On Tuesday 6th April 2021, two days after Easter Sunday, in St Stephen’s Church, I had the privilege of marrying Preethi – the person that I want to spend the rest of my life with.
Parishioner Joseph Gulliford is in his sixth year at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, which sadly is closing at the end of this academic year.
“Now I find fulfilment pouring my life out completely” is the last line to a song I wrote recently on the theme of Vocation.
No matter what our path or vocation is, these words testify that there is wholeness in living the life God is calling us to live for Him. It echoes some of Jesus’ most challenging words, “for those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25). The secret of finding our life lies not in the loose sense of ‘living life to the full’ by seizing every possible opportunity that comes to us, but in the paradox of denying ourselves and taking up our cross (as Jesus calls us to do in the previous verse).
Andrew Bishop, a seminarian from St Stephen’s studying at the Beda College in Rome, has written this article detailing a pilgrimage he took part in on Spy Wednesday (in Holy Week).
Among the Holy Week traditions in Rome, one which is embraced by members of the Beda College is the Seven Churches Walk. A group of Beda students normally undertake this pilgrimage on the Wednesday before Easter. In 2020, due to the lockdown and pandemic, the Walk had not taken place at all. This year, in the weeks before Holy Week, when Lazio was in the “Red Zone,” it seemed likely that for the second year in a row we would be “confined to barracks.” We already knew that the Easter weekend itself would be red. To everyone’s relief Speranza, the Health Minister, announced on the Friday before that Lazio’s Covid-19 figures had improved just enough for us to be in the Orange Zone and thus allowing the walk to take place.
As the last weeks of Easter lead us to Pentecost, ‘normality’ has not yet been declared. With the power of technology many events are trying to restart or at least open up new avenues to reach other audiences. Distance has become no longer a barrier to float an idea, or link with someone we’ve lost touch with. We can find a Mass anywhere in the world and in any language. We can join conversations in Australia or Canada just as easily as with our neighbours in the street we live on. Zooming is no longer ‘for da kids’ but many older generations can escape as well. Of course, it can be difficult, even trying at times to navigate the array of tools, apps and terms that proliferate in the Web.
One of the ways that we, as individuals or communities, can heed Pope Francis’ words about caring for the earth and tackling climate change, is to plant some trees.
In the UK the National Trust have pledged to plant twenty million trees in the next decade.