Our job, in the Parish of Mary, Mother of God, is to be missionary disciples of Jesus in south Bradford. This is the unfolding story of how Mgr Paul Grogan (Parish Priest), Fr Michael Doody (Assistant Priest) and about 500 Mass-goers seek to bring more people into the barque of Peter (while entirely respecting everybody else outside of it). It is a continuation of an earlier blog which narrated Mgr Grogan's work as a University Chaplain.
Mgr Paul Grogan
Mgr Paul Grogan
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Life-enhancing Christian unity service
An odd thing about pastoral work is that you plug away at something and it only ever half works and then suddenly and unaccountably it takes off. For a good number of years we've held a lunchtime Service during Christian Unity Week and a small number of staff have turned up and we've prayed together and gained support from one another. It's been worthwhile, but at the same time it's confirmed the fact that there are not many of us. Then somebody suggested that we organise an event in the evening so we did and lots of people turned up: more than 60 (which constitutes a big number in poor secularised Yorkshire!) Moreover, I had the fortuitous idea of stepping back. My colleague, Dr Jane de Gay, who is an English lecturer and who was ordained in the Church of England a couple of years ago, planned the service and presided beautifully, and young people from the Leeds Christian Cell Network and from local Baptist churches and parishioners from various other local churches joined us. The service was split into two halves: traditional hymns to start with and then, to finish, modern worship songs backed by a tuneful guitar-and-drum-group led by Leeds Trinity student (and proud Baptist) Jake Womack. Here is a picture of some of those who were involved.
What was so good about the event? One, we share a love of Christ. Two, we were grateful for each other's presence: the students, in particular, realised that something important was happening, given the level of preparation and the quality of the music. Three, we prayed together. That was a golden moment: a line of young people from different Christian traditions standing in front of the altar petitioning their common Father. How such moments must delight his heart! The process of ecumenism is necessarily slow and the associated meetings can be frankly tedious. But the frustrations are a small price to pay if we are convinced (as how can we not be?) that on such an evening we created a small piece of unity to honour God our Father (or perhaps better that his Holy Spirit created it through us) and that he received our offering with pleasure. The in-house sandwiches afterwards were excellent too - full-bodied, succulent, and varied - and people lingered for ages, chatting happily and building up the Church, effortlessly.