Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Thou art a priest for ever . . .

As promised, here is a photo of the newly refurbished grave of Fr Edward Dockery, the first Priest-in-Charge of St Ann's parish.

I do think it is a great improvement on the rather neglected-looking grave I visited a few weeks ago. I hope you agree.

Please do pop into All Saints' Churchyard next time you're in Banstead village and pay your respects to Fr Dockery and say a prayer for him. May he rest in peace.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

The Word became flesh . . .

The Word became flesh.’

God became man; He came to live among us. God is never far away, He is ‘Emmanuel’, God-with-us. God is not a stranger, He has a face and this is the face of Jesus.

God is faithful, He does not change. The event of the Incarnation occurred in history but at the same time transcends history. Belief in the God who desired to share our human history continually encourages us in our own commitment to the history, in spite of its contradictions.

May the light of Christmas shine forth afresh this year and may the Infant of Bethlehem bless each of you.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Latin is sooooo hard to learn . . .

I was very taken with this post by Mulier Fortis, I thought I'd share it with you.

Quite often one hears the comment when discussing Mass settings, choice of music etc. 'Oh, but Latin is so difficult for our young people to learn.' 'They aren't used to it'. 'They don't learn it in school any more' and so on . . .

Well, here is a delightful clip of a very gifted young man, just four years old, singing the Salve Regina and obviously enjoying it too.

See and hear for yourself here. Well done Edward! We look forward to your rendition of the Alma Redemptoris Mater very soon!

Monday, 5 December 2011

More Confessions . . .

Having a had a super week in our parish primary school, I have today been privileged to assist with Confessions at The John Fisher School in Purley.

I received a very warm welcome from the school Chaplain, Fr James Clark and Mr Dan Cooper.

It was lovely to see so many of St Ann's boys in the school grounds as I walked through to the school chapel .

In past years, The John Fisher School has helped sow and nurture the seeds of many vocations, including several priests from our own diocese.

Let us all continue to pray for vocations.

St John Vianney, pray for us . . .

Friday, 2 December 2011

Let the Little Children Come to Me . . .

'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'
(Matthew 19:14)

Hooray! I have this week confessed all the children in Years 4, 5 and 6 in our parish school, and as always, what a delight it has been to do so.

Our children are now ready for Our Lord's coming at Christmas.

For those parishioners whose school days are but a dim and distant memory, (and those in between!) you may like to know that our parish Advent Penitential Service is on Wednesday 7th December at 7.30pm in St Ann's Church. All are welcome, not just our own parishioners.

There will be a short liturgy including an examination of conscience, followed by an opportunity for individual Confession. I will be assisted by several other priests from our Deanery. I hope many of you will follow the excellent example of our children and use this chance to prepare well for the feast of Christmas.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Shhhhhh . . .

Shhhhhh . . .

Silence is not only the absence of noise, it is essential in order to listen to God's word. Unless we are able to 'block out' the ever-increasing messages of social communication and mass-media, it is virtually impossible to hear the word of God or indeed reflect on it in a prayerful manner and therefore we are unable to act on it in our daily lives.

Silence is necessary for all of us in church. We need to preach the Gospel in word and action and so we must make room for silence in order to welcome God's word and discern what we are called to do as followers of Christ.

St Joseph is the Patron Saint of silence, foster-father of Jesus and husband of Mary. In the Gospels he does not utter a word. He listens . . . He reflects . . . He acts.

St Joseph welcomed the Word of God into his heart and mind. He welcomed Jesus, God's only Son, the Word made flesh into his family with fatherly care. The silence of St Joseph speaks louder than words.

If we wish to encourage vocations to the priesthood, the religious life, to marriage and the single state, we need to help men and women to find times and places where they can switch off the noise of today and tune in to the silence and peace of God.

'Be still and know that I am God.'

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Advent Wreath . . .

The Advent Wreath may be of any size and is made of evergreens. There are four candles, one for each week of Advent; it is traditional that three of the candles are purple and one is rose.

The rose candle is lit on the Third Sunday of Advent since this colour symbolises and anticipates the joy of Christmas which is announced in the first word of the Entrance Antiphon: 'Rejoice' from the Latin 'Gaudete'. The third Sunday is also known as Gaudete Sunday and rose-coloured vestments may be worn.

