It seems odd to talk about celebrating a new ministry when I've been with these people for three years already. But later this afternoon, we will have a Celebration of a New Ministry and I will be inducted as the new incumbent of the parish where I currently hang my biretta.
It certainly wasn't something I had planned, even when I re-entered active ministry a few years ago. I was quite happy to be a simple massing priest, doing services and the occasional interim. But circumstances changed and the Spirit (I hope and trust it was the Spirit) had different ideas.
I took every step to ensure that I did not interfere with the parish's search for a new incumbent, and was comfortable with the prospect of leaving the cure of these souls to another right about now.
Vocation is a funny thing - and often the only way to test a vocation is to try and walk away from it. In this case, it pursued me - to the point that one wise priest advised me to "get to Ninevah before you end up in the belly of a fish."
So here am I.
Your prayers (and where feasible, your presence) are requested.