Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Great Preparation ....

Our church is looking magnificent - beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean thanks to an army of volunteers who turned up this morning. There was a great response to the appeal for extra 'hands' to make 'light work' of the cleaning, polishing etc.

Great preparations have been made for the great event of

Our salvation, when heaven came down to earth.

A very Happy Christmas to all who follow our parish blog.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Our Young Parishioners ...

We are very fortunate at St Ann's to a good number of young boys and girls who wish to become Altar Servers once they have made their First Holy Communion.

Today at the 10 O'clock Mass 5 of our young servers who have been serving Mass for a year or more were enrolled into the Guild of St Stephen.

I was very impressed with the solemnity with which they made their promises and I'm sure they will follow previous servers in serving dutifully and with reverence. I should add that of course much of this is due to the excellent training given them by Kevin, our Deacon.

Congratulations to you all.

Another delightful event took place at the end of the same Mass this morning. The youngest children of our parish, our Children's Liturgy group, performed their Nativity Play.

During an excellent narration of the Christmas story by one of the adults, the children came and took up their positions in front of the altar. I should think many of the mothers in the congregation would have liked to have their own baby delivered in such a speedy, effortless manner - and complete with basket and clothing too when he arrived!

When all were in place they sang 'Away in a Manger' - accompanied by simple actions. I'm sure there was hardly a dry eye in the church! It is so moving to see them tell the story in the simple, innocent way that only children can.

Once again, very well done to all concerned.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Choir and Musicians ...

We are very blessed at St Ann's to have a super choir and some super musicians too.

I'm always very impressed by their dedication and commitment. They spend many hours practising throughout the year and in the run-up to Christmas they have been in church perfecting their art all hours of the day and night.

We look forward to hearing the results of all their labours during the Christmas Masses. They do make a big difference to the liturgy and certainly add a great deal to it.

Well done to all concerned!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Congratulations - 5,000 hits!

We've done the champagne celebration already so I thought we deserved fireworks for this achievement.

Thank you to everyone who reads this blog and a special thank you to all those of you who leave comments. I hope you’ll continue to ‘pop in’ from time to time to see what’s happening in our parish. Now … sit back … relax … and enjoy the fireworks! (Don’t forget to turn your speakers on – there’s music too!)

Saturday, 13 December 2008

The Sacrament of Penance

I was delighted to see so many people at our parish Penitential Service last night, and especially pleased to see some of our Confirmation candidates.

If you were not able to attend last night, you might like to go along to one of the other Penitential Services around the Deanery:

16th December: St Michael's, Ashtead 8.00 pm
17th December: St Clement's Ewell 8.00 pm
19th December: St Joseph's,Epsom 8.00 pm
21st December: St Joseph's, Dorking 6.00 pm

Fire at Waitrose

What a dreadful tragedy for our local community. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this terrible fire last night. We give thanks to God that no lives were lost in the fire.

A video may be seen on the BBC website here.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Tota pulchra es, Maria ...

"Tota pulchra es, Maria .... You are all fair, Mary'

Today, on this feast of the Immaculate Conception, Christians throughout the world fulfill the prophecy of Our Lady herself when she said, "All generations will call me blessed."

Our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, said in an address, "Be faithful to the Marian practices of piety that are traditional in the Church - the Angelus, special devotion to Our Lady during the month of May, and in particular, the Holy Rosary."

St John Damascene, an early Father of the Church said, "Our Lady is rest for those who work, consolation for those who mourn, and relief for those who are sick. She is a refuge for those caught in the storm of life, a fountain of compassion for sinners, a sweet relief for the sorrowful, and a source of aid for those who pray."

We ask Our Lady's intercession today for our Diocese and our parish.

Mary Immaculate,

Pray for us.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

A Christmas Extravaganza

We are all looking forward with great anticipation to a "Christmas Extravaganza" this evening in our parish hall.

Weeks of hard work; planning and preparation, rehearsals, meetings, shopping etc. have been going on behind the scenes leading up to a frenetic rush of activity during the last few days.

It's great to see all sections of the parish working together, and having had a 'sneak preview' of tonight's programme, I can assure you there will be something for all ages.

