Saturday, 13 August 2011

A new bishop

My own Diocese (Brentwood) is one among others in England awaiting the appointment of a new bishop. I do think that a good job has been done in the Diocese to explain the process involved to the faithful (more detailed information has been available in parishes than on the website, and here).

The prayer card mentioned here has been made widely available, and is being used in the intercessions at Mass. The faithful are also being encouraged to use it daily. There is a call for every parish in the Diocese to hold an hour of prayer on 9th October, the Feast of Blessed John Henry Newman, to seek God's blessing on the appointment of a new bishop.

I do like the prayer, and the image on the card - that of the Good Shepherd.

However, in my own use of the prayer card I am adding a couple of things. The first of them is to add a prayer seeking the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church which, given the Marian sense of the Church that is an implication of the inclusion of the chapter on Our Lady in Vatican II's constitution on the Church, seems entirely appropriate. The second is to add a short litany of the patron saints of the diocese: Our Lady of Lourdes, St Edmund of Canterbury, St Erconwald and St Cedd.

Whilst I do like the prayer and card, it seems to lack something, a certain warmth, without these added intercessions.

My hope is that the prayer campaign being proposed here will encourage a sense of unity in the Diocese. It should also encourage an underlying trust that, whatever the human/political aspects that form a quite natural part of the process of choosing a bishop, the choice made will be at the service of the will of the Triune God.

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