David begins to think that he can interpret God’s will and tell God what he should do and shouldn’t do. God warns David and reminds him that it is only because God has been close to him that David has won the day. David is the servant of God and while he remembers this fact, he will be great and prosper and so will the people. God promises to be with David’s house and line for ever. God will not go back on his promise. It is the same with us. We ask for mercy, pardon and greater trust in God’s providence towards us.

Lord, you have made a covenant with us.
Lord, have mercy.

You are our God, the rock who saves us.
Christ, have mercy.

You keep your love for us always.
Lord, have mercy.

All my priestly life so far I have believed that the will of God is most often expressed to me in and through my superiors, especially my bishop and the teachings of the Church, proposed and proclaimed by our Holy Father, the Pope. So when the letter goes something like this, you have to listen, take notice and believe that it is the will of God for you:

Benedict, Bishop and Servant of the servants of God, to Our beloved son, Terence Patrick Drainey….. It clearly behoves Us, Who have succeeded to the Apostle Peter’s place, to provide appropriately for the cherished diocese of Middlesbrough. You, dear son, commend yourself to Us in no small measure by reason of your skilful fulfilment of the task of educator and of your practical knowledge of pastoral affairs. We now, therefore, with confidence in you, declare you Bishop of Middlesbrough. And We exhort the clergy and people willingly to welcome your coming as teacher and guide, and always to remain in union with you.

In conclusion, strive to use all your powers in this new ministry, so that the Church of the Diocese of Middlesbrough, with the intercession of the Virgin Mary, may enjoy life-giving, spiritual blessings. Given at Rome, at St Peter’s….etc. etc.

Benedict XVI

There is no mistaking what is being said to me and to you, is there? You wanted a bishop, you have got me. I am to come as teacher and guide. I come to work with you and for you, but it is only by working together that we can be Church in this part of the world. I bring with me all sorts of experiences – first of all from my up-bringing, family background and education; from my training for priesthood here in England and in Spain; from my fifteen years working in parishes in Salford Diocese and all the other bits and pieces that go with parish work; from six years as a missionary working out in Kenya; and from the last eleven years working in seminary, again in Spain and England, helping to prepare future generations of priests, deacons and lay-people to work for the mission of the Church.

It is all at your disposal. But if we are to make progress, we have to share our gifts for the glory of God’s name and for the spread of the Kingdom. I’m certainly ready and, as I go round, I hope to hear that you are also ready.

“What the sower is sowing is the word…And there are those who have received the seed in rich soil: they hear the word and accept it and yield a harvest, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” In order to have a good harvest, the farmer must prepare the soil to the best of their ability. Then the seed has to be generously spread abroad. Not all of it will land in the right place, but most of it will. Having done the initial preparation the sower must leave the future in God’s providential hand. He will give the growth. After all, the harvest will be his. Ours is to make good preparation and cast the seed far and wide. If we have never really trusted in God’s providence, let’s commit ourselves to it today and for the rest of our lives. If we do so, we can be confident that he will give the increase, he will cause the growth

Over the last couple of months I have passed through a rainbow of emotions – from the darker hues of apprehension and genuine fear to the brighter colours of joy, happiness and exhilaration. I am so grateful to all those who have walked with me through all this: the whole community of Ushaw; brother priests, brothers and sisters in the dioceses and parishes in which I have served and lived throughout the years in Salford, Kisumu, Valladolid, Hexham and Newcastle and now the diocese of Middlesbrough, my new home. I have experienced so much goodness, so much prayerful support, and so much love. I am truly grateful and will never be able to repay this – but that is part of the mystery of the Christian life, isn’t it? – gifts freely given, freely bestowed; grace upon grace. Thank you.

I have received so many letters of congratulation and promises of prayer from parishes, convents, communities and individuals. One thing that has become obvious is that I am welcome among you. Thank you. In my thirty two years of priesthood I have learned over and over again that our God is the God of welcome – welcome and hospitality are next to godliness.

It has also been made clear that people have quite high expectations of my ministry. That is partly from where my fear and apprehension come. However, as we believe that it is the Lord who is calling us to this task, we also believe that he will give us the wherewithal with which to do it. The only way any of us can proceed in our complicated and sometimes shadowy world is with the beacon of hope to guide us. The latter part of my ministry has been strengthened and supported by the knowledge that the Lord has always guided me and walked with me through the good and the bad, the highs and lows, the joys and the sorrows, the peace and the turmoil. This has been my most genuine and profound experience of his action and presence in my life. It is precisely because of this personal knowledge that I can confidently hope that he will continue to do this now and in the future.

Beatam Spem – Joyful Hope; this has been my personal motto for quite a number of years now. It is the motto that I would like to take for my ministry here in this diocese of Middlesbrough. It is in this spirit of Joyful Hope that I come to you.

While I appreciate all the congratulations and, with as much humility that I can summon, I understand the expectations, at the same time, lest you be disappointed, I point you in the direction of the words of one of my favourite hymns. Here you will find the money-back-guarantee you are looking for. Here you will find the unbreakable promise, the certain word, foundations on which you can securely build:

All my hope on God is founded;
he doth still my trust renew.
Me through change and chance he guideth,
only good and only true.
God unknown, he alone,
calls my heart to be his own.

He is my hope, He is our hope. So let us begin our journey together as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of Him who is our Saviour, Jesus Christ.