As well as raising funds for St Anne's School Building Fund, it is also very important as a way of bringing the parish together as a community.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

"Let the Children Come to Me ..." (Mark 10:14)

Over the last three mornings I have had the great delight and privilege of confessing over 15o children at our parish primary school, and also some staff.

I was struck, as always, by their openness and honesty and their detail in confessing their sins. Children have none of the hang-ups that hinder some adults when it comes to Confession.

It is a marvellous example to the children when they also see members of staff taking the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament.

I couldn't have expressed it any better myself when one of the children said to me, " I can't explain it; it really is better than a good example to me."

Monday, 1 December 2008

Welcome Home ...

Many thanks to Joanna Bogle for posting this beautiful video on her blog. Do please show it to everyone you know.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

The Advent Wreath

Today we lit the first candle in our Advent wreath. There are many traditions associated with the Advent wreath.

In Catholic churches, three of the candles are purple and one is rose. The purple candles symbolise faith expectation, and the rose candle symbolises joy and hope. These colours mirror the colour of the priest's vestments used during the Sundays of Advent.
In earlier times, the season of Advent had stronger penitential and ascetic aspects, and a relaxation of disciplines was offered on the third Sunday of Advent called Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin for 'rejoice', the first words of the Introit.
Many people have an Advent wreath at home and it is a lovely thing to do, to light a candle on each Sunday of Advent and say a prayer together as a family.

Friday, 28 November 2008

I am the Resurrection and the Life ....

"I am the resurrection and the life.
If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live,
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:25-26).

Amidst the pain and sorrow of death these words from St John's Gospel give us hope. We trust in God's love and mercy.

Why do Catholics pray for the dead?

In the Creed we profess our faith in the Communion of Saints. This means that all the baptised, alive or dead, belong to each other. As such we are part of that great wheel of prayer which is the Catholic Church. The living pray for the souls in Purgatory; the Saints in glory pray for all of us. One for all and all for one. Of course the highest form of prayer, be it for the living or for the dead, is the Holy Mass offered for them, with, in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Those of us on earth can help those in the process of Purgatory by our prayers. God invites us to help them by sharing in His work of saving the human race. What a great privilege to have such a chance to love and serve. We read in the 2nd Book of Maccabees,

“It is a good and holy thing to pray for the dead that they may be released from their sins.”

(II Maccabees 12: 44-45).

This evening we celebrated our annual Mass for those who have died during the year and it was good to see it so well attended. After Mass many stayed on to chat over a cup of tea or coffee in our parish hall. It is good to have this opportunity to get together and support one another in this way. I am grateful to our parish Bereavement Support Group who kindly helped in the hall after Mass and who also offer a similar opportunity for the bereaved get together for mutual support over a cup of coffee after Mass on a regular basis throughout the year.

God's Word is for All Time ...

As we approach the end of the Church's Year we meditate on Our Lord's words from today's Gospel,

"Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away."

These words are for all, for every human being that will walk the face of the earth. Because God's message is divine it cannot be limited to constraints of place and time. The instructions and teachings of Our Lord are 'modern' and 'up to date.'

We must never turn the pages of Sacred Scripture as if it were any old book.

"When you open the Holy Gospel, think of what is written there - the words and deeds of Christ - it is something that you should not only know, but live. Take up the Gospel every day, then, and read it and live it as a definite rule. This is what the Saints have done." (St Josemaría Escrivá - The Forge.)

Monday, 24 November 2008

The Gift That Pleased Jesus

In the Gospel of today's Mass Jesus tells the parable of 'the poverty-stricken widow' who put two small coins into the treasury.

He saw the rich making their contribution but Jesus comments that 'they contributed money they had left over.'

Of the poor woman's contribution, Jesus says, 'I tell you truly, this poor widow has put in all she had to live on.'

Our Lord was so pleased by the generosity of the poor widow that He wanted to tell his disciples, 'Then he called his disciples and said to them, 'In truth this poor woman has put more than all who have contributed to the treasury, for they have put in money they could spare'. (Mark 12: 43)

We must not be afraid to be generous; there may be many times we have to sacrifice things that SEEM necessary; but really how few things are truly necessary?

What is Our Lord asking from me today?

What is stopping Him from coming closer to me?

Sunday, 23 November 2008

A Very Busy Sunday ...

