Friday, 6 March 2009

Great and small

One of those mornings... when you're trying to do something and the door/phone bell keeps ringing. When you're a priest you have a list of things you have to do, as in lots of "jobs". But then there are also the unpredictables. A lot of them are what I call the "things-they-didn't-tell-you about-in-seminary" bits. This morning they came to service the alarms in St B's church, hall and presbytery. Then the Council came to check St B's Hall for its continuing use as a Polling Station. About 30 questions to tick off on their list. It took two people of course, one to take a photo. The usual run of phone calls about baptisms, marriages and funerals, emails etc. Someone wanted to use the duplicator, someone else wanted to discuss yesterday evening's meeting - and so on... It's the host of little things that I suspect people don't think about with priests. While you might be thinking "Well someone else could be doing those things" - the whole point is you don't know that most of them are going to happen.

All the time I was waiting to get across the road to the Iorwerth Jones Centre, where I was wanting to visit and anoint a very sick parishioner. I got there eventually at about 4pm - just as his daughter was arriving to visit - so there was a silver lining... The Iorwerth Jones used to be a council care home until a few months ago. Now it's a part of Whitchurch Hospital, as it were, and they have moved out many of the Alzheimers patients there. And so we celebrated the Sacrament of the Sick, just the three of us. As always, it was very moving. A gentle smile flashed across Ron's face a few times, and I always try to say a prayer for the family too. He was curled up in a kind of foetal position, and I was reminded of my mother looking very similar eight years ago. The point is in priesthood that in a few short moments you can swing from the terribly ordinary and mundane things to the profoundly un-everyday - and back again.
This evening I was at Christ the King, to concelebrate with Fr Owen Hardwicke a Mass marking CAFOD's Family Fast Day. Most of the 3 Churches United for Justice and Peace Group were there, and some others. They've been going now over a year, and have done very well. Finally - a relaxed pint at one of the locals.

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