Grandparents of Jesus

By a tradition going back to the mid-second century, Sts Joachim and Anne were the parents of Our Lady, and therefore the grandparents of Jesus himself. They are not named in the Bible itself, but there has been devotion to them through the ages. We can call them the patrons of all grandparents!

Now I have to admit that I sometimes feel left out in this matter, because all four of my grandparents had died before I was born, the last one, my father’s father, six years before, so unfortunately I never knew them. I had to rely on my parents’ memories to learn more.

In these days of working parents, and longer life, however, many grandparents seem to be indispensable in family life, especially in the care of their grandchildren. How often I hear that they are busier now, helping their grown-up children with the school run, baby-sitting, etc, than they were when they were working.

So why not do something special on Wednesday for your grandparents. If they are around, and especially if they are helping you, show your appreciation in some special way. If, like mine, they have gone to their reward, pause to say a prayer for them. And, of course, if you are a grandfather or grandmother, then we all thank you for everything you do.

Lastly, things children say…

A 6 year old was asked where his grandma lived. “Oh”, he said, “she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her. Then, when we’re done having her visit, we take her back to the airport.”

And an 8 year old: “Grandparents don’t have to do anything except be there when we come to see them.”

Fr Matthew

Praying for our neighbours

One day this week I had two phone calls just 15 minutes apart from the same street in our 3 Churches area. No, it wasn’t to complain about parishioners’ parking, or burst water mains, or enquiring about Baptism or Catholic schools! It was to thank me – and all of us – for our prayers. The callers had just had our prayer cards dropped through their letterbox, another way in which we are reaching out in love.
One woman – neither was Catholic and I have never met either of them – went on to chat with me about her life and the problems she had been facing recently which she found difficult to handle. She said it was wonderful to think that somewhere nearby whole churches were praying for her. The other person also not a Catholic also wanted to show her appreciation of our thoughts and prayers when, like so many others, she was alone – an ‘aloneness’ which often turned to loneliness. You see, it might sometimes feel that we are getting nowhere in projects like this, as with various aspects of our lives – as individuals, families or parishes. I have had quite a few similar phone calls and emails – you just never know the effect of the smallest gestures!
It’s now a while since our 3 Churches Proclaim group, which reflects on how we can bring Good News to our neighbourhood and world, launched this prayer card project. We have now covered a large proportion of our area, which stretches from Caerphilly Mountain to Colchester Avenue – and that is thanks to all you helpers, fantastic people who week by week take turns to drop the cards in people’s letterboxes. There is no obligation to engage with the resident(s), no doorstep chatter – unless residents want to. Let us know if you would like to help…
The other part of this outreach is, of course, that we all do in fact pray for those who are receiving the cards in a particular week. Each week the names of the relevant streets in the area of our three churches are on the back page of this newsletter. Please do not let your eyes just wash over those street names.
Pause, and think of those two ladies who phoned me this week, and how much it meant to them, and to many, many like them. Indeed, perhaps you could make them part of your daily prayers at some point.

Fr Matthew

A poem for Daniel

Always for Others by Easter Almuena

You are the image and likeness of God
But with you the morning awakens
With the call to rise
Not for you
But always for others.

God handpicked you from a myriad of souls
Moulded you since you were a babe
To prepare you for a journey
Not for you
But always for others.

God blessed you with wisdom
To use to give form to his plans
And love to carry them out
Not for you
But always for others

Mary walks with you
Guiding and loving you
For to her you are a Christ
Not for you
But always for others.

You hold the Body of Christ
Embrace his name and proclaim it
And a father and counsellor you have become
Not for you
But always for others.

God forever bless you
Walk and carry you when your feet are weary
Bring peace and joy to your heart
For though your life is never for you
It is Christ’s and he delights in you.

Copyright © 2013 Easter Almuena