Welcome to the webpages of the Roman Catholic Church of St Anselm and St Cæcilia, Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Here you will find information about us including normal Mass times as well as Parish contacts.
Our postal address is 70 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3JA. You will find us on the east side of Kingsway, a few steps from Holborn Station (LT).
You can contact us on 020 7405 0376.
Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST
29th May 2016
CORPUS CHRISTI –
THE TRUE VALUE OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST
Asked what inspired his great love for the Blessed Sacrament, Archbishop Fulton Sheen shared a story he had been told about Communist soldiers overrunning one Catholic village during the revolution. Archbishop Sheen was one of the first priests to promote the Faith through the media: he was declared Venerable in 2012. He recounted how the Communists rounded up the village’s inhabitants, forced them to gather in the church, and made them watch as they destroyed the Tabernacle, throwing the consecrated Hosts down on the floor. The soldiers’ captain warned the people never to return to the church.
But that night, one little girl went to the church despite the risk to her own life. After an hour of prayer in reparation for the desecration, she knelt and received Jesus in Holy Communion, picking up a host from the floor with her tongue. The girl came back every night. She kept this up for more than a month, but on the 32nd night, after reverently consuming the final host with her tongue, she was discovered and killed.
What a wonderful witness to faith and reverence for the Holy Body of the Lord.
At the time when we celebrate Corpus Christi, we need to examine our consciences and ask some important questions.
Do I receive Our Lord’s Body in a state of grace?
When did I last confess my sins?
Do I receive Him devoutly and with love for Him in my heart?
Do I prepare to receive Him?
Do I offer thanksgiving after having received Him?
Fr John Osman
“O Sacrum Convivium” (O Sacred Banquet) is a traditional prayer honouring the Blessed Sacrament.
O Sacred banquet, in which Christ is received, the memory of His passion is renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory given to us.
SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY
22nd May 2016
TODAY we celebrate the wonder and majesty of who God really is. Our Lord Jesus reveals God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three Persons yet one God, bound in perfect relationship. The source and end of life and love, our Triune God calls us to live out the purpose of our creation: to live in communion with God and with each other.
The Trinity, which is the union and communion of Life and Love, is the model for all human relationships. Pope Francis writes: “We are not called to live without the other, above or against the other, but with the other, for the other and in the other… We must be an hospitable community where every person, especially the poor and marginalised, may find a warm welcome.”
Our worship and adoration of the one true God, the Most Holy Trinity, is the most powerful means to realise our authentic communion with one another. May we become a community where worship and adoration is at our heart.
Our CORPUS CHRISTI PROCESSION next Sunday, following our 10am Mass, will be a concrete sign of this desire – worshipping Our Lord in the Eucharist, united to Him and one another in bearing witness to the love of God made flesh.
Fr David Barnes, PP
PRAYER FOR OUR PRIESTS
written by John Cardinal O’Connor
Lord Jesus, we your people pray to You for our priests.
You have given them to us for our needs.
We pray for them in their needs.
We know that you have made them priests in the likeness of your own priesthood.
You have consecrated them, set them aside, anointed them, filled them with the Holy Spirit, appointed them to teach, to preach, to minister, to console, to forgive, and to feed us with Your Body and Blood.
Yet we know, too, that they are one with us and share our human weaknesses. We know too that they are tempted to sin and discouragement as we are, needing to be ministered to, as do we.
Indeed, we thank you for choosing them from among us, so that they understand us as we understand them, suffer with us and rejoice with us, worry with us and trust with us, share our being, our lives, our faith.
We ask that You give them this day the gift You gave Your chosen ones on the way to Emmaus:
Your presence in their hearts,
Your holiness in their souls,
Your joy in their spirits.
And let them see you face to face in the breaking of the
We pray to You, O Lord, through Mary the mother of all priests, for Your priests and for ours.
