Wednesday 31 December 2014

A Happy & Peaceful New Year to you all.

Here is the Message of Pope Francis for New Year's Day, the World Day of Peace.

Sunday 28 December 2014

Online prayer resources

I mentioned in my homily this weekend that some families have found online prayer resources valuable as an aid to praying together, and to encouraging young people to pray. Here are a few that I like. There are many others. If you have a favourite, please email me the details and I will post them on this site.

  • Pray as you go has a daily audio reflection and an increasing number of other resources. It has recently produced very convenient apps for iPhone/iPad and for Android devices. All free!
  • Universalis is an excellent resource. It provides the daily Mass readings, and the Divine Office, the daily prayer of the Church, prayed by priests, religious and many lay people. There are a variety of different platforms explained here. They cost around £10 or £20 as a one off, and this allows you to install them on a number of devices. Although the website is unattractive, the apps are excellent and work very well indeed: I have used them on PC, Android phones, and iPads for a long time, and thoroughly recommend them. You can try them free before you buy.
  • Laudate for Apple (iOS) Devices and Android Devices is a very comprehensive free app. It has much of the material found on Universalis, but not always in the translations used in this country. It also provides links to other resources. It is not the most elegant app in the world, but is a useful place to start.

Lastly, to inspire us to make our homes places of prayer and faith, here is the Nazareth address of Blessed Pope Paul VI to which I referred in my homily.

Thursday 25 December 2014

Newsletter for 27/28 December - Holy Family

Click here to read this week's brief newsletter.
A blessed Christmas to you all.

For technical reasons there may be difficulties displaying this newsletter. If the link doesn't work correctly, here, at least, is the timetable for the week:

Sat 27 4.45pm Exposition & Confessions (until 5.15pm)
        5.30pm Mass for Susan Hewitt RIP
Sun 28 10.00am Mass for the People of the Parish
Mon 29 9.30am Mass for Peter Macdonald RIP
Tue 30 9.30am Mass for the Election of a new Bishop
Wed 31 9.30am Mass for Joseph & Margaret Hicks RIP
Thu 1 10.30am Mass for Patricia Daley RIP
Fri 2         10.30am Mass for Private Intention
Sat 3 4.45pm Exposition & Confessions (until 5.15pm)
        5.30pm Mass for Holy Souls (November list)
Sun 4 10.00am Mass for Intentions of Rev Andrew & Kathryn Martin

Sat 27 6.45pm Mass for Private Intention
Sat 3 6.45pm Mass for the People of the Parish

This week:
Mon: St Thomas of Canterbury; Thursday: Mary, the Holy Mother of God;
Fri: Ss Basil & Gregory — Abstinence from meat; Next Sun: Epiphany

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Monsignor in Rome

You may remember this picture of Monsignor Phelan meeting Pope Francis earlier this year. The January 2015 Nottingham Diocesan "Catholic News" tells  the story of  "An Unexpected Pilgrimage."
Click here and scroll to page 7 to read it.

O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Sunday 21 December 2014

Come home for Christmas

Information about Confessions and Christmas Masses here.

The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.

In my homilies this weekend, I recommend the use of the Angelus prayer. Traditionally it is said in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. You will find it in many Catholic prayer books. Here it is for those who are unfamiliar with it:

V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary....

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary....

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary....

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom
the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may, by His
Passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of His resurrection. Through the same Christ, our
Lord. Amen.

If you would like a printable version, click here.

Thursday 18 December 2014

Newsletter for 20/21 December Advent 4(B)

Click here to read the latest newsletter, which contains details of Confession times before Christmas, and our Christmas Mass times.

Monday 15 December 2014

Anyone for Coffee and Carols?

Father Colin will be there and would welcome the support of any parishioners. Buying him a de-caff is optional!

Thursday 11 December 2014

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Ebola Prayer

has invited all parishes and communities across England and Wales to hold those affected by the Ebola crisis in their prayers on the weekend of 13/14 December.

You can find prayer resources from CAFOD here, and special prayers for children here.

In particular you might like to use this heartfelt plea to the Lord from a Catholic bishop in Liberia:
God of the universe, of all creation, of all peoples;
Are you also the creator of EBOLA?
Yes, the river and not the virus.
The virus has decimated thousands in Earth's garden;
It has given birth to many hundreds of orphans, widows and widowers;
Hearts - laden with war's festering wounds - it has broken and torn apart.
Hope it swallows, faith it cripples, and love, humanity's most precious jewel, it imprisons.
The once poor economy is near extinction; the poor, your beloved friends, are hungrier and angrier.
See what Ebola has made your people to become: scum of the earth, virus carriers,
named viruses; your Ebola stricken children are being called viruses by many of your other children.
This is our cry, our story - told by people of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and beloved Liberia...
We beseech you, God Almighty, to destroy Ebola and its sources from the face of the earth forever!
Heal the painful and festering wounds of our hearts, spirits and bodies.
Give us the courage to gather the bones of lost dear ones and raise them up to life eternal.
Bless our many brothers and sisters here and abroad who are sacrificing immensely
so that some of us may live to tell our generations the tale of the EBOLA
PHENOMENON and of the goodness of God who never abandons his people.
We pray to you dear God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
+Tony Borwah
Catholic Diocese of Gbarnga

Sunday 7 December 2014

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness - Advent Pastoral Letter

At Mass this weekend, we heard a Pastoral Letter from our Diocesan Administrator, Monsignor Tom McGovern. You can read the letter here.

