Friday, 24 December 2010

A Blessed Christmas to all . . .

Wishing you all a very Happy, Holy and Blessed Christmas.

And another version here for all Irish-speaking readers of this blog:

Go mbeannaithe Dia dhiobh uile.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

What's in a kiss . . . ?

Sex, love and marriage . . Good, now I've got your attention . . . Have a look at this:

Saturday, 11 December 2010

In the pink . . . !

Well, we're definitely feeling 'in the pink' here in Banstead.

"Gaudete in Domino' So says the Introit for Gaudete Sunday. "Rejoice in the Lord always'.

Advent, like Lent is a penitential season, so normally I would be wearing purple vestments, but tomorrow, if you happen to be in the area, you will see me wearing a very tasteful pink chasuble, or, as we prefer to say at St Ann's, 'rose' vestments.

We've passed the midpoint of Advent and so we have a slightly lighter mood. This change gives us encouragement to continue with our spiritual preparation for Christmas.

As with the vestments, so with our Advent wreath; we shall be lighting the pink/rose candle.


Friday, 10 December 2010

Phew - What a Week! . . .

What an exciting week I've had. I've been visiting 0ur parish school of St Anne's to hear Confessions and also a local secondary school.

This is always a very joyful experience and also quite humbling to hear the simple, honest Confessions of our children. What an inspiration they are to us.

I've been visiting the care homes in our parish and the sick and housebound who are still able to live in their homes.

I am always greatly encouraged by the time I spend with the housebound. Their faith and prayerfulness is marvellous to witness and, I know I've said it before but they really do represent a powerhouse of prayer in our parish community.

I would like to thank them for their prayers on behalf of our parish family.

Our Lady, Health of the Sick,
Pray for us.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Snow Day . . .

Did you have a 'Snow Day' today? I think many of our parishioners did. Our parish school, like many others across the country, was closed and there were just 6 of us at Mass this morning. Well done to those intrepid parishioners who braved the elements to walk to Mass.

Please spare a thought and a prayer for those who are really badly affected by this weather, especially those sleeping rough.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Prayer . . .

Lord Jesus, teach us how to pray

A very brief but beautiful video from

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Holy Hour for all Nascent Life . . .

Responding to the Holy Father's wishes we were happy to hold a Holy Hour this afternoon to pray for all nascent life.

We began with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent . This was followed by a period of silent prayer and the recitation of the Holy Rosary.

We concluded with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. It was lovely that our organist was able to attend and we were able to sing the O Salutaris, Tantum Ergo and Adoremus at Benediction. It was indeed a very 'Holy' Hour.

Thank you to all who braved the freezing weather to come and prayer for this very important intention.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Lux æterna . . . Requiescant in pace . . .

This evening we have our annual Mass for the repose of the soul of all those parishioners who have died during the past year.

Naturally, it is also very much for the families and friends who are grieving for their loved ones.

We have been doing this for several years now and I have received many positive comments from the bereaved.

We invite people to come into the hall afterwards for a cup of tea and a chat. Many have found it a useful part of the healing process. It can be helpful to talk to others in the same situation. For some their grief will still be very raw whilst for others they may be further down the line in the grieving process.

All are welcome to come along to the Mass at 7.30pm this evening. It is good to see other parishioners who come along to pray for people they may not have known personally and to offer a friendly ear to the bereaved.

Monday, 22 November 2010

'Come and See' - 'Coming Home' . . .

We were delighted that Joanna Bogle, the well-known Catholic writer and broadcaster accepted our invitation to come and speak to us for the final session of our 'Come and See' initiative.

Joanna took as her theme 'Coming Home' and gave a very interesting talk which, whilst very entertaining, nevertheless retained an authentic message about the important of the sacrament of Confession, not just for those who are returning to the practice of their faith, but for every Catholic.

Of course we don't know what the outcome of our 'Come and See' initiative will be but we have 'sown the seed' and pray that with the Lord's help our efforts will be multiplied and bear fruit.

Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Verbum Domini . . .

