Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Reise nach Deutschland

Next week I will be in Germany on a school visit to Cologne's Christmas markets, chocolate factory museum and Cathedral. It will be no holiday, with overall responsibility for 44 children and four members of staff.

Last year was a spring trip and was our first such school trip to Germany. It was fascinating to see the children's reactions to the cathedral, for many if not most their first time in a church. It made a wonderful impression on them.

I should be home by eleven o'clock on Saturday morning in time to set off for the Mass at Stydd Chapel near Ribchester. Something to calm my nerves, one might say.

Then Gaudete Sunday will be upon us. Rejoice! is a call to action, not to passive acceptance with a smile. As we look towards the Second Coming and ultimately face our own immortality, I have no doubt that there are many good people who can and do rejoice in God and the Faith.

From a child's eye Christmas is a wonderland, I wouldn't think of taking that image away but they need to know what the fuss is about. The sheer horror of what we are subjected to in the news reveals that powers of darkness burn in the souls of many people around us. Even in ourselves at times. We are graced with the Sacrament of Penance which gives us the grace to make fresh starts with God, again and again and again. We have no excuse to lose contact with God. The Sacrament is a beautiful gift of humility. Are we sometimes too proud to approach in shame to tell the Lord what we've done to offend Him? Something so bad to us that we do not want to hear it even when said by ourselves. We can still easily have our confession heard by a priest we do not know, face to face or behind the grill. I remember hearing of somebody refusing to go to confession with a priest who was seldom seen wearing clericals. But when she needed a priest to offer the last Rites to her dying lapsed father on Holy Saturday and he was the only priest available she didn't hesitate to accept his offer to make the sick call. He arrived on his way to celebrating the Vigil in alb and cincture. The old man died a few weeks later reconciled to the Faith and happy to have got everything off his chest.

I have removed links to St. Chad's until the situation about its future is made clear.