Saturday, 27 February 2010

16 - 20 . . .

I'm over the moon!

Hooray for the Emerald Isle!

More excellent videos on the priesthood . . .

I try and keep an eye on what other Catholic bloggers are writing about. One of the good things about writing a blog, I've noticed, is that people are only too happy to let you use things they have found and there is a general feeling of wanting to spread the news around, to share what is going on with as many people as possible.

This applies to bad news as well, of course, such as the recent CSF (Children, Schools and Families) Bill currently going through parliament and about which many Catholic bloggers have commented. See here and here .

E F Pastor Emeritus has just posted three new videos on priesthood produced by the Congregation for Clergy. I think they are excellent and I include the first one here.

If you'd like to watch the other two videos, why not pop over to E F Pastor Emeritus and see for yourself.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Confession, Confession, Confession . . .

'Let the Children Come to Me . . . '

I've been busy this week visiting our school and am delighted that I've been able to confess all the children in years, 4, 5 and 6 so we are all ready for the Great Feast of Easter!

It's always such a joyful experience to hear the simply, sincere confessions of our children. They really do set us adults an excellent example.

Happy 2nd Anniversary!

'Happy Anniversary to us . . . '

Yesterday was two years to the day that I began this parish blog. I hope you find it helpful. I have tried to post on a variety of topics; the liturgical year, parish activities, the wider Church and also sometimes to highlight important aspects of Church teaching.

If you look at the 'archive' in the sidebar on the right-hand side of the page, you will see links to all earlier posts. I find it interesting to look back sometimes and see how busy we've been!

Also, there are usually 'labels' at the foot of each post. If you click on one of these 'labels' it will 'magically' (I don't pretend to understand how this technology works!) take you to all the other posts with the same label which can be useful if you're looking for an answer to something you read earlier on the blog.

Thank you to everyone who reads the blog and a special thanks to those who add comments from time to time. The comments are what makes a blog different to a newsletter or a parish web site.

I sometimes wonder if it is worthwhile. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Reception of Holy Communion . . .

I am very grateful to Fr Allan McDonald at 'Southern Orders' for posting these videos on the Reception of Holy Communion.

While this young man's approach to his subject may appear to be a little 'over the top' one can't fault his enthusiasm and his teaching is certainly sound.

Permission to receive Holy Communion in the hand is an indult and not an obligation, and as such may be rescinded at any time.

We have many people in the parish who receive Holy Communion in the hand and many who receive on the tongue.

I am very happy for Holy Communion to be received in either way but whichever method you choose to adopt, the most important thing is that it should done 'reverently'. Reverence is the key word in both of these videos.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

The Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman . . .

Today was a day of Special Prayer for the Beatification of The Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman. We prayed for this at Rosary and Benediction this afternoon, beginning with his beautiful hymn, 'Praise to the Holiest in the height'

Here is an excellent resumé of his life taken from the website of The Newman Cause. If you would like to learn more about this exemplary man, please follow the link here.

"John Henry Newman was born in London on 21 February 1801, and died in Birmingham on 11 August 1890.

As Vicar of St Mary’s Oxford he exerted a profound spiritual influence on the Church of England. After joining the Catholic Church in 1845, he brought the Oratory of St Philip Neri to England, was the first Rector of the Catholic University in Dublin, and was made Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII in 1879.

Through his extensive published writings and private correspondence he created a greater understanding of the Catholic Church and its teachings, helping many persons with their religious difficulties. At his death he was praised for his unworldliness, humility, and prayerful contact with the invisible world.

He was declared Venerable on 22 January 1991."

PS. We had a lovely crowd at Rosary and Benediction this afternoon. Let's see if we can make it 'standing room only' next week!

John Henry Cardinal Newman, pray for us.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Stabat Mater Dolorosa . . .

Lent helps us prepare to consider the events of the Passion and Death of Our Lord. On the Fridays particularly we recall in a special way that first Good Friday when Jesus consummated the Redemption of Mankind.

As we move from Station to Station we contemplate the Sacred Humanity of Christ, who shows Himself to us suffering in human flesh as a man and yet never losing the majesty of God.

St Josemaria advises: 'Here indeed you have a sturdy and faithful devotion. Spend a few moments each Friday going over these fourteen points of Our Lord's Passion and Death. I assure you that you will gain strength for the whole of the week.' (St Josemaria - The Way)

I hope that many will join us for the Stations of the Cross here at St Ann's on the Mondays of Lent at 6.45 pm.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

'Memento homo quia pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris'

'Memento homo quia pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris' This is one of two alternative instructions which may be used during the imposition of ashes. The other being, 'Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.'

The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and runs until the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday.

With these words, 'Memento homo . . . . ' and with the ashes made from last year's palms, Catholics throughout the world begin the season of Lent. It is a time of repentance and penitence as we prepare for the Easter Triduum when we commemorate the Paschal Mysteries of the Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The ashes we receive symbolise death and remind us of our own mortality and judgement, requesting us to look again at our lives and cleanse ourselves of our sins so that we may be prepared to face the final judgement.

