Greetings, prayers and all good wishes from Rome.
This has been a very hard time to be away from New Zealand as I and many others have struggled to cope with the resignation of Bishop Charles Drennan as Bishop of Palmerston North.
In Rome I have received some beautiful message of support and understanding from many people, and the wonderful assurance of prayerful support as the Church faces this sad and distressing situation. Many of the messages I have received have been about HOPE. For example, a saying of Venerable Suzanne Aubert was sent to me which said “Never lose hope on the journey.” Another message said “Hope sends us dancing around dark corners trusting in a tomorrow we cannot see”. I found these sayings very helpful and I hope that you do too. We could think that we are encircled by gloom, but faith always gives us hope.
I was not in St Peter’s Square for the canonisation of the now Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman and of four other saints. I had taken the chance to journey to the Western Front to visit the grave of my paternal grandfather, who was killed just before the end of the First World War. This journey to France was something I had always wanted to do as my own father never knew his father and had never had the privilege, as I have just had, of visiting some of the Commonwealth War Graves,
I have now read the words of Pope Francis spoken at the Canonization where he applied the words of Newman to the five new saints, not just to Cardinal Newman who wrote the words in a poem entitled “The Pillar and the Cloud.”
Pope Francis said, quoting Newman: “The Christian has a deep, silent, hidden peace, which the world does not. The Christian is cheerful, easy, kind, gentle, courteous, candid, unassuming; has no pretence…with so little that is unusual or striking in his/her bearing, that he/she may easily be taken at first sight for an ordinary person”. Referring to Cardinal Newman’s famous hymn “Lead, Kindly Light,” the Pope prayed that all Christians “would be kindly lights amid the encircling gloom”.
Let us ask God to help us be those “kindly lights”.
With every blessing