News

4th Boxmoor Scouts

Our 4th Boxmoor Scouts received the following message:

I wanted to get in touch to say a huge THANK YOU for being part of the Great British Spring Clean 2017!

This inspiring campaign has now come to an end, after more than 1,500 incredible volunteers from Dacorum took to the streets to care for their local area.

Community groups, schools, individuals, families and businesses have all stepped up to take part in Keep Britain Tidy’s biggest community litter-pick yet. In total volunteers collected over 250 bags of rubbish and 150 bags of recycling throughout the month-long litter blitz.

Well done to all of the dedicated litter heroes who took part in this campaign for your kind efforts and great show of community spirit.

Craig Thorpe, Group Manager Environmental Services, said, “A huge thank you to all those involved for your hard work taking part in the Great British Spring Clean. Your actions have not only helped to keep our neighbourhoods clean and tidy, but act as an inspiration to others to keep our areas clean in future.”

This inspiring campaign has now come to an end, after more than 1,500 incredible volunteers from Dacorum took to the streets to care for their local area.

Community groups, schools, individuals, families and businesses have all stepped up to take part in Keep Britain Tidy’s biggest community litter-pick yet. In total volunteers collected over 250 bags of rubbish and 150 bags of recycling throughout the month-long litter blitz.

Well done to all of the dedicated litter heroes who took part in this campaign for your kind efforts and great show of community spirit.

Five First Saturday Fatima Prayers

Five First Saturday Fatima Prayers 

In 2017 we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. In a homily, given during the visit and crowning of the National Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, to Westminster Cathedral on 18th February 2017, His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols spoke of the relevance of Our Lady of Fatima to us today.

“The first is devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. To understand this well we take as our starting point the closing words of today’s Gospel: ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary, ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ What Our Lady is expressing here is an attitude of the heart. As Pope Benedict has reminded us, ‘In biblical language, the “heart” indicates the centre of human life, the point where reason, will, temperament and sensitivity converge.’ Mary is saying ‘yes’ with her reason, her will, her emotions: her whole being.

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a way for us to say ‘yes’ too, ‘yes’ to an attitude of heart that accords with Our Lady’s, and so opens up pathways, fresh and sure, towards Christ.  This is why today we consecrate ourselves, our entire lives, our country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so we can always be saying ‘Yes’ to the Lord, with all our heart with all our will, from the centre of our being.  Only Mary can teach us how to do this.”

To fulfil the Five First Saturdays’ includes going to Confession, Holy Communion and recitation of the Rosary on the first Saturday of five consecutive months; it is a response to Our Lady’s request for the Communion of Reparation and a world devotion to her Immaculate Heart.

 

We will recite the Joyful Mysteries of  the Rosary and the Five First Saturday Fatima Prayers at St Mary and St Joseph church, at 11.30am (following Confessions) on Saturday 4th March. All are welcome to join in.

 

New Fairtrade Stall at Scouts Second Sunday Coffee Morning

 The 4th Boxmoor Scouts serve coffee and tea, sausage and bacon rolls, after Scout Parade at the 8.45am Mass on the 2nd Sunday of the month, in the Parish Centre. All are welcome.

A new arrival at this monthly event is a Fairtrade stall organised by Eileen Whitehouse, our parish Fairtrade co-ordinator.

Next month the 2nd Sunday falls at the end of Fairtrade Fortnight which runs from 27th February to 12th March.

Show your support for our Scouts and for Fairtrade by joining us on the

12th March

between 9.45 and 10.15 am in the Parish Centre

St Joseph & The Helpers (UK) Ltd.

CHANGE OF NAME

Arthur McCluskey Foundation:  Please note that the charity (St Joseph & The Helpers (UK) Ltd.) parishioners have been supporting for some years has changed its name  to Arthur McCluskey Foundation.  This is because a charity with a similar name is also active in Ireland.  Please take our new leaflet from the stand by the holy water font in the porch.  New website:  www.arthurmc.com.  Pat Henry.

Sew Together… An Easter Altar Frontal

IMG_5039 (2)edSew Together… An Easter Altar Frontal

A group of parishioners has been working onIMG_5224 (3) a new altar frontal for Easter.  The inspiration for the design is new life and the rising sun.  Work began not long after Christmas and has very much been a team effort – with some people sewing and embroidering, some cutting and ironing and always someone to make a cup of tea along the way.  We hope that the community at SSMJ likes the result.

The sewing group will continue after Easter – projects to come will include an altar frontal for Ordinary Time and for Pentecost.  We meet after the 10am Mass on Fridays and all are welcome to join.  Quite a bit of the work can be done at home so anyone unable to come on a Friday morning but who wants to be involved should contact us.   Please watch the newsletter for the date and time of the next meeting.