Pope Benedict XVI's latest Apostolic Exhortation, 'Verbum Domini' was published by the Vatican on Thursday, 11th November 2010. In this document, the Holy Father highlights the importance of the Word of God in living our personal vocations. Pope Benedict says that the word of God 'calls each one of us personally, revealing that life itself is a vocation from God.'

He also quotes from Saint Jerome when he says,

"We are reading the sacred Scriptures. For me, the Gospel is the Body of Christ; for me, the holy Scriptures are his teaching. And when he says: whoever does not eat my flesh and drink my blood (Jn 6:53) even though these words can also be understood of the (Eucharistic) Mystery, Christ's body and blood are really the word of Scripture, God's teaching."

If you would like to study this latest Apostolic Exhortation in detail, you will find the full text here.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Five Brave Men and True . . .

A very warm welcome 'home' to the five Anglican Bishops who have today publicly declared their intention to take up Pope Benedict's generous invitation to join the Anglican Ordinariate.

The Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet; The Rt Rev Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough and The Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst; The Rt Rev Edwin Barnes, former Bishop of Richborough and The Rt Rev David Silk, former Bishop of Balleratt in Australia.

Please keep them all in your prayers at this time as they take these first courageous steps into Full Communion with the Catholic Church in the new Ordinariate.

Our Lady, Mother of Priests, pray for us.

'Come and See' - Robin Farrow . . .

We had another very successful and enjoyable evening last night, the second in our 'Come and See' programme. Once again, I would say we had in the region of 40 people present including a few newcomers.

We are very grateful to Robin Farrow, a man of great integrity, for telling us in such an interesting and honest way about his own personal journey to Full Communion with the Catholic Church.

A former Anglican Rector in a parish in East Sussex, Robin's talk gave rise to quite a prolonged question and answer session. I think many of the 'Catholic' practices Robin described when telling us about his background in the Anglican church would have come as a surprise to some parishioners present.

We were delighted too that Robin's wife, Caroline, and their family were also able to join us. Naturally making such a momentous decision would have been impossible for Robin without the full support of his wife.

Please keep Robin and his family in your prayers as they bravely put out into the deep. They have only recently moved out of the Rectory and one of Robin's first priorities will be to find a job.

Our next and final 'Come and See' evening will be on

Sunday 21st November from 7pm to 8pm.

We are delighted that Joanna Bogle, the well-known Catholic writer and broadcaster has agreed to come and talk to us. The theme of her talk will be 'Coming Home'.

Monday, 25 October 2010

They Came and They Saw . . .

We had a very good turnout for the first of our 'Come and See' evenings last night. Mainly our regular parishioners but there were one or two unfamiliar faces dotted around amongst them.

Fr Andrew invited us to look at the idea of ''happiness" as presented to us via the advertising industry. In a very interesting and at times amusing way, he drew our attention to the link, or lack of it, between the secular world's understanding of happiness and that of the religious world and how this has changed throughout history.

His short talk was followed by quite a lengthy question and answer session over tea and biscuits. He obviously gave us plenty to think about.

We look forward to our next 'Come and See' session on Sunday 7th November when Robin Farrow will talk to us about his journey from Anglican Vicar to Catholic layman.

These evenings are open to all Catholics, not just those who may have been distanced from the practice of their faith for a while. Do please come along even if you are not accompanying one of our inactive Catholic friends.

Our Lady, Help of Christians,
Pray for us.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Congratulations Marie!

Congratulations Marie! We do love something to celebrate here at St Ann's and what could be better than a 'special' birthday combined with the presentation of a well-earned Benemerenti medal?

Marie and her family have been parishioners here at St Ann's for many, many years and for quite a few of those years, amongst her other 'jobs' Marie has helped in the sacristy looking after the vestments and altar linen.

As I said after Mass on Sunday, Marie truly is one of our 'unsung heroes'. In all parishes you will find people like her; quietly working away behind the scenes and most parishioners are unaware of the debt we owe them for their tireless effort and commitment to make sure all runs smoothly in their sphere of responsibility.

It was therefore my privilege to present Marie with the Benemerenti medal on Sunday on behalf of the parish.

