Friday, 4 October 2013

The Two Teresas

The Team of Our Lady in the parish of St John's Horsham met for a day retreat in Lewes on Saturday last. We spent time with Teresa of Avila and Therese of Liseiux and thought about contemplation in the intimate prayer of married couples. We celebrated a Votive Mass of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the church of St Pancras and made a rosary tour of the ruined Priory. We concluded our day with dinner at the excellent Pelham Arms, Lewes. Many thanks to Fr Jonathan Martin for his hospitality and to Pauline Law for taking this photo.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Night Shelter on the Radio!

This morning I was pleasantly surprised to hear the Horsham Night Shelter featured on BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey this morning. They interviewed Hazel Lamb, the co-ordinator of the project. You can listen to it for the next seven days by clicking here. Fast forward to time index 2:13.00 to hear it!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

A day out in Arundel

It's always wonderful when you meet people who want to become a part of the Church but it is even more amazing when you get to see on a wider scale just how many people wish to become a part of the Body of Christ. It's utterly edifying I can tell you. And that's what I and many others saw yesterday afternoon at Arundel Cathedral for the Rite of Election.

For Alison (a catechumen), Stuart, Judy, Matt (who sadly couldn't come), Emma and Rory (all candidates) it was just as exciting, if not a little nerve wracking too. During the Rite each Catechumen (a person who has not been baptised in any other Christian church) goes with their Godparent-to-be to and gathers arounf the sanctuary, waiting for their name to be called when they meet Bishop Kieran and sign their name in the Book of the Elect. By doing this they formally proclaim their desire to enter into full communion with the Church this Easter. There were loads of people in the group at the front and a very healthy, long queue to sign the book. And as if that wasn't fantastic enough there were even more candidates who were asking to be confirmed as Catholics this year. After the Bishop had been presented with the Book of the Elect each candidate's name was read out and they and their sponsor stood up. The list was incredibly long and you could barely see ahead of you for the sheer number of people. It was really, really fabulous to see.

In his homily Bishop Kieran said that this was one of the most special days in our diocese's calendar, a day that brought much joy, not just to the catechumens and candidates, but to everyone present and all those back in the parish communities. It was a time when you could visibly see that Catholics all over the diocese of Arundel and Brighton truly were witnessing to the gospel in their towns and families, were showing the light and love of Christ to others, creating a warm and friendly atmosphere so that anyone who felt that beautiful, loving, gentle call from Christ could answer it and honestly feel like they were "coming home." As I sat and watched all the different people signing their names and standing up and then meeting the bishop again at the end it made me see just how potent the Holy Spirit is in the lives of so many people, despite our culture becoming increasingly (and aggressively) secular he still moves hearts, draws people to the Father and to Jesus Christ. It's spine-tingling stuff you know! It also goes to show just how important our own witness is, if we don't share our faith then we can't expect there to be future Rites of Election or Easter Vigils with baptisms and confirmations. The more we show our love for Christ, no matter how difficult it may seem to be at times, the more people will come to know him too.

And now for a few piccies from yesterday...

Sue (left, sponsor) with Judy (right, candidate)

From left to right; Alison (catechumen), moi and Cathy (catechist)

From left to right; Cathy (catechist and sponsor), Bishop Kieran
and Emma (candidate)

Stuart (candidate)

Justina (left, sponsor and fiancee) with Rory (right, candidate and fiance)

From left to right; Alison (catechumen), Bishop Kieran and me

From left to right; Bishop Kieran, Sue (sponsor), her daughter, Judy (cadidate),
and her children
Please, please pray for Alison, Stuart, Judy, Matt, Emma and Rory this Lent and Easter. It's a very exciting and intense time of preparation for them and for us as a community too.

Horsham Young Adults

I am very pleased to say that since we started up the Young Adults group in the parish last December there has been a steady interest within the parish. It's been really great to meet some of the other young people in the parish, most of us usually go to totally different masses on a Sunday and this is a good excuse to make some new friends and have some banter down the pub. If you fancy coming or know someone who might here are some of our upcoming dates (you can also download the poster here and find us on Facebook here.) Hope to see you soon!

Next meet: Today! (Sunday 17th February) after the 6:30pm Mass

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Happy Epiphany!

