Tuesday, 29 December 2009

"Arise Once More"

I received an excellent DVD as a Christmas gift from a priest friend. 'Arise Once More' is produced by St Anthony Communications with commentary provided by well-known speakers and authors including James and Joanna Bogle, Fr Marcus Holden, Fr Andrew Pinsent and others.

It traces the history of Catholicism in Britain up to the present day concluding with encouragement to all of us to be instrumental in 'Reviving Catholic Britain' which is the very apt subtitle of the video.

I found it very encouraging and inspiring.

It is available from St Anthony Communications at the very reasonable price of £9.95. As they say in all the best publicity - 'Order your copy now'!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Venite adoremus . . .

The church was a hive of activity yesterday. As soon as the morning Mass was over, there was an influx of an army of volunteers; cleaners wielding dusters, up ladders and on hands and knees, searching into every nook and cranny to make sure St Ann's is looking at her best for the Feast of Christmas.

They were accompanied by a bevy of florists and here you can see some of the results of their labour:

It's a marvellous feeling to be in church as I was yesterday morning to hear Confessions, and to see the great spirit of community in the parish. So many people help in so many different ways and without them, I don't know how we would manage.

Our crib in in place and there is an air of expectancy. Our eyes are drawn towards the empty manger.

In just a few hours time, we will celebrate the Vigil Mass of Christmas and the church will be full with lively children barely able to contain their excitement; tired but contented parents; grandparents, aunts, uncles and family friends; parishioners and visitors; all joining together to welcome the birth of our Saviour.

In the wonder of the incarnation
your eternal Word has brought to the eyes of faith
a new and radiant vision of your glory.
In him we see our God made visible
and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see.

Taken from the first Preface of Christmas)

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Away in a Manger . . .

As has been the custom for many years and certainly before I came to St Ann's, on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, the children from our Children's Liturgy group perform a Nativity Play at the end of the 10am Mass.

I am always moved by the innocence of the children as they enact the Christmas story. For those of you who were not able to attend the 10am Mass today, and also for those who'd like to be reminded of this joyful event, please 'click' on the title slide below and it should take you to a slide show of the photos taken by our parish secretary this morning.

A big thank you to our dedicated team of mothers who help with Children's Liturgy throughout the year and especially to Mary and her helpers this morning.

I'm afraid we don't have a recording of the lovely singing of the children themselves. This soundtrack is by Aled Jones.

From Videos

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

It always makes me smile . . .

This is a bit of an 'in joke' for any possible clerical readers of this blog. I wonder how many times you've heard something like this in the last few days.

I certainly have had similar comments several times when I've been out and about in the parish recently. I wonder what people imagine we do for the rest of the year!

It still makes me smile . . .

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Sing, Choirs of Angels . . .

Our choir stayed behind after Mass today to make a recording of Schubert's 'Ave Maria'. Our parish secretary also stayed behind to take a few photos which I've just received so I thought you might like to see a few of them.

Our choir has been practising this piece for some time and when they first sang it at Mass a little while ago, there was a marvellous response - you could have heard a pin drop after the last notes had died away.

Now, we're all waiting eagerly to hear the results of today's recording session.

By the way, I know our musical director is always delighted to welcome new members to our choir. You don't need to be an expert, so I'm told; the main qualities needed are enthusiasm and a love of singing.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Rejoice in the Lord, always . . .

'Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near!'

The liturgy of today's Mass repeats St Paul's words to the first Christians at Philippi, 'Rejoice in the Lord, always; again I say, rejoice!' Then he give us the real reason for this great happiness: 'The Lord is near.'

This is the joy of Advent and of each and every day and St Paul gives us the key to understanding the origin of any unhappiness we may experience; unhappiness comes from putting a barrier between ourselves and God, through our sins, through our lukewarmness or indifference.

Of course every day the Lord is nearer to us. However if there are barriers, he will not force an entry.

There is still time to celebrate the sacrament of Confession. If not in your own parish, then any priest would be delighted to make time to hear your Confession. Here are details of times for Confession at St Ann's:

Saturdays: 10.30am to 11.30am
5.00pm to 6.00pm

After each Mass on the first Sunday of the month

And at call

Advent Penitential Service - Tuesday 15th December at 7.30pm

St John Vianney, pray for us

Our Lady, Queen of Confessors, pray for us

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Third talk by the Friars - Prayer . . .

