In this Sunday's newsletter I wrote this:
Dear Brothers and SistersTo these thanks, I would like to add my thanks for all the love I have experienced today. Your parting gift was wonderfully generous and will go a long way towards funding the travels we have planned this autumn. Cards and messages I have received have moved me greatly. It was so good to have the involvement of staff and children from St Charles School at my final Sunday Mass with you as parish priest. It was thrilling to see the number of people who stayed behind for refreshments after both Masses.
Thank you for all your love and support over the last five years. I shall miss being with you very much. I thank you for your kindness, and ask forgiveness of any I have failed or wronged in any way.
Today’s Gospel tells us how Simon Peter recognised Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One. At the Eucharistic Pilgrimage and Congress, Adoremus, in Liverpool last weekend, Bishop Robert Barron told us that our journey to sanctity involves the realisation that it’s not all about me! It’s all about the one whom Peter points out to us as the Christ, the one who died and rose again for us, and calls us to follow him. It is that Death and Resurrection we celebrate in every Mass: We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.
On the last day of his visit to us in 1982, St Peter’s successor, St John Paul II, spoke to the young people of England and Wales at Cardiff. I have never forgotten the powerful impact his words made on me when I heard them on the radio: “It is my hope today, as I return to Rome, that you will remember why I came among you. And as long as the memory of this visit lasts, may it be recorded that I, John Paul II, came to Britain to call you to Christ, to invite you to pray!” That’s how I would like to be remembered among you!
Please welcome Fr Peter warmly. Work with him, pray with him, support him. Every new priest has fresh insights into the vast love of God, the deep riches of our faith, a faith and a love so deep that none of us can grasp more than a little of its beauty and depth.
I shall always pray for you with thanksgiving in my heart. Please pray for me.
God bless you all
At the end of Mass I would have liked to thank so many people who have worked with me so willingly and given of their time so generously these last five years. However, I was afraid of two things: I feared that I would forget someone, and also that I might get very emotional! Please forgive me, and know that, as I write this my heart is filled with gratitude to God and to you all.
God bless you. We shall pray for each other.