Our website has now changed as of 27 November 2020..
Please visit us at the below website – www.rcstortford.org.uk
Our website has now changed as of 27 November 2020..
Please visit us at the below website – www.rcstortford.org.uk
Sunday Message from Fr Peter on the Feast of Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
“The Feast of Christ the King always heralds the end of the Church’s year, which means, indeed, that the following Sunday IS the Church’s new year – the First Sunday of Advent…. So, in the world of our Catholic Faith it will be time for New Year’s resolutions; not just general things but specifically FAITH resolutions… Now that has got you thinking hasn’t it ?!?!
Just like “worldly” new year’s resolutions, it is probably best not to start with anything impossible or things you feel are beyond your abilities.. no, start simple, but truthful.
What about reflecting, with your soul’s eye, on a sort of “Faith” M.O.T.? Just like with all the different parts of a car, seeing how they are all reliant on each other, go back to basics. E.g. Is there any petrol in the tank? Is there any petrol (Grace?) in your spiritual tank? Grace is God’s gift but we can always waste it or refuse it – perhaps there’s a sort of “leak” where God’s Grace is seeping out of my life – perhaps an urgent repair is needed? If so, thinking of my childhood, it may be that this is the time to get the “puncture kit” out of our saddlebag. It is a simple operation, it just takes a little effort and then we will be back on the road of our Faith; that repair is called “forgiveness” and God offers us an unending amount of it if we but ask.
So, spend some of this Sunday thanking God for the Kingship of Christ our Lord, and then spend some of the coming week preparing your New Year’s Faith resolutions, for example: more time in prayer (never too late to start); greater kindness to others (much needed at the moment); always remembering to say thank you” to God for all His blessings in your life, both obvious and sometimes, less obvious. BUT, above all else, at least TRY!!”
Click on the link above to watch the whole powerpoint presentation
St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School are looking for cleaners to join their team in January 2021, 7.00am to 9.00am and/or 3.30pm to 5.30pm weekdays, term time only with possible overtime during school holidays. Please contact Nicola McManus 01279 652576 email@example.com for an application form.
The school is committed to safeguarding children and young people. All post holders are subject to a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and two satisfactory references.
As we remember the Holy Souls during the month of November, we once again pay tribute to and pray for those parishioners who died during WW1 and WW2. As part of the ‘ There but not there’ project our Church pews are filled with the silhouettes of eight young men who lost their lives.
At a time when we are not able to be physically present for the celebration of Mass, we can be comforted that those who walked before us, remain in the Church, to represent us once again.
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen
Introducing Fr Antonio…
It is unfortunate that I arrived in Bishop’s Stortford just a week before the national lockdown kicked in. It meant that I got the chance to meet just a few of the parishioners before, once again, we were told to “stay at home and save lives”. But I can at least introduce myself now in the newsletter and on the website.
My name is Fr Antonio Pineda, born a Filipino and bred a Londoner. I moved from the Philippines to England when I was very young and I did most of my “growing up” in Greenford, west London. I had a sense of being called to the priesthood from a very young age but, because I wanted to experience the world first, I did not think seriously about applying to enter seminary until I was in my late 30s. I was sent to Rome for my priestly training and I was there for seven years. I was ordained in July 2018 in my home parish of St George’s Church in Sudbury, Wembley. My first parish assignment was Borehamwood where I stayed for two years until Cardinal Vincent sent me here in your lovely parish in Bishop’s Stortford.
When I am not doing priestly things like praying or celebrating Mass, I turn to my hobbies to keep me inspired. These include books, both reading and collecting them. I am particularly into the classics and fantasy fiction. I like to escape to Narnia and Middle-Earth now and again! I also love IT. I enjoy using technology to make life easier and/or more enjoyable. I love being creative with my computer by designing websites and publications as well as editing photos and videos.
Before entering seminary, I had media related jobs including a communications officer for the Royal College of Nursing and a website editor for Brunel University.
