Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Theology of the Body

Anneli spoke about The Theology of the Body at last Wednesday's Real Presence talk. These talks help to deepen the formation in the faith of adults in our parish. The theology of the body, developed by the teachings of Blessed John Paul II and based firmly in Catholic tradition, gives us that insight into the nature of the human person, inseparably a bodily and a spiritual being. How often we seek divorcee this nature; in doing so we undermine our dignity, we become half a person.

Anneli spoke about our true nature and value, the family and society and the priority of love.

I'm sure I speak for us all when I say that those of us who attended were immensely grateful to Anneli for her insights and hard work.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Advent Hope

The Holy Father spoke these words at St Peter’s to mark the season of Advent

In this Advent Season we shall be granted once again to experience the closeness of the One who created the world, who guides history and who cared for us to the point of deigning to become a man.

This great and fascinating mystery of the God-with-us, indeed, of the God who becomes one of us, is what we shall celebrate in the coming weeks journeying towards holy Christmas. During the Season of Advent we shall feel the Church which takes us by the hand and — in the image of Mary Most Holy, expresses her motherhood, enabling us to experience the joyful expectation of the coming of the Lord, who embraces us all in his love that saves and consoles.
While our hearts look forward to the annual celebration of Christ’s Birth, the Church’s Liturgy directs our gaze to the final goal: our encounter with the Lord who will come in the splendour of glory. For this reason in every Eucharist we “announce his death, proclaim his Resurrection until he comes again”, we watch in prayer.

The Liturgy does not cease to encourage and support us, putting on our lips, in the days of Advent, the cry with which the whole of Sacred Scripture ends, on the last page of the Revelation to St John: “Come, Lord Jesus” (22:20).

The latest Biggerstaff

My brother and sister in law look forward to the birth of their next child in March, please keep them in your prayers. They gave a lovely birthday party for me last Friday. Yesterday evening we had the planning meeting for the Parish Pro-Life Group. There will be a newsletter from the group on 17th December. We'll also have the White Flower Appal for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children towards the end of January. Meanwhile this beautiful image is surely life, the same as yours and mine. Patrick and Loretta's baby is pictured here at 3 months.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Kenny Gordon

On the evening of the Feast of Christ the King Kenny Gordon was received into the Church confirmed and then received his first Holy Communion. These beautiful moments of God's grace remind us all of that pearl of great price, the faith of the Catholic Church. God bless you Kenny. Kenny's wife Chris shared in the joy of the occasion and Damien stood as sponsor. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Father Hyacinth Ibau

Pictures taken with Father Hyacinth.
L to R Fr Richard, Tony Nwachukwu, Fr Aaron, Fr Hyacinth, Deacon Tom, Anna Nwachukwu

It was a great pleasure to have welcomed Fr Hyacinth to our parish this weekend.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Sharing the Body and Blood of the Lord

St John’s Horsham

Sharing the Body and Blood of Christ

New Guidelines for Commissioned Ministers of Holy Communion


As with all ministries in the Church, it is important to prepare carefully by prayer.  This is the way we respond to the call of the Lord.  Preparing with prayer helps others to pray. We assemble in the sacristy to pray 10 minutes before Mass.

If you are unable to take your turn, please ensure that a replacement is found in good time.  This must be a fellow Minister whose name also appears on the rota.

We always talk about the Body of Christ, the Host, the ciborium, the Precious Blood, the Blood of Christ, the chalice.

Allow yourself time to compose your thoughts before Mass and to be available in case there are any necessary alterations you should know about

In the Liturgy of the word we listen attentively to the voice of the Lord as heard in the scriptures.

  • Ministers should approach the altar as the priest receives from the chalice.
  • Come quickly and reverently genuflecting individually.
  • Please stand above the first step on the carpeted below the altar step on the lectern side and the organ side of the sanctuary. This will be close to the place where you will administer Holy Communion.
  • Having received Holy Communion simply turn to take up your precise position to administer Holy Communion.
  • The minister who will distribute the host receives from the chalice given to the minister standing by their side. Generally we will not go to the tabernacle.  If this is necessary the priest or deacon will go.

