Fr Philip’s Requiem was on Wednesday. It was a deeply moving mass with friends and family gathering at St Agnes’. When Fr Philip was a TAC priest he served as curate at St Agatha’s in Portsmouth and so Mgr Robert Mercer concelebrated and gave the homily, which can be read below:

“My text is one word, “Accomplished.” St John’s Gospel chapter 19, verse 30: ‘When Jesus had received the vinegar He said, “It is accomplished” and died.” The evening before, he prayed what is nicknamed His ‘high priestly prayer,’ and in that prayer He anticipated the next day’s thought. He prayed “Father, I have accomplished the work Thou gavest Me to do.” (John 17:4) Had Jesus been speaking modern jargon He might have said, “Mission Accomplished.” You may remember that the older forms of the mass ends with the words, “Ite missa est,” Go, mission accomplished, words which Philip sang often enough at St Agatha’s in Portsmouth.

When a servant has accomplished a task he doesn’t then do nothing. Further work may lie ahead. Jesus’ work on Earth may be done but He has passed from us to a heavenly ministry. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus ever liveth to make intercession for us.” (Hebrews 7: 26) Jesus is, not was, our Great High Priest on high.

And Jesus shares His priesthood with those whom He ordains. With Christ, through Christ, as part of Christ, in Christ, Philip now participates in the intercession of Christ. Or put another way, Christ now expresses His ministry through Philip, makes present His ministry in Philip. Philip’s ordination on Saturday 7th, Philip’s death on Thursday 12th, were accomplishment. He did, he was, what the Father asked of him. But Philip doesn’t now do nothing. Further work lies ahead. As a priest in the Great High Priest, as one in whom the Great High Priest now expresses Himself, Philip prays for us.

It goes without saying that we are disappointed that God gave no miracle of healing. Jenny and Philip went to Walsingham. They prayed. We all prayed. Doctors and nurses did everything they could. But if there are times when God works miracles, there are even more times when He doesn’t. Jesus may have healed many but there are even more whom he did not heal. God did not intervene to save Jesus from the cross, or St Paul from the sword, or St Peter from crucifixion.

Philip has been offering himself to God throughout his life. At his confirmation, when he married Jenny, when he brought their children to the font, when he went up to Oxford to read theology, at his two Anglican Ordinations, at his two Catholic Ordinations. And God has been accepting Philip throughout his life. And in this time of our confused emotions God is in effect saying to us “Thanks for your suggestion about a miracle, but no thanks. I have a better plan. I am accepting Philip for future ministry.”

We are here to celebrate mission accomplished. By Jesus first and foremost of course. But mission accomplished by others too, in a wide variety of ways. Peter, Paul, Agatha, Agnes. And our Philip too, to whom we sing:

Ite missa est. Deo gratias.