I am very much looking forward to getting to know all of you and serving the parish. Please be assured of my prayers and I ask that you pray for me too as I begin my ministry in Bishop’s Stortford.
Unfortunately due to the further COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown, we are no longer able to gather for public worship from Thursday 5th November until 2nd December 2020 however…
Fr Peter and Fr Antonio Mass will continue to celebrate daily and weekend Mass at St Joseph’s behind’closed doors’ albeit without a physical congregation being present. Mass will be live streamed on http://www.churchservices.tv/bishopsstortford so please do join us ‘ virtually’. Regretably Mass will not be celebrated at Holy Cross or Most Holy Redeemer.
Mass Times at St Joseph’s via the live streaming
Monday- Friday Mass will be broadcast live at 9.30am
Saturday Vigil Mass will be broadcast live at 6pm
Sunday Mass will be broadcast live at 9am and at 11am with music and Cantor.
All of the Masses will be recorded and can be viewed at any time after the time of broadcast.
We also hope to open St Joseph and the English Martyrs Catholic Church and Holy Cross for private prayer initially during restricted hours which are subject to change.
A Steward/s will be in attendance to ensure that our Churches continue to remain COVID secure. Please observe the social distancing measures in place, using hand sanitiser and wearing a face covering ( unless exempt) when visiting the Church. We ask you to respect also the capacity limits of 38 individual persons from separate households at any one time at St Josephs and 32 persons at Holy Cross. Our track and trace measures will continue, but there is no requirement to book a place for private prayer at this time. We have a QR Code on display for those with a phone app or we will ask for your name and contact details upon arrival so that individuals can be notified in the event of any suspected Covid-19 case.
Your details will be securely kept for 21 days to enable us to provide details to the trace & test system should an outbreak occur.
Full details of the Privacy Notice can be found at http://www.rcdow.org.uk/privacy-policy
Private Prayer time at Holy Cross
Sunday 8th November between 2.30pm – 4.30pm
Private Prayer time at St Joseph’s
Monday 9th November – 10am – 10.30am
Tuesday 10th November- 8.30am-9am
Wednesday 11th November- 8.30am-9am
Thursday 12th November – 8.30am-9am
Friday 13th November – 10am -10.30am
Thank you for your patience, prayers and understanding at this difficult time.
Today, Parliament passed into law the Regulations governing many aspects of activity in the whole of England until 2nd December. These Regulations prohibit the gathering of people for communal worship in churches and other religious buildings.
Churches remain open and in use for activities other than communal worship, including personal prayer and support for those in need. Funeral Masses and funeral services may be held. Please refer to the Regulations (for places of worship see paragraph 18) and associated Guidance.
Despite profound misgivings it is important that we, as responsible citizens, observe these Regulations, which have the force of law: ‘Remind them to be obedient to the officials in authority; to be ready to do good at every opportunity’ (Titus 3:1). We do this in solidarity with so many others on whom are being imposed restrictions which impact severely on their lives and livelihoods.
It is also important to recognise that these Regulations are not an attack on religious belief. However, they do demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of the essential contribution made by faith communities to the well-being, resilience and health of our society.
At this difficult moment, we ask that, as a Catholic community, we make full use of our churches as places of individual prayer and sources of solace and help. We must sustain each other in our patterns of prayer, joining a national shared moment of prayer each day at 6pm, and observing the Vigil of Christ the King (21st November) as a day of prayer for the ending of this pandemic. And we encourage you all in your practical service and support of each other and those around you in need.
This pathway of prayer and service is the royal road we are to take as a gracious witness in our society today.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP
On Saturday 31st October, the Prime Minister announced further widespread restrictions in England beginning on Thursday 5th November. The Government has published its New National Restrictions Guidance on its website here. Whilst there was no formal announcement on Places of Worship by the Prime Minister, there is clear guidance on this website that places of worship will be required to end all acts of collective worship, except for funeral ceremonies. In response the following statement is issued by the President and Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference.
The announcement of a new ‘national lockdown’ in England will, we know, bring hardship, distress and suffering to many. We must hope and pray that this is an effective strategy against a growing pandemic which has tragically taken so many lives already and threatens so many more.
