Friday, 25 June 2010

Me and my brothers (OK my brothers and I)

Hi folks! Well, I'm very glad - very very glad - to report that our priests' Away Four Days were a great success. Where can I start? Venue was wonderful - quiet but not dead, surrounded by beautiful grounds. Weather was glorious.  Speaker, Fr Ronnie Todd (left), was in my opinion brilliant. And, best of all, the company was magnificent. What a joy to be with my brother priests, and I think the phrase that came to most of the men's lips at some point in the gathering was "good will".  
The content of the talks and their implications will take some time for me (and us) to digest, so more of that in later postings. I feel I need to tell you that this spirit (or should that be Spirit?) of good will just flowed right through the whole thing. Within the first twenty four hours there were priests I spoke with more than I have in the past ten or more years. Each talk was followed by a sharing group around each of our tables. I will not quickly forget the one on Thursday afternoon when Ronnie had urged us to share areas where we felt we should change in ourselves to create greater unity in our "presbyterate" - that's jargon for the priests of a diocese. I was close to tears as guys in my group reached inwards and brought out some of the stuff that gets between us, determined to, in the words of Ronnie, "get a grip".
The last session, this morning, we turned to what we should be doing as a group to increase that unity. That's where some things will be visibly different - and, again I'll share more of that later too. Meanwhile - Alleluia! After many many years the priests of Cardiff archdiocese came together. And together, I hope, I pray - I know - we started to get a grip...