Saturday, 28 March 2009

The first wedding of the year ...

Congratulations to Tanya and Shaun who were married at St Ann's today. Theirs was the first wedding of the year and it was a great joy and privilege to celebrate their marriage with them this afternoon.

We wish them every happiness in their future married life together.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Lent Talks 2 - The Holy Mass

Last night we had the second of our Lent talks. Fr Marcus Holden, co-author with Fr Andrew Pinsent of Evangelium, a multi-media course on our faith, gave a very interesting presentation on The Holy Mass. I should also mention that Fr Holden and Fr Pinsent have also produced a very good course, Credo, which provides an excellent introduction to the Catholic Faith.

Fr Marcus began by showing us a clip from an advert for the Catholic Church shown on TV in America. Click here to see the clip.

Using material from the successful Evangelium course, Fr Marcus continued talking to us about the Mass; about the Eucharist as Presence, Sacrifice and Food.

We re-present Calvary each time Mass is celebrated but this time in an unbloody manner. Christ is present to us, body, blood, soul and divinity in the consecrated host. Christ's sacrifice takes place on the altar every time Mass is celebrated. When we receive Holy Communion we receive spiritual nourishment which is necessary for our spiritual wellbeing throughout our lives and at the end of life this is given as Viaticum.

Once again, it was disappointing to see so few people attending this very interesting talk. I was delighted, however, to see some of the young people from our Confirmation programme. We plan to be able to have more talks in Advent this year and I do hope that more people will be encouraged to come along and deepen their understanding of our faith.

After the talk we moved into church for the beautiful devotion of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament conferred by Fr Marcus. A fitting end to a very enjoyable evening.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Solemnity of St Joseph ....

Of course, parish priests don't really have 'days off' in the usually accepted understanding of the word but I delayed the start of my 'day off' today to celebrate Mass in the parish in honour of St Joseph before going out.

Once again, we had a good number of people at Mass this morning and it is so encouraging to see this. We were fortunate too that Flick, our organist, was able to play for us so we began our celebration with the hymn, 'Hail, holy Joseph, hail!'

St Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary

and Patron of the Universal Church,

Pray for us.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

St Patrick's Day

Happy St Patrick's Day to one and all.

Our parish celebrations began in the best way possible with celebration of the Holy Mass in honour of St Patrick. A good number of parishioners were present for Mass at St Ann's and while not quite raising the roof, it was very fitting that we opened our celebration with that well-known hymn, 'Hail, glorious St Patrick.'

After Mass many parishioners stayed behind for coffee and a chat in St Ann's Room, our meeting room above the church. It was lovely to be able to spend some time with parishioners (not all of them Irish) and chat together about life 'back home' and previous celebrations of this great feast.

Later in the day I welcomed other local clergy and religious to a celebratory lunch in the presbytery and it was very enjoyable indeed.

I hope many of you also celebrated in some way or another. It is important to celebrate the Feast Days the Church has given us and remember the great number of Saints who have done so much in spreading the faith and who set us such a good example of how to live the Christian life.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Visiting the Sick ...

Returning from visiting the sick in our parish this morning I was struck, as I always am, by their serenity; their acceptance of their illnesses and by their faith.

Above all I am very moved by their prayerfulness. In the sick, we have a 'powerhouse of prayer' right on our doorstep.

Our Lady, health of the sick,

pray for us.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Lent Talks - Marriage and Family Life

On Tuesday of this week the well-know Catholic writer and broadcaster, Joanna Bogle, visited St Ann's to give the first of our Lent talks. In her talk about Marriage and Family Life, Mrs Bogle spoke about the beautiful sacrament of marriage; the intimate union between husband and wife; children as God's gift to parents and much more.

Mrs Bogle addressed these issues in a sound yet entertaining manner in her usual inimitable style.

After the talk we had quite a lively question and answer session which was followed by Benedicton of the Blessed Sacrament in church.

We are now looking forward to the second of our Lent talks on Tuesday 24th March at 7.30pm to be given by Fr Marcus Holden.

Fr Marcus Holden is assistant priest at St Augustine's Church, Tonbridge Wells and co-author with Fr Andrew Pinsent of Evangelium, a multi-media course on the Catholic Faith based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He will take as his subject The Holy Mass. Once more we will conclude the evening with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in church.

I do hope many people will be able to attend. It promises to be a very interesting evening.

Monday, 9 March 2009

More School Confessions . . .

Today I was at the John Fisher School in Purley where I was assisting in hearing Confessions of some of the Sixth Form.

What a delight! I was reminded of priests of our diocese who are former pupils of the school; Fr Stephen Dingley, Lecturer at St John's Seminary, Wonersh; Fr Seán Finnegan, parish priest of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Adur Valley.

The school has produced many good priests in the past and it is encouraging to see that the good work is continuing.

St John Fisher, pray for us.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Ego te absolvo ...

This grace-filled season of Lent is the most appropriate time for considering how we receive the sacrament of Penance - each of the sacraments being a meeting with Christ; in the sacrament of Penance we meet Christ present in the priest.

When we make our confession we should make sure that Christ is the centre of this sacramental act. God's love and forgiveness is more important than our sins. We must keep our hearts and minds focused on God's mercy and compassion rather than our own sinfulness ..... God is ALWAYS the point of reference.

Confession is NOT about 'feeling good', however, if we 'feel good' afterwards that is a bonus. When we go to the doctor we don't always 'feel good' immediately, it may take a number of visits.

'Have mercy on me God on your kindness ... O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sins.' (Psalm 50).

St Josemaría writing on the Sacrament of Confession advises us that we should be;


We should confess with the words that are needed to say what we've done or omitted to do.

We should confess without digressing and the late Holy Father Paul VI said, the penitent will suitably indicate his situation, and also the time that has elapsed since his last confession and the difficulties he finds in leading a Christian life.' (Ordo - Poenitentiae 16.)

At Confession we should make ourselves understood, stating the exact nature of the fault.

We should never leave anything out or conceal a sin through a false sense of shame or through fear of appearing bad in the eyes of the priest. God knows and sees all things, 'even the depths of our hearts.'

God forgives us through the ministry of the priest in these beautiful words of absolution:

God, the Father of mercies,
through the death and resurrection of His Son
has reconciled the world to himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins.
Through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace
and I absolve you from yours sins,
in the name of the Father, and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Repent ...

'... Repent, and believe the Good News.' (Mark 1:15)

In the closing words of Sunday's Gospel reading Jesus urges us to repent of our sins; a reminder to us that when we sin we are damaging our relationship with God.

This theme echoes the words used by our Bishop, Kieran in his pastoral letter which we heard the previous Sunday.

'There are forty days of Lent. There is time to think, to prepare and to make time for this precious opportunity to refresh our relationship with God, the one we call our Father.'

Let us look at the Sacrament of Confession anew in our preparation for the Great Feast of Easter.

Times for Confession in the parish:

Saturdays: 10.30 am - 11.30 am

5.00 pm - 6.00 pm

After each Mass on the first Sunday of every month.

And at call.

Lenten Reconciliation Service: Tuesday 31st March at 7.30 pm here at St Ann's.