The Value of Faith and Doubt

10th July 2018

Passionists work in often challenging and even isolated pastoral contexts – gathering together to pray and share can be a life-giving source of inspiration.  And so it proved for the annual Community of the Passion weekend gathering, which was held from 6th to 8th July at St Mary’s Convent in Handsworth, Birmingham.  Fourteen members of the Community of the Passion gathered for a retreat designed to connect with God and build and strengthen community.

Reflections were prepared by several individuals separately, but by God’s grace a common message emerged, centring on the example of St Thomas whose doubt and faith can be experienced in a positive way.  Drawing inspiration from Andrei Mironov’s painting “The Unbelief of St Thomas”, Passionist development worker Paschal Somers reflected that “Thomas’s life proves that belief is not instantaneous, but a process.”  Though a life of hope and joy living in the world is hard, nevertheless Thomas offers a model which is both faithful and possible.

Speaking about the joys of the community’s gatherings, Passionist bursar John Thornhill said

“The gatherings are about sharing a lived experience of being Passionist in our respective vocations. They’re dynamic – we reflect on our experiences of life and work, looking through the prism of the cross and resurrection.

“They’re enabling, they’re consolidating, they’re beautiful.  When we share our struggles we are strengthened by our sisters and brothers – it’s authentic, and positive and supportive.”

Pictured: an informal Mass at the weekend, and “The Unbelief of St Thomas” by Andrei Mironov