Blessed Robert Grissold Catholic Church

A Community based on Faith, Altar and the Word

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Welcome to the website of Blessed Robert Grissold Catholic Church in Balsall Common. Here you can find details of the parish, our latest newsletter, services and sacraments offered by the Church and, in our parish archive, the events we have held. As a parish we value your privacy. Please follow the link here to learn more about the privacy policy that covers all catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Birmingham,
Father Frank writes
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In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus telling Parables of the Kingdom. The first declares that the growth of the Kingdom resembles the mysterious process of nature; so too the growth of the Kingdom is equally mysterious, as God’s ways always are. A second parable, that of the Mustard Seed, stresses the enormous potential of the Kingdom in spite of its tiny beginning. A parable, from the Greek word meaning “laid alongside,” can be seen as an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
The Gospel of Christ is something so radically good and new that it can be difficult to accept - even by those who are closest to Jesus. The Gospel today tells us that Jesus’ own relatives thought he was “out of his mind.” And others accuse him of siding with Satan and with those who oppose God. They do not have “eyes to see” or “ears to hear” and so his message seems like foolishness or worse - like blasphemy against God - Such is their blindness and deafness to the true God who lives and speaks in Christ.
Today’s feast turns our thoughts to the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist, and one of the peculiarities of the Eucharistic feast is that we, the Church, become the Body of Christ through our partaking of Christ’s Body and the consequence of our assimilation to the Body of Christ is that, like Christ, we become spiritual food for the life of the world, to be broken, given away and consumed. The Eucharist makes the Church, by making the Church Eucharist.
We are not to approach God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons as a mathematical puzzle or a philosophical problem but, rather, as the Divine community of love whom we are called to know and enjoy for ever, for the one God, who has revealed Himself as Trinity, has made us for himself - to know and enjoy him forever. That is why, in and through sacred mysteries which we celebrate in the Eucharist, he gathers us to himself so that, by grace, we might share in the life and love of the Most Holy Trinity for ever.
Today the Church of God throughout the world celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost. It is God’s Spirit who inspires us to obey God’s commandments. All who love God experience the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. He counsels us and reminds us of what Jesus has said. The Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. As we thank God today for the gift of his Holy Spirit let us pray that our Christian discipleship manifests these fruits of God’s Spirit
The Gospel today invites us to celebrate the mystery at the heart of our salvation: God longs for us to be united with him, and with one another, in love. The readings from John typically rejoice at the Good News that we are truly loved by God - the God who is love. And God’s great love is revealed most powerfully in the life death, resurrection and ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ and is made truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Jesus calls us to follow his example in choosing to give ourselves in love, even when it hurts for this is the kind of love that mirrors God’s love. Authentic love is about self-giving - this cannot be accomplished in our own strength - but we can choose to try, confident that our efforts will be backed by God’s energetic and all-conquering love.
Through the Eucharist we make our home in Christ who describes Himself in today’s Gospel as “the true vine.” He is the “vine” and we are the “branches” which feed on His life in and through the miracle of the Mass. The Mass is vital to the Church’s mission and evangelisation, indeed, as St John Fisher once stated “When someone observes with attention the periods of spiritual flourishing of the Church and the times of degeneration as well he must realise this: the cause of degeneration in the Church is almost always the negligence and abuse of this most holy Sacrament of the Altar. On the opposite side however he will notice this: the times of genuine reform and the flourishing of the life of the Church were always preceded by a tender devotion to this most holy Sacrament.”
Today is World Day of Prayer for Vocations. We pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life and that all believers will be faithful to their baptismal vocation. To follow Christ is to love him, to trust him, to serve him and to do his will - which is also what it means to be faithful to our vocation. Christ, the Good Shepherd, tells us that his sheep follow him “because they recognise his voice.” We have to learn to distinguish the voice of the one true God from the voices of the many false gods and idols which call to us today.
The consequences of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ do not end with Easter Day. For those for whom the power of the Resurrection was a first-hand experience, it affected the rest of their lives. Today we remember that the Resurrection was a dynamic and transforming experience for the friends of Jesus and we pray that it may be so for us also.
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Humankind not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called to practice mercy towards others. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” It is to this end that we receive the transforming Spirit of God - the Holy Spirit, who through the power of God’s great loving mercy, transforms our interior life in order that it might radiate outwardly and be a transforming power in the world.
Christ has risen. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the joy of Easter. Today, with the Holy Church of God throughout the world, we proclaim and celebrate the truth which is foundational to our Christian faith, that on the third day Christ rose from the dead. And Christ, the Risen One, does not depart from us but returns to greet us with his peace and to remain with us until the end of time. And we share his peace and rejoice in his presence in the Mass.
Holy Week begins today and it is the most important week in the Church’s calendar. Holy Week opens with Palm Sunday when we carry palm crosses in procession to commemorate the Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem. During Holy Week we celebrate the Easter Triduum, comprising the liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday evening). The liturgy of Holy Thursday commemorates the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, also there is the Washing of Feet in remembrance of our Lord’s example of humble service. On Good Friday we celebrate the Lord’s Passion and venerate the Cross. The wonderful liturgy of the Easter Vigil is celebrated on Saturday of Holy Week with the blessing and preparation of the Easter Candle and the celebration of Our Lord’s Resurrection. The celebration of Easter Sunday completes the celebrations we have prepared for during Lent. These sacred liturgies shine forth as the high point of the Church’s year. The Paschal Triduum is at the heart of all that it means to be the Church and we owe it to ourselves as Christians to be present at these key moments in the life of the worshipping community, for the sacred mysteries, which we celebrate on these three days, are not only the most beautiful liturgies of the Church’s calendar, they are also the axle on which the rest of the liturgical year turns.
Jesus calls us to serve him and follow him - to conversion. To turn away from sin - from all that harms our relationship with God and with our neighbour and to turn toward him, to serve him, do his will, to be faithful to our baptismal vocation. Conversion is a gift from God, won for us through the sacrifice of Christ and we must ask for it through fervent prayer in order that we might know the power of Christ’s Resurrection working in our lives.
Today is Mothering Sunday and so we give thanks to God for our mothers and for all who are mothers in our community. May God bless you in your high calling, remembering that the greatest of the saints, Our Blessed Lady, was, like you, a mother and that through loving devotion to her calling attained to the heights of holiness.
The Father loves and liberates but in today’s Gospel we see how his house can become ‘a market place’ where people are exploited. Jesus’ protest and rejection of the trading taking part in the Temple affects powerful interests: the interests of those who have replaced God (without denying God openly) by greed, which Paul calls ‘idolatry.’ Paradoxically, this subtle and insidious substitution is often justified by religious arguments. None of us is immune from this. The Gospel today invites us to examine our conscience both at the personal level and as members of Christ’s Church. Through Christ we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Lent is an opportunity for us to cleanse the temple of our lives from all that harms and diminishes us and those around us.
Today in the Gospel we hear how the apostles Peter, James and John were given a glimpse of Christ’s glory on the Mount of the Transfiguration - the same glimpse of glory that we are all given when we gather for the Mass, for in and through the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist we ascend to the heavenly places where, with Angels and Archangels and all the host of heaven, we worship the Beloved Son of God who sits at the right hand of the Father. God, the Holy Spirit, gathers us into the cloud of his glory. We listen to him in the scriptures. We feed on him in the Sacrament of the altar. No wonder the disciples “kept silence.” “Master, it is wonderful for us to be here.”
Today is the First Sunday of Lent, the season when the Church prepares for Easter, the greatest of her celebrations. During the season of Lent we are encouraged to grow in the life of Christ and to deepen and strengthen our relationship with God. The Church leads and assists us in this through encouraging our participation, in an ever more intense and fruitful way, in the liturgies of the Church and in penitential celebrations. In order to aid us in our Lenten endeavours I have arranged for instruction, devotions, times for meditation and prayerful reflection (please see details below) and there will be opportunities for people to make their confession.
At the time of Jesus, lepers were treated as social and ritual outcasts. They were not welcome in society or in the Temple. Therefore the leper in today’s Gospel makes a bold move in approaching Jesus. Jesus makes him “clean” enabling him to be accepted as part of the worshipping community and revealing to us how God, in Christ, is reconciling the world to himself. No one is outside the welcoming love of God.
The healings and exorcisms of Jesus are a visible manifestation that the Kingdom of God is breaking into and conquering the world - that all things are being made new in and through Christ. The Gospels see illness as part of our fallen human condition which Jesus comes to heal and make whole.
In Mark’s Gospel Jesus’ first miraculous work is an exorcism whereby he casts out an ‘unclean spirit’ - a demon. By this action Jesus’ announcement of the coming of God’s Kingdom becomes perceptible and concrete. Throughout the public ministry of Our Lord, Mark shows Jesus progressively dismantling the powers of darkness as he advances his assault on Satan’s kingdom. Those who witness Jesus’ words and actions are astonished for he teaches with authority. Also, it should be noticed that the presence of Christ draws the evil spirit out into the open. In the presence of Jesus the grip of evil on the man comes to light and he cries out in rage, challenging Jesus encroachment on the demon’s formerly uncontested territory. St Leo XIII wrote the following prayer to strengthen us and to gain the Archangel’s protection in the spiritual battle against the Devil and his evil influence.
In today’s Gospel reading we see how Jesus begins his public life with an exhortation to repent because the kingdom of heaven, or in Mark’s version the kingdom of God, is at hand. This warning prompted by love is addressed to all, for no one is without sin. Yet no matter how many wounds our human nature has sustained, we are never justified in giving way to despair, for the Lord, in his great love for us, pours out his compassion abundantly on all who need it.
Today’s Gospel conducts us to the River Jordan. This was the holy place where first century Judeans expected to see the Messiah come. It was also at this place that the people, long ago, crossed over into the promised land. Today’s story finds us here at this holy place, where John the Baptist is proclaiming Jesus to be the Lamb of God - the One who takes away the sins of the world, the One we are to follow.
Today, with the holy Church of God throughout the world, we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Epiphany means “manifestation” and it was made manifest to the Magi, who were led from afar by a bright star, that Jesus came, not just for the people of Israel but for everyone. This feast draws us away from the temptation to confine the mystery of the Christmas celebration to our own private world and interests. For the Church, Epiphany is a call and a challenge to never become narrow and inward-looking but to remember that, as the baptised, our vocation is to be a light for all people.
The Feast today reminds us that God’s revelation and the outworking of his loving purposes takes place in the context of human families. In today’s readings we see how God begins a new work in the world through Abraham and Sarah, in the Old Testament and through Mary and Joseph, in the New Testament. Both couples faithfully trusted in God’s promises and saw them come to fulfilment - such is the faithfulness and mercy of God.
We see in the Gospels how God fulfils the promises he has made through the people of the Old Covenant and he does this in a bewildering way. The fulfilment of the promises of old comes through a young Jewish girl who accepts the will of God and the work of his Holy Spirit in her. Her husband, Joseph, is confused about the events surrounding the conception and birth of Jesus but such perplexity is to be expected because God’s ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts and, according to God’s loving purposes, revealed in both the Old and New Testaments, something utterly ‘good’ and utterly ‘new’ is breaking into our world with the birth of Christ.
John the Baptist, who we hear about in today’s Gospel, marks the end of the time of waiting and the beginning of the new age in Jesus. John is the last of the great prophets, For a long time the people had been without a messenger from God but in John the Baptist the people discovered an end to God’s silence. Through John they could hear the word of God. We are told that many went out from the towns and cities to see John - which is testimony to his charismatic power to attract people - such is the powerful attraction of the word of God alive and active in a person.
The Gospel today encourages to “stay awake” not to allow ourselves to become complacent in our Christian lives. Advent is a penitential season when the Church invites us to prepare for the many ways in which Our Lord Jesus Christ comes to us. We can be assisted in remaining vigilant through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, that’s why these disciplines are recommended in this season. Like the “doorkeeper” in Mark’s Gospel, Christians have to remain ever watchful and be attentive to what the Lord wants to reveal to us in all the circumstances of our everyday lives.
The Gospel today encourages to “stay awake” - we must not to allow ourselves to become complacent in our Christian lives. Advent is a penitential season when the Church invites us to prepare for the many ways in which Our Lord Jesus Christ comes to us. We can be assisted in remaining vigilant through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, that’s why these disciplines are recommended in this season. Like the “doorkeeper” in Mark’s Gospel, Christians have to remain ever watchful and be attentive to what the Lord wants to reveal to us in all the circumstances of our everyday lives.
The chief causes of the difficulties under which mankind is labouring and the widespread evil in the world, are due to the fact that the majority of people today disregard Our Lord Jesus Christ and his holy law of love. Christ and his teaching finds no place in people’s private lives or in the public arena. And as long as individuals and states refuse to submit to the rule of Christ the King there is no real prospect of lasting peace among nations. Christ, the King of the Universe is seated on his throne of glory and the criterion used by him in his judgement is the law of love. “In the twilight of life we will be judged on love alone.”
In today’s Gospel we hear of a man who returned everything he had ever been given to his master - and yet he was censured. He was blamed, not for misusing the gifts he had been given, but rather for not having used them at all. This Gospel passage encourages us to reflect on how we use the gifts and talents we have received from God. The Parable of the Talents teaches us that true religion - a true response to Christ’s call to be his disciples - involves risk, adventure and enterprise. To use God-given gifts and talents aright is to share in the joy of the kingdom.
Today's Gospel reading reminds us to stay alert, to pay attention to the demands of the Gospel. Vigilance is nourished by hope and St Paul reminds us that the basis of this hope is the conviction that Jesus has risen from the dead. Hope enables us to leap over the barrier of a life imprisoned by death. Our hope in the resurrection affirms a life that knows no end. Eternal life starts here and now. It is the life we encounter and celebrate in and through the Eucharist.
November is the month the Church especially remembers to pray for the dead. Remembrance Sunday is next week when we will pray for the repose of the souls of all those who have lost their lives as a result of war, and we continue to pray for our deceased loved ones throughout the month of November. Scriptures and the Church teach that we can help the departed through the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for them. Consequently, Masses will be offered for the Holy Souls over the course of November.
October is the month of the Rosary, and the Rosary is a rich and powerful prayer. Firstly, the Rosary is vocal prayer in that the fixed words can be prayed aloud, but it also lends itself to meditative prayer as we reflect on each of the mysteries. This enables personal insights that can change our lives and meditation can lead to loving contemplation when our mind is seized by the depth of the mystery we are praying. That’s why Pope St John Paul II wrote: “The Rosary belongs among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation.” The words of the Rosary also contain prayers of praise and petition and the faithful often offer up each decade of the Rosary for a special intention. Countless believers, down through the ages have born witness to the fruitful results of praying the Rosary. How could it be otherwise when, as Pope St John Paul II says: “To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ.”
October is the month of the Rosary, and the Rosary is Trinitarian and Christ-centred but it is also a Marian prayer. In the Rosary, we are happy to praise the mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the words of the Archangel Gabriel and her cousin Elizabeth: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.” And in the Rosary, we meditate and reflect on the important events in Our Lord’s life through the eyes of Mary. Another prayer that makes the Rosary Marian is the concluding prayer - the “Hail Holy Queen.” But the two most important prayers of the Rosary are the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary. As St. Louis de Montfort said: “How could there possibly be any prayers more pleasing to Almighty God and the Blessed Virgin, or any that are easier, more precious or more helpful than these two prayers?”
October is the month of the Rosary and the Rosary is a rich and complete form of prayer. In the first place it is “Trinitarian”. We begin the Rosary with the sign of the Cross as we invoke the three persons of the Most Holy Trinity: “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” We then recite the Apostles Creed, which calls to mind each of the divine persons in turn: “I believe in God the Father Almighty…and in Jesus Christ his only-begotten Son…I believe in the Holy Spirit.” And each decade of the Rosary concludes with the Trinitarian prayer: “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.” The Rosary is also Christ-centred for the mysteries of the Rosary upon which we meditate are the mysteries of Christ’s life. And in every “Hail Mary” prayed we honour Christ by saying: “blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”
October is the month of the Rosary - a form of prayer which has been practiced and encouraged by saints and Popes down through the ages. More importantly it is a prayer that has been urged by Our Blessed Lady herself. Mary appeared to St Dominic and instructed him to use the Rosary in combating heresy. In the apparitions in Lourdes in 1858, Our Lady appeared with the Rosary in her hand and recited it together with Bernadette. And in Fatima, in 1917, she appeared again holding the Rosary and encouraged the faithful to be diligent in praying the Rosary. It was at Fatima that Mary identified herself as “the Lady of the Rosary” and asked for the “Fatima prayer” to be said after each decade: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.”
Monday 2nd October marks the Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels. This celebration was placed in the Roman Calendar in 1615. Sacred Scripture is full of stories of angels coming to help Patriarchs and all. Each person has his or her Guardian Angel. Angels are God’s messengers whose mission is to take care of us, to protect our way on earth, and to share with Christians the apostolic zeal to get souls closer to God. Saint Peter was liberated from gaol by an angel. Our Lord spoke of the angels of children who constantly behold His heavenly Father’s face. Our Guardian Angels are our friends.
There is an opportunity at St Francis church to pray the Rosary every Wednesday after the 9.00am Mas. The Holy Rosary is a form of prayer which has been practiced and encouraged by saints and Popes down through the ages. More importantly it is a prayer that has been urged by Our Blessed Lady herself. Mary appeared to St Dominic and instructed him to use the Rosary in combating heresy. In the apparitions in Lourdes in 1858, Our Lady appeared with the Rosary in her hand and recited it together with Bernadette. And in Fatima, in 1917, she appeared again holding the Rosary and encouraged the faithful to be diligent in praying the Rosary. It was at Fatima that Mary identified herself as "The Lady of the Rosary" and asked for the "Fatima prayer" to be said after each decade: "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy."
At the heart of the revelation of God in the scriptures is his gratuitous love and today's Gospel teaches us that this kind of love is to be the norm of our relationship with others. According to Jesus' teaching, forgiveness is a vital part of the daily life of the Christian community. Peter wants to know just how far our forgiveness should go. Jesus answers that we must always forgive - that is the meaning of the mysterious expression "seventy-seven times." This symbolic number indicates that there is to be no limit to forgiveness in the Christian community for love is not compatible with obligations that can be counted, rather it is gratuitous, like the love of God.
In the second reading today St. Paul tells us: "Loves is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour" And Jesus, in the Gospel says, "If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him." We should remember that correcting others is a delicate business requiring discernment - we can easily expect too much too soon. People need time and space to grow - and that means time and space to grow through their mistakes. Jesus was blunt, forceful and highly critical in correcting the Pharisees but was patient, with hardly a word of criticism, in his dealings with sinners and humble folk. He wanted to correct all of these, not to hurt them, and he accomplished this because he worked from a discernment informed by love for all people. "Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour."
Jesus never pretended that it would be easy to be a disciple of his. In today's Gospel, Peter refuses ot accept Jesus' way - he is not prepared, at this stage, to accept the costliness of discipleship, the price of following him. Jesus strongly rejects Peter's reaction but at the same time he is telling him to take up his place as a disciple again. Jesus knows that discipleship is a process, and, like Peter in the story, none of us is the finished article. So, when we stumble and fall, like Peter, wemusttake our placebehind Jesus andfollow him in his way ofthe Cross and Resurrection.
The Catechism teaches that from the beginning of his public ministry Jesus chose certain men, twelve in number, to be with him and to participate in his mission. He gives the Twelve a share in his authority and sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal. Simon Peter holds the first place in the college of the Twelve. As we hear in today’s Gospel, Jesus entrusted a unique mission to him. Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakeable rock of the Church. His mission will be to keep this faith from every lapse and to strengthen his brothers in it. Pope Francis, as successor to St Peter, is called to the same ministry and mission as the first Bishop of Rome. We pray that God will grant him the grace to be faithful to this Divine calling.
Today’s Gospel shows how the Good News of God’s Kingdom is for everyone - no one is excluded, for all are equal before God. We must not fall into a narrow-minded mentality where we are inclined to think that we are private owners of the Gospel and to identify our customs and culture with Jesus’ message. In the Gospel today Jesus acknowledges the faith of the woman whose customs and culture are far different to those of the community that Matthew is addressing in his Gospel. Jesus not only acknowledges her faith with admiration and joy he also presents her as a model to believers.
In today’s Gospel Peter’s faith is tested when the going gets tough. When everything is going swimmingly we do not realise how small our faith is. We find out about our insufficiency and our absolute dependency on Christ when we are buffeted by the storms of life. As Thomas Merton says, when we have “nothing of our own to rely on, and nothing in our nature to support us, and nothing in the world to guide us or give us light - then we find out whether we live by faith.” But it is when we know our poverty of spirit that we are blessed according to Jesus, for it is then that we are aware that we are not self-sufficient but that our sufficiency is all in him.
The Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ took place on Mount Tabor. Christ revealed himself in this glorious light in order to strengthen his disciples for the challenges which lay ahead. It would not be long before the weakness, humiliation and suffering of his Passion and shame of the Cross would become apparent. The Transfiguration reveals that light and glory of Easter - the light of the Resurrection which overcomes the darkness of sin and death. Christ reveals himself on Mount Tabor as the Son of God who is Light from Light and the glory of heaven.
Both the “treasure” and the “pearl” spoken of by Christ in today’s Gospel express what the Kingdom of Heaven must be for disciples: something of ultimate worth. The demand of the Kingdom is radical - everything must be relativised in relation to the absolute value of the Kingdom. Finding the “hidden treasure” or the “pearl” is not the outcome of our work or calculation. With the Kingdom we are in the presence of something gratuitous - something freely given, not something we have earned and, therefore deserved. However, when the gift is given, our response has to be selling all we have in exchange for it.
