In the readings recently during Christmas and after, we have heard a number of 'calls'. Paul speaks about his vocation: John the Baptist points to Jesus' call. In the 'optional' part of this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus calls His first four disciples: Peter and Andrew: James and John. And they follow Him.
At first sight they and the others seem a motley crew and most would have been unlikely to pass all the tests facing candidates for the priesthood today! One can almost read the examiners' reports. Simon Peter - too impulsive, too noisy and a coward. Andrew - has little to say or offer. James and John - looking out for their own position. Matthew - a tax collector!!! Humph! Thomas - doesn't believe a words you say. Simon - a fanatic. However, they would have been very likely to have approved of Judas Iscariot - possessed of enthusiasm for the 'cause', connected with the right people - just the man to be deputy with a view to taking over! (You can imagine them recommending the rich young man - 'his money would be so useful in setting up the institution efficiently'!)
But Jesus calls the ones He wants - warts and all. They come - a weak and fragile group. Judas betrays Him, Peter disowns Him, the rest all run away and only John creeps back shamefaced to stand at the Cross. It is only when the Holy Spirit comes to them at Pentecost that they really take off - and even then there is a learning curve.
The same is true nowadays. We have often searched for 'suitable' candidates, longing for human silverbacks to lead our dioceses/parishes yet each of us, in whatever ministry and in marriage, is called as we are, warts and all, and has to learn. Jesus does not call us 'to do it on our own' - we are incapable of doing this. We too need the grace of the Holy Spirit even to hear the call, let alone answer it. But the Holy Spirit is still calling - why are so few answering the call to the priesthood, the diaconate, the religious life, the missions? I have no obvious answer - but we need to pray with faith and love for vocations to all the ministries and to family life. 'Whom do we seek? Jesus' answer is 'Come and see'.
Ormskirk Catenians Annual Clergy Night
Ormskirk Catenians hosted their ever popular annual Clergy night at Hurlston Hall. Attracting 30 local Priests and 35 Ormskirk Circle members. Bishop John Rawsthorne was the Principal Guest speaker, John originally from Crosby studied at St Josephs Collage in Upholland and was ordained in June 1962. John was appointed the Bishop of Hallam( Sheffield) Diocese in 1977. on his 75th birthday in 2011 in accordance with canon law John offered his resignation as Bishop of Hallam to Pope Benedict XVl but was refused and remained in office until official retirement in 2014.
(picture from left to right: Ormskirk President Tony Charnock, Bishop John Rawsthorne, Ormskirk St Anne's Priest Father Godric, Ormskirk Vice President John Gannon)
This week's Bulletin
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Newsletter Pastoral Area 14 - Advent 2016
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St Anne's Church
St Anne's Priory
23 Prescot Road, Ormskirk, Lancs, L39 4TG
Telephone: 01695 572168
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St Elizabeth’s Presbytery,
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