Sunday, 28 March 2010

Palm Sunday Procession at St Ann's . . .

Thank God for a dry day in spite of the forecast!

Courtesy of a kind photographer, here is a flavour of our Palm Sunday Procession this morning.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Palm Sunday . . .

'Hosanna to the Son of David,
the King of Israel.
Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord,
Hosanna in the highest.'
(Entrance Antiphon)

Today we commemorate Our Lord's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. In a few days in the same city, He will be nailed to a Cross for the salvation of the world.

Jesus wishes to enter into the lives of each one of us. He most desires us to witness to him in our everyday work. How willingly do we respond to the many invitations He offers us to witness to Him? Through His invitation and our response He seeks to make us holy. Every day we have many opportunities to say 'yes' or 'no' to God.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Who said Confession was out of fashion? Not at St Ann's, Banstead!

'There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over the ninety-nine virtuous men who have no need of repentance.' (Luke 15)

What a super crowd we had at our parish penitential service last night. I am very grateful to my brother priests from the Deanery who kindly came along to assist me in hearing Confessions. We were four priests all together and were busy for quite a while - Laus Deo!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Passiontide - veiled crucifixes and images . . .

This is the sight that will greet parishioners as they come to Mass tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the 5th Sunday of Lent and the beginning of the solemn, sombre season of Passiontide. Thanks to the kind help of stalwart (and agile!) parishioners all the crucifixes and images have been veiled today as is the custom at St Ann's and throughout the Church.

The Crucifixes will remain covered until the end of the Celebration of the Lord's Passion on Good Friday. Images will remain covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.

A marvellous conclusion to St Joseph's Feast Day . . .

Yesterday evening we found a very fitting way to conclude the celebration of St Joseph's Feast Day. About 50 parishioners and I boarded a coach bound for The Royal Albert Hall where we had a wonderful evening at The Classical Spectacular. A marvellous evening of toe-tapping, stirring music with a few operatic arias thrown in for good measure.

I think many of us would have gone to bed with the sound of those muskets and that canon ringing in our ears from the finale of the 1812 Overture. It truly was a Spectacle. Oh, yes, I nearly forgot to mention the laser light show and the fireworks.

These social events are a very important part of parish life and do so much to build up and build on our parish community. They give us an opportunity to chat with fellow parishioners and get to know one another a little better.

We're all looking forward to the next outing now!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Confession - The Forgotten Sacrament . . .

There are many excellent DVDs available on the sacrament of Confession and "Confession - The Forgotten Sacrament" from St Anthony Communications is no exception.

I don't think I can improve on the description of the video given on the web site:

"This short but powerful film begins by explaining the reality and gravity of sin and the effect it has on our lives and the lives of others. You then discover the Biblical roots of the need for a confession of sins, and the institution of Confession as a sacrament by Jesus Christ. Although presenting sin in its true light, this film focuses on the love and mercy of God - that although we are all sinners, He is always waiting, patiently, lovingly, fatherly, for us to return."

Commentary is provided by well known speakers and authors including Fr Nicholas Schofield, Fr Thomas Crean OP, Fr Marcus Holden, Fr Jeremy Davies and more.

How very timely in the light of today's Gospel of the story of The Prodigal Son that I should have received this DVD in the post yesterday.

I am sure this video would be very helpful not just for those who already frequent the sacrament but also for anyone who had been away from Confession for a while or who has difficulties with this sacrament.

Further information and details on ordering from St Anthony Communications website.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Invocation 2010 . . .

I am delighted to be able to publicise this national vocations discernment weekend for young adults.

The weekend is aimed at young men and women aged between 16 and 35, who are looking to deepen their relationship with Christ, discern God's will for their lives and perhaps be open to the possibility of a vocation to the Priesthood or the Religious Life.

Invocation 2010 takes place in the grounds of St Mary's College, Oscott in the Diocese of Birmingham. The event begins at 4.30 pm on Friday 2nd July and ends on Sunday 5th July with Mass at 4 pm celebrated by Archbishop Vincent Nichols.

If anyone in our parish is interested, please have a word with me. The parish would be happy to help with expenses.

More information is available on the Invocation 2010 website here.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

More on the Reception of Holy Communion . . .

Following on from my earlier posts on the Reception of Holy Communion, I would like to add a few words about our prayer of thanksgiving after Holy Communion taken from 'A Curé of Ars Prayer Book.'

St John Vianney has this to say,

'I do not like people to begin to read directly when they come from the holy table. Oh no! what is the uses of the words of men when God is speaking? We must do as one who is very curious, and listens at the door. We must listen to all that God says at the door of our heart. When you have received Our Lord, you feel your soul purified, because it bathes itself in the love of God. When we go to to Holy Communion, we feel something extraordinary, a comfort which pervades the whole body, and penetrates to the extremities. What is this comfort? It is Our Lord, who communicates Himself to all parts of our bodies, and makes them thrill. We are obliged to say, like St John, "It is the Lord!" Those who feel absolutely nothing are very much to be pitied.'

My Lord and my God,
I thank you for coming to me
in the Most Holy Sacrament.
Dwell in me, fill my soul, vivify me,
and sustain me in the pilgrimage of life.
As I become more conformed
to your image and united to you,
enable me to draw others
to your Mystical Body, the Church.