Monday, 9 December 2013

Times of Christmas Masses at St Ann's . . .

Just in case you were wondering, here are the details of our Christmas Masses . . . 

Please note that I will be available for Confession at the usual times on Saturdays but have also added a few other 'slots' when I shall be on call in the Confessional for any who wish to celebrate the Sacrament.

As usual, I am of course also available 'at call' for anyone who can't make any of the scheduled times.

Celebrating the Sacrament of Confession really is the best preparation for Christmas!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Hall Annexe update . . .

Finally we see some signs of action on our Hall Annexe building project.

Don't forget to keep on eye on our special Annexe blog for updates which hopefully will be fairly frequent now.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Parish Pilgrimage to the Shrine of St Augustine at Ramsgate

A few days ago we set off on a rather grey morning for a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St Augustine.

I think this was a first visit for all of us although some of us knew a little of the story of this beautiful shrine in Ramsgate.

We received a warm welcome by Fr Marcus Holden, Parish Priest and Custodian of the Shrine and members of the Friends of St Augustine who looked after us very well.

On the advice of our coach driver, we had allowed plenty of time for the journey from Banstead and so arrived with time to spare and were able to have a brief look around the church before we gathered for Mass at midday.

As we entered the Shrine and were directed left into the building, the first thing that we noticed was the very colourful and unusual Stations of the Cross.

On the opposite side of this corridor we passed St Joseph's Chapel containing the Blessed Sacrament.

And close by, another beautiful chapel with this wonderful Pietà.

Mass was celebrated by Fr Marcus and it was lovely to hear the parts of the Mass sung.  Our pilgrims responded well in singing the hymns and the parts of the Mass.  It was very moving to be able to celebrate Mass in this beautiful Church built by the well-known architect Augustus Pugin.  It was also interesting to see how people easily accommodated themselves to the reception of Holy Communion, under one kind, receiving in a line horizontally in front of the altar rail, many taking advantage of the opportunity to receive kneeling at the communion rail.

And the beautiful altar frontal . . .

After Mass we  had a break for lunch and went off in separate directions, some had brought packed lunches whilst others investigated the local cafés and pubs.  Judging by the numbers at the local pub, I think many of us had opted for this - and delicious food it was too!

We watched an excellent video, produced by Fr Marcus Holden and some of his family, on the history of the Shrine and some very helpful background information on St Augustine.  We also had time to watch a short video on Pugin's home, The Grange.   Maybe we'll keep that for another parish outing . . . 

We finished our pilgrimage with a very reverent Benediction conferred by Fr Marcus.  It was wonderful to hear everyone join in the O Salutaris, Tantum Ergo and the Adoremus in Aeternum. 

We were very privileged to be able to venerate the relic of St Augustine.  I must say, full credit to Fr Marcus, it can't be easy to remain dignified whilst climbing a step-ladder and wearing a cope!  He managed it superbly.

And the relic . . . 

Just before we finished our devotions and had a tour of the church, we joined in a rousing rendition of the Salve Regina.

All in all, a marvellous day and everyone seemed to get a lot out of our visit.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Pope Francis calls for prayer and fasting for Syria and the Middle East . . .

Pope Francis calls for prayer and fasting for Syria and the Middle East . . .


Join us at St Ann's for a Holy Hour on Saturday 7th September from 9am, followed by the parish Mass at 10am.

The church will be open all day for private prayer as usual.

All welcome!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Busy, busy . . . 40 Hours, Corpus Christi, Parish Helpers etc. etc.

It's wonderful to be a priest in a very active parish like St Ann's but sometimes I have to stop and ask myself just where the time has gone.

I was going to post a few photos on the blog today of recent parish events and I could hardly believe it when I saw that the last blog post was six weeks ago.  So much has happened in that time.  Here are a few snapshots of parish life at St Ann's . . . 

One of the recent highlights, if not THE highlight, must be our 40 Hours Devotion.

It was well attended and Fr Terry Martin, A&B Vocations Director, celebrated a beautiful Mass at the beginning of the 40 Hours.  He was also able to return to St Ann's and be present for the closing Benediction.

I must say it is such a blessing to be able to have the 40 Hours Devotion.  It was wonderful to see people coming and going throughout the three days - and the two nights.  We had many for Confession too.  It is all very encouraging. 