Today was an especially busy Sunday. The 6pm Mass today was full of young people - marvellous! As well as celebrating the Solemnity of Christ the King and National Youth Sunday it was also the 'Inscription Mass' for our new Confirmation candidates when they make a commitment to the programme and to developing in their understanding and practice of their faith.

It was also the time to present Confirmation certificates to our young people who were confirmed with others in our Deanery at Epsom earlier in the year.

Two very joyful 'tasks'.

In addition we also welcomed other local Christians to this Mass as part of our ongoing commitment to cooperation and fellowship with members of the Banstead Five Churches.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

The Last Wedding of the Year ...

Today in the parish I celebrated the last wedding of 2008. As I've said several times before, I do enjoy celebrating Weddings and Baptisms.

Weddings in particular, remind us that Marriage is at the heart of our Catholic family life. This naturally leads on to the Sacrament of Baptism; Marriage lays the foundations of a loving environment in which to bring up children. There is no better place for children to grow and develop than in the loving care of two married parents, a mother and a father.

We wish Kathryn and Martin every happiness in the years to come. May God bless them and their family.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Christian Duty ...

I was very moved when reading the following from the Office of Readings this morning which comes from a homily of a second-century author:

Let us repent then with all our heart so that none of us may be lost. It is our duty as Christians to rescue people from idolatry and to instruct them in the faith but it is even more important that those who already know God should not perish. Let us collaborate in helping those whose faith is weak so that by our mutual advice and example we may all be saved.

A reminder that as part of our preparation during Advent we should all continue to encourage and support one another in our faith and, most importantly, take the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Confession.

Our own parish Reconciliation Service will be at 7.30 pm on Friday 12th December. Most parishes in our Deanery will also have a similar service to which all are welcome. Details will be in the newsletter very soon.

It is the responsibility of each one of us to witness to our faith whenever we can; to those in our homes, places of work, schools or wherever. Remember we receive a great grace when we enable others to return to the practice of their faith.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Mass for Deceased Clergy and Religious of the Deanery

Tomorrow morning the clergy and religious of Epsom Deanery meet together in Dorking for the annual Mass for the deceased clergy and religious of our Deanery. It is always a good thing to get together for the celebration of Mass. We also have a brief meeting about Deanery matters and an exchange of views.

I'm sure we'll also enjoy some 'famous Dorking hospitality' after the Mass!

Requiescant in pace. Amen

Friday, 7 November 2008

Another new book for your Christmas list ...

This morning's post brought with it a review copy of another delightful book from Family Publications.

Entitled, 'Nativity, A visual meditation', the book is very well presented with beautiful illustrations accompanying the meditations and prayers. The book is based on the fifteenth-century painting The Nativity by Robert Campin.

An ideal book for Advent and Christmas for anyone looking for a focus for their spiritual preparation for Christmas, and very reasonably priced at £8.95. You can order the book from Family Publications

Mass at St Anne's School on the First Friday of the month ...

I was delighted to celebrate Mass at our parish primary school of St Anne's this morning, the First Friday of the Month, in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

It was very encouraging to see so many children, parents, members of staff and governors who had come to Mass at 8 O'clock in the morning. What better way to start the school day!

The numbers were so great that sadly some people had to stand outside. Fortunately we were blessed with fine weather today.

I look forward to my return visit to the school for Mass on the First Friday of next month, 5th December.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

A visit from Joanna Bogle ...

I was delighted to welcome the well-known Catholic writer and broadcaster, Joanna Bogle, to the parish yesterday evening to speak with our First Holy Communion Parents about the Sacrament of Confession.

Joanna spoke of the desire God has planted in human hearts to seek forgiveness; she reminded us that no sin is 'too big' to be forgiven so long as we show sorrow for our sins.

Our children are very aware of the difference between what is 'right and what is 'wrong'. She stressed the importance of leading children by example; reiterating that celebrating the Sacrament of Confession is a' good exercise' to do as a family. It is important to confess our sins regularly though also very good to come together during Advent and Lent for a parish celebration of the Sacrament.

Joanna continued with this good advice: The priest will always help the penitent, remember that NOTHING shocks him.

The talk was well received by the parents; some commented that they would have liked to have had an opportunity to make their Confession immediately after the talk. I must remember that for next time!

Friday, 31 October 2008

Requiescant in Pace ...

