Sunday, 29 April 2012

St. John's Refurbishment

Over the past few months there has been renewed discussion and progress in planning the refurbishment and redecoration of our lovely church in Horsham. There are a lot of things that need urgent attention and we have been listening to people's thoughts and feedback throughout this process and this weekend have released our new Refurbishment Brochure to clarify exactly what work is being proposed, when it will be done and how much it will cost. Whilst we do have some funds available to begin work this summer we will need more to complete it. There will be an appeal on Pentecost Sunday, 27th May, with details to follow.

You can download the brochure by clicking here or pick one up from the back of the church. If you have any comments please feel free to post them in the box below or contact the parish office by the usual means. (If you have issues downloading the document please contact Katherine here and it can be forwarded to you via email.)

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Vocations Sunday

I have a little message from our former PP and Vocations Director for A&B diocese on Vocations Sunday which is this weekend. (Sorry about the pic, I didn't realise his eyes were shut until late yesterday!!) Please do pray for vocations to the priesthood, religious and consecrated life.

VOCATIONS SUNDAY (29th April) is a day when, as a diocese, we pray particularly for vocations to the priesthood.

The life of the priest is immensely fulfilling. It is a calling which brings great joy and blessing. Please pray hard for vocations to the priesthood. Your sons and grandsons are those whom God may be calling to this radical way of life ... Every young Catholic single man needs to ask himself the question, at some stage in his life, 'Is God calling me to be a priest?'.

Please consider how best you might help single men of all ages to consider the calling of Christ in their lives. Do you pray for vocations to the priesthood? Could you start a parish prayer group to support vocations to the priesthood? Do you invite the young men of your parish or your family to seriously consider the priesthood? Could you be a link person with the Vocations Director for your parish? Could you organise a monthly Holy Hour for vocations in your parish? Are there other things that you could do? Please feel free to use this prayer again and again as we ask the Lord to send us many many priestly vocations for our diocese:

Father of all,
in the name of Jesus Christ
who came not to be served but to serve,
grant us the grace of many new vocations to the priesthood
in our diocese.
Give us men after your own heart who,
following the example of the Good Shepherd himself,
are willing to joyfully lay down their lives in your service
and for your glory.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory be ...

The Diocesan Vocation Director is Fr Terry Martin who may be contacted at:

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Confirmation 2012

Our 40 Confirmation Candidates enter the final phase of their preparation before receiving the Sacrament next month here at St John's on Thursday 24th May. Please keep them in your prayers during this time, that they may grow in their love and knowledge of Christ, and His Church and may live their Catholic faith with joy and hope.

Here below are a selection of moments we have spent together, in particular our trip to London, visiting Westminster Cathedral for Mass and a Tour, time in Covent Garden, walking through London to Tyburn Convent and a confirmation session in St John's Church Hall. Enjoy the pics!!
Fr Alexander Master, Precentor of the Cathedral kindly giving us a tour.

Attentively listening
On the Steps of the Cathedral
A bit of shopping in ChinaTown
Waiting for Stragglers!

Maurice and Nikki

Some of the Lads at a session on Life Issues

We're all going up to London Town!!!

Deacon Tom

Tyburn Convent

Fr Aaron and Kathy

Fr Aaron forced to don a Gangster cap!
Photos by Fr Aaron and Robert Clemens

Easter Travels

Fr Aaron has recently returned from his post Easter break in Rome and Palermo, whilst in Rome he offered Holy Mass at St Peter's, Santa Maria Maggiore and at the Venerable English College, remembering all parishioners in his prayers. On the Wednesday he attended the audience in St Peter's Square and manged to 'bag' good seats!

Pope Benedict was on good form, and managed to smile for the camera!

Fr Aaron with his Dad (with Sunglasses)and his Sicilian Godfather!!
In Palermo, last Sunday Fr Aaron offered Mass at his father's parish Church of St Basil and St Gregory, which was only built last year.
Fr Aaron braving the Sicilian Coastline!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

He is risen!

Fr. Richard, Fr. Aaron and Deacon Tom wish you all a very blessed Easter!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Witnessing the Passion of Our Lord

Today Lent reaches its climax. For the past six weeks we have fasted, watched and prayed with the Lord. We have heard the call to repentance, we have humbly brought ourselves before God, again and again, asking Him for mercy. And today, in the bright, glaring sunshine we saw the price of our redemption, we saw our ransom paid in full, we watched and prayed as Jesus took our sins upon Himself and reconciled us to God.