The thirteenth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel presents several parables on the Kingdom. All of them emphasise the presence of the Kingdom of God in history - a presence which involves a process. In the parable of the wheat and the darnel Jesus teaches us that that the enemy of souls is at work in the world, seeking to destroy the good seed sown by Christ. It also teaches us how difficult it is to distinguish between those who are in the Kingdom and those who are not and that, therefore, we should not judge others, for God will give the definitive judgement in the end.
Monday is the anniversary of the martyrdom of our Patron, Blessed Robert Grissold. Robert Grissold was born around 1575 in Rowington to a Catholic family. When he grew up he became the servant of Mr. Sheldon of Broadway, Worcestershire, in whose service he probably met the priest Fr. John Sugar. Fr. Sugar was once an Anglican priest but, having been received into the Catholic church, went to the English College at Douai to be formed for the Catholic priesthood. Robert and Fr. John came to Rowington and on Sunday 8th July 1603 they were captured in a lane near Baddesley. Both were offered their freedom if they would conform to the Church of England - both refused. On the 16th July both men were taken to Gallow’s Hill, outside Warwick, and were executed. Robert was buried beneath the gallows. Almighty God, you gave to John Sugar and Robert Grissold the joy of sharing in the suffering of your only Son, may the lives of your holy ones inspire us to greater endeavour in the service of your people. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
What great condescension and humility is revealed in the Gospel today. The Master comes to console his fallen servants. He shows us pity when we deserve punishment - he addresses the guilty ones with words of kindness and compassion: “Come, learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” God is humble; we are proud. He bends low in order to raise us up. We can see his gentleness and humility from what he has become. Heaven is his throne, yet he walks among us on the earth in order that we might know his healing and peace and find rest for our souls.
Regarding discipleship and following Jesus, Christ calls us to radical commitment to him. The cost is great, it demands our all but the reward is inexpressibly greater. We cannot follow him in our own strength. He leads us, he empowers us, he gives us the strength to follow so that we might increasingly immerse ourselves in that incomparable love of his which was revealed in his Passion and Cross - a love that is stronger than death and the love we were created to know and share in forever.
In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us: “Do not be afraid,” but there is so much fear in the world today. All sorts of harm spring from fear. The world today, its political and economic structures, reflect the fears that our in our hearts - the fears that lead to gross inequalities, injustice, hatred and conflict. Jesus came to show us another way - the way to overcoming fear with that change of heart that desires the love of God and neighbour above all else. This is the perfect love that casts out all fear and marks the coming of God’s Kingdom. This is the love we feed on in the Mass. This divine love is the source of that peace that Jesus shares with us - a peace that the world cannot know or give. We are called to be filled with his love that casts out fear so that we can bring its healing influence to a world in much need of healing and peace.
Everything begins, one might say, from the heart of Christ who, at the Last Supper, on the eve of his passion, thanked and praised God and by so doing, with the power of his love, transformed the meaning of death which he was on his way to encounter. The fact that the Sacrament of the Altar acquired the name "Eucharist" - "thanksgiving" - expresses this: that changing the substance of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is the fruit of the gift that Christ made of himself, the gift of a Love stronger than death, divine Love which raised him from the dead. This is why the Eucharist is the food of eternal life, the Bread of Life. (Pope Benedict XVI)
Everything begins, one might say, from the heart of Christ who, at the Last Supper, on the eve of his passion, thanked and praised God and by so doing, with the power of his love, transformed the meaning of death which he was on his way to encounter. The fact that the Sacrament of the Altar acquired the name "Eucharist" - "thanksgiving" - expresses this: that changing the substance of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is the fruit of the gift that Christ made of himself, the gift of a Love stronger than death, divine Love which raised him from the dead. This is why the Eucharist is the food of eternal life, the Bread of Life. (Pope Benedict XVI)
We are not to approach God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons as a mathematical puzzle or a philosophical problem but, rather, as the Divine community of love whom we are called to know and enjoy for ever, for the one God, who has revealed Himself as Trinity, has made us for himself - to know and enjoy him forever. That is why, in and through sacred mysteries which we celebrate in the Eucharist, he gathers us to himself so that, by grace, we might share in the life and love of the Most Holy Trinity for ever.
Today the Church of God throughout the world celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost. It is God’s Spirit who inspires us to obey God’s commandments. All who love God experience the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. He counsels us and reminds us of what Jesus has said. The Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. As we thank God today for the gift of his Holy Spirit let us pray that our Christian discipleship manifests these fruits of God’s Spirit
For Jesus the Cross is His glory and the way to the glory of eternity. But wherein lies the glory of the Cross? Jesus' life was glorious and drew many to Himself but his death on the Cross was even more glorious. For, as He said, "When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself." This is because the death of Christ on the Cross shows the incomparable and infinite love of God - a love that is prepared to go to any length to win us to Himself. In His obedience to finish the work of salvation given to Him by the Father, Christ completed His mission, when God's great love for us shone in all its glory from the Cross.
In today’s Gospel we are told of the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Lord calls the Spirit ‘another Advocate’ a term which is difficult to translate from the original Greek but which means something like ‘being with’ being the defender - one who intercedes for. We can see from this that the Spirit continues Christ’s mission for Jesus is with us, at our side as a friend representing us and defending us. The Spirit is sent to be with us forever and we know him because he lives in us. Not only is the Spirit revealed as being with us, he is also ‘the Spirit of truth.’ Jesus and the Spirit lead the Christian community into communion with the Father and into all truth
The Gospel today reveals how Jesus is the full expression of God the Father. The invisible God fully manifests himself in the humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to the fullest extent that this can be expressed in human nature. That is why he is the “Way” to the Father - to have seen him, to have heard him, is to have seen and heard the Father. And Christ embodies and reveals the “Truth” about existence - the truth that God made us for himself, so that his creatures might know him and love him forever. That is the truth about how and why we were made and that is why, as St Augustine said: “Our souls are restless until they find rest in God.” And Christ is our “Life.” All things were made through him and for him and he shares his life with us so that the life that is in him may be in us too. That is why he can properly proclaim himself, “the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
No weekday Masses this week - Fr Frank is having his post-Easter break which will continue until the weekend of the 4th Sunday of Easter. Therefore, there will be no weekday Mass for the next week. The Sunday Masses will still go ahead
I am on my post-Easter break which will continue until the weekend of the 4th Sunday of Easter.
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Humankind not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called to practice mercy towards others. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” It is to this end that we receive the transforming Spirit of God - the Holy Spirit, who through the power of God’s great loving mercy, transforms our interior life in order that it might radiate outwardly and be a transforming power in the world.
Christ has risen. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the joy of Easter. Today, with the Holy Church of God throughout the world, we proclaim and celebrate the truth, which is foundational to our Christian faith, that on the third day Christ rose from the dead. And Christ, the Risen One, does not depart from us but returns to greet us with his peace and to remain with us until the end of time. And we share his peace and rejoice in his presence in the Mass.
Holy Week begins today with Palm Sunday when the Church recalls the entrance of Christ the Lord into Jerusalem to accomplish his Paschal Mystery. The Paschal Mystery, the passage from death to life, is the heart of our faith. The account of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus forms the oldest part of the Gospels. It is what the evangelists recorded first. For them, it was the heart and nucleus of the Lord’s witness to the loving purposes of God. That is why the Paschal Mystery is at the heart of our communal celebration as the Church and is at the heart of our lives as Christians and this is why the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter are so important. Through the Easter Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday we celebrate the greatest mysteries of our redemption keeping, through very special celebrations, the memorial of our Lord’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
Next week marks the beginning of Holy Week - the most important week in the Church’s calendar. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday. During Holy Week we celebrate the Easter Triduum, comprising the liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday evening). These sacred liturgies shine forth as the high point of the Church’s year. The Paschal Triduum is at the heart of all that it means to be the Church and we owe it to ourselves as Christians to be present at these key moments in the life of the worshipping community, for the sacred mysteries, which we celebrate on these three days, are the axle on which the rest of the liturgical year turns.
In the early Church Lent was a time of completing the formation of candidates for the Baptisms which would take place at Easter and the readings of the Sundays in Lent reflect this time of baptismal preparation. Last week the Gospel spoke of the “living water” welling up to eternal life. This week Jesus reveals himself as the “light of the world,” and next week, the raising of Lazarus from the dead will proclaim him as the “resurrection and the life.” As Pope Emeritus Benedict says: “Water, light and life are symbols of Baptism, the sacrament that “immerses” believers in the mystery of the death and Resurrection of Christ, liberating them from the slavery of sin and giving them eternal life.”
In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks of the mysterious water which is capable of ‘welling up to eternal life.’ This is the life given, in Baptism - a life we are called to cherish and nurture. The elements of Baptism, namely the water of the font and the holy oils, refer us to the stuff of the cosmos - reminding us that everything is caught up in God’s loving purposes of making all things new. In the early Church, Baptism took place during the Easter Vigil and Baptism spoke of the new life and the new time of which Easter is the celebration and manifestation. Baptism has always found its fulfilment in the Eucharist which is the sacrament of the Kingdom - the sacrament of the ‘eternal life’ of the world to come.
Today in the Gospel we hear how the apostles Peter, James and John were given a glimpse of Christ’s glory on the Mount of the Transfiguration - the same glimpse of glory that we are all given when we gather for the Mass, for in and through the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist we ascend to the heavenly places where, with Angels and Archangels and all the host of heaven, we worship the Beloved Son of God who sits at the right hand of the Father. God, the Holy Spirit, gathers us into the cloud of his glory. We listen to him in the scriptures. We feed on him in the Sacrament of the altar. No wonder the disciples “kept silence” and then proclaimed “Master, it is wonderful for us to be here.”
Holy Week and Easter are the climax of the Christian liturgical year. The time of the Passion and Resurrection is proceeded by Lent, a lengthy period of preparation for these saving and illuminating mysteries. Lent is a time of penitence. It is a time for us to examine our conscience and seek reconciliation with the Lord. Lent is also a time for spiritual growth and enlightenment. In Lent we are invited to listen, and respond, ever more faithfully to the voice of God. Lent also commemorates Israel’s liberation from slavery in Egypt and their forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Lent relates this to our own spiritual journey, to our liberation, our pilgrimage, our feeding on divine manna and of our meeting with God. And, as we see from today’s Gospel, Lent also recalls the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert during which he contended with Satan, the tempter. And our Lent must be a period of fighting against temptation. From this one can see that Lent is a very rich, a very deep mixture of elements which serve to purify and enlighten us. During the time of Lent the Church leads us towards the radiant glory of the Paschal feast. The more serious our Lenten preparation has been, the deeper we shall enter into the joyful mystery of Easter and gather its fruits.
In the Gospel today, Jesus speaks of the nature of God’s Kingdom which is breaking into this world even now. This is the ‘perfect’ life of the heavenly kingdom so we should not be surprised that his words sound strange for they are opening up to us a strange and new reality which is not of this world. This eternal life is that dimension of the kingdom which we pray will come on earth. The power and the glory of this eternal dimension of the kingdom which is breaking into our world transforms and renews all things so that discord, hatred and violence are overcome by the love and peace of Christ. It is this life of the kingdom which we see breaking into this world in the words and examples of Jesus and the saints - in the ones who ‘love their enemies’ and ‘pray for those who persecute them.’ And it is into this eternal dimension, that makes such strange new things possible, that God gathers us each time he summons us before him in the Mass. For in and through the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit gathers us and makes us one with Christ who sits at the right hand of the Father in the heavenly kingdom, so that, with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominions and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven, we sing the hymn of his glory.
In the Gospel today, Christ teaches us about the relationships we should nurture and enjoy as members of his Body – the Church. As the baptised we are called to live and act in a way that is caught up in God’s love and life. In this way we witness to Christ in the world. We are not to live as those who do not know Christ – those who quarrel and divide over selfish preferences, those who are motivated by self-serving desire. Rather, as members of the Church, we are to live differently, bearing witness to the alternative life Christ brings, for, as members of his Body, we are bound to him in his loving mission to the whole of creation. As co-workers with Christ, we are called to enact God’s deep love for the world – to get our minds off ourselves and our petty self-interests and to live together harmoniously.
In the Gospel today, Jesus teaches that the lives of his followers should have a distinctive quality. Like salt, we should add a peculiar flavour to life because our life in Christ is distinctive and peculiar - different from what the world has to offer. This distinctive and peculiar quality of the Christ-life in us should shine like a light in the world, because Christ is the Light of the world. But if we lose our distinctive and peculiar taste - if the light in us is dimmed or hidden through sin or compromised with the world - then we are no longer fit for purpose and we fail in our witness to the love and light of Christ - a witness that is vital in order that all may “taste and see that the Lord is good.”
According to Christ's teaching, even the destitute, if they have the faith, hope and love of Christ, are in far happier circumstances than the selfish rich. Jesus says, "Woe to your rich ones you have your consolation now." If through the faith, hope and love of Christ the poor can avoid the destructive bitterness which often accompanies destitution, they are far more open to the Gospel message and the Kingdom of Heaven than the rich and comfortably indifferent. The faithful poor have no treasure here below, their treasure is above, their solitary refuge and boast is in the Lord - their greatest treasure.
This is the Sunday within the Octave of Payer for Christian Unity and, as Christians, we must be deeply committed to that unity among believers for which Jesus prayed. The two great commands of Christ, to love God with our whole strength and being and to love our neighbour as our self, show us the way to that unity, for the more we grow in love and unity with God the more we will grow in love and unity with one another. The scriptures proclaim God’s great love for the world and of his plan to draw all things together in unity in Christ. It is our great privilege to be caught up in this great love of God which we celebrate in the Eucharist where, by faith, we perceive God drawing and gathering his scattered creation into one in Christ.
In today's Gospel the Baptist calls Jesus the 'Lamb of God.' This title expresses Jesus' sacrificial character for, in the Old Covenant, a lamb was one of the usual animals of sacrifice. This name also points to Jesus' purity, to his gentle patience and to his humble and loving resignation with which he submitted to the sacrifice of the Cross.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and we leave behind the touching scene of the crib. Jesus has moved from the helpless infant of Bethlehem to a grown man who takes upon himself a tremendous burden and responsibility. The burden is the weight of the sins of humankind. The responsibility is to make reparation for those sins.
God wants us to experience the tender love of Mary, our mother, just as we know the love of our Heavenly Father. Jesus gave countless gifts to humankind but the final gift he gave us, when he was dying on the cross, was Mary, his own mother. The love that this good mother bears us is so great that as soon as she perceives our want, she comes to our assistance. We need only show Mary the wounds of our souls and she immediately helps us by her prayers and consoles us. That is why Pope Leo XIII wrote: “Such is Mary’s greatness, so powerful is her favour with God, that not to have recourse to her in times of need is like trying to fly without wings."
A blessed and joyful Christmas to you all. At Christmas, God gives us a wonderful sign of his love, such as we should not have dared to hope for. How could we have expected to see a virgin with child, and to see in this child not only “God with us”, but one who would descend into the depths of the earth to seek for the lost in order to ascend again to present us to his heavenly Father? Out of his great love for us he emptied himself to make himself like us in order that he might win us to himself. The Son of God was born on earth out of compassion for the human race, for God is love and that love overflows outside of the Holy Trinity enabling his creatures to share in his life. In the manger at Bethlehem God offers himself to us. He discloses himself, shows us what he is like, but does not want to force us. His great power is the power of love and love wants the freedom of the beloved. In the Word made flesh God speaks and at the same time keeps silent; he knocks at the door of our hearts and awaits our response.
We see in today’s Gospel how God fulfils the promises he has made through the people of the Old Covenant and he does this in a bewildering way. The fulfilment of the promises of old comes through a young Jewish girl who accepts the will of God and the work of his Holy Spirit in her. Her husband, Joseph, is confused and perplexed by how is betrothed came to be found with child but he believes God’s word, delivered by the angel of the Lord, and takes his wife to his home.
The Third Sunday of Advent is also known as “Gaudete Sunday.” Advent is the penitential season of preparation for Christmas. The prayer of this season “looks forward” in relation to the triple coming of the Lord: in history, in grace and at the end of time. Its tone is of anticipation, expectation and yearning, hence the Response to the Psalm: “Come Lord and save us “and the eager enquiry of the Baptist’s disciples: “Are you the one who is to come?” Advent is also a time of great joy as is reflected in today’s Entrance Antiphon: “Gaudete in Domino semper,” “Rejoice in the Lord always".
The Gospel today speaks of 'repentance.' The Gospel is Good News and so is repentance. Repentance is about our turning away from sin, our return to our loving heavenly Father and our growing in union with Him. Through repentance we 'Taste and see that the Lord is good' and know that's God's loving kindness is better than life, for nothing compares with the love of God in Christ Jesus. Repentance is a priceless gift to mankind. It is a God-given miracle that restores us after the Fall. And this gift is born of Christ's prayer in Gethsemane, His death on the Cross and His Resurrection.
As we begin Advent our thoughts are guided, through the liturgy, to the coming of Christ - his first coming to us in humility and weakness and his second coming in majesty and power. The description of the Second Coming of Christ should not fill us with fear, rather we should look forward to it and prepare for it through prayer and right living. So, let us resolve to stay close to Christ through our daily prayer. Perhaps praying the rosary daily - even if it is only offering up a decade - and meditating on what Christ wants to say to us in the Gospels. In this way we will learn to discern his voice - calling us to follow him in the way we must walk.
The feast of Christ the King, which the holy Church throughout the world celebrates today, brings to a close the Church’s liturgical year. Our image of a monarch tends to be of one who lives a privileged life and lords it over others. Christ our King is not like that. He came to serve, not to be served and he wants us to imitate him in his loving service of others. That is why, as St. John of the Cross said: “In the evening of life we shall be examined on love.” If to love and to serve our neighbour is heavenly, hell is the suffering of one who can no longer love.
The Gospel today speaks of persecution for Christ’s true followers and Jesus makes it clear that in time of trial it is profitable for us to endure this suffering for the sake of Christ. The Lord says: ‘By patient endurance you will win life for yourselves.’ To patient endurance in every trial we suffer, in every affliction, whether this is insolent and contemptuous treatment, humiliations, bodily weakness or the attacks of Satan, or any trial whatsoever caused either by people or by evil spirits, must be added wholehearted thanksgiving, prayer and humility. For, it is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give God thanks, for he disposes all things, good or otherwise, for our benefit.
In the Gospel today Jesus speaks of the life of the Resurrection, and he makes it clear that this is eternal life – a life qualitatively different from out natural life – because ‘the children of the Resurrection’ ‘can no longer die.’ We were made children of the Resurrection through Baptism - when we were baptised in the name of God the Holy Trinity in whose eternal life we now share. It is because we are ‘children of the resurrection’ that we ‘dare’ to call God ‘Our Father’ and it is for this same reason that we are presented, at Baptism, with a candle lit from the Easter candle which represents the light and life of the Resurrected Christ, in whose light and life we share. And being children of the Resurrection, we are also children of God – the God who lives and reigns for ever and ever and we are called to shine as lights in the world to the glory of God, our Father.
We near the end of our month of the Holy Rosary. St Dominic, a Catholic, did most in the development and the early spreading of the Rosary, and many Catholic saints since have highly praised the power of this great means of prayer, nevertheless the Rosary is valued and prayed by members of many different Christian traditions, including Lutherans, Methodists and Anglicans. Richard Baumann, a Lutheran, writes: “When the Rosary is said, truth sinks into the subconscious like a slow and steady downpour… It is a long and persevering gaze, a meditation, a quieting of the spirit in praise of God.” J. Neville Ward, a Methodist minister says: “The Rosary has a profound message for our times… It is a message of consolation, Scriptural in its background, and reasonable as well as devotional in its content.” According to the Reverend Ward, the Christian who has a Rosary in his or her hand is within an ancient tradition, for no other scheme of prayer has been so widely used in the Christian West. And the Anglican Guardians of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham write in their handbook: “The Rosary is a devotion of which many people are frightened. But it is quite simple and quite sensible; it is like looking at a picture book on our mother’s knee… pictures connected with the Life, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord, are shown to us by His Mother and our Mother, who prays with us and for us.” The Holy Rosary is a sure weapon and protection of true unity in the Church.
October, the month of the Rosary continues. Through praying the Rosary, we are invited to contemplate the mysteries at the heart of our faith. This leads us to draw closer to Jesus’ life and teaching and helps them to become ever more deeply embedded in our hearts and minds. We can also relate the mysteries of the Rosary to our own lives - applying them to our own spiritual journey and needs. Also, we can name an intention as we pray the Rosary, dedicating our prayer to someone or something - giving thanks to God or exercising love for others by praying for them or asking God’s grace for our own personal needs. If anyone requires instruction on how to pray the Rosary I will be happy to help.
In October we find ourselves in the month of the Holy Rosary and so it is fitting, at this time, that we should reflect on the power of the Rosary as a means of prayer and of the important part it can play in our spiritual life. God’s grace comes to us through our praying the Rosary and that is why the saints prayed it faithfully and why Popes have endorsed it through the ages. Our Holy Mother has urged the praying of the Rosary wherever she has appeared in recent times. Surely this should be an encouragement to us to try and pray, at least, a decade of the Rosary daily. To this end, it can be useful to carry a Rosary with us always and to have one beside our beds. If anyone requires instruction on how to pray the Rosary I will be happy to help.
October is the month of the Rosary and we will be praying a decade at Mass through the week as a gentle reminder, if it is needed, of the great riches that are to be had in this form of prayer. Padre Pio, the holy saint who received the stigmata, loved to pray the Rosary. He always kept his Rosary beads in his hand. Because he prayed it almost constantly he was known as the ‘living Rosary.’ One day his superior asked him how many Rosaries he had prayed that day. Wanting to be respectful and honest with his superior he told him: “I have prayed thirty-four Rosaries today.” On another occasion a follower asked him to teach him a prayer that was most pleasing to our Blessed Lady. Without hesitation, he insisted that none is more beautiful or pleasing than the Rosary. And he further instructed him: “Always say the Rosary. The Rosary is a weapon in our hands.” Near the end of his life he didn’t talk much and when people sought his advice or help he would simply show them the Rosary. Let us follow St Pio’s example and always have our Rosary with us.
