Newsletter Archive 2013-2017

31st December 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,

I hope that during these last few days you have managed to visit the crib. It’s still there, waiting for you to make that visit, especially today, on the Feast of the Holy Family.

Come with me and let’s take a look at this new and tiny family, in Bethlehem, a long way from home and in circumstances of real hardship.

See, there is St Joseph, the good and faithful servant, entrusted with Jesus, the Word of God made flesh. He reminds me of my father, whose name was Henry Joseph. He was an unfailing point of stability and wisdom for our family. He gave us a sense of order and purpose. A bit like St Joseph, I think. But I also know, too well, that not every family is so blessed.

Next, look, there is our Blessed Lady, Mary, the mother of Jesus. She gave her body to be the first home of Jesus, who was conceived in her through the direct power of the Holy Spirit.

My mum’s name was Mary, too. She gave her entire self to us as a family. I must admit, a little sheepishly, that she did most of the work around the house, especially at Christmas. She made it a time of graciousness, welcome and generosity. That’s what mothers do; and not only mothers, of course!

This is the heart of the Holy Family, the heart of family life. In families, loving hands create places of safety and joy, just as God’s loving hands hold all creation together, giving every moment its meaning and purpose. The rhythm of everyday family life, of food, rest and play, watched over by a loving parent, no matter its simplicity, is a parable of that deeper love, a reflection of God’s own work of creation.

I find it most reassuring, in this time of uncertainty and stress, to see how family life continues to create well-springs of selfless love. So much of the true goodness in our society comes by way of the family, so many marvellous young people, so many generous neighbours! And this is true not only of stable family life, but also of families who face their difficulties with faithfulness and courage, and of families who find forgiveness after a breakdown, or who bear tragedy with dignity and fortitude. Family life is so often our saving grace. As a society we neglect the support of family life at our peril.

Today, let us thank God for the life of our family, whether we are close together or scattered to the four winds; whether we are in harmony with each other, or marked by discord and discontent. Thank God for the grace we have received, the maturity and wisdom into which we are growing in our homes, through joys and trials alike, just as Jesus did in his home in Nazareth (Lk 2:40).

As we approach this New Year and ponder on the resolutions we are going to make, we can do no better than to heed the words of St Paul:

‘You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive one another as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same. Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts’ (Col. 3:12-15).

Now these are resolutions in plenty!

Recently a member of staff at Heathrow said to me how much he admired Pope Francis. ‘What difficult journeys the Pope makes!’ he exclaimed. Then he added, ‘He teaches us all, he teaches the whole world, so clearly by what he does, by his actions!’

May that be said of us, too. In every home, in every family, may our actions speak more eloquently than our words!

May I wish you all a very happy New Year and may God bless you always.

Yours devotedly,

Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster


25th December 2017

GOD’S LOVE is not expressed so much in beautiful words but in action, in deeds. So God came to live among us, to engage with us totally so that we might encounter God personally. In the Incarnation God comes to share our life on every level, excepting sin. God comes to us out of total love for us, and invites us to share our life with Him. The clearest way we do so is through the Holy Mass which is the extension of the Incarnation: at every Mass Our Lord comes fully among us, giving Himself completely to us in Holy Communion. We come to Him, like the shepherds and the Kings, falling on our knees to worship Him. Yet Christ came among us to bring everyone back to God, and so must we also share in this mission to the world.
Pope Francis expresses this very succinctly.
“If you want to find God,
seek him in humility,
seek him in poverty,
seek him where he is hidden:
in the neediest,
in the sick,
in the hungry,
in the imprisoned.”
Fr David Barnes P.P.

With our prayers and warmest wishes for a much Blessed Christmas and every blessing for the New Year
Fr David Barnes, P.P.
Sr M. Lucina Toone, Parish Sister
Mgr John Conneely


17th December 2017

18th December 2017
“REJOICE” SUNDAY” (from Latin “Gaudete’) is the name given to this Third Sunday of Advent. We rejoice because of the coming celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord, born in the manger in Bethlehem.
We rejoice not only because He is Emmanuel (God with us), but because His coming (or advent) is the proof of God’s love for us: he has come to share His life completely with us. This is reconflrmed every time we receive Holy Communion.
Like Mary His Mother we have the privilege of holding Him and treasuring Him in our heart. Go to Mary, asking Her how we can hold and treasure Him better, more devotedly, more tenderly.
Pope Francis teaches us that the Church should be a “House of Joy”. Our parish and families will be “a House of Joy” in so far as we recognise that the infant in the crib is truly God fully among us. To help us ponder this please ensure that the CRIB has a central place in your home. Let us gather around the crib to pray as a family .
After each Mass let us go to the crib, to give thanks for the coming of the Saviour.
Our joy is the fruit of our faith, God’s gift for our “Yes” to God.
Fr David Barnes, Parish Priest


10th December 2017

The season of Advent celebrates the comings (or advents) of Jesus to us — in the Incarnation, in the Mass, and the Second Coming when He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
The Advent wreath helps us reflect on how God has come to us. The circle of the wreath is a symbol of both the eternity of God and our being called to eternal life. The evergreen foliage symbolises on-going life, while the holly and the red berries symbolise that the child in the manger is also the one who will suffer and die for us on the Cross.
The five candles too have meanings. The outer candles are purple and one pink — the four weeks of Advent: purple is a sign that Advent is “little Lent”, a time for prayer, fasting, repentance and conversion. The pink candle is for “Gaudete Sunday”, the third Sunday in Advent, reminding us to rejoice in the coming of the Saviour. The white candle symbolises Christ, the Light of the World. The coming of the Light (Christ) into the darkness of the world is a constant theme in Advent, and the gradual lighting of the Advent candles reminds us of this. Various meanings are given to each specific candle – here is one set of meaning:

1st CANDLE- (purple) THE PROPHECY 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. (Romans 15:12-13)

2nd CANDLE- (purple) THE BETHLEHEM CANDLE or THE 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! (Luke 3:4-6)

3rd CANDLE- (pink) THE SHEPHERD CANDLE or THE CADLE OF JOY – The angels sang a message of JOY! (Luke 2:7-15)

4th CANDLE- (purple) THE ANGEL CANDLE or THE 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!
(John 3:16-17)

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!
(John 1:29)


3rd December 2017

TODAY, Sunday, the great season of Advent begins. The word comes from the Latin verb “advenire”meaning “to come to:” so Advent calls us to ponder Our Lord’s THREE “comings to us”.

  •  The Incarnation when “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us i.e.”, Our Lord’s Nativity in Bethlehem.
  • Our Lord’s daily coming to us on the altars of the Church.
  •  The Second Coming, when “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead”.

ADVENT is sometimes called “Little Lent” because it is properly a time of prayer, fasting and good works, a time of repentance. This is why purple is the colour of Advent. Do your best to keep Advent in this way, even though secular society is making merry around us, the celebration of Christmas begins with the Vigil of Christmas, and is celebrated for the 12 days that lead up to the Epiphany on 6th January.

THE ADVENT WREATH, with the build up of lighting the candles, reminds us of the coming of Our Lord into this world in His Nativity. He is “the Light of the ‘World” who dispels the darkness of the world.

ADVENT is a time of HOPE as we come understand better that God is always faithful to His promises.
OUR LADY “believed that the promises made her by the Lord would be fulfilled:” We pray that we may have faith like hers, and invoke her powerful intercession.
Fr David Barnes, Parish Priest


+OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, King of the Universe
26th November 2017

CARDINAL VINCENT NICHOLS consecrated our high altar last Tuesday during Mass which moved us all. The Cardinal’s teaching on the significance of the altar helped us appreciate more all that God is giving us. It was also the vigil of the Feast of St Caecilia, our co-patron, and our Director of Music, Ian Colman, gave us a feast of wonderful music.
Sadly for us this Sunday is Ian’s last with us as he is taking up a post at Holy Redeemer, Chelsea. Ian has given us so much over his eleven years with us: not only has he developed the long musical tradition to a very high standard, but he has taught especially the children of the Scola Caeciliana the art of singing and given them our appreciation of the Liturgy. We shall miss him greatly, but once again congratulate him on his new appointment and wish him every blessing and assure him of our prayers as he takes up his new work.
This coming Friday we hope to appoint a new Director of Music for our parish, so please do pray that we find a worthy successor.

NEXT SUNDAY: Bishop Nicholas Hudson, auxiliary Bishop of our Diocese and responsible under the Cardinal for this area, will spend the weekend with us. He will celebrate all the masses except the 12noon, and will preach at every Mass. He will meet with parishioners who hold office , and if you would like to meet him he will be available in the Rectory on Sunday afternoon between 5:00pm and 5:45pm.
Fr David Barnes, Parish Priest


19th November 2017

In his message for the first World Day of the Poor, to be celebrated on 19th November this year, Pope Francis asks all of us, whatever our means or background, to unite in love, in acts of service to one another and in genuine encounter. Pope Francis hopes the day can “become a powerful appeal to our consciences as believers, allowing us to grow in the conviction that sharing with the poor enables us to understand the deepest truth of the Gospel”.
At the heart of Pope Francis’ invitation to celebrate this new World Day of the Poor is his desire to create genuine moments of ‘encounter’. The online resources include testimonies to allow people to encounter real stories of those experiencing poverty:

“I have been in and out of the care system since I was very young, I fell in with some dangerous people and got hooked into prostitution as a way to make money. I got more into drugs and alcohol, committing various crimes to help support my habit. I was absolutely destitute, dirty and down. I felt lost and trapped in this life style. In and out of hostels and prisons, and sometimes sleeping on the streets. One day someone told me about a women’s centre called women@thewell and how I could get help. I got assigned a named worker there who helped me address problems and helped me to get into accommodation. Now I feel like I have managed to get my act together. I have a studio flat and am starting to build bridges with my family. I want to do some courses so I can maybe get employment.” Louise – supported by women@thewell
See for the video testimony and full transcripts.


12th November 2017

Today we will take up a second collection in support of the sick and retired priests of the Diocese of Westminster. Our priests baptised us, counselled us in times of sorrow and worry, and celebrated with us in times of joy. We have received so much from their generosity; it is our turn to assist them in their older age.
The Sick & Retired Priests’ Fund pays for things like making a flat accessible if the priest is disabled; or paying for a carer post-surgery. It can be as simple as a lift to the doctor’s for those without transport or ensuring he has proper nutrition. The Diocese works closely with social service agencies, the NHS, and local councils who provide care for our priests, but the fund will also meet funding gaps and unforeseen expenses. Most of all, it gives peace of mind to these men who continue to live out their vocation. Many priests stand down from active ministry as a parish priest at 75, but may continue in ministry in our parishes, schools, hospitals and chaplaincies. Cardinal Nichols and the Diocese of Westminster are committed to ensuring that no retired or sick priest is out there on his own.
If you took a donation envelope last weekend, be sure to place it in the collection bag today. If you do not have an envelope, there are some available in the pews and at the back of the church. Don’t forget to tick off and complete the claim for Gift Aid – adding 25 pence onto every pound you give, at no cost to you. You can even fill out a standing order form if you would like, which enables you to make an ongoing donation to this fund.
Please be generous and please continue to pray for all of our clergy, be they in active ministry, retired or ill. Thank you.
You can also donate online at


5th November 2017

Pope Francis on praying for the souls in purgatory: “Even now we experience a communion between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven through our union with those who have died. The souls in heaven assist us with their prayers, while we assist the souls in purgatory through our good works, prayer and participation in the Eucharist. As members of the Church then, the distinction is not between who has died and who is living, but rather who is in Christ and who is not …
There is a deep and indissoluble bond between those who are still pilgrims in this world – us – and those who have crossed the threshold of death and entered eternity. All baptised persons here on earth, the souls in Purgatory and all the blessed who are already in Paradise make one great Family. This communion between earth and heaven is realised especially in intercessory prayer”.
See also:

Lord, this month we pray especially for the departed loved ones. We ask you to give them the gift of a dwelling place in your eternal home. We pray too for those who have no one to pray for them. Through your infinite mercy may they share in the company of the saints to offer you eternal praise and glory.


29th OCTOBER 2017

This statement, published by the Catholic Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 UK Abortion Act, is addressed not only to Catholics of our countries, but more broadly to all people who seek to uphold the dignity of human life and protect the unborn child. Over the last fifty years, the bishops of our countries, along with many other people, have spoken consistently in favour of the intrinsic value of human life and both the good of the child in the womb and the good of the mother. This anniversary provides an opportunity to lament the loss of life due to abortion and seek a change of minds and hearts about the good of the child in the womb and the care of mothers who are pregnant.
Fifty years ago, few envisaged the possibility that there would be almost 200,000 abortions in Great Britain in 2015. Every abortion is a tragedy and few consider that abortion is the desirable or best solution to a pregnancy, which may be challenging on account of many different factors. The complex set of conditions in which a woman finds herself pregnant and may consider having an abortion may limit the exercise of freedom and diminish moral culpability. When abortion is the choice made by a woman, the unfailing mercy of God and the promise of forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation are always available. There is always away home to a deeper relationship with God and the Church, as recent Popes have emphasised, which can heal and bring peace.
Today the language of ‘choice’ dominates discourse about marriage, gender, family and abortion. This needs further exploration. Choice has come to mean doing whatever I feel to be right for me – a very subjective view of the good – rather than taking into account a wider set of fundamental values.
This is a very inadequate understanding of free choice, which requires an education in important truths about what is truly good and the possibility of other options. In this case, these must include the good of the unborn child, care and support for pregnant mothers, and the responsibility of the father.
This statement presents a number of different challenges for the future: a new understanding of the intrinsic value and worth of every human life in the womb, a better protection of unborn children diagnosed with a disability, a great need for education in moral responsibility about human sexuality and the meaning of sexual expression within marriage. Many professionals face the challenge that respect for conscientious objection against abortion has been eroded. Personal conscience is inviolable and nobody should be forced to act against his or her properly informed conscience on these matters. ‘We encourage greater debate about this right and these challenges in our society.
Finally we thank many people, of religious faith and none, who have sought to protect unborn life and the life of the mother over the last fifty years; mothers who have continued their pregnancies in difficult circumstances, politicians who have sought to reform the legislation to better protect unborn life, those people whose prayers have been offered for greater respect to be shown to the wonder of the life in the womb, for mothers and those whose lives are cut short by abortion.
Together let us better cherish life.


22nd OCTOBER 2017

(Extract from Pope Francis message for World Mission Sunday)

Mission: a spirit of exodus, pilgrimage and exile
The Church’s mission is enlivened by a spirit of constant exodus. We are challenged ‘to go forth from our own comfort zone to reach all the ‘peripheries’ (margins) in need of the Gospel’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 20).
The Church’s mission urges us to undertake a constant pilgrimage across various deserts of life, as we hunger and thirst for truth and justice.
The Church’s mission inspires a sense of constant exile, as we journey towards our final home in the Kingdom of Heaven. Mission reminds us that we should not be a self-referential, self-obsessed Church. We should be ‘a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security’ (ibid., 49).
Young people, the hope of mission
Young people are the hope of mission. ‘There are many young people who engage in various forms of activism and volunteering. . . How beautiful it is to see that young people are “street preachers”, joyfully bringing Jesus to every street, every town square and every corner of the earth’ (ibid., 106). The next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 2018 is on the theme Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.
The Pontifical Mission Societies (Missio)
The Pontifical Mission Societies (Missio) are a precious means of awakening in Christian communities – young people, adults, families, priests, bishops and religious orders – a desire to reach beyond their own confines to proclaim the Gospel to all. World Mission Sunday, promoted by Missio’s APF (Association for the Propagation of the Faith), is the ideal way for us all to support the pressing needs of evangelisation through our prayer, our witness and our giving.
Mission with Mary, Mother of Evangelisation
In carrying out our mission, let us draw inspiration from Mary, Mother of Evangelisation. Moved by the Spirit, she welcomed the Word of life. May she help us to say our own ‘yes’, conscious of the need to make the Good News of Jesus resonate in our time. May she intercede for us so we can discover new ways to bring the gift of salvation to everyone.


15th October 2017

(Extract from Pope Francis message for World Mission Sunday)

Mission at the Heart of the Christian Faith 
World Mission Sunday this year gathers us once again around Jesus, ‘the first and greatest evangeliser’ (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 7), who sends us out to proclaim the Gospel. We are asked to reflect on mission at the heart of the Christian faith. As believers in a world marked by disappointment, frustration, and torn apart by war, it is important to ask ourselves: What is the basis of our mission? What is the heart of our mission? What are the essential approaches we need to take in carrying out our mission?
Mission: the Way, the Truth and the Life 
The Church’s mission is based on the life-changing power of the Gospel. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn 14:6). He is the Way who invites us to follow him with courage. Doing this, we experience Truth and receive his Life, a life that sets us free from selfishness, encouraging us to love. God wants us to be transformed by being open to the Holy Spirit and following Christ, ensuring the Gospel becomes a vital and effective tool to live by.
A contemporary mission
The Church’s mission is not to spread a religious or grandiose ideology. Instead, Jesus Christ continues to evangelise and to act. Through the Gospel, the risen Jesus becomes our contemporary. ‘Christ’s resurrection is not an Event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated the world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force.’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 276).’Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a decisive direction’ (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 1). The Gospel invites us to live our life participating in the Sacraments. Through Baptism, the Gospel becomes a source of new life. Through Confirmation, it becomes a fortifying, anointing, pointing out new ways for witness. Through the
Eucharist, it becomes food for new life (Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Ephesios, 20, 2).
The world vitally needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the Church, Christ continues his mission as Good Samaritan, caring for humanity’s wounds, and as Good Shepherd, seeking out those who are lost on paths that lead nowhere. There are countess testimonies as to how the transformative power of the Gospel helps to overcome conflict, while promoting reconciliation.


8th October 2017

PRISONERS’ SUNDAY: TODAY we mark Prisoners’ Sunday. It is a day to direct our thoughts and prayers to prisoners, their families and their children. Prisoners’Sunday offer an important opportunity to open our hearts to these members of our community who may be in crisis and to be there for those who most need our support.
THE PRISON ADVICE AND CARE TRUST (PACT) is the only Catholic charity solely dedicated to tackling the issues that arise from having a loved one in prison and who actively work to minimise the harm caused by imprisonment on prisoners, families and communities.
Pope Francis said “It is necessary to offer concrete signs of hope to those who experience pain and suffering. Social organisations and associations, as well as individuals who strive towards acceptance and sharing, are generators of hope. Therefore, I exhort your Christian communities to be agents of solidarity”.
On Prisoners’ Sunday this year our focus is “We Press On Together, in Hope”. As a community we reinforce the message of hope, for those who press on in the face of adversity, no matter how seemingly great or small. Hope after all is both a core Christian precept and a fundamental human value, and the seed from which positive change can grow.
Further information can be found on
You are invited to become a volunteer with Pact. Contact Naomi Farrell on 0207 735 9535 ot


1st October 2017

Pope Francis says: “the Rosary is the prayer that always accompanies my life: it is also the prayer of simple people and saints…it is the prayer of my heart”.
At the conclusion of the weekly General Audience, this time last year, he explained that the Rosary is “a synthesis of Divine Mercy”:
“With Mary, in the mysteries of the Rosary” we contemplate the life of Jesus which radiates the mercy of the Father. Let us rejoice in His love and forgiveness, let us recognise it in foreigners and in those who
are needy, let us live His Gospel every day”.
And greeting the young, the sick and the newly wedded, Pope Francis said: “May this simple Marian prayer show you, young people, the way to give life to God’s will in our lives; dear sick people, love this prayer because it brings consolation for the mind and the heart; and the newly wedded spouses, may it represents a privileged moment of spiritual intimacy within your new family”.
Pope Francis gives all people he meets a Rosary. “Our Lady – is always close to Her children and ready to help when we pray to her, when we ask for her protection… let us remember she is always ready to serve
and never keeps anyone waiting”.
At Fatima, Out Lady asked us all to pray the Rosary every day. If we do not, lets begin again now, in this centenary Year of the Apparitions.
Parish Pilgrimage Statue of Our Lady of Fatima: during this month of the Holy Rosary Fr David invites you to host the Pilgrim Statue for one or two days in your home: pray the rosary with your family, and
invite your friends and neighbours to come. To host the Pilgrim Statue please phone Fr David on 0207 405 0376.


24th September 2017


TODAY (Sunday) would normally be the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham (24th September) but as it is a Sunday we keep the Sunday Liturgy. Tomorrow (Monday 25th) we shall say both Masses in honour of Our Lady of Walsingham
The Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham was established in 1061 when, according to the text of the Pynson Ballad (c 1485), Richeldis de Faverches prayed that she might undertake some special work in honour of Our Lady.In answer to her prayer, the Virgin Mary led her in spirit to Nazareth, showed het the house where the Annunciation occurred,
and asked het to build a replica in Walsingham to serve as a perpetual memorial of the Annunciation.
This Holy House was built and a religious community took charge of the foundation. Although we have very little historical material from this period, we know that with papal approval the Augustinian Canons built a Priory (c 1150). Walsingham became one of the greatest Shrines in Medieval Christendom.

In 1538, the Reformation caused the Priory property to be handed over to the King’s Commissioners and the famous statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was taken to London and burnt. Nothing remains today of the original shrine, but its site is marked on the lawn in “The Abbey Grounds” in the village.
After the destruction of the Shrine, Walsingham ceased to be a place of pilgrimage. Devotion was necessarily in secret until after Catholic Emancipation (1829) when public expressions of faith were allowed.
In 1896 Charlotte Pearson Boyd purchased the 14th century Slipper Chapel, the last of the wayside chapels en-route to ‘Walsingham, and restored it for Catholic use.
In 1897 by rescript of Pope Leo XIII, the sanctuary of Our Lady of Walsingham was restored with the building of a Holy House as the Lady Chapel of the Catholic Church of the Annunciation, King’s Lynn.
The Guild of Our Lady of Ransom brought the first public pilgrimage to Walsingham on 20th August 1897. Visits to the Slipper Chapel became more frequent, and as the years passed devotion and the number of pilgrimages increased.

In the Middle Ages Walsingham was one of the four great shrines of Christendom with pilgrims coming from all parts of the known world.
There were wayside chapels along the pilgrim route and the Slipper Chapel was the last and most important of these. Pilgrims stopped here to go to Mass and to confess their sins before walking the last mile to the Holy House in Walsingham. The name of the chapel may come from the fact that pilgrims removed their shoes to walk the last mile or it may come from the word “slype” meaning away through or “something in between”, the slype or slip chapel standing as it did between the Holy land of Walsingham and the test of England.
In 1538 the Shrine and Priory were destroyed and the Slipper Chapel, although not damaged, passed into disuse. It was used successively as a poor house, a forge a barn and even a cow byre. Stories of older residents suggest that even during this time of neglect occasional pilgrims would still come and pray there. In 1896 it was brought by Charlotte Boyd and restoration started the following year. For thirty years the Slipper Chapel remained restored but little used, as devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham was centred on Kings Lynn. On August 19th 1934, Bishop Youens of Northampton celebrated the first public Mass in the Slipper Chapel for four hundred years, and two days later Cardinal Bourne led a national pilgrimage of more than 10,000 people to the Shrine. At this pilgrimage, the Slipper Chapel was declared to be the National Shrine of Out Lady for Roman Catholics in England.

Depart Lincoln’s Inn Fields at 7.30am. Depart Walsingham 5pm. Price £16. For further details contact Martina Cullen, 0780 2728110 or


17th September 2017

Archbishop George Stack delivered this homily at the funeral of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor

On 10 November 2016, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor gave a poignant reflection during a ‘Pause for Thought’ on BBC Radio 2. It was an unusual reflection, not just because it was Radio 2, but that the topic was “a good death”. As he spoke, he knew he was suffering from a serious illness. He was speaking, as always, from the heart.

“I want to say two things to you” he said. “Firstly, I believe in the value and dignity of every human person – that means you. And secondly, I believe that everyone is loveable in the eyes of God. In spite of all our weaknesses and failures, God loves us. So death must be of one piece with life. With the help of God, I hope I will be able to face it, not with fear but with hope and confidence as being in the hands of God”.

Those family and friends who were with him at the moment of his death, and the many visitors who saw him in hospital during these last weeks, know how well he lived up to those words. Full of faith, full of Gaudium et Spes, full of a quiet resignation as he prayed often the words of Psalm “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit”. The same smile of welcome. The twinkle in the eye spoke of all these things. But he was also full of gratitude – gratitude to the medical staff, those who cared for him so professionally and sensitively. He could not let go of one of his great characteristics, however. He, who would rush for trains and taxis, moving quickly from one engagement to another, was impatient to be gone. As one bishop said “…he was probably texting the angels to get a move on”. His life’s work was done. “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. The time has come for me to be gone…” as we read at the 60th anniversary of his priesthood.

What a life and what a work. Cormac was a priest to his fingertips. He was comfortable in his own skin. He was aware of his failings, yet supremely confident in his calling. He was a gifted man who would have made a success of whatever career he chose. Medicine or music – maybe even golf or perhaps rugby like his brother! Yet from an early age he was convinced he should be a priest, like his two other brothers. The Cardinal chose today’s reading from St. John’s gospel because of his belief that we do not choose God, but God chooses us, earthenware vessels that we are, to be signs, and servants and instruments of his presence in the midst of his people. “You did not choose me, but I chose you that you should go and bear much fruit”.

His gift for friendship and his capacity for putting people at their ease, together with his insightful mind and depth of faith, were a wonderful combination of gifts. He generously put them at the service of God and the Church and society at large. They enabled him to reach out in meaningful and constructive ways to other churches. His membership and scholarly contribution to the conclusions of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission. Much to his delight the fruits of his work were captured this year in the publication of all five ARCIC documents in one volume. His conviction that unity of mind and heart amongst the followers of Christ were not optional extras but sorely needed in a fragmented world. His gift of hospitality. He took the words of Jesus seriously “Love one another as I have loved you”. These gifts, and the generous way he used them, were expressive of the fact that he liked people and liked being with them. He drew the best from others and gave them nothing but the best of himself in return.

But his was not superficial friendliness. He was convinced that people could and should share their faith and learn from the life experiences of others. He was not afraid to explore those paths either personally or in the Diocese at large. ‘At Your Word Lord’ was a risky venture not just for Peter the fisherman but for priests and people in each of the Dioceses he served. No matter what the challenges, Cormac was clear on the need for formation of the laity. This is why he chose the words of St. Paul in our first reading “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named”.

He loved his family and drew strength and joy from their accomplishments. But he wanted the wider family of the parish and the Church to contribute to the building up of society, to the development of the civilisation of love “…that you be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man… that you, being rooted and grounded in love… may be filled with all the fullness of God”. Faith and religion were not for him privatised activities but necessary contributions to a complex world. The Cathedral lectures and his book ‘At the heart of the World’ were just two expressions of this conviction.

The Cardinal is to be buried beneath the tenth Station of the Cross. Like every sign and symbol in the Cathedral, this Station has a special lesson to teach us. Jesus is stripped of his garments. Our faith and devotion teach us that the seamless robe of his revelation of divine love, the integrity and compassion of Jesus, is torn away. The Jesus who stands before us naked and unashamed calls us to pay more attention to who we are rather than what we have so cunningly conspired to be. Cormac knew well what it was like to have judgments questioned, decisions criticised, mistakes analysed. That ‘stripping away’ could easily have made him angry and cynical, causing him to retreat from the public arena. Yet he acknowledged his mistakes. He made no excuses. He said the most difficult words of all. “I’m sorry”. He learned a huge lesson and proceeded to establish the most robust safeguarding mechanism possible, a model for other institutions. Humility and action were part of the robe that he wore.

Perhaps more than anything else, our final illness strips away all pretence and brings us face to face with the reality of who we are. To know and love ourselves as we are known and loved by God must surely be the greatest mystery of all. The measure of God’s love for us is the measure of our need for forgiveness – and our willingness to receive it and be healed by it. That innocent nakedness in the presence of God was personified in the life of the one whom we bury today.

Shortly before he died, the Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney sent a final text message to his wife. It contained just two words. ‘Noli Timere’. Do not be afraid. The same words were on the lips and in the heart of Cardinal Cormac when he wrote his final letter to the clergy and laity of the Diocese, “Please tell them that I am at peace, and have no fear of what is to come”.

May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen. +


10th September 2017

Cardinal Cormac, who served as our Archbishop from February 2000 until his retirement in 2009, died peacefully on Friday 1st September. May he rest in peace. Cardinal Cormac’s body will be received into Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday 12th September at 10am. There will be a short service. The Cardinal’s body will lie in Westminster Cathedral throughout Tuesday, and all are welcome to pay their respects, pray and sign the book of condolence. At 5pm on Tuesday 12th there will be Solemn Vespers of the Dead at which Cardinal Vincent will preside and Archbishop Bernard Longley will preach. There will be some reserved seating, as well as an unreserved area for those of the faithful who wish to attend. The Cathedral will remain open until 8pm. To provide further opportunity for quiet prayer.
The Funeral Mass for Cardinal Cormac will be at 12 noon on Wednesday 13th September. Cardinal Vincent will preside and Archbishop George Stack will preach. At the end of the Mass, the body of Cardinal Cormac will be laid to rest in the nave of the Cathedral, by the Tenth Station of the Cross.
Admission for the congregation at the funeral Mass is by ticket only. There are only two tickets available for each parish.
There will be a Memorial Mass in the Cathedral on Wednesday 4th October at 5:30pm. At this Mass there will be an area of unreserved seating, and it is particularly hoped that anyone who might have wished to attend the Funeral Mass but was unable to do so could attend on this later date.
A biography of Cardinal Cormac is available on the noticeboard, and on the parish website.
Eternal rest grant onto to him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor: Biography

Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who became the tenth Archbishop of Westminster (2000-09), was born in Reading on 24 February 1932, the fifth son of Dr George Murphy-O’Connor and his wife Ellen. His parents originally came from County Cork. He was educated at the Presentation College, Reading, and Prior Park College in Bath. During the Holy Year of 1950 he began to train as a priest for the diocese of Portsmouth at the Venerable English College, Rome, where he joined his two brothers, Brian and Patrick. He later joked that the Rector, Mgr John Macmillan, needed some persuading since it was thought that two Murphy-O’Connors in a seminary was quite enough. While in Rome he gained licentiates in philosophy and theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University and was ordained by Archbishop Luigi Traglia on 28 October 1956.

On returning to his home diocese, he served as curate at Corpus Christi, Portsmouth (1956-63) and Sacred Heart, Fareham (1963-66). Then in 1966 he became Private Secretary to the Bishop of Portsmouth, Derek Worlock. Murphy-O’Connor also served as Director of Vocations and helped establish the country’s first Diocesan Pastoral Centre at Park Place, Wickham. In September 1970 he went to Immaculate Conception, Portswood as Parish Priest, but at the end of 1971 returned to Rome as Rector of the Venerable English College, his alma mater. The years following the Second Vatican Council were challenging ones to be a seminary rector, with much uncertainty about the future and the constant need, as he later put it, to ‘broker a peace between the people who want to change everything and the people who want to change nothing’. Murphy-O’Connor proved to be a steady pair of hands and did much to boost student numbers and the College’s finances. As Rector he also hosted Archbishop Coggan of Canterbury during his historic visit to Paul VI (1977).

