Mass Times

Saturday’s 6.00 p.m. and Sunday at 10.00 and 12.00 noon. Monday and Friday 9.00a.m and  Wednesday at 10.00a.m. Confession on request and feast days 9.00am.

The maximum capacity of the Church during this time before a return to normality is 50 people. Please wear a mask and keep a distance of 1.5 meters apart. On Sunday you can also go down to the hall and watch the Mass live on a big screen and come up to the Church to receive communion. 

God bless you and keep safe. Fr Clive

Harvest Homily – ‘The Canons Cat’

The beginning of October can feel messy; the summer has come to an end and the leaves have yet to change colour. However, it is a month in which we are invited by the Church to say five decades of the rosary and you may choose to do to do the mysteries of light remembering the power of Our Lady Help of Christians. Today and we celebrate the harvest remembering farmers here in the Uk and abroad who have struggled to provide us with food. Today 4th of October is also the feast of the much loved St Francis of Assisi whose name has been adopted by Pope Francis. He is patron Saint of Italy, Animals, the environment and of the poor.

We give thanks to God for our lives, our families and loved ones and all the graces that God has bestowed upon us.

The weather up to the end of August has been rather lovely. After the April lockdown I was able to do a lot of work in the garden and to meet up with people outside. The garden flourished and we had a bumper harvest of figs, berries and the best honey harvest ever. We had 3 crops of honey each with it’s own distinct flavour.

Last week while I was working in the garden a women attending a meeting stopped to say: ‘Father I love your garden but the sadness is that it is all passing’. The women had ariculated a truth acknowledged by Greek philosophers. All farmers understands that nature cannot be totally controlled. That sometimes no matter how carefully we look after plants and animals they can die and yet nature always surprises and delights us in that it changes from year to year and some things that haven’t done well one year suddenly thrive and vice-versa observing the power of nature can help us to be filled with a sence of wonder and to become small enough to recognise the great miracle and mystery of life.

St Francis understood this and saw beauty as as evidence of a loving creator. Towards the end of his life he composed a canticle giving thanks to God for the whole of Creation. ‘To brother fire so strong and bold!’ Remember a red hot poker was used to cauterise his eyes after they where infected. Life was for Francis a continuous process of renunciation. Sister death for Francis was the final renunciation and a gateway to life.

We have limited time. Time will run out. We have to make the best of what we have. If you don’t love now, when will you love? If you don’t give now, when will you give? If you don’t plant now for the future, build now for the future, when will you build? All that we have is on loan from God. All that we are and all that we have comes from one vast act of creation by God. The world is always new, right up to the present moment.

We are all part of this divine work of creation, all of us open to the continual work of God, all of us sharing in this continual work of God, because God gives us the power to share this work as we shape the world around us. So we never live for ourselves alone. We never have gifts for ourselves alone. Always we are linked to one another, all of us part of God’s creation, working in God’s vineyard. To play our part we have to give back to God through sharing the blessing with others, playing our part in creation by giving as well as receiving, thanking as well as asking, not only taking but sharing. St Francis knew that God was everywhere, and therefore could be found everywhere. As we play our part in looking after the creation that is God’s loan to us, where we care for the planet and care for one another we will never be far from God. Let us ask God therefore to open our eyes so that we may discern God’s presence and work with God.

 

Dear Parishoners, I’d like to bring to your attention a fantastic opportunity for you in this Year of the Word.  Mauro Iannicelli will deliver via live-streaming The Bible Timeline Course, starting onWednesday 4th November 2020 at 7.00pm, over 7 weekly sessions. See details below.

  • We would like to encourage as many people as possible to experience this inspirational course. To Register for the Course: https://comeandsee.org/registration.html
  • Ahead of the launch of the Course in November, you are invited to an Introductory Zoom Session with Mauro on Thursday 15th October 7.00pm-7:45pm, where you will be able to ask any questions you may have. To Register for the Introductory Session, please email: Catadmin@rcdow.org.uk

The Passage – Cookbook

Dear parishoners,

You may be interested in a new cookbook being published to mark 40 years of The Passage serving homeless people.

The Passage To commemorate 40 years of their charitable work and the homeless people they have supported during this time, The Passage will be launching a very special cookbook, A Taste of Home with a Foreword from HRH The Duke of Cambridge, and exclusive recipes from over 100 household names including: Nigella Lawson, Sir Paul McCartney, Stephen Fry, Yotam Ottolenghi, Diana Henry and many more. The book will also include stories and recipes from people who have been helped by the charity’s services over the years, shining a light on the challenges that they have been able to overcome with the right guidance, opportunities and resources.