I particularly liked this section about  different aspects of the mission of the Church:
In her preaching of the Gospel, her celebration of the sacred liturgy and the sacraments, and her service of the wider community, the Church continues John the Baptist’s mission as the voice crying in the wilderness of the world in which we live. Whether it is her call for all people to repent of their sins and accept for themselves the salvation Christ freely offers us; her constant defence of the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death; her teaching that we should seek to live like Jesus in everything that we say and do; her vision of a different and better future for all the peoples of the world so that they may live in peace and fellowship enjoying the fruits of God’s Creation; her support of marriage and the family as being the bedrock of society; her giving a voice to the voiceless in their thirst for justice; her worship of God in Spirit and truth – in all these things, the Church is a voice crying in the wilderness, calling us to prepare a way for the Lord and helping us to live holy lives.
The letter makes two suggestions about ways in which we can straighten the Lord's path in our lives:
First, Advent, like Lent, is a good time for us to go to confession. The sacrament of reconciliation calls us back to God and restores the grace of our Baptism, when we were first consecrated to share in Jesus’ mission as Priest, Prophet and King; we humbly acknowledge our need of God, admit that we are not at the centre of our own universe, and receive the forgiveness which the Father freely offers us in Christ. When he was elected, Pope Francis said, ‘I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ This is a profession of faith that it would be good for all of us to make this Advent; let us use these few weeks to rebalance our lives, to make sure that Jesus is at the very heart of them. 
The second way is one in which we can help our friends and neighbours who used to join us for Mass on Sundays but maybe now do not. Why not invite them to join you for Mass? Or, even better, what about offering to walk with them or give them a lift next Sunday? It can be very easy to slip away from the practice of the faith and find excuses not to gather for Mass. But just as we make a big effort to gather our families around us on Christmas Day, we should make an effort to gather together as God’s family in his house every Sunday – and we should not leave the ministry of welcoming God’s people to others. As Catholics, the Mass is the source and summit, the beginning and end, of our week – and it is something that we should want to share with others when we are sent out at the end of each Mass on our mission to glorify the Lord in our daily lives.

Friday 5 December 2014

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Preparing for Christmas

At Mass this coming weekend we shall hear these words:
And so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins.
We spend so much time and effort preparing for Christmas. Let us not forget to prepare our souls for the birth of the Saviour. There is no better way to do this than by making a good Confession, and experiencing the joy of absolution.

Pope Francis constantly speaks of the mercy of the Lord and urges people to come and know his forgiveness. In one of his audiences in February this year he set out his thinking very clearly. You can read his words here. If you do not have time to read the full address, here are a few quotes to savour:
I cannot say: I forgive my sins. Forgiveness is asked for, is asked of another, and in Confession we ask for forgiveness from Jesus. Forgiveness is not the fruit of our own efforts but rather a gift, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit who fills us with the the wellspring of mercy and of grace that flows unceasingly from the open heart of the Crucified and Risen Christ.
One might say: I confess only to God. Yes, you can say to God “forgive me” and say your sins, but our sins are also committed against the brethren, and against the Church. That is why it is necessary to ask pardon of the Church, and of the brethren in the person of the priest.
 Do not be afraid of Confession! When one is in line to go to Confession, one feels all these things, even shame, but then when one finishes Confession one leaves free, grand, beautiful, forgiven, candid, happy. This is the beauty of Confession! I would like to ask you — but don’t say it aloud, everyone respond in his heart: when was the last time you made your confession? Everyone think about it ... Two days, two weeks, two years, twenty years, forty years? Everyone count, everyone say ‘when was the last time I went to confession?’. And if much time has passed, do not lose another day. Go, the priest will be good. Jesus is there, and Jesus is more benevolent than priests, Jesus receives you, he receives you with so much love. Be courageous and go to Confession!
On Wednesday evening, 10th December, there is a lovely opportunity to respond to the Holy Father's call. There will be Eucharistic Adoration with two priests available for confession, 6.30–8pm, ending with Benediction. Come and go during this time as you will. Relish the silence, and the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Take the opportunity to prepare yourself for Christmas by making a good Confession.  Remember, it is Jesus who welcomes you.