In 1977 Murphy-O’Connor was appointed third Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, a diocese covering Sussex and Surrey. He was consecrated on 21 December by his predecessor, Michael Bowen, who had become Archbishop of Southwark. The new bishop quickly became engaged in a round of parish and school visitations, opening up his large house at Storrington for special events and adopting the American ‘RENEW’ programme. This was inspired by his belief that the Church should be ‘experienced not as a faceless institution but as a community, a family, to whose life all its members contribute’ and involved the creation of ‘small communities’ in parishes. He later admitted: ‘Renew had mixed results, but I think we went some way to recapturing the basic concept of Christian community.’

From 1982 until 2000 Murphy-O’Connor was Co-Chairman of the Anglican and Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), and ecumenism remained a cause close to his heart. Indeed, in 2000

On 15 February 2000 Murphy-O’Connor was appointed tenth Archbishop of Westminster, in succession to Cardinal Basil Hume. The following year, on 21 he was awarded a Doctorate in Divinity by the Archbishop of Canterbury in recognition of his work for Christian unity.

February 2001, he was created a Cardinal Priest. Among the other new cardinals created that day was the prestigious titular church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, which not only contains the remains of St Catherine of Siena but also the tomb of Cardinal Philip Howard, great-grandson of the martyr St Philip Howard, whose shrine is at Arundel Cathedral. As a cardinal, Murphy-O’Connor was

In April 2005 he participated in the Conclave that elected Benedict XVI. As archbishop of a densely-populated and diverse diocese, Murphy-O’Connor took on various initiatives. In 2001 he began replacing Hume’s system of episcopal areas with four key areas of responsibility (Education, Clergy and Consecrated Life, Pastoral Affairs and Ecumenism and Interfaith relations), each one under the supervision of a different auxiliary bishop. He hoped this would serve to further unify the diocese.

In September 2003 he launched At Your Word, Lord with a special Mass held at Wembley Arena. The previous November he had invited the diocesan clergy to discuss the programme at Butlins holiday camp in Bognor Regis, a location chosen because of its accommodation space. Based on the ‘RENEW’ programme he had followed in Arundel and Brighton, the three year process brought together thousands in small prayer groups and promoted a vision of the Church as ‘a communion of communities.’ It was followed by the publication in February 2006 of a ‘White Paper,’ Communion and Mission, which identified the priorities for the local Church in the twenty-first century: the call to holiness, the formation of adults and young people, small communities, priesthood and vocations and increased participation, collaboration and accountability.

Aware of the scourge of child abuse and having had personal experience of cases as bishop of Arundel and Brighton, he commissioned Lord Nolan to chair an independent review on child protection in the Catholic Church in England and Wales. This was a landmark document and led to the establishment of an independent office (COPCA) to oversee the protection of children and vulnerable adults. In order to consolidate this work, he also commissioned a review, conducted by Baroness Cumblerledge, which led to the establishment of the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service and the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission.

As a cardinal and President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Murphy-O’Connor had to tackle many sensitive issues in the ‘public square’, providing a Catholic voice on issues as diverse as the war in Iraq, medical ethics and Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis, with whom he would enjoy a friendly relationship. The new English cardinal was given appointed to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, the Pontifical Council for the Study of Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See and the Pontifical Council for the Family. He also served on the Pontifical Councils for Culture and for Laity, and acted as secretary of Vox Clara.

the 2006 Equality Act. He enjoyed good relations with the royal family and in 2002 not only read a prayer at the funeral of the Queen Mother but also preached before Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip at the Sunday service in Sandringham. He was privileged, too, to host the Queen and Prince Philip for lunch at Archbishop’s House, an historical highlight with regard to the place of the Catholic Church in British society.

On reaching the age of seventy-five, Murphy-O’Connor submitted his resignation to the Holy See. He continued until his successor, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, was appointed on 3 April 2009. Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor became the first Archbishop of Westminster to retire, all his predecessors having died in office. He moved to a house on Duke’s Avenue, Chiswick and continued his work in Rome, taking up new posts on the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. On a number of occasions he acted as papal representative to such places as Stockholm, India, Bangladesh and Trondheim in Norway. In June 2010 he was named as the Visitor to the Province of Armagh in the aftermath of the Ryan and Murphy Reports on child abuse. After reaching his eightieth birthday in 2012, many of his Roman commitments ceased and he participated in the conclave of 2013 as a non-voter.

Throughout his life, ‘Cardinal Cormac’ kept up a keen interest in sport (especially rugby and golf) and music; he was a talented pianist and occasionally performed at charity events and celebrations. His publications include The Family of the Church (1984), At the Heart of the World (2004) and a volume of memoirs, An English Spring (2015). He will long be remembered for his personal warmth, humour and persuasive leadership.


30th July 2017


The end of the school term signals the Summer holiday season ahead. Our English word comes from “holy days”, which makes clear the nature and purpose of a holiday – a re-orientation of our life to God, and to growing. in wholeness / holiness. This is the way to a happy and restorative holiday.

Central to our holiday should be:
Mass: make sure you find out the location of the nearest Catholic church.
Daily prayer
A good spiritual book
A good self examination and a good confession.

AUGUST in the parish: please remember there is NO LUNCHTIME Mass during August nor will there be a weekly bulletin.

ADORATION of the Blessed Sacrament will be Monday – Saturday 4.00pm to 6.00pm.
This is the last bulletin until early September. I wish you all a good holiday and summer: remember to pray for each other, and especially our sick and housebound.
Fr David Barnes, PP


23rd July 2017


The Parable of the Sower and the Seed needs to be viewed from two different perspectives in order to unlock its meaning – from that of the sower and that of the seed. Whether sowing or growing – the point is a plentiful harvest and much fruit. Reflection on the Mass readings for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalms 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14; Romans 8:18-23; Matthew 13:1-23 or 13:1-9.

I’ve always loved gardening. The seeds I’ve planted include carrot, cucumber and, of course, zucchini. In each case, I’ve planted seeds in neat rows, expecting nearly all of them to sprout and yield fruit.

But the farmer in Jesus’ parable (Matt 13:1-23) uses the broadcast method. Lots of seed cast everywhere. And predictably, many of these seeds do not produce. Some get eaten by birds. Some sprout but then wither. Some seedlings get choked out by weeds. Finally a few yield varying amounts of grain.

At the end of the story, Jesus says “they who have ears, let them hear.” In other words, he wants us to learn something and take some action steps.

We Are The Seed – To respond to this parable adequately, we must view it from two different angles. The first is to look at the story as if we are the seed.

Many who hear the gospel never seem to “get it.” The message is stolen before it ever takes root.

Then there are the 50% of Catholic kids who receive the sacraments but disappear somewhere between age 18 and 25. Shallow roots fail to equip them to take the heat of our pagan culture.

Then there are the 89% of lifelong, regular churchgoers who, according to George Gallup, have values and lifestyles identical to those of their pagan neighbours. Their faith has been neutralised by bad theology and worldliness; although they look like wheat plants, their religion is fruitless.

Harvest-Mediocre or Abundant – Then there are those who stay out of serious sin, manage to do some good for some people, but all in all produce a mediocre harvest.

Finally, there are the few who are not satisfied with just getting by. They sink their roots deep into Scripture, Tradition, prayer and the sacraments, and produce a bumper crop.

We call these people saints – In speaking to us as seed, Jesus is saying, “Be careful. If you don’t make the effort to get thoroughly rooted in your Catholic faith, you just might not make it. If you do manage to survive, you might produce absolutely nothing. But you are called to bear much fruit (John 15), to yield 100 fold, to be a saint, to leave a mark on the lives of many that will last forever. Don’t settle for anything less!”

Sowers Must Sow – On the other hand, we can look at the parable as if we were the farmer. Vatican II and all the Popes since have stated repeatedly and unequivocally that each of us is called to be an evangelizer, to tell others that Jesus Christ changes lives eternally and that the place to encounter him most fully is within the Catholic Church. “But,” you may protest, “I tried it a few times and got nowhere. I just don’t have the personality, don’t have the gift.” Jesus, the Son of God, indisputably had both the personality and the gift. Yet when he sowed seed, much of it still ended up as bird food.
Consider the thousands he fed with loaves and fishes, the multitude that heard his sermon on the mount, the throngs that welcomed him on Palm Sunday. Yet on the day of Pentecost, there were only 120 left in the cenacle, awaiting the Holy Spirit. Notice, though, that the fruit borne by these 120 plants eventually filled the whole world!

Growing and Sowing – To get the few that bear fruit, lots of seed must be sown by lots of people. So regardless of whether or not we think we have green thumbs, we are being commanded through this parable to get the seed out there, sowing it everywhere we go, undeterred by the birds, the weeds, and the scorching sun.

The parable of the sower has a twofold message: as seed, our job is to get busy growing. As farmers, out job is to get busy sowing.

By Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio


16th July 2017

TRICKS – by Fr. Dwight Longenecker – January 13th 2016

Satan is a snake. Remember that. He is a liar and the Father of Lies. He is at work in your life trying to tempt you into sin and to draw you away from God, but he is also at work in the world, trying to deceive you, confuse you. He wants you to lose your faith and turn away from God.

Here are ten of his tricks. Watch them and be aware of what he is up to:

1.) Relativism – Relativism is the idea that there is no such thing as truth. The devil doesn’t want you to believe in truth because if there is not truth, then there is also no rig€ht and wrong, and if there is no right and wrong, then anything goes. He can tempt you into sin much more easily if he can first get you to believe there is no such thing as sin.
Relativism is everywhere in our society. It takes many different forms. The other tricks of the devil in this post explain some of the different forms of relativism that are traps you can fall into.

2) Indifferentism -This is the idea that all religions are pretty much the same and it doesn’t matter which one you follow,. Indifferentism is common within Protestantism. How often have you heard someone say, “It doesn’t matter what church you go to as long as you love Jesus”? This indrfferentism extends to multi-culturalism as well. People say it doesn’t matter if you are Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Sikh, Buddhist, Catholic – whatever. “We’re all climbing the same mountain but by different paths.” Well maybe so in a way, but some paths are better than others because they’re more true and to be honest, some of the paths are going down the mountain not up. Be clear. Jesus Christ is the fullest and most complete and final revelation of God to the human race and Catholicism is the fullest, most ancient and most complete union with that unique revelation of God in Jesus Christ.

3) Eclecticism – This is a close cousin of Indifferentism. Eclecticism is the idea that you can mix and match different religions and spritualities all together – kind of like those places where you make your own ice cream sundae. People think this is possible because they have already subscribed to indifferentism. Think it through. You can’t mix up Islam with Christanity or Buddhist spirituality with Catholic prayer. It’s not like making your own sundae. It’s mote like putting ketchup on ice cream or using white paint as coffee creamer. Don’t bother.

4) Sentimentalism – This is basing moral choices and belief choices based on emotion rather than eternal truths. It can be good emotion or bad emotion. You get mad at someone or some choice someone has made so you base your moral or faith decision on your anger. Or you might feel syrupy and nice about something so you base your emotional choice on that. Here’s an example: Two guys want to get “married” and you say, “Aww, Ronnie and Donnie are such nice guys! Why shouldn’t they get married just like everyone else?” You’re basing your decision on your emotions about Ronnie and Donnie, your desire to be a “nice” person and sentimental ideas about weddings and celebrations and big days. Don’t make important decisions only on your emotions. That way chaos and darkness lies.

5) Utilitarianism – This is basing moral choices and belief choices only on what seems to be effective, efficient and economical. Mom’s in a rest home. She has dementia. Its expensive to keep her there. The doctors offer to give her an injection so “Her problems will be over.” Don’t do it. Utilitarianism is why we kill millions of babies through abortion. It seems like the easy thing to do. Observe how Utilitarianism is usually linked with sentimentalism: ‘You wouldn’t want your mother to suffer any further would you? Why you wouldn’t even treat your dog this way!” You see where this goes.

6) Incrementalism -This is just a long word for “drip, drip, drip.” In other words, the devil doesn’t put his plan in place all at once. He takes over brick by brick. It is one little lie, then one little half truth, then one more little lie, then one more little half truth. Be clear what he is doing from the start and don’t give in. He will get you to give in to his ways through sentmentalism here, utilitarian arguments there, here a bit of indifferentism, there a bit of relativism. He’s working all the time, nibbling away, never sleeping, never at rest.

7) Materialism – I’m not talking about going to the mall to shop until you drop. That’s a minor form of materialism. The deeper problem is the growing conviction that there is no supernatural realm. God, the angels, demons, heaven and hell? They’re all just a myth. There’s no invisible world. The sacraments are just symbols. The church is just a human institution. The priests are no more than social workers dressed in black. Marriage ls just a piece of paper, confession is no more than therapy and self help and baptism and confirmation are just nice rites of Passage for out kids. That’s materialism. Do you recognize it? Repudiate it with all your heart. It’s a lie.

8) Scientism – This is the idea that the only kind of truth you can know is scientific truth. Nobody states this as such. It’s a powerful lie of Satan because it is one of those things which is simply assumed in society. “We all know that science has disproved the Bible right?” Wrong. All truth is God’s truth and true science is always the sister of true theology.
Scientism is an offshoot of assumed atheism. “There isn’t a God. There is just the laws of science. That’s all.” Spot it and name 1t.

9) Situational Ethics -This is another name for moral relativism. The idea is that nothing is right or wrong except for the intentions and circumstances of the moral choice” If you mean well and the circumstances justify it, then what you’ve chosen to do is okay. Huge numbers of Catholics have accepted first artificial contraception and then abortion because of situatonal ethics.
It’s easy to see that this form of relativism is usually linked with sentimentalism and utilitarianism to bring people to the point of choosing mortal sin, but never admitting it and justifying their choice. It’s not Catholic. Don’t fall for it. If you are faced with a difficult morail decision talk to your priest or a good spiritual advisor.

10) Universalism – This poison straight from hell is the idea that God is so loving, kind and merciful that he won’t send anyone to hell. In other words, everybody will be saved.
This not only directly contradicts Sacred Scripture, but it contradicts all the teaching of the Church for the last two thousand years. It has lulled thousands into the false security that in the end it doesn’t matter what they do and. What they choose because they will all make it to heaven at last. Satan loves universalism because he gets to dress up his lie in the clothes of the Father’s greatest attribute: the Divine Mercy. The best way to repudiate this lie is to fear hell.

A Priest’s Warning Against the Devil’s 10 Deadliest Tricks


9th July 2017

There are times when many of us feel overburdened in our daily life. There can seem so many demands, so much to do. ‘I need to relax,’ we say. Seafarers have one of the hardest and most dangerous jobs in the world. They can spend months at sea, working long hours, living in cramped conditions, and battling storms and gales. They see little of their families and when they arrive in a port they know no one. This is where Apostleship of the Sea port chaplains and ship visitors come in. When they go on board a ship they have one question for the crew. How can I help? They offer the hand of friendship, listen to the concerns of the seafarers they meet, and try through small gestures to attend to some of their needs. This can be anything from arranging internet or phone access, so a seafarer can contact their family back home, providing transport to local shops, or helping to resolve problems over pay or conditions. Port chaplains and ship visitors will also take seafarers to Mass in a local parish or sometimes try arrange for a priest to come on board.

Apostleship of the Sea is the Catholic Church’s official outreach to seafarers and fishermen, through port chaplains, ship visitors and cruise chaplains. They rely almost entirely on the support of Catholic parishes and the generosity of people like yourselves, to continue this vital work. Today’s collection is your opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of seafarers like Carlo, who I mentioned at the beginning. Please also keep Apostleship of the Sea in your prayers, and consider leaving them a gift your Will.


2nd July 2017

Modern Catholics are too prone to thinking that Our Lord’s passion and the Divine Gift of His Precious Blood is something locked in the past. As Catholics, we are depriving ourselves and our loved ones by not venerating the Precious Blood with more fervour and sincere reverence. Now that we are in July, the month dedicated to the Most Precious Blood, we must immerse ourselves in the awesome truth that offering the precious Blood is a powerful means of interceding for the souls of loved ones, and for the souls of people who have wronged us.

On the Cross, Our Lord shed His Blood to atone for our sins. We owe our redemption to Our Lord’s bloody sacrifice, ‘For this is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for the many, for the remission of sins’ (Matthew 26:28). If Our Lord established a New Covenant by His Sacrifice on the Cross, the highest sacrifice of the Old Law was the offering of the paschal Lamb. Moses took the blood of sacrificial animals, sprinkled it upon the people and said: ‘This is the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you’ (Exodus 24:8). In the new covenant, Our Lord, as Son of the Father, is the Lamb of God who offered himself on the altar of the Cross to redeem mankind from their sin and wipe clean the sins of the world with His Blood.

Modern Catholics are too prone to thinking that Our Lord’s passion and the Divine Gift of His Precious Blood is something locked in the past, done and dusted, and we fail to see that it is a powerful means of helping souls get to Heaven in our times. When, in fact, us poor urchins may actually offer the Precious Blood to God the Father. It seems a contradiction that us sinners can take part in something so glorious.

Fr Frederick William Faber’s book, The Precious Blood describes the experiences of saints who were given special visions to see the way a sinner can benefit from offering the Precious Blood. The Carmelite saint, St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, when in a rapture, saw that, ‘every time a human being offers up the Blood by which he was redeemed, he offers a gift of infinite worth, which can be equalled by no other” Inspired by her vision, St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi offered the Precious Blood fifty times for the souls of the living and the dead, and then God rewarded her with visions of the multitudes of souls that had been saved from perdition or delivered from Purgatory. The prayer we may use is from The Raccolta: ‘Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, in satisfaction of my sins, in supplication for the holy souls in Purgatory and for the needs of Holy Church (name a soul).’

The Cure of Ars, St John Vianney drew on the most perfect way of offering the most Precious Blood: he asked Our Lady to offer it for him, and said that it never failed to obtain for him the grace or favour he sought. Here is the Marian offering of the Precious Blood: ‘Immaculate Heart of Mary, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of sinners, especially, (name the soul). St Dominic actually had a vision of Our Lady sprinkling devout people in his congregation with the Precious Blood.

At Holy Mass, during the Consecration may ask Out Lady to offer the Precious Blood for the conversion of people living bad lives and doing harm to themselves and others, for the souls in Purgatory and for renewal in the Church.

The last point is perhaps the most neglected, if we want Mother Church to know rejuvenation by virtue of having leaders and a laity that arc cleaned of their sinful ways, we must offer the Precious Blood for them. Here in Britain, have have a constant reminder to offer the Precious Blood for the sanctity of both leaders and laity, because Westminster Cathedral the mother church
of England and Wales was dedicated to the most Precious Blood in 1895’

By Mary O’Regan posted on the Catholic Herald website 9th July 2015. /



25th June 2017

The Church founded by Christ has Ss Peter and Paul as its principal pillars. Peter was chosen by Christ to be His first Vicar on earth, endowed with powers of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt. 16:13-19) and charged with the role of Shepherd of Christ’s flock (Jn 21: 15-17). In Peter and his successors the visible sign of unity and communion in faith and charity has been given. Divine grace led Peter to profess Christ’s divinity.

St Peter suffered martyrdom under Nero, in AD66 or 67. He was buried at the hill of the Vatican, where recent excavations have revealed his tomb on the very site of the Basilica of St Peter’s.

Paul was chosen to form part of the Apostolic College by Christ himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-16). An instrument selected to bring Christ’s name to all peoples (Acts 9:15), he is the great missionary of all time, the advocate of pagans, the Apostle of the Gentiles. St Paul was beheaded in the Tre Fontane along the Via Ostiense and buried nearby, on the spot where the basilica bearing his name now stands (St Paul-outside-the-walls).

THIS THURSDAY 29th JUNE is the Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul, Apostles. It is a Holyday of Obligation. Mass: Wednesday 6.00pm (vigil), Thursday 12.30pm and 6.00pm.


18th June 2017

Cardinal Vincent writes:
‘We pray for all the residents of Grenfell Tower. I pray particularly for those who have suffered, those who have died, and all the residents who are left without a home, and the entire community that has been affected. Once again in our city we witness the heroic efforts of our emergency services who responded so quickly. I thank them for all they are doing to help the victims of this devastating fire.’

Many people have been asking how they might contribute practically to the support of those who have lost their homes and possessions. Caritas Westminster and the Catholic Children’s Society, are both present in the communities, providing assistance to individuals and families, as well as the local school communities, particularly our St Francis of Assisi School. Should you wish to make individual donations to this emergency relief fund, a special page is being set up on the diocesan website ( with a direct link from the home page. Alternatively you can put your donation in a marked envelope in the offertory bag, or hand it in to the Presbytery.

There will be additional information on the diocesan and Caritas ( websites about other forms of practical support, such as donations in kind and volunteering. There will be regular updates on these pages as well as through the diocesan Twitter and Facebook pages about the types of donation items and volunteer services that would be most useful. These updates will be posted at least daily.

The Cardinal would like to offer a word of particular gratitude to all those who have offered spiritual or practical assistance in this terrible incident: the emergency services, NHS staff, local parishioners, hospital chaplains, parish clergy, teachers, school staff and all others, especially the priests of the immediate locality who have worked with such dedication. They, along with
the victims and their families, are foremost in his prayers.


11th June 2017

TODAY we celebrate GOD made known to us. Philosophy can help us see that it is reasonable to believe that God exists, but it is only through a theology of revelation that we can come to know God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our Lord Jesus reveals God as the Most Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three Persons, one God (hence Trinity: tri meaning “three”, and unity meaning “one’). So God is made known to us through REVELATION.
We speak of the “MYSTERY” of the Most Holy Trinity, meaning we can never fully understand God: God is infinite and we are finite, hence unable to grasp fully the infinite nature of God. Many images help us to understand the Trinity: two examples are
1. Water which can be experienced as water, ice and steam. All these are different forms of the one reality.
2. The sun: we experience the sun as light, heat and radiation: three distinct aspects but only one sun.
Last Sunday we celebrated Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord teaches us that the Holy Spirit will remind us of all He taught us, and lead us into all truth, through our living in
His Body, the Church. May we always want to be led into the truth, and to worship and adore the Most Holy Trinity.
Fr. David Barnes PP


4th June 2017

THE HOLY SPIRIT transformed the apostles from being inward looking, timid and afraid, to being outward looking and bold in proclaiming the Risen and Ascended Lord. The Spirit set them on fire: for this reason we sometimes call the Feast of Pentecost the BIRTHDAY of the Church.

The Holy Spirit can do the same for us if we are open and really want to be transformed. Last Wednesday Pope Francis said “The Spirit is the wind pushing us forward, keeping us going, that makes us feel like pilgrims and foreigners and doesn’t allow us to get comfortable and become sedentary ….. HOPE collects the wind of the Spirit and transforms it into energy”.

This Pentecost, pray that we shall all be filled with the Holy Spirit and be full of hope. How well do we know the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit?
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord.
The Twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit: Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Modesty, Self-Control, Chastity.
COME, HOLY SPIRIT fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Fr David Barnes PP


28th May 2017

MANCHESTER last Monday evening, where so many innocent lives were taken or grievously wounded, reminds us again of the spirit of cruelty and destructiveness that can drive a person. Our immediate response is one of prayer and practical support for all those involved. We need to ensure that this evil does not divide us as a society, but that we can be even more determined to work together for the common good. But we need more: we need the Holy Spirit. Next Sunday is the celebration of Pentecost may we prepare well by opening our mind and heart to the Holy Spirit, and recognising how much we need the Holy Spirit. The more we do, the less we will be moved by the bad spirit, the Evil One.

The General Election gives us the opportunity to vote for those whose values and policies we think will best help to build the Kingdom of God. We vote always according to our conscience. Our Bishops have prepared some points to consider: copies are available at the back of the church. They have suggested this prayer.

“Lord grant us wisdom to act always with integrity, seeking the protection and flourishing of all, and building a society of justice and peace.”

Fr David Barnes P.P.


21st May 2017

YOU are invited to come and hear Cardinal Vincent speak on a number of issues. Fr David and Rev. John Valentine (Anglican Vicar of St. George the Martyr, Queen Square Holborn) have in invited the Cardinal to speak on the life of faith, about his life as Archbishop of Westminster, to hear his thinking on ecumenism and how we are to evangelise our country. It is being hosted by our local Anglican church to emphasise our friendship and collaboration with our neighbours.
As Catholics, please let us go to support our Cardinal, to learn from him and to express our solidarity- with our local Anglican brothers and sisters.
WHEN? This Wednesday, 24th May, at 7.30pm
WHERE? In the Anglican church of St George the Martyr, Queen Square, Holborn (near Great Ormond Street Hospital).
This gathering with Cardinal Vincent is on the eve of the launch of “THY KINGDOM COME”. This is a global prayer move movement, which invites Christians around the world to pray between the Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ. What started as an Anglican initiative in 2016 has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer.
“To have a week of prayer for Christian mission is just a wonderful thing. Please join in before Pentecost, this drive to pray together for the gift of God’s Spirit for our mission. We know how rich Pentecost is in the life of the Church from its very beginning.
That richness can be ours too – if we ask God for it”.


14th May 2017
On Wednesday 24th May Cardinal Vincent is coming to St George’s Anglican church in Queen Square. Fr. David and the vicar of St George’s, Rev. John Valentine, have jointly invited the Cardinal to come and speak about the life of faith and his work as Archbishop, and how he sees ecumenism and our common endeavour of evangelisation.

Fr David encourages you all to come – both to welcome the Cardinal (St. George’s is within the boundary of our parish) and learn from him, and also to show our commitment to ecumenism and our solidarity with our neighbouring Anglican brothers and sisters.

When? Wednesday 24th May at 7.30pm.
Where? St. George’s Holborn, Queen Square WC2N 3AH
020 7404 4407

This gathering is on the eve of the launch of “THY KINGDOM COME”. Cardinal Vincent is supporting the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in his call to Christians to join a wave of prayer across the UK and around the world – praying that people you know might know Jesus. It is happening between Ascension and Pentecost. 25th May – 4th June.


7th May 2017

Living in Central London we are far removed from the life of a shepherd tending sheep in the fields. St. John in today’s Gospel (chapter 10) reminds us that we all need shepherding in those encouraging words of Jesus, “I am the Good Shepherd, I know my own sheep and my own know me.” Jesus knows each one of us by the name given to us at our baptism. To Jesus we are individuals, not a crowd or congregation. The life, death and resurrection of Our Lord happened for everyone, such was the extent of his love for us. How do we return such exquisite love?

Through our baptism we are called to follow Jesus, he said “Follow Me”. We too can follow Jesus by doing our utmost to be Good Shepherds in our present circumstances whether it be priests, parents, teachers, doctors, shop assistants, office workers, etc. remembering we are all made in the image and likeness of our Heavenly Father.

This Sunday also has a second theme, called “Vocations Sunday”. We are asked to pray for our priests in particular in their calling as shepherds. Each one of us has a vocation to follow Christ in whatever setting we happen to be and to support our priests in whatever way we can. God is calling each one of us to be Gospel People making our own contribution towards building His church. Where do I fit into this? What contribution am I making ?

Sr. M. Lucina, Parish Sister


30th April 2017

Next weekend is Good Shepherd Sunday, the day we pray for priests and for vocations to the priesthood. The annual collection to help fund the formation of priests will take place next weekend. I ask you to be generous with this important second collection. The Priest Training Fund benefits the parishes and the Diocese of Westminster by providing us with new priests striving to follow Christ the Good Shepherd, in the service of God’s people. The Priest Training Fund helps us pay for the recruitment of men into priestly vocations, the training and education of seminarians at our seminary, Allen Hall, and the formation of men we send abroad. It also pays for the ongoing education of priests who will serve in specialised ministries, and their continuing formation whilst in active ministry. There are currently 39 seminarians in formation. It costs on average £25,000 per man, per year of formation – that is about £150,000 to form and educate a new priest, who makes a lifetime commitment to Christ and the Church.

Priests are the heart of the Catholic Church. Please be generous in your prayer and support. Donation leaflets are available today – please take one, read the information, and bring it back next week at Mass with your donation. On behalf of all the clergy of the Diocese, thank you. We ask that you pray a special prayer for vocations on a dally basis, perhaps with your family. Please take home a prayer card for vocations, which can be found in the pews or at the back of the Church. Thank you for both your prayers and generosity in support of the priests, and the Catholic Church, of tomorrow.


WELCOME to the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima present in our parish this weekend. May her presence and prayers bring us all many blessings.

23rd April 2017

The message of The Divine Mercy is simple. It is that God loves us – all of us. And, he wants us to recognise that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy.

The Divine Mercy, message is one we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC:

A – Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.
B – Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.
C – Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.

This message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God’s mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.
The message and devotional practices proposed in the Diary of Saint Faustina and set forth in this web site and other publications of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception are completely in accordance with the teachings of Church and are firmly rooted in the Gospel message of our Merciful Saviour. Properly understood and implemented, they will help us grow as genuine followers of Christ.
Spend time to learn more about the mercy of God, learn to trust in Jesus, and live your life as merciful to others, as Christ is merciful to you.


16th April 2017

Rejoice, heavenly powers!
Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

May God fill you all with Easter joy!


9th April 2017

HOLY WEEK is the most important week in the year. Our Lord is calling us to share His journey from the triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, through his trial, passion and death, through to His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. His Paschal Mystery (His Passion, Death and Resurrection) is the most important event in human history, transforming our relationship with God and with one another, and, He is calling us to participate in it more fully so as to share its fruit more fully.
We respond by sharing as much as possible in the Holy Week Liturgies. The key Liturgies to attend are:
+ The Mass of the Lord’s Supper – Thursday 6pm
+ The celebration of the Passion of the Lord – Friday 3pm
+ The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night – Saturday 8pm
Our Lord is calling us, inviting us: why would we not respond?
What would this say about me?
In Holy Week we confront two of the most difficult areas in human life suffering and death. Often we prefer not to face them. Yet in Holy Week, through sharing Our Lord’s Passion and Death, we can find freedom from our fears and anxieties about suffering and death: this is the healing Our Lord wants for us, and is offering us.

Fr David Barnes, PP


2nd April 2017

Today, the fifth Sunday of Lent, the focus of the liturgy is on Our Lord’s Passion. It is a time to enter into His suffering more deeply, sharing in His life more fully. It is a time to foster greater sorrow for our sins: the more contrite we are, the less we are likely to sin in the future. It is a time to grow in wonder that Our Lord endured His Passion and Death out of love for us. The veiling of the crucifixes and the statues emphasise the more sombre nature of these days, and help us focus on His Passion.
Today’s Gospel, the raising of Lazarus, gives us a foretaste of how He wills to raise us up, unbind us and let us be free from sin and death. We are designed for eternal life with Him forever, to come to see God face-to-face. It is in light of this that we enter Passiontide joyfully and with great confidence, wanting to share His wondrous love. Our Lady accompanies us just as she accompanied Her Son and shared His Passion.
“O God, who in this season give your Church the grace to imitate devoutly the Blessed Virgin Mary contemplating the Passion of Christ, grant, we pray, through her intercession, that we cling more firmly each day to Your only begotten Son and come at last to the fullness of grace. Through Christ Our Lord.”
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

Fr David Barnes PP


26th March 2017

Message from the Cardinal.
Dear Fathers, Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Yesterday’s attacks in Westminster have shocked us all. The kind of violence we have seen all too often in other places has again brought horror and killing to this city.
I know you will lead people in prayer, especially for those who have lost their lives and those who have lost one they love. Pray for Aysha Frade, killed by the car on Westminster Bridge. Her two children attend St Mary and the Angels Primary School. Pray for them and their father and please remember the young French students who have been injured.
We remember too all who have been injured, and those who care for them.
We pray in particular as well for Keith Palmer, the police officer who died, and for his family, thanking God that so many show such brave dedication to keeping our society safe.
Let our voice be one of prayer, of compassion solidarity and calm. All who believe in God, Creator and Father of every person, will echo this voice, for faith in God is not a problem to be solved, but a strength and a foundation on which we depend.
With best wishes,
Cardinal Vincent Nichols


19th March 2017

Sin dehumanises us by making us less than fully human. Yet we go on sinning – so what is the remedy? The Collect at today’s Mass asserts that the remedy is PRAYER, FASTING and ALMSGIVING.
PRAYER raises our minds and hearts to God, reasserting the supernatural perspective in our life by fostering our conversation with God, opening us to see life from God’s perspective and to the help of God.
FASTING brings under greater control our bodily appetites so that we are not driven by them. As we feel real hunger it also enables us to identify better with those who are suffering through lack of food, and moves us to reach out to them.
ALMSGIVING enables us to share our goods with those less well off than ourselves. God’s prescription for us to become fully human as God intends us to be, is very clear:
How well am I accepting joyfully this prescription?
Are there adjustments in my way of thinking or living that I need to make?
We all have bad days, when our Lenten resolutions can unravel, 
but each new day we can begin again with the help of God – that is the secret of perseverance.