The words The Body of Christ or The Blood of Christ are the only words used.
The clergy will answer any questions or concerns. Please do not hesitate to share any concerns with them. 

The prayer at this point is not strictly speaking a blessing, therefore a commissioned minister of Holy Communion can say: “The Lord Jesus bless you and keep you”.

  • The Minister distributing the Body of the Lord returns any remaining Hosts to the altar, genuflects and leaves the sanctuary immediately.
  • The deacon or priest returns any unconsumed hosts to the tabernacle.
  • If a deacon is not present, the minister distributing the blood of Christ from the principal (larger and more ornate) chalice also consumes the any of the Precious Blood remaining (if possible) and takes that chalice straight to the centre of the altar, (genuflects if any of the Blessed Sacrament remains upon the altar) and also leaves immediately.
  • This means that the deacon or priest will purify the principal chalice and the ciboria at the altar with the assistance of the server.
  • A longer, larger credence table is in place. The other three ministers distributing the chalice go immediately to the credence table. They consume the Precious Blood, add water to their chalice, drink the water and then dry the chalice with a purificator, this is then placed firmly inside the chalices.
  • They arrange the chalices in a straight line to the back and in the middle of the credence table.
  • Be conscious of the fact that this is a silent time for the congregation. 
  • Return to your places in the church when you are ready.  Make your reverence individually.

Please note that the vessels are washed again once they are returned to the sacristy after Mass.
Would the minister of the ciborium continue to do this. 

  • Please place your pyx on the credence table before Mass begins with the right number card beside it.
  • Please come to the altar step after the Prayer after Communion.
  • The deacon or priest will return the pyx containing the Body of the Lord to you with a prayer.
  • Go at this point through the side door of the church and make your way immediately to your sick communicant..
  • Please do not make any other reverence and do not take holy water when you are carrying the Body of the Lord.
  • Remember to cleanse the pyx with water (which is then consumed) once you have finished giving Holy Communion to the housebound.

Rev Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica 2011


Friday, 11 November 2011

Fr Peter Andrews Birthday Boy

Fr Peter ceebrated his 63rd birthday on Sunday. Many happy returns!
Don't you just love this picture?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Fr Gerard Hatton's Homily for Life

By popular request, the text of Fr Gerard Hatton's Friday homily

The Sacred Heart is an image that quite blatantly tells people that a household is Catholic. My grandparents would face their enthroned image to pray every day; the whole family consecrated and their names added. There were so many that they had to write at the back of the picture! Just a few a weeks ago I had the honour of doing the same for my mum and dad and brothers. The Sacred Heart is also an image with which we are so familiar: we stop to see beneath the Catholic kitsch.
What lies beneath? It is the Heart of Jesus.  In his humanity he shows that flesh and blood are worthy of bearing God, so much so that His Body and Blood becomes the means of our salvation, the means of our communion with God. The divine praises remind us, ‘Blessed Jesus Christ true God and true Man’. This union has a knock on effect for our humanity; we are chosen and called, anointed and united to him at our baptism. This means that all life is sacred and all life is a gift given to us by God, our Father and Creator. 
The Heart of Jesus reminds us of the need to uphold the beauty and dignity of life. I have been struck by the 40 days of life movement, where people pray outside abortion clinics, they steadfastly pray and diligently witness. This does not highlight their madness as some would see it, but rather that their hearts -focused in witness to the simple fact that God is love- love as an extension of God’s will for people who find themselves at the doors of these places. This protest has changed many lives, saved many beautiful babies and even closed clinics.
Our presence in matters of morality and injustice are a crucial part of who we are as Catholics. I do wonder what it might have been like if protest had found itself outside the Cathedral of  the Most Precious Blood Westminster. I could only help think that there would be dialogue, that they would have been given soup and that the doors of the cathedral would be open. Open wide to sanctify and bring people into the presence of God and consecrate our problems and nation to His Sacred Heart and an outpouring of his Precious Blood.  
Sometimes these actions, which are simple and from the heart, are missed. Words can only be effective if we pray. Charity can only work if it is founded in truth, our Home is with God in his Holy Church.
This month of the Holy Souls helps us to ponder deeply, not only our way on the journey and decisions we need to make in order to see heaven a reality, but it also reminds us of our Christian duty to pray for those in purgatory. For people whose sins have been forgiven need to work out the effect of their sin: those in this beautiful state need our prayers, and amongst them those who had been involved in the culture of death, those who procured an abortion or helped someone to die. Our prayers are surely effective.  
True devotion to the Sacred Heart is a devotion to Jesus Christ. His Heart reminds us of the need for God to become man and his pitching his tent among us, his body, his flesh and heart is present to us through this sacrifice of Mass tonight and time we will spend with him adoration!
Jesus is calling us to come to him.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Before the Lord of Life and Love

