Read this first:

We had our Chrism Mass today at St Georges Cathedral.  It’s always a privilege for me to take part whether I have been given a job or not.  Today I had the privilege of bringing in the Oil of the Sick and later helping to distribute the oils for the various deaneries in the Glorious Archdiocese of Southwark- where Heaven is wedded to Earth.

Before Mass I bumped in to Her Most Magnificentness Dame Joanna Bogle, as we chatted we were joined by two of the seminarians we both know.  Joanna was talking amusingly of carrying the ‘Thank you to our priests’ banner on the bus.  We discussed the cards the ladies who organise the big ‘Thank you’ generously share with the priests.  I have been given these cards in the past.  Joanna told me the plan this year was to add deacons to the card also.

I disagreed with this for two reasons; firstly, if you don’t stop at priests where do you stop.  While I am fully aware (you’ll be surprised to know) that deacons are clergy, without our priests, without the men who make the sacrifice, without the men who administer the sacraments that only a priest, or even bishop, can confer, without the men who’s working day is 24 hours long, without the men who put themselves in God’s hands without a fixed income, without the men who can bring the true presence of Christ to us, where would we be?  Where would I be?  And what would be my future?

Secondly, if you carry on to deacons, then why not seminarians, or MCs or sacristans, Extra-Ordinary ministers who take the Eucharist to the housebound every week, the altar servers, the collectors, readers, catechists, coffee rota members, UCM members, SVP members, Legion of Mary members, flower arrangers?  No, the big huge thank you goes to our priests.  If anyone wants to thank anyone else, let them get on and organise it, and make sure ‘the ladies that hold the banner’ are near the top of the list.