Communicating with God: One Person at a Time (Chapter 2, page 1 of 31)


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Chapter 2

On the 23rd of May 1959 the Bishop of Southwark ordained nine young men at Wonersh in a long ceremony - all in Latin, lasting nearly four hours and prefaced by the solemn admonition (also in Latin) that anyone leaving during the ceremony for any cause whatever would be excommunicated! The culmination of six years of very full-time study at the seminary and a launching forth into the parishes up and down the country of fresh curates to face a life which in this new century few would believe possible and even fewer would accept as tolerable.

I was one of these young men and the life and experience in the seminary and out in the parish as a curate was not, in most ways, extraordinary for the time. It was accepted, it was customary, it even helped to form and train men for the future and was not a life of misery and unhappiness.

It is essential to remember that the world was very different. The 'permissive sixties' had not yet dawned, the Beatles had not been invented and the Second Vatican Council was but an idea eternally enshrined in the Holy Spirit and shortly to be infused into the mind of Pope John XXIII who himself had only been enthroned five or six months. Vocations to the priesthood were plentiful enough to enable Bishops to be able to foresee the future with some confidence and learning, study, formation of the individual, was generally done by listening rather than the use of visual aids, electronic gadgets or virtual reality experience.

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