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.