Saturday, 30 June 2012

And so it begins! (With an insane number of photos!)

Last Sunday after months of planning and discussion and suggestions and whatnot St. John's Church building officially closed to allow the refurbishment and redecoration work to begin. Last Sunday evening after the evening Mass lots and lots of marvelous people were kind enough to help move all of the pews, stations of the cross, statues, tables and everything else out and set up in the hall. A really, really really big thank you to everyone who gave up their time to do this. It was greatly appreciated.

I'll admit that I thought it would seem rather alien to have Mass in the hall but I have to say that I was proved wrong and it was not at all strange when I went on Friday. Everything has been set up very well to make the transition as smooth and simple as possible.

For those of you who will be wondering where the Stations of the Cross and other pictures/statues ended up then I have some rather excellent shots from the Presbytery dining room for you...

It's wonderful and rather exciting to now be at that point when the work outlined in Phase One of the Refurbishment Brochure (if you can't remember what's in it tis still available to download in the sidebar) is actually starting to happen. And although two months might seem like a long time it will fly by I'm sure and before we know it we will have the joy of walking back into a beautifully done-up Church. It will more than have the wow factor I'm sure. In case some of you were wondering what's been happening over the last seven days here's a few snaps from this afternoon...

And although I thought it all went quiet on the weekends there were still a few hardworking people tirelessly scraping off the wallpaper in the confessional!

I'll take some more in a few weeks time so all can see what's going on and what progress is being made. Please, please do pray for the workmen and our community here in Horsham too. The results will be well worth it I assure you.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Celebrating with Sts. Peter & Paul

Today is one of those extra-special feast days that really bring home what a joy and a privilege and a blessing it is to be Catholic, not least because it is a holy day of obligation and all the faithful come to Mass to worship the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and share in the fruits of his sacrifice. But the thing that seems to always strike me most of all each year is the sheet wonder that is the Body of Christ, the Church.

The antiphon for the Mass today is; "These are the ones who, living in the flesh, planted the church with their blood; they drank the chalice of the Lord and became the friends of God." and it is that statement, that through their sharing in that suffering of Christ and relinquishing their own lives for the sake of the Gospel they have strengthened and formed the Church in ways we can never hope to. Their deaths didn't just send out a message that Jesus was worth dying for and, despite the obvious loss of two marvellous teachers and apostles for the early Christian community, the people weren't left alone. Peter and Paul testified to the awe-some power of Christ's death and resurrection in giving up themselves for his sake and enduring gruesome fates so that the faith of the community might grow and bear even greater fruit.

This feast I love because we celebrate the lives of two holy men who were totally dedicated to the work of God. I love it because we see in Peter and Paul examples of our own human frailty and what God can do to transform that if we simply say, "yes." I love it because their deaths still give us hope and strength when our faith is weak and the temptations and noise of the world seem all too much. I love it 'cause we all have to go to Mass!

Sts. Peter and Paul, pray for us.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Singing away with the SVP

Yesterday morning after the 10am Mass the SVP hosted one of their fabulous brunches for the people in the parish they visit, some of whom can't regularly get to Mass. It was wonderful to see them all and they were treated to a fry up with sausage and bacon (as it was a feast day as Fr. Richard hastily pointed out) and egg and hash browns and all sorts! The morning was thoroughly enjoyed by all and we were even entertained with Bernard Smith on the keyboard and a few songs too!!

Thank you to everyone who made yesterday happen!!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

First Holy one

As many of you will know this afternoon several of the children from the parish will gather in St. John's at 3pm (looking wonderful I've no doubt) to make their very first Holy Communion. This is such a momentous occasion and brings them into a deeper and more profound relationship with Jesus Christ. Since today is the feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary please join me in saying the Litany of Our Lady for each of them and their families.

Litany of Loretto

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, Pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, Pray for us.
Mother of Christ, Pray for us.
Mother of divine grace, Pray for us.
Mother most pure, Pray for us.
Mother most chaste, Pray for us.
Mother inviolate, Pray for us.
Mother undefiled, Pray for us.
Mother most amiable, Pray for us.
Mother most admirable, Pray for us.
Mother of good counsel, Pray for us.
Mother of our Creator, Pray for us.
Mother of our Savior, Pray for us.
Mother of the Church, Pray for us.
Virgin most prudent, Pray for us.
Virgin most venerable, Pray for us.
Virgin most renowned, Pray for us.
Virgin most powerful, Pray for us.
Virgin most merciful, Pray for us.
Virgin most faithful, Pray for us.
Mirror of justice, Pray for us.
Seat of wisdom, Pray for us.
Cause of our joy, Pray for us.
Spiritual vessel, Pray for us.
Vessel of honor, Pray for us.
Singular vessel of devotion, Pray for us.
Mystical rose, Pray for us.
Tower of David, Pray for us.
Tower of ivory, Pray for us.
House of gold, Pray for us.
Ark of the covenant, Pray for us.
Gate of heaven, Pray for us.
Morning star, Pray for us.
Health of the sick, Pray for us.
Refuge of sinners, Pray for us.
Comforter of the afflicted, Pray for us.
Help of Christians, Pray for us.
Queen of angels, Pray for us.
Queen of patriarchs, Pray for us.
Queen of prophets, Pray for us.
Queen of apostles, Pray for us.
Queen of martyrs, Pray for us.
Queen of confessors, Pray for us.
Queen of virgins, Pray for us.
Queen of all saints, Pray for us.
Queen conceived without original sin, Pray for us.
Queen assumed into heaven, Pray for us.
Queen of the most holy Rosary, Pray for us.
Queen of families, Pray for us.
Queen of peace, Pray for us.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Spare as, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
Grant, O Lord God, we beseech Thee, that we Thy servants may rejoice in continual health of mind and body; and through the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, be freed from present sorrow and enjoy eternal gladness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Corpus Christi

