Good afternoon from Westminster cathedral where I’ve just had an amazing “divine appointment”.

As I queued for confession an elderly gentleman came after me. A little nervous he began to make small talk and anybody that know me knows that I’m not short of a few words myself.

It was obvious that he was probably gay and was nervous about confession so I did my best to put him at ease by cracking a few jokes. Good job Padre Pio wasn’t hearing confessions, he’d probably have me thrown out for distracting pious catholics as they examine their consciences.

Yet rest assured, I don’t talk all of the time…when I’m sleeping for example!!

It’s ironic that I should mention this because one place where I used to get severely reprimanded for chatting as we queued for confession was in Medjugorje. There used to be an Italian man patrolling like a guard outside Buckingham palace shouting “shhh” ….which in itself is ironic in light of the Italian’s reputation over there!

Personally I couldn’t see what the big deal was. My sins were so indescribably clear to me that I was very unlikely to either forget them or think of more! A bit of chat killed the boredom and reduced my anxiety as I waited to discover if I’d find Jesus or the devil listening to my confession.

Anyway after mass I stayed for a little bit until the Holy Spirit told me to leave. I left the church and went for a walk and the man chased after me!

“Lord, maybe I’m supposed to talk to that young man but I’m not going to go out of my way. If you want me to talk to him then make it happen”

Was the mans prayer.

And seeing me outside the church at the same time was a good enough sign for him!

So we got talking and he offered to buy me lunch…thank you Jesus!

He proceeded to tell me about his life as a gay catholic. “Good job I have a coffee” I thought as I dreaded hearing another story of misery and scruples.

However I was in for a surprise!

It started off as they all do, a young pious boy that didn’t know if he was gay or not or what to do. He was 73 so I was worried when he began at age 15 because I simply wasn’t in the mood to hear of almost 60 years of his life.

We got to age 19 and then it jumped to 73!! Watch how!!

“So at 19 I met this other boy and we became partners and we’ve been together ever since…54 years”.

I was deeply moved, not just because I could now enjoy my coffee but because this man has a partner of 54 years and they are still happy!

Immediately I thought about Rayne and smiled. In the catholic world we are so used to hearing negative stories of how same sex relationships can never make people happy and will never last. I was certain that God had put this old man beside me today to say to me “you keep on going Michael and I’ll show them”.

And with a little glint in his eye he told me how his 3 sisters had been married and divorced while his relationship was the only one that lasted!

At times God has funny ways of delivering messages to us. He joked to me and said that never in all his life had he chatted to someone in a confession line before and as he left he said “that’s the nearest I’ve got to picking someone up at confession”.

Anyway with a smile on my face I must now cycle home to Notting Hill where we have a big evening of prayer for Our Lady’s 40 years in Medjugorje and while many of the people that this attracts may not be so LGBT friendly I now don’t care as I feel the encouraging hand of God leading me on and showing me that I have just as much right to be there as they do!

So thank you Jesus for this sign. I will keep you all in my prayers this evening and may the peace and understanding of Our Lady of Medjugorje melt every heart this evening, especially the most hardened and tormented.

Bless,

Michael