Extraordinary Measures

Tim’s writes about his journey in the seminary in Valladolid, Spain, reflecting on his experience of helping those at a soup kitchen, as well as his January placement in Leeds diocese.

Jesus washing feet
Jesus washing feet

“For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome…”

I cannot help but reflect on these words of Christ recorded in the Gospel of Matthew (25: 35) in light of this final blog for this year. My focus is on my current placement here in Spain, at a soup kitchen on the outskirts of the city- a parish hall, providing generously of  food, drink, refuge and shelter. A modest dining experience open to all in need, catered by caring parishioners and served by willing and committed volunteers, giving of both time and spirit – to a cause which is very much a lifeline for all those who attend every Sunday.

My fellow brother seminarians and I have been serving here for a month to date and will continue God’s work in this particular vineyard until March of next year. It has been a great honour so far and indeed very humbling to be at the service of those whose lives have been affected in such a way that demands a constant reminder that there is hope and good in the world in which we live. We truly, by God’s grace and will, bring His Son, Christ, to the lives of those in need in both an ordinary and extraordinary way.

Christ for us remains the ‘Servant King‘ – the perfect example of one who gives and serves his neighbour in a strikingly refreshing and selfless way – a call to all of us to follow in His footsteps – embracing the virtue of humility and being of service to others. We see this in Jesus’ ministry, recorded in the Gospels; however, we see this more profoundly at the washing of the feet. Christ calls us all to be Himself to others – for when we do good and are charitable in the world we reflect our God who has shown us first how to live, how to love and how to serve one another in a way that pleases Him.

Leeds Cathedral / St. George’s Crypt

Every year as part of formation here in Valladolid, each student is sent to a different diocese on pastoral placement for a month in January. Usually, if the student is from a ‘Southern’ diocese; they are sent to a ‘Northern’ diocese and vice versa with those from northern dioceses. Proudly hailing from the Diocese of Westminster, I will be sent on placement to Leeds, assisting Mgr Philip Moger at the cathedral as well as working in St. George’s Crypt – an Anglican-run day centre providing food and shelter for the homeless in Leeds Metropolitan and is located minutes from the cathedral.

On behalf of the students here, please continue to pray for us, as we prepare to be ‘workers’ in the Lord’s vineyard. Pray too, for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious. Be assured of our prayers for you!

From all of us at the Royal English College, Valladolid, we wish you a Happy and Holy Christmas and a blessed New Year!