Brockenhurst, this morning; the Catholic Church of St Anne (l) is run from Lymington, so today I was there for a first visit - and my last as a Deacon. Next Sunday, God willing, I shall be back at St Anne's to celebrate Mass for the first time as a Catholic Priest. Then there will be a mad dash back to Lymington, where Bishop Crispian is making his last visit before his retirement - and I will hope to concelebrate with him and our parish priest, Fr Danny McAvoy. This morning Fr Danny asked me to preach in Our Lady of Mercy in Lymington for the first time. "Think of us as Christ's Servants" said St Paul to the Corinthians - so I spoke about being a deacon, and how it was not a demotion as some supposed from being a bishop to becoming a deacon. Quite the contrary. Being a deacon, a servant, is the epitome of the Christian's call, the very thing Jesus tells us all to do; and inasmuch as we have done any service to one of the least of our brethren, we have done it to him. I might have said something about the bishop wearing the deacon's dalmatic beneath the chasuble, to remind him and us of his servant ministry - but you can't say everything all at once. There will, I hope, be other opportunities.
Just to cheer up anyone who has stumbled on this blog, here are a couple of local New Forest residents whom I met on the way to Mass in Brockenhurst. They don't look terribly happy, despite the sunny morning - perhaps because they were heading away from church rather than towards it.
45 minutes ago