Dear friends in Christ,
Welcome back to the Bishop’s Blog for this week!
What better moment to resurrect this Blog than on my return from a funeral? I first met Fr. Gerry Dunn in February 1982 in St. Edmund’s Parish, Carlisle. He had agreed to take me as a Deacon for the few months before ordination to the priesthood in July. Gerry was ordained the year I was born. How fitting that the year I was ordained Bishop Gerry should receive the ultimate vocation – to go to God.
He has left us with memories of a dedicated, prayerful, self – effacing priest who knew his duties and carried them out with a pleasantness and lightness of touch that always belied any sense of burden.
It was immediately after the Requiem Mass, in the refreshment stage, that one of his mourners asked if I was ever going to get round to re-start this Blog. I sense that it has Fr. Gerry’s blessing: I sense that he gave me his blessing.
Much has happened since my last Blog.Lourdes Pilgrimage, then August and my ‘keeping a low profile’. Then time out of the Diocese in September with two visits to the Eternal City, first on a course for new Bishops, and second on the Ad Limina Apostolorum visit with the Bishops’ Conference. Both were powerful, moving and worth-while experiences.The first was rich in variety, putting a face to the Universal Church. How humbling and uplifting to meet Bishops from all over the world, to share their stories, to celebrate Mass with them and spend time before the Blessed Sacrament with them. Our Ad limina visit was altogether more intimate, conscious of the life of the Church in Lancaster and nationally. We had a beautiful two and a half hours audience with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, coming away strengthened in our service of the Lord.No sooner had I returned to Lancaster than I was off again, on the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Walsingham . This is its third year. Each year has seen our numbers increase. We took the Diocese of Lancaster to Our Lady of Walsingham.Since then we have laid to rest Deacon Malcolm Green and Fr. Jock Maley, both gone to receive their reward for their labours in the Lord’s vineyard. May they rest in peace. But it is back to Fr, Gerry Dunn now, and memories of his service as a priest of the Diocese. He was a great countryman with a keen eye for the lessons God gives us through the seasons and the beauty of nature.As we go deeper into Autumn, and the month of prayer for the Holy Souls may we be re- assured that the Lord is faithful.
God bless you all.
Bishop of Lancaster