Faith communities have played a vital role in sustaining personal, spiritual and mental health and encouraging vital charitable activities, which support hundreds of thousands of people in all sections of the community, especially the most vulnerable. That critical service towards the common good of all is created and sustained by communal worship and prayer. Part of this selfless giving has been a strong ethic of responsibility in the way in which we have reopened our churches so that essential worship has been enabled. Our communities have done a great deal to make our churches safe places in which all have been able to gather in supervised and disciplined ways.
It is thus a source of deep anguish now that the Government is requiring, once again, the cessation of public communal worship. Whilst we understand the many difficult decisions facing the Government, we have not yet seen any evidence whatsoever that would make the banning of communal worship, with all its human costs, a productive part of combatting the virus. We ask the Government to produce this evidence that justifies the cessation of acts of public worship.
To counter the virus we will, as a society, need to make sustained sacrifices for months to come. In requiring this sacrifice, the Government has a profound responsibility to show why it has taken particular decisions. Not doing so risks eroding the unity we need as we enter a most difficult period for our country.
The Prime Minister has stated that the draft legislation will be placed before Parliament on Monday 2nd November. Members of Parliament will have the opportunity to discuss the issues and vote on the proposed national restrictions. In this short timeframe, questions can be raised with our elected Members of Parliament regarding the cessation of public common worship. They are in a position to require the Government to publish the data that drives the decision to cease public worship under these restrictions.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP
THE BISHOP’S STORTFORD FOODBANK REVERSE ADVENT CALENDAR 🎄
I’m sure many of you will of heard about a ‘reverse advent calendar’ – where you donate an item to a charity or a Foodbank in the lead up to Christmas.
This is something the Food bank are really excited about doing…however they are going to start this from 1st November.
There are a few reasons for this…
1. If you collect all your wonderful donations throughout December and then come to donate to them on Christmas Eve…they won’t be there and they wouldn’t want all your hard work to go to waste.
2. They actually need your donations at the beginning of December, allowing time to sort, organise and donate them to who they need to go to.
So with this in mind, they have put together a plan for November! This is just to give you a rough idea of the kind of items that they would love to receive. You do not need to stick to this list at all.
So grab a box and each day over the next month see if you can fill it with 24 items.
They will be putting a reminder out everyday of what could be put in the Reverse Advent Calendar.
If you have any questions then please message them.
Thank you so much 🎄🎄🎄
Fr Antonio has just arrived, luckily with others to carry his things up to the second floor ! It made me reflect on new beginnings….
I THINK I remember starting secondary school. I do remember that for the first year we had to wear shorts, ‘cos we were the juniors !
Then it was long trousers…. A blazer and a cap made us smart we thought.
I remember going for my first job interview – and I got the job.. in publishing, in a Company on the edge of the old Covent Garden. I thought I was the bee’s knees; my Mum bought me a suit and a hat (with a tiny feather in the hat band) – all from Dunne and Co… Out of my £10 a week I paid my daily train fares up and down to Waterloo from Epsom, bought lunch in the tiny subsidized canteen and paid my Mum £5. The wages came round every Friday in little brown envelopes with a pay slip, all in cash.
I remember starting my first teaching job – I loved it and made great friends amongst the teaching staff; and then a few years later applying for a Head of Dept at another school and thinking how much I would miss my friends, (just like going from junior to senior school…)
Of course it was the same when I became a priest and found myself moving Parishes on each of the four times I have done so…
AND YET…. each time the good Lord looked after me and each time I was very sad moving on.
Let’s all pray that just the same is true for Fr Antonio now that he is amongst us, and lets have a sneaking aspiration that when he does come to move on, he’ll miss us more than the others !!!
Fr Peter Harris
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am afraid to say that this is the end – it is the last weekend here in the parish.