It's the twelfth day of Christmas (although with all the media hype leading up to Christmas it seems to feel like it's lasted an awful lot longer and Christmastide doesn't actually finish until January 13th) and the day we celebrate the three wise men coming to worship the Christ child, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

I learned something new about this feast earlier this week (and I do so love learning new things); the word Epiphany means appearance. You may well have already known that but I'd never come across it before. It brought home the significance of the light appearing in the sky and the magi travelling hundreds of miles to follow it, of the light mentioned in Isaiah in the first reading having come and God's glory shining on us and the importance of our witnessing to our faith in everyday life. Today in Rome Pope Benedict spoke in his homily of how bishops (he consecrated four new archbishops today) need to be courageous "How can we not think, in this context, of the task of a Bishop in our own time? The humility of faith, of sharing the faith of the Church of every age, will constantly be in conflict with the prevailing wisdom of those who cling to what seems certain. Anyone who lives and proclaims the faith of the Church is on many points out of step with the prevalent way of thinking, even in our own day. Today’s regnant agnosticism has its own dogmas and is extremely intolerant regarding anything that would question it and the criteria it employs. Therefore the courage to contradict the prevailing mindset is particularly urgent for a Bishop today. He must be courageous. And this courage or forcefulness does not consist in striking out or in acting aggressively, but rather in allowing oneself to be struck and to be steadfast before the principles of the prevalent way of thinking. The courage to stand firm in the truth is unavoidably demanded of those whom the Lord sends like sheep among wolves. “Those who fear the Lord will not be timid”, says the Book of Sirach (34:16). The fear of God frees us from the fear of men. It liberates." Christ has appeared to us in his incarnation, he comes to us daily in the Eucharist, he is our light which we cannot keep hidden. No matter how hard it may be, no matter how much to world does not want to hear it we need to spread the Good News, to attest to what God has done for us in our lives. Just as much as the bishops need to be courageous, so do we. The magi took a huge risk in travelling so far, they risked so much for something that many would've considered utterly foolish. We are more lucky than they, we have a grounding in faith and don't have to go out on a whim, we have the Church to back us up, to sustain and support us.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year!

When I was at primary school each new month was welcomed with hordes of children running though the playground grabbing each other by the arm with loud exclamations of "a pinch and a punch, it's the first of the month!" This was then immediately followed by an even louder shout of "no returns!" and a mad dash in the opposite direction as whoever had done the pinching and punching didn't really fancy the idea of having the same thing done to them. I dread to think what our mothers thought we had been up to in all day when we presented them with our red and bruised arms as we were collected from the school gates. I would certainly hope that your New Year was ushered in with a little more maturity and joy and that, instead of arms, there aren't too many sore heads this bright and sunny morning.

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (if you're in Horsham Mass is as 12:00 today instead of 10:00). I've always loved the fact that our calendar, our new year, begins with a meditation on the motherhood of Mary and on the Incarnation of Christ. It is all too easy these days to be sucked into the secular notion that Christmas is just December 25th and by Boxing Day it's all done and dusted and time to put the decorations away for another 12 months. With the standard hullabaloo that comes with New Year's parties it becomes even easier again as we face 1st January (possibly) slightly worse for wear and thinking about the long month ahead. It is all too tempting to forget the beauty and majesty and glory of the feast we have been celebrating and simply return to the grind of normal life. But with this feast we are invited to stop and to contemplate once more the awesome mystery of the Nativity. Our Lady's confident yet humble "yes!" to God doesn't just apply on Christmas Day, her fiat radiates throughout the year for through her our Lord and Saviour came into the world, from her Jesus took his flesh and lived with us here on earth, growing as we do, living and loving as we do. Because of Mary's fidelity to God we are able to see with our own eyes, though clouded and darkened by sin, the splendour of Christ's birth and, by following her example, become children of God.

The mind totally boggles when you try to fathom what it means that a poor, young virgin from the middle of nowhere was chosen to bear God's only son. On one level it doesn't make sense, how could this possibly happen? Why Mary, why not someone of greater influence in society? Through this fantabulous (I'm running out of adjectives...) mystery that we celebrate today we are shown what it is to be a part of the family of God. Being a son or daughter of the Father is not about how much money we make, what clothes we wear, what presents we were given for Christmas, how well respected we are by our peers, what house we live in; it has nothing to do with who we are in the world and to others, it is about who we are before God. Mary was not just materially poor, she was truly poor in spirit. She understood better than any of us her total need of God, she trusted him completely, depended on him for everything and when he called she answered. As we begin 2013 why don't we try to open ourselves up more and more to God, give ourselves totally to his will, to his love and mercy. It sounds easy but it is harder than many think but is well worth the effort. Mary is living proof of that.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Eaglet has landed!

The latest edition of our fantastic parish magazine is all done and ready to read. Marilyn's editorial is excellent, do give it a good read! You can pick up your copy from the back of the church, by clicking here or by clicking on the picture below.