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 email@example.com.
FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT
22nd March 2015
WHY PURPLE VEILS?
TODAY (Sunday) we begin Passiontide, when, through the Mass readings and prayers, Our Lord’s Passion and Death are our focus. When Our Lord told the religious authorities He is the Son of God, some took up stones to throw at him and so He hid from them. The veiling of the crucifixes reminds us of His being hidden, and how, in the Passion, His divinity is hidden from us we see only His rejection, humiliation and suffering. The veiling of the statues also reminds us of how special these days are and that our focus should be on Our Lord’s Passion. The veiled crucifix makes us use our imagination! Especially through the Stations of the Cross we can imagine and awaken within us Our Lord’s Passion. So the veiling helps develop the solemn and sombre nature of Passiontide, and the colour purple speaks of penance and contrition. At the same time, remember to see all this in the light of the Resurrection so that Passiontide is not experienced as simply doom and gloom!
This Wednesday is the FEAST OF THE, ANNUNCIATION: “the Word made flesh and dwelt among us.” Through the Incarnation Our Lord becomes fully human as well as being fully divine.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ John 3. 1 6).
We have much to ponder and pray about!
Fr David Barnes. PP
FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT (LAETARE SUNDAY)
15th March 2015
“LAETARE” (REJOICE) SUNDAY
This fourth Sunday, of Lent is called “Laetare Sunday” because of the opening antiphon at Mass, “REJOICE, Jerusalem, and all who love her….” The Holy City is symbolic of God’s presence where the people are able to exult and be satisfied like an infant at the breast. In Catholic Christianity the Church is now Jerusalem, and is called Holy Mother Church. The Church mothers God’s People through her teaching the Sacraments and pastoral care. Mary is Mother of the Church. MOTHERING SUNDAY then is another name for this Sunday, a joyful celebration of MOTHERING be it God’s love, Our Lady’s, the Church’s, or our own immediate mother. Today we pray for all mothers that they may grow in their capacity for “mothering.”
Laetare Sunday also encourages us to rejoice because the coming celebration of the Paschal Mystery is fast approaching. Are we ready to celebrate the Paschal Mystery His Passion, Death and Resurrection with mind and heart made new? What do we still need to do? Today’s Second Reading reminds us that God’s love for us is expressed in His mercy: God wants to save us from sin and death, and so gives us Our Lord’s Paschal Mystery. “We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning he had meant us to live it ” (Eph 2:10) Do I see my life in this way? If not, why not?
Fr David Barnes, PP
THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT
8th March 2015
MY HOUSE IS A HOUSE FULL OF PRAYER
Most of us can say we have had a bad day when everything goes wrong.
In today’s Gospel, some people might say Jesus was having one of those days. In fact he was once again proving His total humanity to us. He was angry with those who were abusing His Father’s house, making it into a market place. What would our feelings be if suddenly Jesus came among us for treating his house on earth in such a way? Can you imagine him flinging us out of the church with our mobiles and newspapers, our food and long conversations in church? How would wc react to such actions? Jesus’ anger was necessary, it was a just anger. What did he say? “My house is a house of prayer.”
We come to the church to talk to God, the most important action of our day. We try to make our short visits as reverent and meaningful as possible, remember when we pray the whole church prays with us, that includes the angelic hosts and all the saints, we are in wonderful company. Let us rejoice and exalt and praise God for this extraordinary experience we have every time we visit the Lord in the tabernacle or at exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Remember God is waiting for us with open arms! Why are we so slow to welcome Him? Let us join with the angels and saints, singing, Holy! Holy! Holy!
Sr M. Lucina, Parish Sister.
SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT
1st March 2015
SEEING AND LISTENING
Our Lord takes the apostles, Peter, James and John to a high mountain: in the Jewish thinking this is a place of encounter with God. He is transfigured and they see Him in a new light. They see Him as He really is, the fulfilment of the Law (symbolised by Moses) and the Prophets (symbolised by Elijah) – in other words, He is the Messiah. The voice of God our Father is heard: “This is my Son, the Beloved: listen to Him”. The Transfiguration calls us to develop two aspects of our daily life
l. We should take time away from the business of our daily life – why not make a daily visit to the church (the equivalent of the high mountain) where we can spend time with Him? He is there in the tabernacle: He is calling you, waiting for you. “Come to me…” He says to you. What is your answer to Him?
2. “Listen to Him” says God our Father. Do we? Does the Bible have a place of honour in our home? If not, what does that say about us? Do we read it? Pope Francis encourages us all to carry a pocket-size copy of one of the Gospels so that we can read it at spare moments through the day, so God’s word can nourish us and form us. Do we? If not, why not? YES – why not? Pope Francis relates that St Cæcilia, co-patron of our Parish, always carried a copy of the Gospel with her, so let’s imitate her, and ask her to gain for us a deep love of the Gospel.