Fr David Barnes PP


12th March 2017

The Apostles spent three years accompanying Jesus in his public ministry while he was teaching and forming them. In the Transfiguration, Peter, James and John come to see more clearly who He really is – they literally see Him “in a new light”. They come To see that Jesus really is the fulfilment of the Law (represented by Moses) and the prophets (represented by Elijah). They also hear the voice of God the Father say “This is my Son, the beloved…. listen to Him”. His true identity is revealed to them.

And what about us? As part of our Lenten preparation, the account of the Transfiguration helps us to see that Our Lord Jesus is the Yes to all God’s promises, and that He is everything God has to say to us. As we digest this, the more we shall see the beauty of God’s love revealed through the Cross: it is a love discovered only through treasuring it in our heart.
Are we listening to Him?
Are we spending time with Him in prayer?
Fr David Barnes PP


5th March 2017

Lent is a time for prayer, fasting and almsgiving so that we might expand our hearts to love God and our neighbour more fervently. It is a tradition to offer Lenten AIms as a sacrifice – a thoughtful way of denying something for ourselves and giving for the benefit of others – as part of our journey over the five weeks of Lent.This year the Cardinal has asked that the Lenten Alms be directed to the Cardinal’s Appeal Fund. This important annual Programme asks all households to give a gift to support new projects which are focused on three fundamental areas of the Church’s mission;

  • Evangelisation, especially of young people, who represent the future of society and the Church;
  • Strengthening and promoting marriage and Family Life as God’s essential plan for creation and the essential building block of society and the Church;
  • Adding our Catholic perspective and values to works of service in society, especially among those on the margins. More than ever today, we are called to build a just society and show love to our neighbour.

Money raised through the Cardinal’s Appeal will be awarded in grants to Catholic bodies within the Diocese – parishes, schools, Catholic Organisations and groups – which can apply for funding if they have a new or interesting project that fits within the areas of evangelisation of youth, marriage and family life, or charitable works that help society and those living on the margins. The Cardinal’s Appeal is focused within our Diocese. We are building from the foundations in local initiatives.
As we are in the early days of Lent, I ask you to find out about the Cardinal’s Appeal, take a leaflet home, pray and reflect on your ability to make a Lenten sacrifice, and consider choosing the Cardinal’s Appeal as part of your almsgiving. The second collection on the weekend of 18th/19th March will be for the Lenten alms. Envelopes are available. On behalf of Cardinal Nichols, thank you for your generosity throughout the year, in many different ways.

Fr David Barnes PP


26th February 2017

Sr. M. Lucina writes: My Dear Friends, this week I would like to share with you a letter I received from Sr. M. Antonietta, the Mother General of the Rosminian Congregation to which I belong. She begins by mentioning “The Feast of the Cell”. This is the 20th February 1828, when Antonio Rosmini, our Founder went to Calvario, Domodossola, to write the Rule and Constitutions for the lnstitute of Charity.

“Office again, we recall the “Feast of the Cell”, when in February 1828, Antonio Rosmini made his way to Calvario, where he spent Lent in prayer, discerning what God wanted for him. Even though he was weak in body, he followed what he believed God’s call, listening for his word, confident that he would show him a new beginning. “Now is the time; the moments are in the hands of God, and they come when he wills”.

During these days he began to draw up guidelines for the Institute, in the form of Constitutions – an idea came to him in December 1825, where in a moment, he glimpsed the whole plan of his work; he now committed this initiative to God, placing himself wholly in his hands, completely open to his will. From Monte Calvario he wrote to a dear friend: ” I want only to abandon myself to Divine Providence … My own conviction is as far as in me, should refuse nothing…rather that I should make a total offering of myself to him”.

How happy would I be if I could totally identify myself with his will.

What does the “Feast of the Cell” mean to me? Can we, following in the footsteps of Blessed Antonio Rosmini “learn to receive whatever comes to us from the hands of God with a tranquil mind and with great gratitude”?

I wish each one of you a good journey of Lent 2017

(Sister continues): As we follow the message of Pope Francis; “Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to Easter, Christ’s victory over death … this season urgency calls us to conversion . . .. to refuse to settle for mediocrity ….Lent is the favourable season for renewing our encounter with Christ. . ..the Lord who overcame the deceptions of the tempter during the forty days in the desert shows us the Path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the Word is a gift, other persons are a gift”.

With gratitude for each one of you, wherever you are, I ask God to bless you in a special way this Lent.
Sr. M. Antonietta cm


19th February 2017

Do you wish you understood the Catholic Faith and the Catholic Church better? If YES’; these 8 DVD talks are for you They are given by Dr D’Ambrosio, a Catholic theologian from the USA, and are a stimulating look at the basics of the Catholic Faith.
Each session lasts between 35 and 45 minutes, with pauses for reflection and discussion.
The talk titles are:

  • Who needs the Catholic Church? Monday 20 February
  • Baptism-Gateway to Life. Monday 27 February
  • Confirmation – Empowered to Serve. Monday 6 March
  • Personal Prayer – Pathway to Joy. Monday 13 March
  • What is the Mass? Monday 20 March
  • Getting More out of the Mass. Monday 27 March
  • Keeping a Pure Heart. Monday 3 April
  • Mary and the Saints. Monday 10 April

Each session is at 6.45pm in the Parish Room. Dr. D’Ambrosia is married, has five children and was a Professor of Theology at the Catholic University of Dallas. He communicates in a humorous and challenging way giving lay people practical insights into getting more out of their Catholic Faith. The talks were filmed in England.


12th February 2017

Made by Love, made for love: this is our essential nature. How are we to understand the implications of this? Jesus is the Wisdom of God: through Him we learn who we truly are. (see Reading 2 at this Sunday’s Mass).
Our Lord’s teaching confronts us with deciding either to follow God’s way, made known to us by Jesus, or our own way or some other. The first reading at this Sundays Mass tell us that our decisions made on the basis of God’s teaching in the commandments are life-giving for us, whereas decisions made contrary to God’s teaching are deadly to our true nature – and God leaves us free to choose.
In today’s Gospel Our Lord teaches us some refinements about keeping the Commandments. “You shall not kill” implies also that we are never to be motivated simply by raw anger or denigrate our neighbour even verbally – and if we do, we must seek reconciliation before we bring our gifts to the altar: those of us coming to Mass must ensure we live this life-giving teaching.
“You must not commit adultery” implies also that we must not be motivated by lust, even in our imagination. We must be very radical rooting out the influence of lust, and this choice is life-giving.
Choose God’s teaching: choose life!
Fr David Barnes PP


5th February 2017

SALT in food helps bring out the flavours, and, traditionally, has been used to conserve food from corruption. “You are the salt of the earth,” proclaims Our Lord: we are to recognise and help to bring out all the goodness in others, and also to help preserve fragile humanity from the corruption of sin.
To be salt we must believe in the basic goodness of the other: however damaged by sin, we must not be put off wanting to bring out the true person in their basic goodness. Difficult, yes, but made possible the more we “see” this is how Jesus sees us: He sees through the façade of our sins to see and love our inner love and goodness, which is why He finds us absolutely lovable. We should believe ourselves to be absolutely lovable because this is how Our Lord sees us. Then we can be salt to others.
“You are the light of the world”, He proclaims. Our first reading at Mass today expresses closely how we can become that light “Share your bread with the hungry, and shelter the homeless poor, clothe the man you see to be naked and turn not from your own kin.. Then will your light shine like the dawn and your wound be quickly healed over.”
Deeds speak louder than words!
Fr David Barnes PP


29th January 2017

GOD made us with a deep longing for happiness. We experience this longing and spend much time finding ways to be happy – often becoming frustrated in our search! Today’s Gospel is the BEATITUDES, which is Our Lord’s teaching on the way to find true happiness.
Given the Beatitudes are Our Lord’s own teaching as the way to find true happiness, should we not know them by heart so we can treasure them and put them into practice? This week, let us use them each day in our daily prayer, and, like Our Lady, ponder and treasure this teaching in our heart. Remember, Pope Francis says we should all carry a copy of the Gospel in our pocket or bag – the Beatitudes are found in Matthew 5:1-12. The Beatitudes are essentially Our Lord’s way of life, and they are our way to true happiness. We can live them with the help of His grace.
Pope Francis also wants us to be very concrete, and so suggests we examine ourselves often in light of questions we shall be asked on Judgement Day. We read them in Matthew 26: 31-46.
We may find our own responses uncomfortable – but do not lose heart….we can begin again, today and every day.
Fr David Barnes P.P.

LAST NOVEMBER, on a visit to Sweden, Pope Francis said that the best description of the saints, their “identity card”, is found in the Beatitudes from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. He has proposed to us six Beatitudes for our present day:
Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.
Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalised and show them their closeness.
Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.
Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.
Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.
Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.


22nd January 2017

18-25 January 2017
Our Lord prayed for unity among those who believed in Him (John 17:21), and in the early Church we are told (Acts 4:32) that the disciples were of one heart and one mind. Over the centuries that one communion has been fractured in many ways.

This WEEK OF PRAYER is aimed at the reunion of all Christians, living in full communion with one another and the successor of Peter, and sharing the one Eucharist. Some may say this is impossible: I disagree!

  • First, “everything is possible to God”, (Matt. 9:26). We must deeply desire and long for reunion because UNITY is our Lord’s will and what He prays for. If we do not desire and long for it then it will not even begin to happen.
  • Second, we must renew our hope and confidence in the grace of God. When we long for reunion, relying on the power of God, grace can bring it to effect.
  • Third we must set our heart to know ever better our dear Lord – the more we are converted to Him, the more we are converted to one another! This presupposes, our repentance for sometimes having closed minds and closed hearts both to Our Lord and to one another. God wants us to have big, open minds and big, open hearts – do we?

Fr David Barnes P.P.


15th January 2017

“Nothing is impossible if we turn to God in prayer. Everyone can be an artisan of peace,” writes Pope Francis in his World Peace Message for this year. The theme for 2017 is “Non-violence: a style of politics for peace:” food for meditation here is that non-violence is not so much a tactic but a way of life.

PAX CHRISTI, an international Catholic movement for peace, is inviting us to ponder carefully how non-violence is a better way of responding to injustice and violence. Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool, the President of Pax Christi, writes :- “The message of Pope Francis offers a timely opportunity for our parishes to explore the Catholic tradition of non-violence which goes back to Jesus, and to develop ways to make Gospel of non-violence better known”.

THE WEEK OF PRAYER for the REUNION OF ALL CHRISTIANS begins this week: 18-25 January. The theme is “RECONCILIATION – the love of Christ compels us” (2 Corinthians 5: 14-20). St Paul proclaims how God has, in
Christ, reconciled the world to Himself. The love of Christ compels us to be ambassadors of this reconciliation. Nothing is impossible to God — even the reunion of all Christians! At each Mass we shall pray for a deeper unity among all Christians.

We can examine ourselves by asking: am I an ambassador for reconciliation, justice and peace?

Fr David Barnes P.P.

PRAYER FOR PEACE and UNITY (from the Mass)
Lord Jesus Christ,
who said to your apostles:
Peace I leave you, my peace I give you:
look not on our sins,
but on the faith of your Church,
and graciously grant her peace and unity
in accordance with your will.
Who live and reign for ever and ever .

OUR LADY OF FATIMA told us in (1917) about the effectiveness of praying the rosary for peace. Let us act on her teaching.


8th January 2017
JESUS CHRIST alone is the perfect revelation of God. Today’s celebration of the Epiphany (a Greek word meaning manifestation/revelation) is how the Three Kings (or Wise Men) find everything they are looking for in the infant in the crib, and how they fall on their knees and worship Him.

Whether Kings or Wise Men, the import is that true power (represented by the Kings) and real wisdom (represented by the Wise Men) are to be found fully in recognising and embracing that Jesus alone is the power and wisdorn of God made manifest. The gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh represent Our Lord’s Kingship (gold), the frankincense His divinity, and the myrrh pointing to His death on Calvary.

What gifts do we bring Him?
The carol “In the bleak midwinter” helps us.
“What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part.
Yet what can I give Him, give my heart.”

Fr David Barnes P.P.


1st January 2017

Pastoral Letter for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,

My mother taught me many things. One was this: that a mother can never forget her child, even if that child is no longer in her presence and care. The bond between them endures. It is written into her heart and flesh. A mother carries the hopes of her child as her own; she feels the anguish of her child; she suffers whatever pain befalls the fruit of her womb.

This lesson helps me to understand why, on this Feast Day of Mary, Mother of God, we do so well to turn to her. Mary is our mother. She bears us as her children not by conceiving us in her body but by adopting us within her heart. She is our mother in all things, above all our Mother of Sorrows and our Mother of Mercy.

Because we are her children, she carries our hopes and our pain always within her. Today she stands with us on this first day of a new calendar year, at this moment when we reflect on our hopes and joys, our sorrows and fears. Here she is, sharing our New Year with its promises and prayers.

Often, as a youngster, I would go into the kitchen to tell my Mum all that had happened, what I had done and, sheepishly, what had upset me. In today’s Gospel we heard that the shepherds did the same thing and that Mary ‘treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart’ (Luke 2:19). We can be sure that in the same way Mary will treasure and ponder all that we whisper to her.

Have you noticed that in most statues of Our Blessed Lady she is holding her son? In fact, she is holding him out to us, showing us the blessed fruit of her womb, Jesus. It is to him that she wants us to come. She brings him to us and us to him. In him we find and receive all that we need, for he is our foundation, our hope and our joy. In the words of St Paul, he is the one sent by God, born of a woman, to redeem us. He makes it plain that, in all truth, we are truly sons and daughters of God for ‘God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts: the Spirit that cries out “Abba! Father!”‘ (Gal 4:4-6).

This, then, is how we best set out into the New Year: with the Spirit of Jesus in our hearts; with the prayer, ‘Abba! Father!’ on our lips; with Mary holding her mantle of protection and love over us all. Then we shall walk steadily, never losing the poise of grace, and always confident of who we are in the eyes of our loving Father: precious sons and daughters. Mary conceived the Eternal Word of God in her womb, giving him the gift of her flesh and blood. We, in our lesser way, are to do likewise. We are called to give him our flesh and blood in the actions of everyday which we hope will express his love and compassion, his forgiveness and joy, to all whom we meet. This truth is beautifully expressed in these ancient words:

‘Christ abode for nine months in the tent of Mary’s womb; he abides until the consummation of the ages in the tent of the Church’s faith; he will abide for ever and ever in the knowledge and love of the faithful soul.’ (Cf Blessed Isaac of Stella, 12th century sermon 51 for the Assumption of Blessed Mary).

At this New Year I wish you all every blessing. In this I can do no better than to use the words of the First Reading as my own:

‘May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you his peace’ (Numbers 6:25).

And may the prayers of our Blessed Lady sustain us both now and at the hour of our death.

Yours devotedly,

+ Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster



25th December 2016

GOD’S LOVE is not expressed so much in beautiful words but in action, in deeds. So God came to live among us, to engage with us totally so that we might encounter God personally. In the Incarnation God comes to share our life on every level, excepting sin. God comes to us out of total love for us, and invites us to share our life with Him. The clearest way we do so is through the Holy Mass which is the extension of the Incarnation: at every Mass Our Lord comes fully among us, giving Himself completely to us in Holy Communion. We come to Him, like the shepherds and the Kings, falling on our knees to worship Him. Yet Christ came among us to bring everyone back to God, and so must we also share in this mission to the world.
Pope Francis expresses this very succinctly.
“If you want to find God,
seek him in humility,
seek him in poverty,
seek him where he is hidden:
in the neediest,
in the sick,
in the hungry,
in the imprisoned.”
Fr David Barnes P.P.


18th December 2016

4th Sunday of Advent

THIS FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT is our final week of preparing the way for the Lord, at this time to celebrate the Nativity of Our Saviour. It is a time to renew our hope and expectation: God is always faithful to His promises. The fourth CANDLE on our Advent wreath is seen as the MARY candle because the Nativity is the consequence of Mary’s YES to God – her FIAT (let it be done…. )
This week we should, together with Mary ponder the wonderful thing God has done for us in the Incarnation.
How does it touch us, move us? How do we want to respond to it? How, do I see my “YES” to God? Is it whole hearted? As we ponder this we shall be moved to confess our sins – all of which express our NO to God: every sin is a ‘no-no” to God. A good confession is the best way to find a truly Happy Christmas, when we prepare the way for Our Lord to be born again in our heart , where we can treasure Him, adore Him, and love Him, like the shepherds. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the God-given means of making the way for Him to enter us-so do go to confession. “Mary Immaculate, my Mother, keep me close to you, at one with you, so that I may imitate your wholehearted Yes to God.”
Fr David Barnes


11th December 2016

‘GAUDETE’, Latin for ‘REJOICE’, is from the opening of Mass for this Third Sunday of Advent. It heralds a shift in emphasis: the first half of Advent emphasises the Second Coming of our Saviour, concentrating on our staying awake, being prepared to greet Him when He comes again and putting more order into our life. This second half of Advent focuses on our preparations for the Nativity. Central in our preparing should be a good confession.

ADVENT is sometimes called mini-Lent, so amid all the secular razzmatazz let’s ensure we keep to daily prayer, some acts of self-denial in food and drink, and generosity to those in greater need than ourselves – we all need this if we are to prepare to celebrate well the Birthday of our Saviour at Christmas.

Fr David Barnes, PP

4th December 2016

preaches that the people should “Repent for the Kingdom of God is close at hand”. Jesus ushers in God’s reign, but God can only reign in our life insofar as we really want God to reign in our life! If we do, then we need to repent – to have a “change of heart” so that we no longer love and remain attached to sin but rather love and are wholly attached to Our Lord Jesus.
This journey begins in our Baptism, when God places us in His Son Jesus, and gives us the Holy Spirit, the fire of His love. God’s reign grows in us insofar as we become detached from sin and so attached to Our dear Lord.
This journey is always possible and we are filled with hope when in the Scriptures we “see how people who did not give up were helped by God”. (Romans 15:5). Remember the importance of a good confession to prepare for Christmas.
ADVENT is the season of HOPE: God is always faithful to His promises, as the Incarnation shows. Pray in these days that we will be filled with hope in God’s promises, asking Our Lady and St John the Baptist that we know the blessing of believing that the promises made by the Lord will be fufilled.
Our Lord is always saying to us “Courage, do not be afraid. …..”
Fr. David Barnes P.P.


27th November 2016

The Advent wreath is part of our long-standing Catholic tradition. The actual origin is uncertain, but by the middle ages Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreaths as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas. St John tells us “Christ is the light that came into the world” to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate the truth and love of God (John 3:19-21).

The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. The wreath is made of evergreens, signifying continuous life. The laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering; pine, holly, and yew, immortality; and cedar strength and healing. Holly also has a special Christian symbolism. The prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns on Jesus’ head. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolises the eternity of God, the immortality of our soul and the everlasting life found in Christ.

All together the Advent wreath of evergreens depicts the immortality of our soul and the new and everlasting Iife promised to us through Christ, the eternal Word of the Father, who entered our world becoming true man and who was victorious over sin and death through his own passion, death and resurrection.

The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. A tradition is that each week represents one thousand years, to sum up the 4,000 years from Adam and Eve until the birth of our Saviour. Three candles are purple and one is rose. The purple candles in particular symbolise the prayer, penance and preparatory sacrifices and good works taken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest may wear Rose vestments at Mass, Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when preparation is now half over and Christmas is very close. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead.

Some modern day adaptions include a white candle placed in the middle of the wreath, which represents Christ and is lit on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Another tradition is to replace the three purple candles and the one
rose candle with four white candles, which will be lit throughout the Christmas season.

Since Advent is a time to stir-up our faith in the Lord, the wreath and its prayers provide us a way to augment this special preparation for Christmas. Moreover, this good tradition helps us to remain vigilant and not lose sight of the true meaning of Advent.
Sr. M. Lucina, Parish Sister


and the closing of the Year of Mercy
20th November 2016

TODAY is the final Sunday of the Church’s year when we celebrate God’s reign in our life. Jesus often talks about the Kingdom of God, where God reigns in human life. Today we can ask ourselves “Is Jesus the king and centre of my heart?”, and “Have I enthroned him in my life?” the Church is the sign and seed of the Kingdom, but she can only witness to this the more all of us let God reign in our life.

Concluding the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis writes (13th November) “Today in the cathedrals and sanctuaries throughout the world, the Doors of Mercy are being closed. Let us ask for the grace not to close our eyes to God who sees us and our neighbour who asks something of us. Let us open our eyes to God, purifying the eye of our hearts of deceitful and fearful images, from the god of power and retribution, the projection of human pride and fear. Let us look with trust to the God of mercy, with the certainty that “love never ends.” (1 Cor. 13:8). Let us renew the life that will not pass away and that awaits us in communion with the Lord and with others, in a joy that will last forever, without end. And let us open our eyes to our neighbour, especially to our brothers and sisters who are forgotten and excluded, to the “Lazarus” at our door. That is where the Church’s magnifying glass is pointed. May the Lord free us from turning it towards ourselves.



Each day this month, be sure to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory:
“Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace, Amen.”
The one thing that is certain in this life is that we will die.
Our bishops have recently launched a website offering help and support to those grappling with issues around the meaning of dying and death. Based on Catholic tradition but open to all, it has real life stories about dealing with the journey through death to eternal life.
The Art of Dying Well is a new website that offers a helping hand to those grappling with issues around death and dying. We are all invited to look at the website
The Bishops’ Conference has invited people to post pictures and memories of loved ones who have died to its instagram account, @artofdyngwell, throughout November. Their names and photos will be shared with five convents and abbeys who will pray for them. Let us act on these great initiatives!

TODAY (SUNDAY) we warmly welcome Bishop Nicholas Hudson who celebrates the 10am Mass during which he formally closes the Holy Door. Do stay, to meet him after Mass in the Parish Room.


6th November 2016


On ALL SOULS DAY (November 2nd) Pope Francis in his Angelus address said: “Yesterday, and today many people visit the cemetery, which, as the word itself implies, is the “place of rest”, as we await for the final awakening. It is lovely to think that it is Jesus who will awaken us. Jesus himself revealed that the death of the body is like a sleep from which he awakens us with this faith we stop – even spiritually’ – at the graves of our loved ones, those who have loved us and done good deeds for us. But today we are called to remember everyone, even those who no one remembers. We remember the victims of war and violence, the many “little ones” of the world crushed by hunger and poverty.

We remember the anonymous who rest in common graves. We remember our brothers and sisters killed because they are Christians; and those who sacrificed their lives to serve others. We especially entrust to the Lord, those who have left us over the last year. Church tradition has always urged prayer for the dead, in particular by offering the celebration of the Eucharist for them. It is the best spiritual help we can give to their souls, particularly to the most abandoned ones. The foundation of prayers in suffrage of souls is in the communion of the Mystical Body.

As the Second Vatican Council reiterates, “fully conscious of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the pilgrim Church from the very first ages of the Christian religion has cultivated with great piety the memory of the dead” (Lumen Gentium, 50).

Remembering the dead, caring for their graves and prayers of suffrage, are witness of confident hope, rooted in the certainty that death is not the last word on human fate, death is not the last word, because man is destined to a life without limits, which has its roots and its fulfillment in God. Let us raise this prayer to God:

God of infinite mercy, we entrust to Your immense goodness all those who have left this world for eternity where you await all humanity, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ your Son, who died to save us from our sins. Look not Lord, at our poverty and human weaknesses when we present ourselves before you to be judged in happiness or condemned.
Gaze upon us with pity, born of Your tender heart and help us to walk in the path of purification.
May none of your children be lost to the fires of hell, where repentance is no more.
We entrust to you Lord, the souls of our beloved departed, of those who died without the comfort of the Sacraments or who did not have the opportunity to repent, not even at the end of their life.
May no one fear the encounter with You at the end of their earthly pilgrimage, in the hope of being welcomed within the embrace of your infinite mercy. May sister death find us in prayerful vigilance, and full of all the good we have done during our existence, be it long or short.
Lord may nothing distance us from You on this earth, may everything and everyone support us in our ardent hope to serenely and eternally rest in You. Amen


30th October 2016


The Jubilee Year of Mercy features a very special plenary Indulgence (the complete remission of all temporal punishment due to sin).
“I wish the Jubilee Indulgence may reach each one as a genuine experience of God’s mercy which comes to meet each person in the face of the Father who welcomes and forgives, forgetting completely the sin committed.”
Pope Francis Letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella Sept 1st 2015
To refresh everyone’s memories, here are the conditions for receiving a plenary indulgence:

It is necessary that the faithful be in a state of grace at least at the time the indulgence work is completed.
A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day.
In order to obtain it the faithful must in addition to being in a state of grace have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin
Have sacramentally confessed their sins.
Pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
In our parish we have the great privilege of having a Holy Door. We have only two weeks left, so let us avail ourselves of this blessed opportunity. On Sunday 13th November Bishop Nicholas Hudson is coming for the 10am Mass and will formally close the Holy Door. On Sunday 20th Pope Francis closes the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

THIS TUESDAY we celebrate ALL SAINTS: Vigil Mass on Monday at 6pm, Tuesday 9.30am (school Mass) 12.30pm, 6pm (sung)
WEDNESDAY: ALL SOULS’ DAY Mass 8.30am, 12.30pm, 6pm (sung).
FRIDAY: do join us this Friday to pray for peace through recitation of the Rosary directly after the 6pm Mass.


23rd October 2016

A well known journalist, who witnessed the horrific tragedy of the genocide in Rwanda, wrote that seeing the senseless violence perpetrated by ordinary people on their neighbours had erased any lingering belief in a God of love. I’m sure many empathise with him.
For the last two decades the people of Rwanda have been trying to heal the gaping wounds of division born of hatred. The journey to forgiveness is long and hard, requiring self-examination, repentance, reconciliation and reparation. On this journey those whose spirits were crushed and hearts broken will discover once again the God of love, who never left them, echoing the Psalmist cry “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted” Psalm 33(34).
Missio continues to support the Church in Rwanda to be an agent of unity, peace and reconciliation. In this broken world where senseless violence is our constant companion, we desperately need the power of God’s love to heal and transform. The World Mission Sunday collection, taken up in every parish in the world, will ensure God’s mission of healing the broken hearted continues to be our mission. Please be generous.
Father Anthony Chantry Missio National Director
Find out more:


16th October 2016

“Jesus urges us to have mercy that embraces everyone and is found in every corner of the world. There is no place beyond the reach of his mercy, no space or person it cannot touch.”
Pope Francis
The Prison Advice and Care trust (Pact) is a Catholic Social Teaching into action. Our staff and volunteers work day in, day out, for the Common Good, and for a safer society for us all.
We work inside prisons, and in communities, to support individuals and families who are desperate for a new life. We offer real hope, encouragement, and practical support, to enable people to live crime free lives, within stable loving families. We are not soft on crime. We are crime fighters. Pact is here to support your parish to open a door of Mercy, to those within your own community who may be suffering in Silence. We can provide opportunities and training to get actively involved. All this is dependent on the support of the Church, I ask you to please support the Prisoners Sunday Appeal.
Andy Keen-Downs, CEO, PACT
Envelopes for your gift are on the table at the back of the Church, or call 020 7735 9535 or


9th October 2016


Our parish has now joined many others in the uK and Ireland so that our Masses and other liturgies are ayailabre through the internet. It is a totally free serviceto view, and you can also
view Mass throughout these Isles. The whole project is the work of CHURCHSERVICES. TV
You can find us each day on
This initiative enables our sick and housebound to follow our parish liturgies.
For marriages and funerals it enables those who cannot attend because of distance or other factors, to follow the marriage or funeral as it happens.
We commend this initiative to our Lady – may it be a means of bringing many to the knowledge and love of our Lord and His tender mercy.

There are many beautiful prayers to Our Lady. Someone recently sent me this one. It is an ideal one to include in our Morning Offering, or at the end of the day.

“Mary, my dear Mother, I thank you for the special protection you have provided for me throughout this day. Obtain for me the grace of always being faithful to my commitments. Let purity and sacrifice be my daily bread, humility and obedience my comfort, the tabernacle my relaxation, and you, dear Mother, the School where I learn to practice every virtue.
I cannot praise Christ while I sleep, so offer Him my heartbeats as fervent acts of love. Keep me free from any act or thought that could dishonour His regard for me, and give me your tender motherly blessing.”


2nd October 2016

Using the fingers on your hand, start with the thumb and pray these intentions in this order:

1) The thumb is the closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the people easiest to remember. To pray for our dear ones is a “sweet obligation”.
2) The next finger is the index. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others.
3) The following finger is the tallest. lt reminds us of our leaders, the governors and those who have authority. They need God’s guidance.
4) The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even though it may surprise you, it is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick or those plagued by problems.
5) And finally we have our little finger, the smallest of all. This finger should remind you to pray for yourself. When you have finished praying for others, you will be able to see your own needs but in the proper perspective, and you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.


25th September 2016

As we are coming towards the end of this time of grace, I have been thinking to myself, what use have I made of this God given gift?

Pope Francis has been more than generous with his advice, support and encouragement. Let us ask ourselves, how have I received these benefits. Am I more attentive to my own spiritual development? Has my prayer life deepened? Am I more aware of my neighbour, the lonely and homeless?

Do I show reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament or do I continue to talk to all and sundry in Church, disturbing those parishioners who have come to pray? Do I still criticise others, or do I pray for those people around me? These are just a few of the questions I have been praying about.

Let us together thank God for giving us this grace filled time and pray that we use this final stage of the Year of Mercy, for the glory of God and the good of our soul.
Sr. M. Lucina, Parish Sister


18th September 2016

Theme: Proclaim the Joy of Love

On this day we are encouraged to pray for the work of evangelisation in England and Wales, remembering in our prayers especially those whom we know are distant from the life of faith. Please support the second collection which funds the Bishops’ national work for evangelisation. The collection also ensures that the Catholic Faith Centre is resourced to respond to those who have questions about the Catholic Faith.

It is possible to donate online at: catholic

Commemorative prayer cards are available to take away. Please support the work of Home Mission through your prayers and generosity.
For more information see: catholic

In choosing this year’s theme, two priorities are proposed for prayer and reflection. Inspired by our 2015 National Catholic Evangelisation Conference, the first priority is to “Proclaim”.