The Advent Wreath originated in Europe, in what we now call Germany; there was a tradition there among the pagans to light candles on a wreath as the December darkness fell and the days became shorter and colder.

Eventually the Christians evangelised these people and converted them, but the people still held onto the tradition and so the Church 'Christianised' the practice.

Every year in Advent we wait once again in darkness for the Lord's coming; His historical coming in the mystery of Bethlehem; His final coming at the end of time, and in between, His special coming in each and every moment of grace.

The most important part of the wreath is the flame which symbolises Christ, the light of the world and our yearning for the light and warmth of his love which is everlasting, as is symbolised by the evergreen wreath which never loses its 'green-ness'.

It would be great to have a wreath at home and gather as a family each day and light the candle together (not forgetting to extinguish it!!) and pray for a few moments. This will help us to pray as a family which is the most important thing that you can do as a family.

It will also help you to prepare for Christmas in a real Christian way and focus on Christ rather than wrapping paper and long shopping queues. It will help us prepare spiritually for Christmas so that Christmas may be that Holy day it's supposed to be and God wants it to be for us.

Ultimately God wants each of us to be that candle reflecting His light to our world that so much needs to see Him.

The photo at the top of this post shows our new Advent Wreath already for its 'début' on Sunday. If I can obtain a better photo I'll come back and replace this one!

Update: I hope you approve of the 'improved' photo!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Why was Fr wearing white at Mass today . . .?

I gather from one of our parishioners that her eagle-eyed young son had commented on the white vestments I was wearing at Mass on Sunday.

First of all, I'm always delighted to hear that our children are taking such an interest in what is happening at Mass and secondly, I'm also always very happy to do my best to answer any queries so do please let me know if your children have posed any similar questions during or after Mass.

So, to the answer . . .

At different times in the Church's year, the priest will wear different coloured vestments to indicate which season it is; for example for most of the year, in what we call 'Ordinary Time', the priest will wear green vestments.

It is not only the priest's vestments that will be green, the tabernacle 'veil' (cover) will also be green and if there is a Deacon present his vestments will also be green.

Here is a simple list which gives the 'liturgical colours' and when they are used:

Green: Ordinary Time

White/Gold: Feasts; Christmas, Easter, Weddings, Baptisms etc.

Red: Feasts of the Lord’s Passion, Blood and Cross; Martyrs;
Holy Spirit (Pentecost, Confirmation)

Purple: Advent, Lent, Penitence, Funerals

White with blue: Feasts of Our Lady

Rose: Gaudete Sunday (3rd Sunday of Advent) &
Laetare Sunday (4th Sunday of Lent)

Sunday was the Solemnity of Christ the Universal King. A 'Solemnity' is a very special feast and so white vestments are worn, or sometimes even gold.

Next Sunday is the beginning of Advent which is also the beginning of the Church's year and the colour of the vestments will change again. I hope all our young people will be watching carefully to see which colour it will be!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Fr Edward Dockery . . .

I took this photo the other day. I apologise for the quality but I only had my phone with me at the time.

It shows the gravestone of Fr Edward Dockery, the first Parish Priest of St Ann's. Although Mass was being celebrated at St Ann's before Fr Dockery was appointed, there was no presbytery and the parish was served by local priests from Epsom overseen by Canon Christall.

With the building of the presbytery in 1936 came the possibility of a resident priest and in September of that year, Fr Dockery was appointed as the first rector of the parish, taking up residence at the beginning of October.

Fr Dockery died in 1940 as a result of an incendiary bomb whilst travelling in his car. He was just 37 years old. May he rest in peace.

Fr Dockery was buried in the churchyard of All Saints Church (Anglican) Banstead which is where I took this photo.

In your charity, you might like to pay a visit to Fr Dockery's grave and say a prayer for the repose of his soul.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace. Amen.

Incidentally, as you can see, the gravestone is looking rather the worse the wear. Therefore we have arranged for the stone to be professionally cleaned so that the site will provide a fitting memorial to our very first Parish Priest.

Monday, 24 October 2011

More on the church building . . .

Our altar at St Ann's with the empty tabernacle behind. Taken on Holy Saturday just before the Easter Vigil.