After Holy Mass tonight we keep vigil before the Lord of Life and Love.
That the dignity of human life at all its stages will be upheld.
That abortion will end
and frail and vulnerable life will be especially cherished.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

All Hallows

Our All saints celebrations began on Sunday. Whilst many in Horsham were dressing as spooks and witches, the children of St John's took the opportunity to dress as saints, the hallowed ones. We had George and Bernadette, Dorothy and Philomena, Christopher and John the Baptist and many more besides. The parachute game was a big hit! Fr Peter returned to lead it and it was great to see him. Fr Aaron compared the procession of saints with consummate professionalism and I used the excuse to wear my biretta (I need no excuse) and came as St Philip Neri. I am edified that 3 year olds in my parish not only know what a biretta is, they can also spell it!
Thanks to Celia and her team for the fun and food and to Peter for the photos.
As we keep our novena for life culminating in the all night vigil before the Blessed Sacrament this Friday, so we are so grateful for the young lives -saints in the making- the All Hallows of St John's.
St Philip did odd things with his beard to disarm the pompous!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Life is for Living

The Pro-Life Vigil began tonight and culminates next Friday with 7pm Mass and all night exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Between now and then there is prayer in the church every evening. Tonight the Youth Cafe joined us and read superbly. We used this prayer to Our Lady of Pope Blessed John  Paul II

Oh Mary, bright dawn of the new world, to you do we entrust the cause of life. Look down, O Mother, upon the vast number of babies not allowed to be born, of the poor whose lives are made difficult, of men and women who are victims of brutal violence, of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy. Grant that all who believe in your Son may proclaim the Gospel of Life with honesty and love to the people of our time. Obtain for them the grace to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives, and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together with all people of good will, the civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

A feed of beans

Our childhood neighbour Arthur has died and today we celebrated his funeral. Arthur's church was the United Reformed Church in St Mary Cray known as the Temple.

As a boy I remember Arthur and the neighbours of his generation competing to produce the first feed of beans. He was a professional and a passionate gardener.

He also belonged to another age! A world of set in stone mealtimes, of thrift and homemade marmalade and endless talk about weather and cricket.

Arthur and his late wife Peggy (we always called Peggy Mrs Wise!) lived lives of simple decency and order. I felt that today we celebrated the passing of a generation. It was for that reason so very poignant.

Our nostalgia isn’t about wishing a past world back, but rather looking forward in hope.
In these moments we offer the all of us to God and we offer us all to God, especially our loved ones who have died.

Arthur had the best of laughs. Loud and confident and long. As a boy in the saddest of his family's circumstances I saw him cry and I have never forgotten it because it was, I think, my first experience of seeing a man cry.  

In our tears and laughter we remembered a rounded man, a man of the seasons, and we looked forward to the timelessness of heaven where everything is made good, where goodness is rewarded and death is crowned with eternal life.

May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


JB Morton's St Therese of Lisieux has been a beautiful read. For our recollection this evening we focused on Therese. The Mass was a votive of Therese and the talk....largely given by JBM. What a find!

'Men and women of all nations have realised, after reading the story of of St Therese, that her teaching, because it is the teaching of the Gospels, is more consonant with man as he is made than the newest of the philosophies. Her business is with our souls. We can read her words and ignore her advice. But we cannot deny that it is we who have abandoned religion.'

Last Night in RCIA

The New Testament
Those who take us to the Person of Jesus Christ
What’s in a name? When we think about the New Testament we want to know who did the writing and who were the witnesses. We think of those who accompanied Jesus and, amongst his disciples, the apostles and evangelists. Very often authorship is about a tradition of writing rather than simply one author.  We often hear St John referred to as the disciple Jesus loved, the beloved disciple.