As a fruit of prayer we’d like every Catholic family, every family and every parish to take a new step to share their faith more joyfully and confidently, and so build missionary parishes. Our second priority, as the Year of Mercy draws to an end, is to encourage everyone to share the joy of love – that Catholic individuals, engaged and married couples, as well as families, will consider afresh how they can witness to “the joy and love” to others.

POPE FRANCIS is making a pilgrimage to Assisi on 20th September to mark the 30th anniversary of the first inter-religious World Day of Prayer for Peace convened by Pope John Paul in 1986. He has extended an invitation to the Church throughout the world to join him in prayer on this day. Here at Ss Anselm and Cecilia we shall do so during Adoration (4-5.50pm): do join us.

O God, who sent your Son into the world as the true light, pour out the Spirit he promised to sow the seeds of truth in people’s hearts. Awaken our faith, we pray, so that, walking in the ways of salvation and love, we may call all people to become one in Christ. We make this prayer through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

+ * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + *

11th September 2016

Our stations are back in place-thanks be to God. The artist has taken off the heavy lacquer that obscured the original colour, and has brought out the background detail which had been painted over. The faces are expressive and the bodies have movement. The frames have been gilded. Each station now has come back to life. I hope, like me, you find each station a joy and delight to behold. The stations are not just to be admired! They should help us share more fully in God’s merciful love revealed in our Lord’s passion.
Let us make sure we “use” them. “Doing/making the Stations, should be part of our spiritual excerises, not just in Lent but regularly. Why not “do the Stations” every Friday? Beginning this coming Friday we will have the Stations of the Cross after every Friday lunchtime Mass. We can do the stations individually at anytime.
The continuing work on our church (new sanctuary, marble flooring at the back, the redecoration of the church and the nave parquet flooring) has been funded mostly through the Growing in Faith” initiative. There has been no other appeal for this work. Now I am asking that you consider making a donation for the stations. Each has cost over £1600 (sixteen hundred!). Can you help?
If you can, please put your offering in any envelope and mark it “Stations”, and either put it in the offertory plate or give it to Sr Lucina or me, or put it through the Rectory letter box. Thank you.
Fr David Barnes PP


24th July 2016


The end of the school term signals the Summer holiday season ahead. Our English word comes from “holy days”, which makes clear the nature and purpose of a holiday – a re-orientation of our life to God, and to growing. in wholeness / holiness. This is the way to a happy and restorative holiday.

Central to our holiday should be:

Mass: make sure you find out the location of the nearest Catholic church.
Daily prayer
A good spiritual book
A good self examination and a good confession.
AUGUST in the parish: please remember there is NO LUNCHTIME Mass during August nor will there be a weekly bulletin.

ADORATION of the Blessed Sacrament will be Monday – Saturday 4.00pm to 6.00pm.
This is the last bulletin until early September. I wish you all a good holiday and summer: remember to pray for each other, and especially our sick and housebound.
Fr David Barnes, PP


17th July 2016


Cardinal Vincent with a Seafarer
Cardinal Vincent Nichols with a Seafarer at Tilbury Port

This Sunday we are celebrating Sea Sunday, which is your chance to offer your support to seafarers, through prayer and giving.

The Apostleship of the Sea is the Catholic Maritime Welfare charity, known internationally as Stella Maris, and it provides spiritual and welfare support for seafarers visiting Great Britain. Did you know that over 90% of everything we use in this country – cars, electrical goods, fuel – comes to us by sea?
There are 16 Apostleship of the Sea port chaplains, and 120 ship visiting volunteers. Together, in 2015, they visited 9,821 ships around the country, assisting 196,420 seafarers. Assistance included practical things such as transport and phone cards, but also Masses, Sacraments and faith resources such as bibles.

For example, Apostleship of the Sea Dover and Medway port chaplain, Deacon Paul Glock, organised Mass on All Saints Day for the crew of La Richardias, a bulker carrying a consignment of steel docked at Thamesport. The crew were all Filipino and hadn’t been able to attend Mass since their ship visited Canada three months before. ‘The crew were immensely happy to have the opportunity and brought out a lot of personal items which they wanted to be blessed,’ said Paul.

So, let us give thanks today and every day for all seafarers – those unsung heroes – and for the work of the Apostleship of the Sea. Please remember them all in your prayers. And please give what you can to support their vital work. If you are able to complete a Gift Aid envelope, that would really help too. A donation today would be wonderful, but please consider also whether you can give regularly or leave a gift in your Will.

Thank you.

Roland Hayes, London Officer, Apostleship of the Sea


10th July 2016

The Society of St. Columban is a Catholic organization working in 15 countries with a special commitment to Asia and Latin America. Columbans are missionaries who go in the name of the Church to announce, by deed and word, the good news of Jesus Christ.

Our specific objectives are to:

establish the Church where the gospel has not been preached.
help local Churches grow into evangelizing communities open to all peoples.
promote dialogue between Christians and those of other religious traditions.
facilitate interchange between local Churches, especially those from which we come and those to which we are sent.
help people become fully human, to help establish a world of peace with justice and care for the integrity of creation in solidarity with the poor.
We strive to identify with Jesus of Nazareth who said, ‘He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free and to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour’. (Lk 4:18)

Within this framework, we often find ourselves working with and accompanying people who are suffering great injustices. We believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ demands that his followers, i.e. the Church, challenge the scandals of poverty and violence.

Nearly 700 Columban missionaries – including priests, seminarians and lay missionaries – currently work in Asia, North and Latin America, Oceania and Europe.

Columban missionaries cross boundaries of country, language and culture to evangelise and to promote dialogue between Christians and those of other religious faiths.


3rd July 2016

the Corporal Works

“Lord, When did we see you…

‘When you did this to the least of my brethren… you did it to ME.’ Mt 25:40

‘The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life’. Prov 11:30


26th June 2016

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy we have heard and experienced how Divine Mercy should encourage us to be “Merciful like the Father”. Each one of us reading this is working to absorb this mercy in our life.
Blessed Pope Paul VI writes “sharing the Cross of Christ is to receive its fruit which is mercy. By asking for forgiveness of our sins. We are responding to God’s mercy”. Let us remember, we have been redeemed by the Cross of Christ, this is the centre of all we believe and love, and which leads us to love of our neighbour and all creation.
When I was a teacher in school we used to sing “Love is something if you give it away, you end up having more”. Love is meant to be shared, not hidden” as we see in the second reading today. St. Paul reminds us to love one another and if we go on snapping at each other and tearing each other to pieces we had better watch or we will destroy the whole community. St Paul doesn’t mince his words. Whereas if we love one another led by the Holy Spirit no law can touch us.
Let us remember. God is a jealous God, as revealed in today’s Gospel, He wants our undivided love, Jesus rebukes his friends for wanting revenge on the Samaritans, and for another would-be-follower wanting to turn back and say goodbye to family and friends. Our love for God will be revealed in our compassion and mercy towards our neighbour.

Sr. M. Lucina.
Parish Sister.


19th June 2016

POPE FRANCIS has given us this Year of Mercy as a time for opening fully the door of our heart to God’s merciful love. In this way we can open wide the door of our heart to forgive others.
In our parish we have the privilege of a HOLY DOOR. Pope Francis suggests we stand before the Holy Door and pray “O’Lord help me to open the doors of my heart”.
“Therefore as the Holy Door remains open because it is the sign of the welcoming that God Himself reserves for us, so also our doors – those of the heart – must always be open to not exclude anyone, not even those that bother us. No-one!
“The Holy Door indicates Jesus Himself who said: “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture”. Going through the Holy Door is the sign of our trust in the Lord Jesus who did not come to judge, but to save”.
With His love He tells us that we recognise our sins He is yet closer to us and spurs us on to look ahead. When we recognise our sins and we ask for forgiveness there is a party in Heaven. Jesus throws a party! This is His mercy: do not be discouraged”.


12th June 2016

The visit of our bishop Cardinal Vincent Nichols last Thursday evening was a most moving encounter. The theme of Mass and his catechesis was inspired by a vigil led by Pope Francis on “the drying of tears”: if all the tears of suffering in the world were put together there would be “an ocean of desolation”.
Cardinal Vincent asked us to consider the sources of our own tears, and spoke movingly of his own tears at the recent death of his younger brother, John. Our Lord too wept at the death of his close friend Lazarus, and so, as Pope Francis says, “In our pain we are not alone: Jesus too knows what it means to weep”.
Faith in Jesus Christ is decisive in transforming suffering into hope.
“The Cross is not beautiful to look at” the Cardinal said, but reflecting on and entering His sufferings we understand better that (in the words of Pope Francis) “Reason by itself is not capable of making sense of our deepest feelings, appreciating the grief we experience, and providing the answers we are looking for. At times like these more than ever do we need the reasons of the heart which alone can help us understand the mystery which embraces our loneliness”. And so the Cross interprets our life, most especially our sufferings.
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour/Help was the next focus of the Cardinal’s teaching. On the icon, the instruments of the Passion are raised in triumph like trophies, signalling our liberation from suffering, loneliness, sadness and death. And most importantly Our Lord has both hands placed in the hands of His Blessed Mother. This is the way for us too: with our hands placed lovingly in Hers, we can experience Her perpetual help.
Fr David Barnes Parish Priest


5th June 2016

On Thursday 9th June Cardinal Vincent is visiting us, and will give a Catechesis on the Jubilee Year of Mercy:
6.00pm Mass celebrated by the Cardinal
6.30pm Catechesis on the Jubilee Year
7.15pm Question and Answer Session
8.00pm Social gathering in the Parish Room


29th May 2016


Asked what inspired his great love for the Blessed Sacrament, Archbishop Fulton Sheen shared a story he had been told about Communist soldiers overrunning one Catholic village during the revolution. Archbishop Sheen was one of the first priests to promote the Faith through the media: he was declared Venerable in 2012. He recounted how the Communists rounded up the village’s inhabitants, forced them to gather in the church, and made them watch as they destroyed the Tabernacle, throwing the consecrated Hosts down on the floor. The soldiers’ captain warned the people never to return to the church.
But that night, one little girl went to the church despite the risk to her own life. After an hour of prayer in reparation for the desecration, she knelt and received Jesus in Holy Communion, picking up a host from the floor with her tongue. The girl came back every night. She kept this up for more than a month, but on the 32nd night, after reverently consuming the final host with her tongue, she was discovered and killed.
What a wonderful witness to faith and reverence for the Holy Body of the Lord.
At the time when we celebrate Corpus Christi, we need to examine our consciences and ask some important questions.
Do I receive Our Lord’s Body in a state of grace?
When did I last confess my sins?
Do I receive Him devoutly and with love for Him in my heart?
Do I prepare to receive Him?
Do I offer thanksgiving after having received Him?
Fr John Osman
“O Sacrum Convivium” (O Sacred Banquet) is a traditional prayer honouring the Blessed Sacrament.
O Sacred banquet, in which Christ is received, the memory of His passion is renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory given to us.


22nd May 2016

TODAY we celebrate the wonder and majesty of who God really is. Our Lord Jesus reveals God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three Persons yet one God, bound in perfect relationship. The source and end of life and love, our Triune God calls us to live out the purpose of our creation: to live in communion with God and with each other.

The Trinity, which is the union and communion of Life and Love, is the model for all human relationships. Pope Francis writes: “We are not called to live without the other, above or against the other, but with the other, for the other and in the other… We must be an hospitable community where every person, especially the poor and marginalised, may find a warm welcome.”

Our worship and adoration of the one true God, the Most Holy Trinity, is the most powerful means to realise our authentic communion with one another. May we become a community where worship and adoration is at our heart.

Our CORPUS CHRISTI PROCESSION next Sunday, following our 10am Mass, will be a concrete sign of this desire – worshipping Our Lord in the Eucharist, united to Him and one another in bearing witness to the love of God made flesh.

Fr David Barnes, PP

written by John Cardinal O’Connor

Lord Jesus, we your people pray to You for our priests.
You have given them to us for our needs.
We pray for them in their needs.

We know that you have made them priests in the likeness of your own priesthood.

You have consecrated them, set them aside, anointed them, filled them with the Holy Spirit, appointed them to teach, to preach, to minister, to console, to forgive, and to feed us with Your Body and Blood.

Yet we know, too, that they are one with us and share our human weaknesses. We know too that they are tempted to sin and discouragement as we are, needing to be ministered to, as do we.
Indeed, we thank you for choosing them from among us, so that they understand us as we understand them, suffer with us and rejoice with us, worry with us and trust with us, share our being, our lives, our faith.

We ask that You give them this day the gift You gave Your chosen ones on the way to Emmaus:
Your presence in their hearts,
Your holiness in their souls,
Your joy in their spirits.
And let them see you face to face in the breaking of the
Eucharistic bread.

We pray to You, O Lord, through Mary the mother of all priests, for Your priests and for ours.


15th May 2016

TODAY’S great celebration of the Coming of the Holy Spirit fifty days after the Resurrection is often called THE BIRTHDAY OF THE CHURCH. From being a small group of diffident and timid people, the infant Church was set on fire and empowered to preach the Gospel to the whole world. The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, given us in baptism and confirmation, is still poured out afresh on us when we truly want. In these days, ponder the seven gifts God has given us, and examine how far we are unlocking these gifts by evidence in our daily life of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Wisdom • Understanding • Counsel • Fortitude
Knowledge • Piety • Fear of the Lord

Charity • Joy • Peace
Patience • Kindness • Goodness
Generosity • Gentleness • Faithfulness
Modesty • Self-control • Chastity

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And you shall renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray:
O God, who taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy
Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolation. Through Christ Our Lord.
R. Amen


8th May 2016


TODAY’s celebration of Our Lords’s Ascension gives us much to ponder and treasure in our heart.

He has completed everything the Father had given Him to do, crowned by the Paschal Mystery, and now He is returning to the Father. His joy is complete, and He invites us to share His joy.
Our true joy is to share His joy!
He goes to prepare a place for us. Heaven is where we truly belong, to be with God for all eternity. Our Lord has prepared a place for us. He is calling us “so that where I am, you may be too”.
Do I live with heaven as my goal and true homeland?
We are never alone: in his Ascension He promises that He will be with us always, “Yes, to the end of time”.
He is always present to us: are we always wanting to make ourselves present to Him?
My Mission and purpose in this world is to share in the Mission Jesus gave the infant Church at His Ascension: “Go out into the whole world and proclaim the Good News…”
Our Lord shares His life fully with us through the Church: do we seek to bring others to share His life through the Church?
“Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving, for the Ascension of Christ your Son in our exaltation, and where the Head has gone before in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope” (today’s Collect)


1st May 2016

Pope Francis has given us this Jubilee year of Mercy (Dec 2015- Nov-2016), and Cardinal Vincent, has given us a Holy Door of Mercy here in our parish. Consider carefully, how are we embracing these two wonderful gifts?
Pope Francis has commented: The image of the door recurs in the Gospel on various occasions and calls to mind the door of the house, of the home, where we find safety, love and warmth.
Jesus tells us that there is a door which gives us access to God’s family, to the warmth of God’s house, of communion with Him. This door is Jesus himself (cf Jn 10:9). He is the door. He is the entrance to salvation. He leads us to the Father and the door that is Jesus is never closed. This door is never closed it is always open and to all, without distinction, with exclusion, without privileges. Because, you know, Jesus does not exclude anyone. Some of you, perhaps, might say to me: ” But Father, I am certainly excluded because I am a great sinner: I have done terrible things, I have done lots of them in my life.” No, you are not excluded! Precisely for this reason you are the favourite, because Jesus prefers sinners, always in order to forgive them, to love them. Jesus is waiting for you to embrace you, to pardon you. Do not be afraid: he is waiting for you. Take heart, have courage to enter through his door, to cross the threshold of faith, to enter into his life, so he may transform it, renew it, and give it full and enduring joy.


24th April 2016


The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine began in Spring 2014 and, notwithstanding the ceasefire of September 2015, continues still, resulting in causalities caused by a vast number of landmines and constant artillery fire. The number of dead ascertained is approximately 9,000, and many other people are displaced or imprisoned, often illegally. Instability, the continual threat of conflict, and widespread armed gangs which go unchecked are creating grave hardships for local populations, not only in areas directly affected, but in the whole of the country. Conditions are worsened by the general economic situation, gripped by high inflation which has dramatically reduced purchasing power: more than 500,000 people are in urgent need of food. There are over 1.5 million people displaced throughout the country.

In the area most affected by the war, the greatest need is for health care: over 120 health centres have been damaged or destroyed. Pregnant women and those in childbirth are particularly at risk, and the potential for the spread of AIDS and tuberculosis is high. There is a lack of anaesthesia, leading to operations often being performed without it. Where medicines are still available (many pharmacies have been closed), they have become too expensive to purchase.

Presently there are approximately 3 million people living in conditions of extreme hardship in those regions most affected by the conflict. Most of these are elderly residents who were unable to leave the combat zone.

Regarding housing, from 12,000 to 15,000 homes have been damaged, and more than 1,000 completely destroyed. The situation will be particularly dire during autumn and winter due to severe weather.
A great number of children are unable to attend school. 200,000 have found safe haven in regions of Ukraine outside of conflict areas: one out of four, therefore, is displaced. Many are affected by serious psychological traumas caused by the violence they have witnessed and themselves experienced: some have even lost the ability to read and write.

The ongoing conflict is the primary obstacle to a solution to the humanitarian crisis. In particular, limits on importing commercial goods are in force, including the importing of medicines, and it is very difficult for international aid to reach those zones most affected by the conflict.

Faced with such massive problems, communities are demonstrating an extraordinary resilience. The networks of aid groups that are most successful are those of religious organizations. Among these are Catholics who, while only 10% of the Ukrainian population and a small minority of those in conflict areas, have been fully engaged in assisting those who require help, without being able to meet the most pressing needs which are immense.

The Holy See is organizing, therefore, special forms of aid for the benefit of the whole population, regardless of religious affiliation, with a view to addressing this humanitarian crisis, especially in the most critical sectors. To assist in this effort, a mechanism for gathering funds and for selecting projects to finance is being established by means of a special Commission in loco, which will be charged with examining proposed projects. The Pontifical Council Cor Unum will be responsible for approving and evaluating the practical management of these funds, which will be subject to necessary financial accountability.
(To: Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe
From: Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, Vatican
Date: 18 April 2016)


17th April 2016

Good Shepherd Sunday

“The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me.
The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Father. The Father and I are one.” John 10:14
This Sunday is also known as Vocations Sunday. A day when men and women pray that the Church may have good and holy guides to spread the Gospel. When we think about our spiritual guides we usually think of priests and religious. What we must remember is that we are all church and each one of us has our own vocation. For most of us, probably, it is what we are doing now such as spouses, parents, teachers, doctors civil servants, business, salesperson the list goes on.
The question we should be asking ourselves today is:- Am I fulfilling my true vocation? How am I giving witness to Gospel values? What am I doing to make the world a better place? Is God calling me to greater service to my Church and my community? Am I using society or the Church to get what I want?
Each one of us is being called by God to work for spreading the Gospel and building Christian community.
Each one of us is unique, made in the image and likeness of God.
Remember, Jesus led His sheep and is now calling us all to follow in his footsteps. Where is God calling me / you to make my own unique contribution based on the gifts and talents I have received from him?
Let us pray we will accomplish what we are being asked to do. We would soon have One Church one faith one Lord.

Sr. M. Lucina, Parish Sister


10th April 2016


The annual collection to help fund the formation of priests will take place next weekend. I ask you to be generous with this important second collection. The Priest Training Fund benefits the parishes, the diocese, and the Catholic Church in London and Hertfordshire by providing us capable, committed priests striving to emulate Christ the Good Shepherd, in the service of God’s people.

The fund helps pay for the recruitment of men into priestly vocations, the training and education of seminarians at our seminary – Allen Hall – and the formation of men we send abroad.
It also pays for the ongoing education of priests who will serve in specialised ministries, and their continuing formation whilst in active ministry.

With 29 seminarians for our diocese, the Diocese spends more that £1.2 million annually on the six-year seminary programme. It costs on average £25,000 per man, per year of formation – that’s at least £125,000 to form and educate a new priest, who makes a lifetime commitment to Christ and the Church.

They’ve answered the call. Now let’s support them. Priests are the heart of the Catholic Church. Donation envelopes are available – please take one, read the information and facts, and bring it back next week at Mass with your donation.

On behalf of all the clergy of the Diocese, thank you.


27th March 2016

Rejoice, heavenly powers!
Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

May God fill you all with Easter joy!


20th March 2016

HOLY WEEK is the most important week in the year. Our Lord is calling us to share His journey from the triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, through his trial, passion and death, through to His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. His Paschal Mystery (His Passion, Death and Resurrection) is the most important event in human history, transforming our relationship with God and with one another, and, He is calling us to participate in it more fully so as to share its fruit more fully.
We respond by sharing as much as possible in the Holy Week Liturgies. The key Liturgies to attend are:
+ The Mass of the Lord’s Supper – Thursday 6.00pm
+ The celebration of the Passion of the Lord – Friday 3.00pm
+ The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night – Saturday 8.00pm
Our Lord is calling us, inviting us: why would we not respond?
What would this say about me?
In Holy Week we confront two of the most difficult areas in human life suffering and death. Often we prefer not to face them. Yet in Holy Week, through sharing Our Lord’s Passion and Death, we can find freedom from our fears and anxieties about suffering and death: this is the healing Our Lord wants for us, and is offering us.

Fr David Barnes, PP


13th March 2016

In today’s Gospel, a woman caught committing adultery was to be stoned to death. Our Lord is asked His opinion of this. “If there is one of you who has not sinned let him be the first to throw a stone at her”, Jesus said. Everyone left, and Jesus says “Woman, where are they? Has no-one condemned you?” “No-one, sir” she replied. “Neither do I condemn you”, said Jesus “go away and don’t sin any more”.

Pope Francis writes:
If anyone wishes to avoid God’s judgement, he should not make himself the judge of his brother or sister. Human beings, whenever they judge, look no farther than the surface, whereas the Father looks into the very depths of the soul. How much harm words do when they are motivated by feelings of jealousy and envy! To speak ill of others puts them in a bad light, undermines their reputation and leaves them prey to the whims of gossip. To refrain from judgement and condemnation means, in a positive sense, to know how to accept the good in every person and to spare him any suffering that might be caused by our partial judgment, our presumption to know everything about him. But this is still not sufficient to express mercy. Jesus asks us also to forgive and to give. To be instruments of mercy because it was we who first received mercy from God.
[Extract from Misericordiae Vultus, 14]


6th March 2016


TODAY, the fourth Sunday of Lent (6th March), the Church invites us to REJOICE because the Paschal Mystery celebrations are fast approaching.

Our Lenten disciplines of PRAYER, FASTING and ALMSGIVING can become heavy and difficult to maintain. This can be since we live them simply as a discipline. If however we can practise them as a way of loving, then much more is possible. So, for example, I shall pray out of love for Him, as a way of loving Him: I will put my whole heart into my prayer and conversation with Him. This first came home to me when doing the washing up! Washing for its own sake left me feeling fed up, even resentful. Yet when I decided to do it out of love for Him, putting my whole heart into it because I was doing it for Him. Then it all became a way of loving. and a way of being open to God’s love. This I then applied to other tiresome everyday tasks, and these tasks become a source of joy because they had become a source of communion with Him.

Today’s Gospel is that of the Prodigal Son, reminding us of the joy of returning to God our Father. The father sees his prodigal son returning and goes out to meet him, full of love and affection. We are all that son when we return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where God our Father comes out to welcome us with infinite mercy and love.
Let nothing deter us from this joyful encounter, knowing that nothing we have done or failed to do changes God’s love for us. This is our healing and peace, which we shall recognise in our capacity to REJOICE.

Fr David Barnes, PP


28th February 2016

Our 2016 Lenten Alms appeal will be in support of Caritas Westminster, the official social outreach arm of the Diocese of Westminster. Lent is the perfect time for us to think of those suffering – the poor, the marginalised, and the least among us – and to make a sacrifice through prayer, fasting and almsgiving:

Prayer draws us closer to the Lord.
Fasting helps us to remember those who are forced to fast because of their poverty.
Our almsgiving is both a sign of our care for those in need, and an expression of our gratitude to God for his gifts to us.
Caritas Westminster works across our Diocese, throughout London and Hertfordshire, enabling and co-ordinating parish communities to find practical solutions that address a variety of local social needs. For example, rough sleeping, food poverty, human trafficking, youth employability and loneliness.

What better way to tie in the meaning of Lent than to put oneself in the shoes of the poor and to give alms to help them?

As God’s people we are inspired by Christ’s message of love and equality for all. Every person deserves to live a life of dignity and worth. In this spirit of love for others, Caritas Westminster supports a variety of projects that help those most in need in our society. Not only do these projects address people’s immediate needs, they also encourage long term human development, assisting people to break free from the cycle of poverty and hardship.
At present, Caritas Westminster is focusing on three projects where a big difference can be made to help those most in need, the marginalised, and those living on the fringes of our society:

Foodbanks – one in five people in the UK live below the poverty line. Caritas Westminster helps parishes to set up Foodbanks where there is an urgent need. Not only are recipients provided with emergency food packs to help them get by, they also have access to money management advice and debt counselling. In some parishes, half-term family lunches are
provided to tackle the problem of holiday hunger.

Rough sleeping on the Street – Caritas Westminster provides homeless men and women with an evening meal, a bed for the night, and a cooked breakfast via a network of night shelter circuits for rough sleepers, operating in churches across the Diocese. These homeless people are also able to access showers, laundry, lunch, medical services, as well as housing advice on how to get off the streets.

Tackling the scourge of human trafficking and modern day slavery -Caritas Westminster opened Bakhita House in June 2015 to provide a safe place for rescued female victims of human trafficking, especially victims who have no access to public funds. In this safe environment, these women can begin the process of recovery and rehabilitation, into a life of independence.

Over the next couple of weeks our parish will take up a second collection in support of Caritas Westminster. Your generosity will ensure Caritas projects throughout the Diocese continue to support the immediate needs, and long term development, of people living in our society who are in need.

At the back of the Church today you will see Caritas Westminster posters, and as you leave mass today there will be volunteers handing out Caritas Donation Leaflets – these leaflets also contain a Gift Aid Envelope for your use.

There shall be second collections for your Lenten Alms over the following two weekends at Mass. You can also visit the Caritas Westminster website to find out more about their work, and to donate online:

NEXT SUNDAY there is a retiring collection for CARITAS WESTMINSTER.


21st February 2016

The Stations of the Cross are an ancient tradition in the Catholic Church going back to the fourth century when Christians went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Like many of our Catholic traditions, the Stations of the Cross can be rich, deep, and meaningful, but at the same time we can lose sight of their significance and how to relate them to our everyday lives.

Continuing the idea of Pope Francis as our spiritual director this Lent, here are 8 reasons from our Holy Father on why we should pray the Stations of the Cross.

1. They Allow Us to Place Our Trust in Him
“The Cross of Christ contains all the love of God; there we find his
immeasurable mercy. This is a love in which we can place all our trust, in which we can believe…. let us entrust ourselves to Jesus, let us give ourselves over to him, because he never disappoints anyone! Only in Christ crucified and risen can we find salvation and redemption.”
—Address, World Youth Day, Way of the Cross, July 26, 2013

2. They Put Us into the Story
“And you, who do you want to be? Like Pilate? Like Simon? Like Mary? Jesus is looking at you now and is asking you: do you want to help me carry the Cross? Brothers and sisters, with all the strength of your youth, how will you respond to him?”
—Address, World Youth Day, Way of the Cross, July 26, 2013

3. They Remind Us That Jesus Suffers with Us
“The Cross of Christ bears the suffering and the sin of mankind, including our own. Jesus accepts all this with open arms, bearing on his shoulders our crosses and saying to us: ‘Have courage! You do not carry your cross alone! I carry it with you. I have overcome death and I have come to give you hope, to give you life’ (cf. Jn 3:16).”
—Address, World Youth Day, Way of the Cross, July 26, 2013

4. They Compel Us to Action
“But the Cross of Christ invites us also to allow ourselves to be smitten by his love, teaching us always to look upon others with mercy and tenderness, especially those who suffer, who are in need of help, who need a word or a concrete action.”
—Address, World Youth Day, Way of the Cross, July 26, 2013

5. They Helps Us Make a Decision for or Against Christ
“[The Cross] reveals a judgment, namely that God, in judging us, loves us. Let us remember this: God judges us by loving us. If I embrace his love then I am saved, if I refuse it, then I am condemned, not by him, but my own self, because God never condemns, he only loves and saves.”
—Address, Good Friday, March 29, 2013

6. They Reveal God’s Response to Evil in the World
“The Cross is the word through which God has responded to evil in the world. Sometimes it may seem as though God does not react to evil, as if he is silent. And yet, God has spoken, he has replied, and his answer is the Cross of Christ: a word which is love, mercy, forgiveness.”
—Address, Good Friday, March 29, 2013

7. They Give Us the Certainty of God’s Love for Us
“What has the Cross given to those who have gazed upon it and to those who have touched it? What has the Cross left in each one of us? You see, it gives us a treasure that no one else can give: the certainty of the faithful love which God has for us.”
— Address, World Youth Day, Way of the Cross, July 26, 2013

8. They Guide Us from the Cross to the Resurrection
“O, Our Jesus, guide us from the Cross to the resurrection and teach us that evil shall not have the last word, but love, mercy and forgiveness. O Christ, help us to exclaim again: ‘Yesterday I was crucified with Christ; today I am glorified with Him. Yesterday I died with Him, today I live with Him. Yesterday I was buried with Him, today I am raised with Him’.”
—Address, Good Friday, April 18, 2014

Every Friday in Lent directly after the 6.00pm Mass.


14th February 2016


God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn. In an ever new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbour and to devote ourselves to what the Church’s tradition calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. These works remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbours in body and spirit: by feeding, visiting, comforting and instructing them. On such things will we be judged.

In the light of this love, which is strong as death (cf.Song8:6), the real poor are revealed as those who refuse to see themselves as such. They consider themselves rich, but they are actually the poorest of the poor. This is because they are slaves to sin, which leads them to use wealth and power not for the service of God and others, but to stifle within their hearts the profound sense that they too are only poor beggars. The greater their power and wealth, the more this blindness and deception can grow.

It can even reach the point of being blind to Lazarus begging at their doorstep (cf.Lk16:20-21). Lazarus, the poor man, is a figure of Christ, who through the poor pleads for our conversion. As such, he represents the possibility of conversion which God offers us and which we may well fail to see. Such blindness is often accompanied by the proud illusion of our own omnipotence, which reflects in a sinister way the diabolical “you will be like God” (Gen3:5) which is the root of all sin.

This illusion can likewise take social and political forms, as shown by the totalitarian systems of the twentieth century, and, in our own day, by the ideologies of monopolizing thought and technoscience, which would make God irrelevant and reduce man to raw material to be exploited.

This illusion can also be seen in the sinful structures linked to a model of false development based on the idolatry of money, which leads to lack of concern for the fate of the poor on the part of wealthier individuals and societies; they close their doors, refusing even to see the poor.

