It is often thought that once a seminarian has finished his training and been ordained that there is nothing further for him to study or learn. This is a ridiculous attitude to have as we learn things throughout our lives - even when the formal training is over.
In every profession there is need for on going formation and professional development and the priesthood is no exception.
With this in mind during Low Week I went to Belmont Abbey near Hereford to teach at a Conference organised by the Latin Mass Society for priests who wish to learn how to celebrate Mass according to the Missal of now St John XXIII. This is very commonly referred to as the Latin Mass or the Tridentine Mass.
Over a period of four days we had the opportunity to look closely at the celebration of the Mass and to re-examine what Pope Benedict often referred to as the ars celebrandi - the way that we celebrate Mass so as to lead the people in prayer.
Here are a few photos taken by Joseph Shaw - the Chairman of the LMS. One of them shows me as celebrant of the opening Solemn High Mass of the Conference which I was able to offer for John and Agnes Lee - two of my parishioners who were celebrating their Diamond Wedding that day.
Not only do these conferences provide an opportunity to learn about the celebration of Mass they provided an opportunity for priests to come together and share a time of fraternity and fellowship together. This is so important as the vast majority of us live alone.