Bloom where you are planted
When, in 1989, I was getting ready to go into the seminary in Allen Hall in Chelsea I wondering if I had done the right thing. I had resigned from my teaching job, which I loved, and was going into the unknown. I was discussing this with a close friend of mine, a Mercy Sister, and she gave me a small pamphlet entitled ‘Bloom where you are planted’. This really galvanised me and it is now a very important way in which I try to live my life. When I entered the Seminary I became determined that I would give it my best effort and I put a lot of energy into enjoying the experience and growing through it.
For two years I was resident in Allen Hall and made sure that I gained all that I could from the experience. I was then sent to Camden Town with three other seminarians to live and work in the parish but to go to Allen Hall each day for study. The experience of parish life was really exciting and confirmed me in my vocation. When I was ordained in 1994 I was assigned to St. Mary and St. Andrew in Dollis Hill as the assistant priest to Fr. Perry Sykes. I had a great three years and learnt a tremendous amount from Fr. Perry and from the parishioners. We organised Family Nights, Pilgrimages, and so many community building activities.
I was then assigned to Our Lady of Hal in Camden Town as Parish Priest. I must admit that the change of role from Assistant Priest to Parish Priest was very challenging. I then found my pamphlet again and really put into practice ‘Bloom where you are planted’. I found so much strength in seeing all the moves and changes as part of God’s will for me and the parishioners I was to serve. I became very aware that it was not my parish and that I was only there to serve the people and grow the Kingdom of God in that place. After twelve years I had become really enmeshed in the lives of so many families and individuals through, Baptisms, Communions, Confirmations, Marriages and of course Funerals. The outreach to the homeless and drug addicts was tough but very rewarding.
So, in 2010, when I got a phone call from the Vicar General moving me to Borehamwood I was quite shocked, but remembered that during the ordination ceremony I had put my hands into the hands of the Bishop and promised obedience to him and his successors. So it was back to ‘Bloom where you are planted’. It is now coming up to ten years here and I cannot imagine myself anywhere else. You are an amazing community, so generous with your time and talents. I am enjoying myself and feel very blessed. To live in a warm, caring, and active community is a real blessing and I believe that I am ‘BLOOMING’.