Thursday, 20 January 2011

What the Papers Say . . .

It certainly is a very interesting and exciting time to be a Catholic at the moment.

I wonder how many of our parishioners read the Catholic papers regularly or follow Catholic news on various websites and blogs; or do we rely on the secular media for coverage of what is happening in the Catholic Church - BBC/ITV/Sky/ news etc. on TV, or the radio?

A look at the front cover of the Catholic Herald this week (other Catholic newspapers are available!) gives us an idea of some of the important things that are happening in the Catholic Church at the moment and many of them will have a direct impact on all of us.

The new translation of the Missal is now ready and we will be learning more about that soon. I will be joining other clergy from our diocese next month for a study day looking at the new translation and will be able to tell you more about it after that. We do know that it will be available for use in parishes in England and Wales from September of this year.

I hope that you will take this opportunity to discover why certain changes have been made to the translation of the Mass that we are now so familiar with so do please look out for any articles in the press or news in our own parish.

I'm sure it will take a little while for us (myself included) to get used to a new form of words. Some changes will be slight and others more pronounced but there will be plenty of explanations nearer the time.

Another news item that dominates this weekends' papers is the proposed Beatification of Pope John Paul II. A cause dear to many people's hearts, I'm sure.

Finally, the third item that struck me in the news is the establishment of the new Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham for former Anglicans who wish to enter into Full Communion with the Catholic Church whilst still retaining some of their Anglican patrimony. I'm sure you will all have heard of the Ordination to the priesthood of three former Anglican Bishops at Westminster Cathedral recently. One of these three priests, Fr Keith Newton, has been appointed Ordinary of the new Ordinariate.

So, there is lots to read, think and talk about for all us. I expect the Catholic papers to be all sold out pretty soon this weekend!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

First Confessions . . .

This morning after Mass I heard the First Confessions of the first group of our First Holy Communion children.

It is our practice to have First Confessions at the usual time for parish Confessions, i.e. after Saturday morning Mass. I think this is helpful as the children get the idea that going to Confession is a regular part of parish life as they see other parishioners waiting beside them.

We also encourage the whole family to come to church with the child and to go to Confession too. I'm pleased to say that I was able to confess many whole families this morning. This is another great example for our children.

Congratulations and well done to all!

A Momentous Occasion . . . !

I couldn't let the day pass without a brief note on the historic events of this past week.

On Thursday three former Bishops of the Church of England were ordained Deacon at Allen Hall Seminary by Bishop Alan Hopes. This followed their reception into Full Communion with the Catholic Church on New Year's Day at Westminster Cathedral.

The three newly ordained priests, ordained by Archbishop Vincent Nichols at Westminster Cathedral today, are the first members of the newly created Ordinariate for former Anglican priests. The new Ordinariate, established by papal decree, is to be known as the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, under the protection of Blessed John Henry Newman.

Fr Newton has been appointed Ordinary of the new Ordinariate.

You can read all about it (as they say!) here and here.

Let us pray for them all at this momentous time, not just the new priests and their families, but also for the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and beyond.

O Mary,
recall the solemn moment when Jesus,
your divine Son,
dying on the cross confided us to your maternal care.
You are our Mother;
we desire ever to remain your devout children.
Let us therefore feel the effects
of your powerful intercession with Jesus Christ.
Make your name again glorious in this place,
once renowned throughout our land by your visits,
favours and many miracles.
Pray, O Holy Mother of God,
for the conversion of England,
restoration of the sick, consolation for the afflicted,
repentance of sinners, peace to the departed.
O Blessed Mary, Mother of God,
Our Lady of Walsingham intercede for us. Amen.

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.

Monday, 10 January 2011

A fascinating evening . . .

We are very grateful to Neil Slattery who stepped in at the last moment to talk to us about the work of St Patrick's Mission, in place of John Pridmore who unfortunately was unable to speak at St Ann's on Saturday evening due to illness.

Neil, who works closely with John, touring with him and assisting in giving talks to schools and parishes, gave us a fascinating talk about his own experiences and conversion story. Throughout his testimony, he mentioned several incidents which brought him back to the practice of his faith.

The catalyst was the sudden, serious illness and hospitalisation of his father. Through contact with family members in Ireland and the constant support and prayers of his mother, John told a moving story of the acknowledgement of his own mistakes and how, through prayer, especially invoking the help our Our Blessed Lady, he came to know Jesus as Lord.

Neil's talk was enthusiastically received by the large number of people who were present and we all look forward to welcoming John Pridmore himself to speak to us at St Ann's at a later date.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year/Solemnity/Octave . . .!

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, our Lady's greatest title.

This feast is the octave of Christmas. A very special celebration. In the modern Roman Calendar only Christmas and Easter enjoy the privilege of an octave.

Here's an extract from CCC about today's Solemnity.

"Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary. Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom." — Catechism of the Catholic Church 721

And the Opening Prayer from today's Mass:

Let us pray
[that Mary the mother of the Lord,
will help us by her prayers]
God our Father ,
may we always profit by the prayers
for you bring us life and salvation
through Jesus Christ her Son
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
One God, forever and ever. Amen.

Today's Solemnity is always celebrated on 1st January so as well as wishing everyone a very happy feast day, it also gives me an opportunity to wish you all . . .

A very Happy and Blessed New Year!