Today, ably led by our Confirmation candidates, we walked with Him on His painful journey to Golgotha...

...and joined the United Walk of Witness to the Carfax to pray with our fellow Christians...

...but what made the day so powerful, what made Our Lord's sacrifice really hit home was the Liturgy of the Passion this afternoon. There's something so striking as you walk into the Church with the Sanctuary stripped to the bare bones, the Tabernacle naked and flung open. It's so harsh, in a way brutal, it begins to awaken us to what today is, to the truth of Christ's suffering. And from that first glimpse onwards we are plunged into the very heart of Our Lord's sacrifice, we become a real part of it as we read the part of the crowd in the Gospel and turn back to Him in profound gratitude and love as we kneel and venerate His cross. But as we all quietly leave the Church there is this wonderful sense of hope and anticipation, even though He has been laid in the tomb, we know this is not the end and that after Good Friday always comes Easter Sunday.

Holy Thursday Night

The language of these days is of death and life, suffering and passion, betrayal and faithfulness, even hate, but most of all the word which we hear again and again is love.

 This word has a potency in our language. In English we use just one word to mean a variety of things. The context is all important and often the context immediately gives away the sort of love we mean. Occasionally, the word is so misused and the context so bizarre that we find ourselves a long way from love.

 Tonight love is talked of in two specific ways. Jesus educates us in love. St John tells us that ‘he had always loved those who were his....’. And that: ‘ he shows how perfect his love was’.

There are here two essential aspects of love. Its consistency and its demonstration.

 Jesus is consistent in his love. He loves as God loves, but he quips his own to love in a way which is not just heroic, rather it is divine. If love comes from God then we must love as God loves. For that love is never self serving or self seeking. These things are so clearly not of God, so much more is achievable or those made in God’s image and likeness. This is the love which Pope Benedict (Encyclical letter Deus caritas est) describes as, ‘...stepping outside the limits of one’s closed individuality...breaking through into the divine....’

He always loved those who were his own, love to the end. Love until and beyond His words: It is finished.

As the  window of eternity is opened, as our lives find meaning in their heavenly destiny, so love to the end is not just a childish way of doing what God wants and avoiding punishment; love to the end becomes the very manner of living by which our life is truly life giving. This consistency of love, his total love has nothing flighty and fickle about it. Our faith is defined by such love.

And His love is perfect, not simply because he washes feet, but rather because he has fed and healed and forgiven and in washing feet summaries the perfection of a love which will take him to the cross. The pope says: ‘It is the servant love of Jesus that draws us out of our pride and makes us fit for God, makes us clean’.

God’s Son then gives us both an example of love and its practical demonstration.

God’s Son shows us how love can be consistent and demonstrated in remarkable ways.

God’s Son proposes a way of living which has love at its heart and a love which gives life and makes life worthwhile.

And God’s Son becomes the very means by which all this is possible for the fragile, flighty, fickle human heart.

God’s Son gives us the new commandment and becomes the vey means by which we live it. Through him and with him and in him.

At God’s Son’s sacrifice we become His, and love as He loves and because He loves within us. This is not all pie in the sky, this is basic Christianity, this is the message of this night.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Not I, Lord, surely....

We could be forgiven for thinking that Judas Iscariot has been the central figure of these last three days. Rebuking Mary of Bethany for her extravagance, leaving the Lord in the dead of night, in today's gospel (from St Matthew) we find him simply denying that he is to betray Jesus.
It is almost as if he does not know himself. The well of corruption within him, the stagnant water of disappointment. Is it too fanciful to suggest that he stands for each of us? Sometime the evil that runs deep is deeply surprising as it manifests itself in cruelty. Do we know of what we are capable? Judas does not stand alone. His voice is one of many, for all the disciples cry out 'Not I, Lord, Surely!'
The next three days focus upon Jesus. In the demonstration of his love as he washes feet, as He agonises in the garden for love, as He takes up His cross and endures its shame, we focus upon Him and only Him. Always His gaze will be toward us. His grace will draw out the deep pool of life within us, His love will inspire us to great goodness. And as He singles us out, it is as if we will point to ourselves and say, 'Not I, Lord, surely!' I am the one you have chosen, I am the one you have inspired, I am the one you love...