Fr David Barnes. PP
FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
22nd February 2015
Why not try one of these?
With Lent starting last Wednesday, what will you do, if anything? Give up chocolate, alcohol? How about trying a new diet? What should I give up, you wonder? Give up nothing. Why not do something to make a wee bit of difference?
- Promise to make someone smile every day this Lent.
- OK – promise to make someone smile once a week.
- Contact a relative you have been ignoring for a long time.
- Sit down, yes sit down, with someone who is homeless and talk to him or her.
- Buy a religious book and read it – to the end.
- Thank God for how fortunate you have been in your life.
- Give a day’s salary to a charity, if you can afford to. Yes, a day’s.
- Go to confession and clear all that stuff out.
- Have lunch with an enemy. You pay.
- Have lunch with a friend.
- Read Mark’s Gospel – the whole of it.
- Do a wee pilgrimage to the nearest holy place.
- To your grandparents and parents : thank them or pray for them.
- To your children: surprise them by delighting them.
- To yourself: give yourself a break for a whole day.
- Give God a break: tell him you love him, whatever.
- Go to Mass and pray for those who are suffering.
- Empty your wallet or purse on the table. Count. Give the contents to CAFOD.
- Have a great Lent… and, please, add your own!
Denis McBride C.Ss.R
SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
15th February 2015
LENTEN ALMS APPEAL FOR CARITAS WESTMINSTER
Pope Francis writes:
“A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being.”
Pope Francis’s commitment to the fight against poverty and injustice in all its forms has inspired the Diocese to increase still further the work that it undertakes to support projects which provide practical help to the poor, the hungry, the lonely and the marginalized in London and the wider diocese.
For this reason, a decision has been taken by Cardinal Vincent and the Archbishop’s Council to ask parishioners in every parish in our diocese to consider giving at least some of their Lenten Alms to CARITAS!
Launched in 2012, Caritas has been created bv the Diocese to help parishes to set up and run projects designed to tackle for example:
• Homelessness and housing
• Debt and the management of money
• The social isolation of vulnerable people and those at risk of marginalization
• Hunger……particularly among the very, young and the very old
CARITAS does this in three key ways:
• Initiating new projects
• Providing “seed” funding to get projects started in parishes
• Building and sharing expertise and skills within parishes
CARITAS is also at the forefront of a new initiative to support the victims of people trafficking. You will find a leaflet about CARITAS at the back of the church and I would invite you to take a copy.
You will also find a Lenten Alms donation envelope and I would invite you to put any money that you feel able to give to Caritas – as part of your Lenten Alms – into the envelope and to return it on Holy Thursday – or Easter Sunday. Could I also invite you to complete the Gift Aid declaration on the back of the envelope if you are a taxpayer.
Fr David Barnes PP
WORLD DAY FOR THE SICK
8th February 2015
(Wednesday 11th February, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes)
Pope Francis writes: This year’s theme invites us to reflect on a phrase from the Book of Job: “I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame” (Job 29:15).
I would like to consider this phrase ftom the perspective of “saoientia cordis” – the wisdom of the heart. This “wisdom” is no theoretical, abstract knowledge, the product of reasoning. Rather, it is as St James describes in his Letter, “pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity” (3:17). It is a way of seeing things infused bv the Holy Spirit in the minds and hearts of those who are sensitive to the sufferings of their brothers and sisters and who can see them in the image of God. So let us take up the prayer of the Psalmist: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heat of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). This “Sapientia cordis (wisdom of the heart), which is a gift of God, is a compendium of the fruits of the World Day of the Sick”.
Fr David writes: If you are sick or are going into hospital, please do let me know. If you know a parishioner who is sick, please do let me know. If you are housebound, or know someone who is now no longer able to get to church, please do let me know.
THIS SUNDAY (8) we are asked by our Ilishops to pray for “Victims of Trafficking and those who work to combat it”.
1st February 2015
The mission of the Church is to proclaim the good news given to us by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the promise of eternal life and an invitation to live life to the full as disciples of Jesus Christ.
The Catholic school makes a vital contribution to this mission by enabling each child to develop his or her God-given gifts to their fullest potential, to know the abundant love of God and to become friends of Jesus Christ. A foundation in prayer and friendship with Christ will serve them in later life so that they make their unique contribution to the world around them and foster the values of God’s kingdom and the common good – justice, peace, love and joy. As Pope Francis wrote, ‘Catholic schools, which will always strive to join their work of education with the explicit proclamation of the Gospel, are a most valuable resource for the evangelisation of culture. . .’ (The Joy of the Gospel 134).
What do we mean by the ‘evangelisation of culture’? Pope Francis answered this question in the following way, ‘To give witness with joy and simplicity to what we are and what we believe in.’ Such witness is infectious and attracts others to the life-giving message of Christ and his Church. The Catholic school is called to witness with joy and simplicity to the goodness of each and every- person, especially the vulnerable and disadvantaged.