As I finish tying loose ends in the office and presbytery, I have had the opportunity to reflect in the past three years in Bishop’s Stortford, Sawbridgeworth, and Much Hadham. I remember coming in, fresh off the Cathedral floor, ruddy behind the ears. I’m sure that you too were worried. You just had Fr. Fortunato serving here for two years, and then, gone. A 27 year-old-priest was on his way.
But then we hit it off altogether. Sure, it took some time. Perhaps I was serious looking and unpredictable; but, as many of you have mentioned, we met each other at ground level. You encountered a priest who can reach to you, can make mistakes, and can have a sense of humour – in short, you found a human priest.
And in discovering this human priest, you encountered one who can approach and speak to. The visitations to your houses were a great resource for me, as I got to know you and your families better. Some of you managed to catch a glimpse of my dance moves at parties. Perhaps you enjoyed ‘Soaking the Father’ at the Summer Fair, promenading at the Barn Dance last year, or listening me to ask questions during the Quiz Nights.
I often think what constitutes the mission of the priest. Is it the theology he has learned, the liturgy that he practices, or the projects he carries out? Sure, these things make the characteristics of each priest, but that is not the mission. I believe the mission is simple: to be present for his people. To be present does not necessarily mean that he agrees all the time: his duty is to counsel, warn, and even admonish at times; but the presence of a lending ear and union of his formation and experience helps a parishioner know that a priest is not someone who lives on a different plane from everybody else, but lives in the same world as his people do. Speaking with you in the past few weeks, I believe that I have completed my mission of service in the Parish.
As you know very well, no priest is perfect. Therefore, I ask for your forgiveness for my weaknesses, misgivings, or even moments that I have caused you any inconvenience – moments in which I may have not been charitable or just plain old harsh. I hope you have accepted a 30-year-old, hot-blooded, American for who he is.
I think you can agree with me: I did not expect my first three years of ministry to happen the way it did. Obviously, I cannot have served you with the best of my ability with your help. I cannot forget to offer my gratitude firstly to Fr. Peter and to Debbie. Fr. Peter has helped me to embrace the beginnings of priestly ministry – to go all out and enjoy it and to embrace the many pastoral responsibilities that a Parish holds.
Debbie can best be described not only as a fountain of great resources but also a lending ear. I owe my gratitude to them in helping me in these past three years.
The list to thank is exhaustive, but I take an opportunity to offer my gratitude for the many people who have helped in one way or another in the past three years. I thank the Parish Council, Church Committees, and Financial Committee for their support in the development of all three Churches. I thank those who have helped me in the preparation for Baptism, First Reconciliation and Communion, and the RCIA Programmes. Many thanks to those who helped me to reach out the housebound and those in care homes. Thanks to those who help clean the Churches, prepare the flowers, and organise the music and service at the altar. Many thanks to Bishop’s Stortford Across for the two pilgrimages we enjoyed and even to those who signed up for the Holy Land Pilgrimage. Many thanks to the staff and students at St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s Schools for allowing me to serve their pastoral needs.
Finally, I thank each and every one of you, both present here today and even those who have now gone before us. It has been a pleasure to see those of you who have passed by to say goodbye. Many thanks for the trinkets that you have left behind for me to enjoy. But I ask you for the greatest gift – pray for me that I may continue to be faithful in the Lord’s vineyard I set off to pasture’s new in Highbury. I am sure that some of you are sore about my new appointment because it is in Gunners’ territory… I’ll do my best to not to let that interfere with my ministry.
As I now end this message (or should we say, letter), let us all remember the Law that Christ reminds the Pharisee in this Sunday’s Gospel: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind … [and] your neighbour as yourself.
For the last time:
P.S.: Here are the details of my new parish:
St. Joan of Arc
60 Highbury Park
Landline: 02072 260 257
Because my mother had to go to work, I spent my summer holidays at babysitter’s house. She was an elderly, Puerto Rican who had three grown children. I can attest that she was a very stern yet loving babysitter.