[Extract from Pope Francis’ Lent Message, the Vatican, 4 October 2015]


7th February 2016

For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favourable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God’s word and by practising the works of mercy. In the corporal works of mercy we touch the flesh of Christ in our brothers and sisters who need to be fed, clothed, sheltered, visited; in the spiritual works of mercy – counsel, instruction, forgiveness, admonishment and prayer – we touch more directly our own sinfulness. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated. By touching the flesh of the crucified Jesus in the suffering, sinners can receive the gift of realizing that they too are poor and in need. By taking this path, the “proud”, the “powerful” and the “wealthy” spoken of in the Magnificat can also be embraced and undeservedly loved by the crucified Lord who died and rose for them. This love alone is the answer to that yearning for infinite happiness and love that we think we can satisfy with the idols of knowledge, power and riches. Yet the danger always remains that by a constant refusal to open the doors of their hearts to Christ who knocks on them in the poor, the proud, rich and powerful will end up condemning themselves and plunging into the eternal abyss of solitude which is Hell. The pointed words of Abraham apply to them and to all of us: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Lk 16:29). Such attentive listening will best prepare us to celebrate the final victory over sin and death of the Bridegroom, now risen, who desires to purify his Betrothed in expectation of his coming.

Let us not waste this season of Lent, so favourable a time for conversion! We ask this through the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, who, encountering the greatness of God’s mercy freely bestowed upon her, was the first to acknowledge her lowliness (cf. Lk 1:48) and to call herself the Lord’s humble servant (cf. Lk 1:38).
[Extract from Pope Francis’ Lent Message, the Vatican, 4 October 2015]


31st January 2016

Ten days to ASH WEDNESDAY! What will we do?
Pope Francis sees Lent as a favourable time for conversion.
Here in the parish we have a Life in the Spirit course. It is called “The Gift”, and has Pope Francis’ personal blessing! It is “an inspiring and practical series aimed at people of all ages to help encounter the Holy Spirit and empower them to share their faith.”

Presented by well-known international speakers; David Payne, Michelle Moran, Charles Whitehead and Jenny Baker. Six Sessions:

1. The Fathers Loving Plan 15th February
2. The Joy Of The Gospel 22nd February
3. The Gift Of The Spirit 29th February
4. Unwrapping God’s Gift 7th March
5. Encountering’s 14th March
6. Living In The Spirit 21st March

The teachings are relaxed, personal and informative, rooted in the Bible, the Catechism, Evangelii Gaudium, and reflections on the Holy Spirit from Pope Francis. Sessions last 30 minutes and include testimonies from laity and clergy.

The meetings will be each Monday in Lent at 6.45pm in the Parish Room, finishing at 8.00pm.

Further information:


24th January 2016


The Pope proposed that “beginning from the baptism we all share in common,” Christians should move beyond divisions toward finding a way to work together to bring the mercy of God to the Earth.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In these days we celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
This year’s theme is drawn from the First Letter of Peter, and was chosen by an ecumenical group from Latvia. In his Letter, Saint Peter encourages the first Christians to acknowledge the great gift received in Baptism and to live in a way worthy of it. tells them: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people”.

This Week of Prayer invites us to reflect on, and bear witness to, our unity in Christ as God’s People. All the baptized, reborn to new life in Christ, are brothers and sisters, despite our divisions. Through Baptism we have been charged, as Saint Peter tells us, “to proclaim the mighty works of the one who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light”.

During this Week of Prayer, let us ask the Lord to help all Christians to grow in that unity which is greater than what divides us. , may we respond to his call to share with others, especially with the poor and forgotten of our world, the gift of divine mercy which we ourselves have received.


17th January 2016


Pope Francis has given us the Year of Mercy, and tells us of his wish that we all act on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy:

“It is my burning desire that, during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on theand spiritual works of mercy.will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty. And let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy. Jesus introduces us to these works of mercy in his preaching so that we can know whether or not we are living as his disciples. Let us rediscover theseworks of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget theworks of mercy:counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead.

We cannot escape the Lord’s words to us, and they will serve as the criteria upon which we will be judged: whether we have fed the hungry and given drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger and clothed the naked, or spent time with the sick and those in prison (cf.:31-45). Moreover, we will be asked if we have helped others to escape the doubt that causes them to fall into despair and which is often a source of loneliness; if we have helped to overcome the ignorance in which millions of people live, especially children deprived of the necessary means to free them from the bonds of poverty; if we have been close to the lonely and afflicted; if we have forgiven those who have offended us and have rejected all forms of anger and hate that lead to violence; if we have had the kind of patience God shows, who is so patient with us; and if we have commended our brothers and sisters to the Lord in prayer.
In each of these “little ones,” Christ himself is present. His flesh becomes visible in the flesh of the tortured, the crushed, the scourged, the malnourished, and the exiled… to be acknowledged, touched, and cared for by us. Let us not forget the words of Saint John of the Cross: “as we prepare to leave this life, we will be judged on the basis of love”.

Corporal works of mercy:
Feed the hungry
Shelter the homeless
Clothe the naked
Visit the sick
Visit the imprisoned
Give to the poor
Bury the dead

Spiritual works of mercy:
Instruct the ignorant
Counsel the confused
Admonish the erring
Console the disconsolate
Comfort the sorrowing
Forgive offenders
Bear wrongs patiently


10th January 2016

In the Baptism of Jesus we see a new beginning. Jesus now leaves the shelter of his family home in order to begin his public ministry, which will lead to his crucifixion and death on the cross. Jesus making a new beginning doesn’t seem right somehow and the fact that the Holy Spirit came to his aid in the words “this is my Son, the beloved, listen to him”.
We don’t normally think of Jesus needing help.
How many of us remember our own baptism? We were brought to the Church, many of us carried in the arms of our parents. Promises were made on our behalf and the commitment to follow Jesus for the rest of our earthly life.
How I thank God for this great gift, freely and lovingly given.
From today’s readings we can see Jesus was not afraid to make a new beginning, he knew that the Holy Spirit would never leave him.
Through our own baptism we too should have the courage and be prepared to start again. Jesus has assured us that the Holy Spirit will be with us always, as it was with Jesus at his baptism and throughout his earthly life.
If our new beginnings were a bit weak or half-hearted, let us take courage from the Gospel message, “Trust in God now and trust in me” (St John 14: 1-2).

Sr. M. Lucina Parish Sister


3rd January 2016
TODAY (Sunday) we celebrate the Epiphany, the manifestation that Our Lord is the Light to enlighten all peoples. The visit of the Kings or Wise Men (two different traditions) speak of how
true greatness is to come to Him who is King of Kings and the Wisdom of God incarnate.
To bend low and kneel in adoration and worship does not diminish our humanity but rather brings it to fulfilment. In other words, without our being in a proper relationship with God, we cannot discover who we really are.
The fruit of the good celebration of the Epiphany is the state of worship and adoration. The Christmas refrain “Oh come let us adore him, Christ the Lord” should ring in our ears, and find practical expression in worship and adoration of the Eucharist. Can each of us must make a resolution to do so.
The Epiphany is also the 40th Anniversary of my Ordination to the priesthood. Please join with me in thanking God for this gift of Priesthood and pray that all priests will be faithful to what God is asking of us. On the morning of 6th January I shall be saying Mass in the Slipper Chapel, the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. I shall hold you all in my heart at that Mass. The three Kings or Magi followed the star which led them to our Lord Jesus. We have Mary, Morning Star and Star of the Sea, who leads us to him.

Fr David Barnes. PP




THIS YEAR the celebration of the Nativity of our Saviour is within the context of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Inaugurated by Pope Francis on December 8th, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and concluding on November 20th 2016, we are all invited to concentrate on the loving mercy of God. Passing through the Holy Door of Mercy expresses our desire to repent of our sins and so renew our commitment to Christ and His Church. We are called to open the door of our heart to both God and others – especially the poor, the sick and those on the margins of society.

Pope Francis says that this Jubilee Year of Mercy is “the opportune moment to change our lives! This is the time to allow our hearts to be touched.”

The “Plenary Indulgence” which is available to us lessens the effects of our sin. Pope Francis writes: “To gain an indulgence is to experience the holiness of the Church, who bestows upon all the fruits of Christ’s redemption, so that God’s love and mercy may extend everywhere. Let us live this Jubilee intensely, begging the Father to forgive our sins and to bathe us in his merciful ‘indulgence’.”

As well as the Holy Door in Westminster Cathedral, Cardinal Vincent has designated our parish, with others, as also having a Holy Door. Let us make good use of it and follow the Way of Mercy as detailed at the back of the church.

“The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, the only Son of the Eternal father, full of grace and truth.” Pray that we may all see in the Incarnation God’s mercy in action, revealing His infinite love and mercy towards us.


Merry Christmas.
Fr David Barnes, PP


20th December 2015

Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith. Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him. The Father, ‘rich in mercy’ (Eph 2:4), after having revealed his name to Moses as ‘a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness’ (Ex 34:6), has never ceased to show, in various ways throughout history, his divine nature. In the ‘fullness of time’ (Gal 4:4), when everything had been arranged according to his plan of salvation, he sent his only Son into the world, born of the Virgin Mary, to reveal his love for us in a definitive way. Whoever sees Jesus sees the Father (cf. Jn 14:9). Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions, and his entire person reveals the mercy of God.

We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.

At times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives. For this reason I have proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church, a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective.

Pope Francis, Misercordiæ Vultus 1-3


13th December 2015

‘GAUDETE’, Latin for ‘REJOICE’, is from the opening of Mass for this Third Sunday of Advent. It heralds a shift in emphasis: the first half of Advent emphasises the Second Coming of our Saviour, concentrating on our staying awake, being prepared to greet Him when He comes again and putting more order into our life. This second half of Advent focuses on our preparations for the Nativity. Central in our preparing should be a good confession.

‘REJOICE’ too because last Tuesday Pope Francis inaugurated the ‘Year of Mercy’, a time to reflect on God’s merciful love. The Pope describes our Lord as “the face of God’s Mercy”, and it will be a wonderful year to grow closer to Our Lord and understand better God’s ways. ‘REJOICE’ too because Cardinal Vincent has named us as one of the churches with a Holy Door as well as the Cathedral. Bishop Nicholas Hudson will open our Holy Door next Sunday (20th) at the 10am Mass. Be there to welcome him and witness this historic event.

ADVENT is sometimes called mini-Lent, so amid all the secular razzmatazz let’s ensure we keep to daily prayer, some acts of self-denial in food and drink, and generosity to those in greater need than ourselves – we all need this if we are to prepare to celebrate well the Birthday of our Saviour at Christmas.

Fr David Barnes, PP


6th December 2015

ST JOHN THE BAPTIST is central in Advent. He came to prepare the way for the Lord through “a baptism of rcpentance for the forgiveness of sins”.
OUR SINS blind us to seeing Jesus as Saviour, and deafen us to His words which are spirit and life. Without repentance – a change of heart – we live in darkness. Advent is a time to come out of that darkness of sin and move into the Light of Chrisf to hate sin so as to love our Lord. During Advent we should invoke the prayers of St. John the Baptist to gain for us a spirit of repentance. Repentence bears fruit in joy.

GOD prepared the way for the coming of our Saviour through THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION of Our Lady which we celebrate this Tuesday (8th December). Ftom the first moment of her conception, Mary was preserved free from every stain of sin. In Jesus and Mary we see humanity as God intended it to be – free from sin. Through love of Jesus and Mary we prepare the way to freedom from sin.

ADVENT, with its emphasis on the Second Coming, proclaims the FOUR LAST THINGS – Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. These are realities which we must face up to! I am going to die, then there is my particular judgement before God, then Heaven or Hell. Living daily in the light of the four last things is a catalyst to repentance – that is, to reiect our sinful ways and believe the Good News more wholeheartedly. Advent should therefore include celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation: will you?
Fr David Barnes, PP

The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy begins with Pope Francis opening the Holy Door in the Vatican on 8th December 2015.
The Cardinal will open the Holy Door in Westminster Cathedral in the context of Vespers and Benediction at 3.30pm on Sunday 13th December. You are very welcome to attend. Those making a brief pilgrimage during the Year to the Cathedral Holy Door or the others it through the Diocese may gain the Jubilee Indulgence for themselves or the Holy Souls.
Out closest Holy Door is here in our parish! The Cardinal has prepared A Pilgrimage Companion for the Year of Mercy by way of explanation and to help us experience God’s Mercy to the full. Copies of the booklet can be bought for £1 from the Repository open at weekends or from the Sacristy either before or after any Mass. More information about events during the year, Holy Doors and the Indulgence is available on the Diocesan website: http:/
May this Holy Year before all, as Pope Francis wishes ‘true moment of encounter with the mercy of God’.
Cardinal Vincent has designated our parish with a Holy Door! It is the second smaller entrance on Kingsway. Bishop Nicholas Hudson will open the Holy Door on Sunday 20th December at the 10am Mass: it is an historic day for the parish and an occasion to be present. You have the opportunity to meet Bishop Nicholas after Mass.


29th November 2015

GOD never fails us, and the season of Advent proclaims that God is always faithful to His promises. ADVENT (meaning “coming”) is not only a time of preparing to celebrate our Lord’s Nativity, but also preparing to greet Him when He comes again in glory at the end of time – hence the Advent message of “stay awake… stand ready… you do not know the day or the hour”. It is a summons to live our life with integrity: we live what we believe.

So, how will I keep Advent?
How am I preparing to celebrate the Birthday of our Saviour?
Am I ready to greet Him at any time?
Unless we make some resolutions about what we are going to do in Advent, we will probably end up doing nothing – a sad waste of this lovely season of hope and expectation.

The best preparation is to deepen our love of the Holy Mass by coming more often: the Mass is the extension of Bethlehem where the Lord is born on our altars and we come to worship Him, and the Mass strengthens and renews us to greet Him for when He comes again.

ENJOY Advent! Come to our Lord with fresh hope and expectation: come to Him in the Mass and in Adoration. The Lord is always faithful to His promises. He is faithful to you: let us be faithful to Him.
Fr David Barnes, PP


22nd November 2015

TODAY, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. Our Lord ushered in God’s reign in human life. Where God truly reigns, there is the Kingdom of God. This celebration falls on the final Sunday of the Church’s year so we understand that all the feasts of the Church lead us to the Kingdom of God, of which the Church is the sign and the seed.
The more we “see” this, the more we understand God’s Mercy toward us. Pope Francis wants us to “see” this more and more and has proclaimed the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which will be inaugurated by him in Rome on 8th December 2015 and concludes on 20th November 2016.
Cardinal Vincent writes that Pope Francis “knows that every person, whether they think of themselves as religious or not, longs for the embrace of mercy, the love that accepts us as we are and, at the same time, calls us to become what we are made to be”.
On 8th December Pope Francis will open the Holy Door in St Peter’s Rome. Christ identified Himself as “the door” through whom we enter the depths of God’s Mercy and come to know God’s reign. Each Cathedral will have a Holy Door – Cardinal Vincent opens ours in Westminster Cathedral at Vespers on Sunday 13th December.
The Cardinal has also designated several churches to have a Holy door: our parish is honoured in being so designated, the Holy door being the second, smaller door at the back of the church. On Sunday 20th December, Bishop Nicholas Hudson is celebrating the 10am Mass and will inaugurate the Holy Door in our parish. Through entering the door with faith, we can open ourselves to the wonders of God’s Mercy.
Fr David Barnes, PP


15th November 2015

This is the title of a new DVD on developing our capacity for daily prayer. The makers write:
“Finding time to pray can be difficult. Modern life is very busy with so many distractions at every turn and there’s always another job to be done. This inspiring presentation challenges us to make more time for God in our lives and highlights the importance of an ever-deepening life of prayer. It looks at the true meaning of prayer, the different types of prayer and how we can grow in our spiritual lives. It addresses how to overcome difficulties and temptations, how to find inspiration in the lives of the saints, the centrality of the Holy Mass, and the ultimate goal of prayer.”

This is the first of four Monday evenings over the next four weeks, aimed at helping us to grow in our love and practice of the Catholic Faith. The second DVD is entitled “Powers and Dominions” and deals with the reality of angels and demons, exorcism, the occult and spiritual warfare. The third is about the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the importance of confessing our sin, and the Fourth is about “The four last things”, dealing with death, judgement, Heaven and Hell.
I encourage all of you to come – you will not be disappointed!

Monday 16 November: Prayer – a surge of the heart
Monday 23 November: Powers and Dominions
Monday 30 November: Confession
Monday 7 December: The Four Last Things

all at 6.45pm in the Parish Room.
Fr David Barnes, PP


8th November 2015

During the month of November we are remembering all our loved ones who have gone to their eternal rest.
We pray for them each day and place their names in our Book of Remembrance at the foot of the altar so that others can remember them too.

Another fact of life is that we shall surely follow them, this month should remind us all that we must pray for ourselves and examine ourselves on how we are going about this. Going back to Fr John’s sermon last week, the feast of All Saints, we heard, the secret of becoming a saint is:

Love God
Love your neighbour
Love yourself
From early childhood we have all been taught that we are made in the image and likeness of God. That we are made to know love and serve God through our neighbour. As Father said it all sounds very easy.
Do we find it easy to love our neighbour?
Do we find it easy to love ourselves?
Remembering that we are all pilgrims travelling the same road, let us thank God for this precious gift of support for each other. Let us pray God will be with us every step of the way.

Sister M. Lucina
Parish sister


1st November 2015

Last Sunday I joined thousands of people in St Peter’s Square waiting to receive the blessing of Pope Francis. I was surrounded by families: babies asleep in prams, young children crawling on the cobbles, older children entertaining each other, teenagers looking studiously bored, fathers surveying the scene protectively, mothers holding up their children and pointing to the Holy Father, groups of families on holiday together, uncles and aunts, three or four generations.

I looked at them with fresh eyes, having just come from the closing Mass of the Synod of Bishops on the Vocation and Mission of the Family. There we had been fashioning fresh ways of thinking about the family in the plan of God. We had agreed that the family is an ‘image and likeness of the Blessed Trinity’, a reflection of the mystery of love which is the life of God. In the families around me I could contemplate that love being expressed in everyday ways, a love which strives so hard to be faithful, to overcome rows and difficulties with forgiveness, a love which gives energy for the day and rest in weariness. In the Synod we had talked of the family as ‘a blessing for the Church’: the place where we learn and share how to live by faith, where we teach and practice family prayer, and the place from which we reach out to others in their need.

All of this was summed up for me in a phrase: the family is the flesh of the Church. In St Peter’s Square, and in every parish, I see in the families around me the very flesh of the Church, the life of Christ taking place before my eyes. It is they who so often show most clearly the work of the Beatitudes which we have just heard in the Gospel reading.

In our Synod discussion group we had shared together what we treasured most about our own family life. Doing this brought us together
powerfully, even though we came from five different continents!
The challenges faced by families today were in our own stories, too: poverty; an absence of faith; a reluctance to speak of faith at home; the drama of being refugees or migrants; the breakdown of a marriage in the pain of divorce and, of course, the fact of people entering a second civil marriage and finding there a new start, stability, and fruitful love.

Our main work in the Synod, over the last three weeks, has been to fashion the right response of the Church to many of these situations.
In our final reflections, we pointed out clearly that this must be a patient accompaniment, a readiness to listen, a gift of time and attention to one another. This is a pathway for us all to take, but especially us bishops and priests who are entrusted with the care of God’s people.

Our final document of the Synod, which we presented to Pope Francis for his consideration, speaks often of this ‘pathway of accompaniment’, of that ‘reverential listening’, which is the first act of mercy, of the work of ‘discernment’, of wanting to come close to the reality of so many lives in their difficulties and trials. During the Synod discussions, many wanted us to express, humbly, a word of regret and apology that this often has not been the path we have taken. I am glad to do so now.

The purpose of this focus of our pastoral work is very clear. It was beautifully expressed in the first reading at Mass last Sunday:
‘They left in tears. But I will comfort them and lead them back; I will guide them to streams of water … For I am a father to Israel and Ephraim is my son’ (Jer. 31.9). To all who have left in tears I want to offer a hand of welcome, especially during this coming Year of Mercy. With time we hope to fashion a clear invitation for you to come to meet the Lord, to ponder His ways in your lives, to sense his mercy and his truth and to grow in strength as his baptised disciples in the family of the Church.

Today we honour all the saints. We see them gathered round the throne of God, praising God in joy and thanksgiving. We hear that in their trials and suffering they clung faithfully to Christ, so closely that ‘they washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.’ They teach us so much.
We all have our favourite or patron saint. Perhaps we were given his or her name at baptism or at confirmation. They have so much to teach us about how to accompany each other through the dilemmas of life and of how to come to a mature understanding of the demands of the Gospel in our lives as the one true path of life. Today we also honour all those who may not be canonized but are surely saints. For so many of these, family life, with all its joy and challenges, was their path to heaven. Think how many saints there may be in your family, still helping you by their example and intercession!

May all the saints encourage and strengthen us today. May we draw from this Synod of Bishops great encouragement for our own family life and for the life of the family of the Church, as we each reach out for the great mercy of God, a mercy that will never fail us once we come, with penitent hearts, seeking its healing and peace.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster


25th October 2015

GOD teaches us who we are through our pondering Jesus’ encounters with others in the Gospels. Today’s Gospel (Sun 25 Oct.) is the healing of the blind beggar Bartimaeus. What can we learn?

Bartimaeus knows his neediness and vulnerability – do I see my own blindness and poverty?
He recognises Jesus can save him, and shouts out (despite others’ protests) asking for mercy – he is bold and not put off by what others think or say: am I?
Jesus calls him and he “jumped up and went to him” – do I?
Jesus asks what he wants done: Bartimaeus knows what he wants, and has faith Our Lord can do it – do I?
Let us put the above encounter into practice: in the Collect at today’s Mass we ask that God “increase our faith, hope and charity and make us love what you command”.
How to proceed? We use our imagination!
In a prayerful mode, I imagine myself as a blind beggar sitting at the roadside – I see the poverty of my faith, hope, charity, and my lack of love.
I imagine Jesus in front of me, that He is calling me, and I jump up and go to Him.
Jesus asks me what I want Him to do for me: I respond, speaking of my desire for faith, hope and charity, for a loving heart – and I beg for these gifts.
The moral: if I truly desire and long for these gifts, and have faith that Our Lord can give them, they will be given.
Fr David Barnes, PP


18th October 2015


What is World Mission Sunday?
World Mission Sunday is celebrated in every parish in the world. It is a special day in the year when we remember our own call to be missionaries. Our prayers and our donations to Missio on World Mission Sunday help the Church in countries that are poor to reach out to the vulnerable and those living in poverty so that they too can know the love and joy that comes from Jesus. This day helps us to remember that Jesus wants us all to be missionaries so that his love can reach everyone.

In his message for World Mission Sunday 2015, Pope Francis says, ‘Mission is a passion for Jesus and at the same time a passion for his people. All the Church’s members are called to proclaim the Gospel by their witness of life.’

Pope Francis is saying that to be able to help with God’s mission we need to know and love Jesus, and we also need to know and love all the people in our world. God calls us to look after everyone, whether we see them every day, or never even meet them because they live in another country. By helping Missio, we can show that we care for everyone around the world.

Pope Francis also reminds us that living out God’s mission in the world is not just the responsibility of ‘official’ missionaries, like priests and sisters. Each and every one of us has a part to play, even if we’re very young. He reminds us that the best way to bring people to know Jesus is through our actions and our example to other people. He asks us all to be good role models.


Why do all parishes support World Mission Sunday? All parishes throughout the world celebrate World Mission Sunday because it is vital to the growth of the Church in predominately impoverished and remote areas overseas. The funds raised build much-needed infrastructure, from chapels and schools, to orphanages, clinics and dispensaries. Requested by the local community, the support from Missio transforms lives and creates a hub from which the young Church can flourish and grow: spreading the Good News of the Gospel, ministering to the faithful and delivering essential services in health and education. World Mission Sunday is one of only three Papal collections and has been especially chosen by the Holy Father as the means by which we share what we have with our brothers and sisters in need.

How can we continue supporting Missio after World Mission Sunday?
Missio raises funds for the overseas mission of the Church through the APF-Mill Hill Red Boxes which are in around 200,000 Catholic homes. Throughout the year, Missio works in partnership with the Mill Hill Missionaries to raise funds and awareness for overseas mission through the Red Box. If your parish doesn’t already promote the Red Box, please consider an appeal after World Mission Sunday. Other ways of supporting the mission of the Church include praying for the work of missionaries and volunteering for Missio. You can also support overseas mission by sending Mass stipends to overseas priests via Missio. An overseas priest can say Mass for your intentions and at the same time receive much-needed financial support. For more information, please call: 020 7821 9755 or visit our website:


11th October 2015


This Saturday (10th October) we are on the Annual Parish Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Walsingham. We carry in our hearts the whole parish and all those who come to St Anselm & St Caecilia’s to Our Lady of Walsingham.

Fr David Barnes, PP

In 1061 Our Lady appeared to Richeldis of Walsingham, asking her to build a replica of the Holy House of Nazareth, where the Angel Gabriel had sought her consent to become the Mother of God.

This Holy House, and the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham it contained, became the greatest Shrine of Our Lady in the world, and was ranked alongside Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago de Compostela. It was known as ‘England’s Nazareth’ and was renowned for miraculous cures, answers to prayer, penance and thanksgiving.

In 1538 the Shrine was destroyed under the orders of Henry VIII, and the sacred image, along with many others, was publicly burnt at Chelsea. The Augustinians who looked after the Shrine, and the Franciscans in the village, were dispersed, and their religious houses ruined. Some men were put to death; hung, drawn and quartered on what is known today as Martyrs’ Field, trying in vain to save the Shrine and Priory.

The restoration began in 1897 with the creation of a new Holy House within the Catholic Church at nearby King’s Lynn, for which Pope Leo XIII blessed a new statue. The first pilgrimage since the Reformation was made in that year to the fourteenth-century Slipper Chapel that had been preserved and restored. In 1934, the Slipper Chapel, containing a copy of the original image of Our Lady of Walsingham, was designated England’s National Shrine of Our Lady, by the bishops of England and Wales, with the approval of the Pope.

Meanwhile, Anglicans too restored pilgrimage in 1922, by placing in their parish church an image of Our Lady of Walsingham. This was
transferred in 1931 to a new Holy House and Pilgrimage Church built in the village. Walsingham today is once again a powerhouse of prayer, and a major centre of pilgrimage for Catholics, Anglicans, Orthodox and others. It bears witness to the remarkable way in which Our Lady draws together the followers of her Son in unity and reconciliation.

Devotion centres on the mystery of the Annunciation and Our Lady’s willing response to the Word of God, assisting us to respond in the same way to God’s will and to live out the meaning of the Incarnation, God made man, in our daily lives.
[Source: Novena in Honour of Our Lady of Walsingham,]


4th October 2015


Do ponder carefully the following quotes about the Rosary, and consider how they touch us.

1. “The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God…and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family
Rosary.” Pope Saint Pius X

2. “Go to the Madonna. Love her! Always say the Rosary. Say it well. Say it as often as you can! Be souls of prayer. Never tire of praying, it is what is essential. Prayer shakes the Heart of God, it obtains necessary graces!” St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

3. “You always leave the Rosary for later, and you end up not saying it at all because you are sleepy. If there is no other time, say it in the street without letting anybody notice it. It will, moreover, help you to have
presence of God.” St. Josemaria Escriva

4. “Among all the devotions approved by the Church none has been so favoured by so many miracles as the devotion of the Most Holy Rosary.” Pope Blessed Pius IX

5. “The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin…If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labours.” Pope Pius XI

6. “One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.” St. Dominic

7. “The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary.” St. Francis de Sales

8. “The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen

9. “The Rosary is the most excellent form of prayer and the most efficacious means of attaining eternal life. It is the remedy for all our evils, the root of all our blessings. There is no more excellent way of praying.” Pope Leo XIII

10. “No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary.” Bishop Hugh Doyle


27th September 2015


Hundreds of thousands of refugees have arrived in Europe this year, escaping war, oppression and poverty. Many come from Syria, where more than 11 million people have been forced to flee their homes.

CAFOD has worked for years with Syrians whose lives have been torn apart by the war, providing food, shelter and healthcare. And with your support, CAFOD’s Church partners are now also helping refugees as they arrive in Europe, ensuring that they have food, vital supplies like clothes and sleeping bags, and safe places to stay.

But no-one wants to be a refugee. People want to live with dignity, in their own communities, watching their children and grandchildren grow and flourish. That’s why, as well as responding with compassion to emergencies, we need to think of people like Hamani.

Hamani is a man in his 70s who lives in a remote village in Niger the poorest country in the world country. Each year at Harvest time – about a month from now – he looks forward to a crop that will feed him and his family throughout the year.

And each year, as Hamani gets older, he hopes and prays that the harvest comes on time. That the rains come when they should. That they will bring enough life-giving water to feed the earth and the people. That the crop is enough to see him through to the next harvest. And that his children and grandchildren won’t starve.

This is because in recent times, the harvest has got smaller because of longer and hotter dry seasons. This is a dry, punishing heat – strong enough to boil water if it’s left outside for too long. Strong enough to burn crops as they grow in the fields.

On your behalf, CAFOD has been working with a Catholic Partner – Caritas Niger – to ensure that Hamani and his family can survive if his crop is destroyed. Following a disastrous harvest in 2011, your support ensured he was able to eat and to have enough seeds to plant for the next harvest. But perhaps more importantly, you are enabling work not just in one village, but in larger areas of Niger to ensure people don’t have to live hand-to-mouth if a harvest fails.

With your support, and through our local Church partner, entire communities are being trained to grow different crops that can still be eaten, even if the burning sun cooks them on the stalk. People have been given livestock and ploughs so that they can farm land. And have been supported to grow a natural protection for their land – one that will prevent the earth from being scorched. This work is so vital because it means more and more people throughout Niger have the dignity of not relying on handouts. The dignity of being able to feed their family and the joy of sharing their abundance with

Please give what you can today, so that all our sisters and brothers, wherever they are in the world, can share in the earth’s abundance. You’ll see in your envelope two opportunities to give this Fast Day.
One for a single gift today, which will go towards supporting refugees and also towards our long term work. And one for a regular gift for CAFOD’s long-term Hands On project in Niger. Hands On allows you to follow the progress of a specific project and to get regular updates from the community as they work towards a more secure future.

Please share the feast God spreads for us all. Imagine the gift that you can offer. Your gift – together with your neighbour’s, with your parish’s, with the whole Catholic community in England and Wales – together, our gifts will help to build a world where all God’s children can flourish.

We are grateful for your support. Without your generosity and prayers, the work that CAFOD does to change the lives of thousands of people worldwide, would not be possible. On behalf of CAFOD and the communities we work with, thank you for your support.
Please continue to pray for our global family, and please take a prayer card home with you after Mass.

CAFOD is the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, working with communities in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, supporting people to find their own solutions to poverty. The agency works with all people regardless of race, gender, religion or nationality. Charity no. 1160384


20th September 2015

Supporting the work of evangelisation in England and Wales

Theme: PROCLAIM’s God’s Mercy
Home Mission Sunday is celebrated today and is themed:
PROCLAIM God’s Mercy. On this day we are encouraged to pray for the work of evangelisation in England and Wales, remembering in our prayers especially those whom we know are distant from the life of faith. Please support the second collection which funds the Bishops’ national work of evangelisation and the development of this year’s Proclaim ’15: Building Missionary Parishes initiative. The collection also ensures that the Catholic Faith Centre is
resourced to respond to those who have questions about the Catholic Faith. It is possible to donate online at:
Commemorative prayer cards are available to take away. Please support the work of Home Mission through your prayers and generosity. For more information see:

Thank you for your support and God bless you.
Bishops’ Conference Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis

Home Mission Sunday is resourced by the Bishops’ Conference Home Mission Desk in service of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis. Email:


13th September 2015

‘What ever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did to me’ (Mt 25:40)

At last Sunday’s Angelus, Pope Francis invited every parish, religious house and monastery in Europe to respond to the growing refugee crisis by offering a place of sanctuary to families fleeing from war and persecution in their home countries. The Pope calls on our generosity and solidarity to recognise and act upon our common humanity.