15th May 2016
TODAY’S great celebration of the Coming of the Holy Spirit fifty days after the Resurrection is often called THE BIRTHDAY OF THE CHURCH. From being a small group of diffident and timid people, the infant Church was set on fire and empowered to preach the Gospel to the whole world. The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, given us in baptism and confirmation, is still poured out afresh on us when we truly want. In these days, ponder the seven gifts God has given us, and examine how far we are unlocking these gifts by evidence in our daily life of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (7)
Wisdom • Understanding • Counsel • Fortitude
Knowledge • Piety • Fear of the Lord
FRUITS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (12)
Charity • Joy • Peace
Patience • Kindness • Goodness
Generosity • Gentleness • Faithfulness
Modesty • Self-control • Chastity
PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And you shall renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray:
O God, who taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy
Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolation. Through Christ Our Lord.
THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD
8th May 2016
“…HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN…” (Creed)
TODAY’s celebration of Our Lords’s Ascension gives us much to ponder and treasure in our heart.
- He has completed everything the Father had given Him to do, crowned by the Paschal Mystery, and now He is returning to the Father. His joy is complete, and He invites us to share His joy.
Our true joy is to share His joy!
- He goes to prepare a place for us. Heaven is where we truly belong, to be with God for all eternity. Our Lord has prepared a place for us. He is calling us “so that where I am, you may be too”.
Do I live with heaven as my goal and true homeland?
- We are never alone: in his Ascension He promises that He will be with us always, “Yes, to the end of time”.
He is always present to us: are we always wanting to make ourselves present to Him?
- My Mission and purpose in this world is to share in the Mission Jesus gave the infant Church at His Ascension: “Go out into the whole world and proclaim the Good News…”
Our Lord shares His life fully with us through the Church: do we seek to bring others to share His life through the Church?
“Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving, for the Ascension of Christ your Son in our exaltation, and where the Head has gone before in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope” (today’s Collect)
SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
1st May 2016
HOLY YEAR and HOLY DOOR
Pope Francis has given us this Jubilee year of Mercy (Dec 2015- Nov-2016), and Cardinal Vincent, has given us a Holy Door of Mercy here in our parish. Consider carefully, how are we embracing these two wonderful gifts?
Pope Francis has commented: The image of the door recurs in the Gospel on various occasions and calls to mind the door of the house, of the home, where we find safety, love and warmth.
Jesus tells us that there is a door which gives us access to God’s family, to the warmth of God’s house, of communion with Him. This door is Jesus himself (cf Jn 10:9). He is the door. He is the entrance to salvation. He leads us to the Father and the door that is Jesus is never closed. This door is never closed it is always open and to all, without distinction, with exclusion, without privileges. Because, you know, Jesus does not exclude anyone. Some of you, perhaps, might say to me: ” But Father, I am certainly excluded because I am a great sinner: I have done terrible things, I have done lots of them in my life.” No, you are not excluded! Precisely for this reason you are the favourite, because Jesus prefers sinners, always in order to forgive them, to love them. Jesus is waiting for you to embrace you, to pardon you. Do not be afraid: he is waiting for you. Take heart, have courage to enter through his door, to cross the threshold of faith, to enter into his life, so he may transform it, renew it, and give it full and enduring joy.
FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
24th April 2016
HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN UKRAINE
The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine began in Spring 2014 and, notwithstanding the ceasefire of September 2015, continues still, resulting in causalities caused by a vast number of landmines and constant artillery fire. The number of dead ascertained is approximately 9,000, and many other people are displaced or imprisoned, often illegally. Instability, the continual threat of conflict, and widespread armed gangs which go unchecked are creating grave hardships for local populations, not only in areas directly affected, but in the whole of the country. Conditions are worsened by the general economic situation, gripped by high inflation which has dramatically reduced purchasing power: more than 500,000 people are in urgent need of food. There are over 1.5 million people displaced throughout the country.
