39 YEARS AGO I was confirmed in St Mark’s Claughton by Dr Gerald Alexander Ellison, Lord Bishop of Chester.

The black bound (New English) Bible my parents gave me on St Patrick’s Day, 17th March 1972, bears the Bishop’s signature, and that of Warwick Ariel Jones my then parish priest, together with a text that soon became inscribed on my heart – one which I’ve shared with other confirmands since –

Therefore my beloved, stand firm, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labours in him shall never be in vain. 1 Corinthians 15.58

There’s not been a St Patrick’s Day since 1972 when I haven’t thanked God for the Confirmation received that night.

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