Thursday, 21 June 2012
Having coffee with Christ
The second thing I learnt dovetailed with this. The role of the chaplain is essentially one of "presence." Professor Bart McGetterick of Liverpool Hope University expounded a wide and complex vision of Catholic education which, he said, was manifested in good Spirit-filled relationships and, a corollary of that, justice. The chaplain is one who is charged with building up good relationships within the institution. It's a very adequate, all-encompassing job description.
There was lots more but those are the two things that I found especially helpful. It's great to have a theological rationale for what we do. It has reminded me of the high significance of each pastoral encounter. I once saw Daley Thompson's face before the starting gun in an important 100m race: moment by moment distraction drained away until he was completely focused on the race in hand. It would be good to be so attentive to Christ in the other, as we chat over coffee, the same Christ in, say, the fifth encounter of the day, demanding my attention, as the lepers demanded Jesus's. In the photo above are Margaret Holland (centre) our Chair, and Roberta Canning, our National Coordinator, with Ray Bayliss, the chaplain at Keele University. Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton, our President, was with us for the whole of the conference.