Twenty Five Years as a Passionist
This year I have celebrated 25 years as a Passionist. Those 25 years began with a sense of vocation, of calling, to a life of prayer and of service to the poor and suffering. For a good few years I tried to ignore that call but eventually the Holy Spirit persuaded me!
I applied to join the Passionists as I saw in them the values of warmth, openness, service and a deep commitment to “the crucified ones”.
After my years of formation and study, living in Minsteracres and Highgate and studying at the Missionary Institute, Mill Hill and Heythrop, I moved to Sutton, St. Helens, and worked in the parish there for seven years. This was a wonderful experience, amongst people steeped in the tradition of Blessed Dominic, Elizabeth Prout and Ignatius Spencer.
Whilst in Sutton I also began my work as a prison chaplain, which was to continue for the next 20 years. This for me was a real fulfilment of my calling as a Passionist. For many people it is not easy to be sympathetic to those in prison and yet Christ reminds us that it is in just such places that we will find him. To my constant surprise this was indeed so.
More recently I have returned to my native Birmingham and now live with Martin CP in Austin Smith House. We live in a very multi- cultural, predominately Muslim part of the city. Several destitute asylum seekers live with us. Again, I hope, a living out of our Passionist commitment.