IMG_5042 (2)IMG_5185 (2)

 

Karen Moody, Imelda Doyle, Eileen Whitehouse, Teri Knowles, Lorna Archer, Paula Watkins, Jane Gonzalez, Zunia Heatley.

 

‘Clean for the Queen’

 

C for Qclean for queenOver a dozen young people (Beavers, Scouts and Cubs) from the 4th Boxmoor Scout Group donned high-viz jackets and grabbed their litter picking sticks to “Clean For The Queen” on Friday evening, 4th March, cheered-on by both local residents and business people.

and adults joined this initiative:

braving the snow flurries and icy winds on Sunday to collect litter – we were doing this as part of the Clean for the Queen initiative but our main motivation was to show our love and care for our local environment. Love in action!  We were gratified by the amount of support we received from passers by and cars who tooted. It was a witness.

We intend to organise regular litter picking events and we hope that more people will support us in the future.

 

Visit of The Reverend Michael Macey from St John’s Church

2016 01 31_5412

On Sunday 31st January we welcomed The Reverend Michael Macey from St John’s to our 11.45am  mass.2016 01 31_5417 - heads

In this Jubilee Year we are called to reflect on our relationships within the Body of Christ.  Unity amongst Christians, and the desire to pray for that unity is given to us in the Gospel, as we echo the words of Jesus in St John’s Gospel May they be one Father, as you and I are one”  (John 17).  

The visit and reflection of The Reverend Michael Macey from St John’s Anglican Church last weekend is part of this expression and desire for us to work together as Christians, caught up and united in the love of Jesus Christ.

As Pope Francis reminded those gathered to celebrate Vespers for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Rome a few weeks ago “In this extraordinary Jubilee year of mercy, we must always keep in mind that there cannot be an authentic search for Christian unity without trusting fully in the Father’s mercy,” he said. “God’s mercy,” the Pope said, “will renew our relationships.” 

 

Let us thank God for all he allows us to do together as Christians, and let us pray constantly for the Unity of the Body of Christ.

 

January Soup Special

The Catholic Women’s League continue to provide nourishing and delicious home made soups and cakes on the last Thursday of each month. Thank you to everyone  – parishioners and people from our local community  – who supported us in January and helped to raise £124.21 for our section funds. The next soup special is on Thursday 25th February  from 12.30 to 2 pm – we will be marking Fairtrade Fortnight and the proceeds will be sent to Cafod.    Do come and join us!

 

 

4th Boxmoor Scout Group

Our Parish Scout Group

The 4th Boxmoor Scout Group held their AGM towards the end of the summer term. This took place on a family camp week end in Phasel’s Wood. Fr John celebrated Mass in the outdoor church and then everyone gathered around the camp fire to hear reports and financial accounts for the year (what a lovely setting for an AGM!).

Chief Scout Awards were made to:

Peggy West in recognition of 50 years’ service to scouting

Pete West in recognition of 25 years’ service to scouting

Holly and Jessica, the top cub silver award

Ptolemia and Rebecca, the bronze award

Chris Loake was invested as an Assistant Beaver Scout Leader

The report gave separate accounts of Beaver, Cub and Scout numbers, of the different badges they have worked for during the year and the training in areas such as 1st Aid, navigation and expedition organisation. The activities incorporated into the schedule is impressive (see some examples below) and certainly goes a long way to fulfiling the object of the Group as stated in their Report:

To promote the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual social and spiritual potential as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities.

BUT in order to achieve these aims help is urgently needed to assist with activities such as go-carts, sailing, camping, cooking, hiking, abseiling, IT and administration.

Can you spare time occasionally or more regularly to help? For more detail email

Margaret Griffiths: margaret-griffiths@outlook.com or

Pete West: peteandsue8@virginmedia.com

News from the Dominican Sisters in Iraq

We have been sent the following feedback by Aid to the Church in Need (with a further thank you for the support of our parish):

This August 6th will mark the one-year anniversary of the most tragic day in the lives of a number of Dominican sisters currently serving in Iraq, who suffered and faced on one day challenges that many will not face in a lifetime. These sisters remained resolute in their faith and mission despite the bloodshed, heartbreak and tragedy that they witnessed on that fateful day and in the months following.

Hearing bombs in the distance was not an uncommon occurrence for these sisters and their communities given the conflict that was happening nearby between Iraqi-Kurdish forces and IS. “In the morning we heard the bombs,” Sister Lyca explained. “We thought it was normal because there was a clash between the two parties.” What was not normal, however, was what happened next. “At ten o’clock in the morning there were bombs that fell in village,” Sister Lyca said. “Three people died: two children and a young girl. It was terrible news.” Diana, another sister, explained that the young girl who had been killed was recently engaged.

