One God, One Family, One Community

    First of all may I say ‘thank you’ to the significant number of people who spoke to me at the Masses this last weekend. I was somewhat overwhelmed by the very positive response to the small remembrance service I held at the start of each Mass. 

   I never volunteered to become an Army chaplain, I was asked by Bishop Mervin and felt it was my duty to respond to his request. I soon acquired a deep respect for the professionalism and dedication of our armed services. I’m also well aware that many of those who have died in the last hundred years in service of Queen and country have been volunteers, where as I was more of a conscript.

    Several people mentioned the perception that the Catholic Church does not appear to respect the military in the way that the other Denomination seem to do. I hope that what you experienced last weekend was a sign that some of us at least do understand and value these brave men and women. 

    I can assure you that the tough exterior of a squaddie often hides a soft and compassionate centre. It enfolds a strong desire the help the weak and downtrodden and bring peace and harmony to troubled lives. Yes war is hell and it takes real courage to do into a war zone and try to transform it. When you have everything to live for, how many would risk it all to help a stranger in a strange land? However isn’t that one of the  hallmarks of living out the Gospel message!   Mgr Bernard