Sunday, 10 October 2010

Archbishop Vincent Nicholls visits Mill Hill and my moment of personal enlightenment

Yesterday (saturday evening), Archbishop Vincent Nicholls, the Spiritual Leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales, visited the Sacred Heart Parish in Mill Hill. The purpose of his visit was to say mass to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the death of St Vincent De Paul and St Loise de Marilliac, who founded the Vincentian priests who run Mill Hill parish and the Daughters of Charity, who are based on the Ridgeway. As one might expect, the church was packed, with the church hall also packed and a video link for those in the hall to watch mass. For the local RC community, this was an important highlight of the year. After the mass, everyone moved across the road to the Hartley Hall for a reception and buffet. The food and drink was provided by parishioners and was superb and the hall was absolutely packed. The Archbishop was on good form. The parish Priest Fr Kevin O'Shea reminded the Archbishop that he laid the foundation stone when the new church was built and his silver enscribed trowel is on display in by the entrance to the church. The Archbishop responded by saying he must remember to take it with him this time.

The Archbishop also presented a cheque for £25 to the godmother of Hanna Aynalem Abeyneh. Hanna is a twelve year old girl who lives in Ethiopia. She was visiting London in the summer and won a competition run by the parish to write a prayer for the 350th Anniversary of St Vincent. Here's the prayer she wrote :-
St Vincent De Paul and St Louise de Marillac: Through you I ask our heavenly Father to give hope to many people in London and throughout the world, who experience loneliness, hunger, homelessness and rejection. So that they may come to understand the power and love of God. Amen.
I think that most people, whatever their religious persuasion (or lack of it) would agree with her sentiments and agree she was a worthy winner. The archbishop commented on the way the parish has grown since his visit and how great it was to see so many people coming together from such a host of nations. My son commented to me afterwards that he really enjoyed the reception and that the cakes were really tasty. He said that if they had more such events they'd get even more people coming along. It was nice to see him and so many of his schoolmates enjoying the experience.

Anyway I said in the heading that I had a moment of personal enlightenment during mass. I kid you not. As I sat in the moments silent contemplation, where we were asked to contemplate our lives, my thoughts went back to earlier in the day. Regular readers of this blog will know that I went to see the Steve Miller Band on Thursday night at the Albert Hall. Steve Miller was on the Jools Holland Show on Friday night and he was interviewed by Jools. I missed the show on Friday, but watched it at work on Saturday afternoon (I'm the boss, I can do that !). Jools Holland was asking Steve Miller about his new album, which is an album of the Blues. He asked if he was influenced by great bluesmen such as Lighning Hopkins. Steve replied "Yeah, I used to play bass for Lightning Hopkins". Jools was suitable impressed and said "Wow that must have been great, what was he like". Steve Miller replied that it was awful. Jools looked really shocked and Miller explained how he was living in a camper van and Lightning was paying him $10 a night. It was just the two of them on stage. One evening, half way through a song, with hundreds of people in the audience, Lightning stopped and said "Now all you musicians stop playing I want to do this one on my own". As Miller was the only musician on stage he felt humiliated. Jools asked how he felt about it. Steve Miller replied that he'd felt really bad about it for about 15 years, until one day he realised that he'd been lucky to play with Lightning and that it was Lightnings show and it was just part of it.

Anyway, for some reason I thought back to this as I sat there. I've always wondered how bad things can happen and why God lets them. For some reason I thought about Steve Millers comments about how after 15 years he'd suddenly realised that he hadn't really seen the whole picture and how lucky he was to even have played with Lightning Hopkins. We live in a fantastic city in an amazing world. bad things happen but maybe sometimes we need to see the good things and not just the bad things. Sometimes we can only do this after a period of time has passed. I realised that many of the things which happened to me over the years that I felt bad about have actually strengthened and helped me.

Enlightenment comes in strange ways, at odd times and in odd places. Maybe we all need a few moments of quiet contemplation from time to time to see the bigger picture. Enjoy your Sunday - and if you want to check out Steve Miller on Jools, here's the link

1 comment:

Broadway Blogger said...

Superb blog. Thanks for posting it.