It seems to me that the thread connecting the First Reading and Gospel of the Mass this Sunday is that of silence. God is encountered in the still small voice of calm both by the prophet Elijah and by the Apostles after the storm on the lake. It is interesting that the more we engage in noise and activity, the less the world seems to hear God. All things that are great grow in silence. This is why the Christian soul needs to create silence and then find God within that stillness.
The cycle of the Ordinary Sundays is interrupted this weekend as we celebrate The Transfiguration of the Lord on 6th August. Twice during the liturgical year we remember the Transfiguration in a special way.
I returned on Friday from our Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes along with a number of others from the Parish Family. It was, as ever, a time of grace and spiritual renewal when we most assuredly prayed for the Church at this time, and for the needs of our Parish here.
This weekend our schools closed for the Summer vacation. In both primary and secondary schools there are students who have left in order to move-on to the next phase of their education, and we wish them all well in their new institutions; as we wish good exam results for those awaiting them next month! However, and in particular, I would like to highlight the retirement of the Headteacher of our Primary School - Mrs Margaret Sullivan - who departs this month. Mrs Sullivan has been the Head of Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School for the last twelve years and as Deputy for four years prior to that. She has been a teacher in Catholic education for the 39 years of her teaching career. So, we owe her a huge debt of gratitude for all that she has done wherever she has taught, but in particular, here in our own Parish School. Many of our young people who have passed-through Our Lady of Lourdes School will have fond memories of times there and the pivotal role Mrs Sullivan played. As a Leader, she has always been at the centre of the School and, with a very maternal approach, formed and guided all for whom she has had responsibility. Her unique and unequivocal Catholic Faith has been the inspiration that has made our own school the beacon of learning and excellence that it is. I know I speak for the whole Parish Family when I say a heartfelt Thank you! Last Monday, during a school assembly, I was able to present Mrs Sullivan with the Papal Blessing which Pope Francis conferred as a token of divine grace and heavenly blessings, for all that she has done for Catholic Education. We will continue to keep her at the heart of the local Parish here and I know she will continue to follow the progress and success of the School as it enters a new chapter.