A Taste of Home is priced at £25 and can be pre-ordered at Waterstones, or purchased online and from other book stores from 15 October, to coincide with The Passage’s anniversary month. All profits will go directly towards supporting people who are street homeless and in housing crisis during a particularly testing financial time for so many.

Visit www.passage.org.uk/tasteofhome for more information

Bishop Mark O’Toole welcomes Fratelli Tutti

On the Feast of St Francis Pope Francis released a new encyclical

In a Pastoral Letter to the Diocese of Plymouth, Bishop Mark O’Toole writes

My dear brothers and sisters

These last months have been challenging for us all. They will remain so, for the next foreseeable months, too, as we all strive to live our lives in the shadow of the pandemic, and at the same time to care for the weakest. What this experience is showing us is that we are all in the same boat. We are all vulnerable. We know more deeply now that life is precious. Human life is to be treasured. We share a common humanity. All of us are brothers and sisters. We recognise the great dignity of each person.

This is why we warmly welcome and embrace Pope Francis’ new Encyclical Letter, Fratelli Tutti, Brothers and Sisters, All, which was published today. The Holy Father reminds us that we share a common fraternity, because we are all made in the image and likeness of God. Pope Francis shares with us a remarkable vision of what it means to live a social friendship with one another, not just those whom we meet on a day to day basis, but those who are far from us, whom we must take the risk of coming to know and embracing.

We believe in a God who, in Jesus Christ, took on our human condition. Jesus is the brother who walks beside us in the journey of life and who challenges us to walk across the road to our brother or sister in need. He knew what it was to be hungry, to be poor, to be far from home, to be rejected, die the death of a criminal and to be buried in a borrowed grave. He is the Lord who has conquered death and the dark forces of hatred, violence and war. He shows us the path of true fraternity, of mutual love, which leads us along the way of beatitude and union with Him, and a deeper unity with one another.

I urge all of us to read and reflect carefully, and prayerfully, on this profound and beautiful letter which the Holy Father has written to us.

Let us join in the prayer which the Holy Father himself makes:

“O God, Trinity of love, from the profound communion of your divine life, pour out upon us a torrent of fraternal love. Grant us the love reflected in the actions of Jesus, in his family of Nazareth, and in the early Christian community. Grant that we Christians may live the Gospel, discovering Christ in each human being, recognising him crucified in the sufferings of the abandoned and forgotten of our world, and risen in each brother or sister who makes a new start. Come, Holy Spirit, show us your beauty, reflected in all the peoples of the earth, so that we may discover anew that all are important, and all are necessary, different faces of the one humanity that God so loves. Amen”.

I ask you, too, to pray for me.

Yours devotedly,

+Mark

Bishop of Plymouth

St Francis Canticle of all creatures

The Prayer of the Canon’s Cat!

Dear Lord,
I am only a cat,
a little furry carnivore who hunts to eat, which some people do not like.
But I have to say that’s Your fault, for You created me and all I can do is accept how You have made me!
In my defense, I have also been a friend to humans, an individual companion down the ages, even a god to ancient cultures and a friend of saints but reviled and killed along with wise women in a darker times!

Unlike my friend the dog I choose to do many things and go where I want to go, but I always return to the house of my humans.
I bless them with my purr, I respond with joy to their stroke.
I play with them in gratitude for the love you give me with them.
I see their joys and sorrows,
I rest beside them or sit on a knee,
when I am at one with them, I know I am Your healing touch.

I pray too for my big brothers and sisters hunted by other humans.
Shadows of their former glory, creatures of our planet pushed close to extinction by human stupidity.
Look after them as you look after me:
May they feel the shadow of your wings protecting them this day and every day!

Lord, I am grateful my humans are better than that, showing me love and trying to understand my ways, look after them.
I am sorry for the damage I do to those I hunt, but I ask You to help me understand a little better my place in creation and Your love for us all.
I sing your praise with my voice, meowing in hymns and purring in prayer for the many gifts and blessings you have given me.

So Lord, keep all living things in your love,
and at the last may I come with my humans and all other cats,
to sit by the fire in the hall of the Kingdom of `Heaven.
There may I rest in peace and contentment
with all living beings,
warm and secure in our true home.  Amen

Homily for Thanksgiving Sunday

I always think October is a messy month in-between autumn and summer.  However, it is a month in which we are invited by the Church to say five decades of the rosary and you may choose to do to do the mysteries of light remembering the power of Our lady help of Christians.  Today and we celebrate the harvest remembering farmers here in the Uk and abroad who have struggled to provide us with food and today 4th of October we celebrate the feast of the much loved St Francis of Assisi whose name has been adopted by Pope Francis; patron Saint of Italy,  Animals, the environment and of the poor.

