All good things must come to an end
The story that started in 2015 has come to an end. As some of you know, I first arrived in Borehamwood as a seminarian in October 2015. I was sent here on a seven-week placement (a work experience of sort) and I was here for the big celebration of the parish’s 90th anniversary. Little did I know that I would return to Borehamwood as a newly ordained priest in 2018.
Two years have passed, and it is time to say goodbye (again). I have got to know many of you during those two years. I have been a part of your lives through the sacraments. We shared the Liturgy together, I baptised your children, and I was part of your children’s First Holy Communion or Confirmation. I was there for the less happy times too such as anointing of the sick and funerals. These are all very special moments that will remain with me forever.
It is customary to thank people in goodbye messages such as this. I couldn’t possibly thank everyone who deserves acknowledgement, but I can at least try to highlight a few who made my two years in Borehamwood the meaningful experience that it is. I am grateful to all the catechists for helping me with the Children’s Liturgy, First Holy Communion and Confirmation programmes; to the stewards and other church volunteers who ensured the smooth (and safe) running of the Masses; to the servers, sacristans, readers and Eucharistic ministers for their dedication to the Liturgy; and to Fr Dominic and Sue for their reassuring presence. I also thank those wonderful individuals who helped me in times of crisis such as when my car would not start or when I needed something fixed in my room.
The pandemic has certainly turned our lives upside down this year, with many experiencing great difficulties and even tragedies and losses. But at the same time, for me it has been a time of inspiration and upliftment. During the pandemic, I saw your generosity and sense of community as you did what you could to support efforts to help those in need by donating food to the Food Bank and offering your time and talents to those most affected by the pandemic. I was also deeply moved by the emails and telephone calls that I received as people reached out to make sure that I was okay and to ask if there was anything that I needed, especially during the early days of the pandemic when the lockdown was particularly severe. Thank you to those who cooked for me and brought me food to make sure that I did not starve!
The year 2020 will be known in church circles as the year of the live streaming. I received (and continue to receive) wonderful messages from people all over the world who watch our online Masses to thank me for my homilies and the spiritual upliftment that they get from our live streaming. These global “virtual parishioners” are part of my Borehamwood family too. Hearing from them has brought me great joy, and I thank them.
As a new-ish priest (I’m only two years ordained!), I am sure I made some silly mistakes while in Borehamwood. I may even have offended or upset some of you without meaning to. If this is the case, I apologise and I hope you will forgive any faux pas my inexperience may have caused. Rest assured, I have learned a great deal from my interactions with you and I will take with me lessons that will serve me well where I go.
It’s been a privilege to serve the Catholic Parishes of Borehamwood. You have been an important part of my growth as a Catholic priest. You will remain both in my heart and in my prayers and I ask that I remain in yours as I begin my ministry in Bishop’s Stortford.