Been taking a little break from posting, after my series on our Holy Land pilgrimage. Not that there hasn't been anything happening!
On July 6th we had this year's 3 Churches Mass, which was centred around the Sacrament of Baptism and the theme of "Living Stones". It included the baptism of two babies, Sebastian and Mary Anne, but led all of us to reflect on the importance of the Sacrament and our living out of it. Photos can be found here.
This was held, as always, in Corpus Christi High School (left), and a week or so later I was pleased to be asked to celebrate a special Mass there marking the leaving of no fewer than 13 staff, including the Acting Headteacher, Dave Cushion. Nine were retiring, and most of them had given long service to our school. We also had our usual end of year Masses in Christ the King, or primary school. By now the hot weather had come, and the hall, crammed with kids n mums and dads, was sweltering.
Well, when the schools finish, thing quieten down and people take their holidays. However, on the parish front we keep going - and July was something of a record for Baptisms in the 3 Churches. I'm mystified when colleague clergy talk about a dearth of baptisms - we get plenty!
However, in August things do go quiet, and I try to use the time to catch up on stuff that somehow has got left by the wayside in the busier earlier months. I also get the time to follow up connections or links that I wouldn't have been able to earlier. I discovered on another priest's blog a video of a priest called Fr Larry Richards from Erie, Pennsylvania (not to be confused with another Larry Richards, a Protestant Bible guy). Fr Larry delivers a good strong talk, many of them on Youtube, including a series addressed to priests on a retreat last year. I've listened to them all - only 30 minutes each, and both enjoyed and got a lot from them. He really makes you sit up - and also laugh! This is the one I saw on the net.
However, this year has been kind of dominated in a strange way by a tiny half a centimetre hole under my toe right where you press on when standing and walking. This little devil appeared in January, but had probably been there a while. My local nurses tried to get rid of it, but referred me to a podiatry clinic in March, who then referred me on to a specialist clinic for foot ulcers at the University Hospital of Wales in May. They fitted a strange contraption called a slipper cast, whose purpose is to hold in place a stout piece of felt with a hole cut around the ulcer, so that pressure is relieved, and the thing can heal. So In June my daily pain from every step eased and now, at last, the end is in sight as the hole has filled and there is just a little scar thing there. I've had this cast for seven weeks, but hopefully the end is in sight. Just amazing how a little thing like that can cause havoc... and I'm sure there a few sermons in that!