In the area most affected by the war, the greatest need is for health care: over 120 health centres have been damaged or destroyed. Pregnant women and those in childbirth are particularly at risk, and the potential for the spread of AIDS and tuberculosis is high. There is a lack of anaesthesia, leading to operations often being performed without it. Where medicines are still available (many pharmacies have been closed), they have become too expensive to purchase.
Presently there are approximately 3 million people living in conditions of extreme hardship in those regions most affected by the conflict. Most of these are elderly residents who were unable to leave the combat zone.
Regarding housing, from 12,000 to 15,000 homes have been damaged, and more than 1,000 completely destroyed. The situation will be particularly dire during autumn and winter due to severe weather.
A great number of children are unable to attend school. 200,000 have found safe haven in regions of Ukraine outside of conflict areas: one out of four, therefore, is displaced. Many are affected by serious psychological traumas caused by the violence they have witnessed and themselves experienced: some have even lost the ability to read and write.
The ongoing conflict is the primary obstacle to a solution to the humanitarian crisis. In particular, limits on importing commercial goods are in force, including the importing of medicines, and it is very difficult for international aid to reach those zones most affected by the conflict.
Faced with such massive problems, communities are demonstrating an extraordinary resilience. The networks of aid groups that are most successful are those of religious organizations. Among these are Catholics who, while only 10% of the Ukrainian population and a small minority of those in conflict areas, have been fully engaged in assisting those who require help, without being able to meet the most pressing needs which are immense.
The Holy See is organizing, therefore, special forms of aid for the benefit of the whole population, regardless of religious affiliation, with a view to addressing this humanitarian crisis, especially in the most critical sectors. To assist in this effort, a mechanism for gathering funds and for selecting projects to finance is being established by means of a special Commission in loco, which will be charged with examining proposed projects. The Pontifical Council Cor Unum will be responsible for approving and evaluating the practical management of these funds, which will be subject to necessary financial accountability.
(To: Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe
From: Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, Vatican
Date: 18 April 2016)
FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
17th April 2016
Good Shepherd Sunday
“The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me.
The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Father. The Father and I are one.” John 10:14
This Sunday is also known as Vocations Sunday. A day when men and women pray that the Church may have good and holy guides to spread the Gospel. When we think about our spiritual guides we usually think of priests and religious. What we must remember is that we are all church and each one of us has our own vocation. For most of us, probably, it is what we are doing now such as spouses, parents, teachers, doctors civil servants, business, salesperson the list goes on.
The question we should be asking ourselves today is:- Am I fulfilling my true vocation? How am I giving witness to Gospel values? What am I doing to make the world a better place? Is God calling me to greater service to my Church and my community? Am I using society or the Church to get what I want?
Each one of us is being called by God to work for spreading the Gospel and building Christian community.
Each one of us is unique, made in the image and likeness of God.
Remember, Jesus led His sheep and is now calling us all to follow in his footsteps. Where is God calling me / you to make my own unique contribution based on the gifts and talents I have received from him?
Let us pray we will accomplish what we are being asked to do. We would soon have One Church one faith one Lord.
Sr. M. Lucina, Parish Sister
THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
10th April 2016
PRIEST TRAINING FUND
The annual collection to help fund the formation of priests will take place next weekend. I ask you to be generous with this important second collection. The Priest Training Fund benefits the parishes, the diocese, and the Catholic Church in London and Hertfordshire by providing us capable, committed priests striving to emulate Christ the Good Shepherd, in the service of God’s people.
The fund helps pay for the recruitment of men into priestly vocations, the training and education of seminarians at our seminary – Allen Hall – and the formation of men we send abroad.
It also pays for the ongoing education of priests who will serve in specialised ministries, and their continuing formation whilst in active ministry.
With 29 seminarians for our diocese, the Diocese spends more that £1.2 million annually on the six-year seminary programme. It costs on average £25,000 per man, per year of formation – that’s at least £125,000 to form and educate a new priest, who makes a lifetime commitment to Christ and the Church.
They’ve answered the call. Now let’s support them. Priests are the heart of the Catholic Church. Donation envelopes are available – please take one, read the information and facts, and bring it back next week at Mass with your donation.
