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Move to England!

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At the end of February I  will have been seen in England for ten years and two months exactly. Where has the time gone? We have raised children, worked consistently, and lived in a rather pleasant suburb twenty minutes from Waterloo station.

Before we arrived on English shores, our biggest concern was for the continued Catholic Education of our children, so it was with relief that this was to be so for our family. On arrival, we immediately joined our local parish, and through the Grace of God, our children were accepted into two highly regarded State Catholic schools (one Primary and the other Secondary). As the years have gone by, we have realised how blessed we have been in this regard.

The first few years were wrought with the stresses and strains of moving to a foreign land, which in turn were buffered by the love, concern and support offered by our families both near and far. From our parish, we received the Spiritual nourishment that kept us sane and focussed on what we really needed to get through the move: God’s love. As we negotiated our way through a foreign schooling system, cultural differences, bias and a myriad of daily challenges,   our parish journeyed alongside us as we celebrated Holy Communions, Confirmations, and to date,  26 years of marriage. Our parish has supported us and carried us when we’ve needed it most. It has been the mainstay of our lives. It remains the one place where we don’t feel out of place, inexperienced, ignorant or vulnerable but rather welcomed as part of the Catholic (universal) Church.

Over the past ten years we have watched with affection, the pomp and ceremony of the Royal weddings and all the national pride that goes along with these Royal celebrations; the Beatification of a New English saint and revelled and basked in the glow of the heralding success of Pope Benedict’s  Potifical visit (and faced the negative press, critical celebrities and prominent atheists who declared their hostility towards the Pope and Christianity in particular); we’ve witnessed the devastating effects of the recent London riots (as well as it’s aftermath) ; the downfall of  a media empire, and in the not too distant past the 7:7 bombings. In conjunction with a change of government and economic turmoil, the fabric of society has been marked in some way by all these events. The plight of Christians in Britain has been in the spotlight on many occasions and they have been challenged from all sides in a country that defines herself as ‘Christian’. My Faith has been challenged and continues to be challenged by the society in which I now live.  And so, much water has passed under the bridge….and much learning taken place as a result.  My Faith remains steadfast and continues to grow  in the direction of True North,  in sure, steady steps, bolstered by my loving family and friends and yes of course, our wonderful parish!

Reading one of my favourite blogs, I followed a link to a superb article called  ‘Oh, Britannia!’, the content of which ignited my ideas for this post tonight.  http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/oh_britannia

Perhaps it will make good reading for your too?