Monday 1 December 2014

A good start to Advent at OLOL

It was a delight to have many of the children and staff of St Charles School at Mass yesterday. The children took a very active part in the Mass.

At the end of Mass we were delighted to say thank you to Mrs Fran Smith, who retired at the end of the summer term this year. She was presented with the Benemerenti ("well-deserved") medal, awarded by the Pope, in recognition of her committed service to Catholic Education over many years.

Saturday 29 November 2014

Corrected newsletter for Advent 1

There was an error in the day of the midweek Adoration in the original newsletter. A corrected newsletter can be found here.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Newsletter for 29/30 November - Advent 1(B)

Click here to read the latest newsletter.

There will be Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on three additional occasions during Advent to help us to prepare prayerfully for the coming of the Lord. Here are the details of this and of the Christmas arrangements:

Monday 24 November 2014

Catholics praying for the dead - in music

Over the centuries the text of the Requiem Mass has been a source of the most enormous inspiration for composers. Here, to end my November series on praying for the dead, are two of my favourite extracts.

The first is from Mozart's Requiem. It seems to embody the pain of bereavement and separation, leading to the final impassioned plea, "Gentle Lord Jesus, grant them rest. Amen"

The second is by Gabriel Fauré, and sets the words of In Paradisum, often used at the end of the funeral Mass as the coffin is taken from the Church. I can almost hear the flutter of the angels' wings in this gentle music: May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs come to welcome you and take you to the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem. May choirs of angels welcome you and where Lazarus is poor no longer may you find eternal rest.

See you there.....

Thursday 20 November 2014

Thursday 13 November 2014

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Hope into Action

The Homeless problem is very much a part of our society in Britain today (a recent Government report said it had increased by 16% in the past year) . Although the reasons for someone becoming homeless vary, the effects it has on the individuals who find themselves in this position are equally devastating. When we see homelessness today and the effects it has on people it is no wonder there is a clear Biblical mandate to “ provide the poor wanderer shelter” Isaiah 58v7.  Helping address the effects of homelessness has always been a challenge for the church, and there have been many noble responses to this over the years, some of which still exist today.
Hope Into Action is a Christian charity set up with the single purpose of enabling churches to house the homeless.  The church is in a unique position to provide community support and God’s love to vulnerable people. Hope Into Action provides houses and training to rehouse the vulnerable in partnership with local churches. This is done alongside a professional support worker taking care of all the support issues and the property management aspect of housing. The church then provides a friendship and support group of individuals who are committed to providing the tenants community support, non judgemental relationships, practical support and prayer. With this in place the tenants have time and space to deal with some of the issues that drove them into homelessness in the first place and will give them a chance to take steps towards restoring their lives and living independently again.
Hope Into Action aims to put 2 people into each of its houses and each house linked to a church support group. Rent for this accommodation is paid for by housing benefits, which covers the maintenance of the house.
There is an opportunity for Hope Into Action to open a house in Ashby de la Zouch. What is needed is a group of volunteers from the local churches to commit to forming the friendship and support group and in particular an individual to head that group up. The group will then be fully trained by Hope Into Action and will have the support of a Hope Into Action support worker. The time commitment will vary depending on the individual tenants, but might be a few hours contact time per week. The support that is required is based around building a relationship with the tenants and can be done by inviting them for a coffee, inviting them to church, supporting some of their practical needs and praying for the individuals.
The set up of the house in Ashby de la Zouch is being overseen by Richard Meikle who is the Hope Into Action Nottingham coordinator. If you would like to be involved in this project or would like Richard to come and speak with you or your church to provide further information please contact him on  Please pray for this project and encourage any people you may know who have a heart for homelessness to get involved.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

How do Catholics pray for the dead?

We can pray the Rosary for our departed loved ones.

Psalm 129/130, De profundis, is often used in our prayers for the dead:
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice!
O let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleading.
If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt,
Lord, who would survive?
But with you is found forgiveness:
for this we revere you.
My soul is waiting for the Lord.
I count on his word.
My soul is longing for the Lord
more than watchman for daybreak.
Let the watchman count on daybreak
and Israel on the Lord.
Because with the Lord there is mercy
and fullness of redemption,
Israel indeed he will redeem
from all its iniquity.
We often use this very short, simple prayer:
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.
Our best prayer of all is the offering of Holy Mass for those who have died. When St Monica, mother of St Augustine of Hippo, was dying, her last request was: "One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be."

Sunday 9 November 2014

Why do Catholics pray for the dead? Insight from an unlikely source.