November is traditionally dedicated to The Holy Souls when we remember especially members of our families and friends who have died as well as praying for all the Faithful Departed.

The 'Holy Souls' are called 'Holy' because they are on their way to heaven with no chance at all of failing to reach their goal.

The Holy Souls are those who have died in the state of grace but who are not yet free from all punishment due to their unforgiven venial sins and all other sins already forgiven for which satisfaction is still to be made. The Holy Souls cannot help themselves, 'because for them the night has come, where no man can work' John 9: 4

It is our special privilege as their brothers and sisters that we can shorten their time in Purgatory by our prayers, acts of charity and particularly by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

We will have an extra Mass here at St Ann's at 7.30 in the evening on Holy Souls' Day and a Mass at 7.30 pm on Friday 28th November when we remember especially all those in the parish who have died during the last year.

We will continue with Rosary and Benediction at 4pm every Sunday during November when we will pray for all the Faithful Departed.

I do hope many of you will make a special effort to come along to weekday Mass sometime during the month to pray in a special way for your own departed loved ones.

V. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, lux perpetua luceat eis.

V. Requiescant in pace.
R. Amen.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Devotion and Reverence

When visiting some of the Nursing Homes in our parish this morning, I was struck once again by the devotion and reverence of these elderly residents. For example, one good lady whose memory is not what it once was, when I explained that I had come to offer her the Sacraments of Confession, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion if she wished, responded by saying, 'I've not long had my lunch, will that be all right?'

Despite her frailty, she, like many others I visit in similar circumstances, still remembers the catechesis received over 70 years ago. Reception of the Sacraments is always something very special and not to be taken casually or lightly.

I often think how much we younger people can learn from the example of our older parishioners.

Statistics, statistics, statistics ...

Amongst other things that take place annually in our Church in October we have what we call 'The Mass Count'. Every Sunday during the month we count the number of people present at Mass. This includes children and those in the sanctuary; clergy, altar servers etc. This information is collated by the Dioceses in England and Wales and is used to provide the statistics for Church attendance nationally.

It has always struck me as being a bad time to gain an accurate picture of numbers attending Mass. In this month we always have a school Half-Term holiday which invariably affects two Sundays out of the four as more and more people seem to actually go away for a holiday at Half-Term nowadays.

It is also very noticeable that there is a marked increase in attendance on the Sunday following the beginning our Catechetical programme, which sadly is not repeated on the remaining Sundays in the month. I wonder how can we get the message across that it is not only that we should be there but also that we should want to be there?

* * *
October is also the month when parish priests are approached first by parents and later by local Catholic secondary schools to provide references for the children who are moving up to secondary school.

The priest is asked to confirm that the child and his/her family are regular in their attendance at Mass and involved in parish activities.

I am of course delighted when parents opt to send their children to Catholic schools. It is right and fitting that they should do so.

If you are a committed, practising Catholic then I can see no difficulty in your child being accepted into a Catholic secondary school. I, like other parish priests in similar parishes, am of course fully aware of those in our parish who fulfill this requirement and I wish you all well in your efforts to secure a place in a suitable school for your child.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Back in the parish again ...

Sorry for the long absence from the 'blogosphere' due to a prolonged stay in Ireland.

Looking through the local paper when I was at home, I was very pleased to read that the Bishop of Elphin, Rt. Rev Christopher Jones, has spoken out about the importance of marriage.

Addressing couples celebrating various wedding anniversaries he said that the health, happiness and the stability of society into the future will depend significantly on marriage and family rooted in marriage.

He spoke about the Sacrament of Marriage,

As a Church we believe in marriage. We believe that marriage brings blessings to the couple themselves, to their family and to society. We believe in marriage because we believe in love, God's love. We believe that the love of a man and woman in marriage is a sign and symbol of God's love in our world, in our community, in our family and in our home.

We believe that every married couple who love each other are showing forth something of God's love in the home and in the community. Through the sacrament of marriage every married couple is called to show forth the love of Christ for His Church.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Ever felt like this??

It's a very busy week, and it's only Tuesday! You can certainly tell it's October; the schools are back and the parish office is a blaze of activity.

Yesterday evening we had the first session of our Confirmation programme; Baptism preparation; and an enquirer into reception into the Catholic Church. All within the space of about three hours and I managed to attend part of all three - beat that if you can!