At the beginning of June, on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, we had a Procession of the Blessed Sacrament at the end of Mass and our First Holy Communion children were an important part of the procession, strewing petals before the Blessed Sacrament. The Mass itself was offered in thanksgiving for all our children, their families and catechists.  

Naturally, a splendid cake was enjoyed in the parish hall after Mass and the procession.

Today, we enjoyed a special lunch for all those who help in the parish throughout the year in so many different ways.

Thanks to our parish secretary for all the photos which give us a record to keep of parish life.

Of course there have been lots more things happening at St Ann's. We have recently had our Annual Parish Meeting and look forward to launching the Appeal for our New Hall Annexe Project; we have had social events, school events and Banstead Five events. No-one can ever say that life is dull here at St Ann's!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Just a typical busy Sunday . . .

Goodness me, what a lot of things have been happening in the parish today.  It's wonderful to have such an active parish; there always seems to be something special taking place.

At the 10 O'clock Mass this morning, the second and final group of our children made their First Holy Communion.  I think they were every bit as pleased as last week's group and once more we had a wonderful, joyful celebration.

Their families and catechists have every reason to be very proud of them all.

A  few of our parishioners went off on the monthly parish ramble after the Mass and some even managed to arrive back just in time for our May Rosary and Benediction.

What a view! 

Things didn't get any quieter later on in the day either. After our 6pm Mass our newly-Confirmed met in the parish hall for a celebration social and to think about how they can build on this past year's preparation course, continue to learn more about their faith and now take a more active part in parish life.

That cake looks very tempting!

Not forgetting of course that today we celebrated the Solemnity of Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit certainly seems to be very active in St Ann's parish.  Thanks be to God.

Come Holy Spirit,
 fill the hearts of your faithful 
and kindle in them the fire of your love. 
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. 
And You shall renew the face of the earth. 

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, 
didst instruct the hearts of the faithful, 
grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise 
and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Queen of the May . . .

Our Lady is looking especially beautiful this morning adorned with her May crown.  Thank you very much to our flower arrangers who did a wonderful job in creating such a fitting adornment for Our Lady.

It was particularly apt this morning as we celebrated the first of our First Holy Communions at the 10 O'clock Mass.  It was wonderful to see our children looking so happy and excited on their First Holy Communion Day.  I hope and pray that it will be a day filled with happy memories that they will look back on with great joy.  I'm sure many of us still remember well the day we made our own First Holy Communion.  It was  a beautiful family,  and parish family, celebration.  I'm looking forward to  next week's First Communions now!

Here's a photo of this week's happy children. There are more on our parish Facebook page.

And finally, a hymn to Our Lady, and for our children . . . 

Our Lady, Queen of the family, 
pray for us.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Congratulations to all our newly-Confirmed young people!

Yesterday evening represented a milestone in the lives of some of our young parishioners.

Our Confirmation candidates, who have been preparing for this day since October, were all kitted out in their 'Sunday best' as they made their way to St Joseph's Church, Epsom accompanied by their families and friends.

The youngsters were confirmed by Bishop Kieran together with other young people from our Deanery.   As you can tell by the photo, they all look very happy to have made this commitment, taking on for themselves the promises that were made on their behalf by their Godparents when they were baptised.

We look forward to their playing a more active part in parish life. 

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

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Happy St George's Day! A Prayer for England . . .

Happy Feast Day everyone!  The flag is fluttering in the breeze outside.We had a beautiful Mass here at St Ann's this morning and we finished with the Prayer for England, just before Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

Adoration continues all day until 8pm this evening. If you're in the area why not drop in and say a prayer for England on St George's Day.


O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God
and our most gentle Queen and Mother,
look down in mercy upon England thy "Dowry"
and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee.
By thee it was that Jesus our Saviour
and our hope was given unto the world;
and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more.
Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive
and accept at the foot of the cross.
O sorrowful Mother! Intercede for our separated brethren,
that with us in the one true fold
they may be united to the supreme Shepherd,
the Vicar of thy Son. Pray for us all, dear Mother,
that by faith fruitful in good works
we may all deserve to see and praise God,
together with thee, in our heavenly home. Amen.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Regina Caeli Laetare, Alleluia!

Many of us will be familiar with the well-known prayer the Angelus. This beautiful prayer tells the story of the Annunciation of the Incarnation by the Angel Gabriel to Mary and her responding 'fiat'.

It is recited daily at 6am, midday and 6pm.  You may be fortunate enough to live near a church that rings the Angelus bell at these times as a reminder to stop for a few moments and pray.  It is a lovely way to sanctify our day.