We hear in the Gospel today of the apostles’ desire to grow in faith, “Increase our faith,” they say. Jesus’ response is to speak of how faith can accomplish great things, even if it is small. What Jesus seems to be saying is that what really matters is that faith is exercised, put into practice - that is how it strengthens and grows. Our faith increases when we put it into practice and our practice is to be that of disciples of Jesus. And when we have proved faithful servants of Christ, all we can rightfully say is : “We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty.
This week the Church celebrates the Feast of the Archangels Ss Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. In our scientific and materialistic age, it is easy to lose sight of the supernatural nature of our faith. In the Creed we profess our belief not only in the 'visible' but also in the 'invisible' and this invisible realm is the home of the Holy Angels of God. The Angels of God are our brothers who protect us from evil and who guide us in our journey toward God. In the Mass we pray to Almighty God that the gifts of the altar may be borne by the hands of his holy Angel to his altar on high and we join with all the Angels in heaven in hymning God’s praise as we acclaim: 'Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.' Also, each of us has a Holy Guardian Angel, appointed by God, who protects us from the beginning of our life in our mother’s womb and accompanies us on our path to heaven. Devotion to the Holy Angels is a powerful means of turning us away from the errors of materialism toward the true faith in the invisible realm of the supernatural.
‘There are notable parallels between the Parable of the Unjust Steward, which we hear in the Gospel today, and the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Each story has a noble master who shows amazing grace to his wayward underling. Both stories have a subject who wastes his master’s goods, and in both stories the wasteful servant or son wake up to their dire situation and then they throw themselves on the mercy of their master. In these two parables the principal concern for Jesus is not financial propriety, rather, through these stories, he is inviting us to reflect prayerfully and deeply on the weightier matters of God, his grace and mercy, and salvation.’
Today’s Gospel passage speaks to us of the tender and forgiving love of God. It is the love which is at the heart of Christ and which he reveals through his words and actions. He is the friend of sinners. He seeks out the lost and rejoices over their return to the way of love and life. Those who encounter this merciful life-giving love in Christ are transformed for there is no greater treasure than this. St. Paul says that everything else is like so much rubbish compared to the forgiving love of Christ. And it is in this encounter with the sacred and loving heart of Christ that a religion of the heart is born. Not a religion of laws written on tablets of stone but a religion of love written on hearts of flesh.
Regarding discipleship and following Jesus, today’s Gospel makes it clear that it is a choice which each of us has to make. Christ calls us to radical commitment to him and for that reason he asks all those who would be followers to first count the cost of discipleship. The cost is great. Its demands all total but the reward is inexpressibly greater. We cannot follow him in our own strength. He leads us, he empowers us, he gives us the strength to follow so that we might increasingly immerse ourselves in that incomparable love of his which was revealed in his Passion and Cross - a love that is stronger than death and the love we were created to know and share in forever.
The Gospel today speaks to us of humility and humility is necessary if we wish to be pleasing to God and find entry into his kingdom. Humility is one of the marks of a saint. Because the saints were close to God and deeply aware of his great holiness they felt their faults, failures and weaknesses more profoundly. We are to be humble, like Jesus and the saints, if we are to find favour with God. Humility is about being realistic about who and what we are in the light of the holiness of God.
As St John Henry Newman says: ‘Nothing is more clearly brought out in scripture that in every age, out of the whole number of persons blessed with the means of grace, few have duly availed them of this great benefit.’ As Christ teaches: ‘Many are called, few are chosen,’ ‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able.’ To enter the narrow door into the Kingdom of God requires strenuous effort which most people are not prepared to make. As Jesus says: ‘Wide is the gate and broad is the way ,that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it.’
The saints are our models of Christian life. This is especially true of Mary because of the place she occupies in the history of salvation. Mary is the perfect Christian and as is the immaculate model for the whole Church. She can be seen as the Church in miniature. She shows us that we must be dedicated completely to Christ as she was, that we must be willing to suffer with him, as she did. And she also shows us that loyalty to Christ guarantees immortality, body as well as soul in complete happiness in heaven.
There is a lot of talk about faith in today’s second reading and by faith a Christian is called to completely submit his intellect and his will to God – he or she gives their full assent to the God who has revealed his great love for us in Christ. This response to the Divine revelation is what Sacred Scripture calls ‘the obedience of faith’ and Abraham, ‘our father in faith,’ is the model of such obedience and the Blessed Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment.
The Gospel calls us to place all our trust in God and his providence. Through prayer and the sacraments, we are to store up treasure for ourselves in heaven. Though we are poor in spiritual things, God makes us rich through his grace, allowing us to be sharers in his life and love.
Jesus taught his disciples how to pray. He was a man of prayer - he knew its value and he wanted his disciples to be people of prayer as well. Prayer opens us up to communication and communion with God. It maintains and deepens our relationship with him so that his light and love can flow into us and out into the world in what we say and do.
The mystery revealed in today’s readings is of God in Christ, our friend and companion - the Divine guest who comes to us and we are invited to welcome him, just as Abraham did at the Oak of Mamre and as Martha and Mary did at Bethany. Both Abraham and Martha welcomed their Divine Guest amidst a flurry of activity; whilst Mary sat at his feet and listened to him in the stillness. However, we receive the God who comes to us, only one thing is needed - a heart open to love.
Jesus is the Good Samaritan - the One who loves his neighbour as himself. The One who puts himself in harm’s way in order to save us. He is moved with compassion - he sees we have fallen into the hands of brigands - of forces which rob us of our true dignity as creatures made in the image and likeness of God - leaving us half dead. Jesus tends to our wounds, pouring upon us the oil and wine of his healing grace. He takes us to the ‘inn’ of the Church where our souls are cared for at his expense. He is prepared to make good the cost. And Jesus is prepared to be utterly spent in service of us, his neighbour.
In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus sending out his Apostles to share in his mission of spreading the Good News of the Kingdom of God and Jesus still sends us out today. Christ’s missionary mandate is still in force. We ascend with Christ in and through the Mass to the heavenly places where we worship the living God with angels and Archangels and all the hosts of heaven. After having fed on heavenly things, shared in the Holy Spirit and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, we are sent out at the end of the Mass for the life of the world. Christ’s missionary mandate to his Church still stands. The Church on earth is missionary by nature - the Church exists for others - in order that they might be drawn into the communion of love which exists between God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that love, revealed fully in the Cross of Christ, urges us on.
In our second reading today, St Paul, in his Letter to the Church in Galatia warns against “self-indulgence” and against sniping and snapping at others. This only results, he says, in ‘tearing each other to pieces’ and dividing the community. To those who indulge in these divisive activities the holy Apostle offers this stern warning: “You had better watch or you will destroy the whole community.” Elsewhere, St Paul tells us that those who cause division in the Church “do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites.” The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is against such divisiveness, for the Holy Spirit is always working to draw all things into unity in Christ. That’s why St Paul says: “If you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence” then our life in Christ will be spent serving God and our neighbour, rather than self-serving.
Today’s feast turns our thoughts to the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist, and one of the peculiarities of the Eucharistic feast is that we, the Church, become the Body of Christ through our partaking of Christ’s Body and the consequence of our assimilation to the Body of Christ is that, like Christ, we become spiritual food for the life of the world, to be broken, given away and consumed. The Eucharist makes the Church, by making the Church Eucharist.
SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY:We are not to approach God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons; three Persons but one God, as a mathematical puzzle or a philosophical problem but, rather, as the Divine community of love whom we are called to know and enjoy for ever, for the one God, who has revealed Himself as Trinity, has made us for himself - to know, love and serve him forever. That is why, in and through sacred mysteries, which we celebrate in the Eucharist, he gathers us to himself so that, by grace, we might share in the life and love of the Most Holy Trinity.
Today the Church of God throughout the world celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost. It is God’s Spirit who inspires us to obey God’s commandments. All who love God experience the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. He counsels us and reminds us of what Jesus has said. The Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. As we thank God today for the gift of his Holy Spirit let us pray that our Christian discipleship manifests these fruits of God’s Spirit.
June - the Month of the Sacred Heart June is the month of the Sacred Heart. The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus falls on Friday 24th June. Great benefits are promised to those who practice this devotion. Also, during this month, we can seek to deepen our devotion to the love of God revealed in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus - a devotion encouraged by St Margaret Mary, whose relic rests in our altar at Blessed Robert Grissold church. We might even consider consecrating ourselves to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus say: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” May is the month of Our Blessed Lady and these words of Christ, her Son, apply in a special way to her for she is the one who responded faithfully to God’s message saying: “Let it be done to me according to your word.” Mary was the first and perfect disciple of Jesus. She kept his words in her heart and in her life of faithful witness. Because of her loving obedience to Christ, God, the Most Holy Trinity, made its dwelling place in her.
In the Gospel today we see Jesus saying goodbye to his disciples and leaving them a summary of his teachings. He gives them a “new commandment:” “Love one another just as I have loved you.” This is “new,” not because it is the first time Jesus has mentioned it but because love is always fresh and new and makes all things new. Love is creative, transforming, transfiguring - the disciples have witnessed this in the life of Christ. They have seen the love of God in Christ reach out to all - a love which excludes no one and includes all those who are marginalized and oppressed. This is the love we feed on in the Mass and carry to a world hungry for its creative and healing power
Today is World Day of Prayer for Vocations. We pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life and that all believers will be faithful to their baptismal vocation. To follow Christ is to love him, to trust him, to serve him and to do his will - which is also what it means to be faithful to our vocation. Christ, the Good Shepherd, tells us that his sheep follow him “because they recognise his voice.” We have to learn to distinguish the voice of the one true God from the voices of the many false gods and idols which call to us today.
We pray for all young people, called to live life to the fullest, ; may they see in Mary’s life the way to listen, the depth of discernment, the courage that faith generates, and the dedication to service
Christ has risen: I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the joy of Easter. Today, with the Holy Church of God throughout the world, we proclaim and celebrate the truth which is foundational to our Christian faith, that on the third day Christ rose from the dead. And Christ, the Risen One, does not depart from us but returns to greet us with his peace and to remain with us until the end of time. And we share his peace and rejoice in his presence in the Mass.
Holy Week begins today with Palm Sunday when the Church recalls the entrance of Christ the Lord into Jerusalem to accomplish his Paschal Mystery. The Paschal Mystery, the passage from death to life, is the heart of our faith. The account of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus forms the oldest part of the Gospels. It is what the evangelists recorded first. For them, it was the heart and nucleus of the Lord’s witness to the loving purposes of God. That is why the Paschal Mystery is at the heart of our communal celebration as the Church and is at the heart of our lives as Christians and this is why the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter are so important. Through the Easter Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday we celebrate the greatest mysteries of our redemption keeping, through very special celebrations, the memorial of our Lord’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
We see in the Gospel today how the Jewish Law was interpreted at the time of Jesus such that it prescribed the death penalty for the sin of adultery. Jesus rejects the lack of humility and lack of mercy, shown in the story, by the woman’s accusers. “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Jesus’ just authority made her accusers, all men, walk away. Jesus forgives the woman taken in adultery and rejects the cruelty and double standards of her accusers.
Jesus’ parables invite us to reflect on where we find ourselves in the story he is telling. So in today’s Parable of the Prodigal Son who do we most identify with? With the Father, having a care and concern for those in need and having a good nose for when a party is needed? Or do we identify more with the reckless, but eventually repentant, younger son? Do we see something of ourselves in his destructive self-centredness? Or do we see more of our self in the elder son - are we more like him in being full of resentment and making other people pay for our loveless faithfulness? Perhaps we see a little of all the characters in us. Wherever we find our self in the story, Christ invites us to reflect on the journey we have to make to be one with him.
In today’s Gospel Christ calls us to repentance. It is a call for us to come to our senses - to realise who we really are and to be those people - and through Baptism we are children of God. Repentance is about turning away from all that prevents us from realising our true identity and a turning towards the God who wants us to live in a loving relationship with him and with one another. Repentance is about us realising the abundant life God created us for. It’s the reason Christ came to proclaim his message of repentance - for as he said: “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” and to that end he calls us to, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
Today in the Gospel we hear how the apostles Peter, James and John were given a glimpse of Christ’s glory on the Mount of the Transfiguration - the same glimpse of glory that we are all given when we gather for the Mass, for in and through the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist we ascend to the heavenly places where, with Angels and Archangels and all the host of heaven, we worship the Beloved Son of God who sits at the right hand of the Father. God, the Holy Spirit, gathers us into the cloud of his glory. We listen to him in the scriptures. We feed on him in the Sacrament of the altar. No wonder the disciples “kept silence.” “Master, it is wonderful for us to be here.”
Holy Week and Easter are the climax of the Christian liturgical year. The time of the Passion and Resurrection is proceeded by Lent, a lengthy period of preparation for these saving and illuminating mysteries. Lent is a time of penitence. It is a time for us to examine our conscience and seek reconciliation with the Lord. Lent is also a time for spiritual growth and enlightenment. In Lent we are invited to listen, and respond, ever more faithfully to the voice of God. Lent also commemorates Israel’s liberation from slavery in Egypt and their forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Lent relates this to our own spiritual journey, to our liberation, our pilgrimage, our feeding on divine manna and of our meeting with God. And, as we see from today’s Gospel, Lent also recalls the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert during which he contended with Satan, the tempter. And our Lent must be a period of fighting against temptation. From this one can see that Lent is a very rich, a very deep mixture of elements which serve to purify and enlighten us. During the time of Lent the Church leads us towards the radiant glory of the Paschal feast. The more serious our Lenten preparation has been, the deeper we shall enter into the mystery of Easter and gather its fruits.
In today’s Gospel Jesus says: “A man’s words flow out of what fills his heart.” Lent begins on Wednesday - Ash Wednesday - with the Blessing and Imposition of the Ashes. The Church’s season of Lent is an opportunity for us to go deeper into what is at the heart of our lives and what should be first in our hearts. It’s a season in which we are invited to grow in our awareness of those things that blind us to the truth about ourselves and the truth about Christ. Lent is an opportunity to notice the “plank” in our own eye that prevents us seeing clearly how to love God and how to love our neighbour as our self. And it is only by seeing clearly that we can act and speak lovingly. On Ash Wednesday, a day of penance, abstinence and fasting, we enter into the joyful season of Lent - joyful because it is a time established for the purification of our souls and the renewal of our hearts.
In today’s Gospel Jesus calls us to love our enemies - to love like the God in whose image and likeness we were originally created. Humanity has made itself the enemy of God through its sinfulness - our turning our backs on the way of God’s love. This is seen most keenly in the way humanity treated God’s beloved Son. Yet God loves us. He loves us as we are, but he loves us too much to let us stay as we are. His love wants to transform us, more and more, into the likeness of Jesus, who is true the image of God and who loved his enemies - praying for those who crucified him: “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.”
In today’s Gospel we are presented with St Luke’s version of the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus’ teaching and life. They express our vocation, as the Baptised, to be united with Christ in his Passion, Cross and Resurrection and they shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life. The Beatitudes proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured, however dimly, for Christ’s followers and we see their practical outworking in the lives of Our Blessed Lady and the Saints. God calls us to beatitude - to share in His own happiness and joy through our communion with Blessed Persons of the Most Holy Trinity.
After the miraculous catch of fish, which we hear about in the Gospel today, Peter realised, as never before, his own sinfulness and the holiness of Jesus. He asked Jesus to depart from him but Christ showed him that his sins and weaknesses would not prevent him from sharing in his work. While our sinfulness humbles us we should not let it get us down or make us feel that we do not belong to the company of Christ. Christ came to “call sinners.” He is known as the “friend of sinners” - he comes to help us to overcome our sins. That is why, with confidence, we have recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and come before him in the Mass to confess our sins
In the Gospel today we hear how Jesus is rejected by the people of Nazareth and is chased out of the village by an angry mob who are determined to kill him. Why? Because he was telling the truth and they couldn’t bear to hear the truth. The truth can be hard to hear, especially when it exposes uncomfortable and unpleasant things about ourselves. This does not prevent Christ from continuing with his mission - to proclaim the truth that sets us free.
Can we trust the Gospel accounts of what Jesus said and did and of who he claimed to be? Luke, Gentile doctor, Christian convert and missionary companion to St Paul, seems to have no doubts. In the prologue to his Gospel he describes the received teaching as “well founded.” and his confidence is in no small part due to the fact that the accounts of Jesus’ life and mission which had been handed down, were the work of those who, from the outset, were eyewitnesses. So we can reliably learn what Jesus said and did, and about who he claimed to be, by attending to the Gospels.
The week of prayer for Christian unity begins this week. The vision of the Church presented by the scriptures is of Christ’s mystical body - the place where God is gathering into one all peoples, nations, races, and tongues and dissolving all barriers and disagreements. The new humanity of the Church, reborn in and through Christ, can never live separate from others or with hatred or hostility against others. According to the Christian vision the new humanity of the Church must be one for it is out of the one Father that they have been reborn. It is for this unity that we pray this week.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and we leave behind the touching scene of the crib. Jesus has moved from the helpless infant of Bethlehem to a grown man who takes upon himself a tremendous burden and responsibility. The burden is the weight of the sins of humankind. The responsibility is to make reparation for those sins.
Thanks for the generosity you have shown in the gifts, cards and offerings, I have received over Christmas. Ny gratitude also to all of you who work so hard throughout the year to ensure that a worshipping community is viable here at Blessed Robert Grissold.
In today’s Gospel Luke relates the story of the Visitation and it involves the encounter of two pregnant women. Mary, who is from Galilee, journeys to Judea, the place where, one day, the son she is carrying will be cruelly rejected and condemned. At Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child in her womb “leapt for joy!” Joy is the first response to the coming of the Messiah. Preparing for the great celebration of the Nativity of the Lord means experiencing the joy of knowing that our God is the God who comes to us – the God who gives himself for us because he loves us.
Today is Gaudete Sunday and “Gaudete” refers to the joy of the Lord which we find echoed in today’s scripture readings. We also hear about John the Baptist in today’s Gospel and John marks the end of the time of waiting and the beginning of the new age in Jesus. John is the last of the great prophets, For a long time the people had been without a messenger from God but in John the Baptist the people discovered an end to God’s silence. Through John they could hear the word of God. We are told that many went out from the towns and cities to see John - which is testimony to his charismatic power to attract people - such is the powerful attraction of the word of God alive and active in a person.
The invitation to welcome the God who comes to us in Christ and to cast away empty living is repeated in the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Advent. The Opening Prayer of the Mass asks that no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet Christ. And today we hear the lonely voice of John the Baptist who exhorts us to prepare a way for the Lord. May our faithfulness to the spirit of Advent create a space so that the Lord can come to us.
The season of Advent begins today - the season of preparation for Christmas. The prayer of this season looks forward in relation to the triple coming of the Lord: in history, in grace and at the end of time. Its tone is one of anticipation, expectation and yearning. As St Charles Borromeo said: ‘This is the time eagerly awaited by the patriarchs and prophets, the time that holy Simeon rejoiced to see. This is the season the Church has always celebrated with special solemnity. We too should always observe it with faith and love, offering praise and thanksgiving to the Father for the mercy and love he has shown us in this mystery.’
The feast of Christ the King, which the holy Church throughout the world celebrates today, brings to a close the Church’s liturgical year. Our image of a monarch tends to be of one who lives a privileged life and lords it over others. Christ our King is not like that. He came to serve, not to be served and he wants us to imitate him in his loving service of others. That is why, as St. John of the Cross said: “In the evening of life we shall be examined on love.” If to love and to serve our neighbour is heavenly, hell is the suffering of one who can no longer love.
Faith in the God of love can bring great happiness and confidence for “perfect love casts out all fear.” The warnings about the end times in the Scriptures are meant to be a source of hope for us, not fear, for “Christ, by his death and resurrection, has achieved our sanctification.” All we need to do is to place our trust in Christ and so be able to make the words of today’s psalm our own: “You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence.”
Today in the Gospel we hear the story of the “Widow’s Mite.” The mite was the tiniest coin in circulation. In the Temple the rich were giving from their loose change, but the widow, out of her extreme poverty, gave everything she had: two small coins. Although poor and in need of the few coppers she had, she never hesitated, never counted the cost. She gave everything to God. The widow became famous, not because she gave so little but because, in her extraordinary generosity, she gave so much.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints when we give thanks to God for all those who are in heaven, both those recognised by the Church as saints and those known only to the Lord. The Church teaches that sanctity is within everyone’s reach and we ask for the intercession of the saints in heaven as we endeavour to follow their example. On Tuesday, the Feast of All Souls, we commemorate all the Faithful Departed when the Church invites us to pray for our beloved deceased.
October is the month of the Rosary and the Rosary is a rich and powerful prayer. Firstly, the Rosary is vocal prayer in that, the fixed words can be prayed aloud, but it also lends itself to meditative prayer as we reflect on each of the mysteries. This enables personal insights that can change our lives and meditation can lead to loving contemplation when our mind is seized by the depth of the mystery we are praying. That’s why Pope St John Paul II wrote: “The Rosary belongs among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation.” The words of the Rosary also contain prayers of praise and petition and the faithful often offer up each decade of the Rosary for a special intention. Countless believers, down through the ages have born witness to the fruitful results of praying the Rosary. How could it be otherwise when, as Pope St John Paul II says: “To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ.”
