Desert Island Priests

At Brentwood Cathedral over Lent this year, Fr. Martin Boland, Dean of Brentwood Cathedral, and one of Brentwood's best and brightest is indulging his personal fantasy to be Michael Parkinson by interviewing six priests about books which have influenced them in their spirituality.

Fr. Martin (left) & Fr. Kevin.
Last night, for his first interview, Fr. Martin spoke to my own Parish priest, Fr. Kevin Hale. I know Fr. Kevin well and feel very privileged to be a parishioner of Leigh-on-Sea for the last four or five years. Privileged largely because through his gentle ministering, I have found an ever deeper love of Christ and His Church.

Being a parishioner at Leigh-on-Sea has taught me so much, largely through the example of a man who puts himself at the service of his flock in a way I have not experienced before. Because of Fr. Kevin, I have discovered the importance of time spent in prayer and reflection. I have been given opportunities to discover and understand the true beauty of the liturgy of the Church and the way in which good liturgy (by which I mean liturgy as the Church would have it) enriches and facilitates prayer for the congregation. It also attracts, and it is fascinating to live in a Parish that regularly attracts visitors from London and even Suffolk, because of the beauty of the liturgy.

Fr. Kevin has fostered and encouraged my love of art and unconciously forged a solid link between the beauty of art and its role in lifting our minds up to God. Fr. Kevin inspires me because he constantly challenges me, he never humours me, he confronts me when I'm wrong and encourages me to think in a more Christ-like way, and to always put my faith at the fore of my thinking. He teaches that one should look to Christ first, no priest or pastor should do anything other than encourage us to follow him. Our faith is not in men, but in God.

He embraces his work, visiting the sick, burying the dead, ministering to the troubled, hearing confessions, with a quiet consistency that is inspiring and selfless. He loves his fellow priests and cares for them very much. The old ones and the young ones come to him for respite and help, and he is a gracious host, and a patient ear.

Despite that I am so privileged to have such an inspirational pastor, I still found great value in listening to Fr. Kevin's interview with Fr. Michael Parki Martin, and the depth of inspiration and careful consideration. The insights into his personal journey are very valuable. Perhaps the scariest of his reflections for me was:
"In my own life the biggest crosses have come, as a priest when people let us done, they don't do things the way you want them done..."
Mea culpa, mea culpa! Feeling very guilty about getting the bidding prayers wrong last weekend now!

I encourage you all, dear readers, to spend some time with Fr. Kevin today. You can listen to the full interview here.

Congratulations to Fr. Martin for an inspirational idea for Lenten reflection this year. I look forward to the remaining interviews:

Thursday 13 March
Fr Brian O’Shea (Grays) .. Elected Silence by Thomas Merton
Thursday 20 March
Fr Paul Keane (Essex University, Brightlingsea & Wivenhoe) .. Transformation in Christ by Dietrich von Hildebrand
Thursday 27 March
Fr David Clemens (Saffron Walden) .. Diary of a Mystic by Edward Thurston
Thursday 3 April
Fr Martin O’Connor (Chadwell Heath) .. The Mystery of the Cross by Basil Hume
Thursday 10 April
Fr Andrew Headon (Ilford) .. The Seven Storey Mountain autobiography of Thomas Merton

The interviews start at 7:30 pm in the Cathedral Parish Hall … Admission Free .. All Welcome


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