Marie's family had kindly arranged for a delicious birthday cake to be made and shared with Marie's parish family in the hall after Mass.

Congratulations and our warmest wishes Marie. We hope you had a super birthday.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Banstead Catholics Come Home, 'Come and See' - A little reminder . . .

I hope you all have a big red circle on your calendar around Sunday 24th October, the beginning of our 'Come and See' initiative.

Please do invite someone you know along to our 'Come and See' evenings; to hear speakers talking about their faith and to have a chat with other parishioners in a very informal setting.

I expect many of us know someone who has become distanced from the practice of their faith; a Catholic friend maybe, a Catholic neighbour or even a member of our own family. This is an opportunity to encourage them to 'Come and See'; to reacquaint themselves with their faith in a social setting in the company of friends.

We have been very fortunate in that Fr Andrew Pinsent has kindly agreed to come and talk to us on Sunday 24th October. Fr Pinsent is co-author with Fr Marcus Holden of Evangelium, a multimedia course on the Catholic Faith. He will talk to us about 'What makes us happy?'

On Sunday 7th November we are delighted to welcome Robin Farrow, a former Anglican Vicar recently received into Full Communion with the Catholic Church, who will talk to us about his own faith journey.

We will also be meeting on Sunday 21st November.

Just in case you'd like to refresh your memory, you'll find a few reasons for Coming Back to the Church here and here.

I look forward to welcoming you on . . .

Sunday 24th October

Sunday 7th November

Sunday 21st November

7pm - 8pm: St Ann's Parish Hall, Banstead

Monday, 4 October 2010

Why go to Mass on Sundays . . . ?

Matthew Warner of Fallible Blogma has an excellent article on why we should go to Mass on Sundays. This is a question that I'm often asked by parishioners. Matthew lays out the answer to this age-old question in a clear, very straightforward way in the light of the teaching of the Catholic Church.

If you're not familiar with Matthew's very readable blog (and even if you are) do pop on over and have a look at this post and any others that catch your eye.

Friday, 1 October 2010

October is the month of the Holy Rosary . . .

(Click on the picture to enlarge)

October is the month of the Holy Rosary.

John Paul II said it was his favourite prayer. This prayer to Our Lady is both contemplative and vocal; 'The heart of the Rosary is contemplation.' says John Paul II. Saying the Rosary will bring us peace; one of the ways this happens is that we pray the prayers with the rhythm of our breath and the beat of our our hearts.

In praying the Rosary we can enter into the lives of Jesus and Mary. Mary will always teach us about her Son, and we see Jesus through the eyes of His mother.

Who knows Jesus better than His mother?

As we pray the Rosary during the month of October let us ask Mary to teach us about Jesus.

Our Lady of the Rosary,
pray for us.

Monday, 27 September 2010

No time for mediocrity . . .

No time for mediocrity! How true!

I saw this excellent video and thought how very appropriate for our 'Come and See' initiative.

There is no need to write much about it, the video speaks for itself.

Hooray for Doug - we need more like him!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Reasons for coming back to the Church - Part Two

Continued from yesterday; more reasons for coming back to the Church . . .

Reason Five
We want our children to have a solid faith. Sometimes parents return to the Church because they realise that bringing up their children in a culture which promotes 'doing your own thing' often leads to ruin and disaster. We need structures of belief and the sound moral grounding that goes beyond our logic and reasoning.

Reason Six
We return because we want to be healed. Some of us struggle as we carry around deep spiritual wounds. We have difficulty in having a relationship with God because 'bad' things happen; illness, a broken marriage, a bereavement and so. The Catholic Church, while it cannot change these events, can help in the process of spiritual healing.

Reason Seven
We return to the Church because we need to forgive. We often hold a resentment towards an individual how has hurt us; maybe it was a family member, someone who works in the Church or even a priest. The Catholic Church offers us an opportunity to ask God's help in forgiving others, even if the other person doesn't ask for forgiveness or perhaps does not deserve it. When we forgive our hearts are ever more open to God.