I mention stern because she also looked after a child who was five years younger. He had a bit of a temper, but I believe it was also because he had certain learning difficulties (it was not so obvious then). Whenever he would have a tantrum, my babysitter would calm him down with a phrase: Hágase tu voluntad. (Let your will be done). You wouldn’t believe it, but it did calm him down.
It would seem that my babysitter was patronising him, but perhaps she knew that she had let the child be. God does the same with us when it comes to one’s will. He is such a gentleman that he allows us to do our will; but perhaps it is necessary for us to contemplate what God really wants from us. St. Augustine reminds us that we have the freedom to do whatever we want; but true freedom would then mean that we would seek to what is good and perfect in our lives.
Obviously, no human being can say that they have lived to this maxim. But perhaps God says to us, ‘Let your will be done,’ in order for us to realise that we should be doing his will, not ours.
Let us look to Christ who lived in total obedience to the Father because he realised that his obedience is a fruit the love he has with his Father – a love we are able to share today.
As in this Sunday’s collect says:
Almighty ever-living God,
grant that we may always conform
our will to yours
and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
As you may be aware, Victim Support (VS) has been awarded the contract to manage the new flagship project: Safe Spaces, a joint Anglican and Catholic Church project to provide a vital support service for survivors of church-related abuse. Although the churches have funded the service, it is run independently by the charity Victim Support, who are one of the leading charities providing specialist support to survivors of abuse in England and Wales. We work towards a world where people affected by crime or traumatic events get the support they need and respect they deserve.
Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service, providing a confidential, personal and safe space for anyone who has been abused through their relationship with either the Church of England or the Catholic Church of England and Wales. Safe Spaces comprises a team of trained support advocates who have undergone specialist training in supporting survivors of sexual violence and who have received additional specific training in how the churches respond to abuse cases, the way in which faith and church-related settings have been used to carry out abuse, and the particular issues affecting people who have had or still have, a relationship with the church. The team are based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, but it is a national service providing remote support through our helpline, live chat service and website. Remote support is provided for as long as the survivor needs. This can be advocating for the survivor, giving them support, providing information (including information on church and police procedures), understanding individual needs and jointly working on individual support plans. If face-to-face support is also required, contact and referrals will be made with appropriate local organisations depending on need.
Safe Spaces is for anyone who feels they have experienced church related abuse of any form in England or Wales.This may have been in relation to the Church of England, Catholic Church in
England and Wales or the Church in Wales.
By ‘church related’, this may include:
• Abuse by a church officer. A church officer is any person, ordained or lay,
paid or voluntary, who holds a role in the church.
• Abuse that is linked to participating in a church-led activity or group.
The service is for people who live in England and Wales. If someone lives outside of England and Wales, but suffered abuse by a Church Officer from the Church of England, Catholic Church in England and Wales or the Church in Wales, we will endeavour to provide support but this may be limited due to the support available outside of England and Wales.
It is for people aged 18 or over, but the abuse can have happened at any time in the past. If support is required for someone younger, we will endeavour to find appropriate local support.
Survivors do not have to have reported the incident to the Church authorities or the Police in order to access support. You do not need to be a current active member of the church in order to access support.
It is for people who’ve experienced any kind of abuse – this includes (but is not limited to) sexual violence, inappropriate sexual behaviour, physical abuse, financial abuse or exploitation, psychological abuse (including spiritual abuse), domestic abuse, coercive and controlling behaviour.
Service Start Date
The Safe Spaces service is available from Tuesday 29th September 2020.
Our dedicated Safe Spaces team are available through our helpline and live chat service between Monday–Saturday 10am-6pm, apart from Thursdays when the service is open 12-8pm.
Safe and Secure Referrals
Safe Spaces aims to reduce re-traumatisation at every stage of support, as such we will ask for details of the survivor, their personal circumstances, any related support needs, and the nature of the abuse. We ask for these extensive details to reduce the requirement for the survivor to repeat their experience, and to ensure that we make safe and appropriate contact, matching specific skills-sets of our Advocates whenever possible.