We give thanks to God for our lives, our families and loved ones and all the graces that God has bestowed upon us.

The weather in 2020 here in England has been rather lovely and during the lockdown  I was able to do a lot of work in the garden and to meet up with people outside.  The garden flourished and we had a bumper harvest of figs, berries and the best honey harvest ever,  harvesting 3 times each harvest with it’s own distinct flavour.  Last week while I was working in the garden a women attending a meeting of the Irish elders stopped and said: ‘Father I love your garden but the sadness is that it is all passing’.  That is a truth acknowledged by ancient Greek philosophers,  but a farmer understands that nature cannot be totally controlled. That sometimes no matter how carefully we look after plants and animals they can die and yet  nature always surprises and delights in that it changes from year to year and things that in one year don’t do so well in the next suddenly unexpectedly thrive.  The power of nature helps us to become small enough to recognise the great miracle and mystery of life!

St Francis understood this and had always saw beauty as as evidence of a loving creator.  Towards the end of his life he composed a canticle giving thanks to God for the whole of Creation.  ‘To brother fire so strong and bold!’ remember a red hot poker was used to cauterise his eyes from infection.  Life was for Francis was a continuous process of renunciation. Death was the final renunciation and a gateway to life.

We have limited time. Time will run out. We have to make the best of what we have. If you don’t love now, when will you love? If you don’t give now, when will you give? If you don’t plant now for the future, build now for the future, when will you build? All that we have is on loan from God. All that we are and all that we have comes from one vast act of creation by God. The world is always new, right up to the present moment.

We are all part of this divine work of creation, all of us open to the continual work of God, all of us sharing in this continual work of God, because God gives us the power to share this work as we shape the world around us. So we never live for ourselves alone. We never have gifts for ourselves alone. Always we are linked to one another, all of us part of God’s creation, working in God’s vineyard. To play our part we have to give back to God through sharing the blessing with others, playing our part in creation by giving as well as receiving, thanking as well as asking, not only taking but sharing. St Francis knew that God was everywhere, and therefore could be found everywhere. As we play our part in looking after the creation that is God’s loan to us, where we care for the planet and care for one another we will never be far from God. Let us ask God therefore to open our eyes so that we may discern God’s presence and work with God.

Novena to St Francis

For a world under threat

Nine brief reflections asking St Francis of Assisi to pray for us and our world, based on his beautiful Canticle of the Sun.

This novena is a song of penitence and praise, guiding us to care for the earth and for our most vulnerable sisters and brothers, especially the Amazon peoples. They are currently under grave risk from coronavirus, given their fragile situation, often in remote locations far from government services.

Communities with whom we work are reporting a sharp increase in predatory attacks on land. People smugglers are also active and those being trafficked are in more danger than ever, having no access to healthcare.

The pandemic shows us that “we have not heard the cry of the poor and our seriously ill planet,” warns Pope Francis, describing this as “a time to choose what matters and what passes away”. (Urbi et Orbi, 2020)

Use these prayers over nine days or at nine moments of personal prayer. Each has four phases: Canticle; Amazon voice; penitential prayer; plea for intercession.

First prayer: Sun

“We praise you, Lord, for all your creatures,

especially for Brother Sun,

who is the day through whom you give us light.” (St Francis of Assisi)

“I dream that this Amazon, so beautiful and diverse, a gift from God,

this earth which gives life, our life, our mother, is not transformed into a desert.”

(Fr. Henri de Roziers, Pastoral Land Commission, Brazil)

Creator God,

We are nourished by your radiance.

Forgive us for the harm we cause your earth,

the heat and drought unleashed by climate change.

St Francis, you loved our sacred world,

you praised God ceaselessly

for his dazzling creation.

May we learn from your example.

St Francis, pray for us.

Second prayer: Night sky

“We praise you, Lord,

for Sister Moon and the Stars,

in the heavens you have made them

bright, precious and fair.” (St Francis of Assisi)

“We want the forest to remain quiet, the sky to remain clear,

the evening darkness to really fall
and for the stars to be seen.”

(Davi Kopenawa, spokesperson for the Yanomami people of Brazil)

Creator God,

your night sky offers rest and stillness,

yet we flood our cities with light.