October is the month of the Rosary and the Rosary is Trinitarian and Christ-centred but it is also a Marian prayer. In the Rosary, we are happy to honour the mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the words of the Archangel Gabriel and her cousin Elizabeth: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.” And in the Rosary, we meditate and reflect on the important events in Our Lord’s life through the eyes of Mary. Another prayer that makes the Rosary Marian is the concluding prayer - the “Hail Holy Queen.” But the two most important prayers of the Rosary are the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary. As St. Louis de Montfort said: “How could there possibly be any more pleasing prayers more to Almighty God and the Blessed Virgin, or any that are easier, more precious or more helpful than these two prayers?”
October is the month of the Rosary and the Rosary is a rich and complete form of prayer. In the first place it is “Trinitarian.” We begin the Rosary with the sign of the Cross as we invoke the three persons of the Most Holy Trinity: “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” We then recite the Apostles Creed, which calls to mind each of the divine persons in turn: “I believe in God the Father Almighty…and in Jesus Christ his only-begotten Son…I believe in the Holy Spirit.” And each decade of the Rosary concludes with the Trinitarian prayer: “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.” The Rosary is also Christ-centred for the mysteries of the Rosary upon which we meditate are the mysteries of Christ’s life. And in every “Hail Mary” prayed we honour Christ by saying: “blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”
In today’s Gospel reading Jesus reminds us of God’s original intention in creation and he does so in response to the question posed concerning marriage and divorce. When St Paul speaks of marriage he says: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” He then goes on to say: “This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church.” (Ephesians 5:31,32). Christ and the Church is “the great mystery” signified by Christian marriage and by the reference Jesus makes to the book of Genesis in today‘s Gospel, it is also the mystery of God’s original intention in creation.
A reminder that this coming Friday is Family Fast Day on behalf of CAFOD. The Coronavirus pandemic is pushing millions of people around the world into poverty and deepened inequality. The poorest and most vulnerable people in the world are also the ones who are being hit hardest by climate change. Harvests are failing. Cities are flooding. Entire communities are finding it harder and harder to survive in the place they call home. By donating to CAFOD this Family Fast Day, you can help communities affected by the worst impacts of the climate crisis. CAFOD works with local experts to help people around the world to adapt to the changing climate and to protect our common home. What we save by going without for one day can help to save the lives of others. Our offerings should be returned next Sunday 3rd October. There are envelopes available for the offerings.
The Gospel today presents us with a lesson in humility. Whilst the disciples were arguing amongst themselves about who was “the greatest” Jesus was arguing for being “last of all” and “servant of all” and Jesus backs up his words with his actions, for that is exactly what he became. He washes his disciples feet, the work of a slave, and he dies the death of an outcast criminal. And he wants us to share in his way of humility because it is the way of the God who stoops low to gather us into his kingdom.
"Who do people say I am?" - This is the question posed to his disciples by Jesus in today’s Gospel. But more important is the question he poses to Peter: “But you, who do you say I am?” for this is a question posed to all of us too. So who is Jesus for us? Is he just a fine example of what it means to be a thoroughly decent human being or is there more to him than that? Is he, in fact, divine, the Son of God, the Second Person of God, the Most Holy Trinity made flesh? How we answer this question will determine how we respond to him and his message. It will deeply affect the way we live our lives, for if we truly believe that he is the Messiah and Son of God then why wouldn’t we make every effort to get to know him and his will for us and strive to live accordingly?
St. James reminds us in our second reading today that we should not have a higher regard for those who are well-dressed and well-heeled. For him such an attitude is incompatible with faith in the one who washed the feet of his own disciples and who said: “Anyone who wants to become great among you must be your slave.” Discrimination against the poor, or partiality towards the wealthy, is seriously at odds with the teaching of Christ who, though equal with God, made himself poor so that we might be rich.
Jesus’ controversy with the Pharisees, in today’s Gospel, points up his opposition to a cold, formal and exterior religion. Jesus wants us to engage rather with the loving, interior demands of the kingdom of God. Like the prophets of old, he calls for conversion of heart rather than mere conformity to external standards and laws. One way to obscure the joy and truth of the Gospel is to reduce it to a series of formal rules which need to be observed only in an external fashion. The Gospel of Christ, on the other hand, is primarily an affair of the heart.
We see in the Gospel today how Jesus respects people’s freedom of choice. Jesus offers his followers the choice to stay with him or join the ranks of those who turn away from him. But the choice to remain with Jesus has to be kept alive by continually renewing our commitment to follow him. Decisions in faith are never settled once and for all. Like the apostles in today’s Gospel, we must keep on choosing Jesus, the One who has the message of eternal life.
The saints are our models of Christian life. This is especially true of Mary because of the place she occupies in the history of salvation. Mary is the perfect Christian and as such she is the model for the whole Church. She can be seen as the Church in miniature. She shows us that we must be dedicated completely to Christ as she was, that we must be willing to suffer with him, as she did. And she also shows us that loyalty to Christ guarantees immortality, body as well as soul in complete happiness in heaven.
Following Jesus and believing in him mean having eternal life. It is the life of communion uniting the Father with the Son. Jesus is the bread of that life. He nourishes and nurtures this communion by his testimony, his teaching and in the surrender of his life. Death does not put an end to it. The bread of life liberates us from death.
The journey to the God of life is not an easy task. We tend to get lost along the way and we are discouraged by the efforts we have to make. On their way to the promised land, the Jewish people turned against Moses - their difficulties made them yearn for a mediocre but familiar existence. Freedom frightened them, slavery being more familiar seemed more secure. This is the temptation of every believer - to settle for mediocrity rather than the life we were made for. God made us for himself - he made us for life with him for ever and Jesus is the Bread of Life – the bread of eternal life.
Today the Gospel presents the miracle of the Feeding of the Five Thousand. The miracles worked by Jesus are truly divine works. They can lead people to raise their minds from the visible sign they have witnessed to the Godhead who is the power behind them. Yet small account is taken of the miracles that occur always and everywhere. Hardly anyone wonders at God’s marvellous creative power revealed in all the most ordinary things of life. Think of the wisdom and artistry revealed in even the smallest seed. And, of course, creating and governing the entire universe is a greater miracle than feeding five thousand people with five loaves.
Our responsorial psalm today is very well known and begins with the words: ‘The Lord is my shepherd’ and so the very first word “The Lord” is the very first word, thought and desire of the Psalmist in this psalm just as it should be the very first word, thought and desire for us. The Psalm goes on to speak of journeying through dangerous territory and, on our journey through life, each of us can feel threatened by valleys of darkness, but the Psalmist has confidence - ‘no evil would I fear’ - even in the most threatening places, because he is accompanied and protected - ‘You are there with your crook and staff - The presence of God leading and accompanying us on our journey through life transforms threatening places and tough circumstances. With the Lord as our shepherd the shadow of the Cross serves to remind us of the light of the resurrection That’s why the Psalmist can joyfully sing- ‘If I should walk in the valley of darkness no evil would I fear for you are there - you prepare a banquet for me in the sight of my foes - my cup is overflowing.’ That is how it is with the life of faith - where the Lord is first in our heart and minds - where he is our shepherd.
The disciples had already responded to the Lord’s call to them to “Come” and follow him, now Christ commands them to “Go.” The kingdom of God is at hand and the call is urgent. They are instructed to travel light. They were not to rely on their own resources but on the bountiful providence of God. Their simplicity of life would help them to remain unencumbered by distractions and help them to stay focussed wholly on their mission.
By referring to himself as a prophet in today’s Gospel Jesus identifies himself with the long line of Old Testament prophets who suffered rejection or violence because of the unpopularity of their message. The failure of the people of his home town to accept him and his message anticipates the more general rejection of those who will hand him over to be crucified: “He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.”
Charity is love in terms of sharing, and Jesus shows us the way of love. The readings from the scriptures today remind us that Jesus wants all people to enjoy abundant life. That is why Paul asks the Christians of Corinth to share what they have. He does not command them to give, he simply suggests that giving to those in need will prove the genuineness of their love. To have faith is to have life and to have the desire that all should share in the abundant life of Christ.
The world is the sea upon which we must sail to reach our heavenly homeland. The waves are troubles and temptations. Christ is asleep in us if we lack faith, but if we believe and call on him he will calm every tempest and bring us safely to shore.
In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus telling Parables of the Kingdom. The first declares that the growth of the Kingdom resembles the mysterious process of nature; so too the growth of the Kingdom is equally mysterious, as God’s ways always are. A second parable, that of the Mustard Seed, stresses the enormous potential of the Kingdom in spite of its tiny beginning. A parable, from the Greek word meaning “laid alongside,” can be seen as an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
Today’s feast turns our thoughts to the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist, and one of the peculiarities of the Eucharistic feast is that we, the Church, become the Body of Christ through our partaking of Christ’s Body and the consequence of our assimilation to the Body of Christ is that, like Christ, we become spiritual food for the life of the world, to be broken, given away and consumed. The Eucharist makes the Church, by making the Church Eucharist.
We are not to approach God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons; three Persons but one God, as a mathematical puzzle or a philosophical problem but, rather, as the Divine community of love whom we are called to know and enjoy for ever, for the one God, who has revealed Himself as Trinity, has made us for himself - to know, love and serve him forever. That is why, in and through sacred mysteries which we celebrate in the Eucharist, he gathers us to himself so that, by grace, we might share in the life and love of the Most Holy Trinity.
Today the Church of God throughout the world celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost. It is God’s Spirit who inspires us to obey God’s commandments. All who love God experience the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. He counsels us and reminds us of what Jesus has said. The Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. As we thank God today for the gift of his Holy Spirit let us pray that our Christian discipleship manifests these fruits of God’s Spirit.
The Gospel today invites us to celebrate the mystery at the heart of our salvation: God longs for us to be united with him, and with one another, in love. The readings from John typically rejoice at the Good News that we are truly loved by God - the God who is love. And God's great love is revealed most powerfully in the life death, resurrection and ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s prayer was 'that they may be one as we are one' - praying that the unity between Christians should reflect the unity that exists between the Persons of the Most Holy Trinity. This is the loving purpose of God for us and we must not allow anything to draw us away from it.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I hope that you are all keeping well and keeping close to God and that, through your prayer and faithfulness to Christ and his commandments, you are remaining in him - abiding in him - like fruitful branches of the True Vine. The pandemic, for many, has pointed up our vulnerability and mortality and helped us to see our absolute need of God. It has also helped us to see what really matters - especially the ‘one thing needful’ - which is to grow in union with Christ - to remain in him through prayer, trust and through lovingly keeping his commandments. This is what Christ tells us to do in today’s Gospel and he adds: “I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” May God bless you in your desire and endeavours to stay close to Christ so that you might remain in the joy of his love and life. Fr Frank
The Eucharist is the very manifestation and fulfilment of the Church in all her power, sanctity and fullness. By taking part in the Eucharist we are empowered to increase in holiness and fulfil all that we have been called to be and do. The Church, gathered in the Eucharist, even when limited to two or three, is the image and realisation of the body of Christ, and those gathered will be able to partake - be communicants of the body and blood of Christ, because he is manifested, made present, in and through their assembly. Through the Eucharist we make our home in Christ who describes himself in today’s Gospel as ‘the true vine.’ He is the ‘vine’ and we are the ‘branches’ which feed on his life in and through the miracle of the Mass.
Today is World Day of Prayer for Vocations. We pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life and that all believers will be faithful to their baptismal vocation. To follow Christ is to love him, to trust him, to serve him and to do his will - which is also what it means to be faithful to our vocation. Christ, the Good Shepherd, tells us that his sheep follow him “because they recognise his voice.” We have to learn to distinguish the voice of the one true God from the voices of the many false gods and idols which call to us today.
The Resurrection of Christ is central to Christianity. It is a fundamental truth to be reasserted vigorously in every epoch, since to deny it, as has been, and continues to be attempted, or to transform it into a purely spiritual event, is to thwart our very faith. St Paul states: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” In the days that followed the Lord’s Resurrection, the Apostles stayed together, comforted by Mary’s presence, and after the Ascension they persevered with her prayerful expectation of Pentecost. Our Lady was a mother and teacher to them, a role that she continues to play for Christians of all times. (Pope Benedict XVI)
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Humankind not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called to practice mercy towards others. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” It is to this end that we receive the transforming Spirit of God - the Holy Spirit, who through the power of God's great loving mercy, transforms our interior life in order that it might radiate outwardly and be a transforming power in the world.
Christ has risen! I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the joy of Easter. Today, with the Holy Church of God throughout the world, we proclaim and celebrate the truth which is foundational to our Christian faith, that on the third day Christ rose from the dead. And Christ, the Risen One, does not depart from us but returns to greet us with his peace and to remain with us until the end of time. And we share his peace and rejoice in his presence in the Mass. Thank you for the collection today which is the customary Easter offering to your priest. I am grateful for the generosity of spirit which is shown in so many ways in the life of the Parish.
Holy Week begins today with Palm Sunday when the Church recalls the entrance of Christ the Lord into Jerusalem to accomplish his Paschal Mystery. The Paschal Mystery, the passage from death to life, is the heart of our faith. The account of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus forms the oldest part of the Gospels. It is what the evangelists recorded first. For them, it was the heart and nucleus of the Lord’s witness to the loving purposes of God. That is why the Paschal Mystery is at the heart of our communal celebration as the Church and is at the heart of our lives as Christians and this is why the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter are so important. Through the Easter Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday we celebrate the greatest mysteries of our redemption keeping, through very special celebrations, the memorial of our Lord’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection. This year we are encouraged to join together in these celebrations through sharing in the streaming of these sacred events from St Chad’s Cathedral.
Day of Prayer for the Pandemic: We are invited to join in a Day of Prayer for the Pandemic on Tuesday 23rd March - to pray for the many needs, hopes and sorrows that have emerged over the last year and to pray that this pandemic comes to an end, reflecting with thanksgiving on the generosity, inventiveness, self-sacrifice and determination shown by so many in this most difficult of times.
Today is Mothering Sunday and so we give thanks to God for our mothers and for all who are mothers in our community. May God bless you in your high calling, remembering that the greatest of the saints, Our Blessed Lady, was, like you, a mother and that through loving devotion to her calling attained to the heights of holiness. May Mary, the holy Mother of the Church, pray for us as we continue our journey through Lent.
The portrait of Jesus in today’s Gospel is a world away from the storybook caricature of him as “gentle Jesus meek and mild,” whose harmlessness can sometimes look indistinguishable from effete weakness. Jesus was a builder - a carpenter by trade and, no doubt, he presented an imposing figure in the Temple when he overthrew the moneychangers’ tables and drove out the sellers of cattle, sheep and pigeons. No one was able to resist the power of this gentle and meek man who was passionate about God’s Temple being for God alone - it is not a place for the pursuit of self-interest - it is for the worship and service of God. We are that temple.
Today in the Gospel we hear how the apostles Peter, James and John were given a glimpse of Christ’s glory on the Mount of the Transfiguration - the same glimpse of glory that we are all given when we gather for the Mass, for in and through the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist we ascend to the heavenly places where, with Angels and Archangels and all the host of heaven, we worship the Beloved Son of God who sits at the right hand of the Father. God, the Holy Spirit, gathers us into the cloud of his glory. We listen to him in the scriptures. We feed on him in the Sacrament of the altar. No wonder the disciples “kept silence.” “Master, it is wonderful for us to be here.”
Holy Week and Easter are the climax of the Christian liturgical year. The time of the Passion and Resurrection is proceeded by Lent, a lengthy period of preparation for these painful and illuminating mysteries. Lent is a time of penitence. It is a time for us to examine our conscience and seek reconciliation with the Lord. Lent is also a time for spiritual growth and enlightenment. In Lent we are invited to listen, and respond, ever more faithfully to the voice of God. Lent also commemorates Israel’s liberation from slavery in Egypt and their forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Lent relates this to our own spiritual journey, to our liberation, our pilgrimage, our feeding on divine manna and of our meeting with God. And, as we see from today’s Gospel, Lent also recalls the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert during which he contended with Satan, the tempter. And our Lent must be a period of fighting against temptation. From this one can see that Lent is a very rich, a very deep mixture of elements which serve to purify and enlighten us. During the time of Lent the Church leads us towards the radiant glory of the Paschal feast. The more serious our Lenten preparation has been, the deeper we shall enter into the mystery of Easter and gather its fruits.
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, his acts revealed him as a man of mysterious power, working impressive miracles reaching out and curing people instantly. But miracles were only part of the story - they were signs of the new life of the Kingdom of God breaking in but Jesus knew that those who saw him only as a wonder-worker would miss the real meaning and purpose of his life. Therefore he silences the demons, who know who he is, commanding that his true identity should be kept quiet until the rest of the story could be told - the story which leads to the cross and resurrection. It was not that he wanted to hide his true identity, rather it was that he wanted it revealed fully and that would be possible only after his death and resurrection. Only then could he be seen as much more than a wonder-worker and performer of miracles - only then could he be seen as the Lord and Saviour of the world.
The Gospel today describes the first of many miracles performed by Jesus which reveal his authority and power. Jesus speaks with the same miraculous power by which he acts. This first miracle in Jesus' ministry signifies that Satan's tyranny over the world has come to an end and that the Kingdom of God has broken into human history.
In today’s Gospel reading we see how Jesus begins his public life with an exhortation to repent because the kingdom of heaven, or in Mark’s version the kingdom of God, is at hand. This warning prompted by love is addressed to all, for no one is without sin. Yet no matter how many wounds our human nature has sustained, we are never justified in giving way to despair, for the Lord, in his great love for us, pours out his compassion abundantly on all who need it.
Today’s Gospel conducts us to the River Jordan. This was the holy place where first century Judeans expected to see the Messiah come. It was also at this place that the people, long ago, crossed over into the promised land. Today’s story finds us here at this holy place, where John the Baptist is proclaiming Jesus to be the Lamb of God - the One who takes away the sins of the world, the One we are to follow.
Mark, the earliest of the Gospel writers chooses to begin the story of Jesus, not with the birth of the Christ-child, but with the baptism of the adult Jesus. And this beginning is highly significant for Jesus and the whole of creation. Today Baptism is too often thought of as a family affair - a private ceremony arranged between parents and priest and performed quietly in a corner of the church. But properly understood, Baptism is far from a private affair, For Baptism involves and concerns not only the whole of the Church but also the whole of creation. Baptism is of cosmic and eternal significance.
Our hope is in God, not in the sense of a generic religiosity or a fatalism cloaked in faith. We trust in God who revealed completely and definitively in Jesus Christ his desire to be with human beings, to share in our history, to guide us all to his Kingdom of love and life. And this great hope enlivens and at times corrects our human hopes. [The scriptures] affirm that God is not only the creator of the universe, an aspect common to other religions too, but that he is the Father who “chose us in him before the foundation of the world… He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ,” and that for this reason he even, inconceivably, went so far as to make himself man: “the Word became flesh and dwelled among us.” (Pope Benedict XVI) Our thanks to all the volunteers who have worked selflessly to keep the church open and have made it possible for us to celebrate Mass in this Christmas season. Our hearts go out to all those members of our parish who would usually gather with us at Christmas. We pray that God will bless and protect them and we look forward to the time when we will all be united around the altar once again. Due to my underlying health conditions, and based on medical advice, I will continue to celebrate Mass from behind the glass screen. I realise this is not ideal - as with so many things at present, it is frustrating for all of us. I know that I can rely on your patience and understanding.
The Feast today reminds us that God’s revelation and the outworking of his loving purposes takes place in the context of human families. In today’s readings we see how God begins a new work in the world through Abraham and Sarah, in the Old Testament and through Mary and Joseph, in the New Testament. Both couples faithfully trusted in God’s promises and saw them come to fulfilment - such is the faithfulness and mercy of God. Our thanks to all the volunteers who have worked selflessly to keep the church open and have made it possible for us to celebrate Mass in this Christmas season. Our hearts go out to all those members of our parish who would usually gather with us at Christmas. We pray that God will bless and protect them and we look forward to the time when we will all be united around the altar once again. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your cards, offerings, gifts and for all your generosity. Due to my underlying health conditions, and based on medical advice that it would be unwise for me to celebrate Mass in the same space as a congregation, I will continue to celebrate Mass from behind the glass screen. I realise this is not ideal - as with so many things at present, it is frustrating for all of us. I know that I can rely on your patience and understanding. I hope that you are all keeping well under these trying and frustrating circumstances and that you are coping with the new lockdown. You continue to be in my prayers daily as I offer the Mass. I will continue to post a weekly Spiritual Communion and reflection on the parish website so that we can still pray together. It has been encouraging to see the generous response to the call for volunteers needed to celebrate Mass. Once again I have cause to be impressed and grateful for your selfless dedication and for the love of Christ and his Church which this shows. Archbishop Bernard has also recognised the diligence and devotion of the volunteers and has asked me to pass on his gratitude and appreciation.
The Gospel of this Fourth Sunday of Advent proposes to us the account of the Annunciation, the mystery to which we return every day in reciting the Angelus. This prayer makes us relive the decisive moment at which God knocked at Mary’s heart and, having received her “yes”, began to take flesh, in her and from her. The Collect of today’s Mass is the same as the one we recite at the end of the Angelus. With only a few days until the Feast of Christmas, we are invited to fix our gaze on the ineffable mystery that Mary treasured for nine months in her virginal womb: the mystery of God who is made man. Our thanks to all the volunteers who have worked selflessly to keep the church open and have made it possible for us to celebrate the Christmas Masses. Our hearts go out to all those members of our parish who would usually gather with us at Christmas. We pray that God will bless and protect them and we look forward to the time when we will all be united around the altar once again. As this is the last bulletin before Christmas, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a happy Christmas, filled with the blessing and joy of Christ. Due to my underlying health conditions I have received medical advice that it would be unwise for me to celebrate Mass in the same space as a congregation, therefore I will continue to celebrate Mass from behind the glass screen. I realise this is not ideal - it is frustrating for all of us. I know that I can rely on your patience and understanding. I hope that you are all keeping well under these trying and frustrating circumstances and that you are coping with the new lockdown. You continue to be in my prayers daily as I offer the Mass. I will continue to post a weekly Spiritual Communion and reflection on the parish website so that we can still pray together. It has been encouraging to see the generous response to the call for volunteers needed to celebrate Mass. Once again I have cause to be impressed and grateful for your selfless dedication and for the love of Christ and his Church which this shows. Archbishop Bernard has also recognised the diligence and devotion of the volunteers and has asked me to pass on his gratitude and appreciation.