I was delighted that we had a very good turnout for our third and final talk from the Friars of the Renewal this evening. The parish hall was almost full with parents from our First Holy Communion group and other parishioners. Once again I was very pleased to see many of the young people from our Confirmation programme.

Fr Raphaël gave an excellent talk on 'Prayer'.

He spoke about Judaeo-Christian prayer and quoted examples from the Gospels of Jesus' own prayer to his Father; mentioning the way that we look back in memory when we pray in thanksgiving and also look forward in supplication in our prayers for the future.

In the second half of his talk, Fr Raphaël spoke at some length about five methods of prayer that we might use ourselves:

Praying the Rosary

Lectio Divina

The Jesus Prayer

Silent Meditation

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

One of the questions at the end of the evening referred to the distractions that beset us all at some time or another when we are trying to prayer.

Fr Raphaël reminded us that even the some of the great saints like St Thérèse of Lisieux were plagued by distractions and suggested that we try and turn those distractions into prayer.

Although this was the last talk in the series, we look forward to welcoming the Friars back to St Ann's some time next year when we hope they will visit us again.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Marriage Preparation . . .

Saturdays are usually fairly busy days in most parishes and today was no exception for us here in Banstead.

Couples began arriving early, some before the morning Mass, for our Marriage Preparation Day led by Diocesan catechists, Liz and Neil, and our own catechists, Louise and Brian.

Of course it is an impossible task to try and cover every aspect of marriage in a day's course but they did manage to include discussion on very important topics such as communication, dealing with problems and naturally to talk about the Church's teaching on marriage and the rite of marriage.

I was delighted to welcome eleven couples from various parishes in our deanery who have decided to be married in the Catholic Church. Other similar preparation days will be taking place over the coming year in other parishes in our deanery.

Please keep all these young couples in your prayers as they continue their preparations for their 'big day' and for the rest of their lives together.
Here is a prayer for our young couples to pray themselves:

We thank you, O God, for the Love You have implanted in our hearts.
May it always inspire us to be kind in our words, considerate of feeling,
and concerned for each other's needs and wishes.
Help us to be understanding and forgiving of human weaknesses and failings.
Increase our faith and trust in You and may Your prudence guide our life and love.
Bless our Marriage O God, with Peace and Happiness,
and make our love fruitful for Your glory and our Joy both here and in eternity.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Christ the King . . .

At our evening Mass today, the Feast of Christ the King, last year's Confirmandi will receive their Confirmation certificates and our current Confirmation candidates will make a commitment to our parish Confirmation programme which culminates in the reception of the Sacrament in the Spring of next year.

Please keep all our young people in your prayers as they continue on their journey of faith.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Well done St Ann's! . . .

Along with other priests in our diocese, in my inbox yesterday was an email requesting information about our parish to help our Bishop in his preparation for the Ad Limina visit to Rome in January.

In taking a few moments to look at the questions and give answers, I couldn't help but notice from what I had written what a lively, vibrant, engaged and engaging parish we have here at St Ann's.

We have excellent, committed catechetical teams, youth leaders, prayer groups; a fantastic choir and musicians and a very dedicated organist and musical director etc. etc. . . . the list goes on. We have a prayerful community with regular Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Rosary and Benediction, and Stations of the Cross; good numbers at weekday Masses, participation in the Prayer of the Church on a regular basis and there are many more signs of a healthy parish.

I just thought I'd write a few lines to congratulate everyone and say, 'Keep up the good work. We're doing all right here in Banstead - now let's double our efforts!'

Update: If you 'double click' on the collage of photos at the top of the page you'll be able to see a larger version.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

The last wedding of the year . . .

Today, we had the last wedding of the year in the parish and fortunately for Steve and Veronica they had a beautiful sunny day for their celebration despite the calendar.

It is always a great joy for me to celebrate a Nuptial Mass and today's was no exception. Chatting to the groom beforehand, I discovered that he is the 5th member of his family to be married at St Ann's - what a marvellous family connection.

Congratulations Steve and Veronica and our best wishes for a very happy married life together.

Please keep them in your prayers as they begin married life together.

'Father, keep them always true to your commandments.
Keep them faithful in marriage
and let them be living examples of Christian life.'