Forgive us for our wasteful ways.

Brother Francis, you chose poverty not plenty,

walking lightly on the earth.

May we follow in your path

and reduce the trace we leave.

St Francis, pray for us.

Third prayer: Wind and air

“We praise you, Lord, for Brothers Wind and Air,

fair and stormy, all weather’s moods,

by which you cherish all that you have made.” (St Francis of Assisi)

“We ourselves are water, air, earth and life of this environment created by God.”

(Guaviare people, Colombia)

Creator God,

we have disturbed the natural cycle,

upset Earth’s fragile balance.

Forgive us for our lack of care.

St Francis, joyful steward of creation,

you lived in peace with nature and with God.

Inspired by your witness,

may we defend our common home.

St Francis, pray for us.

Fourth prayer: Water

“We praise you, Lord, for Sister Water,

so useful, humble, precious and pure.” (St Francis of Assisi)

“Now they even want to take our rivers, which have been ours forever.”

(Rusbel Castornoque, Kukama people, Peruvian Amazon)

Creator God, from your gift of water flows all life,

yet we pollute your clear springs.

Forgive us, as the earth cries out.

St Francis, you drank deeply

from Christ’s living water.

May we, like you, live simply

and prize the good things of the earth.

St Francis, pray for us.

Fifth prayer: Fire

We praise you, Lord, for Brother Fire,

through whom you light the night.

He is beautiful, playful, robust, and strong.” (St Francis of Assisi)

“The gift we have received is a fire,

a burning love for God

and for our brothers and sisters.” (Pope Francis, homily, 6 October 2019)

Creator God,

your flames blaze yet leave us whole.

But our fires destroy at reckless speed;

great forests fall beneath our feet.

Forgive us for our part in this.

St Francis, you loved wild places,

the trees and all their birds within.

May we protect each blade of grass,

be mindful of each breath of air.

St Francis, pray for us.

Sixth prayer: Earth

“We praise you, Lord, for Sister Earth,

who sustains us with her fruits,

coloured flowers, and herbs.” (St Francis of Assisi)

“There will be a point when we will not have this richness. And then what will we do?”

(Yésica Patiachi Tayori, Harakbut indigenous people, Peru)

Creator God,

we grieve for our Amazon sisters and brothers

whose lands are wrecked by greed.

We take more from the earth than we need. Forgive us.

St Francis, joyful steward of creation,

from you we learn to live with less,

to give and not to take.

St Francis, pray for us.

Seventh prayer: Those who suffer

“We praise you, Lord, for those who pardon for love of you,

who bear sickness and trial.” (St Francis of Assisi)

“I speak for my brothers and sisters who are threatened, assassinated,

who do not hold the rights to their land…

How long must we wait for a reply?” (Rosildo da Silva, Jaminawa Arará people, Brazil)

Creator God, open our hearts

to the sufferings of the landless poor

who endure violence and threat.

Forgive us for the sin of indifference.

St Francis,

you were jailed and beaten,

brother to the outcast.

May your compassion be our guide.

St Francis, pray for us.

Eighth prayer: Peace

“Blessed are those who endure in peace,

by you Most High, they will be crowned.” (St Francis of Assisi)

“We want to support a culture of peace and respect –

not violence and violation.” (Final document, Amazon Synod, 2019)

Creator God, we give you thanks

for those who work for peace

and dignity for all your children.

Brother Francis,

you came to heal, not harm the world.

You showed us how to live as one.

St Francis, pray for us.

Ninth prayer: Creation

“Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,

all praise is yours, all glory, honour and blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong.”
(St Francis of Assisi)

“Let us sing as we go.

May our struggles and our concern for this planet

never take away the joy of our hope.” (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’)

Creator God we praise your world

and look with awe on all that is.

May we commit to heal the earth

and share your gifts in faith and trust.

Brother Francis, in purity of heart

you gazed upon the world with love.

We ask you joyfully to intercede for us,

As guardians of our common home.

St Francis, pray for us.

There is also a version of the above prayes on the Cafod website: https://cafod.org.uk/Pray/Prayer-resources/Novena-to-St-Francis

The Return to Public Worship in our Churches

Dear Parishioners, as you will have heard, the Government is relaxing the current regulations and allowing certain events to take place from 4th July: among these, are acts of public worship. The Cardinal addresses this new situation in a video which can be accessed on the Westminster diocesan website, while specific guidelines and requirements are set out on the website of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England & Wales.