During the fifty days of Easter (from Easter until Pentecost) the Angelus is replaced with the Regina Caeli, said at the same times during the day. This is an Easter prayer inviting us to rejoice with Mary at the Resurrection of her Son.

Here is a video in which you can hear the Regina Caeli in Latin together with the English translation.

Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia
Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia!

Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia. 
For the Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Habemus Papam . . . !

White smoke!

I'm sure I'm not the only one in the parish who has been glued to the TV over recent days.  What an exciting time for us all.

And then fairly quickly, after just the fifth ballot, we saw the white smoke.  Such excitement!

After what seemed an interminable wait, we had our first glimpse of our new Holy Father, Pope Francis.

There are many 'firsts' with our new Pope; the first Jesuit Pope; the first to take the name Francis, after St Francis of Assisi; the first from South America.

Pope Francis giving his blessing from the balcony, after first having asked the crowd to pray and ask for God's blessing on him:

We will be singing this at Mass tomorrow:

God bless our Pope!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Alleged Conflict between Faith and Reason . . .

Fr Andrew Pinsent has sent me a link to a presentation he made recently in Ireland entitled 'The Alleged Conflict between Science and Faith'.

Some of you may remember Fr Andrew Pinsent from the time he came to talk to us here at St Ann's about Evangelium, a multi-media catechetical course co-authored by Fr Pinsent and Fr Marcus Holden.

I hope you enjoy the presentation.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

How to Become Pope . . .

Thanks to Laurence England for posting this great video on his blog.

Told in an amusing way but nonetheless a very accurate summary!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Changes in the Liturgy during Lent . . .

Every year around this time, I have several questions from parishioners about visible changes to the liturgy that they have noticed during Lent.

First of all, I am delighted that people do notice changes.  There is a reason for everything that we do at Mass and similarly a reason for anything that we do differently at certain times in the liturgical year.

Here is a  very helpful post on this subject. (H/T to Jimmy Akin )

A brief summary of the points made (my comments have been added in blue):

1. Instrumental music with no singing

In some parishes, instrumental music is used at certain points during Mass. A passage will be played on an organ or on another instrument or instruments, even though nobody is singing.
But not in Lent (with a few exceptions).
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) states:
313. In Lent the playing of the organ and musical instruments is allowed only in order to support the singing. Exceptions, however, are Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts.

2. Singing or saying the Gloria

Just after Sunday Mass begins, it is common to sing or say the Gloria ("Glory to God in the highest").
But not on the Sundays of Lent.
The General Instruction states:
53. The Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) . . . is sung or said on Sundays outside Advent and Lent, and also on Solemnities and Feasts, and at particular celebrations of a more solemn character.

3. Singing or saying the Alleleuia before the Gospel

During most of the year we sing or say the Alleluia before the reading of the Gospel.
But not in Lent.
The General Instruction states:
62. a) The Alleluia is sung in every time of year other than Lent. The verses are taken from the Lectionary or the Graduale.
b) During Lent, instead of the Alleluia, the verse before the Gospel as given in the Lectionary is sung. It is also possible to sing another Psalm or Tract, as found in the Graduale.

 4. Flowers on the altar
It is common for the altar to be decorated with flowers during most of the year (that is, there will be flowers around the altar, though not on top of the altar table itself).
But not in Lent (with a few exceptions).
The General Instruction states:
305. During Lent it is forbidden for the altar to be decorated with flowers. Exceptions, however, are Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts.

In the UK Laetare Sunday also coincides with the celebration of Mothering Sunday or Mother's Day which is a secular celebration.  Whilst we do remember and honour all Mothers on this day, and rightly so; the changes to the liturgy such as the provision of flowers in the sanctuary and the rose-coloured vestments worn by the Priest and Deacon are in celebration of Laetare Sunday rather than Mother's Day.  