Here's a little follow-up to my last post on the Sanctuary lamp:

The Altar

The altar is one of the most important parts of a church and is frequently situated on an elevated area called the sanctuary or ‘holy place’. Of course the sanctuary had a more clearly defined area before the removal of the altar rails. It is in this ‘sacred place’ on the altar where the ‘sacrament of sacraments’ is celebrated, the holy sacrifice of the Mass. The altar is also the table of the Lord to which all are invited, as one family around the family table (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1182).

The Tabernacle

This is also holy because the Lord who is present in the Blessed Sacrament is kept here to foster adoration of the faithful. (CCC 1183)

The Chair

The Chair of the Bishop or Priest should express his office of presiding over the assembly and of directing prayer. (CCC 1184)

The Ambo/Lectern

The dignity of the Word of God requires the church to have a suitable place for announcing this message so that the attention of the people may be easily directed to that place during the Liturgy of the Word.

I hope some readers find these little snippets of information helpful. It's easy to assume that everyone is familiar with the terminology of the Church and understands the meaning of the signs and symbols that some of us take for granted.

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Sanctuary Lamp . . .

I'm always very happy to try and answer questions raised by parishioners. One of our young parishioner posted a question about the sanctuary lamp on my last post and here is a brief explanation. I hope he or she finds it helpful, and that it might also be of interest to other readers.

In the Old Testament we read in Exodus (27: 20-21) that God commanded that a lamp filled with the purest oil of olives should always burn in the Tabernacle.

“You are to order the sons of Israel to bring you pure olive oil for the light, and to keep a flame burning there perpetually. Aaron and his sons are to set this flame in the Tent of Meeting, outside the veil that is before the Testimony. It must burn there before the Lord from evening to morning perpetually. This is an irrevocable ordinance for their descendants, to be kept by the sons of Israel.”

In Judaism, the sanctuary lamp is known by its Hebrew name, ner tamid (נר תמיד), which means "eternal flame or light".

It is to be found in front of the ark in every Jewish synagogue. It represents the menorah (branched candlestick) of the Temple in Jerusalem as well as the continuously burning fire on the altar of burnt offerings in front of the Temple. It also symbolizes God's eternal presence, and is therefore never extinguished.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal in the Catholic Church, states (in 316): "In accordance with traditional custom, near the tabernacle a special lamp, fuelled by oil or wax, should be kept alight to indicate and honour the presence of Christ." The sanctuary lamp is placed near the tabernacle as a sign that the Blessed Sacrament is reserved or stored there.

It is a mark of honour to remind the faithful of the presence of Christ, and is a profession of their love and affection. It signifies Christ, as this material light represents He who is the "true light that enlightens all men" (John 1:9).

It is also used by some churches of other denominations to represent the presence of God and may also be found in Eastern Orthodox Churches. Other Christian denominations burn the lamp to show that the light of Christ always burns in a sin-darkened world.

Sanctuary lamps are usually red and may be in the form of a lamp hanging near the tabernacle or, as at St Ann’s, fixed to a bracket on the wall. The red glass container holds a candle that will burn for approximately one week and is never extinguished, the new candle being lit from the used candle it replaces.

Most of this information and more detail can be found on Catholic Encyclopedia and Wikipedia.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Reverence . . .

Here is a short piece I was prompted to write for next week's newsletter . . .


The church is a sacred place where each of us has the privilege of sharing in God’s life and where we shape our lives with God. A ‘sacred place’ means that it has been set aside for the worship of God and for the reception of the sacraments.

The church is not like any other public space; it is not like a hall, a cinema or a theatre. Everything here, that is the art, the architecture, the images communicate one thing – namely, this is a sacred place where God is present.

We belong here, this is our church; laity and clergy alike. The one thing that is required from each of us is RESPECT. That’s why, for example, we are asked to observe an attitude of prayer and silence in God’s house.

The red sanctuary lamp burns day and night indicating that Jesus, God’s only Son, is present in the tabernacle.

Let us renew our love and respect for God’s house and remember, we are in His presence when we come into the church.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

It's all going swimmingly here . . . !

I don't know how it's going where you are, but the New Translation is going very well here.

I think introducing the texts gradually over a few weeks earlier in the year with a short explanation in our parish newsletter has helped, and also introducing the New Translation for the weekday Masses during the week leading up to the 'launch' on Sunday 4th September has been beneficial too.

