A Beautiful Weekend!

Dear Friends in Christ,

Welcome to this week’s Blog.

It will never tell the whole story, but it does give a brief insight into some of the events in the life of your Bishop.The past weekend was beautiful. On Saturday we held the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Ladyewell, beginning with Holy Mass in the parish church of St.Mary before processing down the lane to the Shrine. much organisation goes into this annual event. Thanks to Father Ernest and Father Mario together with all their volunteers. A copy of my homily will – in time – find its way onto the Diocesan website.On Sunday morning I was off to the Convent of Our Lady of Lourdes , Boarbank Hall, for a very special occasion. Sister Silvana Gianota was to make her Final Profession as a member of the Canonesses of St. Augustine.

It was a day of great joy, and not a little emotion. The chapel was full with family and friends of sister Silvana, together with invited guests, members of our Religious in the Diocese and beyond. We also welcomed a good number of visiting clergy The witness of Religious women has served the Church well over the years. It is an aspect of the Church’s life that we must value and promote. I wonder if anyone reading this might sense the stirrings of a Religious Vocation. Do have the courage to speak to someone about it.What a privilege this day has been. When we see a beautiful rose bush, so often only the flower is noticed. Of course, the rest of the plant is essential and must be healthy to produce a beautiful bloom. So it is with a vocation. What we see so easily is only part of the story, only part of the life. But the Lord knows and sees it all.As I write this I am conscious that at an un-earthly hour tomorrow morning we set off for our Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes. I pray that all pilgrims will travel safely and draw immense grace and goodness from our time in Lourdes. We take the petitions of the Diocese with us, especially those of the sick, house-bound and disabled as well as all who help care for us when we are unwell. We travel on the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, their ‘little lass’! May they keep a watchful eye on us all as they did over Mary.

As ever in Christ,

+Paul

Paul Swarbrick

Bishop of Lancaster