Saturday, 29 November 2008

The Advent Season - Opportunities for Prayer

The New year of the Church begins this weekend with the season of Advent. This holy season is a time of preparation for the appraoching feast of Christmas. It is a time for us to think how we will wlecome the Lord of the Universe not just at Christmas, but when he comes as Judge of the world on the last day.
There are many ways in which we can prepare. One way is by making a sincere confession. Preparing our hearts to recieve Christ the Lord by getting rid of all the things that get in the way, namely our sins.
Confession times at St Maries are as follows:
Wednesdays 11:45am - 12:10pm
Saturdays 10:30am - 12:00 noon
Christmas Eve 10:30 - 12:00 noon
In addition to going to Confession you can spend some extra time with the Lord in prayer and reflection. By means of helping us to do this there there will be Evening Prayer and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament on all Sundays of Advent at 3:00pm. Take some time out of the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations and spend some time with Our Lord in prayer. It will not be time wasted.

Monday, 24 November 2008


After three attempts to find our parish primary school I finally made it!!! I have spent the whole day there today meeting with the staff and pupils. I must say from the outset what a tremendous welcome I received from Mrs Robinson our headteacher and her dedicated staff. St Marie's is a school that we can be proud of and I am delighted to be able ot serve at its chaplain.
The morning was taken up with visiting all the classes. Well that was my aim but I spent longer in some classes than in others and as a result didn't get round the whole school. That just means I will have to devote anothe day to our school, which I am more than happy to do.
In the afternoon I accompanied the French teacher around the school helping out in the classes. I don't know who was the more surprised, the children or the teacher when I began speaking French upon entering the class!!! Two boys who were speaking Polish were even more surprised when I leaned over and said 'teraz po angielsku, prosze' - Now in English please!!!
Advance notice is given that the children from our Primary School will be attending the 9:15am Mass in church to mark the end of term. I look forward to welcoming them.


Eeeee I wonder what he'll be like? I wonder what he'll change? Will he be like the last one? Theae are questions that have been on the lips of many parishioners at St Marie's for the last couple of weeks. Now the wait is over. On the Feast of Christ the Universal King, Father Francis Wadsworth took up his duties as Parish Priest.
For those who were unable to attend Mass at St. Marie's this weekend here is the text of his first homily to the people for whom he now has the care of souls.
For those who seek to become British citizens from other countries there are now a whole series of tests that one has to complete before being granted citizenship: the ability to speak the language, tests to show awareness of the history and traditions of the country. For those seeking entry to our country they are important tests.

Every nation has its own traditions, history, values and language – things that unite it and give it a sense of common identity and common purpose. Every parish has its own traditions and customs too. As your newly appointed parish priest I am conscious of having stepped into the tradition which is St Marie’s.

I expect a number of you will be wondering what the new priest will be like. Will he change anything? Will he be the same as Fr. Carr? The answer to both these questions is inevitabely, yes. As each new priest comes along there are bound to be changes as no two priests are alike . Thank God for that, I hear you cry! But in many ways some things will stay the same and be done in the same way that Fr. Carr did them because they are part of the tradition of Holy Mother Church or of this parish.

One of the blogs I enjoy reading on the internet is called the Hermeneutic of Continuity. This blog written by a priest of Southwark Archdiocese where I trained for the priesthood seeks to bring together the Traditions of the past and contemporary modern culture. Not everything in the past was bad just as not everything in the present is good. We pray for the wisdom to know the difference and to discern like the householder elsewhere in the Gospel to bring from our treasure store things that are old and new.

The old joke of how many Benedictines does it take to change a light bulb and the superior shouting back ‘Change, we don’t do change’ can have no part in the history of the Church. The Church has grown, developed and changed many times in her long history and will continue to do until the end of time. Likewise this parish has seen many changes over its long history and will no doubt see many more.
As many of you know at the end of May Fr Morrow will be retiring from St Joseph’s Parish. I will then take on the pastoral care of that parish too. For that to happen there will need to be change – Mass Times (I cannot offer Mass in two churches at the same time)–But no doubt you will say 'I don't care which Mass you cancel, Father as long as its not the one I go to.' Provision will need to be made for our excellent primary school of St Marie, St Gabriel's High School and Holy Cross College. The care of the sick and housebound and no doubt many other things will need to be carefully considered as to how best we proceed.
We cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend it will not happen. When Fr Simon Stamp, the Bishop's Secretary rings up a priest to ask him to come and see the Bishop the priest usually asks why the Bishop wants to see him. Fr Stamp tactfully replies 'I don't know, Father. But I am sure its nothing to worry about.' In the same way questions about what the future will hold and how will be cope with two churches and one priest my answer is the same as Fr. Stamp's 'I don't know but I'm sure its nothing to worry about.'
Together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and with the prayers of Our Blessed Lady -St Marie, her Spouse St Joseph we can - priest and people face the future with confidence as we seek to serve Our Lord Jesus Christ the King of the Universe and bring his Kingdom about in our world.