This is to show that yesterday's post was no 'flash in the pan'!
Yesterday in Paris there were some clashes following May Day gatherings. Having seen some street violence in Belfast, there is nothing pleasant about violence from any source. It happens, but at the end of the day, dialogue is the only path to conflict resolution. This may sound defeatist or being afraid of facing issues, but the force of a water canon, the stinging sensation of tear gas or the throwing of missiles will never lead to a lasting peace.
Early next week, I look forward to welcoming to St Joseph's, Paris, a group of priests and deacons from English-speaking Catholic parishes in other European countries. This network of clergy gets together every second year to learn from each other and to have a support network.
In the past at St Joseph's, the Passionists had a community of at least three priests to serve a parish of 45 nationalities who worship here in the English language. Now we are two and when one is away, as at present, it leaves a lot to be done. This includes 200 children every Sunday morning for preparation for 1st Communion and Confirmation. With a separation of church and state in France, families make a choice about the religious future of their children. There is great freedom in this choice with no compulsion to follow any particular course of action. When it comes to the celebration at St Joseph's Church of 1st Communion on 19th May and Confirmations on Pentecost Sunday, 20th May, the joy and happiness are tangible. This model could work in other countries?
Hope to be back with you soon! AT