I wish we could consider inviting into the diocese some of the religious communities that don`t have a vocations problem. There are the Ecclesia Dei communities of course but an exclusive use of the EF would not, perhaps, help with plugging the gaps in the parishes although their presence would be a breath of fresh air. Apart from them there are the Franciscans of the Immaculate, Franciscans of the Renewal or the Community of St John. Any of these would be a good thing. Sometimes I think that Catholics are so used to the scenario of decline that that is their comfort zone and the idea that there might be groups who are flourishing is too painful an idea and too difficult to understand.
The same day the Pope was in Fatima. I saw this story on the BBC news website and mused on the difference in attitudes between this lady and many Catholics who find the idea of travelling an extra half mile to another church for Sunday Mass too hard.
Many travelled the last few hundred metres on their knees, as a sign of gratitude to the Virgin.
Maria, a 47-year-old florist, had walked about 220 km (135 miles) from her hometown of Castelo de Paiva.
"I have done this pilgrimage for 22 years because my daughter was at the doors of death and Our Lady granted me the miracle of saving her," she said.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Deanery Meeting and Our Lady of Fatima
Last Thursday I was at one of those deanery meetings we are all having in the diocese to discuss the problem of a rapidly diminishing number of priests for our parishes. I`m not a great fan of these events but felt duty-bound to go. This one was attended by the priests of the deanery and two lay people from each parish. It was decided to set up a committee to look at the way ahead and also to offer some formation in lay leadership. At this point one of the representatives suggested that for this committee `nothing should be ruled out` and we should discuss married priests and women priests. I had to respond saying that they have been ruled out and that the truth that only men can be ordained as priests is to be held definitively by all the faithful. Our chairman intervened to say that women priests have been ruled out `for now`. I suggested that this means that all the faith, for example the belief in the Incarnation, is provisional. However the moment passed and we got back to setting up a committee.