The UK government has agreed to receive and resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees from the camps in neighbouring countries over the next five years. The Catholic Church in England and Wales will work alongside government and local authorities to offer welcome and support to those in need. The refugee crisis is a huge challenge, not only in Europe and the Middle East, but in many other parts of the world where large numbers of refugees live deeply uncertain and perilous lives. Consequently as a Catholic community, and as a country, we need to be committed to helping refugees over a long period. To sustain that effort we need moral imagination.

We recognise that we can all contribute and play a part in helping to support the most vulnerable of refugees. Such assistance includes

Financial support
Time and professional skills (e.g. language teaching, legal help)
Shelter and accommodation
We can all be attentive to those who are vulnerable and newly arrived in our communities and parishes. A warm welcome can be the most simple yet effective of gifts we can all offer.

Practically, we are working to ensure, as far as possible, that every diocese has a contact nominated to coordinate your parish/individual response; they will liaise with the local authority and other faith groups to match offers of time, talents and accommodation with the pressing humanitarian needs of the local area.

Please look at for additional information which will be regularly updated.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols Archbishop Peter Smith


6th September 2015

POPE FRANCIS has named the period from 1st September to 4th October THE SEASON OF CREATION. Following on his recent Encylical “Laudatory Si” on our common responsibility in caring for God’s creation, he hopes thi period “…offers to individual believers and to the community a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation, raising to God our thanks for the marvellous works that he has entrusted to our care, invoking his help for the protection of creation and his mercy for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”

We are all invited to think and pray about how we are caring for the created order, including how we use our personal possessions, our food and drink and how we dispose of everything. We are invited to see how all things are to be restored in Christ. As in the Mass the gifts of bread and wine are transformed through the Holy Spirit to become the Body and Blood of Christ, so in our common care for the created order as men and women of the Spirit we can move toward restoring all things in Christ. Everyone and everything find their meaning and purpose in the Light of Christ.

Each period of Adoration in this season will be offered for this and Pope Francis’ intentions.

Fr David Barnes, PP


26th July 2015

Summer and holidays are inextricably bound up. We all need a break from the daily round, our work and duties. Freed for a while from this, what is a holiday for’? Unless we are clear as to the aim of our holiday, it can easily end up being a waste of time and money.

The origin of the word is ‘holy days’, days to recapture and deepen our connection with God. Being consciously in touch with God can get marginalised in the busyness of daily life. A holiday is above all time to discover the Holy at the centre and heart of our life. This is expressed in very practical and concrete ways:

on arrival, find ASAP the nearest Catholic church and times of Mass. Go not only to Sunday Mass but also during the week. We have more time: give some specifically to God. If we do not, what docs this say about us?
renew our commitment to daily prayer, perhaps through making also a daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament.
Pope Francis tells us we should develop the habit of reading some verses from the Gospel every day – so, do you have a pocket version of one of the Gospels always with you’? Pope Francis is asking us to do so! Again, if I don’t, what does this say about me?
carry the Rosary always in your pocket, and say a decade here and there. This will add focus and context to your holiday.
a novel (or two!) is often part of a holiday, but read also a good spiritual book – there are very good informative booklets in our Repository.
make a good confession: through a good examination of life and receiving forgiveness for wasting God’s love and graces, we can resolve how to live our life better on our return home.
So do not take a holiday from God, but find God rather at the heart of your holiday. Holy days bring us joy and peace and a true sense of fulfilment.

Have a good one!

Fr David Barnes, PP


19th July 2015

PROCLAIM 15 is an initiative of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and is coordinated by the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis.

The “New Evangelisation” is a term used by Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis to encourage a new missionary impetus in the life of the Church.

Pope Francis reminds us that the parish is essential to the mission of the Church. If the parish proves capable of self-renewal and constant adaptivity, it continues to be “the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters.” The parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God’s Word, for growth in Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be cvangcliscrs. It is a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a centre of constant missionary outreach. (Pope Francis Evangelii Gaudium, 28)

The unity of the Catholic Church in England and Wales was very evident in Birmingham last Saturday 11th July 2015, people from all over England and Wales were present together with Cardinal Vincent Nichols, 20 Bishops and over 800 laity, praying together, as were the parishioners not present, all working towards the success of this mission. “At the heart of all we do must be prayer. It is from our own relationship with Jesus that our desire, readiness and ability to share our faith flows. All we do and say should be for the greater glory of God.” (Cardinal Vincent Nichols)

Sr. M. Lucina, Deanery Rep. at the above Conference



On Friday 11th September the House of Commons will debate and vote on a Bill to legalise assisted suicide. This will put the most vulnerable people in our society at risk. Please contact your MP, urging them to attend the debate and vote against the Bill. You can send an e-mail to your MP via the Catholic Bishops’ Conference website ( or send a letter by post, a draft of which can be found below or at the back of the Church. Even better, you could ask to see your MP and express your concerns directly. Alternatively. email: Telephone: 0207 219 6234

Example of letter for your MP: Mr. Keir Starmer QC. MP House of Commons London SWIA OAA


I am contacting you regarding Rob Marris MP’s Private Member’s Bill on Assisted Dying which is due to have its second reading in the House of Commons on Friday 11th September.

If passed, this Bill will have a profoundly negative impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

As my Member of Parliament, I hope that you will attend the debate and vote against the Bill at its second reading.

I would be very grateful if you could let me how you intend to vote on this important matter and how you have taken my views into account.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours sincerely

Excellent resources can be found on the Bishops Conference website:

and the website of the Anscombe Bioethics centre: uk

What is needed is more and better palliative care. not assistance with suicide.


12th July 2015

GOD should be offered the best that we can give. Hence the work in our church is to make it ever more beautiful, as surely befits ‘the House of God and Gate of Heaven’. The beauty of our churches is to reflect the beauty and splendour of God, and should raise our whole being to the source of all beauty – God. Worship, above all in the Mass, is a conscious attempt to imitate the worship of heaven.

The people carrying out the work in church are therefore doing something beautiful for God. Each has their skills which enable the project to move forward. I want to encourage you all to

thank God that we can carry out these improvements, and have the money to do so
pray for those carrying out the work that God guide them and enable them to do their best. Pray too for their families and loved ones.
St. Ignatius of Loyola encourages us not only to do everything to the glory of God, but to the greater glory of God (ad maiorem Dei gloriam).

When I was a student in Rome, I was advised always to write at the top of each sheet of paper AMDG (ad maiorem Dei gloriam), so as to remind me to do my work to the greater glory of God. May the work now begun be carried out indeed to the greater glory of God.
Fr David Barnes, PP

From “LAUDATO SI’ (Praise be to you, Lord): on care for our common home”
Pope Francis’ recent Encyclical, paragraph 237
On Sunday, our participation in the Eucharist has special importance. Sunday, like the Jewish Sabbath, is meant to be a day which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world. Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the “first day” of the new creation, whose first fruits are the Lord’s risen humanity, the pledge of the final transfiguration of all created reality. It also proclaims “man’s eternal rest in God”. In this way, Christian spirituality incorporates the value of relaxation and festivity. We tend to demean contemplative rest as something unproductive and unnecessary, but this is to do away with the very thing which is most important about work: its meaning. We are called to include in our work a dimension of receptivity and gratuity, which is quite different from mere inactivity. Rather, it is another way of working, which forms part of our very essence. It protects human action from becoming empty activism; it also prevents that unfettered greed and sense of isolation which make us seek personal gain to the detriment of all else. The law of weekly rest forbade work on the seventh day, “so that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your maidservant, and the stranger, may be refreshed” (Ex 23: 12). Rest opens our eyes to the larger picture and gives us renewed sensitivity to the rights of others. And so the day of rest, centred on the Eucharist, sheds it light on the whole week, and motivates us to greater concern for nature and the poor.
PLEASE NOTE: Copies of the Encyclical are on sale (£4.95) from the Repository and Sacristy.


5th July 2015

Back in London I was walking up Kingsway in the middle of the afternoon when an impulse compelled me to start running. With joy in my heart, and in a state of almost sexual excitement, I ran until I reached the little Catholic church there (St Anselm and St Cæcilia) which I had never entered before; I knelt; caught my breath, and for ten minutes was lost to the world. Coming out into the glare of the day, mingling with sensible citizens on their lawful occasions, I wondered what on earth had possessed me and if had become momentarily deranged. I decided that I was still fairly sane, that it had just been an unexpected, rather nonsensical gesture of love. My friend, Richard Leech, when I told him, about it, was rather distressed, thinking my tiresome, covert enthusiasm had gone too far, but I argued that if a religion meant anything at all it meant that the whole man worshipped, mind, and body alike: that it was a totality and indivisible. There was some reassurance when I discovered that the good, brilliant, acutely sane, Ronald Knox had found himself running, on several occasions, to visit the Blessed Sacrament.

Time has slipped by and I don’t run anywhere; I am passed by joggers of all shapes and ages, while for me the fat accumulates. And yet I do not feel myself a slave, whatever bad habits I may nourish and treasure, having given, at any rate, part of myself to something which spans the centuries. One of Chesterton’s most penetrating statements was: ‘The Church is the one thing that saves a man from the degrading servitude of being a child of his Own time.’

Just a little more effort, I hope, and I may deny myself that extra pat of butter, the third glass of wine, one lascivious thought, and achieve a moment when irascibility is controlled, one bitchy remark unsaid, and, more positively, find a way to make some small generous gesture without forethought, and direct a genuine prayer of good-will towards someone I dislike. It is a fairly pitiful ambition after a quarter of a century of genuflexion.
[From Blessings in Disguise by Alec Guinness]

Be a missionary through prayer: Whoever and wherever we are, we can all be missionary: joining together in prayer with the wider Church, volunteering for Missio or giving generously through the Red Box. These are all valuable ways to further the work of mission. You can find out more about what we do, and discover additional suggestions for prayer, by taking a look at our website:

Eternal Father, I offer you everything I do this day
my thoughts, works, joys and sufferings.
Grant that, enlivened by the Holy Spirit and
united to Jesus in the Eucharist,
my life this day may be of service to you and others.
And with Mary and the whole Church
I pray especially for the Pope’s mission intention this month.
Amen .


28th June 2015

The Church founded by Christ has SS Peter and Paul as its principal pillars.

PETER was chosen by Christ to be His first Vicar on earth, endowed with powers of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt 16: 13-19) and charged with the role of Shepherd of Christ’s floek (Jn 21: 15-17). In Peter and his successors, the visible sign of unity and communion in faith and charity has been given. Divine grace led Peter to profess Christ’s divinity. St. Peter suffered martyrdom under Nero, in A.D. 66 or 67. He was buried at the hill of the Vatican, where recent excavations have revealed his tomb on the very site of the Basilica of St. Peter’s.

PAUL was chosen to form part of the apostolic college by Christ himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9: 1-16). An instrument selected to bring Christ’s name to all peoples (Acts: 9: 15), he is the greatest missionary of all time, the advocate of pagans, the Apostle of the Gentiles. St. Paul was beheaded in the Tre Fontane along the Via Ostiense and buried nearby, on the spot where the basilica bearing his name now stands.
(from Daily Roman Missal. 1989 STF)

TODAY (Sunday), there is an annual collection for PETER’S PENCE. The gift you make is sent to Pope Francis, who uses it to help those in great need (e.g. victims of famine, natural disasters etc.): it is NOT used for the upkeep of the Vatican! This annual collection started in this country when, toward the end of the 8th century, Anglo-Saxons’ love for the successor of Peter led them to send an annual gift. May we imitate their generosity.

Fr David Barnes PP


21st June 2015

is the title of Pope Francis’ new encyclical, published last Thursday. The day before, Pope Francis said, “My appeal is, therefore, to responsibility, based on the task that God has given to man in creation: ‘to till and tend’ the ‘garden’ in which humanity has been placed (cf. Gen 2:15). I invite everyone to accept with open hearts this document, which places itself in the line of the Church’s social doctrine.”

The Encyclical sees the world as our common home and Pope Francis states that. “Our ‘house’ is being ruined and that hurts everyone, especially the poorest among us.”

St. Francis of Assisi (1182 -1226), after whom Pope Francis is named, wrote the ‘Canticle of the Sun’ in which St. Francis praises God for Sister Moon, Brother Wind and Air, Sister Water, Brother Fire and Mother Earth.

Considering the damage done to our planet, which comes from the irresponsible use and abuse of the goods that God has given us, Pope Francis invites us to consider our lifestyle – in essence, a call to a more simple lifestyle, less dependent on consumerism and more open to the life of the Spirit and to others. Pope Francis is full of hope because he believes that God does not abandon us and never backs down on His plan of love, and Pope Francis concludes that we still have the ability to co-operate in building up our common home. The Encyclical is to all peoples and so we have the responsibility to acquaint ourselves with Pope Francis’s teaching. Our Parish bulletin will endeavour to help us in this.

Father David Barnes, P.P

FEAST OF ST JOHN FISHER (1469 – 1535) AND ST THOMAS MORE (1477 – 1535), this Monday, June 22nd.
This Feast honours two martyrs of the Catholic Church in sixteenth century England, one a bishop and the other a layman. They were canonized in 1935 and their feast was placed on the day of the martyrdom of St. John Fisher. Thomas More died a few days later, on July 6th. John Fisher was born in Yorkshire, England and was ordained a priest at the age of 25, after a brilliant career at Cambridge University.

He distinguished himself by combatting the Protestant heresies and especially the theses proposed by Martin Luther. At the age of 35, while remaining Chancellor at Cambridge, he became bishop of Rochester. He was confessor to the mother of Henry VIII, Elizabeth of York, and renowned for his humanistic as well as his theological learning. He was a friend of Erasmus of Rotterdam, to whom he gave a Chair at Christ’s College at Cambridge. Erasmus said of Fisher: “There is not a man more cultured, more admired or more holy.”

Fisher’s episcopal residence was like a monastery because of its austerity and the daily Liturgy of the Hours as well as the discipline of the domestics. Because he defended the validity of the first marriage of Henry VIII, he was imprisoned for the first time in 1533. Later, he was interned in the Tower of London because he refused to take the oath of loyalty after the king married Anne Boleyn and rejected papal authority over the Church in England. He was beheaded a month after Pope Paul III had named him a cardinal.

Thomas More was born in London and studied at Oxford and in London. He was twice married and was a member of Parliament. Together with Pico della Mirandola (whose biography More had written in 1494) and Erasmus (who was More’s close friend), More was an outstanding humanist. His most famous work, Utopia, is a book of political philosophy, showing a society based on the natural virtues.

Eventually More became Chancellor to Henry VIII, succeeding Cardinal Wolsey. He was opposed to the king’s divorce and after three years he resigned as Chancellor and refused to recognise the king’ s spiritual supremacy. Alter imprisonment in the Tower of London, he was beheaded on July 6th at the age of 57.

(Extract from: Saints of the Roman Calendar. Enzo Lodi)


14th June 2015

Pope Francis on the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the greatest human expression of divine love. In fact last Friday we celebrated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and this feast sets the tone for the entire month. Popular piety highly values symbols, and the Heart of Jesus is the ultimate symbol of God’s mercy. But it is not an imaginary symbol; it is a real symbol which represents the centre, the source from which salvation flowed for all of humanity. In the Gospels we find various references to the Heart of Jesus. For example there is a passage in which Christ himself says: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Mt 11:28-29). Then there is the key account of Christ’s death according to John. Indeed this Evangelist bears witness to what he saw on Calvary, that is, when Jesus was already dead a soldier pierced his side with a spear and blood and water came out of the wound (cf. Jn 19:33-34). In that apparently coincidental sign John recognizes the fulfillment of the prophecies: from the Heart of Jesus, the Lamb sacrificed on the Cross, flow forgiveness and life for all people. The mercy of Jesus is not only an emotion; it is a force which gives life that raises man! Today’s Gospel also tells us this in the episode of the widow of Nain (Lk 7:11-17). With his disciples, Jesus arrives in Nain, a village in Galilee, right at the moment when a funeral is taking place. A boy, the only son of a widow, is being carried for burial.

Jesus immediately fixes his gaze on the crying mother. The Evangelist Luke says: “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her” (v. 13). This “compassion” is God’s love for man, it is mercy, thus the attitude of God in contact with human misery, with our destitution, our suffering, our anguish. The biblical term “compassion” recalls a mother’s womb. The mother in fact reacts in a way all her own in confronting the pain of her children. It is in this way, according to Scripture, that God loves us.

What is the fruit of this love and mercy? It is life! Jesus says to the widow of Nain: “Do not weep” and then he calls the dead boy and awakes him as if from sleep (cf. vv. 13-15). Let’s think about this, it’s beautiful: God’s mercy gives life to man, it raises him from the dead. Let us not forget that the Lord always watches over us with mercy; he always watches over us with mercy. Let us not be afraid of approaching him! He has a merciful heart! If we show him our inner wounds, our inner sins, he will always forgive us. It is pure mercy. Let us go to Jesus!

Let us turn to the Virgin Mary: her Immaculate Heart, a mother’s heart, has fully shared in the “compassion” of God, especially in the hour of the passion and death of Jesus. May Mary help us to be mild, humble and merciful with our brothers.’

From Pope Francis’ Angelus Address. June 9th 2013.


7th June 2015

THE EUCHARIST is the Sacrament of communion with God, and with one another.
The bread we offer God at Mass becomes really, truly and substantially, the body of Christ – what we call TRANSUBSTANTIATION. Receiving Holy Communion is the way Christ gives himself fully to us, and this communion bears fruit insofar as I give myself fully to Him.

COMMUNION with Christ implies communion with the Church, since the Church is in essence His mystical Body, the Body of Christ: Christ and His Church are one reality, rather like two sides of the same coin. We are his members, members of the Church, and receiving Holy Communion should bear fruit in a deeper communion not only with Him but also with one another.

ADORATION is a wonderful way to open ourselves to Our Lord’s real presence as the Bread of Life. Our capacity for Adoration enables me to find “Him whom my heart seeks”, to wait upon Him, and to realise that I am His companion. To be “a companion of Jesus” is a wonderful way to see myself – a person who recognises Jesus as the Bread of Life, and who teaches me who I really am! I encourage you to visit Our Lord often in daily Adoration.

June is the month of the Sacred Heart. He is calling us: “Come to me…I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

David Barnes, PP


31st May 2015

Philosophy enables us to assert that even through the use of human reason alone it is reasonable to claim that God exists (e.g. St. Anselm, St. Thomas Aquinas), but in the Sacred Scriptures God reveals Who He is. For Moses, in the incident of the burning bush, God says “I am who I am”: God is being, life, existence itself. In the coming of Jesus, God is revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three Persons but one God. This could never be known through human reason: God reveals this out of love for us. So we can know God as our Father, Jesus as Lord and Saviour and as friend and brother, and the Holy Spirit as helper and guide. The Trinity is the face of God.

BAPTISM immerses us in the life of the Trinity and so the Trinity is always present in us and with us. The more I live in this mystery and love this mystery of the Trinity, the more God reveals to me also who I really am: God makes known to me my very self! . . . The following poem by Helen Mallicoat helps us to understand this:


“When you live in the past,
with its mistakes and regrets,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not – I WAS.

When you live in the future
with its problems and fears
It is hard.
I am not there.
My name is not – I WILL BE

When you live in this moment,
It is not hard. I am here.
My name is I AM.”

Fr David Barnes, PP


24th May 2015

Today’s Feast of Pentecost (Pentecost means fiftieth – the 50th day after the Resurrection) celebrates the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise that in returning to the Father (the Ascension) He was not abandoning us, but we would receive the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete (meaning Advocate, Helper.). The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Spirit of Love, that unites the Father and the Son: He reminds us of everything Our Lord said and leads us into all truth. The Holy Spirit enables the Church to proclaim the Gospel with boldness. The first disciples of Jesus were timid and afraid until the coming of the Holy Spirit who enabled them to preach the Word of God with boldness. The same is true today: it is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to proclaim the Gospel. The colour today is red, symbolising the tongues of fire seen on the apostles – they were set on fire to communicate the Gospel. How devoted are we to the Holy Spirit? Do we pray every day to the Holy Spirit?
THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. THE TWELVE FRUITS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT are: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity. Our Lady opened her whole being to the Holy Spirit: let us imitate her and invoke her help.
Fr David Barnes, PP

I am going to reveal to you the secret to sanctity and happiness. If every day during five minutes, you will silence your imagination, close your eyes to things of sense and your ears to earthly sounds in order to enter into yourself and therein the sanctuary of your baptised soul, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit, speak to this Divine Spirit and say:

“O Holy Spirit, Soul of my soul
I adore you.
Enlighten, guide, strengthen and console me;
tell me what I should do;
give me your orders.
I promise to be submissive
in all that You desire of me
and to accept all that You allow to happen to me.
Grant only to me to know Your will.”

If you do this you will pass your life happily, serene and consoled, even in the midst of pains, because grace will be in proportion to your trials giving you strength to bear them. Thus you will arrive at the Gates of Heaven full of merit.

This submission to the Holy Spirit is the secret of sanctity.

Cardinal Mercier (1851-1926)


17th May 2015

With a hymn composed in the eighth or ninth century, thus for over a thousand years, the Church has greeted Mary, the Mother of God, as “Star of the Sea”. Ave Maris Stella. Human life is a journey. Towards what destination? How do we find the way? Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. They are lights of hope. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun that has risen above all the shadows of history. But to reach him we also need lights close by – people who shine with his light and so guide us along our way. Who more than Mary could be a star of hope for us? With her “yes” she opened the door of our world to God himself; she became the living Ark of the Covenant, in whom God took flesh; became one of us, and pitched his tent among us (cf John 1:14).

Holy Mary, Mother of God, our Mother, teach us to believe, to hope, to love with you.
Show us the way to his Kingdom!
Star of the Sea, shine upon us and guide us on our way!
Pope Emeritus Benedict XV1, Spe Salvi


10th May 2015

May is Mary’s month, a time to grow closer to the Mother of the Lord and our Mother too. The more we open ourselves to her, the more she can form us in the way she formed Her Son. Pope Francis often encourages us to go to Mary, and this is one of his prayers to her:

Mary, woman of listening, open our ears: grant us to know how to listen to the word of your son Jesus among the thousands of words of this world; grant that we may listen to the reality in which we live, to every person we encounter; especially those who are poor; in need, in hardship.

Mary, woman of decision, illuminate our mind and our heart, so that we may obey, unhesitating, the word of your Son Jesus; give us courage to decide, not to let ourselves be dragged along, letting others direct our life.

Mary, woman of action, obtain that our hands and feet move “with haste” towards others, to bring them the charity and love of your Son Jesus, to bring the light of the Gospel to the world, as you did. Amen.


3rd May 2015

These 50 days of Eastertide spent celebrating the wonder of our Lord’s Resurrection are now complemented “by increasing our devotion to our Lady who, by her “FIAT” (yes, let it be done), made the Resurrection possible. Mary knows and loves Her Son like no other, and she longs for us to know and love Him also with all our heart. She wants us to “do whatever He tells you”: the secret of doing so is to share the spirit of Mary – Her spirit .

Listens to God by waiting on God: she ponders and treasures in her heart the things of God.
Wants to do God’s will rather than her own.
Expresses her love through fidelity.
The greatest way we let Mary lead us to Her Son, by influencing our thinking and turning our love to Him, is through daily recitation of the Rosary.

As we begin May I encourage you all to love the Rosary carry one with you at all times. Hold it in your hand in times of temptation. Let your daily faithfulness to God be expressed through faithfulness to your daily rosary.

“The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary” said St Francis de Sales. St John Paul II said “The rosary is my favourite prayer” : through his intercession may it become ours too. Pope Francis said “The Rosary is the central devotion of my life and my family. It is the way in which I chiefly come to know and understand my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Fr David Barnes. PP


26th April 2015

And the good news is that, here in our diocese, 35 seminarians are currently training for the priesthood – which is around double what it was ten years ago. This is very encouraging, but it also means that we need to continue supporting them through our prayers and donations. I would like to spend a few minutes telling you why.

The decision to commit your life to the service of God and His people as a priest is a huge one. As Pope John Paul II set out back in 1992, it involves human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation.

This cannot be rushed because, in addition to discerning God’s will a seminarian needs to develop skills required to work in a world that has changed over the last century.

As always, he will need to develop the personal and intellectual skills required of a priest. But he will also need to be able to proclaim the Gospel in an increasingly secular society. This often means focusing on the needs of adults who may have little knowledge of our faith but who are searching for a spiritual underpinning of ther lives.

It also means reaching out to people outside the confines of the parish be it in schools, in hospitals, in soup kitchens, in hospices, in prisons and elsewhere.

So our seminarians must develop and grow not simply in the classroom but also in the world that we live in:

Spending time in local communities…..working with the young, the old, the sick, the poor, the imprisoned, the vulnerable and with those who just want to explore and strengthen their faith in an unthreatening environment.
Gaining the necessary experience and graces required of a priest in today’s world.
Vocations to the priesthood are gifts from God and expressions of the Catholic faith we all share. As a community, it is our responsibility to nurture and contribute to these gifts. The formation process costs approximately £25,000 a year for each seminarian.

The Cardinal is very grateful for the generous contribution made to the Priest Training Fund by parishioners over the last four years, through Growing in Faith. I too am aware of the financial pressures on many of you and know that many of you are already growing to the parish. But this annual collection still remains a vital part of the Priest Training Fund, and is entirely
dependent on donations.

All that I can ask is that you respond generously to this appeal through your prayers and donations, so that we can continue to prepare our priests to spread the Gospel.

If you are a taxpayer, could I urge you to complete the Gift Aid form on the back of the donation envelope, as this will add 25p to every £1 that you give, at no extra cost to yourself.

Thank you.


19th April 2015

Anselm, as co-patron of our parish, and whose feast we celebrate this Tuesday (21st April) has much to teach us. He was born in Aosta (Piedmont Northern Italy) in 1033.

Our parish grew out of the Sardinian Embassy whose church was dedicated to St Anselm. In 1059 Anselm became a monk of Bec Abbey (in Normandy) and eventually became Abbot in 1078. It was here he became a great theologian. His aim was alwavs to study and teach the sublime truths of revelation, and his definition of theology was “faith seeking understanding.” So, for Anselm, theology was not mere intellectual research.
His approach is seen in his famous work PROSLOGION, where he asks: “My soul, have you found what you are looking for? You were looking for God, and you have discovered that He is the supreme being, and that you could not possibly acquire anything more perfect. You have discovercd
that this supreme being is life itself, light, wisdom, goodness, eternal blessedness and blessed eternity. He is everywhere and he is timeless.”

Anselm is well known for his teaching “Credo ut intelligam” (I believe in order that I may understand), emphasising that we should be guided by the light of faith and not by the light of reason alone. Anselm writes: Oh Lord my God, I am trying fully to understand your nature – my mind is not capable of that! But I do so long to understand something of the truth which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand so that I may believe, but I believe so that I may understand.”

Anselm became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1093 and remained as such until his death in 1109. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1720.
Fr David Barnes. PP

A prayer from St Anselm

O my God teach my heart where and how to seek you,
where and how to find you…

You are my God and you are my all and I have never seen you.
You have made me and remade me,
You have bestowed on me all the good things I possess;
Still I do not know you…

I have not yet done that for which I was made….
Teach me to seek you…

I cannot seek unless you teach me
Or find you unless you show yourself to me.
Let me seek you in my desire, let me desire you in my seeking.
Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you.


12th April 2015

THE KINGSWAY FIRE which started on Wednesday of Holy Week left us without our church for the whole of the Triduum. The Rectory had to be evacuated. How strange it was to be homeless for the three most important days in the Christian Year! Thank God we have very good neighbouring parishes who hosted us over those days.
GOD will teach us much through this experience not least the fragility and unpredictability of life, care for the homeless and refugees, and greater
appreciation for what we have in our beautiful Church of Ss Anselm and Cæcilia.
THE LORD lS RISEN: the Easter Proclamation remains true whatever has happened on the human level, and this must be our focus. Our Lord is
calling us to be His witnesses: how do I witness to the risen Lord by what I say and do?
MERCY is God’s motive for the Resurrection: for while the human race suffers sin and death, and can find no escape, Our Lord comes to save us
from the power of sin and death, reconciling us to God our Father, and empowering us through the gift of the Holy Spirit to live no longer for our-
selves but for Him. This is the Divine Mercy in action! How infinitely each of us is loved by God!
DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY is celebrated every 2nd Sunday of Easter. If we have not already celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation as part of our Easter preparation, then we should do so today – or as soon as possible. Let us invoke the prayers of Our Lady, Mother of Mercy, that we may live Our Lord’s teaching: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36.)
Fr David Barnes, PP

The Lord said to St. Faustina
“You will recite this Chaplet on the beads of the Rosary in the following manner”.
Begin with:-
Our Father….Hail Mary….The Creed
On the five large beads:
Eternal Father. I offer You the Body and Blood. Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son. Our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and
those of the whole world.
On the ten small beads:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion
Have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Conclude with:
Holy God. Holy Mighty One. Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” (three times)

You expired Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls and the ocean of mercy, opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life,
unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fount of Mercy for us, I trust in you. Jesus, I trust in you!”


5th April 2015

Rejoice, heavenly powers!
Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

May God fill you all with Easter joy!


29th March 2015

is the most important week in the year. Our Lord is calling us to share His journey from the triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, through his trial, passion and death, through to His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. His Paschal Mystery (His Passion, Death and Resurrection) is the most important event in human history, transforming our relationship with God and with one another, and He is calling us to participate in it more fully so as to share its fruit more fully.
We respond by sharing as much as possible in the Holy Week Liturgies. The key Liturgies to attend are:

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper – Thursday 6.00pm
The celebration of the Passion of the Lord – Friday 3.00pm
The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night – Saturday 8.00pm
Our Lord is calling us, inviting us: why would we not respond? What would this say about me?
In Holy Week we confront two of the most difficult areas in human life suffering and death. Often we prefer not to face them. Yet in Holy Week, through sharing Our Lord’s Passion and Death, we can find freedom from our fears and anxieties about suffering and death: this is the healing Our Lord wants for us, and is offering us.

Fr David Barnes, PP

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22nd March 2015


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


15th March 2015

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


8th March 2015


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.


1st March 2015


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


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


15th February 2015

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.
Thank you.

Fr David Barnes PP


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.


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


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”.


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)


11th January 2015


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 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:/ / or email livingfaith@rcdow. org. uk


4th January 2015


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).


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]. 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


21st December 2014

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


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


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!


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)


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!”


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.


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

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.


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 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.


26th October 2014

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


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.


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, or visit our website at

For more information on the pilot hub or ways to get involved, contact development workers Sue Day ( or Edward de Quay (


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


28th September 2014

Prayer to the Holy Family for the Synod of Bishops,
Rome, 5-19 October 2014

Jesus, Mary and Joseph
in you we contemplate
the splendour of true love,
to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability
of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Graciously hear our prayer. Amen.


21st September 2014

Supporting outreach to non church-going (lapsed) Catholics.
This year’s theme: Evangelisation ‘in the heart of the family’


On the 21st September 2014 the Bishops of England and Wales invite parishes to celebrate Home Mission Sunday to encourage every Mass-going Catholic to respond urgently to the call to evangelise. With most Mass-going Catholics feeling the pain and sorrow caused by a large number of family members and friends not practising their faith, there is an urgency for us all to consider afresh how we might respectfully and joyfully reach out to our absent brothers and sisters in Christ.