The school is called to be a beacon and witness to God’s gracious gift of mercy shown us by the actions and words of Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Christ is at the centre of the Catholic school.
Bishop John Sherrington, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster
Chairman, Diocese of Westminster Education Commission
Full text available at the back of the church.
THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
25th January 2015
“If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Luke 9:23
Pope Francis has dedicated this year to meditate and pray for consecrated life. By our baptism we are all in our different ways living a life of consecration, whether it be marriage, the priesthood, consecrated virgins etc., our baptism makes us all members of God’s family and we are all dedicated to the praise and glory of God and his Church.
In my own case I have had the privilege of spending sixty years in the Lord’s service in Religious life. It has been a busy and active life. Our founder Antonio Rosmini tells us ‘ln silence and in prayer will your strength be’ and ‘pray and work.’ When we make our vows we say ‘l ask for neither bread or water’, and to be ready to drop whatever we are doing at the call of obedience, to be prepared to be sent to any part of the world. This was the way things were in 1954 and right up until Vatican II. One did not question decisions made by ones superiors.
Nowadays there has to be dialogue before decisions are made, which is one of the reasons I am lucky to be living in London and working in this beautiful parish of SS Anselm & Cecilia. I am still expected to observe the rules and constitutions of the Sisters of Providence, Rosminians. My days are divided by work and prayer. It has been a blessed life, and like Simeon I would like to end my days in the house of the Lord. Only once in my lifetime I have said no to obedience. but felt so guilty afterwards I changed my mind and accepted the work, and as Juliana of Norwich would say, “and all will be well.” And it was. Please pray that I will persevere in the Lords service, as I pray for you.
Sr M. Lucina Parish Sister
THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
18th January 2015
The Bishops of England and Wales invite us to make today a day of prayer for world peace and to reflect on the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the annual World Day of Prayer for Peace (celebrated in Rome and elsewhere on January 1st): ‘Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters’. Perhaps we thought that slavery was a thing of the past, ended in the British Empire. Through the efforts of William Wilberforce, and long-since driven from the plantations that supply our food and the factories that produce the goods we use. But in recent years we have begun to recognise many new forms of slavery alongside the older ones – the child soldiers in many foreign wars, for instance, and (more shocking still) people trafficked for domestic service, for sexual exploitation and for the drugs trade hidden within our own communities. What all those forms of slavery have in common is a lack of respect for the God-given dignity of each person. And we are caught up in this violation of the rights of our brothers and sisters whenever we choose not to care – about how our goods were produced and at what cost to others.
Pope Francis says in his message for Peace Sunday:
“For this reason I urgently appeal to all men and women of good will…not to turn away from the suffering of our brothers and sisters… may we have the courage to touch the suffering flesh of Christ, revealed in the countless persons…’the least of my brethren”.
WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY 18-25 January 2015
Theme: Jesus said to her: “Give me to drink” John 4:7)
The theme for this year’s week of prayer for Christian Unity is the above verse. The whole of chapter four (John 4: 2-42) is proposed for our reflection.
In this theme-verse Jesus asks help from a woman from a different tradition. The Samaritans had their own beliefs and rituals. Jesus is teaching us to be willing to learn from other Christian traditions. In his exhortation ‘The Joy of the Gospel’, Pope Francis says…’in the dialogue with our Orthodox brothers and sisters. We Catholics have the opportunity to learn more about the meaning of episcopal collegiality and their experience of synodality.’ (No. 246)
The text for this year is a pressing invitation to us to seek unity through dialogue. Dialogue is a matter of give and take, (or as in our text, of take and give).
After Jesus had taken a drink from her, he promised her living water which would become in her a spring of water gushing up to eternal life (V14). Dialogue is one way to go out, go to, go share. And notice that it is Jesus who initiates the dialogue. So what of us? The week of prayer is a privileged moment for us to initiate dialogue and organise joint prayer for Christian unity. But if we do not manage to do this, remember that the theme and text stand for the whole year! Pope Francis suggests a strategy which we could examine. He says: If we concentrate on the convictions we share…we will be able to progress decidedly towards common expressions of proclamation, service and witness. (N 246)
THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
11th January 2015
BUILDING MISSIONARY PARISHES PROCLAIM ’15
New National Initiative in 2015 to Support Parish Evangelisation.
Proclaim’15: BUILDING MISSIONARY PARISHES’ is the name of a new national Bishops’ Conference initiative being launched in 2015 to support the development of parish evangelisation. It is inspired by Pope Francis’ writings and has five parts which include:
- The provision of free parish small group materials;
- The organisation of a National Catholic Evangelisation Conference in Birmingham on 11 July 2015 for 850 evangelisation representatives from across England and Wales;
- An invitation to parishes to host a parish Prayer Vigil on the night of 11th July 2015 with free prayer materials provided;
- An invitation to dioceses, deaneries and parishes to have their own Proclaim 15 event in Autumn 2015;
- The publication of new evangelisation resources as a fruit of the National Conference to equip local evangelisers.