Those of my generation may remember the 'Bless me, Father' books from the 1970s. A young priest, Fr Neil, tells of his adventures with his elderly parish priest, Fr Duddleswell, played by Arthur Lowe in the TV series. There is a lot of nonsense in the books, but from time to time there are moments of insight. One such came to mind recently:

"The trouble with Protestant theologians, Father Neil, is they have no imagination. 'Tis their mistaken opinion that the bereaved like to think of their loved ones being taken immediately to Paradise."
My reaction must have put me among the Protestants. "When you lose someone you love," Father Duddleswell explained, "you experience the overpowering need to comfort them. 'Tis hard indeed to picture the dead as blissfully content while you are still shattered and torn by the losing of them. There must be attunement betwixt living and dead, you follow? The Church's teaching on Purgatory takes account of this."

I would not normally think of the (fictional) Fr Duddleswell as a reliable theologian, and it is certainly not safe to build doctrine on our emotional needs. It seems to me, however, that there is real pastoral insight in this passage.

This morning the Radio 4 "Sunday" programme reminded me that there was a strong movement to provide prayers for the dead in the Church of England following the First World War. Before that time, the official services of the Church of England did not provide such prayers, and to this day there are widely divergent views among Anglicans about whether it is appropriate to pray for the dead. Catholic teaching and practice has always encouraged us to pray for the dead. That helps me now. I am convinced it will help me even more when the time comes for me to go to God.

Chaplaincy Vacancy at De Lisle

There is a vacancy for a chaplain at De Lisle. Here is the relevant information.

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Thursday 6 November 2014

Why do Catholics pray for the dead? From the Catechism

1030    All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.
1031    The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire.
As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offences can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.
1032    This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: “Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.” From the beginning the Church has honoured the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead.
Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.

If you wish to learn more, you can find the text with links to footnotes (scripture passages etc) here.

CAFOD Ebola Appeal

CAFOD as part of the Disasters Emergency Committee is appealing for the support of the Catholic Community in its contribution to the fight against the Ebola Crisis. There will be a second collection at all Masses this weekend. It is perhaps worth reflecting that the rich west seems to be waking up to the health issues that face our brothers and sisters in poor countries in a new way now that one of those health issues is starting to affect us. Poverty kills far more people than Ebola ever will, but we often forget this, because rich people don’t die of hunger. So please support this appeal generously, but remember that the fight against poverty will still be with us when, please God, the Ebola crisis ends.

If you wish to donate online instead of via the second collection you can do so here.

Newsletter for 8/9 November - Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Click here to read the latest newsletter,

Monday 3 November 2014

Why do Catholics pray for the dead?

I remember visiting Father Peter Tierney in hospital, just a week before he died. He had recently found out that he had not long to live. He shared with me that he found the words of Cardinal Newman in the Dream of Gerontius very helpful in understanding the Church's teaching on Purgatory, the purification, cleansing that many of us need before we are ready for the glory of Heaven.

You might like to read, prayerfully, the closing section of this long poem below. Its gentle faith and hope may well help and inform your prayers for our departed loved ones this November. The words here are spoken to the departed soul by his guardian angel:

SOFTLY and gently, dearly-ransomed soul,
In my most loving arms I now enfold thee,
And, o’er the penal waters, as they roll,
I poise thee, and I lower thee, and hold thee.

And carefully I dip thee in the lake,
And thou, without a sob or a resistance,
Dost through the flood thy rapid passage take,
Sinking deep, deeper, into the dim distance.
Angels, to whom the willing task is given,
Shall tend, and nurse, and lull thee, as thou liest;
And Masses on the earth and prayers in heaven,
Shall aid thee at the Throne of the most Highest.

Farewell, but not forever! Brother dear,
Be brave and patient on thy bed of sorrow;
Swiftly shall pass thy night of trial here,
And I will come and wake thee on the morrow.

You may may also like to listen to the beautiful setting of these words by Sir Edward Elgar.

'Softly and Gently' Elgar's Dream of Gerontius, Anna Stephany from WiredForMusic on Vimeo.

Thursday 30 October 2014

Newsletter for 1/2 November - All Saints

Click here to read this week's newsletter.

To prepare for this weekend's Mass, you might like to reflect on these lovely words from the second reading:

Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us,
by letting us be called God’s children;
and that is what we are.
Because the world refused to acknowledge him,
therefore it does not acknowledge us.
My dear people, we are already the children of God
but what we are to be in the future
has not yet been revealed;
all we know is, that when it is revealed
we shall be like him
because we shall see him as he really is.

Saturday 25 October 2014

Loving God, loving our neighbour.

These are the words of Blessed Mother Teresa I quote in my homily this weekend:

I make a holy hour each day in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. All my sisters of the Missionaries of Charity make a daily holy hour, as well, because we find that through our daily holy hour our love for Jesus becomes more intimate, our love for each other more understanding, and our love for the poor more compassionate.

