Joining the journey

Have you already begun your preparations for Christmas? How about making some space for that inner aspect of Advent which can so easily get forgotten, the inner journey to Bethlehem… This year in our 3 Churches we have an opportunity for some excellent quality spiritual preparation for our celebration of the Birth of Christ.

During the week starting Monday 26 November we will start a series of groups gathering to follow a book, much like we did earlier in the year with the successful “Do You Love Me?”. This time the resource is called “Journeying towards Jesus” and is written by the very respected Redemptorist priest and scripture scholar Denis McBride CSsR. As before, groups will gather at different times on different days, but this time round we invite you to choose your time and contact the leader direct – their details are below – to find out exact time and location of your chosen group’s gatherings. Friends who followed “Do You Love Me?” might well want to make this journey together too. Each group goes at its own pace, and doesn’t have to finish by 25 December!

The book is very well produced and illustrated, and packed with commentary, reflections, and material for us to think and share about. One group in the parish already has used it and recommends it highly. The title “Journeying towards Jesus” reminds us of the travels of the Shepherds and the Wise Men, but challenges us also to join them and journey closer to Our Lord. Who is this extra special Baby, how close to him really am I, and what does he mean for my life?

Monday afternoon Tess Evans 2075 5528
Monday evening Esther Mahoney
Wednesday afternoon Sheila Roberts
Thursday afternoon Nigel Tuck
+ another one or more, details to follow

I invite you to get involved in this project. You will get so much from it, and, who knows, almost certainly you will be able to give so much to it!

Fr Matthew

Their angels rejoice

Many of my most memorable moments as a priest – and as a human being – have been in the context of a death. Anointing the seriously ill, comforting and working together with a bereaved family to prepare a funeral, and of course celebrating the funeral itself – these are extraordinary moments that touch us to the core, and I remember very many of them.

And very often in the midst of all I sense the presence of Another, a man young but infinitely full of experience, love and wisdom. I’ve called on him so many times when faced with difficult situations, and without fail he is there, hidden but profoundly real. The Man who quietly slipped out of his own sepulcher one Sunday morning, is now available to all of us, when we open the door of our sometimes broken hearts, and invite Him in.

Fr Matthew

Some asked for the words of the Malcolm Guite sonnet I used on the Feast of All Saints, so here they are:

A Last Beatitude

And blessed are the ones we overlook;
The faithful servers on the coffee rota,
The ones who hold no candle, bell or book But keep the books and tally up the quota, The gentle souls who come to ‘do the flowers’, The quiet ones who organise the fete,
Church sitters who give up their weekday hours, Doorkeepers who may open heaven’s gate. God knows the depths that often go unspoken Amongst the shy, the quiet, and the kind,
Or the slow healing of a heart long broken Placing each flower so for a year’s mind. Invisible on earth, without a voice,
In heaven their angels glory and rejoice.

Malcolm Guite, from “Sounding the Seasons”, Canterbury Press


A busy November

The month of November begins this Thursday, and there is plenty to feed and celebrate our faith and parish life.

  • Thursday 1 November is the feast of All Saints. Don’t forget that this is still a Holy Day of Obligation, when we honour all those, known and unknown, who have gone before us and are with the Lord in heaven.
  • Friday 2 November is the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, usually known as All Souls.
    Our November Memorial Books will be available throughout the month for your to write the names of those you want remembered in our Altar List Masses.
  • Saturday 10 November. We celebrate our Mass of Memories at 10am in St Brigid’s. Always well attended, you are invited to come to remember your own loved ones, whenever they died. We mention those we have lost these last twelve months, and offer the opportunity to light a candle.
  • Sunday 11 November Centenary Remembrance Sunday. It is 100 years since the end of World War I in 1918, so Remembrance Sunday this year takes on a special meaning.
  • Sunday 25 November Feast of Christ the King 40th Anniversary of the opening of the Church. The Primary School help the celebrations at 6pm Mass on the Saturday, followed by refreshments, while on the Sunday we will reverse Masses with St Brigid’s. That is 9am Mass will be at St Brigid’s, and 11am at Christ the King when the Archbishop will join us. A celebration meal at the New House will follow (see details elsewhere)
  • In the last week of November we will start a new series of faith sharing and discussion groups, following on from “Do You Love Me?” This time we will follow a book by Fr Denis McBride called “Journeying Towards Jesus” – specially written for this time of year. (Leaders’ gather on Wednesday 7 November 7.30pm at St Brigid’s Presbytery)

Fr Matthew