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.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine...

The march from the Carfax after the service.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

I was fortunate enough to be able to be a part of the Remembrance Sunday service in the Carfax this Sunday morning. I am very glad to say that the place was packed (you could barely move!) and as we prayed for the dead from all conflicts there was a deep sense of reverence in the atmosphere. Even if we have never known a person who has served or died in a war (although I'm sure that most of us probably have) it is important to remember them, to keep the knowledge of what war is and what war does and what war costs (in terms of the lives of servicemen and women) fresh in our minds. The sacrifices of our armed forces must never be played down or forgotten, what they underwent for our sake is too important to be put to one side. Wearing a poppy is a simple but powerful sign that they still have a place within our hearts, that they mean a great deal to us. But is it enough to simply keep the two minute silence? Should we not do more for those who fought to keep our country and its people free and safe from harm?

Just as May and October take on special significance for us as Catholics in being dedicated to the Blessed Virgin during November we remember all those who have died. On the first we celebrate the saints in heaven and on the second we look to those souls still undergoing their purification in purgatory. These feasts remind us that not only can we rely on those who form the Church Triumphant to intercede for us daily with God (CCC 956) but that our loved ones who have died can still benefit from our prayers here and now. Our penances and sacrifices, however small, our prayers and daily devotions, still make a big difference and we are encouraged, this month in particular, to take this more seriously and to pray more regularly that the people in purgatory will come into the light of God's presence in heaven.

So why not, this November add to the wearing of the poppy, add to the two minute silence, add to the commemoration by saying a prayer each day for the souls of everyone who died in war. It can be something small, like a Hail Mary or, if you have time, perhaps the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. The lighting of a candle is a powerful prayer too. In the martyrs chapel for the whole of this month we also have a book where everyone can write the names of people they'd like to be remembered in the Mass, why not add a name? Our prayers never go unheard and are never fruitless. Even if we cannot see their effects right now we can trust in God that they have indeed helped someone.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

St. John's talent night

Last night was certainly a giggle as some of us gathered together in the hall for the talent night organised by the lovely Jill Smith. She, along with two others, kicked off the singing with their newly formed group, Angel Delight, giving everyone else enough time to work up the courage to get on stage and sing themselves. But, I'm pleased to say, after a little encouragement, quite a few people did go up or took to the dance floor!

Great fun was definitely had by all and a huge thank you to Jill and everyone else who helped organise it. The event raised £316.00 with the proceeds being split evenly between Aila's Fund and the refurbishment appeal.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

St. Wilfrid, pray for us

Another stage of the refurbishment of our lovely church is now complete. Today the new glass went into the Confessional so it is now ready to be used. Huzzah! It will certainly be wonderful after the last few months having to use various parts of the Church as a substitute. For those of you who haven't seen it yet here's afew pics I snapped earlier today...

 The statue of St. Wilfrid used to be in the sacristy but it seems fitting that he, known as the 'apostle of Sussex', should be on display in the Church itself.

The text on the glass (which you can just about see here) reads, "Saint Wilfrid, Pray for us." The glass has been specially made so that you can see in (to ensure the safety of the penitent and the priest) but can't make out what the person is saying. Another new feature is that whilst there are still two doors there won't now be any confusion about who's in where. The interior has been re-jigged so that the penitent enters through the first door (nearest the back of the church) and has the option to either kneel behind the grille or sit on a seat, facing the priest through a hole in the wall. Rest assured though if you, like me, prefer anonymity when going to Confession the priest will not be able to see who's coming in unless they sit on the seat.

The seat is by the statue of St. Wilfrid
One of the things I always thought would be difficult for me once I became a Catholic was going to Confession. The media tend to hype it up something rotten and paint a rather ridiculous picture when the truth, in fact, is far more gentle and beautiful and it has fast become my favourite sacrament (after the Eucharist, of course). And why not? In this we come before God, acutely aware of our sin and our need of his mercy and forgiveness, we come to the foot of the cross and ask for his forgiveness and place all of our hope and confidence in his love. Fr. Aaron spoke powerfully about this back in March, you can read his excellent thoughts here. In the absolution we are assured that we have been washed clean of our sin and can start afresh. It is a beautiful and humbling encounter with God, something that helps us to stay on the right track with our lives ever focused on Jesus. The prayers and advice of the priest aid us too in avoiding sin again. Since we now have our shiny good-as-new confessional why not come and try it out? It doesn't matter how long it has been (the priest will guide you through if you've forgotten what to do or say), God will welcome you with open arms! Confessions are available in the church after Mass on Friday and Saturday mornings and from 5:15pm to 5:45pm on Saturday evening or by appointment. You really won't regret going!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Something new for young adults...

Horsham is a very warm, welcoming and enthusiastic parish with all sorts of groups and programmes going on here there and everywhere. One thing that has been noticed, however, is that there is nothing specifically tailored for young adults living, studying and working in Horsham and the surrounding area. It can be extremely hard in our modern, materialistic and secular world to stand up and be counted as a Christian, our society does not cultivate faith in God but encourages a person to think only of themselves and their own individual desires with no regard for the needs of our neigbour. It can also be...awkward if friends and colleagues ask questions about our Catholic faith to which we may not have an immediate answer or they make assumptions about who and what we are, what we profess and what we do. Sometimes it is nice to simply sit down and chat socially with someone who gets what we mean when we say we've been to Mass, who we can talk about our beliefs to and share in the joy of being a Christian in the 21st century. As a result Tom Kent and I are starting a dedicated Young Adults group here in the parish. Our plan to begin with is to keep things nice and low-key, we all go to the 6:30pm Mass on Sunday and then head over to a local pub for a drink (or two). If you or someone you know might be interested then please do give them a copy of the flyer below (which can also be downloaded here.)