My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,
Welcome to the Bishop’s Blog!I ask your prayers for Philip Wrigley. Today he is formally accepted as a Candidate for the Priesthood for our Diocese. This may come as a surprise to same of you, aware that he has been in the seminary at Oscott for a number of years.It serves to remind us that those who are selected for seminary formation are drawn into a process of discernment, exploring just how the Lord is calling them to follow Him, with the possibility that they may be called to serve as ordained priests. Candidacy marks the moment of transition from the possibility to the probability of being called to the priesthood.It marks a moment of growing confidence and clarity in a man’s personal relationship with Christ. But it is always more than a confirmation of someone’s personal choice ‘to be a priest’. Firstly, it must be accepted as a response to God’s initiative, ‘You have not chosen me; I have chosen you’. We also recognise that Ordination is not the destination. Diaconate or priesthood becomes the way to heaven.I ask your prayers also for Stuart Chapple, to be ordained to the transitory Diaconate tomorrow at St.Mary’s, Oscott. He has completed several years of formation, study, pastoral experience. Those concerned with his formation have given me the confidence to accept Stuart for ordination. If all continues to go well, please God, in another year he will be ordained to the priesthood for Lancaster Diocese. Our formation is not complete as we complete our years in the seminary. Formation as disciples of Christ is something that must continue up to death, the moment when we receive that ultimate call/vocation, leaving this world, our loved ones and loved things and places, hoping to be received into the fulness of God’s eternal life.I ask your prayers for Father Stephen Talbutt and his brother Michael. Their mother, Yvonne, died in the past few days. Her funeral will take place – following the necessary restrictions – at the Cathedral on Thursday. May she find the rest and peace only to be found in the Lord. Losing our parents is always going to be a difficult experience, even if they were people of great faith and were ‘ready’ to go. They take much of ourselves with them; we feel as though we are missing part of ourselves. And yet, something of them remains with us, and can remain a source of great comfort in future years.Monday and Tuesday mark two Feasts appropriately combined; The Triumph of the Cross, and Our Lady of Sorrows. They offer us food for thought as to how victory and sorrow somehow are with us at one and the same time. Until we reach our salvation there is always the chance of things going wrong. Let us pray and live in such a way as to lead others closer to Christ, the man of sorrows, but also the cause of our joy.Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
Saint Cornelius and Saint Cyprian, pray for us.
Saint Robert Bellarmine, pray for us.
Saint Theodore of Canterbury, pray for us.
Bishop of Lancaster.