I am delighted to be involved in JBMS. I am Parish Priest of Our Lady of Mount Carmel & St George, Enfield, in the Diocese of Westminster. My first real awareness of John came when I was Sub-Administrator of Westminster Cathedral. In September 2019, a Mass was held there to promote John’s cause and I was privileged to celebrate that Mass. Monsignor Robert Mercer (of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham) was the preacher and gave such a lively sermon. He met and knew John, of course. It was a wonderful occasion, full of joy and faith. This exposure to John’s remarkable life and also to those who were so energetically promoting his cause sowed something of a seed in me. I began to read about him and to make regular purchases from the online gift shop – especially the excellent greetings cards.
Like John, I converted to Roman Catholicism in my adult life. In my Anglican days (I was in parish ministry in the dioceses of York and London) I was privileged to visit Zimbabwe on one occasion. There I was conscious of the faith and fortitude of the people, who were facing then, as now, considerable suffering. I have never forgotten the people I met over those three weeks travelling around the country. It was a real time of blessing. I very much hope to return there one day – perhaps a pilgrimage with JBMS?
The other day I went to see some friends who live near Saffron Walden in Essex. I decided to take a different route home, so as to avoid the dreaded motorways. My route to Enfield took me through Hare Street. Once again, John Bradburne was making himself present, I realised. He spent time there looking after the country house of the Archbishops of Westminster, as you probably are well aware.
So, John is alive and active today, and a wonderful example of lived faith. Please forgive these personal reflections and anecdotes. They are merely intended to illustrate how I sense John’s presence and example at work. I sincerely hope that I can contribute a little something to the work of JBMS and to his cause. May he pray for us all and, in his inimitable way, continue to both surprise and inspire us always.