On behalf of all the clergy of the Diocese, thank you.
27th March 2016
Rejoice, heavenly powers!
Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
May God fill you all with Easter joy!
20th March 2016
HOLY WEEK is the most important week in the year. Our Lord is calling us to share His journey from the triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, through his trial, passion and death, through to His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. His Paschal Mystery (His Passion, Death and Resurrection) is the most important event in human history, transforming our relationship with God and with one another, and, He is calling us to participate in it more fully so as to share its fruit more fully.
We respond by sharing as much as possible in the Holy Week Liturgies. The key Liturgies to attend are:
+ The Mass of the Lord’s Supper – Thursday 6.00pm
+ The celebration of the Passion of the Lord – Friday 3.00pm
+ The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night – Saturday 8.00pm
Our Lord is calling us, inviting us: why would we not respond?
What would this say about me?
In Holy Week we confront two of the most difficult areas in human life suffering and death. Often we prefer not to face them. Yet in Holy Week, through sharing Our Lord’s Passion and Death, we can find freedom from our fears and anxieties about suffering and death: this is the healing Our Lord wants for us, and is offering us.
Fr David Barnes, PP
5th SUNDAY OF LENT
13th March 2016
MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER
In today’s Gospel, a woman caught committing adultery was to be stoned to death. Our Lord is asked His opinion of this. “If there is one of you who has not sinned let him be the first to throw a stone at her”, Jesus said. Everyone left, and Jesus says “Woman, where are they? Has no-one condemned you?” “No-one, sir” she replied. “Neither do I condemn you”, said Jesus “go away and don’t sin any more”.
Pope Francis writes:
If anyone wishes to avoid God’s judgement, he should not make himself the judge of his brother or sister. Human beings, whenever they judge, look no farther than the surface, whereas the Father looks into the very depths of the soul. How much harm words do when they are motivated by feelings of jealousy and envy! To speak ill of others puts them in a bad light, undermines their reputation and leaves them prey to the whims of gossip. To refrain from judgement and condemnation means, in a positive sense, to know how to accept the good in every person and to spare him any suffering that might be caused by our partial judgment, our presumption to know everything about him. But this is still not sufficient to express mercy. Jesus asks us also to forgive and to give. To be instruments of mercy because it was we who first received mercy from God.
[Extract from Misericordiae Vultus, 14]
4th SUNDAY OF LENT
6th March 2016
“LAETARE” (“REJOICE”) SUNDAY
TODAY, the fourth Sunday of Lent (6th March), the Church invites us to REJOICE because the Paschal Mystery celebrations are fast approaching.
Our Lenten disciplines of PRAYER, FASTING and ALMSGIVING can become heavy and difficult to maintain. This can be since we live them simply as a discipline. If however we can practise them as a way of loving, then much more is possible. So, for example, I shall pray out of love for Him, as a way of loving Him: I will put my whole heart into my prayer and conversation with Him. This first came home to me when doing the washing up! Washing for its own sake left me feeling fed up, even resentful. Yet when I decided to do it out of love for Him, putting my whole heart into it because I was doing it for Him. Then it all became a way of loving. and a way of being open to God’s love. This I then applied to other tiresome everyday tasks, and these tasks become a source of joy because they had become a source of communion with Him.
Today’s Gospel is that of the Prodigal Son, reminding us of the joy of returning to God our Father. The father sees his prodigal son returning and goes out to meet him, full of love and affection. We are all that son when we return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where God our Father comes out to welcome us with infinite mercy and love.
Let nothing deter us from this joyful encounter, knowing that nothing we have done or failed to do changes God’s love for us. This is our healing and peace, which we shall recognise in our capacity to REJOICE.
Fr David Barnes, PP
3rd SUNDAY OF LENT
28th February 2016
Our 2016 Lenten Alms appeal will be in support of Caritas Westminster, the official social outreach arm of the Diocese of Westminster. Lent is the perfect time for us to think of those suffering – the poor, the marginalised, and the least among us – and to make a sacrifice through prayer, fasting and almsgiving:
- Prayer draws us closer to the Lord.
