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

Big hearts through red boxes

In our series on the caring side of our 3 Churches parish life we come to one of our most successful works, in fact so successful that we are 1st and 3rd out of the top 3 parishes in our diocese for the amount raised. In 2016 we gave the extraordinary amount of Christ the King £4,939.48 + St Brigid/St Paul £3,447.40 = Total £8,386.88. So what are the famous Red Boxes all about?
Since 1922, Missio has been the Catholic Church’s official charity for overseas mission, bringing the hope of the Gospel where there is turmoil, poverty and uncertainty in the world, and where the Church is new, young or poor. Missio empowers local people to form and sustain communities of faith and trains and nurtures future leaders so that the vital work of the Church in the world can take place.
Probably the best known wing of Missio is the Association for the Propagation of the Faith (APF). The APF assists all of the Catholic Church’s 1,069 mission dioceses to provide pastoral care and preach the Gospel effectively. It was founded in Lyon, France, in 1822 by a young French woman, Pauline-Marie Jaricot. She began by persuading local working people to support overseas mission by giving a farthing a week. A century later, when the organization was established in almost every country in the world, Pope Pius XI made it the official mission-funding society for the Catholic Church.
In England and Wales, funds for overseas mission are collected through the famous Red Boxes. These can be found in over 200,000 homes and they have helped raise millions of pounds for the missionary Church. The APF in England and Wales works collaboratively with the Mill Hill Missionary Society; the only major missionary society to have been formed in England. Mill Hill Missionaries are sent to the most remote places in the world to share the love of Christ with those who are in need, both spiritually and materially. Find out more at www.missio.org.uk
To all our box-holders, collectors and organizers – a huge thank you!

Fr Matthew