So it is now a week since St Therese was in Oxford. I know several of you have commented on this already.
Veneration for me involved kneeling before her tomb, placing my left hand on the perspex and asking her to help me love Jesus more and more. Very simple, very sisterly, totally sincere. I then knelt at the altar rails and spent much time before the tabernacle before moving onwards to light my lamp……
I was amazed at the numbers of people who asked me (as a their token holy Joe) how they ought to venerate a relic. So many thought there would be a rigid protocol, a prescribed formula. So many seemed stunned that really, you do what you feel most comfortable doing provided you do it whilst opening up your heart to our God.
However, what is clear is that her visit represents a clear watershed. The faithful and the keen to be more faithful, have regained a sense of worth and belonging. Forget traditional and liberal divides, this was about the ordinary being so ordinary in their faith, simplicity and togetherness that it was extraordinary.
Hopefully the days when priests would not even hold Eucharistic Adoration because they couldn’t prescribe how the “punters” would “adore” during silent adoration and felt threatened by this are nearly over. The ordinary have extraordinary faith, and nobody can dictate to them how they ought to show it or feel it.
The sheer numbers (30,000) at my home cathedral of Salford left a tear in my eye. Such people deserve the best of shepherds.