The time you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the best time that you will spend on earth. Each moment that you spend with Jesus will deepen your union with Him and make your soul everlastingly more glorious and beautiful in heaven, and will help bring about an everlasting peace on earth.

When you look at the crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you. When you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you now.

Friday 24 October 2014

Newsletter for 25/26 October - Sunday 30(A)

Click here to read the latest edition of the newsletter.

Closure of Ashby and District Hospital

I know a good number of parishioners took part in the recent survey from the Civic Society. We have received this update:
Improving Community Health Services for Patients in Ashby and District
Closure of Ashby and District Hospital
Information and News Bulletin 17th October 2014
Thank you for your support to the Ashby Civic Society about the future of Ashby Hospital.  Of more than 3,000 respondents to its survey, only 27 expressed a preference for the hospital to close.  We believe this reflects not simply nostalgia from the public but genuine concerns about local community healthcare and that the NHS is failing to deliver on the undertaking at the start of its “Fit for the Future” consultation: that it would be “improving” community health services for patients in Ashby and district.
A team from the Society recently took the results of its survey to a meeting with the Chairman of West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and other NHS representatives.   We have held a discussion with Andrew Bridgen MP.  We are liaising with Ashby Town Council and other representatives.  We have raised a number of issues at all levels of the NHS and with government bodies.
We are intending to take our survey to a meeting of the Board of Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust which will be held in The European Suite at Leicester Tigers Welford Road stadium on Thursday 30 October.  This is located on the first floor of the Clubhouse. Though members of the public may attend, please note that this is not a ‘Public Meeting’.   There is no requirement in proceedings for the Chairman to allow questions from the floor, but we are pressing for pre-submitted questions to be considered, directly or via Healthwatch Leicestershire, and we expect Ashby Hospital to be an important item on the Board’s agenda at which important decisions could be taken.
 Space will be limited, but it would be helpful to the Civic Society team to have a significant presence at that meeting to reinforce public opinion.  
The LPT Board meeting will commence at 1.00p.m and is scheduled to finish by 3.00p.m.  If you would like to support our attendance there please notify me as soon as possible.  We need to give fair warning how many seats could be wanted.  This will also help us with arranging car sharing.  Car parking is available in the Tigers Crumbie Car Park off Aylestone Road or in the NCP public car park next to the stadium. Some may also wish to stay on for a meeting of NHS ‘shadow governors’ which immediately follows the main Board meeting.
We have to be realistic.  It is likely to take prolonged pressure.  Even if we lose the hospital site we are determined to ensure it is not relinquished without every effort having been made to ensure patients are receiving a better service.
Kind regards,
Frank Bedford
Tel. 01530 467183

Sunday 19 October 2014

Address of Pope Francis at the end of the Synod on the family

As well as the final message, the Speech of Pope Francis at the conclusion of the Synod has now been published. Again, it is well worth reading. In it he reflects on the Church and on his his own role as Pope:
So, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church.”

Saturday 18 October 2014

Message from the Synod on the Family

At the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, the Synod Fathers have released this Message.

I haven't had time to study it in depth, but there seems to be much that is positive and encouraging here.

The message concludes by reminding us us that this year's Synod is part of a longer process. I would like to commend to you the closing words with the prayer that ends the document:

We Synod Fathers ask you walk with us towards the next Synod. The presence of the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their modest home hovers over you. United to the Family of Nazareth, we raise to the Father of all our petition for the families of the world: 
Father, grant to all families the presence of strong and wise spouses who may be the source of a free and united family.
Father, grant that parents may have a home in which to live in peace with their families.
Father, grant that children may be a sign of trust and hope and that young people may have the courage to forge life-long, faithful commitments.
Father, grant to all that they may be able to earn bread with their hands, that they may enjoy serenity of spirit and that they may keep aflame the torch of faith even in periods of darkness.
Father, grant that we may all see flourish a Church that is ever more faithful and credible, a just and humane city, a world that loves truth, justice and mercy.

Friday 17 October 2014

This Sunday's Readings...

...made me think about Pope Benedict's address to Politicians, Diplomats, Academics and Business Leaders in Westminster Hall 4 years ago. You might like to reflect on this section:

 ...the fundamental questions at stake in Thomas More’s trial continue to present themselves in ever-changing terms as new social conditions emerge. Each generation, as it seeks to advance the common good, must ask anew: what are the requirements that governments may reasonably impose upon citizens, and how far do they extend? By appeal to what authority can moral dilemmas be resolved? These questions take us directly to the ethical foundations of civil discourse. If the moral principles underpinning the democratic process are themselves determined by nothing more solid than social consensus, then the fragility of the process becomes all too evident - herein lies the real challenge for democracy.
The inadequacy of pragmatic, short-term solutions to complex social and ethical problems has been illustrated all too clearly by the recent global financial crisis. There is widespread agreement that the lack of a solid ethical foundation for economic activity has contributed to the grave difficulties now being experienced by millions of people throughout the world. Just as “every economic decision has a moral consequence” (Caritas in Veritate, 37), so too in the political field, the ethical dimension of policy has far-reaching consequences that no government can afford to ignore. A positive illustration of this is found in one of the British Parliament’s particularly notable achievements – the abolition of the slave trade. The campaign that led to this landmark legislation was built upon firm ethical principles, rooted in the natural law, and it has made a contribution to civilization of which this nation may be justly proud.
The whole address is well worth reading. It gives great insight into some of the issues raised by today's Gospel

