Welcome to this week’s Bishop’s Blog!I have taken a decision to not be present at an ecumenical Vespers on Sunday. It was a kind and welcome invitation, and initially I had agreed to be there. I have full confidence in the host providing a strictly compliant environment and a liturgy that will adhere to necessary protocol. So why withdraw? Idleness? Snooker? (There’s a big snooker tournament on tv that evening!) It will go ahead (Vespers) and witness to our pro-active desire to work for a healing of divisions between the churches. The Catholic Church will be present through local representation. And I will be on-board at a ZOOM event later in the week involving my ‘opposite numbers’. Ecumenism isn’t something we have permission to withdraw from.Mid week we heard of the untimely deaths of Archbishop Tartaglia of Glasgow, and retired Scottish Bishop, Vincent Logan and Bishop Moses Haamungole of Monze Diocese, Zambia. Archbishop Tartaglia and Bishop Moses had both tested positive for Covid around the new year.Bishop Moses’ death struck me particularly hard. He was only 53 years of age. He generously came for my episcopal ordination in 2018, and was a wonderful host when I visited Zambia in 2019. News of his death brought back memories of another Bishop of Monze, Paul Lungu S.J. who was tragically killed in a road accident in 1998. He, too, had been in his early fifties. Heavy losses for those they leave behind, taken too early, with so much still to do. My prayers are with them all.Pope Francis has dedicated this as a year of special devotion and prayer to St.Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. Many of you already have a strong devotion to him. He deserves more attention from all of us. He is called on in prayer to help us prepare for a ‘happy death’. A key to this is learning how to grieve for those we have lost.The Holy Family would have been no strangers to grieving, it was part of their culture, as it is part of every culture and society. Sadness, loss, grief are things we must all learn to live with. St. Joseph will help us to grieve with hope. He will explain how he grieved and did not let it rob him of his Faith in a loving God, nor would it rob him of joy. There’s something to work on for the year ahead.
With my blessing,