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Talks by the Friars - 2 . . .

Last night once again we had an almost full hall to hear the 2nd of our talks given by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Brother John Bosco gave an excellent talk on the Sacrament of Reconciliation underpinned by the teaching from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

It was very well received by those present which included parents of our First Holy Communion children and other members of the parish. I was delighted to see many of our Confirmation group present too.

I have already received a very good response and feedback from people who were able to attend.

Now, we're all looking forward to the third and final talk, on the subject of Prayer which will take place on

Tuesday 1st December at 7.45 pm for 8pm.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Commemoration of All Souls . . .

Today we pray for all the souls who are being purified in Purgatory. In order to enter eternal happiness it is necessary that we be purified of all sin.
St Catherine of Genoa in her Treatise writes,

'No one is barred from heaven. Whoever wants to enter heaven may do so because God is all-merciful. Our Lord will welcome us into glory with his arms wide open. The Almighty is so pure, however, that if a person is conscious of the least trace of imperfection and at the same time understands that Purgatory is ordained to do away with such impediments, the soul enters this place of purification glad to accept so great a mercy of God. The worst suffering of these suffering souls is to have sinned against divine Goodness and not to have been purified in this life.'

We can help the Holy Souls pass more quickly to heaven through our prayers, especially the Mass and by making reparation for sin. The infinite value of the Mass makes it the most important prayer we have to offer for the Holy Souls. We can also offer our daily prayer especially the Rosary, our work and any little sufferings or difficulties we experience for the Holy Souls.

During the month of November we should especially remember members of our own family, those who have no-0ne to pray for them and priests who have helped us during our lives.

Our Lady, refuge of sinners,
Pray for us.
. . .

Mass for all who have died during the past year will be celebrated on
Friday 27th November at 7.30pm. All are welcome.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

All Saints Day . . .

'Let us all rejoice in the Lord and keep a festival in honour of all the saints.
Let us join with the angels in joyful praise to the Son of God.' (Entrance Antiphon)

On this feast of All Saints we rejoice and ask the intercession of 'the huge number, impossible to count' who have reached heaven. They strove to practice the Beatitudes which Our Lord sets before us in today's Gospel.

Each year the Church recognises many saints of every age; as we have recourse to them we ask their intercession for our many needs.

It is a source of comfort to realise that people with whom we talked and spent time with are now contemplating the face of God. We continue to be united to them through the Communion of Saints.

Today we make St Teresa's prayer our own:

'O holy ones who knew how to prepare so delightful an inheritance, help us now that you are so near the fount of all holiness. Draw water for those of us who are perishing of thirst.'

Friday, 30 October 2009

Congratulations Cardinal Cormac on your new appointment . . .

I’m sure we’re all delighted to hear this news about our former Bishop - Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. Many will have first hand experiences and pleasant memories of meeting and talking to Cardinal Cormac during his time as Bishop of Arundel and Brighton. I myself have happy memories of my meetings with him and in particular of course, being ordained by him.

(Photo © Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk )

In a mark of extraordinary esteem, Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor to two important Vatican congregations that select bishops for most dioceses of the Latin-rite Catholic Church worldwide. . . . the Congregation for Bishops and of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. '

In his new role, Cardinal Cormac will be directly involved in the appointment of Bishops for England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, as well for countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania.’

There are very busy times ahead for Cardinal Cormac and a lot of travelling to and fro to the Vatican. We send His Eminence our best wishes and assurance of our prayers as he takes up his new appointment.

For full details see the website of the Bishops’ Conference here.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

ARCIC: Dead in the Water or Money in the Bank? . . .

I'm delighted to offer you this link to the Richard Stewart Memorial Lecture given by His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor this evening at Worth Abbey.

Cardinal Cormac spoke of his own ecumenical journey and the situation as it is in the Church today. In his lecture Cardinal Cormac also touched on the recent Apostolic Constitution.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Latest news . . .

I've just seen that the video of today's press conference in Rome has been posted on Vatican YouTube and I thought you might like to watch it so here it is:

Laudetur Jesus Christus . . .

I'm lost for words . . . What fantastic news! It seems to be on every street corner.

The Holy Father has opened the gates to warmly welcome those Anglicans who wish to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church.

You can read the full text of the joint statement from Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Rowan Williams here and the text of the statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith here.

