10 May 2009

Au revoir, +Vincent

How do you know when you meet a saint? What are the characteristics of the saints? What do they have in common, since they seem such a disparate group of people? Well, Oscar Wilde said, “every saint has a past and every saint has a future.”

Today, I want to share with you a private moment in the life of the seminary. Whilst it is true to say we live very public lives in so many ways: in seminary, occasionally, we get a glimpse of heaven on earth, and these moments are often quite private, enjoyed almost like revelation it’s very self. Today, effectively, the college said au revoir to Archbishop Vincent, before he heads south to Westminster in little over a week. We enjoyed all the formal liturgical events and shared a lovely meal, complete with other guests at the college, so it was not particularly private. There were, however, speeches made, appreciation shared and gifts given to mark the occasion. They were thoughtful and touching tokens of our appreciation.

It was an emotional time. We have been blessed in having +Vincent with us these past years. I have known no other Bishop of the seminary whilst here, and do you know, if I may be brutally honest, I don’t think I appreciated just how blessed we were; I was. Today I witnessed firsthand just what a good man he is. I suspect it has not been an easy job, leading the Catholic community of Birmingham, and most certainly it is not going to be an easy task leading Westminster, effectively becoming our national spiritual leader.

Archbishop Vincent said he sought only to do his best and by golly I do declare that he means to do so. It was Saint Thomas Aquinas who said; that the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell. Not for a single moment do I suggest that Birmingham is anything like hell, indeed Archbishop Vincent makes clear that we are a most wonderful diocese, but to those who have been critical of Archbishop Vincent, I say only this: we were much blessed to have him in the Midlands, and will be twice blessed now he speaks with faith and confidence for our nation. Indeed, the Spirit has made clear his intention.

1 comment:

  1. Just hope he gets rid of his evil sex ed programmes for little children.



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