Thought of the week
Ninety-five per cent of parents are said to remember their child’s first word. ‘Dadda’ beats ‘Mamma’ as the most common, followed by ‘cat’, ‘hoover’ and ‘beer.’ Such were the claims made in a survey a few years ago. My parents never told me what was my first word but I am mindful that this Sunday these are my first words to you.
When Bishop Philip asked me to move here from the Cathedral I said yes so quickly he expressed surprise. Not wishing to offend the good man who had invited me five years previously to look after his Cathedral, I explained that in the years I’ve been ordained I have known several priests assigned to Jersey and each has loved it here. I think especially of three: of the lovely Canon David Mahy, here for ‘24 years and three quarters’ (his emphasis not mine) who now lives in retirement in the Cathedral parish, often speaking of his love for Jersey. I think too of Fr James McAuley who worked alongside me at the Cathedral for four years and of course, I think especially of Mgr Nicholas France. As I started seminary in the late 1980s he became my parents’ parish priest in Southampton and since my ordination in 1994 he has been among those whose example has helped shape my faith.
When I was ordained by Bishop Crispian I drew great inspiration from his episcopal motto: ‘Per Ducatum Evangelii’ – ‘Under the guidance of the Gospel’, taken from the Rule of St Benedict. If I have any hope in beginning my ministry with you it is this: that we continue to live under the guidance of the Gospel. At Mass this Sunday the psalmist sings ‘But I have God for my help. The Lord upholds my life.’ (Ps 53) His song is ours. With Jesus’ example of welcome given us in the Gospel let us pray that however long we will walk together on the journey of faith our words will often speak of Him.