See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit . . .

'See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit.'

These words Our Lord addresses to each of us in today's Gospel. Our Lord reminds us that our attitude should be like one about to set out on an important journey, or like one who is preparing to meet an important guest.

Our lives, as Catholics should not be marked out by apathy, indifference or neglect. These are two very good reasons for saying that; firstly the devil never takes a holiday, 'your enemy, the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.'

Secondly, the lover is never asleep; when one loves another, the hearts are always alive in eager expectation. Jesus asks us for our love, He visits us many times throughout the day, it would be a pity to be lethargic or sleepy and be unable to greet Him.

Our daily challenge is to listen with a keen ear for the His footsteps.

Our daily struggle even in small things will help to strengthen us to come closer to Christ, on the other hand our indifference, apathy and lukewarmness leave way for the entry of the enemy.

We ask Our Blessed Lady to help us to be vigilant and prayerful at all times.

Hail, Mary, full of grace . . .

Monday, 19 October 2009

On the Reception of Holy Communion . . .

I see that my good friend Fr Terry Martin over at Horsham has an excellent post on who can receive Holy Communion.

Rather than repeat what he has said, I recommend that you click on the link and see for yourselves.

He has given a very clear explanation of the Church's teaching on Holy Communion. I would welcome any comments here you might like to make. I know this a subject that causes misunderstanding and also a great deal of pain to some people.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Year for Priests . . .

At a recent meeting of our Deanery clergy and religious, various resources were distributed for use in our parishes regarding The Year for Priests, and Vocations.

I was very impressed with the material produced by our Diocesan Vocations Director, Fr Paul Turner, and his team at the Vocations Office. They also have an excellent Diocesan Vocations Website. Do have a look when you have a spare moment.

Prayer cards are now available for parishioners containing two beautiful prayers for priests. Here is a Prayer for Priests from St Thérèse of Lisieux:

O Jesus

I pray for your faithful and fervent priests;
for your unfaithful and tepid priests;
for your priests labouring at home or
abroad in distant mission fields.
For your tempted priests;
for your lonely and desolate priests;
For your young priests;
for your dying priests;
for the souls of your priests in Purgatory.
But above all, I recommend to you the priests dearest to me:
The priest who baptised me;
the priests who absolved me from my sins;
the priests at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me
Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion;
the priests who taught and instructed me;
all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way.

O Jesus, keep them all close to your heart,
and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity.


Please remember in your in prayers also all those in formation at St John's Seminary at this time.

Our Lady, Queen of Priests, pray for us.

Monday, 12 October 2009

New Parishioners' Evening . . .

Our parish continues to go from strength to strength with many new young families and last night we hosted a New Parishioners' Evening to welcome them to our parish.

Although not everyone was able to attend, we had a fair number of new and 'old hands' who did come along to the hall after Mass to enjoy a glass of wine and a chat.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get around to chat with everybody but those I did meet commented on the friendliness of our parish and the beauty and reverence of our Sunday celebrations.

This is a great compliment to our parish and parishioners.

If you are among those who were not able to come along last night, do please make a point of having a chat with me after Mass on any Sunday. Why not come along and join us for coffee in the hall after the 10am Mass on Sundays?

Why do we venerate relics? . . .

Somebody asked me to write a few words about relics . . .

What do we express when we venerate relics?

When we venerate the relics of the Saints we profess our belief in several doctrines of our Catholic faith;

1. The belief in eternal life for those who have faithfully witnessed to Christ and the Gospel.

2. The truth in the resurrection of the body for all on the last day.

3. The belief in the intercession of the Saints in heaven because of their intimate relationship with Christ.

4. The doctrine of the beauty of the human body and the respect which all should show to the bodies of the living and the dead.

5. The truth of our closeness to the Saints because of our connection with the Community of Saints.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Aylesford and the Relics of St Thérèse . .

What a wonderful day we had at Aylesford!

About 40 parishioners travelled by coach to The Friars at Aylesford. It's good to have these parish outings from time to time and it was lovely today to be able to celebrate Cathy's 80th birthday - We hope she had an enjoyable day.

It was also good to see many children and young people from the local schools who were a credit to their schools - and their families.

