I've been thinking a lot about the Year of the Priesthood at the moment. Last Thursday we had a meeting of the priests of Cardiff, and in some ways things are not looking good. The number of Rosminians is dwindling, some priests are resigning in the diocese, there's a kind of fatalistic atmosphere in some quarters.
In contrast, think how wonderful the visit of the relics of St Therese was. I continue to be uplifted by what was achieved on our pilgrimage. This weekend the Hereford Conference was a great success, with people so buoyant in their faith. And all these things are organised largely by the lay members of the Church. This isn't by way of criticising my brother priests - nothing could be further from my mind. Rather it is my observation that we all, the whole Church, need to get behind us priests, so that we can be the shepherds Jesus wants us to be.
This coming Thursday we have our four times yearly meeting of the diocesan Council of Priests, of which I'm chairman at the moment. This is a sort of priests' "parish council" to the archbishop. At our last meeting we looked at various ideas for the Year, but I'm concerned that those ideas don't really involve our people.
So I'm talking to lay people who have a heart for that, so that I can maybe talk about it on Thursday. I'm thinking that there is a huge love for our priests among Catholics, and that we should be tapping into that, at the very least by way of prayer. Perhaps some of you out there have ideas how we can all support our priests and especially their spiritual lives as they come under more and more pressure, by prayer and any other means you can think of. How can we mobilise the great Catholic faithful?