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'.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

'Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.'

'Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest.'

The words from the lips of Jesus in today's Gospel.

The heaviest weight that any of us carry is our sins. St Augustine comments, 'Jesus tells people who are sweating under heavy and useless burdens, "Come to me . . . and I will give you rest." Every time we confess our sins we are liberated, we are freed, because our sins, even venial sins, are repugnant to God and a burden for ourselves.'

Jesus invites us to take this yoke and exchange it for the burden of our sins; 'my yoke is easy . . .'

When we examine our conscience carefully we will find that we have much to confess. Let us ask Our Blessed Lady, refuge of sinners, to lead us regularly to the Sacrament of Confession.

Our Lady, refuge of sinners, pray for us.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

A Feast of Confessions! . . .

This past Sunday, being the first Sunday of the month, I was available to hear Confessions after every Mass as usual. It was so encouraging to see so many coming to celebrate the Sacrament and especially when whole families would come together, sometimes three generations of the same family.

Our Year Six children are now coming to the end of their time in primary school and preparing to move up to secondary school; leaving behind the familiar and getting ready to make new friends and meet all the challenges that the move will inevitably mean for them. On Tuesday I was able to visit our parish school and confessed 58 of our Year Six children. It is always a great pleasure and a very humbling experience.

Finally, yesterday, I was delighted to be able to assist in hearing Confessions at The John Fisher School nearby. Although not in our diocese, being so close to Banstead, many of our parishioners are pupils at the school and I'm very happy to help out with Confessions throughout the year. I am always very impressed with the preparation that the boys have received and the way in which they approach the Sacrament.
Oh, my God, because you are so good,
I'm very sorry that I've sinned against you and,
with the help of your grace,
I will try not to sin again.