Please do get involved in what is a significant new step in the service of the proclamation of the Gospel in our area.
Parish Priests have been asked to bring parishioners engaged in Evangelisation to meet with the Bishop and Agency for Evangelisation to introduce them to the Parish Materials.
These meetings have been arranged in three venues:
Wednesday 21st January 2015 7.30-9pm at St Mary & St Michael, 2 Lukin St, Commercial Rd, El 0AA
Monday 26th January 2015 7.30-9pm at St Alban & St Stephen 14- 16 Beaconsfield Rd, St Albans AL1 3RB
Tuesday 3rd February 2015 7.30-9pm at Vaughan House, 46 Francis Street, SW1P 1QN
Please register to attend one of the meetings by emallng firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling/leaving a message on 020 7931 6078.
When registering please provide your name, parish name and your phone number or email address.
For more information go to http:/ /rcdow.org.uk/faith/proclaim-westminster or email livingfaith@rcdow. org. uk
EPIPHANY OF THE LORD
4th January 2015
POPE FRANCIS OPENS 2015 WITH CALLS FOR PEACE, LOYALTY TO THE CHURCH, AND DEVOTION TO MARY.
Here is the text of his Angelus address on 1st January 2015
On this first day of the year, in the joyful atmosphere of Christmas, the Church invites us to fix our gaze of faith and of love on the Mother of Jesus. In her, the humble woman of Nazareth, “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (Jn 1:14). Because of this it is impossible to separate contemplation of Jesus, the Word of life, Who is made visible and tangible (cf. 1 Jn 1:1), from contemplation of Mary, who has given Him her love and her human flesh.
Today we hear the words of the Apostle Paul: “God sent his Son, born of a woman” (Gal 4:4). That “born of a woman” speaks in an essential manner, and for this reason even more strongly, expresses the true humanity of the Son of God. As a Father of the Church, St. Athanasius, affirms, “Our Saviour was truly man, and from that comes the salvation of all humanity” (Letter to Epictetus: PG 26).
But St Paul also adds “born under the law” (Gal 4:4). With this expression he emphasizes that Christ has taken up the human condition, freeing it from the closed, legalistic mentality. In fact, the law deprived of grace becomes an insupportable yoke, and instead of being good for us it is bad for us. This, then, is the end for which God sent His Son to earth to become man a finality of liberation: indeed, of regeneration. Of liberation, “to ransom those under the law” (v. 5); and the ransom occurred with the death of Christ on the cross. But especially of regeneration: “so that we might receive adoption as sons” (v. 5). Incorporated in Him, men and women really become children of God. This amazing transition takes place in us with Baptism, which grafts us into Christ as living members, and inserts us into the Church.
At the beginning of a new year, it is good to remember the day of our Baptism: we rediscover the gift received in that Sacrament which has regenerated us to new life – the divine life. And this through Mother Church, which has as a model Mother Mary. Thanks to Baptism we were introduced into communion with God and we are no longer at the mercy of evil and sin, but [rather] we receive the love, the tenderness, the mercy of the heavenly Father.
This closeness of God to our existence gives us true peace, the divine gift that we want especially to implore today, the World Day of Peace. “No longer slaves, but brothers”: this is the Message of this Day. It is a message that involves all of us. We are all called to combat every form of slavery and to build fraternity – all of us, each one according to his or her own responsibility.
To Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, we present our good intentions. We ask you to extend the mantle of your maternal protection over each and every one of us in the new year: “O Holy Mother of God despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin”
(Sub tuum praesidium).
FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH
28th December 2014
Pastoral Letter for the Feast of the Holy Family 2014
My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,
In writing this letter to you for the Feast of the Holy Family, I want first of all to wish you all a very Happy Christmas. For many good reasons, Christmas is clearly focussed on the family. So I hope that you have the opportunity to spend some precious time with your families, far or near, over this holiday period. May God bless you in your homes and in the bonds of your family life.
It is indeed about the family that I want to speak with you today.
You will recall that I was present in Rome last October to take part in the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops dedicated to a consideration of the pastoral challenges facing the family today. The Synod gathered plenty of public attention and I wrote to you all about it on my return.
The intention of Pope Francis was always that this Synod would be followed by a further Synod of Bishops, next October, in order to continue this work and bring it to some conclusions. This next Synod will do that. It will also have a slightly different emphasis as the theme now is ‘The Vocation and Mission of the Family Today.’
At the end of the Synod last October, in his closing address, Pope Francis said this:
‘Dear brothers and sisters, now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families……May the Lord accompany us and guide us in this journey for the glory of His Name.’
So this is what we must now do. We must use this time well to ponder and pray over all the challenges and opportunities which face the family, and the marriage at its heart, in our society today.