But Mathew, Mark, Luke and...... There are many so-called gospels. We hear about this all the time, especially when our faith is being undermined. The scriptures of the Old and New Testament form the canon of scripture, the list of books which make up the Bible. It is the Church which establishes this canon of scripture. Inspiration is about both the authorship and also the list!

In my earlier work Theophilus.... The Acts of the Apostles give us an account of the lives of the followers of Jesus after the Resurrection and Ascension. The narrative begins with the birth of the Church at Pentecost.

Saul, Saul, Why do you persecute me? Saul becomes Paul and is transformed as the outstanding teacher and preacher to the Gentiles. His conversion is detailed in Acts. The spread of the gospel and the important questions, especially between Jewish and Pagan followers of the Way, are resolved. The Acts of the Apostles tells us when followers of Jesus were first called Christians and prepares us for the supreme act of witness to Jesus, the martyrdom of Peter and Paul in Rome.

Peter & Mark in Rome?  ‘My son Mark sends you greetings...’ writes St Peter in his first letter. St Mark’s gospel -the oldest- concludes with the Lord sending the apostles, ‘Go out to the whole world, proclaim the Good News to all creation.’ The words of the scriptures are not just the devotional reading of Christians but the proclamation of Christ, the key to human history and the answer to the existence of all things.

Blessed John Paul reminds us:
'The whole of Christ’s life was a continual teaching.......'

Friday, 21 October 2011

Altar of St Wenceslaus

I celebrated Holy Mass in St Peter's Basilca last Tuesday for the intentions of all Horsham parishioners. My father and Fr Jonathan Martin were present. The altar was that of St Wenceslaus, the good king (or duke), who looked out on the feast of Stephen. On Monday afternoon, after a robust walk to the Quirinale and then St Mary Major, my father bought the parish four new palls for use with the chalices at Mass in Horsham. More about Rome anon, especially after I learn to download my photos from my very sophisiticated phone/camera!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Roman Holiday

I'm off to Rome on Sunday evening. I return on Thursday. Holy Mass will be offered for the intentions of all Horsham parishioners in St Peter's on Tuesday morning at 7am.

I will go unto the altar of God

Some of our splendid altar servers with MCs Chris, Brian and Graham at Arundel Cathedral with Bishop Kieran and Fr Aaron. Thank you to all our servers for their service at the altar. May God bless you and St Stephen pray for you.


At Youth Cafe this evening we focused on the Pieta. This is the Michelangelo Pieta in St Peter's, Rome. Our St John's Pieta is quite beautiful and we are currently thinking of a worthy and permanant place for it. The Youth Cafe spent some time thinking about the sorrowful mysteries of the most holy rosary.  Last time we met we concentrated on the glorious mysteries; we used our fingers to pray the rosary. The rosary is an easy prayer (we can pray it with our fingers) but it is also a prayer which reflects all the complexities of life.
Jack Regan, lay chaplain at St Wilfrid's School, joined us and led the ice breakers. Great! Meat free pizza was the food.
At the Pieta we reflected that the Church's encouragement to abstain from meat is primarily devotional. We abstain from flesh and reflect on the Incarnation. Christ took our flesh (became Incarnate), He shared our humanity and our inevitable death. In a spirit of prayer, as we come to the Lord who shared our humanity that we might share His divinity, we find the grace to express our Friday abstinence in charity.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

1066 and all that....

