Well, on Friday I went to confession, and then yesterday I received the “pilgrim’s blessing” from Fr Dillon after Mass at Blackburn North. Then to fulfill all righteousness, I went around to Our Lady’s Church at Ringwood to renew my baptismal vows and obtain the Year of Faith Indulgence. Most fortuitously, Fr Andrew Keswick (the new PP of Ringwood) was just finishing conducting a baptism, and kindly led me through the rite of the renewal of vows (complete with readings and prayers) and then gave me another blessing. So I am about as set as one could be to head off on a pilgrimage.
Some of our protestant friends may object to all this rigamarole. In fact, one protestant reader of this blog (a first time commentator) did, in a submitted comment on my last post:
If you believe in “one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins”, then you know God will forgive you of your sins. Have a nice visit to the Catholic Church in Ringwood, but it will not get you to Heaven any faster.
Absolution, Holy Communion, Blessings and Indulgence are not something other than the grace of Jesus Christ himself from first to last. It is the “one baptism for the forgiveness of sins” that is in fact the basis for all these multiple ways in which God blesses me, forgives me, and prepares my soul for its final pilgrimage through the valley of the shadow of death into the light of his presence.
I am so grateful that my Church reaches out to to such poor sinners as myself with all these blessings and graces from Jesus.