In the Pope’s words, this is to be a time of ‘spiritual discernment’. That is rather different than collecting together people’s opinions. Spiritual discernment concerns my sense of where God is present and at work in my life. It focusses on those things which both test and strengthen my faith, which give encouragement to me, which warm my heart of faith or, conversely, make that heart fearful and anxious. It includes recognition of all that is wrong and in need of forgiveness. Spiritual discernment also means the Church’s task of identifying the promptings of the Holy Spirit, by which we are led to express more fully, in our complex situations, the teachings and actions of Jesus about marriage and the family. This task comes to a crucial moment in the next Synod of Bishops.
In order to help with this ‘spiritual discernment’ the Bishops of England and Wales have put together a pamphlet of reflection, prayer and questions. I hope that by using it, by following its suggestions, you will be able to join in this period of spiritual discernment.
The leaflet is available today. Please do get hold of one, either from your parish or from the Diocesan website. You may choose to use it alone, or within your own family circle. Perhaps you could follow its suggestions with a group of friends, or perhaps through an initiative within your parish. I am sure you will find it fruitful in any of these circumstances.
The pamphlet contains questions for you to ponder prayerfully. I would like to know how you respond to them. Your responses, then, can be sent directly to Mr Edmund Adamus our Director for marriage and Family Life by Pentecost Sunday, 24th May [at Vaughan House, 46 Francis Street, SW1P 1QN or on line to email@example.com]. I promise that your responses will help me to prepare well for the Synod next October at which again I will be present. Your parish may also decide to draw together your responses for the benefit of the pastoral care offered there.
At the heart of this period of reflection, I suggest, lies an approach to life suggested by Pope Francis. As you know, he speaks of us all as ‘missionary disciples’, those who not only seek to be close to Christ but also to extend to others the joy and beauty of knowing Jesus and living in his love. This leads Pope Francis to invite us to see every challenge that we come up against in life as an opportunity to make clear the way of Jesus and his power to make a difference in our lives.
Often those challenges emerge in family life: moments of tension and anger; moments of disappointment and betrayal; moments in which we fail to understand what has got into our loved ones; moments of fatigue or extreme stress. These are the challenges which we are invited to change into opportunities. When we do so, they open up as times of grace and of real witness to the power of our faith.
I can remember many such moments from my own family life, moments which have planted in my heart key phrases which capture the strength given by faith in Our Blessed Lord. These moments often provoked my mother’s favourite sayings: ‘The Lord never gives a burden without the backs to bear it.’ ‘This is the day the Lord has made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it.’ And then she lived the challenge accordingly.
I hope that you may be able to share with each other, and with me if you would be so kind, some of the ways in which for you too family life is a place of grace, supported by a pattern of prayer, a place in which difficulties are present but in which they become opportunities for true Christian perseverance and for allowing Christ to lead and strengthen us.
At the beginning of the last Synod, Pope Francis said to us bishops: ‘Speak freely and from the heart. And listen humbly to each other.’ I say the same to you. Then indeed we shall be blessed in all that we strive to do to strengthen family life today.
May God bless you all.
+Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster
FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
21st December 2014
A MESSAGE FROM CARDINAL NICHOLS
After three years effort across the parishes of the diocese, our Growing in Faith campaign is coming to a close. I want very much indeed to express my thanks to you for the attention and support you have given to its three key themes: strengthening parish life; supporting priests in formation and old age; and Caritas, our work with the poor. I thank you for your prayers, the work done by the volunteers and I thank all who have made financial contributions. In total, with gifts and pledges a sum of £37 million has been given. This great achievement will do so much to enable us to meet our needs and look forward confidently. This is a marvellous measure of your great generosity and love for the Lord and His Church. Thank you very much.
I also want to take this opportunity to wish you a graceful and peaceful Christmas, full of the Lord’s blessings for you all and your family.
+Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster
GAUDETE (Rejoice) SUNDAY
14th December 2014
*REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS…..” is the opening of the Mass for this Third Sunday in Advent. We are close to celebrating the:
INCARNATION and we rejoice that the Lord is faithful to his promises and comes among us in the infant Christ. The Church is therefore, Pope Francis says, “a house of joy”: this is a keyway in which we witness to Christ. Our Lord reveals God’s love to us that we are known and infinitely loved: the more we embrace this, the more we find joy!
SADNESS comes for many reasons, but the key reason is sin. John the Baptist in today’s Gospel practiced a baptism of repentance: we have to have a change of heart (repentance) if we are to recognise God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ. The same holds true now, so a very important part of our preparation for Christmas is to make a good confession.
REMEMBER……Advent lasts till Christmas Eve, and Christmas begins with the Vigil Mass on Christmas Eve. Then we have the Octave of Christmas 8 days when each day is celebrated as Christmas Day, and then we continue celebrating Christmas until January 6th (Epiphany).