Fr Gerard Hatton offered Mass last Saturday in honour of St Edward the Confessor at the Confessor's Shrine in the Collegiate and Abbey Church of St Peter at Westminster. As a Catholic priest he was delighted to be welcomed so warmly by the Abbey's staff and to be able to offer Holy Mass. I hope HM the Queen knew!
Today is St Edward's feast, remembered (to paraphrase Mgr Knox) because he gave a poor man his dinner. As we lead up to the Thirteenth Anniversary of the signing of a Covenant with the Poor in this parish, so we take inspiration from St Edward. May we use our power and privilege -however small- for the good of others.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

St Wilfrid

Wilfrid of York and Apostle of Sussex too! We marked the feast with Mass at 10am and 7.30pm. Our lovely carved wood image of Wilfrid was placed upon the sanctuary. I let the Venerable Bede preach the homily this evening. Wilfrid met the hungry of Sussex with practical help and taught them how to fish. Its a challenge! Jesus speaks in the gospel to the pharisees. He is hard hitting! The implication is that we take the burdens of people seriously and do what we can to lift them.
Our day finished with an excellent presentation on the vocation of a Catholic teacher given by our own Chris Franke. Chris is assistant head and head of RE at the splendid and impressive ST WILFIRD'S CATHOLIC SCHOOL CRAWLEY.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

We adore you O Christ and we bless you.

This is the sacristy press. The vestments are stored in the large horizontal drawers. The upright feature was removed when the Martyrs altar was relocated in the Martyrs chapel. It was then restored and now houses a crucifix and some relics. The crucifix is French, of carved wood. I used some of my leaving gift from Lewes to buy it. The relics are of St Emilie de Rodat and St Robert Southwell. As the priest vests for Mass it is traditional that he say vesting prayers of preparation. These prayers are in Ditchling script on the left. This feature is a focus for us in those few minutes before Mass. This prayer is often said quietly by the priest during this time.

My purpose is to celebrate Mass 
and to make present the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ 
according to the rite of the holy Roman Church, 
to the praise of almighty God 
and of the whole Church triumphant in heaven, 
for my own welfare and that of the whole Church militant on earth, 
for all who in general and in particular 
have commended themselves to my prayers, 
and for the well-being of the holy Roman Church.


May joy and peace, 
amendment of life, 
room for true penitence, 
the grace and comfort of the Holy Ghost, 
and steadfastness in good works be granted us 
by the almighty and merciful Lord.


The Parish Council

The Parish Council meet tonight. The existing Parish council, but with the new priests.
 Say a prayer for us.
At daily Mass we are listening to St Paul writing to the Romans.
'I am not ashamed of the Good News; it is the power of God saving all who have faith.....
The upright man finds life through faith.'
Tonight we shall reflect a little on these words as we begin our discussions.

Monday, 10 October 2011

St Paulinus

Today is the commemoration of St Paulinus. I was baptised in a church dedicted to Paulinus and my first school was St Paulinus. As a  boy I had visions of St Paulinus, bishop of Rochester, sailing up the river Cray to evangelise Orpington. Not vision visions, just nice thoughts and ideas. Where should we be sailing to speak the words of Jesus in the gospel?

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Leaving Dos

This was mine last Sunday. We had Rosary & Benediction and a tea party.
Fr Aaron is in Guildford for his own leaving do this weekend.
The support we receive from our parishioners, past and present is vital.
Thank you again for your warm welcome to both of us.

That recipe for the sea bass

1. Acquire your sea bass fillets with skin! Fennel, onions, garlic and canned chopped tomatoes.
2. Chop the fennel bulb and gently fry in olive oil until soft and set aside.
3. Fry the chopped onion (gently does it) and a little garlic and add the chopped tomatoes and their juice; let them cook and let those flavours get acquainted.
4. Bake the seasoned sea bass fillets in a hot oven for about 10 minutes, skin side up.

Serve the fillet on the fennel and pour a little of the tomato sauce on top.

If you're hungry then mash up some potatoes.

Why not try it for Friday Fayre.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Crawley Circle Catenians

Many thanks to the catenians of the Crawley Circle for their hospitality at Ghyll Manor, Rusper this evening. We dined on excellent soup and sea bass. Mike Newman, the circle president and a Horsham parishioner welcomed the clergy and sisters. I was privileged to reply on behalf of the guests. We spent some time thinking about vocations. Happy priests inspire vocations to the priesthood and the happiness of priests is in no small part due to the care and concern and love of our parishioners. I think we were all inspired to pray hard for vocations. Mike gave Fr Terry Martin, vocations director for our diocese, a cheque to help towards his work. We were told that the dinner was a thank you to the clergy and sisters for their work. Since Fr Aaron and I have only just arrived we felt rather spoilt so early in our tenure.