John the Baptist, who we hear about in today’s Gospel, marks the end of the time of waiting and the beginning of the new age in Jesus. John is the last of the great prophets, For a long time the people had been without a messenger from God but in John the Baptist the people discovered an end to God’s silence. Through John they could hear the word of God. We are told that many went out from the towns and cities to see John - which is testimony to his charismatic power to attract people - such is the powerful attraction of the word of God alive and active in a person. Welcome back to the second week after re-opening for Mass. My thanks to all the volunteers who have made this possible. Due to my underlying health conditions I have received medical advice that it would be unwise for me to celebrate Mass in the same space as a congregation, therefore I will continue to celebrate Mass from behind the glass screen. I realise this is not ideal - it is frustrating for all of us. I know that I can rely on your patience and understanding. I hope that you are all keeping well under these trying and frustrating circumstances and that you are coping with the new lockdown. You continue to be in my prayers daily as I offer the Mass. I will continue to post a weekly Spiritual Communion and reflection on the parish website so that we can still pray together. It has been encouraging to see the generous response to the call for volunteers needed to celebrate Mass. Once again I have cause to be impressed and grateful for your selfless dedication and for the love of Christ and his Church which this shows. Archbishop Bernard has also recognised the diligence and devotion of the volunteers and has asked me to pass on his gratitude and appreciation. Please see elsewhere on this page details about our Christmas masses and the restrictions we need to follow. If you wish to attend mass on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, please read the instructions and book your place.
The invitation to welcome the God who comes to us in Christ and to cast away empty living is repeated in the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Advent. The Opening Prayer of the Mass asks that no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet Christ. And today we hear the lonely voice of John the Baptist who exhorts us to prepare a way for the Lord. May our faithfulness to the spirit of Advent create a space so that the Lord can come to us. Re-Opening for Mass - Welcome back to Mass. My thanks to all the volunteers who have made this possible. Due to my underlying health conditions I have received medical advice that it would be unwise for me to celebrate Mass in the same space as a congregation, therefore I will continue to celebrate Mass from behind the glass screen. I realise this is not ideal - it is frustrating for all of us. I know that I can rely on your patience and understanding. I hope that you are all keeping well under these trying and frustrating circumstances and that you are coping with the new lockdown. You continue to be in my prayers daily as I offer the Mass. I will continue to post a weekly Spiritual Communion and reflection on the parish website so that we can still pray together. It has been encouraging to see the generous response to the call for volunteers needed to celebrate Mass. Once again I have cause to be impressed and grateful for your selfless dedication and for the love of Christ and his Church which this shows. Archbishop Bernard has also recognised the diligence and devotion of the volunteers and has asked me to pass on his gratitude and appreciation.
The Gospel today encourages to “stay awake” - not to allow ourselves to become complacent in our Christian lives. Advent is a penitential season when the Church invites us to prepare for the many ways in which Our Lord Jesus Christ comes to us. We can be assisted in remaining vigilant through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, that’s why these disciplines are recommended in this season. Like the “doorkeeper” in Mark’s Gospel, Christians have to remain ever watchful and be attentive to what the Lord wants to reveal to us in all the circumstances of our everyday lives. I hope that you are all keeping well under these trying and frustrating circumstances and that you are coping with the new lockdown. You continue to be in my prayers daily as I offer the Mass. I will continue to post a weekly Spiritual Communion and reflection on the parish website so that we can still pray together. It has been encouraging to see the generous response to the call for volunteers needed to celebrate Mass. Once again I have cause to be impressed and grateful for your selfless dedication and for the love of Christ and his Church which this shows. Archbishop Bernard has also recognised the diligence and devotion of the volunteers and has asked me to pass on his gratitude and appreciation.
The feast of Christ the King, which the holy Church throughout the world celebrates today, brings to a close the Church’s liturgical year. Our image of a monarch tends to be of one who lives a privileged life and lords it over others. Christ our King is not like that. He came to serve, not to be served and he wants us to imitate him in his loving service of others. That is why, as St. John of the Cross said: “In the evening of life we shall be examined on love.” If to love and to serve our neighbour is heavenly, hell is the suffering of one who refuses to love and serve. I hope that you are all keeping well under these trying and frustrating circumstances and that you are coping with the new lockdown. You continue to be in my prayers daily as I offer the Mass. I will continue to post a weekly Spiritual Communion and reflection on the parish website so that we can still pray together. Due to the current lockdown, Mass at Blessed Robert Grissold church has been suspended until further notice. Please see the bulletin, posted on the parish website, for updates and any news. It has been encouraging to see the generous response to the call for volunteers needed to celebrate Mass. Once again I have cause to be impressed and grateful for your selfless dedication and for the love of Christ and his Church which this shows. Archbishop Bernard has also recognised the diligence and devotion of the volunteers and asked me to pass on his gratitude and appreciation.
I hope that you are all keeping well under these trying and frustrating circumstances and that you are coping with the new lockdown. You continue to be in my prayers daily as I offer the Mass. I will continue to post a weekly Spiritual Communion and reflection on the parish website so that we can still pray together. Due to the current lockdown, Mass at Blessed Robert Grissold church has been suspended until further notice. Please see the bulletin, posted on the parish website, for updates and any news. It has been encouraging to hear from Joe Martin of the generous response to the call for volunteers needed to celebrate Mass. Once again I have cause to be impressed and grateful for your selfless dedication and for the love of Christ and his Church which this shows. In today’s Gospel we hear of a man who returned everything he had ever been given to his master - and yet he was censured. He was blamed, not for misusing the gifts he had been given, but rather for not having used them at all. This Gospel passage encourages us to reflect on how we use the gifts and talents we have received from God. The Parable of the Talents teaches us that true religion - a true response to Christ’s call to be his disciples - involves risk, adventure and enterprise. To use God-given gifts and talents aright is to share in the joy of the kingdom.
I hope that you are all keeping well under these trying and frustrating circumstances and that you are coping with the new lockdown. You continue to be in my prayers daily as I offer the Mass. I will continue to post a weekly Spiritual Communion on the parish website so that we can still pray together. Due to the current lockdown, Mass at Blessed Robert Grissold church has been suspended until further notice. Please see the bulletin, posted on the parish website, for updates and any news. It has been encouraging to hear from Joe Martin of the generous response to the call for volunteers needed to celebrate Mass. Once again I have cause to be impressed and grateful for your selfless dedication and for the love of Christ and his Church which this shows.
I hope that you are all keeping well under these trying and frustrating circumstances. You are in my prayers daily as I offer the Mass. It was good to see so many of you at Mass last Sunday. Once again our thanks go to those who have volunteered to attend to the tasks necessary to keep the church open. It is intended that Mass on Sundays will be celebrated at the usual time of 9.30 a.m. In the first instance attendance at Mass will be on a first-come-first-served basis. There is a maximum capacity of 30. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints when we give thanks to God for all those who are in heaven, both those recognised by the Church as saints and those known only to the Lord. The Church teaches that sanctity is within everyone’s reach and we ask for the intercession of the saints in heaven as we endeavour to follow their example. Tomorrow, on the Feast of All Souls, we commemorate all the Faithful Departed when the Church invites us to pray for our beloved deceased. I will continue to post a weekly Spiritual Communion on the parish website and keep you informed of any developments concerning the parish. If you feel anyone would be comforted by knowing that the Church is praying for them, please contact me - I can offer the Mass for them or include them in the prayers of the Mass. With all good wishes and every blessing Fr Frank
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, friends, I trust that you are keeping well. Although we cannot gather for the Mass at the present time, I believe it would be good if we could all be praying together as a community on Sundays, at 9.30 am, the usual time of the Mass praying for one another, for our country and world at this time of disease and sickness. To this end I have suggested below how we might make a Spiritual Communion together. I will say the Mass at 9.30 am on Sundays offering the intentions that have already been requested. I will also offer those intentions that have already been accepted through the week and, of course, it goes without saying that I will be praying especially for our community. Please take the time to read the suggestion below. In this time of quarantine, we might all share in prayer and making a Spiritual Communion on Sunday mornings - joined to the Eucharistic Christ and to one another.
In today's Gospel Jesus speaks of the mysterious water which is capable of 'welling up to eternal life.' This is the life given, in Baptism - a life we are called to cherish and nurture. The elements of Baptism, namely the water of the font and the holy oils, refer us to the stuff of the cosmos - reminding us that everything is caught up in God's loving purposes of making all things new. In the early Church, Baptism took place during the Easter Vigil and Baptism spoke of the new life and the new time of which Easter is the celebration and manifestation. Baptism has always found its fulfilment in the Eucharist which is the sacrament of the Kingdom - the sacrament of the 'eternal life' of the world to come.
Today in the Gospel we hear how the apostles Peter, James and John were given a glimpse of Christ's glory on the Mount of the Transfiguration - the same glimpse of glory that we are all given when we gather for the Mass, for in and through the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist we ascend to the heavenly places where, with Angels and Archangels and all the host of heaven, we worship the Beloved Son of God who sits at the right hand of the Father. God, the Holy Spirit, gathers us into the cloud of his glory. We listen to him in the scriptures. We feed on him in the Sacrament of the altar. No wonder the disciples "kept silence" and then proclaimed "Master, it is wonderful for us to be here."
Holy Week and Easter are the climax of the Christian liturgical year. The time of the Passion and Resurrection is proceeded by Lent, a lengthy period of preparation for these saving and illuminating mysteries. Lent is a time of penitence. It is a time for us to examine our conscience and seek reconciliation with the Lord. Lent is also a time for spiritual growth and enlightenment. In Lent we are invited to listen, and respond, ever more faithfully to the voice of God. Lent also commemorates Israel's liberation from slavery in Egypt and their forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Lent relates this to our own spiritual journey, to our liberation, our pilgrimage, our feeding on divine manna and of our meeting with God. And, as we see from today's Gospel, Lent also recalls the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert during which he contended with Satan, the tempter. And our Lent must be a period of fighting against temptation. From this one can see that Lent is a very rich, a very deep mixture of elements which serve to purify and enlighten us. During the time of Lent the Church leads us towards the radiant glory of the Paschal feast. The more serious our Lenten preparation has been, the deeper we shall enter into the joyful mystery of Easter and gather its fruits.
In the Gospel today, Jesus speaks of the nature of God's Kingdom which is breaking into this world even now. This is the 'perfect' life of the heavenly kingdom so we should not be surprised that his words sound strange for they are opening up to us a strange and new reality which is not of this world. This eternal life is that dimension of the kingdom which we pray will come on earth. The power and the glory of this eternal dimension of the kingdom which is breaking into our world transforms and renews all things so that discord, hatred and violence are overcome by the love and peace of Christ. It is this life of the kingdom which we see breaking into this world in the words and examples of Jesus and the saints - in the ones who 'love their enemies' and 'pray for those who persecute them.' And it is into this eternal dimension, that makes such strange new things possible, that God gathers us each time he summons us before him in the Mass. For in and through the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit gathers us and makes us one with Christ who sits at the right hand of the Father in the heavenly kingdom, so that, with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominions and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven, we sing the hymn of his glory.
In the Gospel today, Christ teaches us about the relationships we should nurture and enjoy as members of his Body - the Church. As the baptised we are called to live and act in a way that is caught up in God's love and life. In this way we witness to Christ in the world. We are not to live as those who do not know Christ - those who quarrel and divide over selfish preferences, those who are motivated by self-serving desire. Rather, as members of the Church, we are to live differently, bearing witness to the alternative life Christ brings, for, as members of his Body, we are bound to him in his loving mission to the whole of creation. As co-workers with Christ we are called to enact God's deep love for the world - to get our minds off ourselves and our petty self-interests and to live together harmoniously
In the Gospel today, Jesus teaches that the lives of his followers should have a distinctive quality. Like salt, we should add a peculiar flavour to life because our life in Christ is distinctive and peculiar. This distinctive and peculiar quality of the Christ-life in us should shine like a light in the world, because Christ is the Light of the world. But if we lose our distinctive and peculiar taste - if the light in us is dimmed or hidden from the world - then we are no longer fit for purpose for we are called to witness to the love and light of Christ by our lives so that all may "taste and see that the Lord is good."
Candlemas, which we celebrate today, traditionally concludes the celebration of Christmas. So, with Christmas behind us we look forward to Lent and to that approaching period of prayer when we can reflect on all that is most important to our life of faith in Christ. Simeon and Anna, who we hear about in today's Gospel, are devout and prayerful people who are open to the prompting and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Church has always taught that the way we pray and worship is foundational to what we truly believe and to our Christian life. This vital teaching has been expressed traditionally in the words: Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi - As we Worship, So we Believe, So we Live. So the Mass and our life of prayer should not be seen as something we "add on" to our busy lives - it must be seen for what it truly is - as absolutely vital and fundamental to all that we are as the Church and as Christians.
Father Frank’s health continues to improve. Please keep him and his family in your prayers
Thank you for all your prayers, support and kindness. Your generosity to me far outweighs what I deserve. My recovery is slow and I am a poor patient. I am looking forward to being back with you just as soon as possible and I spend my time planning for this - but I am still weak and tire easily. Please continue to keep me in your prayers and please pray especially for Sandra who has to bear the weight of my illness. I miss you all. Be assured of my prayers and love. Fr Frank
Father Frank is unwell and is currently resting. Mass themes will return once he has recovered
In the first reading today, we hear some of the loveliest words in Scripture. The prophet Isaiah, setting aside the fear and gloom of the contemporary political situation, looks forward to a Golden Age when God's salvation will transform every living thing. The barren places of nature will bloom; the weak and the frail will be strong; Jerusalem will be a new centre of creation. And if we listen carefully, we will recognise words used by Handel in his setting of the Messiah - celebrating the God, who comes to us in Jesus, to make all things new.
The invitation to welcome the God who comes to us in Christ and to cast away empty living is repeated in the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Advent. The Opening Prayer of the Mass asks that no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet Christ. And today we hear the lonely voice of John the Baptist who exhorts us to prepare a way for the Lord. May our faithfulness to the spirit of Advent create a space so that the Lord can come to us.
As we begin Advent our thoughts are guided, through the liturgy, to the coming of Christ - his first coming to us in humility and weakness and his second coming in majesty and power. The description of the Second Coming of Christ should not fill us with fear, rather we should look forward to it and prepare for it through prayer and right living. So, let us resolve to stay close to Christ through our daily prayer. Perhaps praying the rosary daily - even if it is only offering up a decade - and meditating on what Christ wants to say to us in the Gospels. In this way we will learn to discern his voice - calling us to follow him in the way we must walk.
The feast of Christ the King, which the Holy Church throughout the world celebrates today, brings to a close the Church's liturgical year. Our image of a monarch tends to be of one who lives a privileged life and lords it over others. Christ our King is not like that. He came to serve, not to be served, and he wants us to imitate him in his loving service of others. That is why, as St. John of the Cross said: "In the evening of life we shall be examined on love." If to love and to serve our neighbour is heavenly, hell is the suffering of one who can no longer love.
Faith in the God of love can bring us great happiness and confidence for "perfect love casts out all fear." The warnings about the end times in the Scriptures are meant to be a source of hope for us, not fear. All we need to do is to place our trust in Christ, who reassures us in today's Gospel, that the Lord will be with us. Jesus tells us that by our endurance we will gain our lives. This is a call to be constant, to persevere and to be steadfast in faith, hope and love. In this regard St Paul gives us an example to imitate. Simplicity of life, hope and loving trust in the Lord will enable us to face difficult situations and to be confident that "the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing rays" and will enlighten us
In the Gospel today, Jesus speaks of the life of the Resurrection and he makes it clear that this is eternal life - a life qualitatively different from our natural life - because 'the children of the Resurrection' 'can no longer die.' We were made children of the Resurrection through Baptism - when we were baptised in the name of God the Holy Trinity in whose eternal life we now share. It is because we are 'children of the resurrection' that we 'dare' to call God 'Our Father' and it is for this same reason that we are presented, at Baptism, with a candle lit from the Easter candle which represents the light and life of the Resurrected Christ, in whose light and life we share. And being children of the Resurrection, we are also children of God - the God who lives and reigns for ever and ever and we are called to shine as lights in the world to the glory of God, our Father.
We welcome Bishop William today. He will celebrate the Mass, preach and Confirm our candidates. He will also bless our commemorative window. We also welcome the families, sponsors and friends of our Confirmation candidates. There will be a reception in the hall after Mass - to which all are welcome. Please keep the Confirmation Candidates; Chloe, Ethan, Carys, Erin and James, in your prayers
Thank you for participating in offering up a decade of the Rosary at each Mass this month. By the end of October, we will have prayed all twenty of the Mysteries of the Rosary as a community and I hope this exercise will inspire us to continue with this prayer at other times. October is the month of the Holy Rosary and so it is fitting that we should reflect on the power of the Rosary as a means of prayer and of the important part it can play in our spiritual life. God's grace comes to us through our praying the Rosary and that is why the saints prayed it faithfully and why Popes have endorsed it through the ages. Our Holy Mother has urged the praying of the Rosary wherever she has appeared in recent times. Surely this should be an encouragement to us to try and pray, at least, a decade of the Rosary daily. To this end, it can be useful to carry a Rosary with us always and to have one at our bedside. If anyone requires instruction on how to pray the Rosary, I will be happy to help.
Thank you for participating in offering up a decade of the Rosary at each Mass this month. By the end of October, we will have prayed all twenty of the Mysteries of the Rosary as a community and I hope this exercise will inspire us to continue with this prayer at other times. October is the month of the Holy Rosary and so it is fitting that we should reflect on the power of the Rosary as a means of prayer and of the important part it can play in our spiritual life. God's grace comes to us through our praying the Rosary and that is why the saints prayed it faithfully and why Popes have endorsed it through the ages. Our Holy Mother has urged the praying of the Rosary wherever she has appeared in recent times. Surely this should be an encouragement to us to try and pray, at least, a decade of the Rosary daily. To this end, it can be useful to carry a Rosary with us always and to have one at our bedside. If anyone requires instruction on how to pray the Rosary, I will be happy to help.
October is the month of the Rosary and we will be praying a decade at Mass through the week as a gentle reminder, if it is needed, of the great riches that are to be had in this form of prayer. Padre Pio, the holy saint who received the stigmata, loved to pray the Rosary. He always kept his Rosary beads in his hand. Because he prayed it almost constantly, he was known as the 'living Rosary.' One day his superior asked him how many Rosaries he had prayed that day. Wanting to be respectful and honest with his superior he told him: "I have prayed thirty-four Rosaries today." On another occasion a follower asked him to teach him a prayer that was most pleasing to our Blessed Lady. Without hesitation, he insisted that none is more beautiful or pleasing than the Rosary. And he further instructed him: "Always say the Rosary. The Rosary is a weapon in our hands." Near the end of his life he didn't talk much and when people sought his advice or help he would simply show them the Rosary. Let us follow St Pio's example and always have our Rosary with us.
We hear in the Gospel today of the apostles' desire to grow in faith, "Increase our faith," they say. Jesus' response is to speak of how faith can accomplish great things, even if it is small. What Jesus seems to be saying is that what really matters is that faith is exercised, put into practice - that is how it strengthens and grows. Our faith increases when we put it into practice and our practice is to be that of disciples of Jesus. And when we have proved faithful servants of Christ, all we can rightfully say is: "We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty."
The Bible is unambiguous concerning economic issues. The Biblical injunctions against the exploitation of the poor and the accumulation of wealth are clear and straightforward. Jesus declared war on the selfish materialism of his day and he speaks frequently in the Gospels to the question of economics. If, in a comparatively simple society, Jesus laid such strong emphasis upon the spiritual dangers of wealth, how much more should we, who live in a highly affluent and materialistic culture, take seriously the Bible’s teaching on poverty and riches.
There are notable parallels between the Parable of the Unjust Steward, which we hear in the Gospel today, and the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Each story has a noble master who shows amazing grace to his wayward underling. Both stories have a subject who wastes his master's goods, and, in both stories, the wasteful servant or son wake up to their dire situation and then they throw themselves on the mercy of their master. In these two parables the principal concern for Jesus is not financial propriety, rather, through these stories, he is inviting us to reflect prayerfully and deeply on the weightier matters of God, his grace and mercy, and salvation.
Today's Gospel passage speaks to us of the tender and forgiving love of God. It is the love which is at the heart of Christ and which he reveals through his words and actions. He is the friend of sinners. He seeks out the lost and rejoices over their return to the way of love and life. Those who encounter this merciful life-giving love in Christ are transformed for there is no greater treasure than this. St. Paul says that everything else is like so much rubbish compared to the forgiving love of Christ. And it is in this encounter with the sacred and loving heart of Christ that a religion of the heart is born. Not a religion of laws written on tablets of stone but a religion of love written on hearts of flesh.