Meanwhile, continuing our Advent, we want to rejoice in the Lord always, and wake up to all God wants to share with us: for this, let us pray for one another.
Fr David Barnes, PP
7th December 2014
Today is Catholic Bible Sunday and it is themed: Hear, Reflect, Proclaim.
Bible Sunday reminds us each year of the gift of the Word of God. God’s Word in human language, recorded for us in the pages of the Holy Scriptures, proclaimed in our Liturgy and available for prayer and reflection day-by-day.
We know and experience being fed by God’s Word and Sacraments at Mass. Christ the Word teaches us. Christ our Eucharist nourishes us. Catholic Bible Sunday reminds us to hear, to be attentive to God’s Word through reading and reflecting on the Scriptures in our homes daily. It reminds us too to seek ways of proclaiming that life-giving Word to everyone we meet.
How appropriate then that we begin reading the Gospel of Mark on this day! Mark’s Gospel opens with faith-statements about Jesus. He is the Christ. He is the Son of God.
The evangelist continues by pointing to the fulfilment of words from the book of Isaiah already proclaimed in our first reading. The people who lived in exile are assured of liberation and return. Those longing for the promised Messiah learn that God is preparing the way for him.
It is John the Baptist who announces the fulfilment of the promise. and the forgiveness of sin. His words are confirmed by the symbolic action of baptising people in the Jordan. A new start is announced for them and for us.
In this time of Advent, John reminds us of the need for preparation. John has prepared for his ministry by penance and by listening to God’s Word. He knows that God’s promise is soon-to-be fulfilled. He foresees the coming of one who is stronger than he is, one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.
John teaches us openness to God’s Word, and the need to be fed by the true values of the gospel. The slow process of grace works deeply in our hearts through listening and through prayer. Preparing the way for the Lord requires courage and reliance on God’s power. Yearning for His ‘new heavens and new earth’ will bring a new perspective to our lives this Advent.
Pope Emeritus Benedict wrote in a Church teaching document called Verbum Domini: We need to make every effort to share the Word of God as an openness to our problems, a response to our questions, a broadening of our values and the fulfilment of our aspirations.’ (23)
May the word of God bring peace to our world and to our hearts today. May we seek every opportunity to hear, reflect and proclaim God’s Word day-by-day.
Rev Dr Adrian Graffy, Commission for Evangelisation and Formation, Brentwood Diocese
THE MEANING OF OUR ADVENT WREATH
30th November 2014
1st Candle (purple) The Prophesy Candle or Candle of Hope. We can have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises made to us. Our hope comes from God. The prophet Isaiah writes: “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.”
2nd Candle (purple) The Bethlehem Candle or Candle of Preparation. God kept his promise of a Saviour who would be born in Bethlehem. Preparation means to ‘get ready’. Help us to be ready to welcome YOU, O GOD! As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet ”A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.” (Luke 3:4-6)
3rd Candle (pink) The Shepherd Candle or Candle of Joy. The angel said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:7-15)
4th Candle (purple) The Angel Candle or Candle of Love. The angels announced the good news of a Saviour. God sent his only son to earth to save us, because he loves us! “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ” (John 3: I6-17)
5th Candle (white) Christ Candle. The white candle reminds us that Jesus is the spotless lamb of God, sent to wash away our sins. His birth was for his death; his death was for our birth!
OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE
23rd November 2014
This great feast of Christ the King brings to mind images of God that speak of relationships, cooperation, interdependence, rather than authority and hierarchy.
Jesus says, “My Kingdom is not of this world”. His Kingdom is not a place where tyranny reigns and opposition is put down by force – but a place where love and humility reign.
Jesus did not come to exercise temporal and social power. He came to reveal the truth of the God of love and the love of God.
This is a King who does not seek an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth. His Kingdom is based on love and compassion, on peace and goodwill, on justice and integrity, on opportunities to change and a willingness to forgive. This is the King of love who wants to communicate His love in and through His weakness and vulnerability. This is a King who became – one with us, who identifies with us in our daily lives in the journey of our faith – this is a King who meets us where we are and who walks with us each stop of the way – this is a King who walked the way of humility.
Sr M. Lucina, Parish Sister
“O marvellous humility. O astonishing poverty! The King of the angels, the Lord of heaven and earth, is laid in a manger!” (St Clare)
33rd SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
16th November 2014
There was once a woman who woke up in the morning, looked in the mirror and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. “Well,” she said, “I think I’ll braid my hair today.” So she did, and she had a wonderful day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror, and saw she had only two hairs on her head.”Hmmmm,” she said, “I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today.” So she did, and she had a wonderful day. The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror, and noticed she hail only one hair on her head. “Well,” she said, “today I’m going to wear my hair in a ponytail.” So she did, and she had a fun, fun day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed’that there wasn’t a single hair on her head. “Good,” she exclaimed, “I don’t hive to fix my hair today!”
