While I was reflecting on the “people on the fringes,” on solidarity with doubters, & on where in fact, we might identify the centre & the fringe of a body as remarkable as the church, I recalled a young woman who once wrote in her diary the words: My vocation is to be love at the heart of the Church. For many years, St Therese de Lisieux was of marginal interest to me. I recall that it was on her feast day- although it had not been chosen expressly for that reason- that I started my systematic preparation for the ordination in the “underground church.” I waited in St Ignatius’s Church in Prague for a man I was to recognise by an agreed sign, who was to be my guide on that journey for many years preceding my ordination. I remember well what went on not only within me, but also around me - & remember also the well-known chocolate-box statue of St Therese with the roses in her arms, before which – it being her feast day – a large candle burned. What I did know about St Therese at that time? I was aware of her only through sickly sweet statues & pictures of redolent nineteenth century religiosity. I expect I had little time in those days for her words & her mission within the church; there had been plenty of pious nuns whose diaries were full of sentimental sighs about love! When I first read about the “little way” or the “way of childhood” taught by St Therese, I came upon a remark of hers, no doubt uttered at some disagreeable & distressful moment, such as she seems to have endured frequently in the Convent, that she gave God the freedom to treat her as a child treats its plaything; can plaything reproach a child for ignoring it at a particular moment or for forgetting it in a corner? That was enough for me! I said to myself, immediately closing the book in disgust. Years later I found myself in a particular situation, when I found that statement of Therese’s really helpful to me. I realised how much self-disparagement it contained beneficial humour that helped confront the temptation to pity oneself at moments of failure, to speculate fruitlessly on why God permits this or that to happen, why He fails to protect someone as excellent as me, to cast the blame on everyone else, including God himself. [“Patience with God” Fr Tomaz Halik ] As the summer holiday period draws to a close, certainly for those of you who are tied to College & School terms, I would like to thank you for your faithful service to our Parish over this last year, to those of you who serve in various ministries, & particularly to those who support us with their regular attendance & steady prayers. We hope you have had safe journeys & happy times. Our Parish BBQ is this Sunday 2 Sept from 12noon. Please try to come along & bring food to cook on the bbq as well as salads if you wish. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible so that we can celebrate being together as a parish family. For Health & Safety reasons, if you intend to come, please would you take home and read the helpful sheet of information and guidance at the back of the Church, prepared by our Health and Safety Lead Sophie Rowe, & our Safeguarding Lead, Amanda Toone. Claire Smith, Chair of St Laurence Education Trust, announced to our staff & our Community on Thursday last the resignation of Fr Wulstan Peterburs as Headmaster of Ampleforth College with immediate effect, & the appointment of Miss Deidre Rowe as acting Head. The Trustees have begun the process to appoint a permanent Head. Claire Smith expressed gratitude to Fr Wulstan for his tenure as Headmaster over the last two years; in order to ensure public confidence in the College, the leadership of the School will revert to a lay-person, a principle established by the Trustees in 2013. Please keep Fr Wulstan, Deidre Rowe & the Leadership team, with the pupils, staff & parents in your prayers at this moment of transition & growth. Chiara Toone will speak after each Mass this weekend on her recent visit to Chile. Please keep her & many of our other young parishioners in your prayers as they go out from us to take Christ & to receive Christ, particularly among the poor. I will be away on holiday/pilgrimage to Iona from Thursday 6th September to Wednesday 12th September. Fr George will ensure that we have cover for each Mass during my absence. With love & prayers, Fr Bede.