Regarding discipleship and following Jesus, today's Gospel makes it clear that it is a choice which each of us has to make. Christ calls us to radical commitment to him and for that reason he asks all those who would be followers to first count the cost of discipleship. The cost is great, it demands are all but the reward is inexpressibly greater. We cannot follow him in our own strength. He leads us, he empowers us, he gives us the strength to follow so that we might increasingly immerse ourselves in that incomparable love of his which was revealed in his Passion and Cross - a love that is stronger than death and the love we were created to know and share in forever.
The Gospel today speaks to us of humility and humility is necessary if we wish to be pleasing to God and find entry into his kingdom. Humility is one of the marks of a saint. Because the saints were close to God and deeply aware of his great holiness, they felt their faults, failures and weaknesses more profoundly. We are to be humble, like Jesus and the saints, if we are to find favour with God and humility is about being realistic about who and what we are in the light of the holiness of God.
The teaching of Jesus is clearly opposed to any kind of elitism or exclusivism. As one who was marginalized and excluded by his own people, Jesus identifies with those who are not members of the "in crowd." Always to be left out, always excluded, is a cause for sadness but always to be counted in can be an excuse for smugness and complacency. It was this instinctive desire to belong that prompted the question in today's Gospel: "Sir, will there be only a few saved?" We have no answer to the question of whether many or few will be saved, what we do know is that we cannot afford to be smug or complacent about our own salvation. We must work to do God's will and cooperate with his Fatherly discipline in order that we might squeeze through the narrow door that leads to his kingdom.
In today;s Gospel Jesus says to his disciples: "I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already." The fire he speaks of is the fire of the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist spoke of this when he said: "I have baptised you with water; he (Jesus) will baptise you with the Holy Spirit." Jesus wants us to be baptised - that means literally "immersed" - in the fire of the Holy Spirit, in order that the flame of God's love might transform us, so that we might be like him. Jesus speaks of his own baptism of fire when he says: "There is a baptism with which I must be baptised, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!" Christ's baptism finds its consummation in the Cross where he is fully immersed in love and self-emptying humility. "It is accomplished." He who descended into the lower regions of the earth is the one who ascended far above all the heavens and sends the fire of the Holy Spirit upon the earth.
We must be open and ready to receive the God who comes to us in every present moment. God's name, revealed to Moses, is I AM. He is, therefore, the Ever-Present One. Too often, our minds are distracted by what has been or by what might be - by things past, which no longer exist and by things which may or may not come to pass. God, however, the Great I AM, meets us in real time - the only time which is real, the present moment. Prayer and the sacraments - especially the Sacrament of the Eucharist - can help to make us present to the One who is present to us in the sacrament of the present moment
The Gospel calls us to place all our trust in God and his providence. Through prayer and the sacraments we are to store up treasure for ourselves in heaven. Though we are poor in spiritual things, God makes us rich through his grace, allowing us to be sharers in his life and love.
Jesus taught his disciples how to pray. He was a man of prayer - he knew its value and he wanted his disciples to be people of prayer as well. In our Wednesday evening meditations, we have learnt how prayer is the rooting and grounding of oneself in God. Prayer seeks to open us up to communication and communion with God. It maintains and deepens our relationship with him so that his light and love can flow into us and out into the world in what we say and do. Our meditations on the Christian prayer life will begin again on Wednesday 10th August - All welcome.
The mystery revealed in today's readings is of God in Christ, our friend and companion - the Divine guest who comes to us and we are invited to welcome him, just as Abraham did at the Oak of Mamre and as Martha and Mary did at Bethany. Both Abraham and Martha welcomed their Divine Guest amidst a flurry of activity; whilst Mary sat at his feet and listened to him in the stillness. However we receive the God who comes to us, only one thing is needed - a heart open to love
As followers of Christ, we are all called to be like the Good Samaritan. We are to love our neighbour as ourselves - serving all people without distinction of race, colour or creed and having a special concern for the poor and marginalized. We are to demonstrate our love of God through being reconcilers, peacemakers and healers in a wounded world.
After Mass today we are pleased to celebrate the Baptism of Cormac David Cant. Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are made members of the Body of Christ - the Church and the members of the Church are 'a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people' called to glorify God, their heavenly Father, by their life. We pray for Cormac, his parents, godparents and family that, together, they will be faithful to their high calling, in Christ, through Baptism.
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. Peter, the brother of Andrew, the Galilean fisherman who was called by the Lord to be the leader of the Twelve. Paul, the tent-maker from Tarsus, a Pharisee and a Roman citizen who was called to be the Apostle of the Gentiles. Jesus' key question, addressed to Peter and the disciples in today's Gospel, is addressed to all who are called to be Christ's disciples. The key question is who Jesus is for us?
Today's feast turns our thoughts to the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist, and one of the peculiarities of the Eucharistic feast is that we, the Church, become the Body of Christ through our partaking of Christ’s Body and the consequence of our assimilation to the Body of Christ is that, like Christ, we become spiritual food for the life of the world, to be broken, given away and consumed. The Eucharist makes the Church, by making the Church Eucharist
We are not to approach God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons as a mathematical puzzle or a philosophical problem but, rather, as the Divine community of love whom we are called to know and enjoy for ever, for the one God, who has revealed Himself as Trinity, has made us for himself - to know and enjoy him forever. That is why, in and through sacred mysteries which we celebrate in the Eucharist, he gathers us to himself so that, by grace, we might share in the life and love of the Most Holy Trinity for ever
Today the Church of God throughout the world celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost. It is God's Spirit who inspires us to obey God's commandments. All who love God experience the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. He counsels us and reminds us of what Jesus has said. The Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. As we thank God today for the gift of his Holy Spirit let us ensure that our Christian discipleship manifests these fruits of God's Spirit.
June is the month of the Sacred Heart. The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus falls on Friday 28th June - which we will celebrate with a Mass at 10.00am. Great benefits are promised to those who practice this devotion. Also, during this month, we can seek to deepen our devotion to the love of God revealed in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus - a devotion encouraged by St Margaret Mary, whose relic rests in our altar. We might even consider consecrating ourselves to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ says: "Peace I give you." Peace is a gift of God that brings wholeness, health, security, well-being and salvation. The peace spoken of by Christ and the scriptures is associated with God's presence with his people. Christ is "God with us" and he is the "Prince of Peace". Christ's peace, which he shares with us, is the peace of the kingdom of God which reconciles, renews and makes all things new by gathering all into unity in Christ.
In the Gospel today we see Jesus saying goodbye to his disciples and leaving them a summary of his teachings. He gives them a "new commandment:" "Love one another just as I have loved you." This is "new," not because it is the first time Jesus has mentioned it but because love is always fresh and new and makes all things new. Love is creative, transforming, transfiguring - the disciples have witnessed this in the life of Christ. They have seen the love of God in Christ reach out to all - a love which excludes no one and includes all those who are marginalized and oppressed. This is the love we feed on in the Mass and carry to a world hungry for its creative and healing power.
Today is World Day of Prayer for Vocations. We pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life and that all believers will be faithful to their baptismal vocation. To follow Christ is to love him, to trust him, to serve him and to do his will - which is also what it means to be faithful to our vocation. Christ, the Good Shepherd, tells us that his sheep follow him "because they recognise his voice." We have to learn to distinguish the voice of the one true God from the voices of the many false gods and idols which call to us today.
The consequences of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ do not end with Easter Day. For those for whom the power of the Resurrection was a first-hand experience, it affected the rest of their lives. Today we remember that the Resurrection was a dynamic and transforming experience for the friends of Jesus and we pray that it may be so for us also. For the Resurrection reveals an immense power working in peoples' lives through time and space - a power which overcomes unbelief and doubt - a power at work in all the baptised and made present whenever and wherever they gather for the Eucharist - that same power that raised Jesus from the dead - the mighty power of the resurrection which is in our midst today as we gather for Mass.
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Humankind not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called to practice mercy towards others. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." It is to this end that we receive the transforming Spirit of God - the Holy Spirit, who through the power of God's great loving mercy, transforms our interior life in order that it might radiate outwardly and be a transforming power in the world. Thank you, once again for your generous Easter offerings and for the way you contribute to the life of our worshiping community throughout the year. I feel privileged to be part of a church in which so many people give of themselves so selflessly and in so many different ways for the good of the community.
Christ has risen. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the joy of Easter. Today, with the Holy Church of God throughout the world, we proclaim and celebrate the truth which is foundational to our Christian faith, that on the third day Christ rose from the dead. And Christ, the Risen One, does not depart from us but returns to greet us with his peace and to remain with us until the end of time. And we share his peace and rejoice in his presence in the Mass.
Holy Week begins today with Palm Sunday when the Church recalls the entrance of Christ the Lord into Jerusalem to accomplish his Paschal Mystery. The Paschal Mystery, the passage from death to life, is the heart of our faith. The account of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus forms the oldest part of the Gospels. It is what the evangelists recorded first. For them, it was the heart and nucleus of the Lord's witness to the loving purposes of God. That is why the Paschal Mystery is at the heart of our communal celebration as the Church and is at the heart of our lives as Christians and this is why the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter are so important. Through the Easter Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday we celebrate the greatest mysteries of our redemption keeping, through very special celebrations, the memorial of our Lord's crucifixion, burial and resurrection. I hope as many of us as possible will gather for these key celebrations in the Church’s calendar.
We see in the Gospel today how the Jewish Law was interpreted at the time of Jesus such that it prescribed the death penalty for the sin of adultery. Jesus rejects the lack of humility and lack of mercy, shown in the story, by the woman's accusers. "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." Jesus' just authority made her accusers, all men, walk away. Jesus forgives the woman taken in adultery and rejects the cruelty and double standards of her accusers.
Jesus' parables invite us to reflect on where we find ourselves in the story he is telling. So, in today's Parable of the Prodigal Son, who do we most identify with? With the Father, having a care and concern for those in need and having a good nose for when a party is needed? Or do we identify more with the reckless, but eventually repentant, younger son? Do we see something of ourselves in his destructive self-centredness? Or do we see more of our self in the elder son - are we more like him in being full of resentment and making other people pay for our loveless faithfulness? Perhaps we see a little of all the characters in us. Wherever we find our self in the story, Christ invites us to reflect on the journey we have to make to be one with him.
In today's Gospel Christ calls us to repentance. It is a call for us to come to our senses - to realise who we really are and to be those people - and through Baptism we are children of God. Repentance is about turning away from all that prevents us from realising our true identity and a turning towards the God who wants us to live in a loving relationship with him and with one another. Repentance is about us realising the abundant life God created us for. It's the reason Christ came to proclaim his message of repentance - for as he said: "I have come that they may have life and have it to the full" and to that end he calls us to, "Repent, and believe in the Gospel."
Today in the Gospel we hear how the apostles Peter, James and John were given a glimpse of Christ's glory on the Mount of the Transfiguration - the same glimpse of glory that we are all given when we gather for the Mass, for in and through the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist we ascend to the heavenly places where, with Angels and Archangels and all the host of heaven, we worship the Beloved Son of God who sits at the right hand of the Father. God, the Holy Spirit, gathers us into the cloud of his glory. We listen to him in the scriptures. We feed on him in the Sacrament of the altar. No wonder the disciples 'kept silence.' "Master, it is wonderful for us to be here."
Holy Week and Easter are the climax of the Christian liturgical year. The time of the Passion and Resurrection is proceeded by Lent, a lengthy period of preparation for these saving and illuminating mysteries. Lent is a time of penitence. It is a time for us to examine our conscience and seek reconciliation with the Lord. Lent is also a time for spiritual growth and enlightenment. In Lent we are invited to listen, and respond, ever more faithfully to the voice of God. Lent also commemorates Israel's liberation from slavery in Egypt and their forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Lent relates this to our own spiritual journey, to our liberation, our pilgrimage, our feeding on divine manna and of our meeting with God. And, as we see from today's Gospel, Lent also recalls the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert during which he contended with Satan, the tempter. Our Lent must be a period of fighting against temptation. From this, one can see that Lent is a very rich, a very deep mixture of elements which serve to purify and enlighten us. During the time of Lent, the Church leads us towards the radiant glory of the Paschal feast. The more serious our Lenten preparation has been, the deeper we shall enter into the mystery of Easter and gather its fruits.
In today's Gospel Jesus says: "A man's words flow out of what fills his heart." Lent begins on Wednesday - Ash Wednesday - with the Blessing and Imposition of the Ashes. The Church's season of Lent is an opportunity for us to go deeper into what is at the heart of our lives and what should be first in our hearts. It's a season in which we are invited to grow in our awareness of those things that blind us to the truth about ourselves and the truth about Christ. Lent is an opportunity to notice the "plank" in our own eye that prevents us seeing clearly how to love God and how to love our neighbour as our self. And it is only by seeing clearly that we can act and speak lovingly. On Ash Wednesday, a day of penance, abstinence and fasting, we enter into the joyful season of Lent - joyful because it is a time established for the purification of our souls and the renewal of our hearts.
In today's Gospel Jesus calls us to love our enemies - to love like the God in whose image and likeness we were originally created. Humanity has made itself the enemy of God through its sinfulness - our turning our backs on the way of God's love. This is seen most keenly in the way humanity treated God's beloved Son. Yet God loves us. He loves us as we are, but he loves us too much to let us stay as we are. His love wants to transform us, more and more, into the likeness of Jesus, who is true the image of God and who loved his enemies - praying for those who crucified him: "Father, forgive them, they don't know what they are doing."
We were made by God and created for God - to know him and love him forever. So, we are happy now if we are poor - poor in the sense of knowing our poverty with regard to the riches of the life for which God has created us. We are happy because this knowledge of our poverty allows us to realise our absolute need of God which leads us to turn to him in trust - trusting in his power to save us. And God does not disappoint those who turn to him in trust.
After the miraculous catch of fish, which we hear about in the Gospel today, Peter realised, as never before, his own sinfulness and the holiness of Jesus. He asked Jesus to depart from him but Christ showed him that his sins and weaknesses would not prevent him from sharing in his work. While our sinfulness humbles us, we should not let it get us down or make us feel that we do not belong to the company of Christ. Christ came to "call sinners." He is known as the "friend of sinners" - he comes to help us to overcome our sins. That is why, with confidence, we can come before him in the Mass to confess our sins
In the Gospel today, we hear how Jesus is rejected by the people of Nazareth and is chased out of the village by an angry mob who are determined to kill him. Why? Because he was telling the truth and they couldn't bear to hear the truth. The truth can be hard to hear, especially when it exposes uncomfortable and unpleasant things about ourselves. This does not prevent Christ from continuing with his mission - to proclaim the truth that brings liberty, but it does not prevent his opponents responding with violence.
Can we trust the Gospel accounts of what Jesus said and did and of who he claimed to be? Luke, Gentile doctor, Christian convert and missionary companion to St Paul, seems to have no doubts. In the prologue to his Gospel he describes the received teaching as "well founded." and his confidence is in no small part due to the fact that the accounts of Jesus' life and mission which had been handed down, were the work of those who, from the outset, were eyewitnesses. So we can reliably learn what Jesus said and did, and about who he claimed to be, by attending to the Gospels.
Today is the Sunday within the week of prayer for Christian unity. The vision of the Church presented by the scriptures is of Christ's mystical body - the place where God is gathering into one all peoples, nations, races, and tongues and dissolving all barriers and divisions. The new humanity of the Church, reborn in and through Christ, can never live separate from others or with hatred or hostility against others. According to the Christian vision the new humanity of the Church must be one for it is out of the one Father that they have been reborn. It is for this unity that we pray this week.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and we leave behind the touching scene of the crib. Jesus has moved from the helpless infant of Bethlehem to a grown man who takes upon himself a tremendous burden and responsibility. The burden is the weight of the sins of humankind. The responsibility is to make reparation for those sins.
Today, with the holy Church of God throughout the world, we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Epiphany means "manifestation" and it was made manifest to the Magi, who were led from afar by a bright star, that Jesus came, not just for the people of Israel but for everyone. This feast draws us away from the temptation to confine the mystery of the Christmas celebration to our own private world and interests. For the Church, Epiphany is a call and a challenge to never become narrow and inward-looking but to remember that, as the baptised, our vocation is to be a light for all people.
The Feast today reminds us that God's revelation and the outworking of his loving purposes takes place in the context of human families. In today's readings we see how God begins a new work in the world through Abraham and Sarah, in the Old Testament and through Mary and Joseph, in the New Testament. Both couples faithfully trusted in God's promises and saw them come to fulfilment - such is the faithfulness and mercy of God.
In today's Gospel Luke relates the story of the Visitation and it involves the encounter of two pregnant women. Mary, who is from Galilee, journeys to Judea, the place where, one day, the son she is carrying will be cruelly rejected and condemned to die. At Mary's greeting, Elizabeth's child in her womb "leapt for joy." Joy is the first response to the coming of the Messiah. Preparing for the great celebration of the Nativity of the Lord means experiencing the joy of knowing that our God is the God who comes to us - the God who gives himself for us because he loves us.
Today is Gaudete Sunday and "Gaudete" refers to the joy of the Lord which we find echoed in today's scripture readings. We also hear about John the Baptist in today's Gospel and John marks the end of the time of waiting and the beginning of the new age in Jesus. John is the last of the great prophets. For a long time, the people had been without a messenger from God but in John the Baptist the people discovered an end to God's silence. Through John they could hear the word of God. We are told that many went out from the towns and cities to see John - which is testimony to his charismatic power to attract people - such is the powerful attraction of the word of God alive and active in a person.
The invitation to welcome the God who comes to us in Christ and to cast away empty living is repeated in the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Advent. The Opening Prayer of the Mass asks that no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet Christ. And today we hear the lonely voice of John the Baptist who exhorts us to prepare a way for the Lord. May our faithfulness to the spirit of Advent create a space so that the Lord can come to us.
As we begin Advent our thoughts are guided, through the liturgy, to the coming of Christ - his first coming to us in humility and weakness and his second coming in majesty and power. The description of the Second Coming of Christ should not fill us with fear, rather we should look forward to it and prepare for it through prayer and right living. The "Walk with Me" booklets, available at the back of church, help us to prepare for Christmas by providing daily material for prayer and reflection
The feast of Christ the King, which the holy Church throughout the world celebrates today, brings to a close the Church's liturgical year. Our image of a monarch tends to be of one who lives a privileged life and lords it over others. Christ our King is not like that. He came to serve, not to be served and he wants us to imitate him in his loving service of others. That is why, as St. John of the Cross said: "In the evening of life we shall be examined on love." If to love and to serve our neighbour is heavenly, hell is the suffering of one who can no longer love.
Faith in the God of love can bring great happiness and confidence for "perfect love casts out all fear." The warnings about the end times in the Scriptures are meant to be a source of hope for us, not fear, for "Christ, by his death and resurrection, has achieved our sanctification." All we need to do is to place our trust in Christ and so be able to make the words of today's psalm our own: "You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence."
Today in the Gospel we hear the story of the "Widow’s Mite". The mite was the tiniest coin in circulation. In the Temple the rich were giving from their loose change, but the widow, out of her extreme poverty, gave everything she had: two small coins. Although poor and in need of the few coppers she had, she never hesitated, never counted the cost. She gave everything to God. The widow became famous, not because she gave so little but because, in her extraordinary generosity, she gave so much.
God is infinite goodness and because he created us in his own image and likeness he commanded that we must love him with our whole heart and love our neighbour as our self. We love God because he is the supreme and infinite goodness. We love ourselves because we are made in the image and likeness of God and since all people possess this same dignity we love them as ourselves - as holy and living images of the Godhead.
October is the month of the Rosary and the Rosary is a rich and powerful prayer. Firstly, the Rosary is vocal prayer in that, the fixed words can be prayed aloud, but it also lends itself to meditative prayer as we reflect on each of the mysteries. This enables personal insights that can change our lives and meditation can lead to loving contemplation when our mind is seized by the depth of the mystery we are praying. That's why Pope St John Paul II wrote: "The Rosary belongs among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation." The words of the Rosary also contain prayers of praise and petition and the faithful often offer up each decade of the Rosary for a special intention. Countless believers, down through the ages have born witness to the fruitful results of praying the Rosary. How could it be otherwise when, as Pope St John Paul II says: "To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ."
October is the month of the Rosary and the Rosary is Trinitarian and Christ-centred, but it is also a Marian prayer. In the Rosary, we are happy to honour the mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the words of the Archangel Gabriel and her cousin Elizabeth: "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women." And in the Rosary, we meditate and reflect on the important events in Our Lord's life through the eyes of Mary. Another prayer that makes the Rosary Marian is the concluding prayer - the "Hail Holy Queen." But the two most important prayers of the Rosary are the Lord's Prayer and the Hail Mary. As St. Louis de Montfort said: "How could there possibly be any more pleasing prayers more to Almighty God and the Blessed Virgin, or any that are easier, more precious or more helpful than these two prayers?"
October is the month of the Rosary and the Rosary is a rich and complete form of prayer. In the first place it is "Trinitarian." We begin the Rosary with the sign of the Cross as we invoke the three persons of the Most Holy Trinity: "In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." We then recite the Apostles Creed, which calls to mind each of the divine persons in turn: "I believe in God the Father Almighty…and in Jesus Christ his only-begotten Son…I believe in the Holy Spirit." And each decade of the Rosary concludes with the Trinitarian prayer: "Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit." The Rosary is also Christ-centred for the mysteries of the Rosary upon which we meditate are the mysteries of Christ's life. And in every "Hail Mary" prayed we honour Christ by saying: "blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus."
October is the month of the Rosary - a form of prayer which has been practiced and encouraged by saints and Popes down through the ages. More importantly it is a prayer that has been urged by Our Blessed Lady herself. Mary appeared to St Dominic and instructed him to use the Rosary in combating heresy. In the apparitions in Lourdes in 1858, Our Lady appeared with the Rosary in her hand and recited it together with Bernadette. And in Fatima, in 1917, she appeared again holding the Rosary and encouraged the faithful to be diligent in praying the Rosary. It was at Fatima that Mary identified herself as "the Lady of the Rosary" and asked for the "Fatima prayer" to be said after each decade: "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy."