We had plenty of time to eat our lunch, explore the Friary, take part in the service of welcome and, the main purpose of our visit, to venerate the relics of St Thérèse.
People queued patiently to venerate the relics after the service of welcome, even when it began to rain.

These are just a few photos but you can see a lot more in this slideshow:

It was a bit chilly but I think all were happy to put up with the cool weather and were warmed by the experience - after all it's not every day we get the opportunity to welcome the relics of a saint to these shores.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

A very successful evening . . .

Last night we welcomed Fr Emmanuel CFR to the parish. He is a member of the Community of Friars of the Renewal based in Canning Town and had kindly agreed to come and talk to us about the Mass.

I was delighted to see that our parish hall was nearly full. Among the parishioners were parents of our First Holy Communion children and, especially pleasing, a good turnout of young people from our Confirmation group.

Fr Emmanuel gave a very interesting, lively and, at times, amusing talk about the Mass; looking at the importance of preparing well for Sunday Mass, the Eucharistic Fast, the importance of being in a suitable condition to receive Holy Communion and reverence and respect for the Real Presence.

He also looked at the various parts of the Liturgy of the Mass.

There was time afterwards for questions and it was apparent that everyone had found the evening very interesting and helpful.

We look forward to a similar evening next month when one of the Friars will be talking to us about the Sacrament of Reconciliation on
Tuesday 3rd November at 8pm.

Monday, 5 October 2009

A busy week ahead . . .

A busy week ahead for us in the parish . . .

This evening our Confirmation programme gets under way with 24 young people led by a group of enthusiastic catechists, and at the same time (in another room!) we have our monthly Baptism Preparation, and tomorrow evening Our First Holy Communion programme gets off to a cracking start with a talk on The Mass by one of the Friars of the Renewal.

I'm very grateful to all our catechists who give of their time and skills to help with this very important ministry in the life of the parish.

Who is my neighbour? . . .

In the Gospel of today's Mass Our Lord teaches us who our neighbour is, and how we should live in charity towards others. This parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the most beautiful and moving in the Gospels.

Some of the Fathers of the Church have identified Christ as the Good Samaritan. St Augustin commenting on this parable identifies the man who falls into the hands of robbers as a symbol of humanity wounded as it is by original sin, and indeed personal sin.

St Bede commenting on the same parable writes that Sins are called 'wounds' because they destroy the integrity of human nature. The robbers or thieves represent the devil, our own unrestrained desires, and so on.

The Levite and priest symbolise the Old Covenant, which cannot 'cure' these wounds. The inn symbolises the Church.

From today's Gospel Jesus teaches us that our neighbour is whoever happens to be near us, regardless of race, colour, creed or political view.

We should do what we can to alleviate our neighbour's suffering.

Lord, help us never to fail you in our neighbour.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

October Devotions . . .

We began our October Devotions this afternoon with quite a crowd present. We prayed for the Catechists of the parish as we begin our catechetical programmes this week. Next week we'll pray for the families of our parish.

I look forward to seeing you next week - same time, same place.

(St Ann's at 4 pm)

Marriage and family life . . .

In today’s Gospel we meet Jesus as He is approached by some Pharisees who ‘were testing him’. They asked Jesus to give a judgement on the Law of Moses; they said, Moses allowed us 'to draw up a writ of dismissal and so to divorce’. Moses indeed did permit divorce because of the ‘hardness of heart’ of the chosen people.

A woman at that time could be dismissed by her husband for virtually any reason.

In this scene Jesus avails of the opportunity to affirm the indissolubility of marriage as originally planned at creation. He quotes the words of Genesis from the First Reading, ‘For this reason a man leaves father and mother and joins himself to his wife, and they become one body’.

Our Lord very clearly states that the unity and indissolubility of marriage had been established from the beginning. The disciples were surprised at this teaching and asked Jesus to explain it further. He said to them, ‘whoever divorces his wife and remarries commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery’, it would be impossible to express it more clearly.

Yet how is it possible that there are Catholics who call into doubt this teaching on marriage and continue to consider themselves followers of Christ?

John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio says,

Being rooted in the permanent and total self-giving of the couple, and being required by the good of the children, the indissolubility of marriage finds its ultimate truth in the plan that God has manifested in his revelation. He wills and He communicates the indissolubility of marriage as a fruit, a sign and a requirement of the absolute faithful love that God has for man and that the Lord Jesus has for the Church.’ The bond of marriage can be broken only by death; it is an image of the bond between Christ and his Mystical Body.’

