Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The honour of sheep

On the Chartres Pilghrimage, having just sung about seeing bears and about to launch into the kind of things that one finds in the Quartermaster's store, I turned round to see Bishop Athanasius Schneider. As we all know he is the Auxiliary Bishop of Kazakhstan, but more than that he is a great defender of Catholicism and the terrible corruptions that have taken place in various places in recent years.

All of this is wonderful, of course, but when I say that I saw him, what I mean is that he was walking next to me on the pilgrimage, with the Chavagnes boys.

We talked for, it must have been half an hour. And I have to say that I felt such privilege. You can imagine the conversation and I have no intention of rehearsing it here...

...but to be on this pilgrimage, with my boys around me, all of us tired and smelling terrible, but singing and praying. And then to have this apostle of Christ in our midst, walking with us a humble pilgrim himself. And teaching us and giving encouragement.

It was an honour.

One thing I will report of what he said is this. We spoke of going to the margins and smelling of sheep, as Pope Francis the first has bid us do. He said "I shall tell him that I have been to the margins and I have smelt the smell of scouts! That is the same as the smell of sheep."

How right that is, on so many different levels!
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