Shrines (and maybe wines? ..)

On Monday 5 November we invite you to the preliminary meeting in preparation for our 2019 September Pilgrimage. Our destination is the Burgundy region of France. Why? Yes, OK it is a top wine area of course, but Burgundy and its surrounds are also home to many important Christian sites.

The plan is to travel on Monday 9 September by ferry and coach (no flying), returning the following Monday. We will stay overnight at Chartres in both directions, with Mass and a visit of course to its world famous cathedral, one of the most beautiful in the world. Then travelling on via Nevers, with Mass at the shrine and incorrupt body of St Bernadette, we will stay 5 nights in or near the Burgundian town of Macon. From there we will visit Paray-le-Monial, origin and centre of devotion to the Sacred Heart, Taize ecumenical retreat centre, made famous by its music, and situated close to Cluny, site of one of the greatest abbeys of the Middle Ages.

North of Macon we’ll journey to Dijon, capital of Burgundy – home of the Palace of the Dukes (and home of mustard too) – and Beaune, the real capital of the Burgundy wine region, where we may just stop a while… South of Macon, at Ars we will celebrate Mass at the shrine of St John Vianney, patron of parish clergy, visiting his preserved presbytery, and then move on to the nearby incredibly elaborate Brou Church at Bourg-en-Bress.

Lastly we will visit bustling Lyon, second or third city of France (depending on your score). Founded by the Romans in BC 43, it has always been a key location through history, where the Rhone and Saone rivers join. Buildings of all periods from Roman remains to modern skyscrapers via everything in between – it is a world-famous capital of cuisine. Here we hope to have Mass at the hilltop shrine of Notre-Dame de Fourviere, with a tour of the city – and time for shopping!

It is not our intention to visit Paris or Lourdes on this trip, as there are many other ways to visit those beautiful places. Rather we offer you the opportunity to explore lesser know shrines and sites of France, with Billy Gill our gifted leader / organizer as usual.

Want to know more? We meet Monday 5 November 7.30pm at St Brigid’s Hall.

Fr Matthew

Serving together

We regularly hear appeals such as the recent Survive-MIVA one. And in our 3 Churches we always respond very well! We don’t hear appeals for our own churches very often – but next week we will. We’re calling it “Serving Together”.

So what’s it about? First it’s to thank all those among us who do so much to promote the work of Jesus through his Church in our 3 communities. After an appeal written by parishioners, you will then be invited to get involved yourself, especially if you have not done so before. On a sheet with lists of ways of serving, you’ll be able to select areas or ministries that you think you are gifted for or attracted to. And it’s a very long list, as you will see!

Last week I quoted from Cardinal Newman about finding our role or mission in life. Let me remind you of some of what he said:

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission… I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons… I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place…”

Indeed, we are all called to serve the Lord and his people in our own way. What a lovely image – that we are links in a chain that we call the Church, and an even bigger one that we call the family of the human race.

So please bring this into your prayers during this week. Ask the Lord to show you what gifts he has given you, and how best you could use them. Let’s polish up the chain to which we all belong – it’s all the work of the Lord!

Fr Matthew

The mission of my life

Cardinal John Henry Newman was beatified in 2010 by Pope Benedict during his visit to Britain. His feast is this Tuesday. Among his voluminous writings this passage seems to speak to many people. I make no apologies for printing it again here. It is packed with wisdom, so read it slowly, pausing wherever you find you can relate to what he says …

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.”

Blessed John Henry Newman 1801 – 1890