To do this we have to renew our own conversion constantly. As Pope Francis says, “I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ…The Lord does not disappoint those who take the risk” (Evangelii Gaudium 3). So take some time to reflect on your relationship with Christ. Do you devote time to prayer? Is your lifestyle “worthy of the Gospel of Christ” (Second Reading)? Do you witness daily to Christ, in the big and small things?

Every Christian family should try to follow two models: the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and the Holy Trinity. The Holy Family had its difficulties, persecution from Herod, losing Jesus aged 12, etc., but despite them Mary, Joseph and Jesus loved one another and each tried to follow God’s will for them. The Holy Trinity is three persons, bound together in love, and this same unity in love should be displayed at the heart of every Christian family.

So parents: how do you pass on the faith to your children, and are you transmitting God’s values to them? Children: what do you do to help, not obstruct, family life? What can you do to make the world a better place? Everyone: how can we overcome our difficulties, and show love and joy? As members of a family we evangelise best by our witness in our daily lives coming to Mass every Sunday as a family, praying together as a family, working together as a family, like the workers in the Bible, for the kingdom of God.


14th September 2014

Reflecting on last Monday 8th September, Our Lady’s Birthday, this was the thought uppermost in my mind, it felt like being in heaven and what it will be like.

Where do I begin to thank you all. First of all for your presence, you excelled yourselves, the presence of the children was like the icing on the cake.
Thank you for your prayers, love and good wishes. Thank you for the generous gift from the parish and all the individual gifts, I will be thanking God for you all every day for the rest of my life.

Thank you for your welcome to my family, friends and community, they were all inspired and impressed by your warmth and love. The sisters came back to the flat with me at the end of the evening where we sat up until 2am, praising and thanking God for all of you.

I know when I am walking around Holborn, I am walking in the steps of the saints, the parishioners of SS Anselm and Cæcilia have convinced me I am living and working with the saints, it is a really humbling experience to know. I have been granted this great privilege. I feel well and truly blessed.

My last word is to thank Fr David Barnes for making this wonderful day happen. Without the example and leadership of his loving kindness, thoughtfulness and love among us in showing us how the good Lord wants us to be. With St Paul may I try always to praise and thank God for you all.

My sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone for giving me a foretaste of things to come.

Sr M. Lucina, Parish Sister



60 Years in Religious Life
8th September 1954 -2014

Sr Lucina, on this great day
We thank God for your fidelity over all these years.
We thank God for your life-time of school teaching.
We thank God for your 10 years among us.
We thank God that you want to stay among us!

Thank you Sr Lucina.
May God continue to bless you abundantly.


July/August 2014

During this summer period, we offer you a brief guide to this church. We have a fuller guide available from the parish office and a booklet ‘HOLBORN London’s VIA SACRA’ a brief but inspiring account of the courage and heroism shown by the Saints and Martyrs in Holborn who gave witness to the Faith during the Reformation.

A short tour around the church of St Anselm and St Cæcilia’s.
1) As you enter the church, to the left there is the Baptistry. The Large Crucifix is venerated throughout the year, but especially on Good Friday when the faithful kneel one by one to kiss the feet of Our Blessed Lord. There is also a plaque to Edith Gwen Kinghorn, wife of Tony Kinghorn, who for many years was an altar server in the church.
2) Statue of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. The Little Flower who, from the age of fifteen until her death at 24, lived a hidden life in the Carmelite convent in Lisieux. She is one of the most popular saints the world has ever known – a Doctor of the Church. Her Little Way of spirituality emphasizes the seeking of holiness in the simple and the ordinary.
Proceed alongside the left hand aisle of the church, where you will see the continuation of:
3) 14 Stations of the Cross on either side of the church; each recalls an aspect of the suffering of Our Lord on Good Friday.
In between the Stations of the Cross and at various positions around the church, small tablets in red with a gold cross are set in the walls, with a small candle holder fixed in front. These are points where the Bishop anointed and consecrated the church in 1959.
Further along the left aisle, past the 14th Station are 2 plaques.
4) The Colonna Crucifixion, after Michaelangelo, circa 1542, commemorates Canon Francis Bartlett, who was parish priest of St. Anselm and St. Cæcilia’s from 1977-1985.
5) This plaque is to the memory of Charles T. Fisher IV, an American Banker who worked near the church and died in the Lockerbie air disaster in 1988, three days before his 36th birthday. The door to the right leads down to the Parish Room.
6) The Sanctuary, with the altar – the focal point of the church. On the left of the sanctuary is the Ambo from which Holy Scripture is read.
7) The Sanctuary lamp is the gift of the legal profession (in its two branches) and signifies the presence of God in the Tabernacle that contains the Eucharist.
8) The Tabernacle, which contains the vessels in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. To the left, set in the wall is a small recess, the Aumbrey, where the Holy Oils are placed for baptism and anointing the sick. To the right, again set in the wall, is the piscina where water used sacramentally is disposed of directly into the earth. Nowadays the piscina in the Sacristy is used for this purpose.
9) On either side of the Tabernacle are two roundels bearing the Instruments of the Passion and above are sculptures of Christ crowning Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, surrounded by Angels, with the patron Saints, Anselm to the left and Cæcilia on the right.
10) High above is the wooden canopy or Baldacchino, painted in blue with gold leaf. Depicted in the centre is the symbol of the Holy Spirit (a dove) and roundels in four corners with IHS, which, in Greek are the first letters for Jesus, Son and Saviour.
11) Proceed halfway along the centre aisle then, facing the Sanctuary, look up to the Great Cross, with statues of Our Lady standing on the left and St John on the right of the suffering Christ. Behind this scene, on the left, is the organ loft, which is better viewed from the right aisle alongside the Sanctuary.
12) Here are the doors leading to the Sacristy, with the large painting of the Descent from the Cross hanging on the South wall. This is reputed to have been painted by Benjamin West, but is also attributed to John Marcus Rigaud RA. In the Old Sardinian Chapel it hung above the High Altar.
13) As you leave this passage, look up towards the West Window with the stained glass depiction of Christ rising from the flames, just as a phoenix rises from the ashes, with images of St. Anselm and St. Cecilia to the left and right. This window commemorates the fire on Christmas Day 1992 when much of the church roof was destroyed as a result of an electrical fault in the main organ. Below is the choir gallery with organ and console to the left.
14) The first Station of the Cross begins along the South wall, Jesus is 
condemned to Death. Look for the young apprentice carrying nails for the crucifixion.
15) Further along on the left is a statue of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was the 
visions of St Margaret Alacoque in 1673-5 which gave definite shape to the object of devotion and its practices. The feast day is observed on the Friday in the week after Corpus Christi.
16) Our Lady’s Altar. Tradition maintains that the Lady Altar was the High Altar of the Old Chapel. According to an old parchment, which may date from around 1700, the altar stone of the High Altar in the old Chapel came with its relics from the Lady Chapel of Glastonbury Abbey. This area of the church was bombed during the Blitz in 1940, but restored after the war. There is a piscina to the right of the altar.
17) To the right of Our Lady’s Altar is the Chapel of St. Thomas More – A Man for all Seasons. An inscription on the wall describes St. Thomas’ time as a bencher of Lincoln’s Inn and Lord Chancellor. Having opposed King Henry VIII over his divorce and martyred on the grounds of having opposed the Act of Supremacy, he was beheaded in the Tower of London in 1535. St. Thomas was canonized in 1935.
18) Halfway along the South aisle is St. Joseph’s Altar. The mosaic was commissioned in 1962 by Father Joseph Scholles, then Parish Priest, in memory of his father, 
Joseph Scholles, who died around that time. The mosaic depicts St Joseph, protector of the Universal Church, holding the church of St. Anselm and St. Cæcilia in his hands. Inscribed in Latin on the front of altar is – Sancti Joseph, Ora pro nobis. (St. Joseph, pray for us). On the left is a statue of St Joseph carrying the infant Jesus and holding a lily in his right hand – a symbol of purity.
19) To the right of St. Joseph’s altar are the confessional boxes.
20) Above the West end of the Lady chapel is the Royal Sardinian coat-of-arms, which originally surmounted the organ in the old Sardinian Chapel.
21) Approaching the last row of benches, behind the pillar is a statue of St Jude, much invoked as the patron of hopeless cases and lost causes.
22) To the right is the small altar and statue of St Anthony of Padua, a simple and humble Franciscan Friar and Doctor of the Church who preached the Good News lovingly and with fearless courage, much invoked in cases of special difficulties and commonly referred to today as the finder of lost articles. Usually depicted with a book and the Infant Child Jesus in his arms. He was thought by his fellow friars to be uneducated yet became one of the great preachers and theologians of his day.
23) Statue of St Peter. In the Middle Ages pilgrims who reached Rome, touched and kissed the foot of the statue and prayed to St. Peter, asking that he be merciful and open the gates of Heaven for them if they died during the pilgrimage.


13th July 2014

In the parable of the sower Jesus reminds us that we need to listen to what God is saying to us. For many of us, this can be hard. There seems so many things we have to do each day and there seem so many distractions. Jesus understands this, which is why he gives us four examples of seeds falling on the ground. He is saying that it is only when we act on the word of God that our lives will change and bear fruit.

Many seafarers are hungry for the word of God. They often spend weeks or months at sea, with no human contact apart from other crew members. In such circumstances, it is easy to feel isolated, lonely and cut off from the spiritual life of the Church.

When Apostleship of the Sea chaplains visit ships in port, one of the things they try to do is help the seafarers to receive the word of God into their lives and nurture it. They might do this by praying or reading the Bible with them, or arranging for them to attend Mass in a local church. By sowing the Word, chaplains help seafarers grow in faith, which is what Jesus calls us all to do.
This Sunday we pray for all seafarers, and ask Our Lady, Star of the Sea, to keep them safe from all harm and to support the members of the Apostleship of the Sea in their pastoral ministry.

Did you know…..? Over 90% of merchandises worldwide are transported by nearly 100,000 ships, run by a workforce of approximately 1.2 million seafarers of all races, nationalities and religions.

Fr David Barnes, PP

PRAYER FOR SEAFARERS: Dear Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for seafarers who bring us food and goods from all over the world. We pray that you will protect them and keep them safe. Amen. Our Lady, Star of the Sea, pray for them.


6th July 2014

1. Your thumb is nearest you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember.

2. The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, nurses, counsellors, priests, sisters
and others in the caring professions. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in thc right direction. Keep them in your prayers.

3. Next is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leadcrs. Pray for our leaders in government, business and industry. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance.

4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger, as nursery piano teachers will testily. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain.They need our prayers day and night.

5. Lastly is our little finger, the smallest of all. Here we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. Your little finger should remind you to pray for yourself. You yourself know best your own needs and concerns.

PRAY THE ROSARY, even if you don’t have your rosary with you, with eight fingers and two thumbs you have “a decade”.



29th June 2014

The Church founded by Christ has SS Peter and Paul as its principal pillars. Peter was chosen by Christ to be his first Vicar on earth, endowed with the power of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt 16:13-19) and charged with the role of Shepherd of Christ’s flock (Jn 21:15-17). In Peter and his successors, the visible sign of unity and communion in faith and charity has been given. Divine grace led Peter to profess Christ’s divinity. St Peter suffered martyrdom under Nero, in A.D. 66 or 67. He was buried at the hill of the Vatican, where recent excavations have revealed his tomb on the very site of the Basilica of St. Peter. Paul was chosen to form part of the apostolic college by Christ himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-16). An instrument selected to bring Christ’s name to all peoples (Acts 9:15), he is the greatest missionary of all time, the advocate of pagans, the Apostle of the Gentiles. St. Paul was beheaded in the Tre Fontane along the Via Ostiense and buried nearby, on the spot where the Basilica bearing his name now stands (St Paul-outside-the-Walls).
(From the Daily Roman Missal, Scepter Press New York)


22nd JUNE 2014

“Let us ask ourselves….adoring Christ today present in the Eucharist: do I let myself be transformed by Him?” said Pope Francis last Thursday.

The following is an extract from Pope Francis’ homily, and is his commentary on the question as to how the multiplication of the loaves came about.

The answer lies in the invitation of Jesus to His disciples. “You yourselves give (to them)….,” “give,” share. What do the disciples share?
What little they have, five loaves and two fish. But it is precisely those loaves and fish that in God’s hands feed the whole crowd.

And it is the disciples, bewildered by the inability of their means, by the poverty of what they have at their disposal, who invite the people to sit down, and – trusting the Word of Jesus – distribute the loaves and fish that feed the crowd. This tells us that in the Church, but also in society, a key word that we need not fear is “solidarity,” that is, knowing how to place what we have at God’s disposal! Our humble abilities! It is only in the sharing, in the giving of them, that our lives will bear fruit. Solidarity: a word upon which the spirit of the world looks on unkindly!

Once again, the Lord distributes for us the bread which is His body, He makes a gift of Himself. We, too, are experiencing the “solidarity of God” with man,a solidarity that never runs out, a solidarity that never ceases to amaze us. God draws near to us, in the sacrifice of the Cross. He lowers Himself, entering into the darkness of death in order to give us life, which overcomes evil, selfishness, death.

Jesus today gives Himself to us in the Eucharist to share our journey – indeed He becomes food, real food that sustains our life even at times when the going is rough, when obstacles slow down our steps. The Lord in the Eucharist makes us follow His path, that of service, of sharing, of giving, and what little we are if shared, becomes wealth, because the power of God, which is that of love, descends into our poverty to transform it.

Let us ask ourselves, adoring Christ truly present in the Eucharist, do I let myself be transformed by Him? Do I let the Lord give Himself to me, guide me to come out more from my little fence, to get out and be not afraid to give, to share, to love Him and others?

Discipleship, communion and sharing. Let us pray that participation in the Eucharist moves us to follow the Lord every day, to be instruments of communion, to share with Him and our neighbour who we are. Then our lives will be truly fruitful. Amen.

Pope Francis, 19 June 2014


15th JUNE 2014

The human face reveals so much of who we are, and of what is going on in us. Pope Francis describes the TRINITY as “the face of God.” So today’s Feast of the MOST HOLY TRINITY celebrates the fact that GOD is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This revelation is God’s way of loving us, an act of faith and trust in humanity – in each of us – a declaration that God wants to be known and loved by us. Our response to God is enlivened the more we appreciate how infinite is God’s faith and trust in us: for we only reveal our inner self when we know we can trust someone. So today we celebrate too the fact that God has such faith in us and trusts us. God has complete faith in me: why do I not have complete faith in Him?

The revelation is that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three persons but one God. God is a community of life and love, and we are called to know God on a personal level, not as some abstract reality.

Jesus alone reveals God fully to man, and so it is to Him that we come: we are to be Christ centered. We express this most fully through the Mass, when in holy communion Christ shares himself fully with us. This we celebrate next Sunday on the Feast of Corpus Christi. The more Christocentric I am, the more I will understand who I really am! The more I recognise my true identity the more I will want to fall down and worship the God who made me, and wants me to know and love Him now and for all eternity – that is true happiness and fulfilment.

Fr. David Barnes, Rector


8th June 2014

“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful..”
This is our prayer today as we celebrate the Birthday of the Church. The Holy Spirit enlightens us, and leads us out of the dark places of our life. The following words of Joyce Rupp, and her poem, can helps us ensure how to let the Holy Spirit enliven us.

“As I was leaving for work one morning, I opened the door to the apartment and found a frightened, disorientated blackbird flying in the stairwell between the second and third floors. As it flew about in its search for freedom, the small bird kept hitting itself on the walls and ceiling. I opened the hallway door to the next floor where there was an open window for the scared creature to fly out. I tried to shoo the bird towards the window, but it kept going back to the small stairwell space. As I hurried down the steps, I hoped that the panicky bird would find its way out. But that evening when I returned hone, I sadly found an exhausted bird lying there dead. Later, as I reflected on my day, I thought about the bird. It was such a vivid picture of disorientation and unfreedom. The bird had no sense of a larger world. It had fixed its sight on a small space, seeing it as the only reality, and had missed the freedom of the open window. It was too caught up in its own fear and confusion to see a way out.”

(The Star in my Heart – Discovering Inner Wisdom By Joyce Rupp copyright 2010 Surin Books)

This story applies to all of us. Rather than banging our heads against a wall because we see no way out of some difficulty, we can search for an open window or door and take the hand of somebody who is willing to ditect us to it.


13th July 2014

In the parable of the sower Jesus reminds us that we need to listen to what God is saying to us. For many of us, this can be hard. There seems so many things we have to do each day and there seem so many distractions. Jesus understands this, which is why he gives us four examples of seeds falling on the ground. He is saying that it is only when we act on the word of God that our lives will change and bear fruit.

Many seafarers are hungry for the word of God. They often spend weeks or months at sea, with no human contact apart from other crew members. In such circumstances, it is easy to feel isolated, lonely and cut off from the spiritual life of the Church.

When Apostleship of the Sea chaplains visit ships in port, one of the things they try to do is help the seafarers to receive the word of God into their lives and nurture it. They might do this by praying or reading the Bible with them, or arranging for them to attend Mass in a local church. By sowing the Word, chaplains help seafarers grow in faith, which is what Jesus calls us all to do.
This Sunday we pray for all seafarers, and ask Our Lady, Star of the Sea, to keep them safe from all harm and to support the members of the Apostleship of the Sea in their pastoral ministry.

Did you know…..? Over 90% of merchandises worldwide are transported by nearly 100,000 ships, run by a workforce of approximately 1.2 million seafarers of all races, nationalities and religions.

Fr David Barnes, PP

PRAYER FOR SEAFARERS: Dear Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for seafarers who bring us food and goods from all over the world. We pray that you will protect them and keep them safe. Amen. Our Lady, Star of the Sea, pray for them.


6th July 2014

1. Your thumb is nearest you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember.
2. The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, nurses, counsellors, priests, sisters and others in the caring professions. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in thc right direction. Keep them in your prayers.
3. Next is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leadcrs. Pray for our leaders in government, business and industry. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance.
4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger, as nursery piano teachers will testily. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain.They need our prayers day and night.
5. Lastly is our little finger, the smallest of all. Here we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. Your little finger should remind you to pray for yourself. You yourself know best your own needs and concerns.
PRAY THE ROSARY, even if you don’t have your rosary with you, with eight fingers and two thumbs you have “a decade”.

29th June 2014
The Church founded by Christ has SS Peter and Paul as its principal pillars. Peter was chosen by Christ to be his first Vicar on earth, endowed with the power of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt 16:13-19) and charged with the role of Shepherd of Christ’s flock (Jn 21:15-17). In Peter and his successors, the visible sign of unity and communion in faith and charity has been given. Divine grace led Peter to profess Christ’s divinity. St Peter suffered martyrdom under Nero, in A.D. 66 or 67. He was buried at the hill of the Vatican, where recent excavations have revealed his tomb on the very site of the Basilica of St. Peter. Paul was chosen to form part of the apostolic college by Christ himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-16). An instrument selected to bring Christ’s name to all peoples (Acts 9:15), he is the greatest missionary of all time, the advocate of pagans, the Apostle of the Gentiles. St. Paul was beheaded in the Tre Fontane along the Via Ostiense and buried nearby, on the spot where the Basilica bearing his name now stands (St Paul-outside-the-Walls).

(From the Daily Roman Missal, Scepter Press New York)


22nd JUNE 2014

“Let us ask ourselves….adoring Christ today present in the Eucharist: do I let myself be transformed by Him?” said Pope Francis last Thursday.

The following is an extract from Pope Francis’ homily, and is his commentary on the question as to how the multiplication of the loaves came about.
The answer lies in the invitation of Jesus to His disciples. “You yourselves give (to them)….,” “give,” share. What do the disciples share?
What little they have, five loaves and two fish. But it is precisely those loaves and fish that in God’s hands feed the whole crowd.

And it is the disciples, bewildered by the inability of their means, by the poverty of what they have at their disposal, who invite the people to sit down, and – trusting the Word of Jesus – distribute the loaves and fish that feed the crowd. This tells us that in the Church, but also in society, a key word that we need not fear is “solidarity,” that is, knowing how to place what we have at God’s disposal! Our humble abilities! It is only in the sharing, in the giving of them, that our lives will bear fruit. Solidarity: a word upon which the spirit of the world looks on unkindly!

Once again, the Lord distributes for us the bread which is His body, He makes a gift of Himself. We, too, are experiencing the “solidarity of God” with man,a solidarity that never runs out, a solidarity that never ceases to amaze us. God draws near to us, in the sacrifice of the Cross. He lowers Himself, entering into the darkness of death in order to give us life, which overcomes evil, selfishness, death.

Jesus today gives Himself to us in the Eucharist to share our journey – indeed He becomes food, real food that sustains our life even at times when the going is rough, when obstacles slow down our steps. The Lord in the Eucharist makes us follow His path, that of service, of sharing, of giving, and what little we are if shared, becomes wealth, because the power of God, which is that of love, descends into our poverty to transform it.

Let us ask ourselves, adoring Christ truly present in the Eucharist, do I let myself be transformed by Him? Do I let the Lord give Himself to me, guide me to come out more from my little fence, to get out and be not afraid to give, to share, to love Him and others?

Discipleship, communion and sharing. Let us pray that participation in the Eucharist moves us to follow the Lord every day, to be instruments of communion, to share with Him and our neighbour who we are. Then our lives will be truly fruitful. Amen.

Pope Francis, 19 June 2014


15th JUNE 2014

The human face reveals so much of who we are, and of what is going on in us. Pope Francis describes the TRINITY as “the face of God.” So today’s Feast of the MOST HOLY TRINITY celebrates the fact that GOD is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This revelation is God’s way of loving us, an act of faith and trust in humanity – in each of us – a declaration that God wants to be known and loved by us. Our response to God is enlivened the more we appreciate how infinite is God’s faith and trust in us: for we only reveal our inner self when we know we can trust someone. So today we celebrate too the fact that God has such faith in us and trusts us. God has complete faith in me: why do I not have complete faith in Him?

The revelation is that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three persons but one God. God is a community of life and love, and we are called to know God on a personal level, not as some abstract reality.

Jesus alone reveals God fully to man, and so it is to Him that we come: we are to be Christ centered. We express this most fully through the Mass, when in holy communion Christ shares himself fully with us. This we celebrate next Sunday on the Feast of Corpus Christi. The more Christocentric I am, the more I will understand who I really am! The more I recognise my true identity the more I will want to fall down and worship the God who made me, and wants me to know and love Him now and for all eternity – that is true happiness and fulfilment.

Fr. David Barnes, Rector


8th June 2014

“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful..”
This is our prayer today as we celebrate the Birthday of the Church. The Holy Spirit enlightens us, and leads us out of the dark places of our life. The following words of Joyce Rupp, and her poem, can helps us ensure how to let the Holy Spirit enliven us.

“As I was leaving for work one morning, I opened the door to the apartment and found a frightened, disorientated blackbird flying in the stairwell between the second and third floors. As it flew about in its search for freedom, the small bird kept hitting itself on the walls and ceiling. I opened the hallway door to the next floor where there was an open window for the scared creature to fly out. I tried to shoo the bird towards the window, but it kept going back to the small stairwell space. As I hurried down the steps, I hoped that the panicky bird would find its way out. But that evening when I returned hone, I sadly found an exhausted bird lying there dead. Later, as I reflected on my day, I thought about the bird. It was such a vivid picture of disorientation and unfreedom. The bird had no sense of a larger world. It had fixed its sight on a small space, seeing it as the only reality, and had missed the freedom of the open window. It was too caught up in its own fear and confusion to see a way out.”

(The Star in my Heart – Discovering Inner Wisdom By Joyce Rupp copyright 2010 Surin Books)

This story applies to all of us. Rather than banging our heads against a wall because we see no way out of some difficulty, we can search for an open window or door and take the hand of somebody who is willing to ditect us to it.


25th MAY 2014

We are living in an age where there is real need for the Church to come together with one voice – one voice in solidarity against the injustice and oppression endured by our Christian brothers and sisters around the world.

Blessed John Paul II used to talk about a church that “breathes with both lungs” to explain unity between Eastern and Western Christianity.

 With this in mind, Pope Francis is determined that his historic meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem will be fruitful in reconciling the Catholic Chuch and the Eastern Orthodox Churches – and ensure that a Christian presence remains in the Middle East. Pope Francis wrote in his letter to Patriarch Bartholomew: “I am aware that you are deeply concerned for the situation of Christians in the Middle East and for their right to remain in their homelands. Dialogue, pardon and reconciliation are the only possible means to achieve a resolution of conflict.”

 For the Church, the Arab spring has turned into a Christian winter. The deepening crisis in Syria and rising Islamism in the region is threatening to uproot all Christians from the ancient biblical lands.

Let us pray that the Pope’s meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew will bring healing and hope to the region.

Neville Kyrke-Smith
National Director (Aid to the Church in Need)


18th MAY 2014

For the last few weeks all my spare time has been spent cleaning out cupboards and draws knowing that my days in St. Etheldreda’s Convent, Ely Place, were numbered. There was the excitement of choosing a flat, I really wanted to be as near as possible to St Anselm and St Cecilia’s, the choice was varied there were some lovely places around, lots of them way out of the budget I was given. All this activity made me think about the roots of our order.

Our Founder, Antonio Rosmini, began writing the constitutions in Calvario, Domodossala, Italy in 1850. The flrst sisters arrived in London in 1856, they taught in Southgate Street, Kingsland until 1875. There was another convent in Saffron Hill, the sisters there taught in St. Bridgit’s, Baldwin Gardens. The sisters have moved around, in 1902 the convent was number 20 Thaves Inn. We have had three convents in Ely Place, 1906 we moved into 28 Ely Place, later we moved again to number 15, and lastly to number 13, which is where I have been living for the last ten years and where I taught in our kindergarten in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I have always been happy living in London.

During the second world war 1939-1945 the sisters and some of the children were evacuated, during this time the Daily Telegraph staff used the convent as a hostel for their staff. After the war the convent re-opened as a Convent Day School until 1975. Not all the sisters taught in St. Etheldreda’s some went further afield to Voluntary Aided School in and around London.

I can remember we used to cook meals for the Priests next door and served it through a turn in the kitchen; this ministry is now discontinued.
My new address is: 70 Guilford Sq Flat number 1, WCIN 1DF. My telephone will be installed on 6th June 2014. My mobile number is: 07435580750.
It is good to be here working with Fr David and thank you, the parishioners for your generosity, kindness and prayers. I feel really blessed working with you.
Sr M Lucina, Parish Sister


11th MAY 2014


Pope Francis has a special devotion to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. The following helps us to understand why!

While studying in Germany in the 1980s, he discovered this devotion at the Church of St. Peter am Perlach in Augsburg. In the Church there is a painting from about 1700 that depicts Mary in heaven surrounded by angels. She stands on the crescent moon crushing the head of the serpent, Satan. She holds a long ribbon and is untying a large knot, one of several on the ribbon.

Perhaps the inspiration for this depiction of the Blessed Mother arises from the writing of St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons (martyred in 203) in his treatise “Adversus Haereses” (Against Heresies): Mary, the Virgin, is found to be obedient, saying: ‘Behold, O Lord, your handmaid. Be it done to me according to your word.’ Eve, however, was disobedient; and when yet a virgin, she did not obey…..Having become disobedient, (Eve) was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient, was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race…..Thus, the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith.”

This devotion had a profound impact on the devotional life of Pope Francis. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he introduced and encouraged the devotion to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. The devotion was so intensely popular throughout Argentina and Brazil that the British Guardian called it “a religious craze.”
The Prayer to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots is as follows:
Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exists in your heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exist in my life. You know very well how desperate I am, my pain, and how I am bound by these knots. Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of knots in the lives of his children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life. No one, not even the Evil One himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands, there is no knot that cannot be undone. Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with your Son and my liberator Jesus, take into your hands today this knot (Mention your petition here.)
I beg you to undo it for the glory of God once for all. You are my hope. O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution, and, with Christ, the freedom from my chains. Hear my plea. Keep me, guide me, O safe refuge.’

This beautiful ptayer, similar to the Memorare,” moves us to invoke the compassion of our Blessed Mother. In her maternal care for each of us, she wants us to remain close to her Son, Jesus. Never would she want the burdens of life to cause us to lose hope or despair.

Yes, sometimes our lives may seem one big knot due to circumstances beyond our control, as when we face the medical problem, financial disaster and difficulties in relationships. Yet, we look to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, who stood faithfully at the foot of the cross with her Son, trusting that every Good Friday will pass to the glory of Easter.

Moreover, poor children of Adam and Eve, we must look to the humble obedience of our Blessed Mother. So often the “knots” of life are of our own making. How often we “knot-up” our own life by disobeying the commandments and the teachings of the Church, and then even blame God and others (as did Adam and Eve) for what we choose to do. Nevertheless, with
humble and contrite hearts, we can depend upon the prayers and intercession of our Blessed Mother to show us the way and to help us unknot our lives so as to live in the freedom of God’s children.


4th MAY 2014

The gift of understanding is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis spoke about this gift last Wednesday. “Born of our sharing in God’s life through faith and baptism, the gift of understanding enables as to see in all things the unfolding of his eternal plan of love. The Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts and enlightens our minds, guiding us to an ever deeper understanding of Christ’s teaching and his saving mission. Like the disciples on the way to Emmaus, we often fail to recognise the Lord walking at our side and the working of God’s grace in our lives and the world around us. Yet thanks to the Spirit’s gift of understanding, our eyes are opened and our hearts burn within as (cf. Lk 24: 13-27) as we recognise the Risen Lord’s presence and view all things in a new light, with fresh spiritual insight. How important it is to implore this gift of understanding! Through it the Holy Spirit dispels the darkness of our minds and hearts, strengthens us in faith and enables us to savour the richness of God’s word and its promise of salvation.”

This coming Saturday (10th May) 8 of our parishioners receive the gift of the Sacrament of Confirmation in Westminster Cathedral at 2.00pm. Please pray for them: Boris Brako, Thelma Brako, Peter Coleman, Conor Connolly, Oliver Elkington, Anna Hopkins, Irene Kasozi-Batende, Paul Obanya.

MAY is MARYS MONTH. May we all deepen our love for her in these coming days. To understand Our Lady is to understand the Church.
Fr David Barnes, PP


27th APRIL 2014

TODAY is “DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY”, a feast given us by Pope John Paul II when he canonized Sr Faustina Kowalska on April 30 2000. St Faustina was a Polish nun who died in 1938 and to whom Our Lord entrusted much teaching about Divine Mercy.
TODAY we see how MERCY and HOLINESS are inextricably linked when Pope Francis canonises two recent Popes – John XXIII and John Paul II: both showed by word and deed that holiness is the fruit of embracing God’s mercy. Pope Francis writes: “Only someone who has encountered mercy, who has been caressed by the tenderness of mercy, is happy and comfortable with the Lord”. It is the experience of God’s mercy that enables us to grow in holiness, for God’s almighty power is made known most especially through mercy and forgiveness. In this way God’s unending and unchanging love for us is made known. The simple and wonderful truth is this – we cannot change God’s love for us (even by grave sin) because we simply do not have the power to change God!
THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION is the encounter with God’s mercy. Pope Francis writes “How many times in my pastoral ministry have I heard it said: ‘Father, I have many sins’, and I have always pleaded: ‘Don’t be afraid, go to him, he is waiting for you, he will take care of everything.’ We hear many offers from the world around us, but let us take up God’s offer instead: his caress of love,” and again, “God is indeed waiting for you: he asks of you only the courage to go to him.”
These two great Popes, John XXIII and John Paul II are today proclaimed as saints – or, in the time honoured phrase, are “raised to the altars.” Each showed us and taught us about the mercy of God: we in turn invoke their prayers that we may be living witnesses of God’s mercy and forgiveness. The only proof we know God’s mercy and forgiveness is that we show mercy and forgiveness to one another.
Fr David Barnes, Rector


13th April 2014


Jesus enters Jerusalem. The crowd of disciples accompanies him in festive mood, their garments are stretched out before him, there is talk of the miracles he has accomplished, and loud praises are heard: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!'(Lk 19:38).

