Sunday, 30 October 2011


A few people asked for a copy of my homily from this weekend at St Marie's. As it was delivered viva voce (without notes) I am afraid there is no hard copy to be had. I will attempt to write down some of my wandering thoughts and I hope that will be of some help.
Those of us who have received the Sacrament of Confirmation may well remember having to learn the gifts of Holy Ghost. One of them I remember learning was ‘the fear of the Lord.’ I found this very difficult to understand. I suppose today we would say that it is not very ‘user friendly.’ As a teenager I couldn’t get my head round the notion of having to fear Someone we are told and believe to be perfect love. Would you or even should you fear someone you love?

The more modern translation of ‘fear of the Lord’ is ‘wonder and awe in his presence.’ That is a nicer phrase. It expresses the attitude that we should have towards God. At the root of the matter, whether we speak of the 'fear of the Lord' or 'the spirit of wonder and awe', is the fact that God is other. He is different from us. He is omnipotent, eternal and omniscient – in modern language he is all-powerful, ever-living and all-knowing. Or in the words of St Anselm ‘God is that which nothing greater can be conceived.’ We should be struck with the awesomeness of God. We should not be afraid of him. That is the role of prayer in our lives. The catechism tells us that prayer is the 'raising of the heart and mind to God'. We can do that in many ways.

The principle way that the Church does this is through Her Sacred Liturgy. The music, the words and the ceremonial all come together to help us in this regard. Now we all know that liturgical experts always want to change the liturgy. In the wake of the recent Council (which incidentally is fifty years ago next year) we began to experience the liturgy celebrated in the vernacular instead of latin. Many argue that the use of the vernacular instead of latin has dimished that idea of wonder and awe in the presence of God.

It is true that often in the old days Mass was rushed through – even in latin and sadly the Missa Gabbliata was not uncommon. But if you go to a monastery or cathedral or a lowly parish church where the latin liturgy is still celebrated, there is an immediate sense of the ‘otherness’ of God. It is possible to celebrate Mass in the vernacular in a spirit of wonder and awe, but it is all too easy for the Mass to sound like a news broadcast or a chatty meeting. We need to guard against this and to seek to reverse this trend where we have any influence.

At the beginning of our Mass to-day we de-commissioned the Missal that we have used for the last forty years. Why? Why have we got a new translation and a new missal? The language used in the now 'Old Missal' has been criticised for lacking that sense of awe and mystery. The words of the New Missal that we use for the first time in their fullness this weekend will help us to raise our hearts and minds to God. They will help us to focus more on Christ and less on ourselves.

I remember supplying in one parish and a lady remonstrated with me after Mass that during the Eucharistic Prayer I did not look at the congregation. I simply replied that I was not talking to the congregation!!! She questioned me further. I then explained the Eucharistic Prayer was addressed to God and not the congregation. As a child I was always taught to face the person I was talking to and I still do the same when talking to God.

As we become more familiar with this new missal it will draw closer to God.  That is the purpose of the liturgy. Yes there will be words and phrases that we will not immediately understand but that should not deter us. Reading in the Catholic papers this weekend I read the story of a woman who had written to Cardinal Pell complaining about the word ‘consubstantial’ in the new transaltion of the Creed. She said that she didn’t understand what it meant. His Eminence simply wrote back to her and told her to look up nad then she would understand!!!
Those of you who have had the joy of teaching a child to read will understand this. The child will not understand every word on the page – but they will want to know so that they can fully understand the story. That should be our attitude towards this new translation – 'Faith seeking understanding' to quote our old friend St Anselm again.

Let us pray that this new missal will lead us closer to Christ. That the words contained in its pages will lead us to awe and wonder in the presence of God. Let us pray that it will so enhance our celebration of the Sacred Mysteries here on earth so as to make us fit for the liturgy of heaven.

Saturday, 29 October 2011


Please remember in your prayers: Illie, Alynia and Remi who were baptised at St Joseph's this afternoon.  Please also remember their family in your prayers too.

Friday, 28 October 2011


On Wednesday 23rd November His Lordship Bishop Terence Brain will preside at Mass in St Joseph's Church, Bury to mark the 150th Anniversary since the founding of that parish.  All are welcome to attend.

Mass will be followed by a social celebration in the Salisbury Club opposite the church. 


This morning I took delivery of the New Roman Missal to be used in the celebration of Mass from now on.
(Actually it arrived yesterday whilst i was out and was kindly taken in by the Solicitiors next door).  It was used for the first time at St Marie's this lunch time. 

The missals for use in St Joseph's Church have also arrived and they will be used for the first time at the Vigil Mass this weekend. 

Thursday, 27 October 2011


As priests up and down the land await the arrival of their new Missals for Improved Translation od the Mass here is a ditty that could be sung in preparation.

All over the Church the Missals are coming
All over the Church as ICEL feared it would be
All over the Church there's a mighty big improvement
of the Missal to be used in the Sacred Liturgy

Sunday, 16 October 2011


To St Gabriel's High School who have recently been given 'Outstanding' in their recent OFSTED Inspection.  A school doesn't achieve such a great result overnight.  This based on the dedication and hard work of our staff, both teaching and non teaching.  It is also based on the standards of the students work and their comments and attitude towards the school.  St Gabriel's is a Catholic School we can be proud of. 
Once again many congratulations and thanks for your hard work and dedication.


