience is for me indispensable. There is a French saying (so I'm told by Monsieur Martin Plunkett, a francophile also living in Clergy House) that “you can't be a blacksmith without being a blacksmith”. Perhaps it doesn’t sound so good in English. But it does I think apply twofold to being a priest! Without the grace of ordination I can't fully appreciate the reality of priestly life and work. But by working here so closely to our dedicated priests I have gained invaluable insights. It is especially this opportunity at least to see first hand what it is “to be a blacksmith” that has enabled me to decide to go forward. For through these experiences and relationships with all here it has seemed to me that the Lord is calling me to love Him and other people in this way – a vocation.

Therefore, I will stay here in Willesden until August, continuing all the work I've been doing and hopefully growing closer to God through it all. I hope to take a break then before moving to the seminary where another exciting chapter of my discernment journey will begin! On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations I especially ask your prayers for all men and women who seek to answer God's call in their lives through priesthood or religious life.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:50 am