The past month has been non-stop can’t-catch-your-breath activity, and this weekend, I’ve been relishing getting caught up with “normal life”. All of this has been good and exciting, but how much we also need ordinary life, our home, normality. Not least of the “good and exciting” was my 30th birthday In the weeks beforehand, I found myself reflecting (soppy alert!) on my twenties, my heart overflowing with gratitude for all God has done for me. Perhaps this is a cliché, but I discovered how a big birthday is a wonderful opportunity to give thanks for all his goodness, overflowing because of his great generosity, and manifesting itself in our lives. How many occasions for thankfulness… I spent the weekend of my birthday in a huge house near the sea with around twenty friends and some babies…!
Then, the following weekend was straight onto the Transformed in Christ day in Kensington. Now, I have to say, I was totally reliant on a great team of friends in London who made this all happen. I knew I wouldn’t be able to pull something like this off without them. If you wonder how something will happen – if the Holy Spirit wants it, he generally makes it possible… We had a beautiful setting for the day at Our Lady of Victories church. Around 60 participants came along, including a couple from Ireland. (I keep hearing of the programme being used in Ireland… Ireland, I want to come and visit!)
The day consisted of a general introduction to the Confirmation programme (similar to the one I did in Basingstoke), including a live session with the wonderful Fr Tom Dubois co-presenting; the background story; an explanation of some of the principles behind TIC; input from Made for Glory on youth evangelisation, and an expert panel on youth ministry for Q&A. It was great to have Fr Stephen Langridge there who was the parish priest when I created and trialled the programme. He was able to give some good insights into the practicalities behind running a programme like this in a parish setting. Finally, the “cherry on the cake” was a beautiful, eucharistic Holy Hour at the end of the day, with a meditation from Fr Stephen, and inspiring music from John Withers of Made for Glory.
I felt the day was very blessed, and I left wanting to do more work on supporting those who use TIC Confirmation programme… Watch this space! Here’s just one pic, and you can find many more on the TIC Facebook page.
Finally, I spent last Friday evening at Brentwood Cathedral. They are highlighting in a very effective way the Stations of the Cross this Lent (read more about what they’re doing here) and I was happy to be there to give a meditation on the Death and Resurrection of our Lord before the Stations. Here’s a question: how many people normally attend Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent in your church? Around twenty? Well, in Brentwood Cathedral, there were well over a hundred… I was so impressed. It was extremely moving for us to move around the airy and spacious cathedral en masse, station to station.
So, lots more coming up… The rest of March is looking pretty busy. But right now is the calm in the epicentre of this Springtime storm, and I’m enjoying it…