As it is Sunday evening now, with the Sabbath drawing to a close, this Michel Quoist prayer from his book "Prayers of Life" should help us understand our priests and emphatise with them a little better, especially when we have such great expectations from the "Men in Black"!

Tonight, Lord, I am alone.
Little by little the sounds died down in the church,
The people went away,
And I came home,

I passed people who were returning from a walk.
I went by the cinema that was disgorging its crowd.
I skirted cafe entrances where tired strollers were trying to prolong the pleasure of a Sunday holiday.
I bumped into youngsters playing on the footpath,
Youngsters, Lord,
Other people's youngsters who will never be my own.

Here I am Lord, Alone.
The silence troubles me. The solitude oppresses me.

Lord, I am 35 years old, a body made like others, ready for work,
A heart meant for love, But I've given you all.
It's true of course that you needed it.

I've given you all, but it's hard Lord.
It's hard to give one's body; it would like to give itself to others.
It's hard to love everyone and to claim no one.
It's hard to shake a hand and not want to retain it.
It's hard to inspire affection, to give it to you.
It's hard to be nothing to oneself in order to be everything to others.
It's hard to be like others, among others, and to be one of them.
It's hard always to give without trying to receive.
It's hard to seek out others and to be unsought oneself.
It's hard to suffer from the sins of others, and yet be obliged to hear and bear them.
It's hard to be told secrets and be unable to share them.
It's hard to carry others and never, even for a moment, be carried.
It's hard to sustain the feeble and never be able to lean on the one who is strong.
It's hard to be alone,

Alone before everyone,
Alone before the world,
Alone before suffering, death, sin.

Son, you are not alone,
I am with you,
I am you.

For I needed another human vehicle to continue my Incarnation and my Redemption.
Out of all eternity, I chose you.
I need you.

I need your hands to continue to bless,
I need your lips to continue to speak,
I need your body to continue to suffer,
I need your heart to continue to love,
I need you to continue to save,
Stay with me, son.

Here I am Lord;
Here is my body,
Here is my heart,
Here is my soul.

Grant that I may be big enough to reach the world,
Strong enough to carry it,
Pure enough to embrace it without wanting to keep it.
Grant that I may be a meeting-place, but a temporary one,
A road that does not end in itself, because everything to be gathered there, everything human,
leads toward you.

Lord, tonight, while all is still and I feel sharply the sting of solitude,
While men devour my soul and I feel incapable of satisfying their hunger,
While the whole world presses on my shoulders with all its weight of misery and sin,

I repeat to you my "yes" - not in a burst of laughter, but slowly, clearly, humbly,
Alone, Lord, before you,
In the peace of the evening.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


On Sunday last parishioners gathered at St Marie's together with members of the Lithuanian Community to welcome Father Donatas as he begins his ministry as Assistant Priest here in Bury and Chaplain to the Lithuanian Community in our diocese and beyond.

The Mass was celebrated by Monsignor Edmond Putrimas, the Lithuanian Bishop's Conference delegate for Lithuanians living outside Lithuania.  He was joined by Father Petras, Parish Priest of St Casimir's Parish in London and Canon Kamaitis who has served the Lithanian Commuity for over fifty years.

The Mass was also concelebrated by Father Anthony Kay VG, Canon Anthony McBride and Father Francis Wadsworth, Parish Priest.

In attendance at the Mass was his Excellency, the Ambassador of Lithuania.

Monsignor Putrimas gathers with clergy of the diocese before Mass

The Mass of Welcome

Father Donatus enjoys dinner with the Ambassador od Lithuania and friends

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


Feast of the Bl. John Henry Newman
Monday 10th October

at the Church of the Holy Name,
Oxford Road, Manchester 

Solemn Mass and
Veneration of his Relic at 5.15pm
Louis Vierne - Messe Solonnelle (Op.16)

Triduo in Preparation for the Feast
Friday 7th October at 5.15pm Mass
Saturday 8th October at 8pm Benediction
Sunday 9th October at the 11am Solemn Mass

Prayer of John Henry Newman
Stay with me, and then I shall begin to shine as Thou shinest: so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from Thee. None of it will be mine. No merit to me. It will be Thou who shinest through me upon others. O let me thus praise Thee, in the way which Thou dost love best, by shining on all those around me. Give light to them as well as to me; light them with me, through me. Teach me to show forth Thy praise, Thy truth, Thy will. Make me preach Thee without preaching - not by words, but by my example and by the catching force, the sympathetic influence, of what I do - by my visible resemblance to Thy saints, and the evident fullness of the love which my heart bears to Thee.


Congratulationss to the staff and children of St Marie's Primary School who have been given the International Schools Award.  I know how hard both staff and children have worked to gain this prestigious award.   It is a credit to them.  Soon we will be able to hoist a flag near the school to let eveyone know of our success.