Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

one of our very committed parishioners, Maria Streat (38 years old), has recently become a widow. Her amazing husband passed away on Wednesday last week from a cancerous and very aggressive brain tumour that was only diagnosed 4 weeks ago, he was 42 years old. Maria is now left with 2 really young children aged 5 & 7 to care for. She has no idea how they will survive the heartbreak. As parish community, I think we can pray for them at this difficult time of loss, but also if anyone would like to support them in a concrete way, you may click HERE and consider making your donation. Thank you for your solidarity.

Fr Fortunato

From the Vatican Synod Office click HERE

From our Diocesan website click HERE

SUNDAY REFLECTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On Friday 15th October, it was the Feast Day of SAINT TERESA of AVILA, also known as: “LA MADRE”. Her favourite prayer to Christ ‘her Beloved Bridegroom’ was the verse taken from the Song of Solomon: “BESAME CON LOS BESOS DE TU BOCA ...”. It does not sound too spiritual or mystical! But Teresa was one of the greatest mystics of the Church, and the great Carmelite reformer. She founded convents all over 16th century Spain, praying: O God, deliver us from stupid nuns … and ignorant priests!
 
Of Jewish ancestry, LA MADRE was a woman of unsurpassed courage and insight. She reformed Carmelite religious life in accord with her own amazing gifts and feminine psychology. She suffered much masculine opposition and much ecclesiastical disapproval and hostility. But she stood firm. She was a reformer of warmth and humour and of great practical ability. She was a mother, sister, teacher and friend to many different people. Above all, it is her writings on prayer that continue to inspire Christians of all denominations in our own day. Have you read her “WAY OF PERFECTION”? OR her masterpiece, “THE INTERIOR CASTEL”? You should!
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Saint Teresa of Avila begins her famous book (The Interior Castle) about the soul’s progress in prayer and virtue by lamenting how little effort many people make to care for their immortal souls. She states that “faith tells us that we possess souls” made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, we should take time to consider the “soul’s great dignity and beauty,” and to “carefully preserve the soul’s beauty.” (Intr. 11; IC 28-29) She envisages the soul “as if it were a castle made of a single diamond” in which there are seven mansions (each mansion containing many rooms). The soul can journey within these mansions to unite itself to God, so as to plant itself, like a tree, in the “living waters of life.” This journey to God is the soul’s essential mission. Even in this lifetime, the soul can make it all the way to the seventh mansion where it is completely united with God. This journey is completed in Heaven where the soul experiences the beatific vision. If we knew how much damage one mortal sin does to the soul, Teresa believes we would go to the “greatest trouble imaginable” to avoid committing such a sin. “No thicker darkness” clouds the soul than mortal sin: it produces nothing but “misery and filth,” bringing “endless and eternal evils in its train.” (IC 33-34) This is powerful and precious words for our lives. We need to ask the intercession of St Teresa so to obtain the grace of making this journey and be united with God.
 
St Teresa died on 4th October 1582. But the very next day to facilitate the Gregorian Reform of the calendar, ten days were omitted, and so 15th October became her feast day. After her burial, her incorrupt body was exhumed several times for relics. Today most of her body is in Alba. But her heart and right arm are encased as separate relics. Her right foot and part of her jaw are in Rome! Her left hand in Lisbon. Her right hand, her left eye, and other fragments of her are scattered all over the world. She is everywhere! St Teresa of Avila, Pray for us!
 
Fr Fortunato Pantisano