Thursday 16 October 2014

Newsletter for 18/19 October - Sunday 29(A)

Click here to read the latest edition of the newsletter.

This Sunday is also World Mission Sunday. You can learn more here.

Monday 13 October 2014

Toy Appeal

Youth Worker Vacancy

The Catholic parishes of the city of Derby are looking for a dynamic and inspiring Youth Worker who:
·         has a passion for and experience in gathering and inspiring young people in their faith
·         is a gifted communicator
·         will liaise with and support clergy and catechists in the preparation, celebration and follow up for the sacrament of Confirmation.
·         will develop a programme for Young Leaders within the city parishes.

Based in Derby city. 24 hours a week. £20,000 per annum pro rata.

For an application pack please contact Fr Paul Newman, St Alban’s, The Presbytery, Roe Farm Lane, Derby DE21 6ET or email



Faith in Families Christmas Shopping List

Faith in Families
Shopping List 2014

Christmas pudding
Mince Pies
Tea Bags
Chocolates/ selection boxes
Tinned meat / fish
Tin Custard
Tin cream

If you can supply any of these items, Faith in Families will need them at
7 Colwick Road, Nottingham, by Thursday 4th December 2014

Thank you for your support

One Wednesday in Rome....

Sunday 12 October 2014

Jesus' invitation: Deacon Andrew's homily

Click here to read Deacon Andrew's moving and challenging homily for the 28th Sunday of the Year.

Friday 10 October 2014

Statement on Marriage

As some of you will have already noticed, the Diocesan Statement on Marriage as reproduced in the newsletter has some errors. As Morecambe and Wise  might say, all the paragraphs are there, but not necessarily in the right order! Some are there twice. I think it's fairly easy to work out what it should say, but here is the full, correct statement:

God the Father has created marriage as a mutual and exclusive covenant between one man and one woman, by which they establish between themselves a loving and intimate partnership of their whole life, which of its own nature is ordered both to the well-being of the spouses themselves and to the procreation and education of children. It is a true vocation entered into for life, for what God has joined together no one can put asunder. Our Lord Jesus Christ has raised marriage between two baptised people to the dignity of a sacrament.
The Church welcomes with joy those who wish to marry in accordance with her teaching. At the same time, the Church is aware of the many pressures of modern life which can endanger their commitment, their relationship and their family life. She is constantly concerned to help those who wish to marry to be prepared as fully as they can be to make this loving and lifelong commitment. For this reason:
 1. A couple who wish to marry should speak to their parish priest at least six months before their proposed wedding date, and should not make any other arrangements concerning their wedding until they have spoken to him.
2. The parish priest is responsible for preparing couples for marriage. He will often be assisted in this important work by a deacon, a group of parishioners or members of other organisations.
3. Any marriage involving a Catholic should be celebrated in their parish church. With the permission of their parish priest, the marriage may be celebrated in another parish. A marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic may only be celebrated in a non-Catholic church with a dispensation, which will only be granted for a serious reason.
4. If a Catholic wishes to marry a non- Catholic, the Catholic will be reminded of their obligation to preserve their faith, and will be invited to make a sincere promise to do all in their power to have their children baptised and brought up in the Catholic faith. The non-Catholic partner will be informed of this promise, but will not be asked to make any such promise.
All couples preparing for marriage need and are entitled to receive the support of the Church, so that they will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit as they prepare for, celebrate, and live out the commitment which they will make at their wedding. The Church thanks all those married people who show great constancy and faithfulness in their vocation, and prays that their example may inspire all who are preparing to marry. This statement is appointed to be read at Mass or published in the parish newsletter in February and October each year.
It seems particularly good to reflect on this at this time of the Synod on the Family in Rome. Let us ask  Saints John XXIII and John Paul II and Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin to pray for the Synod, and for a true understanding of marriage and family life in God's plan throughout our society.

Thursday 9 October 2014

Newsletter for 11/12 October - Sunday 28(A)

Click here to read the latest newsletter.

This weekend, we are asked to pray for all prisoners and those who work with them.

