On a recent Sunday, I was with the good folks of Tighes Hill and I was delighted to hear of a gathering that they had held the day before, reflecting on Jesus through artistic images of him down the ages.
Lent, as far as I can make out, went into serious decline with the coming of the industrial revolution. The old discipline of ‘one meal in the evening’ every day of Lent must have become decidedly dangerous once large parts of the population were spending long days working around unguarded machinery or deep down the mines.
Something about New Year encourages nostalgia, or perhaps it was just driving past St Michael’s recently on my way to a funeral. Either way, I’ve been reminiscing about my first appointment as a priest, 37 years ago, and the way a priest’s life has changed in that time.
Relatively early in my time here, I met with the editor of the Newcastle Herald and journalist Joanne McCarthy. They were at pains to let me know that, despite what I might have heard, they are not anti-church but pro- the victims of child sexual abuse.