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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, July 11, 2011
15th Sunday of the year – 10th July 2011
As announced last w/e Archbishop Nichols has requested that Fr Hugh move from St Mary Magda-len’s to serve the Church through studying for a doctorate. He has accepted. He is being given 12 months free of other pastoral duties. After that he is likely be given a light job for a few yrs during which he could finish these studies. The place of study is not yet decided. His last Sunday is14th Aug. His replacement is the very fine Fr Kevin Jordan, parish priest of N Harrow. He begins Sept 1st

The sadness of leaving one’s warm spiritual home and hearth invites reflection.

I have experienced the love of God here. It has involved joy and pain, fulfilment and failure, but ultimately the peace of being and loving in a place where one is meant to be and where one gains great gifts of love – in fact, in my experience here, a hundredfold as He promised.

Given the almost inevitable nature of such a break in the life and loves of the diocesan priest and people, there should also be a wisdom here and a great hope for fruitfulness. The accompanying sadness surely has a purpose, it can be a spiritual pruning.

One way, I think, to see this is that the priest is a minister and a mediator of God’s grace. The real human bonds he makes, which are good and important, not infrequently beautiful, and I’m sure, eternal, are meant to lead to bonds with God. With John the Baptist the priest especially says, “He must become more, I must become less”. Ideally priestly loving should be deep, wanting to form and foster that which is our real destiny, dignity and hope, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is a love that wants to be com-passionate, that is to suffer-with. It wants to prune.

The very depth of such loving involves knowing (v. well!) that I am not the final fulfilment of those I serve, but a friend, & a father, along the way. It is a love which leads to He who is Love. It is a love which, through pain and the Cross, in its very depth, should point beyond to He who abides, He Who remains in the Church and its sacraments through all the vicissitudes of life.

Of course such thoughts bring to mind the relationships that were not so strong, as well as one’s failings, lack of generosity, the mistakes one has made, and my need to ask for forgiveness and mercy. Yet even these can be turned to good through cleaving to Christ on the Cross. He is the One to Whom all this points.

I go to do a new type of service: to reflect about the modern undermining of our faith by the misuse of science. I believe and hope it can be such a service and love. It will be done with a strong prayer and love for the parishioners of St Mary Magdalen’s. Fr Kevin is very lucky.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:13 am