Reason Eight
We want meaning in our lives. In our daily busy lives we begin to ask the question, ' Where is my life going?' 'What is my destiny?' We live in a confused world; the Catholic Church offers us a beacon of light and hope and leads us to eternal life if we persevere.

Each of us will have our own reasons for being part of that great body of believers which is the Catholic Church.

The parish of St Ann's invites you to 'Come Home' . . . to 'Come and See'.

Sunday 24th October 2010

7pm - 8pm, St Ann's Church Hall

Friday, 24 September 2010

Reasons for coming back to the Church . . .

I wish to say at the beginning that using the crisis in the Church as an excuse for not practising one's faith is no excuse.

We will always be a Church of saints and sinners; Jesus Christ, on whom the Church is built is Holy and it is to Him we speak, 'Cor ad Loquitor', heart to heart.

Christ is at the heart of the reasons to come home, to 'Come and See'.

Here are a number of reasons that have influenced the decisions of a few people I know . . .

Reason One
Many people 'come home' to the Catholic Church because they have a yearning to receive Holy Communion. This yearning for Holy Communion triggers a recognition of the purpose of Jesus Christ in the other sacraments and this draws them ever more deeply into the practice of the faith. Therefore the Blessed Sacrament is without a doubt the principal reason that people 'come home' to the Catholic Church.

Reason Two
We wish to be part of a believing community. A Catholic community is a group of people who come together in the presence of Jesus Christ, to praise God our Father. We, Catholics, come together at Mass, to celebrate our joys, to grieve, to help each other, to pray and provide support and to gain strength for daily life. As a Catholic parish we offer all this and much more.

Reason Three
We have a desire to help others; Jesus commands us to love God and our neighbour; in helping others we become instruments of God's love.

Reason Four
The Catholic Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

'You are Peter and on this Rock I will build my Church'. The Church has been guided by the Holy Spirit and protected from error on issues of faith and morals for over 2,000 years.

To be continued . . .

The parish of St Ann's invites you to 'Come Home' . . . to 'Come and See'.

Sunday 24th October 2010

7pm - 8pm, St Ann's Church Hall

Thursday, 23 September 2010

An invitation . . .

'He said to them, Come and See.
They went with Him then and saw where He was living;
and they were with him all that day . . ' (John 1:39)

Fr Míċeál and Deacon Kevin invite Banstead Catholics to come home; to 'Come and See'.

No matter how long you have been away from the Catholic Church you can always 'Come Home'. You can start going to Mass again and become part of our parish community who are ready to welcome you with open arms. God is inviting you to 'Come and See', to begin again, to grow in your faith now more than ever before.

You may already be feeling a strong inner desire to look once again into the Church - that yearning, that desire is God Himself inviting you back. God NEVER forces, He ONLY invites. God will leave the decision to return to the Catholic Church to you.

There are many reasons for coming back to the Catholic Church. Christ is at the heart and centre of the many reasons to come home, to 'Come and See'. Every person's experience in returning will be unique, depending on what speaks to his or her heart . . . 'Cor ad Cor Loquitor'.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Monday, 20 September 2010

More photos from Cofton Park . . .

A little cold and damp but definitely happy pilgrims! Thank you Flick for sharing your photos with us.

Pilgrim photos . . .

Many thanks to Chas for sharing with us these photos he took at Cofton Park yesterday of the Beatification Mass for Blessed John Henry Newman. If any other pilgrims from the parish have any photos, we'd love to see them. Just email them to the parish office please.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman . . .

Just in case you missed it . . .

Blessed John Henry Newman,

Pray for us.

Happy, Smiling Pilgrims . . .

You'd never guess these pictures were taken at about 1.30 in the morning, would you? Here you see some of our parish pilgrims heading off to Cofton Park in the early hours.

I look forward to talking to them when they get back and hearing about their personal experiences and their impressions of this momentous occasion - the Beatification of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman.

By the way, if any pilgrims have any photos they'd like to share, do please email them to the parish office and we'll try to post them in the next few days. Thank you.
(Click on the photos above to enlarge)

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman - Well, almost!

