Saturday was a day that will live long in the memory. Our group, St Agnes people and the Penfold family gathered for Philip’s Ordination. In the prescence of our Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, Philip was ordained by Bishop Keiran Conry, bishop of Arundel and Brighton. There was a real sense of generousity and kindness from both these men.

Mgr Keith preached the homily and directed much of what he said directly to Philip. He spoke of priesthood being a gift:

“You will be only too well aware that you are frail earthen vessels entrusted with this ministry by Christ and his Church. ‘A preist’, wrote the late Cardinal Hume in his book ‘Light in the Lord’, ‘is an ordinary man called to an extraordinary ministry. Like everyone else he is himself in search for God and in need of redemption.

In the first reading St Paul points out that if it comes to boasting he can do so as much as anyone else but ends with those words ‘IF I boast I will boast of the things show my weakness.’ For there is nothing we can achieve by our own merits; all is gift and grace. This is particularly appropriate reading for you as you are ordained at a particularly difficult time in your life. You come before the Lord in physical weakness but confident of his grace and power.”

Fr Philip was supported by Fr Neil during the service, but managed wonderfully well showing the determination that has become so familiar over the last few months.

At the end of mass, Fr Philip gave the end blessing as his first blessing for the whole congregation. We then had a celebration in the hall, with huge quantities of food (including mountains of cake) provided by Fr Philip and Jenny’s family, our group and St Agnes people.

It was a marvellous day and one that we will all treasure. Please keep Fr Philip, Jenny and their family in your prayers.