Dear friends in Christ
I am writing my weekly reflection to you from a room overlooking the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland. The Southend Deanery Clergy have been on pilgrimage this week in the steps of Saint Pope John Paul II. We celebrated Mass in the new Basilica of Divine Mercy and were able to visit many of the sites associated with our newest Saint and also places connected with the lives of Saint Faustina and Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Obviously we had all of you in our hearts and prayers as we went about the shrines!
In a lovely sense, this was a fitting preparation for the celebration of this Sunday, the Universal Day of Prayers for Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life. The Gospel of this Sunday - the Good Shepherd - is an image of what we priests have been called to be: the ones who look out for the flock, especially the weak, the lost and the strays. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, never tires of waiting for us and at those moments when we get a bit lost He is most especially seeking-us-out, calling us home.
This Sunday invites us each year to redouble our efforts at praying for those whom God has given us as shepherds to care for us: our Holy Father the Pope, the Bishops - in particular our Bishop-elect Fr Alan Williams - and our priests, all of whom are carried by the support of prayer; never underestimate the power your prayer has in producing new vocations and in sustaining those we have already. It is by the Sacrament of Holy Orders that Christ makes His presence in the world a continuing reality. Please continue to pray that there will always be sufficient priests to bring us Jesus in the Mass and Sacraments. Thank you too, for the continuing affection and support you offer us.
God bless you!
Fr Kevin Hale