Today, in case you've come from another planet, is the day of the Beatification Mass for John Henry Cardinal Newman at Cofton Park in Birmingham.

Along with parish groups from all over the country, 2o or so of our parishioners will join in this marvellous celebration. I'm sure it will be a day they will remember for the rest of their lives. I don't envy them their early start at 1.30am but I'm sure is will be a small price to pay to take part in this significant event.

We have been singing one of Newman's famous hymns, 'Praise to the Holiest in the Height', quite a bit in the parish recently; I though to celebrate the Beatification you might like to join in a chorus of another of Newman's well-known hymn, 'Lead, kindly light'

O My Lord Jesus

O my Lord Jesus,
low as I am in Your all-holy sight,
I am strong in You,
strong through Your Immaculate Mother,
through Your saints
and thus I can do much for the Church,
for the world, for all I love.

(John Henry Cardinal Newman)

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Visitors . . .

It's been a busy time in the parish this week with one or two special celebrations - a Ruby Wedding Anniversary on Friday, an 80th Birthday and a Baptism today.

We've also been very pleased to welcome a couple of visitors to the parish this week.

We have a visitor in the presbytery. Don Michele Barone has been using the parish as his base whilst he's here for the Papal Visit. He flew up to Scotland for the events there and will go to London today and Birmingham tomorrow. I was pleased that he was able to concelebrate Mass in the parish this morning before he left for London.

Don Barone is a priest of the order of La Cassata di Nazareth in Italy.

Also, Sr Anastasia has been in the parish all week. She has been visiting her family and having a bit of a rest from her work in Sri Lanka with children and young people with special needs. Some of you may have met her at Mass.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Flying the flag . . .

I'm very grateful to John who braved the wet and windy weather yesterday evening to hoist the Papal flag outside St Ann's Church. As you can see from the photo John has made a return visit to make sure it's secure.

We are lucky that we are on a busy main road and so the flag will be seen by all the passers-by.

I think it looks great!

Our Lady of Sorrows . . .

Today the Church reminds us of the particular union that Our Blessed Lady shared with in the sacrifice of her Son on the Cross.

The love of Our Lady for her Son permits her to share His sufferings as though they were her own.

Today's feast is an opportunity for each of us to accept our little trials as personal purification. Our Lady teaches us not to complain as we know she never would; she encourages us to unite our trials and difficulties to the sacrifice of he Son for our own salvation and for the whole world.

'O sweet Mother, fount of love,
touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with yours accord.'

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross . . .

Today's feast has been celebrated since the fourth century. The Divine Office and the texts of today's Mass proclaim the Holy Cross as the instrument of our salvation. Inasmuch as our first parents sinned beneath the shadow of a tree, God accomplished our redemption on the wood of the Cross.

At 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.'

The Cross is present in our lives in different ways; it may manifest itself through illness, loneliness, bereavement and in many other human circumstances. In our prayer today we can examine our disposition as we come face to face with the Cross.

'Cross most faithful, you are the noblest tree of all!
No other tree can compare with your leaves,
your flowers and your fruit.' (Hymn, Crux Fidelis)

Saturday, 11 September 2010

'On yer bike . . . '

We are very grateful to Mary (2nd from right) for once again offering to take part in the sponsored cycle ride organised by Surrey Churches Preservation Trust on behalf of our parish.

This is an annual event and having recently widened it's scope to encourage walkers to join in the fun too it is now known as 'Ride and Stride'.

Participants set off at their own pace and are sponsored for the number of churches (of various denominations) they are able to visit in the local area. Last year Mary managed to 'tick off' an amazing 22 churches.

Spotted outside St Ann's Church after Mass this morning are some visiting cyclists alongside Mary.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

"I'm very much looking forward to my visit . . . "

The Holy Father has been speaking about his forthcoming visit to the United Kingdom. He says that he is very much looking forward to the visit and thanks the British Government; the Scottish Bishops; those of England and Wales and all who are involved in organising the visit for the vast amount of work they have put in to make the visit possible.