This evening we have the first Parents' Session for our First Holy Communion programme and I'm on fire with enthusiasm.

Today is also our Parish Golf Day, a fundraiser for St Anne's School Building Fund and sadly, I will have to miss the dinner in the evening. If anyone taking part has any photos of the event please email them to the parish office and I'll put them on the blog in the next couple of days.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Confessions ...

It is one the great delights and privileges of a priest to be able to offer people the Sacrament of Penance.

Here at St Ann's, as well as the usual times for weekly Confessions on Saturday morning and evening, I am very pleased to be available for Confession after each of the Masses on the first Sunday of the month.

This time is especially helpful, I feel, as people have already come to Mass and don't need to make another extra trip to come to Confession.

It is so uplifting for me as a priest to see parishioners, including parents with their children, queueing up for Confession after Sunday Mass.

Times for Confession:

10.30 am to 11.30 am
5.00 pm to 6.00 pm

First Sunday of the month: After every Mass

And at call

Saturday, 4 October 2008

First Holy Communion Programme

Our First Holy Communion programme got off to an excellent start yesterday with a Holy Hour for Children.

It was very encouraging to see so many of our children and their parents in church responding to the invitation of Christ, 'Let the children come to me'.

As well as bringing your children to Sunday Mass which is of course 'the source and summit' of our Catholic life, it is also good to encourage them to come along to other devotions such as this.

We are looking forward this year to using a new book for our First Holy Communion programme, Jesus Comes to Me, by Dora Nash.

We used Dora Nash's book, Confirmed in the Faith, for our Confirmation programme last year and were very pleased with it so I'm sure her First Holy Communion programme will also be excellent.

October - The Month of The Rosary

October is the month of the Rosary and what a beautiful prayer Our Lady has given us.

I know many of you faithfully pray the Rosary regularly but if others of you have been given a Rosary recently (or one of your children) and you'd like to remind yourself how to pray the Rosary you'll find very good instructions here.

I do encourage you to spend a few minutes with your children, perhaps when you say your family prayers at bedtime, to help your children learn how to use their Rosary beads.

During October we have Rosary and Benediction every Sunday in church at 4 pm. I hope some of you will come along and pray for our parish.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The Guardian Angels

'Bless the Lord, all you angels of the Lord. Sing his glory and praise forever.'
(Entrance antiphon).

Pope Clement X proclaimed the feast a memorial celebration in the seventeenth century, but devotion goes back to the beginning of Christianity. God has allocated a Guardian Angel to each of us for our protection.

Sacred Scripture says this: 'Are they not all ministering spirits, sent for service, for the sake of those who shall inherit salvation'. (Heb 1:14)

Many saints and holy people enjoyed friendship with their Guardian Angels, whose intercession they frequently sought.

St Josemaria Escriva had a particular devotion to the Guardian Angels; it was exactly on the Feast the Lord let him clearly see the founding of Opus Dei and through this foundation the universal call to holiness would echo throughout the world.

Today let us reaffirm our devotion to our Guardian Angel since we are all in much need of him.

Angel of God, My Guardian Dear,
to whom God's love commits me here.

Ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard and rule and guide.


Wednesday, 1 October 2008

New students at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome

I am delighted to see that the Holy Father has welcomed the new students at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome and greeted them in his Wednesday Audience.

"I offer a warm welcome to the new students of the Pontifical Irish College. May your priestly formation in the Eternal City prepare you to be generous and faithful servants of God’s People in your native land."

You may remember that I posted a photo of my old college on the blog a while ago when I managed to make a brief visit during my flying trip to Rome back in June.

Please keep the students in your prayers as they begin their period of formation in Rome. Please remember also the students of our own Diocese as they begin another year's formation at St John's Seminary, Wonersh.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

UK Bishops urge action against the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

I'm delighted to see that the Catholic news service ZENIT is reporting on the letter sent by Archbishop Peter Smith, on behalf of our Bishops' Conference, to all parishes concerning the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

Along with your newsletter last week I hope you were given a card to be sent to your MP urging him/her to vote against the Bill - and that you have already posted it. It is very important that we all take action to protect the sanctity of life from conception to it's natural conclusion. You can read the leaflet from the Bishops of England and Wales here, and you might look to look again at other posts on this topic which you can find by 'clicking' on the label, 'pro-life' at the bottom of this post.

