My dear Friends in Christ,
My Episcopal Parish Visitations of the Preston Deanery continue, and I spent last weekend in St. Clare’s parish, Fulwood, adjacent to the large and ever growing Royal Preston Hospital which is served from St. Clare’s.
As ever, it was good to enjoy the company of the priests and to meet the parishioners after each Mass, particularly a group of Austrian teenagers on Sunday morning who are spending some time in the Preston area.
Their presence at Mass reminds us that we are part of a wider Church. The Sunday concluded with the evening Confirmation Mass, during which over twenty young people received the sacrament of Confirmation.
I like to think that the liveliness and delight of these newly confirmed evident at the reception afterwards is due in great part to this very special sacramental moment, for which they have prepared assiduously.
Earlier on Saturday afternoon I met those who were to be confirmed and other youth groups, who informed me of the admirable range of charitable activities they are engaged in.
No Parish Visitation of St Clare’s would be complete with seeing some of the elderly and housebound, and I invariably find this to be a moving and humbling experience.
The parish priest gave each of these housebound parishioners Holy Communion and I concluded with a blessing. The often silent witness of such devout Catholics in their frailty is impressive, and their powerful prayerful place in the life of the parish can hardly be exaggerated.
St. Clare’s parish has two schools within its boundaries and I visited both on Monday morning/afternoon with the priests of the parish.
St. Clare’s Primary School is close to the church and I had the pleasure of attending an assembly, seeing the children in learning mode at class, and meeting the staff at break time.
I proceeded from there to Corpus Christi High School for an interesting and informative couple of hours.
The facilities in Corpus Christi are impressive and our young people have every incentive to learn.
There was a warm welcome both from the staff and students and my time there seemed to pass quickly.
Two reflective assemblies, one for Year 7 students and the other for the staff, brought a pleasant visit to a close. All in all, a very satisfying weekend in St. Clare’s Parish!
It was the turn of the parish of Goosnargh to have Confirmations on Tuesday evening. Though reasonably close to Preston, this is a delightfully rural area with a long Catholic tradition dating from at least 1775.
A pleasant summer evening put everyone in good heart for the Confirmation Mass, both parents and children. The faith continues and is handed on at St. Francis’, Hill Chapel!
The present spell of fine weather made for a very scenic journey to West Cumbria and Workington on Thursday afternoon for Confirmation in the Christ the Good Shepherd Parish. The Cumbrian hills and fells looked quite resplendent in the evening sunshine, and the handiwork of the Creator was at its most attractive.
I Confirmed over twenty young people, as well as giving four of them their First Holy Communion. All were well prepared and the presence of a good and attentive congregation – parents, families, parishioners – helped make the concelebrated Mass of Confirmation a memorable one for the young people.
The happy atmosphere afterwards was indicative of just how much the evening meant to everyone and, dare I say, proof of the active presence of the Holy Spirit!
Until next week – may God bless you all,
+Michael G Campbell OSA
Bishop of Lancaster