We recently hosted Michael Dixon, a potential Ordinand, from St Matthew, Carver Street in Sheffield on a 4 week Placement here in Elland. Here are his thoughts on his time here:
When I arrived in Elland for my placement, I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to get out of my time there. I wanted to learn more about the daily life of a parish priest, having learnt all I could from the Father Brown novels, in order to help me better discern a vocation to the priesthood and decide whether this would be the life for me. Although I had an idea about Mass and the like I was still a little unsure about what parish priests actually did in the hours that you don’t see them in church so at the beginning I didn’t really know what to expect. Thankfully in Fr David and, not forgetting Frs Miguel and Philip, I had some very capable, knowledgeable and patient teachers from whom I learned a lot.
I’ve spent the last few weeks doing all sorts of different things: attending meetings with people planning baptisms, weddings and funerals with Fr David and had the privilege of being able to attend these events. I’ve attended ordinations, meeting people who have just been ordained as priests and stand in a position that I might find myself in in a few years (a prospect that is both exciting and just a bit terrifying!). I’ve visited those currently living in care homes and with Frs David and Miguel, taken the sacrament to those unable to attend church as well as visiting the chaplaincy at Overgate Hospice and taken part in assemblies at the school, something I’ve very much enjoyed. More than anything though I’ve spent my time in Elland listening and learning. Listening to Fr David about his experiences as a priest and how to deal with certain situations, listening to churchgoers who have kindly invited me into their homes about their lives and experiences as part of the Church and I’ve tried to listen to God while praying, thinking about what sort of calling He has placed on my life.
It wasn’t just the priests in Elland that I learnt from however. I must give a big thanks to Lynn, the Reader, to the churchwardens at both All Saints and Saint Mary’s, the servers and of course all the members of the congregations who taught me a lot and made me feel very welcome. It’s with a real sense of sadness that I’ll be leaving Elland, despite having only been here a month and it goes without saying that I shall be returning at some point in the (hopefully) not so distant future.
I’ve also got to give a big thanks to those who put me up and indeed out up with me over the last month, and finally a thank you to my parish priest back in Sheffield Fr Grant Naylor who is forever supportive of me in discerning my vocation and to the Additional Curates Society who kindly provided a grant which ensured that I would be able to come on this placement in the first place.