Saturday, 28 November 2009

Marriage Preparation . . .

Saturdays are usually fairly busy days in most parishes and today was no exception for us here in Banstead.

Couples began arriving early, some before the morning Mass, for our Marriage Preparation Day led by Diocesan catechists, Liz and Neil, and our own catechists, Louise and Brian.

Of course it is an impossible task to try and cover every aspect of marriage in a day's course but they did manage to include discussion on very important topics such as communication, dealing with problems and naturally to talk about the Church's teaching on marriage and the rite of marriage.

I was delighted to welcome eleven couples from various parishes in our deanery who have decided to be married in the Catholic Church. Other similar preparation days will be taking place over the coming year in other parishes in our deanery.

Please keep all these young couples in your prayers as they continue their preparations for their 'big day' and for the rest of their lives together.
Here is a prayer for our young couples to pray themselves:

We thank you, O God, for the Love You have implanted in our hearts.
May it always inspire us to be kind in our words, considerate of feeling,
and concerned for each other's needs and wishes.
Help us to be understanding and forgiving of human weaknesses and failings.
Increase our faith and trust in You and may Your prudence guide our life and love.
Bless our Marriage O God, with Peace and Happiness,
and make our love fruitful for Your glory and our Joy both here and in eternity.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Christ the King . . .

At our evening Mass today, the Feast of Christ the King, last year's Confirmandi will receive their Confirmation certificates and our current Confirmation candidates will make a commitment to our parish Confirmation programme which culminates in the reception of the Sacrament in the Spring of next year.

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

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Well done St Ann's! . . .

Along with other priests in our diocese, in my inbox yesterday was an email requesting information about our parish to help our Bishop in his preparation for the Ad Limina visit to Rome in January.

In taking a few moments to look at the questions and give answers, I couldn't help but notice from what I had written what a lively, vibrant, engaged and engaging parish we have here at St Ann's.

We have excellent, committed catechetical teams, youth leaders, prayer groups; a fantastic choir and musicians and a very dedicated organist and musical director etc. etc. . . . the list goes on. We have a prayerful community with regular Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Rosary and Benediction, and Stations of the Cross; good numbers at weekday Masses, participation in the Prayer of the Church on a regular basis and there are many more signs of a healthy parish.

I just thought I'd write a few lines to congratulate everyone and say, 'Keep up the good work. We're doing all right here in Banstead - now let's double our efforts!'

Update: If you 'double click' on the collage of photos at the top of the page you'll be able to see a larger version.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

The last wedding of the year . . .

Today, we had the last wedding of the year in the parish and fortunately for Steve and Veronica they had a beautiful sunny day for their celebration despite the calendar.

It is always a great joy for me to celebrate a Nuptial Mass and today's was no exception. Chatting to the groom beforehand, I discovered that he is the 5th member of his family to be married at St Ann's - what a marvellous family connection.

Congratulations Steve and Veronica and our best wishes for a very happy married life together.

Please keep them in your prayers as they begin married life together.

'Father, keep them always true to your commandments.
Keep them faithful in marriage
and let them be living examples of Christian life.'

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Talks by the Friars - 2 . . .

Last night once again we had an almost full hall to hear the 2nd of our talks given by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Brother John Bosco gave an excellent talk on the Sacrament of Reconciliation underpinned by the teaching from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

It was very well received by those present which included parents of our First Holy Communion children and other members of the parish. I was delighted to see many of our Confirmation group present too.

I have already received a very good response and feedback from people who were able to attend.

Now, we're all looking forward to the third and final talk, on the subject of Prayer which will take place on

Tuesday 1st December at 7.45 pm for 8pm.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Commemoration of All Souls . . .

Today we pray for all the souls who are being purified in Purgatory. In order to enter eternal happiness it is necessary that we be purified of all sin.
St Catherine of Genoa in her Treatise writes,

'No one is barred from heaven. Whoever wants to enter heaven may do so because God is all-merciful. Our Lord will welcome us into glory with his arms wide open. The Almighty is so pure, however, that if a person is conscious of the least trace of imperfection and at the same time understands that Purgatory is ordained to do away with such impediments, the soul enters this place of purification glad to accept so great a mercy of God. The worst suffering of these suffering souls is to have sinned against divine Goodness and not to have been purified in this life.'

We can help the Holy Souls pass more quickly to heaven through our prayers, especially the Mass and by making reparation for sin. The infinite value of the Mass makes it the most important prayer we have to offer for the Holy Souls. We can also offer our daily prayer especially the Rosary, our work and any little sufferings or difficulties we experience for the Holy Souls.

During the month of November we should especially remember members of our own family, those who have no-0ne to pray for them and priests who have helped us during our lives.

Our Lady, refuge of sinners,
Pray for us.
. . .

Mass for all who have died during the past year will be celebrated on
Friday 27th November at 7.30pm. All are welcome.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

All Saints Day . . .

'Let us all rejoice in the Lord and keep a festival in honour of all the saints.
Let us join with the angels in joyful praise to the Son of God.' (Entrance Antiphon)

On this feast of All Saints we rejoice and ask the intercession of 'the huge number, impossible to count' who have reached heaven. They strove to practice the Beatitudes which Our Lord sets before us in today's Gospel.

Each year the Church recognises many saints of every age; as we have recourse to them we ask their intercession for our many needs.

It is a source of comfort to realise that people with whom we talked and spent time with are now contemplating the face of God. We continue to be united to them through the Communion of Saints.

Today we make St Teresa's prayer our own:

'O holy ones who knew how to prepare so delightful an inheritance, help us now that you are so near the fount of all holiness. Draw water for those of us who are perishing of thirst.'