Many began to flee the village after the bombing, but the sisters stayed, feeling they had to provide support to the people and hoping that this instance would be like previous ones, where the threat only lasted a few short days. They also felt safe due to the protection of Peshmerga, the Kurdish forces, who had sworn to protect them. “We put all of our trust in Peshmerga because they promised to protect us. Up until the last minute we were so certain that they would defend us,” Sister Diana said. “But when we saw them taking their uniforms off, we knew that the time of danger had finally arrived.” Abandoned by their protectors and completely defenseless, the sisters decided to leave their convent in Qaraqosh and march with the other thousands of refugees with only half an hour to pack their things. “We were panicked when they told us ISIS had gotten into the roads, so many people left with even their nightgowns on.”

“The distance between Erbil and Qaraqosh is one hour. We made it in 10 hours because there was a huge traffic jam,” Sister Lyca said. The sisters marched alongside tens of thousands of other refugees fleeing the impending attack from IS. “From 11:30 at night to the next morning we marched without any food or water,” Sister Diana said. “We’re talking about August when the heat is unbearable: 100 degrees (Farenheit) with no water.” Alongside the heat exhaustion and dehydration the sisters and others dealt with were a number of horrible sights that left powerful impressions on the sisters. “When we got into the streets we saw thousands and thousands of people marching, cars and people walking,” Sister Diana said. “Cars meant for five people held

Many began to flee the village after the bombing, but the sisters stayed, feeling they had to provide support to the people and hoping that this instance would be like previous ones, where the threat only lasted a few short days. They also felt safe due to the protection of Peshmerga, the Kurdish forces, who had sworn to protect them. “We put all of our trust in Peshmerga because they promised to protect us. Up until the last minute we were so certain that they would defend us,” Sister Diana said. “But when we saw them taking their uniforms off, we knew that the time of danger had finally arrived.” Abandoned by their protectors and completely defenseless, the sisters decided to leave their convent in Qaraqosh and march with the other thousands of refugees with only half an hour to pack their things. “We were panicked when they told us ISIS had gotten into the roads, so many people left with even their nightgowns on.”

“The distance between Erbil and Qaraqosh is one hour. We made it in 10 hours because there was a huge traffic jam,” Sister Lyca said. The sisters marched alongside tens of thousands of other refugees fleeing the impending attack from IS. “From 11:30 at night to the next morning we marched without any food or water,” Sister Diana said. “We’re talking about August when the heat

eight to ten. We heard children shouting and crying, very afraid.”

One sight in particular burned itself into the memories of the sisters. “When we passed a checkpoint, there was an ambulance behind us,” Sister Lyca said. “We heard that there were five Islamists in the car, and the army began to fire on the car and on other cars. We saw people walking, running, and taking their children. Mothers took their children and threw them into our car to save their lives. It was a time that I cannot forget. It was terrible.”

The refugee camps in Erbil were a tragic sight to the sisters as well. “When we got here, it was even more horrible to see people scattered everywhere like sheep without a shepherd,” Sister Diana said. “Some of these people left mansions. They had so much. So much, and in just a few hours they became homeless. We began to realize that our displacement might not take days, but it could take years and years.”

Unwilling to leave the people in this state, the Church stepped forward to provide aid. Churches were opened on the second day for refugees to stay in. Sisters began teaching the children and providing what education they could, some even taking on classes of hundreds of students like Sister Ban did.

Yet despite these selfless efforts, the Church and the refugees struggle on a spiritual level. “We lost our dignity here. We have been humiliated in so many ways,” Sister Diana said. “We are living day-by-day, but the fact is that deep down, this is not the way that human beings should live. We’re living, but it’s like living in a cage. We don’t have the power or strength to stretch our wings where we want.” Though they have worked hard to provide education for children, they fear it is not enough. “Our kids come to school for two or three hours a day. It’s nothing. Our college students are deprived from school. As Christians, we love education. What ISIS is doing to us is killing a new generation, because if this generation does not get educated, neither will the next one.” On top of this, hospitals lack the facilities to deal with all their patients, and there are concerns that the aid coming in may not be enough to last. “To the government and even the United Nations, we’re just numbers. We’re not considered as human beings,” Sister Diana said.

The sisters remain hopeful, however, and keep their faith in God. “We have brought all these things into our prayers,” Sister Huda said. “This is my faith. God is with us. God saved us when we came here. We want to thank all the people who think of us and who are helping us.

By Daniel Konstantinovic

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