“in response to the crisis, Pope Francis wasn’t simply serving up diagnoses & prescriptions. What concerned him was the process of transformation itself; how historic change happens, how we resist or embrace that process; the dynamic of conversion. As I knew from researching his life, this was, among his many gifts, his particular charism, forged in decades of spiritual leadership in Argentina that now as Pope he was drawing on to walk with humanity. Francis was, to coin a phrase, the world’s spiritual director; & now that world had entered a dark night, he was walking with us, shining a torch onto the paths ahead & warning us off cliff edges. He sought to communicate the urgency of opening the people to the grace that was always on offer in times of tribulation, & so let God shape our story. The “see-judge-act” method of the process of conversion to respond to change had been reformulated by the Pope in different terms; “contemplate-discern-propose”. First, look at reality, however uncomfortable, above all the truth of the suffering in the margins of society. Second, discern the different forces at work, distinguishing what builds up from what destroys, what humanises from what dehumanises, & thus choose what is of God, rejecting the opposite. Finally, propose fresh thinking & concrete steps that stem from the diagnosis of what ails us & how we might act differently. In the course of exchanges with the Pope, I invited him to go deeply into two related areas on his thinking on unity in action that have been, in many ways, his life project & the key to his spiritual leadership. One was the question of how we forge unity from tension, holding together differences to make them fruitful rather than letting them fall into contradiction. This is the dynamic at the heart of the synodal processes he has put into place in the Church, which humanity urgently needs at this time. The other was about the catalysing effect of the awareness of being God’s people, & how a people organises on the basis of that awareness. The Pope is convinced that true change comes about not from above but from the margins where Christ lives.” [ Austen Ivereigh speaking to Pope Francis in Let us Dream by Pope Francis ]
Whilst some local Churches, including the Abbey Church, are gently lifting covid restrictions, we are well aware of increasing numbers of the virus in schoolchildren right up to the summer holiday; our sister School, St Joseph’s Pickering, had several cases on the last day of term, & because we have the blessing in OL&SB of a much loved number of youngsters among us, with children coming to us from 9 different schools, we are remaining cautious for the time in lifting restrictions, to keep everyone as safe as possible, as families come go & return from summer holidays nationwide.
You may be interested to know that St Bede’s & St Joseph’s College Bradford, who bring retreat groups to the Abbey on a regular basis, have in progress a two week Summer School, where they invite in over 200 students & teachers for the first two weeks of the holiday for academic improvement & enrichment based activities..& this in an area of high social deprivation. Please keep them in your prayers as they strive to close the academic social & economic gap.
Last Saturday three of our teachers in St Benedict’s RC PS, Sophie Smith, Clare Lally & Ryan Jacob’s, took part in the Castle Howard team relay sprint triathlon. They did a tremendous amount of training for it & as if in an Ofsted inspection, which they perhaps feel is easier than the triathlon, we award them OUTSTANDING! Clare Lally writes ;
We had perfect conditions for the staff to participate in the Castle Howard Team relay sprint triathlon last Saturday. Despite the nerves, each team member put in very respectable times for their individual leg of the event. There was a group of supporters to cheer them on, along with a huge banner, made by some pupils. Heartfelt thanks to all those who sponsored this event. So far £1460 has been raised to be shared equally between WaterAid and sustainable projects in the school's woodland area. Should you wish to donate, the Just Giving page can be found https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/st-benedicts-beauties?utm_id=2&utm_term=W8DvMWd2P (or a donation can be left in an envelope at church)