THOUGHT: ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING.
So… …Be very kind, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly. . . . . and leave the rest to God.
DEDICATION OF THE LATERAN BASILICA
9th November 2014
Understanding who we are and our present requires undersanding our past and our history – personal, family, national and international, and indeed of the universe! Remembering is therefore essential, and in these days we remember in particular those who gave their lives so that we can live in freedom. Our gmtitude should bear fruit in how responsibly we live this freedom, wonderfully expressed in this poem from World War 1:
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
in Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grew
In Flanders fields.
REMEMBERING is a theme for this Sunday’s Feast, the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica: this Basilica is the Cathedral Church of Rome, founded around 324 by the Emperor Constantine. The main entrance has the words “The mother and teacher of all the churches of Rome and the world.” Today’s Feast is a celebration of our love for and communion with the See of Peter and the successor of Peter, Pope Francis. Our identity is formed by living as Roman Catholics, united to Christ through Baptism (reading 1 and the Gospel) and now being “God’s building the temple of God” (reading 2).
St Paul says “Everyone doing the building must work carefully.” Are we seeking to unite our life more closely to Christ and to his Church, especially through love of the successor of Peter, and working for justice and peace?
Fr David Barnes. PP
THERE WILL BE A COLLECTION FOR THE SICK AND RETIRED PRIESTS’ FUND TODAY The Sick and Retired Priests’ Fund was set up in 1979 and over the years it has helped hundrcds of Sick and elderly priests. But it can only do so with our help as it depends on donations. Please give as much as you can afford and” if you pay tax, don’t forget that you can add 25p to every pound that you give (at no extra cost to you) by completing tha Gift Aid declaration on the back of the donation envelope. (You can also make a donation online at www.rcdow.org.uk/donations)
PRAYERS FOR REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY 9th NOVEMBER 2014
On this remembrance Sunday when our thoughts particularly focus on all those who died as a result of modern warfare, we pray together, knowing that God alone can bring peace and heal the wounds battle.
We pray for Pope Francis and all Church leaders that they may be instrumental of a peace which is more than simply an absence of fighting and bloodshed.
We pray for all those who sense in our armed and emergency services, that they may be peacemakers, defending the defenceless.
We pray for peace in all countries where there is fighting and bloodshed. Remembering especially Iraq, Syria, the Middle East and Nigeria, that there may be an end to suffering and injustice experienced by innocent victims of the conflict.
We pray for families who, today, remember the self-sacrifice of the few who laid down their lives for the many so that others might live in peace and security. We particularly recall those who have died in modern warfare and those whom they have left behind.
ALL SAINTS and ALL SOULS
2nd November 2014
NOVEMBER focuses on the call to holiness. God calls us to find freedom from sin, because sin diminishes our humanity. If free from sin, we are holy and whole beings who reflect the love and mercy of God: here lies our greatest happiness.
THE FEAST OF ALL SAINTS reminds us that this is possible! We celebrate all those who, though never formally canonised, became saints through their co-operation with God’s grace and their refusal to be mastered by sin – they found true freedom.
POPE FRANCIS also reminded us last Thursday about the Devil’s work, which is to take us away from God. “In this generation, like so many others, people have been led to believe that the Devil is a myth, a figure, an idea, the idea of evil. But the Devil exists and we must fight aginst him. . … .Christian life is a battle, a beautiful battle, because when God emerges victorious in every step of our life, this gives us joy, a great happiness.” The Devil’s most common tactic is to discourage us: so, never yield to discouragement, for God’s love and mercy is greater than our human weakness. We are called to persevere in the Faith!
ALL SOULS DAY (this year kept on the 3rd November) reminds us that we die as we lived-sinners. So before we can come to see God face-to-face (the Beatific Vision) we need to be “purged” of our sins hence the state of PURGATORY. We help the Holy Souls by having Mass said for them, praying for them, and doing penance for them. This November, develop a deep love of the Holy Souls: this is part of our vocation to love.
Fr David Barnes, PP
PRAYER FOR THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED
Prayer by Blessed John Henry Newman
O GOD of the Spirits of all flesh, O Jesu, lover of souls, we recommend unto Thee the souls of all those thy servants, who have departed with the sign of faith and sleep the sleep of peace. We beseech Thee, O Lord and Saviour, that, as is Thy mercy to them Thou became man, so now Thou would hasten the time, and admit them to thy presence above. Remember, O Lord, that they are Thy creatures, not made by strange gods, but by Thee, the only Living and True God; for there is no other God but Thou, and none can equal Thy works. Let their souls rejoice in Thy light, and impute not to them their former iniquities, which they committed through the violence of passion, or the corrupt habits of their fallen nature. For, although they have sinned, yet they always firmly believed in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and before they died, they reconciled themselves to Thee by true contrition and the Sacraments of Thy Church.