Crowds, celebrating, praise, blessing, peace: joy fills the air. Jesus has awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten, those who do not matter in the eyes of the world. He understands human sufferings, he has shown the face of God’s mercy, and he has bent down to heal body and soul.

This is Jesus. This is the heart which looks to all of us, to our sicknesses, to our sins. The love of Jesus is great. And thus he enters Jerusalem, with this love, and looks at us. It is a beautiful scene, full of light – the light of the love of Jesus, the love of his heart – of joy, of celebration.

At the beginning of Mass, we too repeated it. We waved our palms, our olive branches. We too welcomed Jesus; we too expressed our joy at accompanying him, at knowing him to be close, present in us and among us as a friend, a brother, and also as a King: that is, a shining beacon in our lives. Jesus is God, but he lowered himself to walk with us. He is our friend, our brother. He illumines our path here. And in this way we have welcomed him today. And here the first word that I wish to say to you: Joy! Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy born of having many possessions, but from having encountered a person: Jesus, in our midst; it is born from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our life’s journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable, and there are many of them! And in this moment the enemy, the devil comes often disguised as an angel, and slyly speaks his word to us. Do not listen to him! Let us follow Jesus! We accompany, we follow Jesus, but above all we know that he accompanies us and carries us on his shoulders. This is our joy, this is the hope that we must bring to this wodd. Please do not let yourselves be robbed of hope! Do not let hope be stolen! The hope that Jesus gives us.
Let us ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary. She teaches us the joy of meeting Christ, the love with which we must look to the foot of the Cross, the enthusiasm of the young heart with which we must follow him during this Holy Week and throughout our lives. May it be so.


6th April 2014

The Raising of Lazarus

Through death, Lazarus had been cut off from his family and friends, bound like a mummy and buried. Jesus brought him out of the tomb, restored him to his family and spoke words of liberation: ‘Unbind him, let him go free’. Pope Francis has described ways that people can be robbed of life and the church’s sense of mission can die. He has named some features of our world which diminish life, things we must oppose to uphold life.

To ponder: The way our global economy has developed has consequences for peoples lives.

Pope Francis reflects on an economy of exclusion and inequality:
Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without means of escape. Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “throw away” culture which is now spreading. The Joy of the Gospel, 53

Question: How does the global economy impact on me and the people I know? Are there choices I could make to resist its negative effects?

To ponder: Our lifestyle affects others.

Pope Francis reflects on a lifestyle that excludes:
Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for others, pain, and feeling the need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility” and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us. The Joy of the Gospel, 54

Question: How conscious am I of those who produce goods I consume? How does this awareness affect the choices I make?

Questions for Reflection and Discussion 

1. How do I respond to the questions that Pope Francis has raised about the culture in which we live?
2. What are the main burdens that are weighing people down in our community?
3. What are we already doing to help those who are struggling? What more can we do?
4. How is our parish community supporting families, especially those with different structures or difficult experiences? Are there others we could help?

These notes were prepared by the Department for Evangelisation in the Archdiocese of Liverpool. 


4th SUNDAY OF LENT (Laetare Sunday)
30th March 2014

Jesus heals the man born blind.

To Ponder: The blind man responded to the gift of sight by sharing his new faith with others, but many things can stop us from doing the same.

Pope Francis reflects: In some people we see an ostentatious preoccupation for the Liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige, but without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God’s faithful people and the concrete needs of the present time. In this way, the life of the Church turns into a museum piece or something which is the property of a select few. In others, this spiritual worldliness lurks behind a fascination with social and political gain or pride in their ability to manage practical affairs, or an obsession with programmes of self-help and self-realization. It can also translate into a concern to be seen, into a social life full of appearances, meetings, dinners and receptions. It can also lead to a business mentality, caught up with management, statistics, plans and evaluations whose principal beneficiary is not God’s people but the Church as an institution. The mark of Christ incarnate, crucified and risen, is not present; closed and elite groups are formed, and no effort is made to go forth and seek out those who are distant or the immense multitudes who thirst for Christ. Evangelical fervour is replaced by the empty pleasure of complacency and self indulgence.

Question: is sharing the Good News of God’s mercy something we have forgotten about? Is it something important in my parish and in my life?

To ponder: There is more to sharing the Good News than preaching. Pope Francis reflects: Today, as the Church seeks to experience a profound missionary renewal, there is a kind of preaching which falls to each of us as a daily responsibility. It has to do with bringing the Gospel to the people we meet, whether they be our neighbours or complete strangers. This is the informal preaching which takes place in the middle of a conversation, something along the lines of what a missionary does when visiting a home. Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place: on the street in a city square, during work, on a journey.
In this preaching, which is always respectful and gentle, the first step is a personal dialogue, when the other person speaks and shares his or her joys, hopes and concerns for loved ones, or so many other heartfelt needs. Only afterwards is it possible to bring up God’s word.

Question: How are we sharing the Gospel already through our parish and in our daily lives?

These entries were prepared by the Department for Evangelisation in the Archdiocese of Liverpool. 


23rd March 2014

The woman at the well. 

To ponder: in today’s passage the woman at the well discovers that she is loved and so she is able to respond. The Pope puts this invitation (to know we are loved) and our response at the heart of the mission of the Church.

Pope Francis reflects: (from the Joy of the Gospel, n 39)
Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others. Under no circumstance can this invitation be obscured! All of the virtues are at the service of this response of love. If this invitation does not radiate forcefully and attractively, the edifice of the Church’s moral teaching risks becoming a house of cards, and this is our greatest risk. It would mean that it is not the Gospel which is being preached, but certain doctrinal or moral points based on specific ideological options. The message will run the risk of losing its freshness and will cease to have “the fragrance of the Gospel”.

Question: How can we attract others towards the “fragrance of the Gospel” whilst being faithful to the moral teaching of the Church?

To ponder: The Samaritan woman was seen by many as an “outsider”, but to God no one is excluded.

Pope Francis reflects: (from the Joy of the Gospel n 47)
The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that the church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door. There are other doors that should not be closed either. Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself “the door”: baptism. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.

Question: This challenges us to reflect on our pastoral practice: how can we live out what the Pope is suggesting? What are the “pastoral consequences”? Can we leave open the door of the Church?

Questions for reflection and discussion

  • In what ways are we already living out the vision of Pope Francis to be an open door community?
  • The Eucharist is “not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” What are the implications of this for our parish community?
  • The Pope quotes St. Francis de Sales saying: “A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar.” How can we put this into practice as a church, as a parish and as individuals?
  • Pope John XXIII called a parish “the village fountain where everyone could come and be quenched”. How is our parish community a place of rest and refreshment for those on the journey of life? How could it be more so?

PRACTICAL EVANGELISATION At the end of the Gospel the woman told others about Jesus and she brought them to meet Jesus. How can I find an opportunity to have a conversation with someone about Jesus this week? Who could I bring to Mass at Easter this year?

These notes were prepared by the Department for Evangelisation in the Archdiocese of Liverpool.


16th March 2014


It has been said that the only real regret lies in not being a saint (L Boy); we could also say that there is only one real poverty: not living as children of  God and brothers and sisters of Christ.

We might think that this ‘way’ of poverty was Jesus’ way, whereas we who come after him can save the world with the right kind of resources. This is not the case. In every time and place God continues to save mankind and the world through the poverty of Christ, who makes himself poor in the sacraments, in his word and in his church, which is a people of the poor. God’s wealth passes not through our wealth, but invariably and exclusively through our personal and communal poverty, enlivened by the Spirit of Christ. In imitation of our Master, we Christians are called to confront the poverty of our brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our own and to take practical steps to alleviate it. Destitution is not the same as poverty: destitution is poverty without faith without support, without hope. There are three types of destitution: material, moral and spiritual. Material destitution is what is normally called poverty, and affects those living in conditions opposed to human dignity those who lack basic rights and needs such as food, water, hygiene, work and the opportunity to develop and grow culturally. In response to this destitution, the Church offers her help, her diakonia, in meeting these needs and binding these wounds which disfigure the face of humanity. In the poor and outcast we see Christ’s face; by loving and helping the poor, we love and serve Christ. Our efforts are also directed to ending the violations of human dignity, discrimination and abuse in the world, for these are often the cause of destitution. When power, luxury and money become idols , they take priority over the need for a fair distribution of wealth. Our consciences thus need to be converted to justice, simplicity and sharing. The full text can be found on the Vatican website, as can Pope Francis’ “The Joy of the Gospel”.


9th March 2014


“He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor.8:9) 

So what is this poverty by which Christ frees and enriches us? It is his way of loving us, his way of being our neighbour just as the Good Samaritan was neighbour to the man left half dead by the side of the road. What gives us true freedom, true salvation and true happiness is the compassion, tenderness and solidarity of his love. Christ’s poverty which enriches us is his taking flesh and bearing our weaknesses and sins as an expression of God’s infinite mercy to us. Christ’s poverty is the greatest treasure of all Jesus wealth is that of his boundless confidence in God the Father, his constant trust, his desire always and only to do the Father’s will and give glory to him. Jesus is rich in the same way as a child who feels loved and who loves its parents, without doubting their love and tenderness for an instant. Jesus’ wealth lies in his being the Son; his unique relationship with the Father is the sovereign prerogative of the Messiah who is poor. When Jesus asks us to take up his ‘yoke which is easy’, he asks us to be enriched by his ‘poverty which is rich’ and his ‘richness which is poor’, to share his filial and fraternal Spirit, to become sons and daughters in the Son, brothers and sisters in the first-born brother.

It has been said that the only real regret lies in not being a saint (L. Bloy); we could also say that there is only one real kind of poverty: not living as children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ.

The full text can be found on the Vatican website, as can Pope Francis’ “The Joy of the Gospel”. 


2nd March 2014


LENT begins this Wednesday!  The ash placed on our forehead reminds us of our mortality: “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”. Our response is directed by “Repent, and believe the good news”.

The ash is placed in the form of the cross: it is the cross of Christ that sets us free from sin, and ultimate consequence of sin which is death. Lent is therefore a time of conversion, made up of shaking off all our sins and deepening our faith in the Paschal Mystery. Lent is indeed our preparation to celebrate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord with our mind and heart renewed.

PRAYER, FASTING and ALMSGIVING: these are to be our priorities. Prayer opening us to God, fasting disciplining our body and mind, and almsgiving showing love to those less well off. Before Ash Wednesday it is best to have worked out what we are going to do in these three areas. If we are not clear what we are going to try to do, we shall probably end up doing little or nothing: that would be sad, and a missed opportunity.

PRAYER is the subject of our Lent talks. Each Monday evening of Lent beginning 10 March, David Torkington will guide us through how our personal prayer can develop. We all need help on this, so please do come. David is a master of this subject and you will not be disappointed – it could change your life! Each talk is at 6.45pm in the parish Room.

SUNDAYS IN LENT will include teaching from Pope Francis “The Joy of the Gospel”. The more we encounter the Risen Lord, the more we experience joy.

PRAY that we shall all keep a good Lent.

Fr David Barnes. PP


23rd February 2014

TO OUR ARCHBISHOP, VINCENT NICHOLS, who today (22nd February), in Rome, received “the red hat”, symbol of his being made “Cardinal” by Pope Francis. We assure our new Cardinal of our loyalty and prayers. Cardinal Vincent is now a member of the College of Cardinals whose members are at the service of the Pope’s universal ministry as Pastor and Teacher. The College of Cardinals also elects the Pope.
TODAY (Saturday 22nd February) is the FEAST OF THE CHAIR OF ST PETER, which celebrates the fact that Our Lord conferred on St Peter the mission of PASTOR and TEACHER. We celebrate the foundation of the Church on Peter, and that he is the focus of unity for the Church. Hence the Pope “gives the red hat” on this Feast of the Chair of Peter.
CATHOLIC TEACHING sees that communion with Christ and communion with the Church are two sides of the same coin. So communion with Christ is effected through our communion with the Church, expressed in a particular way through recognising our Bishop (Cardinal Vincent Nichols) as out leader in the Faith in this Diocese of Westminster, and our communion with the Universal Church as expressed through Cardinal Vincent being in full communion with Pope Francis. Our loving panicipation in this communion fosters the peace and unity of the Catholic Church This communion is celebrated at every Mass, when we offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice and pray for Francis our Pope and Vincent our Bishop. Once again, we assure Cardinal Vincent of our congratulations, loyalty and prayers.
Fr David Barnes. PP


16th February 2014


GOD does not want us to sin. We do so because we choose to: we prefer our own will to the Will of God.
OUR LORD calls us to be holy, to choose to do the good. We are all moved to sin at times: it is then we must choose to say NO TO SIN so as to say YES TO GOD: this is when we experience the Cross!
EVERYONE wants a sense of self-fulfillment. The world looks for self-fulfillment by doing what you want, what makes you feel good (the feel-good factor). Sometimes people reinforce this by saying “l don’t mind what you do…..all I want is for you to be happy.”
OUR LORD’S TEACHING is very different. He says “the person who seeks to save their life will lose it, but the person who loses their life for my sake and the sake of the Kingdom will find it.” Self-fulfillment is found through self-transcendence. Happiness in the Gospel is found as a consequence of doing the true good (ie what Jesus teaches).
OUR POWER TO CHOOSE is the emphasis of today’s readings.
REFLECTION on the Word of God. “If you will, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice.” (first reading at today’s Mass). “All you need to say is Yes if you mean Yes, No if you mean No: anything more comes from the Evil One”. (Gospel reading at today’s Mass). Do not try to justify our wrong wrongdoing.

Fr David Barnes. PP


9th February 2014


In today’s Gospel we read ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled under foot by men.’

‘You are the light of the world.’ We are told our light must shine for all to see  (St Matthew 5 13:14) How do we keep this light burning? We have been given the wherewithal in the Sacraments of the church. We know there are seven Sacraments. Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Holy Eucharist, Sacrament of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. We need these Sacraments to help keep us stable and strong in order to be true followers of Christ.

The Sacraments are divided into:
The Sacraments of: Christian initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist);
The Sacraments of Healing: (Penance and Anointing of the sick;
and the Sacraments “of Communion and Mission: (Holy  Orders and Matrimony).
The Holy Eucharist is at the heart of the seven Sacraments, for us to use in our needs.

Let us ask God to help us use these precious gifts He has bequeathed to each one of us for His greater glory and the good of His Church, The Kingdom of God and His justice.

Sr. M. Lucina, Parish Sister


2nd FEBRUARY 2014

Mary and Joseph, following the Jewish Law, present Jesus to God in the Temple in Jerusalem 40 days after His birth. It is above all an act of thanksgiving, and consecrating Him to God.
SIMEON declares that this child will be a light of revelation to all peoples – that this child will reveal God fully to all humanity. Hence the feast is celebrated with candles, celebrating Jesus as the Light of the World, and the celebration of the fact that the person who follows Him “shall not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” The procession helps us understand that we are a people on a journey, following Jesus the Light of the World, and we are enlightened by Him.
DISCIPLESHIP involves suffering. Simeon tells Our Lady that a sword will pierce her own heart too. The joy of discipleship involves also the suffering that comes from loving – essentially of learning to do the Lord’s will rather than our own. This renunciation is in fact our pathway to freedom.
THANKSGIVING, DISCIPLESHIP and REPENTANCE are the key emphasis of our celebration today. Invoke the prayers of Our Lady and St. Joseph, that we learn better to know and do God’s will.
Fr David Barnes P.P.



26th JANUARY 2014

These were the words of the Holy Father at Mass last Friday in the Casa Marta chapel where he lives.

Reflecting on the conflict between King Saul and David which is the focus of the day’s Old Testament reading, the Pope said, David has the chance to kill Saul but he chooses “a different path: the path of dialogue, to make peace”.

All Christians, always, should follow the path of reconciliation, the Pope said, because that is what Jesus taught us, because Jesus showed us the way.
In order to enter into dialogue, the Pope explained, it is important to be meek, to be humble, even after an argument or a fight. It is important to “bend”, to be flexible, so as not to reach breaking point.

However, the Pope recognised, it’s not easy to build dialogue, especially when we’re divided by resentment. It’s not written in the Bible, he said, but we all know that to be meek, to be humble, we have to swallow a lot of pride-but we must do so, because that’s how we build peace, with humility.

Humility may be hard, Pope Francis said, but allowing resentment to swell in our hearts is much worse than attempting to build a bridge of dialogue.

When we allow resentment to grow, we end up isolated in the “bitter broth” of our own rancour. To be a Christian, instead, is always to be the bridge.

It’s important, Pope Francis continued, not to let too much time pass after a storm, after a problem. It’s important to build dialogue as soon as possible, because time allows the walls of resentment to grow taller and get in the way of the corn – when our walls grow tall, reconciliation becomes difficult!

“I am afraid of these walls” the Pope concluded, “these walls that grow taller every day, building resentment and hatred. Let us follow instead the example of David who defeated hatred with an act of humility”.



Last Sunday, Pope Francis announced the names of 19 men he has chosen “to receive the red hat”: among them is our own Archbishop Vincent. The following is the letter Pope Francis wrote to Archbishop Vincent.

My dear Brother,

On the day in which your designation as a member of the College of Cardinals is published, I offer you my cordial greeting and the assurance of my closeness in prayers. It is my hope that by this closer bond to the Church of Rome, clothed with the virtues and sentiments of Christ (cf. Rom 13:14), you will be able to assist effectively and in a fraternal spirit in my service to the universal Church.
The cardinalate is not a promotion, an honour or an award; it is simply a service which calls for a broader vision and a more expansive heart. Although it may seem paradoxical, this ability to see farther and have a greater, universal love can only be achieved by following the same path which the Lord himself took: the path of abasement and humility, in the form of a servant (cf. Phil 2:5- 8). For this reason, I would ask you please to receive this appointment with simplicity and humility of heart. Though it is fitting that you should do so with great joy, try to avoid any expression of worldliness and celebration not in keeping with the evangelical spirit of austerity, sobriety and poverty.
I look forward to seeing you, then, on the twentieth of February, when we will begin our days of reflection on the family. I am at your service and I ask you, please, to pray for me and to ask others to do the same.

May the Lord bless you and Our Lady watch over you.

Yours fraternally,


Cardinal-designate Vincent replied:

13th January 2014

Most Holy Father, 

I write to thank you for calling me to serve as a member of the College of Cardinals and for your gracious and inspiring letter. I hope that I can respond to this summons in the spirit of service and humility of which you write. 
I would also like you to know that your decision has given great joy not only to the Catholic community in England and Wales but also to many fellow Christians and many others in these lands. It is my privilege to come to your service on their behalf and with their encouragement and prayers. 
Most Holy Father, so many people are full of loving respect for you and constantly support you with their prayers. That is certainly the tradition of the faith in our countries. 
May I assure you of my constant prayers and thank you for this opportunity to serve the Petrine Office and the Universal Church. 

With my warmest greetings, 

Vincent Nichols 

Cardinal-designate Vincent “receives the red hat” in Rome on this coming 22 February.

Some of you may have written to Archbishop Vincent. Fr David Barnes wrote the following on behalf of our parish here:

Congratulations, best wishes and prayers for you on being named Cardinal, 

from all of us at SS Anselm and Cæcilia’s and asking your prayers and blessing 



12th January 2014

We are all here today to renew our commitment to Our Lord, made at our Baptism. Not a lot of people remember the day they were baptised, but promises were made on our behalf, or if we were older we made our own. Those promises entailed living Gospel values, spreading the Word and love of God to everyone we meet.

How do we do this? The Kingdom values are:
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
Blessed are those who mourn,
Blessed are the meek,
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice and righteousness,
Blessed are the merciful,
Blessed are the pure in heart,
Blessed are the peacemakers,
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

The last words of Jesus are “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in Heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the Prophets who were before you.”
Even after 60 years in the convent I still find these lessons of Jesus hard to follow and each day I have to make the commitment made way back in 1954, the Marian year, to try to live the way Jesus taught us.

Let us pray for each other as we continue on this road to perfection.

Wishing you all a very happy and prayerful Feast day.

Sr.M.Lucina – Parish Sister



5th January 2014

The word EPIPHANY comes from a Greek word meaning “to reveal, make known.” So just as in Bethlehem Jesus is revealed to the shepherds (representing the people of Israel) as God-with-us, so in the Epiphany Jesus is revealed to the Magi (wise men) or Kings representing all the peoples of the world as God-with-us.

The two traditions (wise men and Kings) speak to us that true greatness is to know our need for God, to know that without God we are incomplete. The Kings/Wise men would seem to have everything – status, money, power, knowledge and celebrity. Yet here they are on a journey, seeking wisdom and truth. Their journey leads them to Jesus, and on finding Him they fall down and worship Him. He is the answer to all they look for.

We are to learn from them: to be truly great and wise is to come to Jesus, fall down and worship Him. He alone is the complete answer to all we look for in life.

The gifts they bring are Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh – Gold represents Kingship, Frankincense divinity, and Myrrh anointing used for burial. Thus our Lord’s earthly life is revealed in the gifts – He is King of Kings, God made flesh, who will suffer and die on the Cross leading to His Resurrection.

What gifts do we bring to Our Lord?

Fr David Barnes, PP



29th December 2013  The Holy Family


The origin of this word is Old English for “mass /festival of Christ”. So Christmas is the Festival of the long-expected Christ (the Messiah) born in a manger in Bethlehem.

The shepherds and, later, the kings come to worship Him. The word “worship” is, again, from Old English and means to recognise the worth of something. The shepherds and the kings fall down and worship the Christ-child: that is, they recognise that He is Emmanuel, a name which means “God-with-us”. They recognise and embrace Him for who He really is. Do we? Do we fall on our knees and worship Him? Are we full of reverence and awe, wonder and love? As Catholics we believe Our Lord is as fully present on our altars as He was in Bethlehem: one description of the Mass is that it is “the extension of Bethlehem”. We come to worship Him, to recognise Him for who He really is, that is, the Lord “through whom all things were made”. When we genuflect, do so with a spirit of awe and wonder. To do so is to find our true place in the world, to find our inner self and to find true peace.

We can know our worship of God is genuine if it leads us to a deeper respect and reverence for one another. So sang the angels at the Birth of our Saviour
“Glory to God in the highest
and peace on earth to those who are God’s friends”.

The way to Peace in the world is to put God at the heart of all human life, beginning with our own.

Wishing you a blessed Christ-mass,

Fr David Barnes, Rector


15th December 2013


Evergreens have been symbols of immortality since at least Ancient Greece and Rome: so in the dead of winter, evergreens were often brought into the house as signs of life. Christmas trees in Christianity appear around the 15th century – at first in central Germany in public squares, then later in churches.

The Christmas tree in England became fashionable through Prince Albert in the 1840s. The tree was often decked with apples (which have developed into our baubles!): so the tree reminds us of the tree in the Garden of Eden which became a symbol of man’s fall from grace and his consequent feeling of alienation from God. The Christmas tree then comes to represents the tree of life, the tree of the Cross, whereby man’s reconciliation with God is made possible and eternal life is won for us . The lights remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world. The apples on our tree (not baubles) represent a fruitful life through our being grafted into Christ through our baptism. The wafers/shortbread (which in present times have developed into sweets/ confectionary) represent the bread of the Eucharist whereby Christ shares His life completely with us. So on our Christmas tree we have these traditional decorations. Gifts surround the foot of the tree, representing the gifts of the three Kings who brought their gifts to the new born King of kings. Understood in this way, the Christmas tree can be a potent symbol to celebrate the love and mercy of God who, while we were still sinners, sent His only Son into the world so that we may no longer live in darkness but have the light of life.

Fr David Barnes, Rector 


8th December 2013


The circle of the wreath and its evergreen branches represent eternity. The four outer candles are the four weeks of Advent, a time of preparation for the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Each week another candle is lit, helping us to see the coming of the Light of Christ, culminating in lighting the central candle at the first Mass of Christmas. The first candle (purple) is called the Prophecy candle and the candle of hope. The Prophets (especially Isaiah) foretold the coming of Christ, and since God is always faithful to his promises we can live in hope. The second candle (purple) is called the Bethlehem candle, and the candle of love. God’s love is revealed fully to us in the coming of Christ. The third candle (pink) is called the Shepherd candle, and the candle of joy (the angel told the shepherds good news of great joy). This Sunday is often known as Gaudete Sunday (the angel said to the shepherds ‘Gaudete…Rejoice). The fourth candle (purple) is known as the Angels’ candle and represents Peace. The fifth, central candle (white) is called the Christ candle and represents the coming of Our Saviour Himself. The Advent wreath is a great help to prepare for the coming of Christ, and to keep Christ at the centre of Christmas. Why not make one for your own home? It will help prepare our hearts with HOPE, JOY, LOVE and PEACE. Will we be awake and ready?

Fr David Barnes, Rector


1st DECEMBER 2013

POPE FRANCIS has written a letter to the whole church called “THE GOSPEL OF JOY”. The following is Archbishop Nichols’ introduction to it:

Pope Francis’ words are full of the ‘Joy of the Gospel’, the Exhortation’s very title. They are marked throughout by the immediacy of the Holy Father’s character and by the profound compassion which shines in all his actions.

This is a papal document with a difference. In it the Pope speaks of his ‘dream’ (27) and shares a humorous comment (135). But, at another level, it presents a searching examination of conscience for everyone who seeks to be a follower of Christ and for everyone who claims to have the good of society at heart. No one escapes its penetrating questions.

Yet these questions arise not from a burden of guilt but from a joyful heart, a generous heart which, expanded by God’s merciful grace (142), seeks to liberate and renew (24). The document is an exhortation to all of humanity to let our hearts be taken up into the very heart of God (178).

It presents a vision for the pattern of life of the Church present throughout the world, for parish life, for the work of the preacher, for the catechist, for the bishop, for the business person and the politician and for the ministry of the Pope himself. It contains a radical look at the crisis of poverty in our world and the role of economics. It offers a new light of the Church’s social teaching and calls for dialogue between faith, reason and science, with our Fellow Christians, with the Jewish community, with other religions and with society, especially in the context of religious freedom.

Indeed a spirit of freedom permeates this text as does the constant call for everyone to enter into the mercy of God and to offer that same mercy and compassion to others without reserve.

Pope Francis proclaims that by baptism we are called to be missionary disciples and that the spirit of our calling springs from this conviction: ‘We have a treasure of life and love which cannot deceive, and a message which cannot mislead or disappoint. It penetrates to the depths of our hearts, sustaining and ennobling us. It is a truth which is never put out of date because it reaches that part of us which nothing else can reach. Our infinite sadness can only be cured by infinite love.’ (265)

This Apostolic Exhortation lays out the enterprise which lies ahead of us all. It is inspiring and presents some of the challenges faced by our world today for ‘a Church without frontiers’ (210).

+Vincent Nichols 26 November 2013



24th NOVEMBER 2013

Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King: Youth Sunday

Dear Young Friends,

As you return to your homes, do not be afraid to be generous with Christ, to bear witness to his Gospel.
Jesus Christ is counting on you! The Church is counting on you! The Pope is counting on you!

May Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, always accompany you with her tenderness:
“Go and make disciples of all nations.”

Pope Francis Rio 2013


17th NOVEMBER 2013


End of the Year of Faith

My dear brothers and sisters,

Next Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King and marks the end of the Church’s Year. The Scripture readings today, then, are all about endings, both our own and the ending of the world, seen through the eyes of faith. The call of the Word of God is clear: do not be frightened; there will be fearful sights but not a hair of your head will be lost; the light of God will shine out with its healing rays. So we face the future with hope for we know that all endings are within the sight of God. even the most distressing. God has shown this to us clearly in the death of Jesus, the only Son of God. who died in agony and isolation. In Jesus, God embraced all our endings and in the Resurrection of Jesus made clear His will that they have a glorious final outcome.

Next Sunday also marks the end of the Year of Faith we have been following at the invitation of Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. This Year of Faith has had two main aims: that we rediscover and deepen the joy of believing and that we recover enthusiasm for sharing that faith with others. The first aim, we might well say, draws on the great strength of Pope Benedict, a graceful teacher of the faith: the second from the impact and priority of Pope Francis, that we get out there and show our faith by the way we live.

I hope that you can look back and recall points of impact of the Year of Faith in your lives. Through the year we pondered first of all faith in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father, incarnate of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, the importance of the sacraments, then the practice of the moral life and finally the place of prayer in our daily lives. But now we must look forward.

Next Sunday every Catholic parish in the world will profess its faith, in the Creed, with renewed heart and fresh determination. And what we profess with our words in church we must make clear in our lives in the world. So now we look again at how well we live our faith in every circumstance, how ready we are to stand out by the way we speak and act, not timid about giving an account of our faith, of our love of the Lord, of the place of prayer in our lives, of our commitment to do what is right and just.

Pope Francis has a phrase which describes this call. He says, over and over again, that we are to be ‘missionary disciples’. Yes we are disciples, those who wish to follow the Lord. We are his people, the People of God. But with that comes the task of being a missionary. Perhaps we are used to associating the word ‘missionary’ with overseas, with other countries. But the call of every follower of Jesus is to make his love present in every place, and to issue his invitation to every person.

At the end of Mass next Sunday we shall step out of the church with this fresh imperative ringing in our ears: go and make visible the love and compassion of God you have just celebrated. So what are you going to do?

Think, please, of your home life. What could you do to make faith more visible? A fresh pattern of prayer, shared by all present, before a meal or at the end of the day? Perhaps there could be more visible signs of faith in your home: a crucifix in each room or a statue in a prominent corner. Visitors should be in no doubt that they are entering a Catholic home, best of all by the way you behave, but also by what they see.

Then please think of your life at work, or in the company you keep outside your home. Can you be someone who is known and respected for being trustworthy? Someone who doesn’t gossip but will always have a kind word to say about others? Can you be someone to whom people know they can turn when they are in difficulty, someone prepared to understand and to help? Are you, or could you be, someone who readily offers to say a prayer for a person facing problems? Most people are ready to welcome such an offer. They know that there is more to life than the sum of human efforts, that there is a God who watches over us and can be turned to, even if they arc very unsure as to how to do it.

There is so much we can do, so much that is simple yet profound, deeply human yet showing our faith, especially in these times when many are in difficulty. So I urge you to look again at the patterns of your daily living in the light of the Lord’s call to be his missionary disciples. As we take so many different pathways in life, look out for those who are burdened, who feel lost, who are, perhaps, walking away from the Church, their hearts downcast. Walk with them. Listen to them. Speak only as little as possible, but from a heart full of compassion. And act in the way in which you speak. This is the way of the Lord, Christ our King. This is the way of faith. This is the way we proclaim afresh the coming of the Kingdom of God in our world today. May God bless you all.

+ Vincent Nichols Archbishop of Westminster