- Fasting helps us to remember those who are forced to fast because of their poverty.
- Our almsgiving is both a sign of our care for those in need, and an expression of our gratitude to God for his gifts to us.
Caritas Westminster works across our Diocese, throughout London and Hertfordshire, enabling and co-ordinating parish communities to find practical solutions that address a variety of local social needs. For example, rough sleeping, food poverty, human trafficking, youth employability and loneliness.
What better way to tie in the meaning of Lent than to put oneself in the shoes of the poor and to give alms to help them?
As God’s people we are inspired by Christ’s message of love and equality for all. Every person deserves to live a life of dignity and worth. In this spirit of love for others, Caritas Westminster supports a variety of projects that help those most in need in our society. Not only do these projects address people’s immediate needs, they also encourage long term human development, assisting people to break free from the cycle of poverty and hardship.
At present, Caritas Westminster is focusing on three projects where a big difference can be made to help those most in need, the marginalised, and those living on the fringes of our society:
Foodbanks – one in five people in the UK live below the poverty line. Caritas Westminster helps parishes to set up Foodbanks where there is an urgent need. Not only are recipients provided with emergency food packs to help them get by, they also have access to money management advice and debt counselling. In some parishes, half-term family lunches are
provided to tackle the problem of holiday hunger.
Rough sleeping on the Street – Caritas Westminster provides homeless men and women with an evening meal, a bed for the night, and a cooked breakfast via a network of night shelter circuits for rough sleepers, operating in churches across the Diocese. These homeless people are also able to access showers, laundry, lunch, medical services, as well as housing advice on how to get off the streets.
Tackling the scourge of human trafficking and modern day slavery -Caritas Westminster opened Bakhita House in June 2015 to provide a safe place for rescued female victims of human trafficking, especially victims who have no access to public funds. In this safe environment, these women can begin the process of recovery and rehabilitation, into a life of independence.
Over the next couple of weeks our parish will take up a second collection in support of Caritas Westminster. Your generosity will ensure Caritas projects throughout the Diocese continue to support the immediate needs, and long term development, of people living in our society who are in need.
At the back of the Church today you will see Caritas Westminster posters, and as you leave mass today there will be volunteers handing out Caritas Donation Leaflets – these leaflets also contain a Gift Aid Envelope for your use.
There shall be second collections for your Lenten Alms over the following two weekends at Mass. You can also visit the Caritas Westminster website to find out more about their work, and to donate online: www.rcdow.org.uk/caritas
NEXT SUNDAY there is a retiring collection for CARITAS WESTMINSTER.
2nd SUNDAY OF LENT
21st February 2016
WHY PRAY THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS?
The Stations of the Cross are an ancient tradition in the Catholic Church going back to the fourth century when Christians went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Like many of our Catholic traditions, the Stations of the Cross can be rich, deep, and meaningful, but at the same time we can lose sight of their significance and how to relate them to our everyday lives.
Continuing the idea of Pope Francis as our spiritual director this Lent, here are 8 reasons from our Holy Father on why we should pray the Stations of the Cross.
1. They Allow Us to Place Our Trust in Him
“The Cross of Christ contains all the love of God; there we find his
immeasurable mercy. This is a love in which we can place all our trust, in which we can believe…. let us entrust ourselves to Jesus, let us give ourselves over to him, because he never disappoints anyone! Only in Christ crucified and risen can we find salvation and redemption.”
—Address, World Youth Day, Way of the Cross, July 26, 2013
2. They Put Us into the Story
“And you, who do you want to be? Like Pilate? Like Simon? Like Mary? Jesus is looking at you now and is asking you: do you want to help me carry the Cross? Brothers and sisters, with all the strength of your youth, how will you respond to him?”