Friday, 3 September 2010

ACN Annual Mass - ' Hope Without Fear' Westminster

I have been asked by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) to promote their Annual Mass and 'Hope Without Fear' event at Westminster which I am very happy to do.

The day begins with the Annual Mass (Sung Latin Mass) at Westminster Cathedral at 10.30am on 16th October.

Mass will be followed by an afternoon of talks from a variety of speakers in the cathedral hall including amongst others;

Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kassala of Tombura-Yambio, south Sudan.
Bishop Eduardo is leading his people in south Sudan through a time of great uncertainty. In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need in April, he warned of the likelihood of an outbreak of violence in the wake of political elections.

Father Michael Shields from Magadan, Siberia

Father Michael is a long-time friend of Aid to the Church in Need. An American from Alaska, he chose to serve in a former communist gulag camp in Magadan, Siberia. Millions died here.

John Pontifex, Aid to the Church in Need.
Aid to the Church in Need’s UK Head of Press and Information will speak about suffering, faith and hope in Pakistan.

Neville Kyrke-Smith, Aid to the Church in Need.
As UK Director of Aid to the Church in Need, Neville Kyrke-Smith has travelled extensively in Eastern Europe. At this year’s Westminster Event, he will give an update on the help you are giving to Christians in Ukraine, where he recently visited.

£5.00 Book online

Further details may be found ACN's website here.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

All change at Banstead - Ecumenically speaking, that is . . .

In the next few weeks we have to say a fond farewell to three members of our Banstead Five Clergy.

Rev David Chance, Vicar of All Saints, Banstead is retiring after 17 years in his parish and moving down to Margate with his wife and family to enjoy a well-earned retirement. I'm sure he will be sadly missed by his congregation and many others who have been used to seeing him at various B5 events and generally around and about in Banstead.

Rev Damian Miles, Vicar of St Paul's, Nork is also taking his leave from us as he moves on to a new appointment in Thorpe, near Heathrow. Rev Damian Miles, although not in his parish as long as the Vicar of All Saints, has nevertheless made his mark in his community and we're sure his successor will appreciate the work he has put into building up the community of Christians in Nork.

Finally, we must say goodbye to our local Methodist Minister, Rev Nigel Wright who has managed to juggle the demands of two Methodist churches, one in Banstead and one in Epsom, and still find time to join in Banstead Five events. After four years here Nigel and his family have already left Banstead to continue their ministry in Leighton Buzzard. We look forward to getting to know our new local Methodist Minister, Rev John Amankwatia, who took up his new appointment here just yesterday.

We wish them all well as they move on to the next stage of their ministry.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Assumpta est Maria in Caelum, gaudent Angeli! Et Gaudet Ecclesia!

Assumpta est Maria in Caelum, gaudent Angeli! Et gaudet Ecclesia!

From the fifth century the Church has implicitly believed in the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, body and soul, into heaven. The dogma of the Assumption was promulgated by Pope Pius XII on 1st November 1950.

Mary's Assumption is a marvellous precursor of our own resurrection; it is made possible by Christ's own rising from the dead. St Paul reminds us, 'He will transfigure our lowly body, making it like his own body, radiant in glory' (Phil 3:21)

Our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, speaking about today's Solemnity says, 'Today's Solemnity is like a continuation of Easter, the Resurrection and Ascension of the Lord. It is at the same time, a sign and source of hope for eternal life and the future resurrection.'

Our Blessed Lady is a great advocate before the throne of God. May we ask her today; Mary, Refuge of Sinners, show us your son Jesus whom we are in need of above all else.

'Today the Virgin Mother of God is taken up into heaven to be the beginning and pattern of the Church in its perfection, and a sign of hope and comfort for your people on their pilgrim way.' (Preface of the Assumption).

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

St Jean-Marie Vianney . . .

Benediction with the monstrance used by St Jean Vianney

Dear Jesus, we thank you for the joy and happiness
brought to us by the Most Holy Eucharist.
Come and slake our thirst, satisfy our hunger.
Deepen our desire to receive you in this Sacrament of your Love,
so that we might become one with you for ever.