Of course, we still make mistakes from time time, both in the pews and in the sanctuary but that is only to be expected with anything new. I don't think it's my imagination but I feel that the natural 'slips of the tongue' are slowly becoming fewer.

Personally, I'm now impatient to receive the full Missal and look forward to seeing the New Translation of the texts for Advent. It will be good too to have a 'proper Missal' on the altar rather than the rather flimsy interim version.

Thank you to all in the parish who have helped to make the transition from the 'old translation' of the Missal to the new go so smoothly.

Friday, 26 August 2011

New Translation of the Missal - A Poll . . .

I came across this excellent poll on the implementation of the New Translation of the Missal and I hope The American Papist doesn't mind that I've taken his questions (slightly modified) to ask readers here how they feel about the imminent introduction of the New Translation.

Originally, I had hoped to set up the poll directly on our Facebook page but couldn't find an easy way of making it anonymous. I think most people prefer anonymity, and as I really would like people to take part, I decided to post it here first and then copy it to Facebook.

What do you think about the New Translation of the Missal?

I'm eagerly awaiting it's implementation.

I'm cautiously optimistic.

I haven't made up my mind yet. I need to wait and see how I feel after a while.

I have some reservations. I'm happy with the current translation.

I'm strongly against it.

Make you own poll at

See Results

If you're having difficulty registering your vote above, you can go directly to the same poll and vote here.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Some of our choir, enjoying a well-earned break . . .

I recently received this lovely photo of some of our choir members enjoying a meal out in Brighton on their annual outing.

I'm very grateful for all that our choir do throughout the year to enhance our liturgies, not just at Sunday Masses but at funerals, weddings and on other occasions too.

They have a break from their regular duties during August and enjoy a well-earned rest. Even so, they kindly made a 'special appearance' at Mass last week to help us celebrate the Feast of the Assumption in style.

We look forward to welcoming them back in September.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Papal Visit - Young People's Reunion . . .

Our Diocese is arranging a reunion for all of the young people in our diocese who attended one of the Papal Visit events last year, or who took part in World Youth Day this year.

I know some of our young people did go along to the Papal Visit event in London and Birmingham so I hope you might think about going along.

It will be an evening of

'faith, fun, food, friendship and music'

at St Francis Primary School Southgate Drive, Crawley RH10 6RP
(Next door to DABCEC).

Friday 16th September: 5 - 10 pm

If you are interested in attending please contact or

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Today we celebrate the feast day of St Jean Marie Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests.

Act of Love of the Holy



I love you, O my God. My only desire is to love you, until the last breath of my life. I love you, O infinitely loveable God, and I prefer to die loving you, rather than to live for an instant without you.

I love you, O my God, and I desire only to go to heaven, to have the happiness of loving you perfectly. I love you, O my God, and my only fear is to go to hell, because one will never have the sweet solace of loving you there.

O my God, if my tongue cannot say at all times that I love you, at least I want my heart to repeat it to you as many times as I breathe.

Ah! Do me the grace: to suffer while loving you, to love you while suffering, and, that when I die: I not only will love you, but experience it in my heart. I beg you that: the closer I come to my final end, you will increase and perfect my love for you. Amen.

St Jean Marie Vianney, pray for me, and for all parish priests.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

New Vocations blog for Arundel & Brighton . . .

Just a brief line here about an exciting new blog for you all to keep an eye on . . . The Arundel and Brighton Vocations blog, very aptly named, 'I will give you shepherds . . .'

Please join me in praying that more young (and not so young) men hear and respond to God's call.

O God, Father of all Mercies,
Provider of a bountiful Harvest,
Send your Graces
upon those You have called
to gather the fruits of Your labour;
preserve and strengthen them
in their lifelong service to you.

Open the hearts of Your children
that they may discern Your Holy Will;
inspire in them a love and desire
to surrender themselves
to serving others in the name of
Your son, Jesus Christ.

Teach all your faithful to follow
their respective paths in life
guided by Your Divine Word and Truth.
Through the intercession of the
Most Blessed Virgin Mary,
all the Angels, and Saints,
humbly hear our prayers
and grant Your Church's needs,
through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Confused? You're not the only one . . .

