Thought from Fr. Colm - 28/5/21

I joined the year 13’s on Thursday for the annual school leavers’ Mass at St. Leonard’s. It is very difficult to fully understand the challenges young people have had to cope with over the past 18 months. However, all one can do is to encourage them as they enter a new dimension of their development. This was the first school Mass to take place in nearly two years – the longest period of time that St. Leonard’s has gone without Mass. The teaching staff have been magnificent. Speaking to two students before the Mass, I expressed my sympathies with the hardships they have had to cope with, but one of them shot straight back saying that they were lucky, as students in some schools had not had access to the virtual educational facilities that St. Leonard’s provided. I was impressed. Maybe that’s a pointer for us all. Perhaps many people of all ages have coped much better than we think? Perhaps lockdown has been an opportunity for real growth on an individual and collective basis? Good things are happening. Perhaps we, as parish, can also take a lesson from our young. Perhaps we listen too much to the negative and not realise the positives taking place that go almost unnoticed. “If you don’t read the newspaper you’re uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.” Mark Twain. As our churches now begin to get back to some normality, we must reappraise the word “normal”. Some parishioners have risen to the challenges ensuring that our Services continue. Parish packs have been a great source of comfort for the housebound. There are so many examples of younger parishioners taking the initiative. And what of the future? How will our numbers be affected? An interesting study was taken by York Minster in an effort to anticipate what the changes in their attendance might be. It is anticipated that their footfall will take three years to return to 70% of what it was pre-Covid. Let’s be patient

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