The wearing of ashes is also a sign of humility before God and our neighbour. Ashes on our forehead is a visible reminder, both to ourselves and others, of our sinful nature and our need for God's forgiveness.

The wearing of ashes, this outward sign, is meaningless unless it is accompanied by true and sincere sorrow for our sins.

The prophet Joel says:

'Yet even now, says the Lord,
return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, weeping and with mourning;
rend your hearts and not your clothes.
Return to the Lord, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, rich in mercy.'

(Joel 2: 12-13)

Have a holy and prayerful Lent.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Thank you . . .

Just a brief footnote to my post on the Parish Helpers' Lunch on Saturday. Here is a photo of the group of helpers who made it possible. Thank you once again for all your hard work.

And this second photo also includes the photographer!

'Criticising the Critics' . . .

'Criticising the Critics' by Fr Aidan Nichols OP. In his book, Fr Nichols sets out a comprehensive set of apologia in defence of the Catholic faith, acknowledging that the Church critics are both inside and outside the Church.

Through the ages, the Church has always had its share of critics and Fr Nichols says that 'very often their criticisms are rooted in fundamental misunderstandings or in a failure to grasp the Church teaching.'

He is critical of those who, as he says, 'are inspired by modernist rationalism' and therefore reject the supernatural; those who accept the New Age as a substitute for the doctrine of Salvation. He scrutinises theologians, those who reject both the historical and biblical basis for Christianity. Added to that list are the feminists, Protestants and progressive Catholics and those 'who regard the Church's sexual ethics as "unrealistic"'

Fr Aidan Nichols OP is Sub-prior at the Priory of St Michael the Archangel, Cambridge.

'Criticising the Critics' is available from Family Publications at £11.95 (paperback).

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Parish Helpers' Lunch . . .

Today we had our annual Parish Helpers' Lunch. As you can see from the photos below, I think everyone had a good time. There are so many people who willingly give of their time and talents to help in the parish without expecting anything in return. We are blessed to have such a vibrant parish and this is just a small token of thanks for all those who help in so many ways.

I'm only sorry that not everybody who helps in the parish was able to join us.

And yet more happy, smiling, faces.

I am very grateful to our social committee who worked hard to give us a delicious lunch. They were in the parish hall all morning setting up and decorating the tables and I know they also spent time shopping for ingredients and preparing the food at home. Thank you all very much.


I've just received my copy of a new booklet from CTS, 'Apologia' written by Fr Marcus Holden and Fr Andrew Pinsent.

Fr Marcus Holden, parishioners may remember, visited St Ann's a while ago to talk to us about the Holy Mass. He and Fr Andrew Pinsent, formerly a particle physicist, are co-authors of the Evangelium Project.

This excellent booklet looks at many difficult questions often asked about our faith, both by Catholics and those of other faiths or of no faith at all.

The authors respond positively to questions about the existence of God, about science and faith, the Bible, the Church and the Sacraments and morality.

I highly recommend this little booklet to you. It's available from the Catholic Truth Society at just £2.95.

Friday, 12 February 2010

More on Confession . . .

As promised, here is a video which explains very clearly the 'practicalities' of the Sacrament of Confession.

The only thing I would add, is to say, although a formula is helpful, the priest is there to help you in whatever way he can and will think no less of you if you stumble over the prayers. Believe me, he will just be overjoyed to see you.

Times for Confession at St Ann's are:

Saturday: 10.30 am - 11.30 am

5.00 pm - 6.00 pm

After each Mass on the first Sunday of the month

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Preparing for Easter . .

Lent is fast approaching. The season of Lent is a time of preparation for the Great Feast of Easter. The most important thing we should do is to make a good Confession. This is not only desirable but is one of the precepts of the Church: 'You shall confess your sins at least once a year.'

If you haven' t been to Confession for some time and, regrettably, find the idea rather daunting, I hope that you will find this short video very helpful. I think it is excellent and well worth watching.

Next time we'll look at the practicalities - that is, how to go to Confession.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

'Our Priests' . . .

I was alerted to this beautiful video via the news feed Zenit. It really is quite inspirational. It was made to accompany the anthem, 'Our Priests' which was written especially for this Year for Priests. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

You'll find it on Catholic TV here. The music is also available to download on iTunes.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Papal Address to our Bishops in Rome . . .

Some time ago I mentioned that I had been asked to complete a questionnaire from Bishop Kieran to enable him to gather information about parishes in the diocese for his ad Limina visit to Rome. This visit has recently taken place. Fr Seán Finnegan has posted the text of the Holy Father's address to our bishops on his blog Valle Adurni. Rather than duplicate it, I recommend you follow the link here to read it for yourself.

What is the purpose of the ad Limina?

Listed below is an explanation taken from the web site of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales:

There are three important parts to the ad Limina:

1. The pilgrimage to, and veneration of, the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul.

2. A personal meeting with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.

3. Meeting and conversations with the various departments of the Roman Curia (the administrative offices of the Holy See)