Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Deanery Confirmations

Yesterday evening I joined other priests from our Deanery at St Joseph's Church, Epsom for the Confirmation by Bishop Kieran of 13 young people from our parish, along with many others from other parishes in Epsom Deanery. There are so many Confirmandi that Bishop Kieran will be returning to Epsom again this evening for the second installment!

Despite the wet weather, spirits were high and it was a very joyful occasion. Unfortunately the rain prevented my taking any photographs outside. If any of our parishioners did take any photos before or after the Mass and they would like to email them to the parish, I'll try and include them on the blog in the next day or two.

Congratulations to all our young people; we look forward to you now taking a more active part in our parish and in the life of the Church.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Saint of the Day

I see that today is the feast day of St Peter Chanel. Not, as someone recently remarked, 'the patron Saint of exclusive perfumes' rather the protomartyr of the South Seas.

St Peter Chanel was born in 1803 at Clet in the diocese of Belley, France. He was set on missionary work and in 1831, he joined the newly formed Society of Mary (Marists). In 1836, St Peter was appointed Superior of a small group of missionaries sent to evangelise the inhabitants of the New Hebrides in the Pacific.

St Peter went to the Island of Futuna. He and his companions were at first well received by the pagans and their king who had only recently forbidden canabalism. Although they were intitially very succesful St Peter later came to arouse the anger of the King and three years after his arrival, he was clubbed to death by those he had come to save. Within a few months of his death the entire island was converted to Christianity.

The Church gives us saints to be models and an example for us all in our daily life; they were ordinary people like us, doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way, not that I'm suggesting we all rush off to a distant island where we might come to a rather nasty end!

Cardinal Newman

There's hope for England!!
I see from Catholic World News that the cause for the Beatification of Cardinal Newman has taken another step forward. The Vatican has given preliminary approval to the authenticity of a miracle attributed to Cardinal Newman’s intercession. This will now be studied by theologians for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. If the theologians give their approval, the case will go to the full Congregation for approval.

Beatification, which confers the title Blessed, requires proof of one miracle attributed to the posthumous intercession of the candidate, usually a medically inexplicable cure. Sainthood requires two such miracles.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Last day at Lismullin

Here are a few more photos taken during my recent retreat
at the Lismullin Conference Centre in Co. Meath.


Another photo of the splendid oratory.

A closer view of the tabernacle which depicts the four evangelists from the famous Book of Kells.

As I said goodbye to Lismullin I gave thanks to God for this opportunity to withdraw from the world for a few days; from the hectic pace and demands of parish life to focus on my priesthood and prayer and to examine my daily life.
I would recommend this practice to everyone. It is a marvellous thing to be able to take time away from our busy day to day lives, even just for a short time. There are days of retreat and residential retreats for both men and women at Wickenden Manor amongst many other retreat centres both locally and further afield.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

The Oratory

Here you can see the fine Oratory at Lismullin with the altar prepared for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

On Retreat

Now you can all see where I am. This is the Retreat Centre at Lismullin. I'm surrounded by beautiful, peaceful countryside near the hill of Tara.

“We cannot bring to the world the Good News, which is Christ himself in person, if we ourselves are not deeply united with Christ, if we do not know him profoundly, personally, if we do not live by his Word”. Pope Benedict XVI, after his own retreat, 11 March 2006

My simple bedroom at the Lismullin Centre where, so far, I've woken up to sunshine and birds singing.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Pope Benedict XVI at The White House

A video of Pope Benedict speaking at The White House yesterday.

Happy Birthday Your Holiness

The TV, radio and newspapers are full of Pope Benedict's arrival in Washington for his first pastoral visit to America. Today Our Holy Father also celebrates his 81st birthday
so we also add our wishes:

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag Heiliger Vater!

Buon Compleanno e Tanti Auguri
Santo Padre!

Felix sit natalis dies!

Monday, 14 April 2008

Church schools

It is the practice amongst the clergy of the Banstead Five Churches to exchange church magazines with one another and this is very useful as it gives us a better insight into each other's churches and congregations.

Recently I was looking through the latest edition of 'The Steeple', the parish magazine of our local Anglican church of All Saints, and I was interested to read the Vicar's comments on local church schools, both primary and secondary.

He notes that the local clergy of all denominations have seen an increase in requests for refrences and how, ' Schools ask clergy to tell how often the applicant goes to church, and, in some casess, how frequently one or both of their parents. Regular attendance before the application and during the time that the student is at the school is required.'

So, we are not alone in this practice. It's interesting to hear about this from another perspective.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

All things new

We have enjoyed a few days of lovely Spring weather recently interspersed with reminders that we haven't quite seen the last of Winter yet.
Just as the garden is beginning to come to life again, so visitors and parishioners will have noticed other new things appearing in and around our church.

After a slight delay we now have a new porch floor which is a great improvement on the old,worn and chipped tiles that it has replaced.

Our next-door neighbour has also taken advantage of the improvement in the weather to begin work on a smart new fence along the boundary between his property and that of the church.

Just as we often think on tackling the Spring cleaning in our homes when the days get longer and the weather warmer, do we ever think of taking a look at our spiritual life and see if that too could do with a spot of Spring cleaning! Does anyone have any suggestions as to how we might go about Spring cleaning our spiritual lives?

Sunday, 6 April 2008


For those of you who might have been away from the parish recently here is a photo of our magnificent magnolia taken in full bloom in the sunshine on 4th April.

It's incredible to think that this second picture of the same tree was taken just 2 days later.