The obligation to attend Sunday Mass is still in abeyance. The Bishops ask individuals to consider attendance at a weekday Mass to reduce the possible pressure on space and time on Sundays.

It is intended that public services will begin again at in Saint Thomas More starting on Saturday 4th July at 6.00 p.m. and Sunday 5th July at 10.00 and 12.00 noon.  Mass on Monday and Friday is at 9.00am and on Wednesday at 10.00 am.  The maximum capacity of the Church during this time before normality is 30 people.   Please wear a mask and gloves and remember at this point in time the toilets are not in use, there is no music, the Mass is intentionally short and parishioners are asked to talk outside the Church. I look forward to meeting you again.

God bless you

Fr Clive

Mary’s Meals

Mary’s Meals feeds hungry children in 19 of the world’s poorest countries. The meals the charity serves in schools attract children into the classroom, where they can gain an education that will one day be their ladder out of poverty. It costs just £15.90 to feed a child with Mary’s Meals every school day for an entire year. Check the link below:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000kww4

 

22nd June is the feast of our patron Saint.

Michael Walsh, a Historian and parishioner of St Thomas More has written an article about our patron Saint which you can read by clicking here

Justice & Peace

Imagine:  A world where the stranger is welcomed, and celebrated

The challenging theme of ‘Imagine’ inspires the (mostly online) events during Refugee Week and may be found on its website, such as the People-Not-Walls virtual rally (see the e-bulletin), discussing how to establish human rights on our borders. Migrants in Northern France have suffered, not only from the threat of the Covid19 infection, but also the sudden disappearance of their emergency food and shelter provisions as volunteers have had to retreat to safe isolation.

Our Church continues unequivocally to Welcome the Stranger, both in practical ways and through advocacy.   The post-EU Immigration Bill is currently under discussion in Parliament and we commend wholeheartedly the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, as well as the Scottish Bishops’ Conference, for their critical letters to the Government calling for significant amendments to this vital piece of legislation.  In particular, they deplore the use of indefinite detention for asylum seekers. Read the full text of the Bishops’ statement at https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/39772

Our Bishops have also signed the Faith Leaders’ plea to the Prime Minister to enable the admission of unaccompanied minors abandoned across Europe, omitted by the proposed bill, in a letter organised by leading NGO, Safe Passage. This is an issue for which Safe Passage has campaigned, vigorously, and sometimes successfully: the admission of young migrants into the UK either under the Dubs Amendment or through the Dublin III provision for the reunification of families.  We remember the surprising, but welcome, recent arrival of 47 young people from the notorious Greek migrant camps shortly after Easter, due to the successful campaign by Safe Passage lobbyists.

Whatever the group, category or rights, we remember the Irish poem, ‘And the lark said in her song, “often, often, often, goes the Christ in the stranger’s guise.”’ In Refugee Week we celebrate and welcome the stranger.

Caroline Lees Paintings

Caroline Lees who painted the Icon of the resurrection and some of the icons in the Church has painted a series of pictures of Nurses and DRs to raise money for the NHS.  The 3 people in this picture are all from the same family:

Laudato Si’

Dear friends
Please see below and also attached a wonderful prayer written especially in this time of the global covid pandemic. – calling each of us to care for God’s creation and to care for each other in this difficult time.

CAFOD Coronorvirus Appeal

Difficult times these are for all of us, but Martin, the Parish Representative for CAFOD, asks you nevertheless to consider CAFOD’s urgent CoronaVirus Emergency Appeal. If you feel able to please do consider making a donation.

The effects of coronavirus on developing countries where CAFOD works are likely to be devastating. Food prices have risen, many are losing their jobs and income, healthcare is inadequate, washing regularly and social distancing are not possible. The poorest and excluded are most vulnerable. Families without enough to eat and without access to clean water and healthcare are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus.

CAFOD is adapting its programmes to help manage the risk of coronavirus in such communities, working to get food to where it is needed most; to improve hygiene, handwashing and sanitation in communities and households; spreading information on risks and prevention; and training community volunteers to help raise awareness. Hence this emergency appeal. More detail on the CAFOD website.

If you feel able to donate this can be easily done at  cafod.org.uk/coronavirusappeal  or contact Martin at martin.mcenery@outlook.com

Welcome to the webpages of the Roman Catholic Church of St Thomas More, Manor House.

Our postal address is 9 Henry Road, N4 2LH

You will find us off Portland Rise, south of Finsbury Park (near Manor House underground station)

You can contact us on:

T: 020 8802 9910

E: manorhouse@rcdow.org.uk

We are keen to hear from you!

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