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Viewpoint from Father Philip Shryane 26/06/2015 

Father Philip Shryane
St Mary’s Catholic Church, Great Yarmouth with St Peter, the Apostle, Gorleston, and communities at Acle and Caister

Dove rightAs you read this I will be celebrating my 40th Ordination Anniversary as a Roman Catholic priest, rather like some of you will celebrate wedding anniversaries, some are more significant than others for you and your family, but all mark a life of continuing commitment

All of those years I have worked in parishes in East Anglia, but I have also, at different times, worked in prison, hospital and school chaplaincy and with a small but vibrant deaf community. I have been privileged to meet and work with many fine, generous people

As you can imagine I have worked with people in moments of joy and celebration, christening and weddings, and in moments of deep sadness and grief, times of bereavement. And, yes, it has mostly been in a Christian setting, but not always. Many people come to the church at different stages in their life, sometimes they do not know why they come. It maybe with a deep faith, but it is just as likely that they have no faith, or are searching, or are simply curious about the Church

dove leftI find that is the wonderful thing about God, he does not mind why we turn to Him, or what condition we are in when we look for Him, because he is madly in love with us and is always searching for us. So when we respond in some way he is pleased to receive us with love

Just like you, at a significant anniversary or birthday, I am looking back over the years, partly wondering where they have gone so quickly, but mostly remembering wonderful people I have met on the journey and with whom I have enjoyed working and sharing my life and faith. On reflection I have found that whether or not people have faith, we are all at our best when we are giving something of ourselves. I do not mean money; I mean something of ourselves, our time, our energy and our commitment. I have found that things do not matter as much as they used to, that what I get out of life is not as important as what I put into it, what is in it for me is not as important as what can I put into this situation. For me, it is from a Christian standpoint, which may not be true for you, but give of yourself from a human standpoint, because the human being is much better giving of themselves than trying to grab as much as they can at the expense of others