Anniversaries are important – happy or sad.
Remembrance, around 11 November, is such an anniversary – a time to remember our war dead.
The Forces and the nation pay homage to the dead – and also to the living, those serving and the retired. We give thanks for their sacrifices and recall those who are bereaved. Wearing poppies and the two-minute silence sees us acknowledge human suffering and how many lives have changed forever. Through injuries, and in so many other ways, a heavy price has been paid in physical and emotional hardship.
The Forces, their families, retired and wounded veterans are a community familiar with paying a price in order to uphold the security of the nation. The deaths of our generation link us in a chain of sacrifice to earlier generations who suffered before ours. Sufferings past and present teach us respect for the human spirit, which is so resilient.
Our recent casualties, thankfully, have many to mourn them but helpfully the humble poppy enables us to focus on the unknown names of long ago whose sacrifice is known only to God.
It’s really important that, despite the passing of years, sacrifice isn’t forgotten. By remembering, I believe we become more humane people – thankful for the sacrifices of our dead and those still living.
Thankfulness shows humanity at its best alongside selflessness, courage, hope and many other virtues. Thankfulness lies at the heart of Christian faith. Thankfulness and hope account for how people manage to face the worst that life can throw at them and carry on
So at this time of Remembrance, I believe we are renewed in our humanity, renewed by remembering what war does to human beings. Something as simple as saying thank you – as simple as the poppy – connects us again with the preciousness and the fragility of life.
Fr Michael feels honoured that the College of Consultors has appointed him to administer the Bishopric whilst we await the appointment of a new Bishop by the Holy See. Fr Michael Fava was born in Kampala, Uganda, in 1962; resident in UK from 1970; educated at Salesian College Farnborough 1973-1980; entered the Benedictine Order at Farnborough Abbey 1980; MA(Hons) in Theology Oxford 1983-86; Post-Grad Diploma in Pastoral Theology University of London 1987-88; ordained priest 1989; worked in parish of Our Lady & St Michael Farnborough 1989-1995; joined Army 1997; incardinated into Diocese of Portsmouth 2004