Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Beaming with pride
I had a lovely moment at St Winefride's Church, Wibsey, in south Bradford this evening. I attended the first of two back-to-back Confirmation services in this capacious building. Bradford Catholicism remains strong, as such numbers of children being confirmed illustrates. In recent years, a number of Catholic churches in the city have closed and parishes have joined together. The parish where I was parish priest, St John's, Buttershaw, has now merged with St Winefride's. In these circumstances, we know that it's not enough simply to belong; we need to belong wholeheartedly. We need to make as clear a statement spiritually as Lister's Mill, St George's Hall and City Hall - jewels of the wool era - make a statement architecturally. Our Confirmation Service this evening constituted such a statement. The girls outnumbered the boys: many of them are students at St Joseph's High School which was established by the the Cross and Passion Sisters, who co-founded Leeds Trinity. One mother came up to me afterwards and said: "This is Lizzie (not her real name). You used to throw her up in the air after Mass!" "That was eight years ago when you were only five, Lizzie. You won't remember me, but it's nice to see you. Congratulations!" "I do remember you," she said. What a great girl! So here she is, witnessing to Christ, a temple of the Holy Spirit, a full member of the Church with her ex-parish priest beaming beside her.