Monday, 29 September 2008

The Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

Today's liturgy celebrates the feast of the three archangels, Michael (who is like God) is the archangel who defends against Satan and the wicked spirits. Gabriel (the Power of God) is chosen by God to announce to Our Lady that she is to become the Mother of God. Raphael (the medicine of God) is the archangel who takes care of Tobias on his journey.

The church invokes St Michael as a protector and defender in adversity. maybe the greatest triumph of Satan and his followers in our own time is that many have forgotten about them or question their existence. I've heard it said that belief in angels was held only during less culturally advanced periods of history.

May we frequently seek the protection of St Michael, the Archangel:

St Michael, Archangel,

defend us in the hour of battle,

be our safeguard against the

wickedness and snares of the devil.

May God rebuke him we humbly pray;

and do thou Prince of the heavenly host,

by the power of God,

thrust down to hell Satan

and all the wicked spirits

who wander through the

world for the ruin of Souls.


Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael; pray for us.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

St Vincent de Paul

Today we celebrate the feast of St Vincent de Paul.

From Gascony in France, St Vincent de Paul experienced an important moment in his life when hearing the confession of a dying servant. This had a profound effect on him and led him to realise the crying spiritual needs of the poor in France.

He later went on to found the Congregation of the Mission, or the Vincentians, devoted entirely to the people in smaller towns and villages; and subsequently the Daughters of Charity.

Pope Leo XIII made him the patron of all charitable societies. The most famous of all these, of course, is the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, founded in 1833 by his admirer Blessed Frederic Ozanam.

We are very fortunate in that we have a very active SVP group here at St Ann's. Our children at St Anne's School will also be familiar with St Vincent de Paul as one of the classes is named after him. Take a bow, St Vincent's Class and enjoy your feast day!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

How privileged we are at St Ann's to have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament available at least once a week for almost every week of the year, and for a lot of the time for 3 days of every week. What a great blessing this is.

If you are passing the church, out shopping, alone or with friends, do please drop in and 'say hello to Our Lord' who is waiting for all of us.

Tuesday: 10.00 am to 8.00 pm

Wednesday: 10.00 am to 7.00 pm

Thursday: 7.00 am to 8.00 pm

"There is a time for every occupation under heaven ..."

The reading from the book of Ecclesiastes for today's Mass is a reminder to us to live our lives in the presence of God. We are told that that everything has its proper time ...

'A time for giving birth, a time for dying;

a time for planting, a time for uprooting what has been planted.

A time for killing, a time for healing;

a time for knocking down, a time for building.

A time for tears, a time for laughter;

a time for mourning, a time for dancing.

A time for throwing stones away, a time for gathering them up;

a time for embracing, a time to refrain from embracing.

A time for searching, a time for losing;

a time for keeping a time for throwing away.

A time for tearing, a time for sewing;

a time for keeping silent, a time for speaking.

A time for loving, a time for hating;

a time for war, a time for peace.'

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11

The life of each one of us exists in the present moment. We must live the present moment with love .... this is the only time which Almighty God give us to sanctify ... Hodie nunc.

We must not deceive ourselves by thinking we can put our sanctification off until tomorrow ... Hodie nunc.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Our Lady of Walsingham

I love celebrating feasts of Our Lady and tomorrow we celebrate the memoria of Our Lady of Walsingham. The Church has given us many beautiful feast days to help us in our devotion and I do hope some of you will be able to come along to Mass on Wednesday to celebrate this feast in honour of Our Lady of Walsingham and pray for the conversion of England and the restoraton of Our Lady's Dowry.

Walsingham in Norfolk has been a place of pilgrimage since mediaeval times. The original shrine was destroyed during the Reformation but the Slipper Chapel was later restored and has become the National Shrine to Our Lady.

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.

Monday, 22 September 2008

A Thérèse of Lisieux Prayer Book

I've just received another delightful book from Family Publications. It is very readable with lovely black and white pictures, some beautiful prayers and litanies and text from St Thérèse's own manuscripts.

