Friday, 27 February 2009

Father, what do you do all day?

The title of this post is one that I am sure every priest has been asked at least once in his ministry. It is not an easy question to answer as the life and work of a priest is so varied. There is the usual liturgical life of the priest: Offering Holy Mass and celebrating the other sacraments of the Church. In additon to this there are visits to the sick, schools, colleges, hospitals, school governor meetings that make demands on his time.

To-day I was visiting Year Five of our primary school to talk to them about the life and work of a priest. As part of our lesson I talked to the children about the different vestments that a priest wears in the celebration of Holy Mass. One of the children was a very willing model.


Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Lenten Thoughts

When I was a seminarian preparing for the priesthood we had a tradition of holding a fancy dress party on Shrove Tuesday. This was our last social event until after the Easter Vigil at the end of Lent. Togther with my fellow students and staff great effort was put into making the most elaborate of costumes. I remember my scripture professor, a Redemptorist Priest coming dressed as St Catherine Laboure - complete with whimple and veil!!!
The next day after the party was over we attended Mass for Ash Wednesday. The fancy dress costumes has been laid aside and there we stood before the altar in our everyday clothes to hear the priest say as he placed ashes on our heads 'Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.'
In the afternoon a few of us would go off to Canterbury Cathedral to attend Evenong. On one such visit I noticed the tomb of Archbishop Henry Chichele.
Archbishop Henry Chichele founded All Souls College, Oxford, in 1438, to provide education for future public servants and scholars, in the service of the king. The tomb was erected for him in 1424-6. The archbishop died in 1443. His tomb shows him in splendid robes, and as a naked corpse lying on a shroud below.
Ultimately that tomb is an image of what God asks of us during this Lenten Season. He asks us to put away our masks, our fancy dress, the things that hide our true selves from Him and others. He asks that we humble ourselves before Him. He calls us to stand naked before Him so that He may clothe us in the image of His Divine Son.

School Mass and Ashes

This morning I offered Mass in our Primary School for the beginning of the Season of Lent. It was lovely to see all the children praying the Mass so devoutly.
Ashes were distributed to all the children, staff and visiting parishioners at the end of Mass.
Please keep all our dear children in your prayers during this Lenten Season that it may be a time of great blessing for them and their families.

Sations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross is a popular devotion for many people in the season of Lent. The Devotion was first instituted to help those who could not go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land to walk the Way of the Cross - the Via Dolorosa.
The devotion takes the form of a meditation on Our Lord's last journey to Calvary and His appointment with death. We too follow that same route in imagination and prayer. As we do so we stop fourteen times and re-call events from Our Lord's journey to Calvary.
We will be praying this devotion EVERY SUNDAY AFTERNOON in Lent at 3:00pm. Everyone is welcometo join us. The service will conclude with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Monday, 23 February 2009

The Lenten Season

This Wednesday marks the beginning of the penitential season of Lent. The first day of Lent gets its name from the ashes that are places on the heads of the faithful as a sign of repentence. 'Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.'

After receiving ashes on Wednesday we spend the next forty days and nights in fasting, prayer and works of charity to make reparation for our sins. It is a time when we can look deep into our souls to see how we are following Our Lord (or not as the case may be) and to make amends to our lives.

Masses for Ash Wednesday are as follows:

9:00am in St Marie's Primary School

12:15 in church.

Ashes will be distributed at both Masses.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

A Few Photos