|Fr Neil gets us underway|
Fortunately the group from Eastbourne was very welcoming and forgiving, and between us we managed a very happy morning. They even fed me afterwards; most hospitable.
Probably it is because Fr Chatfield is young himself (as priests go) and has a young family, but certainly his Mission is notable for its younger members, who contributed a great deal to our discussions. We began by looking at the history of The Peace (and Fr Hunwicke’s recent posts on this matter were hugely helpful). We spoke of our experience as Anglicans, when that moment in the Holy Communion could descend into a group hug-in. One of the ‘cradle-catholics’ in the group told us that after Vatican II there were similar outbursts in some Catholic parishes, too. Yet at that moment, at the end of the Lord’s Prayer, The Peace seals the action, and enables the whole worshipping community to signify that at Mass we are more than just a number of individuals.
After coffee we went on to speak about Mission, and how although the Liturgy does not often become itself evangelistic, it prepares us for mission, and reminds us that our Christian life extends beyond the church door. It commands us to “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord” or to “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life”. People openly and very movingly of their own journey to faith, and we reminded ourselves that the one who calls is not us, but the Lord. He is the evangelist; our job is not to become obstacles to his calling.
Eastbourne and Southbourne are some separated by some 90 miles of what is laughingly called the A 27 South Coast Trunk Road. Often it seems rather a succession of roundabouts loosely connected by cart tracks. It was very good for me today to meet other members of the far-flung Ordinariate and discover that the obstacles and joys which they face may be different from ours, but we are all part of the same great experiment, under the banner of Our Lady of Walsingham and Anglicanorum Coetibus.