Saturday, 30 August 2008

Another interesting article in the Catholic papers this week ...

I wonder if anyone has had a chance to look at the Catholic Herald this week. There is another very interesting article that you may like to look at. One of our prominent bishops, Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue, Bishop of Lancaster asks if the English Church has lost its way.

In his book, Fit for Mission? - Church, Bishop O'Donoghue lists the following points as evidence;

Vatican II: Ignored

Vocations: In decline

Bishops: Playing it safe

Catechism: Dismissed

Liturgy: Politicised

Laity: Forgetting God
Strong words. I'd be interested to hear your views.

His conclusion is that Catholics must act courageously in order to rediscover their mission

Follow the link to read more about the article in this week's Catholic Herald.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Saint Monica

Today we celebrate the feast of St Monica, the mother of St Augustine. Through her prayers and patience she was able to convert both her pagan husband and his mother to the Catholic faith.

Of her three children, two of them entered the Religious Life but St Augustine proved much more difficult. St Monica had to pray for him for 17 years. She was strengthened in her resolve by a vision she had received and her persistence paid off as St Augustine was baptised by St Ambrose in 387.

St Monica died later that same year on the way back to Africa from Rome in the Italian town of Ostia.

What a marvellous example she is for us of Christian motherhood and a great source of consolation and encouragement for many mothers. A reminder to all of us that we should be persistent in our prayers as they will be always be answered.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Another landmark - thanks to all readers

Well, I can hardly believe it! We've made the 2,000 'hits' mark much quicker than I would have anticipated. As we opened a bottle of champagne (metaphorically speaking) for the 1,000 hits, I thought it only fitting that we should have 2 bottles for the 2,000 mark. Please take a glass from the tray and enjoy a 'virtual' toast with me in celebration.

And, as I said in my earlier post, thank you to everyone who reads this blog and please say a prayer for the 'blogger' and for our parish.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Our Lady, Queen and Mother

Tomorrow is the Feast of Our Lady, Queen and Mother and it is very fitting that we should celebrate it a week after the Feast of the Assumption.

The feast was instituted by Pope Pius XII in 1954. The faithful have long had recourse to Our Lady as Queen through such prayers as, 'Salve Regina', 'Regina Caeli' and 'Ave Regina Caelorum'.

Of course we also meditate on this feast in the Fifth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary.

Salve Regina

Hail holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope.

To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.

To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.

Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us.

And after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray,

Almighty, everlasting God, who by the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, didst prepare the body and soul of the glorious Virgin-Mother Mary to become a worthy dwelling for Thy Son; grant that we who rejoice in her commemoration may, by her loving intercession, be delivered from present evils and from the everlasting death. Amen.
From the Roman Breviary.

Our Lady, Queen and Mother,

Pray for us

Monday, 18 August 2008

What exactly do the Finance Committee do?

Sometimes people ask me what exactly the various committees in our parish 'do'. It is not always easy to describe the many ways in which all these groups of volunteers help me in the day to day running of our parish.

Take today, for an example; some members of our Finance Committee turned up early in the morning to tackle the problem of cleaning all those 'hard to reach' areas in our parish hall. Very commendable, I'm sure you'll agree. What you may not realise is quite what is involved.

Before any cleaning can take place, the scaffolding tower needs to be assembled. Any of you who have ever had any experience with Airfix Kits or assembling flat-pack furniture will know that it is not always that straightforward to work out which piece fits together with which other piece, especially when there are no instructions or even a diagram to help!

Always equal to a challenge, Ron and John manfully settled down to the task in hand. As you can see from the picture, in next to no time they had the tower fully assembled and were ready to wage war on the assembled cobwebs.

Well done. Thank you for all that you do for our parish, both in the committee room and outside it.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Some good advice ...

Perhaps because we've had two couples renewing their Marriage Vows during the Mass recently, my eye was caught by a very good article in this week's Catholic Times. Written by Fr Francis Marsden of Liverpool Diocese, he gives a summary of the Ten Commandments for Spouses as described in a pastoral letter by Cardinal Ennio Antonelli of Florence sent out to all married couples in his Archdiocese last Easter.

I won't list them in great detail here but the first 'Commandment' begins, 'Let spouses see at the basis of their marriage a vocation from God Himself .... '

Fr Francis goes on to describe a similar 'Ten Commandments' offered by Rabbi Ephraim Buchenwald. They make interesting, helpful and, at times, amusing reading.

