A letter from Bishop Norman on the retirement of Fr. Keith

Sacred Heart of Jesus                         June 2020

 

A Summer’s evening at Saint Augustine’s to celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus with Mass and a party in the church grounds may now seem a world away but it was only last year! Little did we know then what was to hit us earlier this year and the consequences of the Corona Virus Pandemic. So much of what we normally take for granted in our daily lives has had to be put on hold to help keep us safe, not least in the closure of our churches and a radical restriction to any outdoor activity.

This year, as you know, we had planned another Society Gathering at Saint Augustine’s to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi, and we were all looking forward to our worship and fellowship together. And the evening would most certainly not have gone by without words of thanks and appreciation to Father Keith and Barbara as they prepare for their retirement to the south coast.

For Father Keith devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has played such a special part in his sacramental and priestly ministry. A ministry centred around the celebration of the Mass and the love of Our Lord flowing from the altar through the gathered people of God and into the community. A ministry also not without cost as a priest is called to experience in the wounds of Christ the mystery of an Incarnate, Suffering and Redeeming God.

Among the many, many things that are special about Fr Keith’s ministry are surely his faithfulness and tenacity in proclaiming and living out Gospel truth and teaching undiluted the faith as handed down from the Apostles and Fathers of Holy Church. All communicated with good humour, self-deprecation and honest realism and equally underpinned with excellent liturgical practice and impeccable sartorial good taste!

 

For the Feast of the Sacred Heart this year the final collect prays:

May this sacrament of charity, O Lord make us fervent with the fire of holy love,

so that, drawn always to your Son, we may learn to see him in our neighbour.

We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

 

Father Keith has been our priest, neighbour and friend for years too many to count.

All our lives are hugely the richer for his ministry here in Aldershot, the Diocese of Guildford and in the wider church. With heartfelt thanks from us all and prayers for the new chapter about to begin in your lives.

 

Blessings and abiding love in the Sacred Heart of Jesus,