—Address, World Youth Day, Way of the Cross, July 26, 2013
3. They Remind Us That Jesus Suffers with Us
“The Cross of Christ bears the suffering and the sin of mankind, including our own. Jesus accepts all this with open arms, bearing on his shoulders our crosses and saying to us: ‘Have courage! You do not carry your cross alone! I carry it with you. I have overcome death and I have come to give you hope, to give you life’ (cf. Jn 3:16).”
—Address, World Youth Day, Way of the Cross, July 26, 2013
4. They Compel Us to Action
“But the Cross of Christ invites us also to allow ourselves to be smitten by his love, teaching us always to look upon others with mercy and tenderness, especially those who suffer, who are in need of help, who need a word or a concrete action.”
—Address, World Youth Day, Way of the Cross, July 26, 2013
5. They Helps Us Make a Decision for or Against Christ
“[The Cross] reveals a judgment, namely that God, in judging us, loves us. Let us remember this: God judges us by loving us. If I embrace his love then I am saved, if I refuse it, then I am condemned, not by him, but my own self, because God never condemns, he only loves and saves.”
—Address, Good Friday, March 29, 2013
6. They Reveal God’s Response to Evil in the World
“The Cross is the word through which God has responded to evil in the world. Sometimes it may seem as though God does not react to evil, as if he is silent. And yet, God has spoken, he has replied, and his answer is the Cross of Christ: a word which is love, mercy, forgiveness.”
—Address, Good Friday, March 29, 2013
7. They Give Us the Certainty of God’s Love for Us
“What has the Cross given to those who have gazed upon it and to those who have touched it? What has the Cross left in each one of us? You see, it gives us a treasure that no one else can give: the certainty of the faithful love which God has for us.”
— Address, World Youth Day, Way of the Cross, July 26, 2013
8. They Guide Us from the Cross to the Resurrection
“O, Our Jesus, guide us from the Cross to the resurrection and teach us that evil shall not have the last word, but love, mercy and forgiveness. O Christ, help us to exclaim again: ‘Yesterday I was crucified with Christ; today I am glorified with Him. Yesterday I died with Him, today I live with Him. Yesterday I was buried with Him, today I am raised with Him’.”
—Address, Good Friday, April 18, 2014
STATIONS OF THE CROSS AT ST ANSELM AND ST CÆCILIA’S
Every Friday in Lent directly after the 6.00pm Mass.
1st SUNDAY OF LENT
14th February 2016
POPE FRANCIS’ LENT MESSAGE (continued)
God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn. In an ever new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbour and to devote ourselves to what the Church’s tradition calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. These works remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbours in body and spirit: by feeding, visiting, comforting and instructing them. On such things will we be judged.
In the light of this love, which is strong as death (cf.Song8:6), the real poor are revealed as those who refuse to see themselves as such. They consider themselves rich, but they are actually the poorest of the poor. This is because they are slaves to sin, which leads them to use wealth and power not for the service of God and others, but to stifle within their hearts the profound sense that they too are only poor beggars. The greater their power and wealth, the more this blindness and deception can grow.
It can even reach the point of being blind to Lazarus begging at their doorstep (cf.Lk16:20-21). Lazarus, the poor man, is a figure of Christ, who through the poor pleads for our conversion. As such, he represents the possibility of conversion which God offers us and which we may well fail to see. Such blindness is often accompanied by the proud illusion of our own omnipotence, which reflects in a sinister way the diabolical “you will be like God” (Gen3:5) which is the root of all sin.
This illusion can likewise take social and political forms, as shown by the totalitarian systems of the twentieth century, and, in our own day, by the ideologies of monopolizing thought and technoscience, which would make God irrelevant and reduce man to raw material to be exploited.
This illusion can also be seen in the sinful structures linked to a model of false development based on the idolatry of money, which leads to lack of concern for the fate of the poor on the part of wealthier individuals and societies; they close their doors, refusing even to see the poor.