O Gracious Lord, we beseech Thee, remember not against them the sins of their youth and their ignorances; but according to Thy great mercy, be mindful of them in Thy heavenly glory. May the heavens be opened to them, and the angels rejoice with them. May the Archangel St Michael conduct them to Thee. May Thy holy angels come forth to meet them, and carry them to the city of the heavenly Jerusalem. May St Peter, to whom thou gave the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, receive them. May St Paul, the vessel of election, stand by them. May St John, the beloved disciple, who had the revelation of the secrets of heaven, intercede for them. May all the Holy Apostles, who received from Thee the power of binding and loosing, pray for them. May all the Saints and elect of God, who in this world suffered torments for Thy Name, befriend them; that, being freed from prison beneath, they may be admitted into the glories of that kingdom, where with the Father and the holy Ghost Thou lives and reigns one God, wotld without end.
Come to their assistance, all ye Saints of God; gain for them deliverance from their place of punishment meet them, all ye Angels; receive these holy souls, and present them before the Lord. Eternal rest give to them, O Lord. And may perpetual light shine on them. May they rest in Peace.
30th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
26th October 2014
SVP AWARENESS MONTH
The core work of the Saint Vincent de Paul society (SVP) is to visit and befriend people in need, providing practical and moral support through this one-to-one contact.
The SVP Society of St Anselm & St Cæcilia work amongst people in our parish area where help is required due to the poverty of loneliness, sickness, bereavement, and visits to the isolated elderly in their homes or at hospital/nursing homes.
Pope Francis has called everyone who loves God to show their love in a practical way. Concern is a great starting point but, without action, it is not enough.
Concern alone will not befriend the lonely, feed the hungry comfort the bereaved or welcome/befriend the stranger amongst us.
We ask you to support your parish SVP. There are several ways you can do this:
- Pray for our work and the people we attempt to support
- Assist us financialty with your donations whenever possible
- Join us and become a SVP member (please contact: Coral Olson: 07790-030106)
Thank You, from members of your Parish SVP Society
29th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
19th October 2014
“Be Missionaries of God’s love”says Pope Francis to us on this World Mission Sunday 2014. He writes to us as follows:
Dear brothers and sisters,
On this World Mission Sunday my thoughts turn to all the local churches. I invite you to immerse yourself in the joy of the Gospel and nurture a love that can light up your vocation and your mission. I urge each of you to recall, as if you were making an interior pilgrimage, that “first love” with which the Lord Jesus Christ warmed your heart, not for the sake of nostalgia but in order to persevere in joy. The Lord’s disciples persevere in joy when they sense his presence, do his will and share with others their faith, hope and evangelical charity.
Today vast numbers of people still do not know Jesus Christ. For this reason, the mission ad gentes continues to be most urgent.
All the members of the Church are called to participate in this mission, for the Church is missionary by her very nature: she was born “to go forth”.
World Mission Sunday is a privileged moment when the faithful of various continents engage in prayer and concrete gestures of solidarity in support of the young Churches in mission lands.
Let us pray through the intercession of Mary, the model of humble and joyful evangelisation, that the Church may become a welcoming home, a mother for all peoples and the source of rebirth for our world.
28th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
12th October 2014
CARITAS WESTMINSTER, the social action agency of the diocese, is gowing in communities by developing a series of hubs across the diocese, with a pilot hub starting in Hemel Hempstead to serve the Watford and St Alban deaneries. “The mission of Caritas Westminster is to encourage everyone in the Catholic community to reach out with practical help towards those in need. We are here to serve the good of all, especially the most vulnerable.”
Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
CARITAS WESTMINSTER have adopted priority areas covering debt, food, poverty, social isolation, people with intellectual disabilities and the deaf community, and aim to support existing projects and initiate new ones, build expertise at parish level, and encourage volunteering.
For more information in requesting assistance with social action projects in your parish, or for volunteering opportunities and other ways to get involved, please contact John Coleby at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website at www.rcdow.org.uk/caritas.
For more information on the pilot hub or ways to get involved, contact development workers Sue Day (email@example.com) or Edward de Quay (firstname.lastname@example.org).
27th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
5th October 2014
“Let us learn this from Mary our Mother. In England, “the Dowry of Mary”, the faithful for centuries, have made pilgrimage to her shrine at Walsingham.
The statue of Our Lady of Walsingham, lifts our minds to meditate on our Mother. She obeyed the will of God fearlessly and gave birth to the Son of God by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Faithful at the foot of the Cross, she then waited in prayer for the Holy Spirit to descend on the infant Church. lt is Mary who will teach us how to be silent, how to listen to the voice of God in the midst of a busy and noisy world. lt is Mary who will help us find time for prayer. Through the Rosary, that great Gospel prayer, she will help us to know Christ. We need to live as she did, in the presence of God, raising our minds and hearts to him in our daily activities and worries”.
Pope St John Paul II, at Wembley 1982