The stability and dignity of marriage is of the greatest importance to the futures of our families, of our children, and of society generally. When matrimony is corrupted then our society is seriously ill.

Today we pray in a special way for families and family life.

Friday, 2 October 2009

A New Illustrated Rosary . . .

Family Publications have asked me to review a copy of 'A New Illustrated Rosary' by John Udris.

This beautiful prayer book is an ideal gift for those who have said the Rosary for years and likewise for those who are beginners. The main aim of the prayer book is as Pope John Paul II said, to 'contemplate with Mary the face of Christ'.

The illustrations are taken from medieval manuscripts and the meditations are based on the visual details in the images.

Canon Udris is best known for his writings on St Thérèse of Lisieux.

'A New Illustrated Rosary' is available from Family Publications and sells at £4.50.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

St Thérèse . . .

With being away, I have missed the opportunity to post about many important feast days recently (including my own namesake St Michael, on Tuesday!)

However, I couldn't let today end without a brief reference to St Teresa of the Child Jesus, or St Thérèse of Lisieux as she is perhaps better known.

Here is a short extract from the excellent website of the Society of the Little Flower

"My mission - to make God loved - will begin after my death," she said. "I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses." Roses have been described and experienced as Saint Therese's signature. Countless millions have been touched by her intercession and imitate her "little way." She has been acclaimed "the greatest saint of modern times." In 1997, Pope John Paul II declared St. Therese a Doctor of the Church - the only Doctor of his pontificate - in tribute to the powerful way her spirituality has influenced people all over the world.

I'm very much looking forward to our visit to Aylesford on Friday to venerate the relics of St Thérèse as I'm sure many others are. Meanwhile . . .

St Thérèse, pray for us.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

'I was sick and you visited me . . .

'And he sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal.'

In today's Gospel, Jesus sent out His disciples to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

The Church has always recommended that the faithful undertake corporal works of mercy, especially that of visiting the sick. The Church also encourages us to follow and imitate Our Lord who showed so much concern and compassion for the sick during His life on earth.

Jesus taught the disciples to see the sick in a new way: 'I was sick and you visited me.' Each time we take care of a sick person we take care of Christ,Himself; each time we visit a sick person, we visit Christ, Himself. 'As long as you did it to one of these, the least of my brothers, you did it to me.'

Let us try to be more attentive to the sick in our midst, for it is Christ Himself we minister to in every sick person.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Don't hide your light . . .

'No one lights a lamp to cover it with a towel or to put it under a bed.'

This is a sentence from today's Gospel and are the words from the lips of Our Lord.

He is speaking to us of our responsibility as His followers. As followers of Christ we are expected to light up the place where we work and live; we should give off light; if we do not we are like a lamp concealed under a vessel.

Our responsibility as followers of Christ begins in the Sacrament of Baptism and is reaffirmed in the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Let us ask ourselves today about our example to those with whom we live, in the place where we work, and in our social activities.

Do these people see in us the light which illumes the path that takes us to God?

Do these same people feel encouraged to lead better lives?

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Why am I Catholic?

Take one minute to ask yourself this question,

'Why am I Catholic'

The Eucharist
The Church
The Sacraments
The Communion of Saints

Are these not 6 excellent reasons for being a Catholic?

Saturday, 12 September 2009

The 'CC' Factor!

We had a fantastic evening in the parish last night when the internationally renowned organist, Carlo Curley, came to give a concert for us in aid of St Anne's School Building Fund.

Thank you for giving us such an entertaining evening, not just marvellous music but amusing anecdotes and interesting comments about the pieces selected for the programme too.

A lot of people were involved in making the evening such a success, both 'front of house' and behind the scenes and I'm very grateful to everyone for all the help given so enthusiastically. It is always very encouraging to see how a parish can 'pull together' on occasions such as this.

The Most Holy Name of Mary . . .

I will shortly be celebrating the Mass of the Most Holy Name of Mary.

In this video one of the priests from the community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in The United States talks about the origin and devotion to the Most Holy Name of Mary. I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Don't forget some of the Friars will be returning to the parish for the series of talks planned for the Autumn.

