We approach July with a hint of joy and some sadness. There is great joy because it is the time of the year when priestly anniversaries are commemorated. We have the opportunity to give thanks for many years of good, fruitful and faithful ministry. As a priest, one is slightly wary of pushing oneself forward for such celebrations, but it is only right and fitting that we give thanks to Almighty God for such great gifts of the Mass and the Sacraments given to us through the instrumentality of the priest.
Also on July 21 we will be celebrating the priestly ordination of Rev Richard Marsden. He will finish his time at the Venerable English College in Rome and, after ordination, will minister in the diocese. As many as possible are invited to be present at the ordination and at least support him with your prayers.
Right at the beginning of the month we will celebrate our annual Postgate Rally at Ugthorpe on Sunday July 1 at 3 pm. This is a focal point of faith for our diocese. We are proud, I am sure, to boast of our martyr’s constant witness to the faith in a culture and society which was basically trying to wipe it out. It is a little bit reminiscent of our own days, isn’t it?
We come to an event which is both full of thanksgiving but also tinged with sadness. On July 12 we will celebrate a Mass of Farewell to the Society of Mary – the Marists – at Our Lady of Lourdes and St Peter Channel in Hull. The Marists have served this diocese long and well. As I have said many times, for me, long before I came to the diocese, the Marists and Middlesbrough Diocese always go together. I am sure the Mass will be filled with thanksgiving for the tremendous ministry that the Marists have given to this diocese, but there will a sorrow in all our hearts that an era has come to an end.
However, we are in God’s providential hands, and so we do not fear, and we move into the future in blessed hope.