Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Talking and listening

Lots going on - as usual! On Saturday I gave a Day of Recollection on "The Saints for Today - Heroes and Friends". It went well, and I devoted part of it to one of my favourite topics, namely tracing the relationship between Jesus and Peter through the Gospels. 
At our parish primary school, Christ the King, there is a Mission this week led by the Sion Community, well-known in the UK and beyond for their parish and school work. I'm looking forward to being involved in the later stages of the mission on Thursday and Friday, though it means I will miss the annual Requiem for Deceased Clergy in the Cathedral on Thursday. As the saying goes, you can't do everything. 
Many of the clergy are vexed by another of Archbishop George Stack's innovations. He has asked us all to suggest two priests for his consideration as Vicar General for our diocese. I suspect some of the brethren have been caught out. Having expressed the wish to be consulted over various matters in the past, now that they are being consulted they don't quite know what to do! Suggestions have to be in by this Friday - and, no, I'm not going to say who I have proposed!
Then, today I had two pastoral visits, one after a sudden death and one months after another sudden one. How important it in this priesthood life to be able to listen - to listen with empathy, patience and compassion. So often it take a while to come to the place where feelings are real, truths can be voiced, tears shed.  I always maintain that two of the most important weeks in seminary all those years ago were those devoted to basic counselling skills, and especially how to listen.  What else appears to be so simple, has so many pitfalls, but can lead to such grace-filled encounters.

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