Tomorrow there will be two Masses for the First Sunday of Advent, a time when we are encouraged to wake up, to smell the coffee and start thinking about the last things and doing something about it. We sometimes get into the Advent is preparation for Christmas mentality, spiritually I think this is only a very small part of it. The light at the end of the tunnel sometimes prematurely obscures the solid glow of the advent crown candles as they grow in number for this glorious season.
Mass at Batley, St Mary of the Angels, Cross Bank Road. 3.00p.m.
Mass at Halifax, St. Marie's, Gibbet Street, 6.00p.m.
(Saturday Masses at Broughton at 9.30a.m. and Holy Spirit, Heckmondwike at 11.30a.m.)
On Sunday there is Mass at St. Joseph's, Castleford at 3.00p.m. the celebrant will be Mgr. Steele, whose gift of preaching, few could or would deny, is an occasion in itself. His sermons are manifest examples of Faith, Hope and Charity rolled into one, invariably thought-provoking, inspiring and always spiritually gratifying. Mgr. Steele brings Scripture to life in a way which makes your mouth water because you can almost taste the air Our Lord breathed 2000 years ago. Mgr. Steele who never obscurs the Truth invariably gives those who hear him a sense of real hope.
Also, Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes, Cardigan Road, Leeds at 3.00p.m.
I hope to be able to announce further positive developments in the provision of Mass over the next couple of weeks, for this reason I am delaying sending out the latest issue of the newsletter Facing Forward. Rather more a case of looking forward!
Invitations have this week been sent out to clergy in several northern dioceses advertising the forthcoming Ushaw Seminary Training Conference to be held during Low week 2009. The original dates clashed with another booking which had already requested use of the magnificent chapel - this would, it was felt, have been too restrictive. Some clergy in this diocese are already involved. Others here and in Salford have already expressed interest.
As November comes to an end I feel slightly better than I did at the end of October having remembered to pray for the Dead far more than offering the Rosary. Advent means time for me to make another good Confession - more of a "big shop" than the "usual list". Penance is thankfully a very personal Sacrament - we have it to decide how we wish to conduct it and with which confessor we choose. It is under an amazing seal, a privilege, a humility, a cleanser deeper than any high cost lotions and potions, a direct line with God the Father and Redeemer. It can be anonymous or totally personal and face to face or behind the grill.
The new confessional in Leeds Cathedral is one of the most comfortable public confessional "cubes" I have been in - it is traditional and futuristic and everybody-friendly.
Confessions also at call at Broughton, Halifax, Bradford and Batley before or after Masses.