Mgr Paul Grogan

Mgr Paul Grogan
Mgr Paul Grogan

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Saying "no"

This period is always a little tricky because lapsed Catholic education students who hope to secure jobs in Catholic schools tend to approach me and ask for a reference. A while ago, one sent me an email which began, "Circumstances over the last four years have prevented me from getting to know you..." Unless there is a particular reason, I decline, gently. I suggest that they contact their parish priests. I explain that school governors will want to know whether they practise the faith and and that I have no knowledge whether they do. The students are usually a little taken aback. I encourage them to resume going to Mass and give them a CTS pamphlet but I doubt it does much good, not immediately anyway.

I am always saddened and unsettled by these encounters. All my life I have known and admired former Leeds Trinity graduates; they taught me as a boy and they were my colleagues when I was a school chaplain. The strength of their Catholic faith shone out. I have quite often felt a desire to become a better priest precisely in order that I may inhabit my vocation as wholeheartedly as they do theirs. A few current students of course are similarly generous and faithful. But many I know are not in a position to foster the Catholic ethos of our schools because their hold on the faith is so slight.

A good while ago, I said to one young man, whom I liked a lot: "You've got three chances to get back on track: immediately after this conversation; at the baptism of your first child; or at that child's first Holy Communion; and it's unlikely that the second and third event will make much difference to you, so I'd do it now. Otherwise, sooner than you think, you'll be old and your faith will be like a sentimental memory of childhood and you won't know how to reclaim it and then you'll die." He responded to the challenge and began worshipping again. I hope that he still is.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting on a very important subject. I am glad you decline to give the reference, though saddened by the need to do so.