Mgr Paul Grogan

Mgr Paul Grogan
Mgr Paul Grogan

Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Holy Spirit manifests his presence

One of the most beautiful moments in my priesthood to date occurred this evening. We had a reunion for the students who went on the Chaplaincy pilgrimage to Rome a couple of weeks ago. One techno-savvy student arranged for a slide show of all our photographs to play on the television screen in the Chaplaincy Lounge with backing music from Italian operas while we tucked into spaghetti carbonara, pizza and ice cream. In the midst of the conversation we were occasionally transfixed by pictures showing shafts of light in the upper reaches of the nave of St Peter's or the happiness evident on students' faces caught just at the right instant as they stood in front of the floodlit, rain-soaked Trevi Fountain. I asked each person to share a good memory from our time together. The young woman who led off knew exactly which moment had made a difference to her: the watching of the 20-minute video about the World Youth Day Cross in the San Lorenzo Youth Centre. She had been an atheist but now she understood that Christ carried his cross for her, she said. You almost expected the room to shake as the Holy Spirit signalled his presence among us. I was immediately reminded of something that Bernard Marusic, the Assistant Director of the Centre, told me the day we visited and the students were evidently exhausted. It's when they are like that that the Holy Spirit works miracles, he said, clearly speaking from rich experience.

Here is Sister Anne Hammersley cp, the Assistant Chaplain, with some of the students at the party.

And here is a picture of me standing by the World Youth Day Cross in the Centre's chapel with Bernard on the right, Marc Homsey, one of the Leeds seminarians on the left and, standing in the middle, Hannah Zafar, who is a youth worker in Leeds Diocese and who is currently working with the Emmanuel School of Mission in Rome.

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