As an overview you will be asked for:
o Survivor’s personal and contact details – including safe contact arrangements and language requirements.
o Offence details – including any current or anticipated Police or Church reporting.
o Offender details, where known.
o Any significant factors in the case which will affect support – for example children in the household, concerns with regards to mental well-being,domestic abuse.
Safe Spaces can receive referrals via the telephone, or by completing a pro-forma referral document.
The security of the personal and sensitive data of survivors is vital, therefore, to ensure that you are able to share the full referral details required, we only accept referrals shared via secure email.If you wish to refer using the pro-forma document please email firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be sent a link to create a secure Egress account. This allows you to communicate with Safe Spaces securely, in accordance with GDPR requirements. Safe Spaces will then forward a copy of the pro-forma, to be returned via Egress.
Our team will make contact within 48 hours of reviewing a referral (72 hours at weekends).
You can contact the Safe Spaces team using a variety of methods, according to the needs and preferences of survivors:Phone us on 0300 303 1056 (a voicemail facility is available outside of opening times)
Email us at email@example.com
LiveChat with our team, or access service information, at www.SafeSpacesEnglandandWales.org.uk
It is a sunny Autumn day as I sit in my study typing this. Yesterday it was raining and I thought it was supposed to today as well !?!? Why is the weather so changeable. Ask a weather forecaster I guess ! When I think of the changeability of the weather it always makes me think of our relationship with God, because, in the way that we chop and change, and our ability to be good and bad, often it seems for little reason, I have a feeling that God sees us a bit like e see the weather! “Oh”, says God, “I see Fr Peter is being a bit rainy today, shame, I sent sunshine but Fr Peter seems to have changed it in his life today!”
How grateful I am, always, for God’s patience with me – rain or shine. It gives me a spiritual “warm” feeling on every rainy day.
I went up to the Church roof yesterday and the sky was dark, but beautiful, so the person with me took a photo – here it is. It seemed to be just as beautiful as a sunny day, but different. I am glad that God sees me as beautiful even when I am “raining”.
I remember that there was a film in 1994 produced by Disney called Angels in the Outfield. I actually remembered it because, in those times that you had two VCRs, you were able to record a film from Blockbuster into another tape. (Remember those times we had to press Record and Play to do so?)
Looking back now, I realise that it is truly a film that a child would enjoy, but as an adult you would perhaps question why you did so. I won’t say much more just in case you are interested to see it after going through all the box sets on earth.
What is interesting about the film is the protagonist, Roger Bomman, a foster child whose only desire is to be with his father. When his father sarcastically mentions that they will be together if their local baseball team wins the pennant. So, Roger turns to God to help the team win in order to be reunited with his father.
You may think that this is completely ridiculous: How can God help a baseball team in order to help a child and father to be one again? But, were you a young child once? Do you remember when you would ask for something improbable in order to find some happiness? Just as the film uses angels to help this young man’s request, so there are angels always to our aid.
This Friday the Church celebrated the memorial of the Guardian Angels. There is so much to believe when it comes to our Guardian Angels. It is not something that we believe as children and then forget as adults. They are there, one assigned to each of us, in order to help us experience God’s protection in everything we do or say – fighting to ward of the powers of evil against us and safeguarding us in the path of holiness.
If today, you find yourself in either distress or relief, sorrow or joy, in tribulation or calm, or just need any help, call upon your angel and say to them anything you need – even if it is to wake up on time (I assure you … I’ve done that as well).
The Guardian Angels, pray for us!
Part of the Gospel this weekend relates the son of the owner of a vineyard whop, when asked by his father to go and work in the vineyard blatantly says “No”, but….”afterwards thought better of it”…
How often have we found ourselves doing that ? – frequently, I hope. The grace to climb down and realise that I have got something wrong, sometimes, badly wrong, is a great grace to receive from God, and we should welcome it when we become aware of it. I say “aware of it” because sometimes there is still a residual unwillingness to follow God’s will and we can lose the chance to embrace his mercy.
Growth involves change, as St John Henry Newman tells us in His Essay on the development of Christian doctrine: ‘to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often’.