[Extract from Pope Francis’ Lent Message, the Vatican, 4 October 2015]
5th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
7th February 2016
POPE FRANCIS’ LENT MESSAGE
For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favourable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God’s word and by practising the works of mercy. In the corporal works of mercy we touch the flesh of Christ in our brothers and sisters who need to be fed, clothed, sheltered, visited; in the spiritual works of mercy – counsel, instruction, forgiveness, admonishment and prayer – we touch more directly our own sinfulness. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated. By touching the flesh of the crucified Jesus in the suffering, sinners can receive the gift of realizing that they too are poor and in need. By taking this path, the “proud”, the “powerful” and the “wealthy” spoken of in the Magnificat can also be embraced and undeservedly loved by the crucified Lord who died and rose for them. This love alone is the answer to that yearning for infinite happiness and love that we think we can satisfy with the idols of knowledge, power and riches. Yet the danger always remains that by a constant refusal to open the doors of their hearts to Christ who knocks on them in the poor, the proud, rich and powerful will end up condemning themselves and plunging into the eternal abyss of solitude which is Hell. The pointed words of Abraham apply to them and to all of us: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Lk 16:29). Such attentive listening will best prepare us to celebrate the final victory over sin and death of the Bridegroom, now risen, who desires to purify his Betrothed in expectation of his coming.
Let us not waste this season of Lent, so favourable a time for conversion! We ask this through the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, who, encountering the greatness of God’s mercy freely bestowed upon her, was the first to acknowledge her lowliness (cf. Lk 1:48) and to call herself the Lord’s humble servant (cf. Lk 1:38).
[Extract from Pope Francis’ Lent Message, the Vatican, 4 October 2015]
4th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
31st January 2016
Ten days to ASH WEDNESDAY! What will we do?
Pope Francis sees Lent as a favourable time for conversion.
Here in the parish we have a Life in the Spirit course. It is called “The Gift”, and has Pope Francis’ personal blessing! It is “an inspiring and practical series aimed at people of all ages to help encounter the Holy Spirit and empower them to share their faith.”
Presented by well-known international speakers; David Payne, Michelle Moran, Charles Whitehead and Jenny Baker. Six Sessions:
1. The Fathers Loving Plan 15th February
2. The Joy Of The Gospel 22nd February
3. The Gift Of The Spirit 29th February
4. Unwrapping God’s Gift 7th March
5. Encountering’s 14th March
6. Living In The Spirit 21st March
The teachings are relaxed, personal and informative, rooted in the Bible, the Catechism, Evangelii Gaudium, and reflections on the Holy Spirit from Pope Francis. Sessions last 30 minutes and include testimonies from laity and clergy.
The meetings will be each Monday in Lent at 6.45pm in the Parish Room, finishing at 8.00pm.
Further information: www.faithcafe.org
3rd SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
24th January 2016
POPE FRANCIS EXPLAINS THE WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY 18th – 25th January
The Pope proposed that “beginning from the baptism we all share in common,” Christians should move beyond divisions toward finding a way to work together to bring the mercy of God to the Earth.
SUMMARY OF THE POPE’S CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In these days we celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
This year’s theme is drawn from the First Letter of Peter, and was chosen by an ecumenical group from Latvia. In his Letter, Saint Peter encourages the first Christians to acknowledge the great gift received in Baptism and to live in a way worthy of it. tells them: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people”.
This Week of Prayer invites us to reflect on, and bear witness to, our unity in Christ as God’s People. All the baptized, reborn to new life in Christ, are brothers and sisters, despite our divisions. Through Baptism we have been charged, as Saint Peter tells us, “to proclaim the mighty works of the one who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light”.
During this Week of Prayer, let us ask the Lord to help all Christians to grow in that unity which is greater than what divides us. , may we respond to his call to share with others, especially with the poor and forgotten of our world, the gift of divine mercy which we ourselves have received.