5. Emptying holy water fonts

In recent years, some parishes have taken the holy water out of the holy water fonts during Lent. They have even filled them with sand in some cases.
The idea, they say, is to convey the thought that Lent is a time of spiritual dryness--a "desert" experience--that precedes Easter, in which we refrain from using the sacramental of holy water.
Despite its popularity in some places, this practice is not permitted.
It has been the Church's practice to empty the holy water fonts during Triduum, but for a different reason. It is not permitted to have them empty through the whole season of Lent.
The Congregation for Divine Worship has stated:
This Dicastery is able to respond that the removing of Holy Water from the fonts during the season of Lent is not permitted, in particular, for two reasons:
1. The liturgical legislation in force does not foresee this innovation, which in addition to being "praeter legem" [i.e., "apart from the law"] is contrary to a balanced understanding of the season of Lent, which though truly being a season of penance, is also a season rich in the symbolism of water and baptism, constantly evoked in liturgical texts.
2. The encouragement of the Church that the faithful avail themselves frequently of the sacraments is to be understood to apply also to the season of Lent. The "fast" and "abstinence" which the faithful embrace in this season does not extend to abstaining from the sacraments or sacramentals of the Church. 
The practice of the Church has been to empty the Holy Water fonts on the days of the Sacred Triduum in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil, and it corresponds to those days on which the Eucharist is not celebrated (i.e., Good Friday and Holy Saturday) [3/14/03: Prot. N. 569/00/L].

6. Veiling crosses and statues before the Fifth Sunday of Lent

This practice is permitted beginning with the Fifth Sunday of Lent, but not before.
The Roman Missal states:
In the Dioceses of the United States, the practice of covering crosses and images throughout the church from this [Fifth] Sunday may be observed.
Crosses remain covered until the end of the Celebration of the Lord's Passion on Good Friday, but images remain covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.
Notice that the practice is option (the practice "may be observed" not "is to be observed").
If it is not observed, in a particular parish, from the Fifth Sunday of Lent, there is additional encouragement to do remove or veil crosses after the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday.
The rubrics in the Roman Missal for that day state:
At an appropriate time, the altar is stripped and, if possible, the crosses are removed from the church.
It is expedient that any crosses which remain in the church be veiled.

NB. These notes refer to Dioceses in the USA but they also apply to England and Wales.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Liturgical Dance . . .

This video interview with Cardinal Arinze seems to be 'doing the rounds' on social media at the moment.

For those of you who have not have seen it, you might like to hear what Cardinal Arinze, former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has to say about the place (or otherwise) of Liturgical Dance in the Holy Mass.

He is very clear and leaves no room for misunderstanding.

Probably our Holy Father's last public homily . . .

Although, naturally enough under the circumstances, we didn't have a lot of notice about the Holy Father's last public Mass in St Peter's Basilica yesterday (Ash Wednesday) I hope nonetheless that some of you were able to watch it on television or online; or at least some of it.

It was of course a beautiful Mass and very moving.

You might like to read the Holy Father's homily from the Mass so here is the text for you to read and meditate on in your own time.

As always, whenever Pope Benedict preaches, there is a great deal of spiritual nourishment for us to reflect on.

Let us all prayer for our Holy Father and for his successor.  

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.

Friday, 8 February 2013

It's been a while . . .

Apologies for neglecting the parish blog somewhat recently.  Lots of things have been happening at St Ann's but there isn't always much time to sit down and write about it. We also have many plans for the coming weeks and months.   I thought I would do a little 'catch up' session this evening.

On Tuesday this week, we were delighted to welcome back Fr James Bradley OLW who spoke to us about prayer. This was Fr James final visit in a series of three but we hope to welcome him back in the future some time.  Fr James, you will always be welcome at St Ann's.

Each of these talks have been well attended and much appreciated by all those present  and prompted lively question and answer sessions afterwards.

Our final talk in this series of talks for the Year of Faith will be given by Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith on Tuesday 5th March at 8pm.  His subject will be 'Marriage and  Family Life' and all are warmly invited to attend.

For those who are not familiar with Fr Lucie-Smith, he is a priest of our diocese and a well-known Catholic writer.  Father has a regular blog on the Catholic Herald website.  We look forward to hearing what he has to say about Family Life, especially in the light of the recent second reading of the Same-Sex Marriage Bill.

Looking further ahead, I'm delighted that it appears as if the 40 Hours Devotion is becoming a regular annual event here at St Ann's.  We will celebrate the 40 Hours Devotion once more  in June this year as we come towards the end of this Year of Faith.  The 40 Hours Devotion will  begin on Tuesday 18th June with Mass at 7pm, and will  continue throughout Wednesday and conclude with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 9am on Thursday 20th June.  

Once again, all will be very welcome to come and join us.   Come and spend an hour or so with Our Lord or even just a few minutes if that is all you can manage.  Confession will be available throughout the day on Wednesday.