“Most of those people did not choose their place “on the margins” voluntarily. It could be that some of them are also reticent because – like – Zacchaeus – they are all too aware that their own house is not in order, & they realise or at least suspect, that changes need to be made in their own lives. Maybe, unlike the unfortunate person in one of Jesus’s parables, they realise they are not properly attired for the wedding & therefore cannot take a seat among the guests of honour at the wedding feast. They are still on the journey, dusty & far from the goal. They are not yet “ready “to display themselves to others in the full light of day, maybe because they find themselves in a blind alley on their life’s journey. & yet they sense the urgent moment when something of importance passes by them. It has a force of attraction, as it had for Zacchaeus, who longed to set eyes on Jesus. But sometimes, as in Zacchaeus’s case, they hide their spiritual yearning with fig leaves – from others & sometimes from themselves too. The only person capable of addressing Zacchaeus is someone who “knows his name” & knows his secret. Someone for whom this human type is not alien, who is capable of empathising with the complex reasons for his reticence. It would seem that the only person truly capable of empathising with the Zacchaeuses of our days is someone who once was, & to a certain extent still is, a Zacchaeus. People who feel most at home within the exultant crowds will probably find it hard to understand such a type.” (Patience & God; Tomas Halik)
We held the fourth in the series of our recent Parish Forums last Sunday, when 35 parishioners came to hear of progress & to contribute to the process of consultation as we attempt to take the life & shape of the Parish forward. We had a helpful explanation of the two initial meetings of the Vision Group, & a fine summary of their beginnings is available at the back of Church. We suggested some amendments to the Parish organisation chart, & had a first discussion on a possible job description for a Parish Administrator. There was much positive feedback from the meeting, & I hope that those who did come will share the good news with others. Please keep this process very much in prayer. On Data Protection progress, thank you to those of you who have completed a Consent Form. 67 have been returned to date. Please could I encourage others who may have been away recently to take home and complete the Form. We need a Consent Form for each family member over the age of thirteen. It would be helpful if you would name children under thirteen on your own individual Consent Form. Until we receive your Form we are not permitted to make contact with you, as you have yet to give your express permission. There have been 8 occasions since the legislation was introduced where I have been unable to make contact with individuals for whom I have as yet no consent. Could I encourage you to ask members of your family who do not attend our Parish, or who attend elsewhere, to consider being registered with us here? We hold pastoral responsibility for all baptised Catholics who live within our parish boundaries, & it is helpful for the spiritual, administrative & practical well-being of the Parish that we are fully aware of those to whom we owe the love & duty of care. Could I remind you please of the Diocesan decision to form three Catholic Academy Trusts, which will together incorporate all Schools in the Diocese. St Benedict’s Primary School will become part of the Central Trust which will be called St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust, with our two lead Secondary Schools being St Augustine’s Scarborough & St Francis Xavier Richmond, together with some twenty one Catholic Primary Schools. The preliminary work in establishing the Trust is in progress & the Project Steering Group are looking to appoint the Shadow Board of Directors to guide the work of developing the Trust including the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer & Chief Financial Officer. The Shadow Board will be comprised of twelve people. Our Bishop & Diocese are seeking expressions of interest from practising Catholics to act as Foundation Governors, & non practising Catholics as non-foundation Governors. Those appointed who may be currently serving on a school Governing Body will not be able to continue in that roll due to a potential for conflict of interest. I would seriously & warmly encourage those of you who may feel unworthy, yet called by the Holy Spirit, to seek to be considered for such important positions of responsibility for the continued growth of our collective “Schools of the Lord’s Service”. I can give you a background paper on the role & an expression of interest form which needs to be returned to the Diocese by 6th July 2018. It would be a blessing for us, as one of the smallest schools in the Diocese, to have representation on this key Body. I will be away in Edinburgh from Sun pm to Wed early, returning for a day meeting in York. Fr Edgar has kindly agreed to celebrate Mass Mon to Wed. If there urgent need of a Priest in my absence please contact Fr Edgar 766435/766416 or Fr George 766712. With love & prayers Fr Bede.