Monday 6 October 2014

Sunday 5 October 2014

Lisieux photos

I gather some people have not been able to see the photos of Lisieux I posted yesterday: not all browsers support the necessary plug-in. If you have had difficulty, you should be able to view them here. As usual, clicking on the small photos will display the full-size version.

Saturday 4 October 2014

A few days in Lisieux

I have been in Lisieux for the feast of St Thérèse with a party of priests and deacons from our Diocese. I hope to share a few insights over the next weeks, but here, to start with, are a few pictures.

If you click on any of the pictures in the slideshow you can scroll through a larger version of the pictures at your leisure and read the captions more easily.

Saturday 27 September 2014

CAFOD Harvest Fast Day

At Mass this weekend we receive our Fast Day envelopes. We deny ourselves something on the Fast Day, Friday, October 3rd. We return the envelopes with what we have save (and perhaps a little more....) when we come to Mass next weekend. Please include the Gift Aid form if you are a taxpayer. More here. Please be generous.

You may be interested to know that CAFOD have published a cookbook called 'Friday Suppers.' It is written for CAFOD by Pauline Curran with a foreword by Delia Smith, and is packed with 40 delicious meat-free recipes. It is ideal for people looking for fresh inspiration for simple and tasty family meals, and for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint by eating less meat. If Delia says it's OK it must be good! Friday abstinence is good for the soul - and the environment. Win win!

Thursday 25 September 2014

Yet more on the Family Synod

After I posted yesterday,  More on the Family  Synod, a video of the rest of the press conference given by Cardinal Nichols and the Marriage and Family Life Project Officer, Elizabeth Davies, was made available by the Bishops' Conference. In it the Cardinal answers searching questions from journalists about the Synod, and Elizabeth Davies talks about some of the ways the Church in this country is trying to support family life:

Journalists ask questions at the Family Synod press conference from Catholic Church (England/Wales) on Vimeo.

Double Newsletter - 27/28 September & 4/5 October

The latest newsletter covering the next two weekends, Sundays 26 & 27(A) of the Church's Year can be viewed here.

Wednesday 24 September 2014

More on the Family Synod

After I posted about the Synod of Bishops on the Family earlier today, I came across this video where Cardinal Nichols talks about the Synod. It is very thoughtful and reflective. Some parts are very beautiful. One or two sections are perhaps a bit more difficult to grasp. It is worth listening to what the Cardinal says, and particularly to his call to pray for the Synod, and to ask the prayers of St John XXIII and St John Paul II.

Foundation Governors in Catholic Schools

Foundation Governors are entrusted by the Bishop with the ministry of school governance and will always act in recognition of the love of Christ for all members of the school community and one another.
The role of the Governing Body is to provide support, guidance and legal responsibility for the strategic direction of the school.  Governors should be a 'critical friend'.  The Governing body makes decisions, reviews, supports and encourages the school and its management direction.
Governors also have very important statutory duties to the school and the role the Governing Body plays in the school is a vital one.
Governors  are the strategic leaders of our schools and have a vital role to play in making sure every child gets the best possible education.

Many of our Catholic Schools are seeking Foundation Governors, including Blessed Robert Sutton Catholic Sports College at Burton.

If you want to know more about being a Foundation Governor in a Catholic School, please read the Being a Governor Factsheet

If you would like to think more seriously about being a Governor, talk to Fr Colin,
or contact Neil Weightman Tel: 01332 293 833 ext 233.
Alternatively, you could complete and submit an Expression of Interest Form. On receipt of your completed form, the Diocesan Governor Support Team will contact you to discuss your expression of interest. 

Synod of Bishops on the Family 2014

Family life will be the focus of an extraordinary general session of the Synod of Bishops that will meet at the Vatican between 5-19 October 2014. Around 150 Synod fathers will take part in the meeting to discuss the "pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation." It is expected to last two weeks.

Pope Francis has asked that the Church sets aside a Day of Prayer on Sunday 28 September to pray for this important international meeting.

You can also look back on the last Synod of Bishops meeting on the family held in 1980 that resulted in the document Familiaris Consortio.

You will find a number of links with interesting background and preparatory material about the Synod here.

Above all please respond to the call of Pope Francis to pray for the Synod. Here is a prayer he himself wrote:

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.


Our Lady of Walsingham

The Collect for today's feast of Our Lady of Walsingham is particularly beautiful. You may like to pause and pray it now.

Grant we pray, almighty God,
that as in the mystery of the Incarnation
the Blessed and ever Virgin Mary
conceived your Son in her heart
before she conceived Him in the womb,
so we, your pilgrim people, 
rejoicing in her motherly care,
may welcome him into our hearts
and become a holy house fit for his eternal dwelling.
Who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Saturday 20 September 2014

Harvest Thanksgiving

This Sunday we welcome children from St Charles Catholic Primary School to participate in our 10am Mass, as we thank God for the Harvest.

