I have just completed my last bulletin for the parish. Actually that is not true because every week I write an A5 thing for the back of it, and as Fr Tom will not be here until October, I have written several of them to fill in the gap. You will see them here, as I like to keep my hand in.
But the weird thing is this, on the top of the bulletin where it says:
Parish Priest: Fr Bede Rowe
It now reads
Parish Priest: vacant
It now begins to hit me that from Sunday evening at 6.45ish pm, I will have no people. I will be a priest without people. I know that that is not much of a problem, and my priesthood is not dependent upon there being a congregation, or even of my having people to guide and minister to, but after five and a half years of being the PP of souls, to have this gap before going to Chavagnes is strange. No - strange does not cover it.
They are my people, my children. I must look after them, care for them. I must teach them, and keep them from harm. I must chastise, but weep with them while I do it. I must rejoice with them, in the knowledge that I bring Christ to them not myself. I bring the presence of Christ not just in the Blessed Sacrament, but in my poor mortal frame, my poor soul, so inadequate a man to be configured to Christ. And I, for my part, I am completed by being able to offer Holy Mass for them, by them being the ones who I teach, who I watch grow, who I am a spiritual Father to. Those whose sins I take from their souls.
And for a few weeks I will not have anyone.