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Thought from Fr. Colm - 12th May 2024

We will have our follow-up and third meeting with Fr. John O’Brien on Saturday, 15th June at 11.00am. This is an important gathering because of the changing landscape of parish, church and society. There is so much to ponder on in the context of how we adapt to a more secular world where vocations to the priesthood and religious life are more scarce. We also see such changes in the profile of worshippers, particularly of ethnic backgrounds. Of course we have pride in our past, but strong foundations need to be built for a very different future. As parents and grandparents we worry about how relevant church will be to our families’ future. It would seem quite certain that it will be a different church anyhow. Our previous meetings with Fr. John were very well attended. I would even say the best attended meetings in my long tenure as PP. They were very open and wide ranging in numerous ways. Above all, they were clearly relevant and positive. Whilst not short of a priestly presence in Durham, we still know the importance of continuing constructive dialogue between the clergy and lay people, especially in response to Pope Francis’ emphasis on Synodality. We also have a young Bishop – the youngest in the country, who is keen for us to be ready.

Pentecost is upon us soon. A reminder of the power of the Spirit to excite, build and maintain Community as no other bonding does.

“To put it simply: the Holy Spirit bothers us. Because he moves us, he makes us walk, he pushes the Church to go forward. And we are like Peter at the Transfiguration: ‘Ah, how wonderful it is to be here like this, all together!’ …But don’t bother us. We want the Holy Spirit to doze off … we want to domesticate the Holy Spirit. And that’s no good because he is God, he is that wind which comes and goes and you don’t know where he is. He is the power of God, he is the one who gives us consolation and strength to move forward. But to move forward! And this bothers us. It’s so much nicer to be comfortable.” Pope Francis

A reminder: Bishop Stephen visits the parish on the weekend of 8th/9th June. He will celebrate Mass at all three Masses that weekend and will join us for the regular International Meal on the Sunday.


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