Today we keep the memorial of St Jean-Marie Vianney. He was born near Lyons in 1786 and from an early age wanted to become a priest.

After his ordination in 1815 he was sent to the village of Ars and was Parish Priest there for forty years.

He was most noted for his great love and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. As a Spiritual Director he attracted big numbers and spent many hours in the confessional.

He was canonised in 1925 by Pope Pius XI and declared Patron of Parish Priests.

St Jean Vianney's confessional.

Lord God, we thank you for the beauty and grace
of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Give us deeper faith in the power of this sacrament
to purify and renew our soul,
and grant us greater confidence in your boundless mercy.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Saints Joachim and Ann . . .

Today here at St Ann's we celebrate our Patronal Feast of St Joachim and St Ann.

An ancient tradition from the second century attributes the names of Joachim and Ann to be the parents of Our Blessed Lady.

Today we entrust the mother and father of Our Lady with all our needs, particularly the needs of our families and the sanctity of our homes.

We pray in the Opening Prayer of today's Mass:

God of our fathers,

you gave Saints Joachim and Ann

the privilege of being the parents of Mary,

the mother of your incarnate Son.

May their prayers help us to attain

the salvation you have promised to your people.

St Joachim and St Ann, pray for us.

Friday, 23 July 2010

A & B Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes . . .

On Thursday pilgrims from across our diocese will be making their way to Lourdes for our annual Diocesan Pilgrimage led by Bishop Kieran and accompanied by many of our clergy. Among the group will be able-bodied and sick pilgrims, doctors, nurses, blue-shirted helpers and their slightly younger counterparts the 'Red Shirts' and including a number from our own parish.

Please keep them all in your prayers at this time that they will experience God's healing love in a special way during their time of pilgrimage together.
Our Lady, Health of the Sick, pray for us.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Don't forget God during the holidays . . .

Of course I can't claim to have influenced the Holy Father in what he would say in his second Angelus address on Sunday, but it seems as if we are thinking along the same lines on this.

From the news agency, Rome Reports.

19th July, 2010. In his second Angelus address from Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict addressed pilgrims on the importance of prayer during their vacations.

Benedict XVI referred to the summer as a time when most are on holiday, including himself. He has suspended his audiences for a period.

He said summer holiday is a “favourable moment” to put first what is most important in life: listening to the Word of God.

“In today’s Gospel we are reminded of the need to rest from our daily labours, so that we may give time to the one thing that is truly necessary in our lives – listening to the word of God in attentive stillness.” Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict explained that everything will pass but the Word of God is eternal and gives meaning to our daily activities.

He said humans must work in domestic and professional activities, but need God because without love activities lose their value and give no joy.

As I said in our newsletter this week and repeated after each Sunday Mass; when you're making your preparations for your summer holidays and writing your check list;

tickets, foreign currency, sunscreen,
hotel reservations, cancel milk and papers,
arrange for someone to look after the dog/cat/hamster, etc. etc. . . .

Don't forget the most important thing -


I wish you all a very happy, restful and refreshing summer break and I look forward to seeing you all as usual on the Sundays when you're not actually out of the parish.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Mass with Anointing of the Sick . . .

Here are a couple of shots taken after our Mass with Anointing of the Sick yesterday (a little bit dark as they're taken with my phone camera).

It's always good to be able to arrange for some of our sick and housebound parishioners to come to Mass occasionally. They enjoy the outing and it helps to make them feel part of our parish family (which of course they are!). It also helps those of us who are at Mass every Sunday realised how fortunate we are to have this 'powerhouse of prayer' praying for our parish in their homes and care homes on a regular basis.

Of course there is the added bonus of being able to receive the Sacrament of the Sick alongside other parishioners.

We generally provide tea and cakes in the parish hall after the Mass which also gives people an opportunity to chat.

I'm very grateful to all who make this possible; those who kindly visit the housebound themselves in their homes each week and provided transport for them to come to our Mass yesterday and naturally, the ladies in the kitchen who provide the tea. And I mustn't forget to mention our organist and choir who came along to provide music for the Mass. I know it is all very much appreciated by our 'special guests'.