Over the Christmas break Fr Julian and myself gave three separate occasions to our fraternity in the SJMV. Each time we meet we will celebrate Mass and spend and hour in Adoration together, we will do a Gospel sharing and converse together at the level of our pastoral mission. I took these photos while we were walking in the Clent Hills in Worcestershire just after New Year. As you can see snow had fallen and the light of the late afternoon sun made the landscape into a wonderland.
I remember considering my reasons for wanting to joing the SJMV in 2006; then, I had seen that the SJMV valued the Diocesan Priesthood in a way I had never encountered before and, because of that was seeking to renew it - this was a great draw for me. Also, I sensed a great unity with the continental (European) Church - something which I have always had through my having trained in Spain, and finally because the SJMV, like myself, was trying to respond to the call made by John Paul II. Prior to my Australian mission I had been visiting Ars three times a year and spending one and a half days monthly with Fr Julian. These occasions are now severly limited while I am in Australia, however, an important part of our fraternity has been newly enabled by Skype! Nevertheless, I am aware that the influence of this fraternity on me as a priest has been very great at the level of the interior life and also at the level of the New Evangelisation. This, I think, is a very great grace for the New Evangelisation can today be easily considered only at a notional level - as an idea. The SJMV has lead me to really begin to internalise the New Evangelisation through my own relationship with Christ and the way that I hear the Gospel.
May the grace of our fraternity continue to flourish in us, and may God use our fraternity for His purposes.