My visit to the Vinaròs church drop-in centre this morning brought some news, which caught everybody unawares. It had just been learned, that Fr Clem and his wife have had to cancel all the arrangements made to come here in September, for personal reasons. What this means for the immediate future of the chaplaincy ministry now has to be reconsidered, with an extended period of locum pastors. This is a disappointing blow for everyone looking forward to a new beginning for the church's mission here this autumn. Now it will be a challenge to the resilience of all three communities.
Originally, I was going to stay until the end of November, but once the appointment had been made, I made arrangements to go home the day before Fr Clem was due to arrive and resume work as a voluntary tutor at St Michael's College. Although I planned to be away for the whole of the autumn term, circumstances in College changed over the summer vacation with the announcement of the departure of the Vice-Principal, Dr Stephen Roberts. Replacing him will take time, so there'll be gaps to fill, and maybe a new team member needing support. I was glad to be in a position to help out in tackling the change there.
The most I can do now is offer to stay on for the two Sundays remaining until students arrive for induction week. And pray for a creative solution to emerge.