Saturday, 9 August 2008

Blog Break...

You may have noticed my absence from the blogosphere during the past week. Then again, I could be kidding myself!

I went to the Faith Summer Session, a five-day residential conference organised by the Faith Movement. For quite a few years now, the summer event has been held at Woldingham School, Surrey.

Unfortunately, as Fr. Tim has already noted, Woldingham School is the communications equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle... there are one or two payphones which work with phonecards (no coin-operated phones, as far as I could make out), and that's it. No mobile signals. We say this each year, and each year you find new people who can't quite believe that it is possible to be completely out of range of a phone mast... and you see them wandering around with phones held out as they search for a magic "spot" from which they can phone or text another human being. No Wi-fi. No broadband. I believe that there is a computer made available to the conference organisers (and anyone canny enough to know whom to bribe!) but the connection is worse than useless, and the school's security system blocks sites such as Blogger and Facebook.

It's almost a comfort to realise that the private education system in this country suffers from the same lack of IT support as the state sector...

"But how is it that Fr. Tim managed to blog during the week?" I hear you cry! Hmmphhhh. A very sore point. He sneaked off to the local service station on the M25 and blogged from there. I didn't have my car, so this wasn't an option for me. I didn't have a laptop either, so the car wouldn't have been much use anyway. I did try to check my favourite blogs on my phone when I went to the local pub for lunch, but the signal was still pretty dicey, and then my phone battery ran flat. I had forgotten to pack my charger (I was distracted by my hair crisis!)

The flat battery was more of a problem than you might suppose - it meant that I couldn't get lots of photos as a record of the conference. I did get a few at the beginning. This was the biggest Conference to date, and the chapel was full, which is a sight for sore eyes: all these young people have given up a week of their holiday time to come and discover more about their faith.

There were over 35 priests there for most of the week, nearly all of them young, sprightly and enthusiastic. There were also loads of seminarians present: remember this when next you are told that there is a vocations "crisis" in the Church which means we need to plan for fewer priests. There are plenty of young men who are willing to answer God's call, but if we "plan" for fewer priests, then we forget to make that call heard in the parishes, and so we will get what we plan for!


Twitch of the mantilla to Fr. Tim for the photos of priests and seminarians. I had absented myself from this particular photo-fest, partly because my camera had died, and partly to ensure that I wouldn't be cajoled into appearing in any photos...

There were over 230 participants, and the atmosphere was pretty fantastic. Each day there were talks, time for questions, discussion groups, and the Liturgy of the Church - Mass, Morning Prayer and Compline each day, the opportunity to attend Exposition and Benediction each afternoon, and a Reconciliation Service on one evening; there was also plenty of free time each afternoon, as well as a ceilidh on one night and an "Entertainments Evening" on another. I can't wait for the Winter Conference!

3 comments:

truthfinder said...

Enjoyed your post. I've been "lurking" for quite a while, and check your blog nearly every day. Please enlighten a convert from Missouri, U.S.A. (4 years ago); what exactly is a "ceilidh"?
Is it something we should be doing in our parish, or is it a regional custom? (I'm still trying to become fluent in the "Catholic language."):-)

Mac McLernon said...

Thanks, truthfinder! It's nice to be appreciated ;-)

A ceilidh is the Scottish (possibly Gaelic) equivalent of the barn dance. I'm not sure if it's the same thing as line dancing. I might do a short post on it...

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

"He sneaked off to the local service station on the M25 and blogged from there."

I'm told you can get help with this kind of obsession.

There are very effective medications.

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