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

Friday, 5 September 2008

New Diocesan Blog

I've just added a link on the side bar to the new blog set up by our Diocesan Communications Officer, Deacon Mark Woods.
Here is what he has to say about the new blog and what its aims are:

'The desire is that this blog will be another way of providing news and information from Arundel & Brighton Diocese as well as the Church in England and Wales and beyond primarily for the clergy and people of the diocese. We welcome comments and ideas from readers of the blog - all comments will be moderated. We hope this will prove another way in which we can share the good work taking place in the Church at home and elsewhere, so that the good news of Jesus Christ can continue to be shared with the world.'

I hope that those of you who follow our parish blog will also dip into this new blog to keep up to date on what is happening in our own diocese and further afield.

An interesting perspective on parish life ...

From time to time I receive a review copy of a new book from Family Publications.

This time the book is called 'Diary of a City Priest' and is a compilation of articles by the popular 'Pastor Iuventus' who writes a weekly column in The Catholic Herald.

As it 'says on the tin' to coin a common phrase, it is the diary entries of a city priest, although it could apply equally well to a country priest or even a priest in a suburb like Banstead! It gives an insight into the highs and lows of the ministry of a parish priest and daily life in a parish.

'Pastor Iuventus'
is a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Southwark and is currently serving in a parish in London. He is also chaplain to local hospitals and a school chaplain.

The book may be found in Christian book shops and ordered from Family Publications.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

An Encounter with the Risen Christ

Christianity is not a moral code or a philosophy, but an encounter with a person, says Benedict XVI.

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 3, 2008 (Zenit.org).

St Paul's conversion was not an intellectual one but rather a meeting with the Risen Lord which transformed him.

This has been very well expressed by the Holy Father in his message at the General Audience with pilgrims yesterday as reported by Zenit.

The Holy Father continued by saying that for us too Christianity is not a new philosophy but a meeting with Christ not necessarily in the 'luminous' way in which he showed himself to St Paul but through our encounter with Christ in the reading of Holy Scripture, in prayer and in the liturgical life of the Church.

"We can touch Christ's heart and feel him touch ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we really become Christians. And in this way, our reason opens, the whole of Christ's wisdom opens and all the richness of the truth. Therefore, let us pray to the Lord to enlighten us, so that, in our world, he will grant us the encounter with his presence, and thus give us a lively faith, an open heart, and great charity for all, capable of renewing the world."

Monday, 1 September 2008

Another priest for our diocese - Deo Gratia!

Here's a picture of the newest priest in our diocese, Fr Aaron Spinelli, ordained at Our Lady of Ransom, Eastbourne on Saturday. Thanks to Fr Ray Blake for this photo 'borrowed' from his blog.

We hope this will inspire more vocations to the priesthood, especially from our own parish of St Ann's. We pray that more men will respond generously to the call of Christ.

We ask God to bless Fr Aaron in his ministry.

St John Vianney, pray for us.