There are still a few copies of the Catholic Times left in the church porch if you would like to read the article in detail. I also have some photocopies of the article if anyone would like to have one.

A regular visitor ...

We are delighted that Fr Stephen Dingley is able to celebrate Mass in the parish this week as he is in Banstead visiting his family. Fr Stephen is enjoying a well-earned break from St John's Seminary, Wonersh where he is on the teaching staff.

It is always a great joy to see Fr Stephen, especially as he's 'one of our own'. We wish him a very restful break.

This photo of Fr Stephen was taken by Mr Mark Sculley, Headmaster of The John Fisher School, Purley, during the Consecration of the School Chapel in January this year for the 50th Anniversary celebrations. Thanks to the Hermeneutic of Continuity from whose blog I 'borrowed' the photo and extracted this picture of Fr Stephen. Fr Stephen is an old boy of the school as many of you will know. As there are many current and past pupils of The John Fisher School in the parish, some of you may have been present at this event.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Yet more celebrations in the parish ...

What a joyful time we're having in the parish at the moment. Congratulations to Elsa and David who renewed their Marriage Vows on their 20th Wedding Anniversary yesterday, the Feast of the Transfiguration.

I was delighted that their son, Joshua was able to serve Mass for me too on this special day for his family.

As you can see they were joined by many family members and friends which made it extra special for everyone, I'm sure. We wish Elsa and David continued health and happiness.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Happy Birthday to You ....

As I have said many times, it's always a delight to celebrate Birthdays, Anniversaries and such like at Mass within the parish community.

Today we celebrated Mass for Margaret Bowen-West on the occasion of her 'special' birthday.

Afterwards we had a celebration in the hall as you can see in the photos.

A delightful e-card ...

Many thanks to whoever organised (anonymously) to send me greetings, prayers and good wishes on the Memorial of St John Vianney on behalf of all the parish.

Please click here to see the card.

Monday, 4 August 2008

St John Vianney

Today at Mass we prayed for all parish priests as we celebrated the Memorial of St John Vianney, also known as the Curé d'Ars. I was touched and moved by these words in my
spiritual reading,

'On a certain occasion people asked a lawyer from Lyons returning from Ars, what he had seen there. He answered, " I saw God in a man.",

Today we ask the Lord that we may be able to say the same of each priest on account of his holiness, his union with God and his concern for souls.

If you read this blog, please pray for me.

Some very energetic parishioners ...

Anyone walking past St Ann's on Sunday morning would have been excused for thinking that the Tour de France had taken a detour!

Chris Donovan, Headteacher of our Parish Primary School, St Anne's and three fathers of children at the school, Matt Carr, Richard McKenzie and Mark Sullivan were setting out on their sponsored cycle ride to Arundel cathedral. As you can see from the first picture two of the children came to cheer their Dads on their way.

A fourth parent from the school, Mark Oliver, accompanied the intrepid cyclists in his van to provide support if necessary (and also to bring the weary home in more comfort afterwards).

Ready for the off. How many miles did you say it was?!

Don't they look a happy bunch, and so they should be after achieving their goal. Well done all of you. We look forward to hearing how much you've raised for St Anne's School Building Fund. By the way, I'm sure it's not too late to make a donation if you didn't manage to sign the sponsorship form beforehand!

Friday, 1 August 2008

First Saturdays Devotion to Our Lady

A little while ago I posted an item on the First Fridays devotion. As tomorrow is the first Saturday in August I thought I'd write a few lines about First Saturdays. There are so many very good Catholic web sites that explain the devotion so well that I've taken a few lines from a couple of them:

'During her July apparition at Fatima, Our Lady said to Lucia, “I shall come to ask... that on the First Saturday of every month, Communions of reparation be made in atonement for the sins of the world.” '

Why Five Saturdays?

'Christians have always honoured the Blessed Virgin on Saturday because of her constant faith in Jesus on that first Holy Saturday before the Resurrection.

Five first Saturdays of reparation were requested to atone for the five ways in which people offend the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

1. Attacks upon Mary's Immaculate Conception

2. Attacks against her Perpetual Virginity

3. Attacks upon her Divine Maternity and the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all mankind

4. For those who try to publicly implant in children's hearts indifference, contempt and even
hatred of this Immaculate Mother

5. For those who insult her directly in her sacred images.'

If you would like to learn more about this devotion you will find an excellent explanation here.
Meanwhile, I do hope some of you may feel that you would like to begin practising this devotion and I look forward to seeing you at Mass tomorrow.