Our Vocation and Ministry

At least since the Ordinal contained within the Alternative Service Book 1980, the collect prayed by the bishop at the ordination liturgy has thanked God that, through his Son Jesus Christ, we have been called into the fellowship of God’s universal Church.  In praying for God’s faithful people, the bishop goes on to ask that each in their “vocation and ministry” may be an instrument of God’s love.  And it is within this context that the needful gifts of grace are sought for those about to be ordained.  The gift and grace of ordination is therefore part - albeit a singular and special part – of the ministry we all have as baptized members of Christ’s Body.  But a little research will show that this collect is, in fact, an ancient one, having its basis in one of the solemn prayers of Good Friday found in the Gelasian Sacramentary which Cranmer adapted and used.  Good Friday brings us, of course, to the cross and to the Saviour’s death which brought about our redemption.  Some would say that it was from Christ’s wounded side, from which came both blood and water, that the sacramental flood of baptism first flowed and which, therefore, is the birthday of the Church rather than from the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost.  Whatever the case, it is in the baptismal waters that we experience the call of the baptized as well as our service of the world, sharing, indeed, in the vocation and ministry which is really Christ’s and which he, by grace, gives to the Church, the whole people of God, both lay and ordained.  And this is what we shall be celebrating at the Glastonbury Pilgrimage in 2018: our Vocation and Ministry.

We surely could not have found a more committed and engaging exponent of this theme than Father Damian Feeney SSC, whom we shall welcome as the preacher at the Pilgrimage Mass on Saturday 7th July.  Vicar of Holy Trinity, Ettingshall, he is also Mission Adviser to the Catholic Parishes of the diocese of Lichfield.  For a number of years he has been encouraging us all in evangelism so as to play our full part as Catholic Christians in the renewal and revitalization of the Anglican Church in Britain.  No doubt he will remind us powerfully of the imperative which Christ gives to us in and through our baptism and participation in the eucharistic life of the Church.  We look forward greatly to hearing from him within the ancient place of prayer and pilgrimage which is Glastonbury Abbey.  Please do all you can to join us.

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