As this edition of the Pic arrives in your parishes, I will be returning to the seminary – via Wembley Arena – after spending half-term back in the Archdiocese.
Starting the new half-term at the Flame 2019 conference alongside 10,000 other young Catholics will be a source of great encouragement for me. As in previous years, I am sure that I will find myself reflecting back on the Holy Spirit’s presence in this joyful gathering – especially as I sit at my desk trying to finish assignments.
This fourth edition of Flame, organised by the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFed), will look at the theme of ‘Significance’. Although we might not particularly use the term ‘significance’ at the seminary, this word is very helpful in catching much of the essence of what we are discerning and praying about here. Having an awareness of our significance is integral for all people who are seeking to grow in the Christian life.
If we do not know that we are significant – to God, to the Church, to our family and friends, and to the whole community – we will not be able to realise the many gifts and talents we have been given and we will not feel able to use those gifts in responding to the call that the Lord makes on each of our hearts.
Over the last few weeks I have been reflecting in a much more deliberate way on these things. As I come closer to the end of this penultimate year of formation, and, in turn, come closer to ordination (please God), it has been good for me spend time reflecting on these questions: How significant is my relationship with God in my life? How significant is the Church to me? What particular skills and talents have I been given to make use of? What are my frailties, and how is the Lord wanting to use these things too as a way of building up His Kingdom? Do I believe Jesus Christ is calling me to the priesthood? Am I willing to do God’s will?
Having reflected on these questions, and having written a self-reflection, I submitted my application to be a Candidate for Holy Orders just before the half-term holidays began. Towards the end of this month, I will be interviewed as part of the seminary’s assessment process. Please continue to pray for me, and for my brother seminarians, at this important time. Please also pray for those men who are discerning a call to the priesthood, that they will be courageous in offering themselves to the Lord in this particular way.