At the moment the Government and Public Health England are asking us, yet again, to change, so it’s not just in our spiritual life that this is called for.
Let’s make an effort this week to be willing to change both in our spiritual and public lives, so that we might seek the perfection that God holds for us in heaven.
Parish Message for the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time
I write to you today from my little corner overlooking the crossroads in my lovely New York as I am in the midst of preparing for a wedding …
There is a song by the Puerto Rican artist Hector Lavoe titled ‘Todo Tiene Su Final’ (Everything Has Its End). Unfortunately, this Message also has to reflect about an end as well.
This Cardinal has asked me to be the Assistant Priest at the Parish of St. Joan of Arc, Highbury, beginning at the end of October. Although I am saddened by the fact that I will have to say goodbye to all of you here, both locally and virtually, I am comforted to know that in the past three years I have managed to know so many of you and shared an experience in the growth of faith with you.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your prayers and support during these years. As mentioned in many Thank You speeches, the list is long and I am afraid to forget to specifically include someone. I thank you, from the parishioners whom I have greeted outside the doors when Mass finished on both weekdays and weekends, at the school, or in any circumstance (and, yes, even having my name shouted on the street or from a car); the patience of the sacristans, servers, and choir; the even greater patience of the catechists, teachers, and organisers for any visitation, committees, or events; and even a greater (and heavenly endowed) patience to Fr. Peter and Debbie, who have moulded me in my first three years of priestly ministry.
I know that any transition is difficult, but we do these things with the assurance of faith that we persevere in what we do or say because of our redemption in Christ. St. Paul sums it up in last Sunday’s Second Reading: ‘none of us lives for himself, nor dies for himself. If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. Either in life or in death, we belong to the Lord’ (Romans 14: 7-8)
I am sure that you will happily welcome Fr. Antonio and that he will be a great priest of service for you – a beacon of faith, hope and love for all of you in the parish.
I understand that COVID-19 has changed a bit the way we will interact with each other, but I am sure we will find a way to say goodbye. But not to worry, I am still around for another month when I come back from New York.
Pray for me as I pray for you always.
It is lovely to see so many people back at Mass. We have worked hard to ensure that the Church remains COVID-19 secure to keep everyone safe but we do need your help!
It’s one of those things in life that we sometimes find difficult – “new beginnings”.
Often we feel that we’ve only just got used to something new and we have to change again – Cardinal St John Henry Newman said something to the effect that “to change is to grow, to change often is to mature”. When we look back we can see the different changes in our lives and sometimes find ourselves evaluating a past experience quite differently to how we thought at the time, hopefully for the better.
Change happens is Parishes as much as anywhere else in our lives so I have to announce that Fr Carlos is now leaving us after 3 years of being here. He will move to the parish of Highbury in north London at the end of October.
We are going to be joined by Fr Antonio Pineda who was ordained in 2018 and has been the assistant at Boreham Wood parish up till now.
I shall be sorry to lose Fr Carlos but am also excited that Fr Antonio will be coming to us.
Sadly, in the present situation, we will not be able to give Fr Carlos the usual Bishop’s Stortford send off, but perhaps next year we might be able to celebrate with him. It may be that some of you would like to present Fr Carlos with a gift and, since he is away at the moment I can say this openly, we will be happy to receive any contributions towards such a gift. Please hand them in at the Sacristy or at church or to the Parish office or through the door at No 3 Windhill, and simply address them to “Fr Peter’ with the letter ‘H’ after my name, thus – Fr Peter H that will be our secret code !!
Things this week have tightened up again with new government regulations – the government have recognized that churches are already Covid compliant and so we are allowed mostly to continue as we are, but it may have repercussions for our celebrations of First Holy Communion later this year – we are waiting for specific instructions from the Diocese and will let families know as soon as we receive news. There is no doubt that we must all continue to be vigilant and take our responsibilities to do so seriously.
And perhaps this is a good time to remind ourselves to keep all those who have the virus across the world very much in our prayers.
God bless, Fr Peter