During our pilgrimage to Walsingham, we received a visit from Bishop Alan Hopes. In fact, he joined the 80 weary walkers for an evening meal at Great Massingham on the second day. The bishop took great trouble to to speak to everyone, which was much appreciated.
Bishop Hopes seemed particularly happy to announce that the Diocese of East Anglia was taking on six new candidates for the priesthood in October, bringing the total number of seminarians in the diocese to twelve. I suspect that this will be the greatest number of seminarians for any diocese in Britain, and probably the greatest number of seminarians that the Diocese of East Anglia has ever had. I believe it is only a few years ago that there was only one seminarian in the diocese.
Ever since the Diocese of East Anglia was created in 1976, it has been recognised as a diocese with an acute shortage of priests. Bishop Hopes seems to be rectifying this problem. Other dioceses would do well to take note of how East Anglia attracts so many seminarians.
Lent I and this week
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