St. Julie's Catholic High School Chaplaincy

Thoughts from the Chaplain

Nov 3, 2017

Thursday, 2nd November, 2017

Last night - All Souls - 6th Form Assembly
What a brilliant night it was at Liverpool Hope University Chapel last night when people from the church pastoral area of St. Therese of Lisieux gathered with their priests and deacons for mass on the feast of All Saints.  With priest numbers declining over the years, many priests now look after more than one church.  When I was a child at Christ the King, we always had three priests in the one parish.  The three I remember most from my years as an altar server and choir boy were Fr English, Fr Finn and Fr Strowbridge!  Fr Finn was a huge influence on my life.  He inherited a boys choir and gave everyone to join - no auditions, you just had to be willing to turn up and try hard.  He even let us play football after practice!  
Anyway, it was lovely to see so many priests and deacons on the sanctuary.  There must have been about 10.  When they sang the doxology prayer together, it was quite beautiful. The overall turnout was good so hopefully similar events can take place.  I really enjoyed playing and leading the music.

Of course, today is All Souls - which we tend to think of a more sombre day when we remember those who have died.  Funnily enough, remembering those we love who have died can actually help us to smile as thinking on them can help provoke good and happy memories.  
So, as you think of those who have died, focus not on the end of their life which might have been painful and troubled.  Focus instead of those memories you have of them: what they looked like when they were happy; what music they liked; what food was their favourite and so on.  
May happy memories help to soothe the pain of loss. AMEN

I was on assembly today and I was going to bottle out of talking about difficult stuff like death and mourning.  I thought I could cheat a little and do an assembly about Halloween or about All Saints from yesterday.  It's really hard talking about death and dying and hope for the future.  I feel as though I should have all the answers being chaplain but I don't.  
 Anyway, yesterday several people came along and unknowingly nudged me into talking about All Souls at assembly.  It felt a bit like God was telling me to sort myself out and not to duck the issue.  It is after all an issue that affects each of us.   
Anyway, thanks to Sixth Form for their attentive listening and respoinse to the invitation to prayer.