FR. ANDREW WRITES:-
This weekend we officially say goodbye to Canon Anthony and formally welcome Fr Michael to the parish. Last week there was a reflection on the Eucharist and the benefits of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. A sacrament most connected to this is of course priesthood. It seems especially fitting to reflect on this gift of priesthood this weekend.
It is through the anointed hands of a priest that Christ comes to us in the Blessed Sacrament. ‘I am reminding you to fan into a flame the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you.’ St Paul writes to Timothy in today’s second reading. The laying on of hands is an integral part of the Ordination ceremony of a priest. I was reminded of the words from the Preface of the Mass of Ordination ‘For Christ not only adorns with a royal priesthood the people he has made his own, but with a brother’s kindness he also chooses men to become sharers in his sacred ministry through the laying on of hands.’ Each baptised person shares in the prophetic, priestly and kingly office of Christ, but some men are called by God in a particular way to serve in the ministerial priesthood. Each priest is called to serve the people of God that he is sent to. That is part of the mission of the priest to respond to the call of God made through the Bishop wherever that may be. The Preface continues, on the subject of priests, ‘They are to renew in his name the sacrifice of redemption, to set before your children the paschal banquet, to lead your holy people in charity, to nourish them with the word and strengthen them with the sacraments.’ It is Christ who is the priest and the ordained man is merely a ‘servant’ a vessel through which Christ is able to work.
The new term has started at Allen Hall the diocesan seminary. Please pray for the seminarians there and for more vocations. Thank you for the kindness, love and support you show to us your priests it is greatly appreciated! Please keep us in your prayers as we hold you in ours.
Here are some words from St Paul to Timothy to reflect on and pray with.
‘God’s gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power, and love, and self-control.’
So we give God thanks for the great gift of priesthood. Canon Anthony’s ministry here and our prayers for Fr Michael as he begins his ministry here.