Today, as you will all know by now, was the feast of Corpus Christi and whilst all feasts are joyful celebrations of the goodness of God this one is something extra special. Two weeks ago Eastertide came to a triumphant close with the solemnity of Pentecost and the birthday of the Church and we (after much celebration, of course) were plunged back into the so-called Ordinary Time. As I was reminded recently during a homily there is nothing "ordinary" about this time at all and this feast certainly tells us of that. After forty days of fasting followed by six weeks of feasting and celebrating the Lord's resurrection from the dead it could be easy to become...too relaxed...perhaps a tad fall back into old habits and just go through the motions as always. But today we are not allowed to rest on our laurels, instead we are shown the beauty, the magnificence, the almighty power and love of God for his people, how he cares for and nourishes his Church each and every day. Today we celebrate, we adore and worship, the presence of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Under the guise of bread and wine he humbles himself again, brings his divinity and majesty down to earth and gives his very flesh and blood for us to eat and drink. During the Mass our offerings are united to Christ's sacrifice on the Cross, we immerse ourselves into his passion and, by the grace of God, are invited to share the fruits of his resurrection and ascension. And this is not a one off thing, this is what happens at every single Mass, every single day, all over the world. Our Lord loves us so much that he offers himself, the whole of himself, his very life, to us on a daily basis. He stretches out his arms towards us and all we have to do is turn back towards him (in particular through the sacrament of reconciliation) and humbly accept.

Today at St. John's we made a big point of rejoicing in the love our God has for us and that we have for him in return. We had a Eucharistic Procession (a practise Pope Benedict has been commending at St. Peter's today) around the church building, heralded with songs such as O Salutaris Hostia, Sweet Sacrament DivineTantum Ergo. It was fantabulous to walk as one Body, one Church in faith following behind the one who saved us from our sins. And it didn't rain! (Hooray!) Here's a few pics (and a poorly shot video...please excuse the singing from our end of the pew) taken from my iPhone.

Fr. Richard exposes the Blessed Sacrament

The procession entering park...

As you can see, lots of people came out, singing praise to God
(and there were waaay more than pictured here)

Happy feast day everyone!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Celebrating the Jubilee with a fundraiser

Last Friday we held our Diamond Jubilee concert here in St. John's in aid of Aila's Fund and, I'm glad to say, it was a great success! Lots and lots of you wonderful people offered to help either behind the scenes with the box office, the sound system, organising the raffle and the like or by offering to share your talents by playing an instrument or singing. And, praise the Lord, even more of you came along to watch and enjoy the evening's entertainments. It was an...eclectic mix I suppose you'd say...we tried to accommodate everyone's tastes (as much as was humanly possible) and had a range of styles from classical to gospel, jazz to spanish guitars. On behalf of everyone involved in Aila's Fund I'd like to say a big THANK YOU!! to everyone who helped make the evening what it was, to the office staff and clergy, to the performers and to the wonderful audience. I believe we raised over £800! Not bad from one event, eh?

Here's some snaps from taken by the lovely Marilyn George...

Our lovely audience settling in as the concert began...

Fr. Terry kicked things off with a Handel
flute sonata...and a rendition of
'Annie's Song' for Fr. Richard!!

Bernard accompanying some of the performers.
He also played 'Crown Imperial March' on the

A brilliant duet with Claire O'Brien on flute and Cozette Rice on clarinet.

'Voices' sang beautifully for us...

Drinks and the raffle in the hall during the interval.

The Jazz Band sent us swinging into the second half...

Singing along to the Spanish guitar music...

...and here they are!

The Gospel choir brought the evening to a superb close with a song
chosen especially for Aila.

Mass time alteration

Just a quick note to inform you that the Mass tomorrow evening (Wednesday 6th June at 7:30pm) is cancelled as Fr. Richard is away this week. The morning (10:00am) Mass will take place as usual.