News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
By Peter Murphy
I remember attending an ordination a few years before I began the seminary and being very captivated by all that was happening. The richness of the signs and symbols used in the ordination rite left me feeling rather excited that one day, in the distant future, I might also find myself kneeling before a bishop to be ordained a priest.
This sense of excitement has stuck with me whilst attending many ordinations since. However, the experience of witnessing the recent ordination of Father Thomas Clarke was quite different for me. The distant future is no longer so distant; actually, given the fact that I might be a priest by this time next year leaves the once distant future feeling rather soon.
This has meant that over the last few days and weeks, the reality of my own sense of a call to the priesthood has become much more vivid. As well as the excitement of the prospect of ordination becoming more vivid, so too is the realisation of the magnitude of the responsibilities of the priest.
Thankfully I have a very supportive year group at the seminary who are very open in talking about the excitements, as well as the concerns, associated with offering yourself for priestly ordination.
Recently one of my year group mentioned a homily that we were given in our early days at the seminary, and which we had all to some extent remembered. We hadn’t even been at the seminary for 25 days when a priest came back in order to mark his 25th anniversary of ordination. In the homily that he preached that morning he shared with us some advice, through a Latin tag, which he had been given as a seminarian himself. ‘Respice Finem.’ ‘Remember the end.’ The priest was trying to encourage us to remember that all of what we were to do at the seminary was geared towards firstly, the Priesthood, a life of self-sacrifice and service; and finally, Heaven, a life of awesome love in the unveiled presence of God.
In this, my final Letter from Wonersh, may I, inspired by Our Lady’s Assumption, offer you the same phrase as has supported me and my brother seminarians over the past five years: ‘Respice Finem’. Let us all strive for holiness; let us strive for our eternal home in heaven.
Thank you for allowing me to share some of my thoughts and experiences with you over the past 12 months. Please continue pray for us, your seminarians, and also for an increase in vocations. Be assured of my prayers for you, and for our Archdiocese of Liverpool: especially as we approach Synod 2020.