The Gospel today presents us with a lesson in humility. Whilst the disciples were arguing amongst themselves about who was "the greatest" Jesus was arguing for being "last of all" and "servant of all" and Jesus backs up his words with his actions, for that is exactly what he became. He washes his disciples feet, the work of a slave, and he dies the death of an outcast criminal. And he wants us to share in his way of humility because it is the way of the God who stoops low to gather us into his kingdom.
"Who do people say I am?" - This is the question posed to his disciples by Jesus in today’s Gospel. But more important is the question he poses to Peter: "But you, who do you say I am?" for this is a question posed to all of us too. So who is Jesus for us? Is he just a fine example of what it means to be a thoroughly decent human being or is there more to him than that? Is he, in fact, divine, the Son of God, the Second Person of God, the Most Holy Trinity made flesh? How we answer this question will determine how we respond to him and his message. It will deeply affect the way we live our lives, for if we truly believe that he is the Messiah and Son of God then why wouldn't we make every effort to get to know him and his will for us and strive to live accordingly?
St. James reminds us in our second reading today that we should not have a higher regard for those who are well-dressed and well-heeled. For him such an attitude is incompatible with faith in the one who washed the feet of his own disciples and who said: "Anyone who wants to become great among you must be your slave." Discrimination against the poor, or partiality towards the wealthy, is seriously at odds with the teaching of Christ who, though equal with God, made himself poor so that we might be rich.
Jesus' controversy with the Pharisees, in today's Gospel, points up his opposition to a cold, formal and exterior religion. Jesus wants us to engage rather with the loving, interior demands of the kingdom of God. Like the prophets of old, he calls for conversion of heart rather than mere conformity to external standards and laws. One way to obscure the joy and truth of the Gospel is to reduce it to a series of formal rules which need to be observed only in an external fashion. The Gospel of Christ, on the other hand, is primarily a matter of the heart.
We see in the Gospel today how Jesus respects people's freedom of choice. Jesus offers his followers the choice to stay with him or join the ranks of those who turn away from him. But the choice to remain with Jesus has to be kept alive by continually renewing our commitment to follow him. Decisions in faith are never settled once and for all. Like the apostles in today's Gospel, we must keep on choosing Jesus, the One who has the message of eternal life.
The Gospel reading today points up the vital significance of the Eucharist. The fundamental importance of the Eucharist for the life of the Church can be seen in the words of St Irenaeus: "Our teaching is in accordance with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist, in turn, confirms our teaching." The Fathers of the Church perceived the Eucharist as the revelation and fulfilment of the entire mystery of the salvation of the world by Christ and therefore of the entire content of the Christian faith.
In today's Gospel Jesus is teaching us what he wants us to know concerning the Eucharist and he says things that his followers find hard to accept. Nevertheless, this is his teaching and he insists that he is the "bread of life," that "comes down from heaven," that "anyone who eats this bread will live for ever," and the "bread" he gives is his "flesh" which he gives "for the life of the world." And Christ’s "flesh," his Body, is the "bread from heaven" we feed on in the Mass today
The journey to the God of life is not an easy task. We tend to get lost along the way and we are discouraged by the efforts we have to make. On their way to the promised land, the Jewish people turned against Moses - their difficulties made them yearn for a mediocre but familiar existence. Freedom frightened them, slavery being more familiar seemed more secure. This is the temptation of every believer and this is why Jesus says to his disciples: "Do not be afraid."
In the Gospel today we hear how all the people eat and yet there is food left over. Love always means abundance and the fragments left over fill twelve baskets. This is a significant number: twelve refers to the twelve tribes of Israel, to the twelve apostles and to the entire people. Jesus' loving sign in sharing the bread reminds us of the Church's mission to continue that gesture through history with all people.
The "sheep without a shepherd" spoken of by Our Lord in the Gospel today are the poor of Palestine. They are considered last by the scribes and Pharisees, by the powerful, but Jesus puts them first. He looks after them first because he has come especially for those who are last according to society. Jesus pays careful attention to them. No one is interested in them, yet they are the ones whom Jesus favours.
The disciples had already responded to the Lord's call to them to "Come" and follow him, now Christ commands them to "Go." The kingdom of God is at hand and the call is urgent. They are instructed to travel light. They were not to rely on their own resources but on the bountiful providence of God. Their simplicity of life would help them to remain unencumbered by distractions and help them to stay focussed wholly on their mission.
By referring to himself as a prophet in today's Gospel Jesus identifies himself with the long line of Old Testament prophets who suffered rejection or violence because of the unpopularity of their message. The failure of the people of his home town to accept him and his message anticipates the more general rejection of those who will hand him over to be crucified: "He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him."
Charity is love in terms of sharing, and Jesus shows us the way of love. The readings from the scriptures today remind us that Jesus wants all people to enjoy abundant life. That is why Paul asks the Christians of Corinth to share what they have. He does not command them to give, he simply suggests that giving to those in need will prove the genuineness of their love. To have faith is to have life and to have the desire that all should share in the abundant life of Christ
The Church's celebration of the birth of John the Baptist reminds us that God called him from the very first moment of his life. John was the last and the greatest of the prophets who prepared the way for the coming of Christ and, like the prophets before him, John is known and loved by God before he comes to birth - he is known and loved from all eternity. From all eternity, the Baptist is chosen of God, dedicated and set apart by God to a specific calling - just like all the baptised. John was faithful in his response to God's calling - may he pray for us, that we might be faithful too
The Kingdom of God is a mystery even though it is in our midst. The kingdom of God is something altogether new which transforms the old and familiar. Bread becomes the Body of Christ, wine becomes his Blood. And the coming of God's kingdom is God's work - it is a mystery and it comes mysteriously, night and day, while we sleep, when we are awake, making all things new, growing in our midst to produce a harvest that gives glory to God and that harvest is the harvest of our transformed lives, changed, made new, we know not how.
The Gospel of Christ is something so radically good and new that it can be difficult to accept - even by those who are closest to Jesus. The Gospel today tells us that Jesus' own relatives thought he was "out of his mind." And others accuse him of siding with Satan and with those who oppose God. They do not have "eyes to see" or "ears to hear" and so his message seems like foolishness or worse - like blasphemy against God - Such is their blindness and deafness to the true God who lives and speaks in Christ.
Today's feast turns our thoughts to the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist, and one of the peculiarities of the Eucharistic feast is that we, the Church, become the Body of Christ through our partaking of Christ’s Body and the consequence of our assimilation to the Body of Christ is that, like Christ, we become spiritual food for the life of the world, to be broken, given away and consumed. The Eucharist makes the Church, by making the Church Eucharist
We are not to approach God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons; three Persons but one God, as a mathematical puzzle or a philosophical problem but, rather, as the Divine community of love whom we are called to know and enjoy for ever, for the one God, who has revealed Himself as Trinity, has made us for himself - to know and enjoy him forever. That is why, in and through sacred mysteries which we celebrate in the Eucharist, he gathers us to himself so that, by grace, we might share in the life and love of the Most Holy Trinity.
Today the Church of God throughout the world celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost. It is God's Spirit who inspires us to obey God's commandments. All who love God experience the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. He counsels us and reminds us of what Jesus has said. The Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. As we thank God today for the gift of his Holy Spirit let us ensure that our Christian discipleship manifests these fruits of God’s Spirit.
The Gospel today invites us to celebrate the mystery at the heart of our salvation: God longs for us to be united with him, and with one another, in love. The readings from John typically rejoice at the Good News that we are truly loved by God - the God who is love. And God's great love is revealed most powerfully in the life death, resurrection and ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ
The Eucharist is the very manifestation and fulfilment of the Church in all her power, sanctity and fullness. By taking part in the Eucharist we are empowered to increase in holiness and fulfil all that we have been called to be and do. The Church, gathered in the Eucharist, even when limited to two or three, is the image and realisation of the body of Christ, and those gathered will be able to partake - be communicants of the body and blood of Christ, because he is manifested, made present, in and through their assembly. Through the Eucharist we make our home in Christ who describes himself in today’s Gospel as 'the true vine.' He is the 'vine' and we are the 'branches' which feed on his life in and through the miracle of the Mass.
Today is World Day of Prayer for Vocations. We pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life and that all believers will be faithful to their baptismal vocation. To follow Christ is to love him, to trust him, to serve him and to do his will - which is also what it means to be faithful to our vocation. Christ, the Good Shepherd, tells us that his sheep follow him "because they recognise his voice." We have to learn to distinguish the voice of the one true God from the voices of the many false gods and idols which call to us today.
The consequences of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ do not end with Easter Day. For those for whom the power of the Resurrection was a first-hand experience, it affected the rest of their lives. Today we remember that the Resurrection was a dynamic and transforming experience for the friends of Jesus and we pray that it may be so for us also
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Humankind not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called to practice mercy towards others. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." It is to this end that we receive the transforming Spirit of God - the Holy Spirit, who through the power of God's great loving mercy, transforms our interior life in order that it might radiate outwardly and be a transforming power in the world
Christ has risen. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the joy of Easter. Today, with the Holy Church of God throughout the world, we proclaim and celebrate the truth which is foundational to our Christian faith, that on the third day Christ rose from the dead. And Christ, the Risen One, does not depart from us but returns to greet us with his peace and to remain with us until the end of time. And we share his peace and rejoice in his presence in the Mass. Thank you for the collection today which is the customary Easter offering to your priest. I am grateful for the generosity of spirit which is shown in so many ways in the life of the Parish.
Holy Week begins today with Palm Sunday when the Church recalls the entrance of Christ the Lord into Jerusalem to accomplish his Paschal Mystery. The Paschal Mystery, the passage from death to life, is the heart of our faith. The account of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus forms the oldest part of the Gospels. It is what the evangelists recorded first. For them, it was the heart and nucleus of the Lord's witness to the loving purposes of God. That is why the Paschal Mystery is at the heart of our communal celebration as the Church and is at the heart of our lives as Christians and this is why the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter are so important. Through the Easter Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday we celebrate the greatest mysteries of our redemption keeping, through very special celebrations, the memorial of our Lord's crucifixion, burial and resurrection. I hope as many of us as possible will gather for these key celebrations in the Church’s calendar
Jesus calls us to serve him and follow him - to conversion. To turn away from sin - from all that harms our relationship with God and with our neighbour and to turn toward him, to serve him, do his will, to be faithful to our baptismal vocation. Conversion is a gift from God, won for us through the sacrifice of Christ and we must ask for it through fervent prayer in order that we might know the power of Christ's Resurrection working in our lives
Today is Mothering Sunday and so we give thanks to God for our mothers and for all who are mothers in our community. May God bless you in your high calling, remembering that the greatest of the saints, Our Blessed Lady, was, like you, a mother and that through loving devotion to her calling attained to the heights of holiness. May Mary, the holy Mother of the Church, pray for us as we continue our journey through Lent.
The Father loves and liberates but in today's Gospel we see how his house can become 'a market place' where people are exploited. Jesus' protest and rejection of the trading taking part in the Temple affects powerful interests: the interests of those who have replaced God (without denying God openly) by greed, which Paul calls 'idolatry.' Paradoxically, this subtle and insidious substitution is often justified by religious arguments. None of us is immune from this. The Gospel today invites us to examine our conscience both at the personal level and as members of Christ's Church. Through Christ we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Lent is an opportunity for us to cleanse the temple of our lives from all that harms and diminishes us and those around us.
Today in the Gospel we hear how the apostles Peter, James and John were given a glimpse of Christ's glory on the Mount of the Transfiguration - the same glimpse of glory that we are all given when we gather for the Mass, for in and through the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist we ascend to the heavenly places where, with Angels and Archangels and all the host of heaven, we worship the Beloved Son of God who sits at the right hand of the Father. God, the Holy Spirit, gathers us into the cloud of his glory. We listen to him in the scriptures. We feed on him in the Sacrament of the altar. No wonder the disciples "kept silence." "Master, it is wonderful for us to be here."
Today is the First Sunday of Lent, the season when the Church prepares for Easter, the greatest of her celebrations. During the season of Lent we are encouraged to grow in the life of Christ and to deepen and strengthen our relationship with God. The Church leads and assists us in this through encouraging our participation, in an ever more intense and fruitful way, in the liturgies of the Church and in penitential celebrations. In order to aid us in our Lenten endeavours I have arranged for instruction, devotions, times for meditation and prayerful reflection (please see details below). I will also ensure that there is a Penitential Service and opportunities for people to make their confession. I hope that all these will be helpful in the deepening of our faith through this holy season.
At the time of Jesus, lepers were treated as social and ritual outcasts. They were not welcome in society or in the Temple. Therefore the leper in today's Gospel makes a bold move in approaching Jesus. Jesus makes him "clean", enabling him to be accepted as part of the worshipping community and revealing to us how God, in Christ, is reconciling the world to himself. No one is outside the welcoming love of God.
The healings and exorcisms of Jesus are a visible manifestation that the Kingdom of God is breaking into and conquering the world - that all things are being made new in and through Christ. The Gospels see illness as part of our fallen human condition which Jesus comes to heal and make whole
The Gospel today describes the first of many miracles performed by Jesus which reveal his authority and power. Jesus speaks with the same miraculous power by which he acts. This first miracle in Jesus' ministry signifies that Satan's power over the world has come to an end and that the dominion of God has broken into human history.
In today's Gospel reading we see how Jesus begins his public life with an exhortation to repent because the kingdom of heaven, or in Mark's version the kingdom of God, is at hand. This warning prompted by love is addressed to all, for no one is without sin. Yet no matter how many wounds our human nature has sustained, we are never justified in giving way to despair, for the Lord, in his great love for us, pours out his compassion abundantly on all who need it
Today's Gospel conducts us to the River Jordan. This was the holy place where first century Judeans expected to see the Messiah come. It was also at this place that the people, long ago, crossed over into the Promised Land. Today's story finds us here at this holy place, where John the Baptist is proclaiming Jesus to be the Lamb of God - the One who takes away the sins of the world, the One we are to follow.
Today, with the holy Church of God throughout the world, we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Epiphany means "manifestation" and it was made manifest to the Magi, who were led from afar by a bright star, that Jesus came, not just for the people of Israel but for everyone. This feast draws us away from the temptation to confine the mystery of the Christmas celebration to our own private world and interests. For the Church, Epiphany is a call and a challenge to never become narrow and inward-looking but to remember that, as the baptised, our vocation is to be a light for all people
The Feast today reminds us that God's revelation and the outworking of his loving purposes takes place in the context of human families. In today's readings we see how God begins a new work in the world through Abraham and Sarah, in the Old Testament and through Mary and Joseph, in the New Testament. Both couples faithfully trusted in God's promises and saw them come to fulfilment - such is the faithfulness and mercy of God.
We see in the Gospels how God fulfils the promises he has made through the people of the Old Covenant and he does this in a bewildering way. The fulfilment of the promises of old comes through a young Jewish girl who accepts the will of God and the work of his Holy Spirit in her. Her husband, Joseph, is confused about the events surrounding the conception and birth of Jesus but such perplexity is to be expected because God's ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts and, according to God's loving purposes, revealed in both the Old and New Testaments, something utterly 'good' and utterly 'new' is breaking into our world with the birth of Christ.
John the Baptist, who we hear about in today's Gospel, marks the end of the time of waiting and the beginning of the new age in Jesus. John is the last of the great prophets. For a long time, the people had been without a messenger from God but in John the Baptist the people discovered an end to God’s silence. Through John they could hear the word of God. We are told that many went out from the towns and cities to see John - which is testimony to his charismatic power to attract people - such is the powerful attraction of the word of God alive and active in a person.
The invitation to welcome the God who comes to us in Christ and to cast away empty living is repeated in the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Advent. The Opening Prayer of the Mass asks that no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet Christ. And today we hear the lonely voice of John the Baptist who exhorts us to prepare a way for the Lord. May our faithfulness to the spirit of Advent create a space so that the Lord can come to us. UPDATE 12/12: Please note that all midweek masses are cancelled this week due to poor weather. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience.
The Gospel today encourages us to "stay awake" - not to allow ourselves to become complacent in our Christian lives. Advent is a penitential season when the Church invites us to prepare for the many ways in which Our Lord Jesus Christ comes to us. We can be assisted in remaining vigilant through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, that's why these disciplines are recommended in this season. Like the "doorkeeper" in Mark's Gospel, Christians have to remain ever watchful and be attentive to what the Lord wants to reveal to us in all the circumstances of our everyday lives.
Today's Gospel reminds us of what is essential in the conduct of Jesus' followers. We are told in today's Gospel that the Son of Man, Christ the King, will come to judge the nations and the nature and focus of his judgement reveals that his kingdom is not a kingdom of power but of service. As Jesus said of himself: "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve." This is the criterion for judgement. Entering into the eternal life of the kingdom of God presupposes that we, his disciples, are following the path of the Master in serving all people and especially those with the greatest need.
In today's Gospel we hear of a man who returned everything he had ever been given to his master - and yet he was censured. He was blamed, not for misusing the gifts he had been given, but rather for not having used them at all. This Gospel passage encourages us to reflect on how we use the gifts and talents we have received from God. The Parable of the Talents teaches us that true religion - a true response to Christ's call to be his disciples - involves risk, adventure and enterprise. To use God-given gifts and talents aright is to share in the joy of the kingdom.
Today's Gospel reading reminds us to stay alert, to pay attention to the demands of the Gospel. Vigilance is nourished by hope and St Paul reminds us that the basis of this hope is the conviction that Jesus has risen from the dead. Hope enables to leap over the barrier of a life imprisoned by death. Our hope in the resurrection affirms a life that knows no end. Eternal life starts here and now. It is the life we encounter and celebrate in and through the Eucharist.
November is the month the Church especially remembers to pray for the dead. Remembrance Sunday is next week when we will pray for the repose of the souls of all those who have lost their lives as a result of war and we continue to pray for our deceased loved ones throughout the month of November. Scriptures and the Church teach that we can help the departed through the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for them consequently Masses will be offered up for the Holy Souls of our loved ones over the course of November. If you wish for your loved ones to be included in these prayers please find envelopes for your prayer intentions and offerings at the back of the church. Please write the names of your loved ones on the back of the envelope and place them, with your offering, in the tray in front of the altar.
God loves each and every one of us - he loves all his creatures - all that he has created. He wants us to know his love and so to grow in our love of him and of our neighbour and of all his creatures. That is why the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind and to love our neighbour as our self. In these two commandments we have a summary of the whole Bible and the teaching of the Church.
In today's Gospel we find two questions: one put to Christ by the Pharisees and the other put to them by Jesus. The Pharisees question: "Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" is born of religion which is the counterfeit of faith and concerns this world alone; whilst Christ's question, concerning the image the coinage of the day bears, speaks of the otherness of the Kingdom of God which is breaking into this world with his presence and makes demands, often taxing demands, upon us. For in his reference to the image on the coin Jesus is reminding his hearers of the image we bear deep in our being, or should bear, for scripture teaches that we have been made in "the image of God." And so we are to be detached, to readily give back to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, to let go of the things of this world that bear the impress of this fallen world, but we, who are made in the image of God, are to give ourselves to him, for we belong to him.
In the scriptures today we hear references to the "banquet" that is the Kingdom of God. The invitation to the Kingdom is open to all, not just to the prosperous and respectable - not just to people who have "farms", "businesses" and who often put their interests ahead of the Kingdom, but also to those who have no home, no steady employment, no businesses - the poor and the outcasts, those who are not respected. Such is God's love, freely lavished upon all his creatures, "good and bad" alike. This is the love lavished upon us in the banquet of the Eucharist - the "wedding feast" of the Kingdom of God where God gathers his creation to himself in order that it may be one with him.
The parable of the Murderous Tenants deals with a vineyard which has failed to deliver the appropriate fruit. Just what the expected fruit should be is alluded to in our first reading from Isaiah today - "justice" and "integrity." God's demand for justice and integrity is a constant theme of the Old Testament. The God of love and life wants all humanity to flourish and enjoy abundant life - he wants justice for all and the rights of all to be respected. These are the fruits that the vineyard, which the Lord planted and nurtured and cared for, should have produced. Taking up one the major themes of the Old Testament, the parable of Jesus challenges us to reflect upon our part in the establishment of justice and integrity in the world
October and the Rosary: On the 7th October the Church celebrates the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary and October is the month of the Rosary and it is a good time, therefore, to renew our devotion to our Lord and our Blessed Lady through this rich source of prayer.  We will offer up a decade of the Rosary before the Sunday Mass and after every weekday Mass throughout the month of October.   According to tradition, current since the 15th century, the devotion of the Rosary was founded by St. Dominic in the course of his missionary work.  Since then many saints have found the Rosary to be an indispensable aid in their spiritual life.  I will be happy to help anyone who requires any assistance in learning to pray the Rosary
Today's Gospel goes to the heart of Jesus' message and his revelation of God's free and gratuitous love.  Pope St. John Paul II reminds us of Christ's teaching in this parable when he says that the right to work is a manifestation of the right to life.  This fundamental right is not respected when a society and its legal order do not provide full employment for its people in the name of economic laws which coincide only with the profit and privilege of a few.  God's free and gratuitous love respects the dignity and equality of all and encourages us to do the same. 
