Farm Street’s new shepherd
On Sunday 7th October, the church of the Immaculate Conception welcomed Bishop Nicholas Hudson for the formal induction of Fr Dominic Robinson SJ as the new parish priest.
Civic and ecumenical representatives attended the mass, among whom there were the Mayor of Westminster, Canon Lucy Winckley, the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and sisters from Tyburn Convent. To mark the special occasion, choir accompanied the service singing the Missa Solemnis in C.
In his homily, Bishop Hudson reflected particularly on the Psalm 128, explaining how this was one of his mother’s favourite. After describing the enduring love and care his parents had for each other, the Bishop spoke about his family’s connection with the Jesuits. In addition to his and his brothers’ education at the Wimbledon College, his parents were part of the Teams of Our Lady.
“They belonged to a group of married couples - with a Jesuit chaplain, Fr Brendan Callaghan,” Bishop Hudson said. “Their group had a marvellously simple formula: five couples plus one chaplain meet one evening per month to share a meal and to share about their marriage. Part of the ethos of the Teams is that parents should pray every day with their children. So my father used to gather all of us at the foot of stairs for a few minutes’ prayer before we went our separate ways.”
This experience of a big family left a meaningful mark, preparing him for celibacy as a priest. Bishop Hudson went on linking the love of a couple with the Second Reading of the day, from the Letter to the Hebrews. The passage from chapter 2 reminds him of one of the crucial point of celibacy. “It’s where the author tells us, ‘It was (Jesus’s) purpose to bring a great many of his sons into glory.’ The author is naming the whole point of existence - namely that we exist to enter into God’s glory. The celibate reminds us we enter into that glory alone.”
Bishop Hudson concluded with the Generosity Prayer of St Ignatius, which he learnt to pray at a young age from the Jesuits, who nurtured in him a spirit of generosity.
A very pleasant reception followed in the hall, masterminded by Pauline Mercieca. Bishop Hudson and Fr Dominic circulated among the guests, greeting and talking with everyone in the room.