Very apt at this present time as Pope Benedict XVI has approved the beatification of Louis and Marie Zelie Guerin Martin, parents of St Thérèse. The couple will be beatified on 19th October, World Mission Sunday, during a Mass in the Basilica of St Thérèse in Lisieux, France. More information here.

By coincidence, I also received in the post today a letter giving details of the visit of Relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux to England and Wales in 2009. Looking at the itinerary, the nearest places to visit from Banstead would be Portsmouth Cathedral on 16th/17th September; Aylesford on 9th - 11th October and Westminster Cathedral on 12th- 15th October. In general the relics will arrive in the afternoon and leave in the morning. Further details may be found on this website.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Intermission .....

I apologise for the rather intermittent blogging lately, what with being away and changing Internet provider in the presbytery I haven't always been able to access the Internet. If you have posted a comment to the blog and are wondering if I have seen it, the answer is 'maybe'. I shall catch up with the blog as soon as I can. Thank you for your patience.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Another regular visitor ...

I am delighted that Fr Kenneth McCarthy was able to come and look after the parish again recently whilst I was away for a short while.

Fr McCarthy, a retired priest of our diocese, has become a regular visitor to St Ann's and is always warmly welcomed by everyone in the parish. I am very grateful for his help and his willingness to 'step in' when asked to celebrate Mass here, sometimes at fairly short notice.

Thank you Fr McCarthy!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Scripture Conference for Clergy.

From Tuesday afternoon clergy from across our diocese together with Bishop Kieran will be gathering at The Royal Holloway College, University of London for a Scripture Conference which will take place over the next few days. I myself will join as soon as I'm able after celebrating Mass early on Wednesday morning.

The theme of the conference is, 'Where Does the Jesus Story Begin?' and will be led by Father Denis McBride CssR, a well-known scripture scholar.

These sessions of ongoing formation for clergy are very important; not only for our ongoing formation but also to give clergy an opportunity to meet one another in relaxed surroundings away from the busy day to day life of the parish.

Please pray for the success of the conference and for all those who are attending.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Our Lady of Sorrows

This feast follows immediately after the Triumph of the Holy Cross. We are reminded of the particular union that Our Blessed Lady shared in the Sacrifice of Her Son.

In 1912 St Pius X decreed that the feast would be celebrated throughout the Universal Church on 15th September. In the Sequence for the Mass, the Stabat Mater Dolorosa came into use;

O Sweet Mother, fount of love,

Touch my Spirit from above,

Make my heart with yours accord,

Make me feel as you have felt,

Make my soul to glow and melt,

With the love of Christ my Lord.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

This feast has been celebrated in the Church since the fourth century, and devotion to the Holy Cross dates from the earliest days of Christianity. On this day the Church commemorates the recovery of the True Cross by the Emperor Heraclius.

The Liturgy of the Mass and the Office of the Church proclaim the Cross as the instrument of our Salvation.

In the preface of the Mass we pray,

'God our Father, in obedience to you, your only Son accepted death on the Cross for the Salvation of mankind. We acknowledge the mystery of the Cross on earth. May we receive the gift of redemption in heaven.'

Monday, 8 September 2008

The Birthday of Our Lady

'Let us celebrate with joyful hearts the birth of the Virgin Mary of whom was born the Sun of Justice, Christ Our Lord.' Entrance antiphon.

This beautiful Feast of the Mother of God and our mother is an occasion of great joy because Mary's arrival is a sign that Redemption is drawing near.

In his encyclical, Redemptoris Mater, our late Holy Father, John Paul II said, 'As the dawn before sunrise, Mary is the Morning Star who precedes the Saviour, the Sun of Justice into the history of the human race.'

St Alphonsus Liguori said, 'She is the most beautiful human soul ever created, second only to the Incarnation of the Word.'

Today's feast should encourage us to respect the life of every human being. Parents co-operate in the act of procreation, and God infuses a unique immortal soul at the moment of conception.

John Paul II in his address in November 1985 said of this Feast, 'On the birthday of the Mother of God, the great joy we feel and celebrate bears with it a serious responsibility. We should be glad to learn when a child comes into being in the mother's womb, and rejoice when it enters the world. Even when the arrival of a new born implies hardship, entails renunciations, or presents restrictions and burdens, the child should always be accepted and feel safe in the love of its parents.'

Our Lady, Mother of the Church and our Mother,

Pray for us