My dear friends,
Following the news of Fr Alban’s leave of absence, Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, under whose encouraging pastoral care our community remains, has now asked me to make the following announcement:
Fr Alban has been on leave from the Chaplaincy for health and personal reasons, and, with regret, he has now tendered his resignation from his role as University Chaplain. Sr Ann will continue as Acting Chaplain with full cover arranged for chaplaincy liturgies and activities. The process will begin immediately for the selection of a new chaplain.
In light of Bishop John’s statement, I can only underline what I wrote in last week's newsletter, and thank every member of our community for the way in which you have responded to the situation in which we unexpectedly find ourselves. I continue to be awed and inspired by the charity, resourcefulness, patience and mutual compassion I have seen displayed over and over again over the last few days as we all adjust to the new circumstances. It is truly an honour to be your Acting Chaplain, and I want you all to know that I will do everything in my power to be worthy of it, and to serve Fisher House to the best of my abilities in this capacity.
Practically, this means that I’m keen to be as available as I possibly can to anyone who would like to be in touch. From Thursday to Sunday, when I’m resident, I’ll be using the Great Chamber as my office; please do feel free to come and find me there, or, of course, to contact me to arrange a time to talk. And know that you are all very much in my prayers; please, if you would, remember me in yours.
There is no point in pretending that the immediate future will be easy, but I do believe that there is hope, hope I see manifested daily in the way in which we are bearing one another’s burdens at this time. We are, each of us, with all our strengths and weaknesses, an invaluable gift to the whole community, an irreplaceable member of the Body of Christ in this place, as we journey together through the challenging terrain of the forthcoming weeks to bring his love and consolation to a world in need.
Sr Ann Swailes OP is the Acting Chaplain at Fisher House. A version of this notice was distributed in our weekly newsletter for Sunday 13 February, the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, in Week 4 of Lent Term 2022.
Bishop John Arnold is the Bishop of Salford. In his capacity as Chair of the Oxford and Cambridge Catholic Education Board (OCCEB), our community rests within his encouraging pastoral care.