We've had one or two occasions recently when we've wanted to fly the Papal Flag outside our church. One of our parishioners kindly set up a temporary flagpole for us which did the job quite satisfactorily but we thought maybe if we had a proper flagpole we might be encouraged to use if more often, on special feast days for example.

Having erected the flagpole yesterday, we are having a 'dry run' with the complimentary flag of St George that came with it.

I think it confused a few parishioners when they came for Mass this morning. It's certainly not St George's Day but I hope St Martha appreciated it!

It also looks as if our magnolia tree thinks it's April too. One or two blooms have suddenly appeared amongst the greenery.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Feast of Sts Joachim and Ann . . .

A very happy feast day to all!

We celebrated our feast day in the parish with a lovely Mass this morning followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Adoration throughout the day.

We also had a little social gathering with tea, coffee and cakes after Mass for those who were able to stay.

Lord, God of our fathers,

through Saint Joachim and Saint Ann

You gave us the Mother of Your Incarnate Son.

May their prayers help us to attain the salvation

You promised to Your people. Amen.

St Joachim and St Ann, pray for us.

Social Media . . .

We're trying to follow our Holy Father's advice here in Banstead and use all types of media to reach out to people and spread the Good News of the Gospel.

To this end, we've just created a parish Facebook page. We hope that if you have your own Facebook account, you will search for the page and 'like' it so that you'll receive status updates directly to your account.

These are just our first faltering steps into social media, but if Pope Benedict XVI can use an iPad, I think it must be acceptable for us to follow in his footsteps, albeit on an 'old-fashioned' computer.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

School Confessions . . .

Top marks to The John Fisher School in Purley!

This afternoon I spent an hour or so at the school hearing Confessions. This session had been arranged to give the boys an opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance before the end of the school year. How fortunate the boys are to have Mr Dan Cooper arranging this and other opportunities for Confession throughout their time at the school.

It's always a pleasure to visit the school and very encouraging to see that such care is taken to provide good pastoral and spiritual development for the pupils.

Happy holidays to staff and students alike!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Youth in our Parish . . .

It's a bit late to start blogging but we had such a good meeting with Ray Mooney this evening, I just thought I'd put down a few of my thoughts whilst they're still fresh in my mind.

Just a small group of young people, mainly those who have just been confirmed but also some of our new Confirmation group, came along to hear what Ray had to say about youth activities in our diocese.

It was quite cosy as we decided to move into our small meeting room rather than in the large parish hall.

We were very fortunate that Ray brought with him the special National Symbol for Youth Ministry that was blessed by Pope Benedict outside Westminster Cathedral during his recent visit.

Once that was set up and the candle lit, display boards arranged around the room, Ray showed us a very well put-together video presentation produced by last year's Lourdes Redshirts.

I don't think any of us present could fail to catch the enthusiasm of the young people in the video. It was quite inspiring and I hope that it inspired some of our young people to seriously consider applying to be a Redshirt next year.

As well as talking about the A&B pilgrimage to Lourdes in some detail, Ray also gave an overview of other youth activities such as Youth Gather, World Youth Day and the Flame Youth Congress to be held at Wembley Arena in March 2012.

You can find out all about youth activities in our diocese by checking out the special Diocesan Youth web site.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

A Week in the Life of a Priest . . .

I saw this interesting video on the Our Sunday Visitor blog.

I don't think I need to add anything else, the video says it all.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

It's arrived!!!

Hot off the press! Just delivered five minutes ago - our new interim Missal. Thank you DHL!
Are you going to be there? Looking forward to seeing you. Don't forget to sign the list in the porch or there might not be enough pizza!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Corpus Christi - St Ann's Style . . .

We may not have been able to find a canopy for our procession of the Blessed Sacrament today but our improvised 'ombrellino' looks very fitting, doesn't it?

Today we celebrated the Solemnity of Corpus Christi in fitting style. It was also a Mass of thanksgiving for all our children who have made recently made their First Holy Communion.

It's interesting how the young ladies love to be in front of the camera . . .

Whereas the young gentlemen are much more reticent . . .

Naturally a little celebration was in order for them, and, as is our custom here, a delicious cake was enjoyed by all.

And here are some more photos taken this morning . . .

Corpus Christi Procession of the Blessed Sacrament - What is all about . . . ?

