Happy Feast Day!
This day last year I was privileged to be with some of our Australian Brethren for Mass in Melbourne, following their Provincial Synod. It was a joy and a privilege to visit just a small part of that beautiful country, but even more so to be with some of the brethren who are unable or unlikely to be ever visiting the UK. My overwhelming experience was of the faithfulness being lived out in an increasingly hostile society and indeed church. The welcome and hospitality shared by brethren and their laity was a great blessing, and I came home thinking- as is often the case on pastoral visists- that I'd recieved more than I'd given.
In comparison this year I find myself hopping on crutches or in a wheelchair accessible room, at the Shrine of our Lady in Walsingham. Recovering from a recent operation on my foot, I'm grateful to the staff here for their hospitality, enabling me to have a greater deal of independence- which is doing wondr for my menatl haelth!. Back in my parish it's the Northern bishop's mission weekend, so I'm gutted about missing out on the neumerous events going on there seeking to reach out to make new disciples. Again I'm thankful to the home team of priests and laity who are making sure it all hapens without me!
Next year I hope to be with our Welsh brethren and be of some support to them as they seek to find there way in again an increasingly hostile or simply disinterested society and church.
Before my time as Master General comes to an end I'd hope to be able to make a visit to the Americas to be of some encouragement and support to those of you there.
Next year I hope that as many of you as possible will be able attend the International Synod in London. More details will be published soon, but the dates are set- October 12th-15th , with a Synod in Church House Westminster, and a day pilgrimage to the shrine at Waslingham. London based brethren have offerd acoomodation for the weekends around the week for any a travelling a distance. General Council members will be meeting before and after so this would be an opportunity for any province to bring to notice a matter that is particularly important to them. 2020 marks the 100th anniversary centenary of the Lambeth Conference which launced the "Appeal to all Christains" to work together for the full visibilty of the Church and so an increased sense of evangelisation.. as this is one of our charisms ( see Appendix 2) and was a major part of the International Synod in 1989, it makes sense for us to give some thought and prayer to it once more. I commend to you and your chapters the recent ARCIC statement for discussion, prayer and action.
My sojourn here also means I'm unable to attend a numer of celebrations for this beautiful feast as brethren throughout this province gather in small and lager numbers, in churches and cathedrals, under the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. In England at least- Scottish brethren I expect would echo the experemces of the Austrailans and Welsh- we have a fragile system that seems to be giving a hope for the future for Traditional Catholics. Set that against an increasingly disinterested society and a church which seems to be moving from Anglican norms, let alone Catholic ones, finding a place is possible but requires hard work and faithfulness.
So I shall be keeping a very quiet Holy Cross Day, but doing it in a place of incredible prayer. The witness of Our Lady and S John standing, as you and I try to do, at the foot of the Cross is powerful here . It is in that confidence that I shall hold you all in my prayers in the Chapel of The Holy Cross here with thankfulness for past blessings shared amongst us and in anticipation of blessings to come.
Yours In Our Lord,