Thursday 18 September 2014

Joyce Foster RIP

The newsletter refers to a card from Beaumont House thanking us for the donations in memory of Joyce. It was good to see some of the wonderful staff from Beaumont House at Joyce's funeral. May she rest in peace. Amen.

Home Mission Sunday

This weekend is Home Mission Sunday.

Here is a prayer you might like to use:
Loving and merciful Father, we know and believe that you are near and are attentive to our every need.
We bring before you now all those we hold dear, who are distant from the family of faith, the Body of Christ.
Silently bring to mind the people that you know to whom this applies
We ask in the name of Jesus, Your Son, that you bless them abundantly. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, use us to reach out to them in a way that they feel free to respond.
May we all seek and discover afresh the joy of faith and life in Christ, and always remember that your ways are not our ways, that the last will be first, and the first last.
You can donate to the evangelistic work of the Church in England and Wales here.

Newsletter for 20/21 September - Sunday 25(A)

Click here to read the latest newsletter.

Monday 15 September 2014

Vacancies in Local Catholic Schools

There is a vacancy at St Charles', Measham, our own lovely school, for a Classroom Teacher (fixed term contract to cover maternity leave). Details here.

St Winefride's  at Shepshed are seeking to appoint a headteacher. Details here.

De Lisle are seeking to appoint a Lay Chaplain. Details here.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Newsletter for 13/14 September - Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Click here to read the latest newsletter.

What are these Christians about, exalting an instrument of torture?

  •     First, we rejoice that something so terrible should have been transformed into a means of redemption for the whole human race.
  •     Second, we remind ourselves of the fact that Christianity is not an abstract and spiritual religion. It springs from God’s direct intervention in the affairs of the world, a real historical event involving real people and, in the end, a real execution on a real cross.
We may theorise and theologise all we like; but all our theorisings and theologisings are nothing without the history on which they are based. Take away that history – take away the Cross – and Christianity is nonsense.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

The Triumph of the Cross

Next Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation (or Triumph) of the Holy Cross. I am reminded of this story, which I heard years ago, as I start to prepare for next weekend's Masses:

The Archbishop of Paris once stood in the pulpit of Notre Dame Cathedral. He was there to preach a sermon, and his sermon was built around a single story. Thirty years earlier, he told, there were three young tourists who had come into this very cathedral. All of the young men were rough, rude, and cynical persons, who thought that all religion was a racket. Two of these men dared a third to go into the confessional box and make a made-up confession to the priest. The two bet that the third young man did not have the nerve to do as they dared.
The third young man went into the confessional box and tried to fool the priest. But the priest knew that what the young man was saying was a lie. There was a tone of arrogance in the young man’s voice - which could not go without notice. After hearing the confession, the priest told the young man his penance. The priest said, "Very well, my son. Every confession requires a penance, and this is yours. I ask you to go into the chapel, stand before the crucifix, look into the face of the crucified Christ and say, ‘All this you did for me, and I don’t give a damn!’ "
The young man staggered out of the confessional to his friends, bragging that he had done as they dared. The other two young men insisted that he finish the performance by doing the penance. This young man made his way into the chapel, stood before the crucifix, looked up into the face of Christ and began, "All this you did for me and I ... I ... I don’t ... I don’t give a ...."
I have deliberately omitted the end of the story. If I tell you:
1. the story is true.
2. the Archbishop was not breaking the seal of the Confessional
what conclusion can you draw?

Friday 5 September 2014

Sunday's First Reading - and St Gregory

As I have reflected on the First Reading for the coming weekend I have kept going back to a reading I, like ever other priest, read on Wednesday, the Feast of St Gregory the Great.

To help you prepare for Sunday, you might like to take a look at them both, and see if the connections ring any bells for you.

Thursday 4 September 2014

Newsletter for 6/7 September - Sunday 23(A)

Click here to read the latest edition of the newsletter.

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Vacancies at St Charles' School, Measham

There are vacancies at our lovely school for:

More details at  from the school — 01530 270572 or

Tuesday 2 September 2014

New Parish Facebook Group

You can now keep in touch with parish life through Ashby and Measham Catholic Parishes Facebook Group. At present there is little on the page, but I will ensure that there are links to this blog whenever is updated. I will also post items which may be of interest and strengthen our faith and prayer life.

Please join the group.

Saturday 23 August 2014

You are Peter

Then Simon Peter spoke up,
‘You are the Christ,’ he said, ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you:
You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church.

These last words from this weekend's Gospel  are the foundation of our faith in the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, the successor of Peter. Even though Deacon Andrew is preaching at all the Masses this weekend, I have found myself pondering them throughout the week. As you probably know, music is very important to me, and two settings of these words, one very old, one very new have kept coming to my mind. You might like to listen as you reflect on the conversation between Jesus and Peter above.