Tuesday 6th October: 'The Holy Mass'

Tuesday 3rd November: 'Reconciliation'

Tuesday 1st December: 'Prayer'

All talks begin with coffee at 7.45 pm for a prompt start at 8 pm.

Everyone is welcome.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Year for Priests . . .

Fr Trigilio has written a summary of his homily which he gave during 40 Hours Eucharistic Devotions in a friend's parish. You can read all about it on his blog The Black Biretta.
I won't attempt to describe the content but do encourage you to drop by and have a look for yourself.

Ave Maria, gratia plena . . .

This beautiful Feast of the Mother of God, and our mother, is an occasion of great joy because Our Lady's arrival is a sign that Redemption is at hand.

The liturgy of today's Mass calls Mary the fulfilment of God's design in calling all of us to everlasting life.

In the Prayer After Communion from The Roman Missal we pray,

may your Church renewed in this Holy Eucharist,
be filled with joy at the birth of the Virgin Mary,
who brought the dawn of hope and salvation to the world.'

Let us today renew our devotion to Our Blessed Lady, the Refuge of Sinners.

Hail, Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus,

Holy Mary, mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament . . .

Another quote from that marvellous little book, 'A Curé of Ars Prayer Book':

When we are before the Blessed Sacrament, instead of looking about, let us shut our eyes and our mouth; let us open our heart: our good God will open His; we shall go to Him, He will come to us, the one to ask, the other to receive; it will be like a breath from one to the other. What sweetness do we not find in forgetting ourselves in order to seek God! The saints lost sight of themselves that they might see nothing but God, and labour for Him alone; they forgot all created objects in order to find Him alone. This is the way to reach Heaven.

We are privileged here at St Ann's to be able to have Eucharistic Adoration on three days of the week. Now that the school holidays are over we have returned to our regular pattern of 3-day Adoration:

Tuesday: 10 am - 8 pm

Wednesday: 10 am - 7 pm

Thursday: 7 am - 8 pm

If you are passing by; out shopping or on your way home after dropping children off at school, do please pop in and 'say hello' to Our Blessed Lord.

My Dear Jesus,
I adore you in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.
I adore and praise your Most Holy Name.
I adore and worship your Body hidden in the Sacrament.
I adore your humility in veiling your Godhead.
I adore your Most Sacred Heart masked by these shadows.
I adore for ever the Most Holy Sacrament.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

A lovely day for a wedding . . .

Congratulations to Julian and Natalie who were married at St Ann's today. We wish them every happiness and success for the future.

It is lovely when couples decide to get married in church.

If any of you are considering getting married soon, please remember that as well as all the preparations that you will be making such as that 'all-important dress' and where to hold the reception; there are also preparations to be made with the church.

Our diocese requires at least 6 months' notice in order to complete all the necessary paperwork. You will also be asked to attend a Marriage Preparation Course, usually held on a Saturday.

Please have a word with me after Mass or contact the parish office for further information.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Back to school . . .

I hope you all had a good summer holiday whether you went away or just took things a little easier at home.

Now that we are in September, things are beginning anew for many of us in many different ways. I expect a lot of families have children moving on to a new school, beginning school for the first time or just going back to school to get to know a new teacher.

I would just like to remind everyone that I shall be offering Mass on the first and third Fridays of each month at 8am in our parish school. Everyone is welcome, of course. The first of these Masses will be tomorrow, 4th September. I look forward to seeing you there.

What better way to begin a new term than in prayer, placing the care of our children in the hands of Our Lord in a special way at Mass.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

A lovely surprise at Mass today . . .

We had a lovely surprise at Mass today. Fr Paul Brandon who often celebrates Mass at St Ann's when he is in the area visiting family, brought with him a relic of Blessed Dominic of the Mother of God (Father Dominic Barberi, Passionist Priest).

Dominic was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1963, during the Second Vatican Council. Later popes also admired Dominic; on his visit to England in 1982 Pope John Paul II described Blessed Dominic as
"One example of the countless other priests who continue to serve as models of holiness for the clergy of today"

Dominic is best remembered for his part in Newman's conversion, but is also commemorated for his exhausting work in the efforts to return England to the Catholic faith in the nineteenth century.

Naturally we celebrated the Memorial in his honour and after a beautiful Mass during which the relic had lain upon the altar, Fr Paul blessed those present with the relic.