2nd SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
17th January 2016
YEAR OF MERCY
Pope Francis has given us the Year of Mercy, and tells us of his wish that we all act on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy:
“It is my burning desire that, during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on theand spiritual works of mercy.will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty. And let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy. Jesus introduces us to these works of mercy in his preaching so that we can know whether or not we are living as his disciples. Let us rediscover theseworks of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget theworks of mercy:counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead.
We cannot escape the Lord’s words to us, and they will serve as the criteria upon which we will be judged: whether we have fed the hungry and given drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger and clothed the naked, or spent time with the sick and those in prison (cf.:31-45). Moreover, we will be asked if we have helped others to escape the doubt that causes them to fall into despair and which is often a source of loneliness; if we have helped to overcome the ignorance in which millions of people live, especially children deprived of the necessary means to free them from the bonds of poverty; if we have been close to the lonely and afflicted; if we have forgiven those who have offended us and have rejected all forms of anger and hate that lead to violence; if we have had the kind of patience God shows, who is so patient with us; and if we have commended our brothers and sisters to the Lord in prayer.
In each of these “little ones,” Christ himself is present. His flesh becomes visible in the flesh of the tortured, the crushed, the scourged, the malnourished, and the exiled… to be acknowledged, touched, and cared for by us. Let us not forget the words of Saint John of the Cross: “as we prepare to leave this life, we will be judged on the basis of love”.
MISERICORDAE VULTUS (15)
WORKS OF MERCY
Corporal works of mercy:
Feed the hungry
Shelter the homeless
Clothe the naked
Visit the sick
Visit the imprisoned
Give to the poor
Bury the dead
Spiritual works of mercy:
Instruct the ignorant
Counsel the confused
Admonish the erring
Console the disconsolate
Comfort the sorrowing
Bear wrongs patiently
THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
10th January 2016
In the Baptism of Jesus we see a new beginning. Jesus now leaves the shelter of his family home in order to begin his public ministry, which will lead to his crucifixion and death on the cross. Jesus making a new beginning doesn’t seem right somehow and the fact that the Holy Spirit came to his aid in the words “this is my Son, the beloved, listen to him”.
We don’t normally think of Jesus needing help.
How many of us remember our own baptism? We were brought to the Church, many of us carried in the arms of our parents. Promises were made on our behalf and the commitment to follow Jesus for the rest of our earthly life.
How I thank God for this great gift, freely and lovingly given.
From today’s readings we can see Jesus was not afraid to make a new beginning, he knew that the Holy Spirit would never leave him.
Through our own baptism we too should have the courage and be prepared to start again. Jesus has assured us that the Holy Spirit will be with us always, as it was with Jesus at his baptism and throughout his earthly life.
If our new beginnings were a bit weak or half-hearted, let us take courage from the Gospel message, “Trust in God now and trust in me” (St John 14: 1-2).
Sr. M. Lucina Parish Sister
THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD
3rd January 2016
TODAY (Sunday) we celebrate the Epiphany, the manifestation that Our Lord is the Light to enlighten all peoples. The visit of the Kings or Wise Men (two different traditions) speak of how
true greatness is to come to Him who is King of Kings and the Wisdom of God incarnate.
To bend low and kneel in adoration and worship does not diminish our humanity but rather brings it to fulfilment. In other words, without our being in a proper relationship with God, we cannot discover who we really are.
The fruit of the good celebration of the Epiphany is the state of worship and adoration. The Christmas refrain “Oh come let us adore him, Christ the Lord” should ring in our ears, and find practical expression in worship and adoration of the Eucharist. Can each of us must make a resolution to do so.
The Epiphany is also the 40th Anniversary of my Ordination to the priesthood. Please join with me in thanking God for this gift of Priesthood and pray that all priests will be faithful to what God is asking of us. On the morning of 6th January I shall be saying Mass in the Slipper Chapel, the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. I shall hold you all in my heart at that Mass. The three Kings or Magi followed the star which led them to our Lord Jesus. We have Mary, Morning Star and Star of the Sea, who leads us to him.
Fr David Barnes. PP