For any keen parish blog watchers who might have logged in to see photos taken at our own Procession of the Blessed Sacrament this morning, I thought you might like to see this video whilst you're waiting.

There are many videos of Corpus Christi processions but this one has a good explanation by the parish priest. He helps us to understand why we process with the Blessed Sacrament.

It's also encouraging to hear some of his parishioners explain their understanding of why we have such processions.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Catechesis . . .

A lot has been said and written about poor catechesis in recent years. Not just poor catechesis but a general decline in any sort of catechesis.

This affects not only our children but also our adults who have sadly been lacking good teaching in their formative years.

As Pope St Pius X said,

“If faith languishes in our days,” he said, “if among large numbers it has almost vanished, the reason is that the duty of catechetical teaching is either fulfilled very superficially or altogether neglected.

His point was that it was one of the primary duties of the priest to ensure that his parishioners received adequate catechesis. One can engage the laity in supporting the priest in this endeavour; indeed, nowadays it is almost essential as most priests find themselves without an assistant priest in the parish. It is nevertheless the responsibility of the Parish Priest to avail himself of every opportunity to help the people develop a better knowledge and understanding of their faith.

Todd Hartch develops this idea further in his excellent post on 'Catholic Thing' here

Monday, 20 June 2011

Holy Mass, the Priesthood and the New Translation . . .

Looking at the Westminster Diocesan website recently, I was very interested to read this homily by Archbishop Vincent Nichols on the priesthood and the Holy Mass. It was given at the recent annual Celebration of Priesthood earlier this month.

Reflecting on the part played by the priest in the celebration of Mass, Archbishop Nichols highlighted four main areas for consideration.

Firstly that. 'liturgy is never my own possession, or my creation. It is something that we are given, from the Father.'

Secondly that 'the liturgy forms us, not us the liturgy'.

Thirdly that, 'our part is to offer the Mass as a service to the people.'

And, finally, that 'a profound celebration of the Mass inexorable gives rise to a practical expression of compassion and willing service.'

When you have a moment to spare I heartily recommend that you read the full text. I hope you will find it equally helpful whether a member of the laity or the clergy.

You'll find the whole of the Archbishop's homily here.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

More celebrations . . .

Ingredients for a successful parish celebration:

Something to celebrate - The 75th Anniversary of our parish

The presence of a daughter of one of the founding families of the parish

A Bishop - Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, Bishop Kieran Conry,
pictured here with Barbara Flaxman

A church full of smiling parishioners

A choir in splendid voice

A groaning table full of tasty food

A well-stocked bar

A delicious cake

Plenty of helping hands

Put them all together and you have the perfect fool-proof recipe for our parish celebration today.

And just for good measure, add in a parishioner who is also celebrating a 'special birthday' today. Happy Birthday Freda!

Here are a few photos taken this morning . . .

Monday, 23 May 2011

Our newly confirmed . . . !

Congratulations to all our young people who were confirmed by Bishop Kieran at St Joseph's, Epsom a few weeks ago along with many others from our deanery.

Many thanks to Sam Carr for organising the photo which was taken outside St Ann's on Sunday.

* 'Double-click' on the photos to see an enlarged version.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

40 Hours and 75 years . . . !

Well, what a wonderful time we had in the parish yesterday.

Before we began our 40 Hours Devotion we celebrated a Mass in thanksgiving for all the blessings received during the 75 years since the foundation of the parish of St Ann's.

I am very pleased that several priests who have connections with the parish were able to attend. Fr Stephen Dingley, who was ordained at St Ann's, kindly agreed to preside and Fr Seán Finnegan who was also ordained at St Ann's delivered a very fitting homily. You can see some of the concelebrants pictured below.

They were joined by some former parish priests and assistant priests. I was also delighted to welcome some of the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal who have become welcome visitors to St Ann's ever since they preached a parish mission here a few years ago.

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament followed after Mass; the lights were lowered and those who were able to stay knelt in Adoration and Prayer . . . and so began our 40 Hours Devotion.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Fish on Fridays . . .

Have you heard the news?

Meat's out . . . !

And . . . fish is in!

Following the recent plenary meeting of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, it has been decided 'to re-establish the practice of Friday penance in the lives of the faithful as a clear and distinctive mark of their own Catholic identity.'

Hooray, I say!

You can read the full press release on the Bishops' Conference website here