At the heart of the revelation of God in the scriptures is his gratuitous love and today's Gospel teaches us that this kind of love is to be the norm of our relationship with others.  According to Jesus' teaching forgiveness is a vital part of the daily life of the Christian community.  Peter wants to know just how far our forgiveness should go.  Jesus answers that we must always forgive - that is the meaning of the mysterious expression "seventy-seven times."  This symbolic number indicates that there is to be no limit to forgiveness in the Christian community for love is not compatible with obligations that can be counted, rather it is gratuitous, like the love of God
In the second reading today St. Paul tells us: "Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour" And Jesus, in the Gospel says, "If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him." We should remember that correcting others is a delicate business requiring discernment - we can easily expect too much too soon. People need time and space to grow - and that means time and space to grow through their mistakes. Jesus was blunt, forceful and highly critical in correcting the Pharisees but was patient, with hardly a word of criticism, in his dealings with sinners and humble folk. He wanted to correct all of these, not to hurt them, and he accomplished this because he worked from a discernment informed by love for all people. "Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour."
Jesus never pretended that it would be easy to be a disciple of his. In today's Gospel, Peter refuses to accept Jesus' way - he is not prepared, at this stage, to accept the costliness of discipleship, the price of following him. Jesus strongly rejects Peter's reaction but at the same time he is telling him to take up his place as a disciple again. Jesus knows that discipleship is a process, and, like Peter in the story, none of us is the finished article. So when we stumble and fall, like Peter, we must take our place behind Jesus and follow him in his way of the Cross and Resurrection.
When Jesus' asks "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" some answer that he is a prophet - and that is a fairly good answer because Jesus is situated in the great prophetic tradition of Israel, which is why he does not separate love and worship of God from love of our neighbour. Those who have heard and seen Jesus have understood something important in thinking him to be a prophet - but this is not enough. Jesus' follow-up question is direct and to the point: "But who do you say that I am?" The question is still valid today and is aimed at us. Who is Jesus for each one of us today?
Today's Gospel shows how the Good News of God's Kingdom is for everyone - no one is excluded, for all are equal before God. We must not fall into a narrow-minded mentality where we are inclined to think that we are private owners of the Gospel and to identify our customs and culture with Jesus' message. In the Gospel today Jesus acknowledges the faith of the woman whose customs and culture are far different to those of the community that Matthew is addressing in his Gospel. Jesus not only acknowledges her faith with admiration and joy he also presents her as a model to believers.
In today's Gospel Peter's faith is tested when the going gets tough. When everything is going swimmingly we do not realise how small our faith is. We find out about our insufficiency and our absolute dependency on Christ when we are buffeted by the storms of life. As Thomas Merton says, when we have "nothing of our own to rely on, and nothing in our nature to support us, and nothing in the world to guide us or give us light - then we find out whether we live by faith." But it is when we know our poverty of spirit that we are blessed according to Jesus, for it is then that we are aware that we are not self-sufficient but that our sufficiency is all in him.
The Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ took place on Mount Tabor. Christ revealed himself in this glorious light in order to strengthen his disciples for the challenges which lay ahead. It would not be long before the weakness, humiliation and suffering of his Passion and shame of the Cross would become apparent. The Transfiguration reveals that light and glory of Easter - the light of the Resurrection which overcomes the darkness of sin and death. Christ reveals himself on Mount Tabor as the Son of God who is Light from Light and the glory of heaven.
Both the "treasure" and the "pearl" spoken of by Christ in today's Gospel express what the Kingdom of Heaven must be for disciples: something of ultimate worth. The demand of the Kingdom is radical - everything must be relativised in relation to the absolute value of the Kingdom. Finding the "hidden treasure" or the "pearl" is not the outcome of our work or calculation. With the Kingdom we are in the presence of something gratuitous - something freely given, not something we have earned and, therefore deserved. However, when the gift is given, our response has to be selling all we have in exchange for it.
The thirteenth chapter of Matthew's Gospel presents several parables on the Kingdom. All of them emphasise the presence of the Kingdom of God in history - a presence which involves a process. In the parable of the wheat and the darnel Jesus teaches us that that the enemy of souls is at work in the world, seeking to destroy the good seed sown by Christ. It also teaches us how difficult it is to distinguish between those who are in the Kingdom and those who are not and that, therefore, we should not judge others, for God will give the definitive judgement in the end.
Today is the anniversary of the martyrdom of our Patron, Blessed Robert Grissold. Robert Grissold was born around 1575 in Rowington to a Catholic family. When he grew up he became the servant of Mr. Sheldon of Broadway, Worcestershire, in whose service he probably met the priest Fr. John Sugar. Fr. Sugar was once an Anglican priest but, having been received into the Catholic church, went to the English College at Douai to be formed for the Catholic priesthood. Robert and Fr. John came to Rowington and on Sunday 8th July 1603 they were captured in a lane near Baddesley. Both were offered their freedom if they would conform to the Church of England - both refused. On the 16th July both men were taken to Gallow's Hill, outside Warwick, and were executed. Robert was buried beneath the gallows. Almighty God, you gave to John Sugar and Robert Grissold the joy of sharing in the suffering of your only Son, may the lives of your holy ones inspire us to greater endeavour in the service of your people. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
What great condescension and humility is revealed in the Gospel today. The Master comes to console his fallen servants. He shows us pity when we deserve punishment - he addresses the guilty ones with words of kindness and compassion: "Come, learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart." God is humble; we are proud. He bends low in order to raise us up. We can see his gentleness and humility from what he has become. Heaven is his throne, yet he walks among us on the earth in order that we might know his healing and peace and find rest for our souls
Regarding discipleship and following Jesus, Christ calls us to radical commitment to him. The cost is great it demands our all but the reward is inexpressibly greater. We cannot follow him in our own strength. He leads us, he empowers us, he gives us the strength to follow so that we might increasingly immerse ourselves in that incomparable love of his which was revealed in his Passion and Cross - a love that is stronger than death and the love we were created to know and share in forever.
In today's Gospel Jesus tells us: "Do not be afraid," but there is so much fear in the world today. All sorts of harm spring from fear. The world today, its political and economic structures, reflect the fears that our in our hearts - the fears that lead to gross inequalities, injustice, hatred and conflict. Jesus came to show us another way - the way to overcoming fear with that change of heart that desires the love of God and neighbour above all else. This is the perfect love that casts out all fear and marks the coming of God's Kingdom. This is the love we feed on in the Mass. This divine love is the source of that peace that Jesus shares with us - a peace that the world cannot know or give. We are called to be filled with his love that casts out fear so that we can bring its healing influence to a world in much need of healing and peace
Today's feast turns our thoughts to the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist, and one of the peculiarities of the Eucharistic feast is that we, the Church, become the Body of Christ through our partaking of Christ's Body and the consequence of our assimilation to the Body of Christ is that, like Christ, we become spiritual food for the life of the world, to be broken, given away and consumed. The Eucharist makes the Church, by making the Church Eucharist.
We are not to approach God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons; three Persons but one God, as a mathematical puzzle or a philosophical problem but, rather, as the Divine community of love whom we are called to know and enjoy for ever, for the one God, who has revealed Himself as Trinity, has made us for himself - to know and enjoy him forever. That is why, in and through sacred mysteries which we celebrate in the Eucharist, he gathers us to himself so that, by grace, we might share in the life and love of the Most Holy Trinity.
Today the Church of God throughout the world celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost. It is God's Spirit who inspires us to obey God's commandments. All who love God experience the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. He counsels us and reminds us of what Jesus has said. The Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. As we thank God today for the gift of his Holy Spirit let us ensure that our Christian discipleship manifests these fruits of God's Spirit.
Today the Church throughout the world celebrates the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord into heaven. The earthly ministry of our Lord had ended and the time came for him to return to the Father and take his place at the right hand of God. The ascension is a cause of great joy for us for as Christ said: "It is better for you that I go to the Father." The ascension means that he is with us in the most profound sense. He is with us when we gather for the Eucharist. He is with us in the word proclaimed, he is with us in the sacrament of the altar. Jesus is not out of sight and out of mind through the ascension. Through the ascension it is not his absence but his presence with us which makes our hearts grow fonder. And we encounter Our Risen and Ascended Lord in the Eucharist as we ascend to the presence of the One who is seated at the right hand of the Father.
In today's Gospel we are told of the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Lord calls the Spirit 'another Advocate' a term which is difficult to translate from the original Greek but which means something like 'being with' being the defender - one who intercedes for. We can see from this that the Spirit continues Christ's mission for Jesus is with us, at our side as a friend representing us and defending us. The Spirit is sent to be with us forever and we know him because he lives in us. Not only is the Spirit revealed as being with us, he is also 'the Spirit of truth.' Jesus and the Spirit lead the Christian community into communion with the Father and into all truth.
The Gospel today reveals how Jesus is the full expression of God the Father. The invisible God fully manifests himself in the humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to the fullest extent that this can be expressed in human nature. That is why he is the "Way" to the Father - to have seen him, to have heard him, is to have seen and heard the Father. And Christ embodies and reveals the "Truth" about existence - the truth that God made us for himself, so that his creatures might know him and love him forever. That is the truth about how and why we were made and that is why, as St Augustine said: "Our souls are restless until they find rest in God." And Christ is our "Life." All things were made through him and for him and he shares his life with us so that the life that is in him may be in us too. That is why he can properly proclaim himself, "the Way , the Truth and the Life."
Today is World Day of Prayer for Vocations. We pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life and that all believers will be faithful to their baptismal vocation. To follow Christ is to love him, to trust him, to serve him and to do his will - which is also what it means to be faithful to our vocation. Christ, the Good Shepherd, tells us that his sheep follow him "because they recognise his voice." We have to learn to distinguish the voice of the one true God from the voices of the many false gods and idols which call to us today
In the Gospel today we hear how the two disciples on the road to Emmaus recognised Jesus in the breaking of bread. At the time the Gospel was written the expression "the breaking of bread" had become synonymous with the celebration of the Eucharist. The risen Christ revealed himself to the two disciples through the scriptures and through the breaking of bread. This same Risen Christ is present to us in word and sacrament every time we gather to celebrate the Eucharist. We are able to encounter him through hearing his voice in the proclamation of the scriptures and through feeding on him, the Bread of Life, at his table. That is why in the Mass we proclaim the scriptures as the "word of the Lord" and acknowledge with an "Amen" that the Bread we receive from the altar is the "The Body of Christ."
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Humankind not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called to practice mercy towards others. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." It is to this end that we receive the transforming Spirit of God - the Holy Spirit, who through the power of God's great loving mercy, transforms our interior life in order that it might radiate outwardly and be a transforming power in the world.
Christ has risen. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the joy of Easter. Today, with the Holy Church of God throughout the world, we proclaim and celebrate the truth which is foundational to our Christian faith, that on the third day Christ rose from the dead. And Christ, the Risen One, does not depart from us but returns to greet us with his peace and to remain with us until the end of time. And we share his peace and rejoice in his presence in the Mass. Thank you for the collection today which is the customary Easter offering to your priest. I am grateful for the generosity of spirit which is shown in so many ways in the life of the Parish
Holy Week begins today with Palm Sunday when the Church recalls the entrance of Christ the Lord into Jerusalem to accomplish his Paschal Mystery. The Paschal Mystery, the passage from death to life, is the heart of our faith. The account of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus forms the oldest part of the Gospels. It is what the evangelists recorded first. For them, it was the heart and nucleus of the Lord's witness to the loving purposes of God. That is why the Paschal Mystery is at the heart of our communal celebration as the Church and is at the heart of our lives as Christians and this is why the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter are so important. Through the Easter Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday we celebrate the greatest mysteries of our redemption keeping, through very special celebrations, the memorial of our Lord's crucifixion, burial and resurrection. I hope as many of us as possible will gather for these key celebrations in the Church’s calendar
Next week marks the beginning of Holy Week - the most important week in the Church's calendar. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday. During Holy Week we celebrate the Easter Triduum, comprising the liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday evening). These sacred liturgies shine forth as the high point of the Church's year. The Paschal Triduum is at the heart of all that it means to be the Church and we owe it to ourselves as Christians to be present at these key moments in the life of the worshipping community, for the sacred mysteries, which we celebrate on these three days, are the axle on which the rest of the liturgical year turns.
In the early Church Lent was a time of completing the formation of candidates for the Baptisms which would take place at Easter and the readings of the Sundays in Lent reflect this time of baptismal preparation. Last week the Gospel spoke of the "living water" welling up to eternal life. This week Jesus reveals himself as the "light of the world," and next week, the raising of Lazarus from the dead will proclaim him as the "resurrection and the life." As Pope Emeritus Benedict says: "Water, light and life are symbols of Baptism, the sacrament that "immerses" believers in the mystery of the death and Resurrection of Christ, liberating them from the slavery of sin and giving them eternal life."
In today's Gospel Jesus speaks of the mysterious water which is capable of 'welling up to eternal life.' This is the life given, in Baptism - a life we are called to cherish and nurture. The elements of Baptism, namely the water of the font and the holy oils, refer us to the stuff of the cosmos - reminding us that everything is caught up in God's loving purposes of making all things new. In the early Church Baptism took place during the Easter Vigil and Baptism spoke of the new life and the new time of which Easter is the celebration and manifestation. Baptism has always found its fulfilment in the Eucharist which is the sacrament of the Kingdom - the sacrament of the 'eternal life' of the world to come
Today in the Gospel we hear how the apostles Peter, James and John were given a glimpse of Christ's glory on the Mount of the Transfiguration - the same glimpse of glory that we are all given when we gather for the Mass, for in and through the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist we ascend to the heavenly places where, with Angels and Archangels and all the host of heaven, we worship the Beloved Son of God who sits at the right hand of the Father. God, the Holy Spirit, gathers us into the cloud of his glory. We listen to him in the scriptures. We feed on him in the Sacrament of the altar. No wonder the disciples "kept silence." "Master, it is wonderful for us to be here."
Holy Week and Easter are the climax of the Christian liturgical year. The time of the Passion and Resurrection is proceeded by Lent, a lengthy period of preparation for these saving and illuminating mysteries. Lent is a time of penitence. It is a time for us to examine our conscience and seek reconciliation with the Lord. Lent is also a time for spiritual growth and enlightenment. In Lent we are invited to listen, and respond, ever more faithfully to the voice of God. Lent also commemorates Israel's liberation from slavery in Egypt and their forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Lent relates this to our own spiritual journey, to our liberation, our pilgrimage, our feeding on divine manna and of our meeting with God. And, as we see from today's Gospel, Lent also recalls the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert during which he contended with Satan, the tempter. And our Lent must be a period of fighting against temptation. From this one can see that Lent is a very rich, a very deep mixture of elements which serve to purify and enlighten us. During the time of Lent the Church leads us towards the radiant glory of the Paschal feast. The more serious our Lenten preparation has been, the deeper we shall enter into the mystery of Easter and gather its fruits.
Lent begins this week with Ash Wednesday. The Church orders the season of Lent to our preparation for the celebration of Easter. The forty days of Lent run from Ash Wednesday up to, but excluding, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday. We are encouraged to participate fully in the Lenten preparation for Easter, approaching the Sacrament of Penance and making our confession during this season. Devotional and spiritual exercises, such as those listed below, can help us to 'Repent and believe in the Gospel' and assist us in our prayerful and penitential preparation for the celebration of Christ's Paschal Mystery.
In the Gospel today Jesus speaks of the nature of God's Kingdom which is breaking into this world even now. This is the 'perfect' life of the heavenly kingdom so we should not be surprised that his words sound strange for they are opening up to us a strange and new reality which is not of this world. This eternal life is that dimension of the kingdom which we pray will come on earth. The power and the glory of this eternal dimension of the kingdom which is breaking into our world transforms and renews all things so that discord, hatred and violence are overcome by the love and peace of Christ. It is this life of the kingdom which we see breaking into this world in the words and examples of Jesus and the saints - in the ones who 'love their enemies' and 'pray for those who persecute them.' And it is into this eternal dimension, that makes such strange new things possible, that God gathers us each time he summons us before him in the Mass. For in and through the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit gathers us and makes us one with Christ who sits at the right hand of the Father in the heavenly kingdom, so that, with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominions and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven, we sing the hymn of his glory.
In the Gospel today Christ teaches us about the relationships we should nurture and enjoy as members of his Body - the Church. As the baptised we are called to live and act in a way that is caught up in God's love and life. In this way we witness to Christ in the world. We are not to live as those who do not know Christ - those who quarrel and divide over selfish preferences, those who are motivated by self-serving desire. Rather, as members of the Church, we are to live differently, bearing witness to the alternative life Christ brings, for, as members of his Body, we are bound to him in his loving mission to the whole of creation. As co-workers with Christ we are called to enact God's deep love for the world - to get our minds off ourselves and our petty self-interests and to live together harmoniously.
In the Gospel today Jesus teaches that the lives of his followers should have a distinctive quality. Like salt, we should add a peculiar flavour to life because our life in Christ is distinctive and peculiar. This distinctive and peculiar quality of the Christ-life in us should shine like a light in the world, because Christ is the Light of the world. But if we lose our distinctive and peculiar taste - if the light in us is dimmed or hidden from the world - then we are no longer fit for purpose for we are called to witness to the love and light of Christ by our lives so that all may "taste and see that the Lord is good."
The feast of the Presentation of the Lord traditionally concludes the season of Christmas. It commemorates the presentation of Jesus in the Temple - the occasion when old Simeon, who had waited a long time for the coming of the Messiah, gave his famous prophecy, referring to Jesus as 'a light to enlighten the pagans.' Christmas celebrates the coming of the light into the darkness but Simeon also pointed to what the coming of Christ was going to cost him when he says that Jesus is 'destined to be a sign that is rejected.' The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is also known as Candlemas because, as on this coming Thursday, we celebrate this mystery with lighted candles, reflecting the glory of Christ, the light of the world
This is the Sunday within the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity and, as Christians, we must be deeply committed to that unity among believers for which Jesus prayed. The two great commands of Christ, to love God with our whole strength and being and to love our neighbour as our self, show us the way to that unity, for the more we grow in love and unity with God the more we will grow in love and unity with one another. The scriptures proclaim God's great love for the world and of his plan to draw all things together in unity in Christ. It is our great privilege to be caught up in this great love of God which we celebrate in the Eucharist where, by faith, we perceive God drawing and gathering his scattered creation into one in Christ
In today's Gospel we see how John defends the true faith against the error of the Baptist sect who mistakenly believed that the Baptist was the Messiah. John insists that he is but a witness to Jesus, the true light of the world - he is not that light. He is the first of many witnesses to the truth of Christ and later in the Gospel Jesus tells his disciples that when they receive the Spirit of truth, "you too will be my witnesses." And that is the charge we have received through our Baptism - we too are called to witness to the truth of Christ. Through our baptism in the Holy Spirit, we are challenged to lead others to the person of Christ.
Today, with the holy Church of God throughout the world, we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Epiphany means "manifestation" and it was made manifest to the Magi, who were led from afar by a bright star, that Jesus came, not just for the people of Israel but for everyone. This feast draws us away from the temptation to confine the mystery of the Christmas celebration to our own private world and interests. For the Church, Epiphany is a call and a challenge to never become narrow and inward-looking but to remember that, as the baptised, our vocation is to be a light for all people.
God wants us to experience the tender love of Mary, our mother, just as we know the love of our Heavenly Father. Jesus gave countless gifts to humankind but the final gift he gave us, when he was dying on the cross, was Mary, his own mother. The love that this good mother bears us is so great that as soon as she perceives our want, she comes to our assistance. We need only show Mary the wounds of our souls and she immediately helps us by her prayers and consoles us. That is why Pope Leo XIII wrote: "Such is Mary's greatness, so powerful is her favour with God, that not to have recourse to her in times of need is like trying to fly without wings."
A blessed and joyful Christmas to you all. At Christmas God gives us a wonderful sign of his love such as we should not have dared to hope for. How could we have expected to see a virgin with child, and to see in this child not only "God with us" but one who would descend into the depths of the earth to seek for the lost in order to ascend again to present us to his heavenly Father? Out of his great love for us he emptied himself to make himself like us in order that he might win us to himself. The Son of God was born on earth out of compassion for the human race for God is love and that love overflows outside of the Holy Trinity enabling his creatures to share in his life. In the manger at Bethlehem God offers himself to us. He discloses himself, shows us what he is like, but does not want to force us. His great power is the power of love and love wants the freedom of the beloved. In the Word made flesh God speaks and at the same time keeps silent; he knocks at the door of our hearts and awaits our response.
We see in today's Gospel how God fulfils the promises he has made through the people of the Old Covenant and he does this in a bewildering way. The fulfilment of the promises of old comes through a young Jewish girl who accepts the will of God and the work of his Holy Spirit in her. Her husband, Joseph, is confused but his perplexity helps him to understand God's action to bring that which is good and new into the world. God's Good News is unexpected, surprising and interrupts our plans
In the first reading today we hear some of the loveliest words in Scripture. The prophet Isaiah, setting aside the fear and gloom of the contemporary political situation, looks forward to a Golden Age when God's salvation will transform every living thing. The barren places of nature will bloom; the weak and the frail will be strong; Jerusalem will be a new centre of creation. And if we listen carefully we will recognise words used by Handel in his setting of the Messiah - celebrating the God, who comes to us in Jesus, to make all things new
The invitation to welcome the God who comes to us in Christ and to cast away empty living is repeated in the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Advent. The Opening Prayer of the Mass asks that no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet Christ. And today we hear the lonely voice of John the Baptist who exhorts us to prepare a way for the Lord. May our faithfulness to the spirit of Advent create a space so that the Lord can come to us.
There will be a votive Mass of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on Friday at 10.00am. The devotion to the Sacred Heart was revealed to St Margaret Mary in order that the great love in the Heart of Jesus for us might be more widely known. A relic of the saint was cemented into the altar of our church at its Consecration. Jesus spoke to St Margaret Mary saying: "My Divine heart is so inflamed with love for humankind that, being unable any longer to contain within Itself the flames of Its burning Charity, It must needs spread them abroad by your means and manifest Itself to them in order to enrich them with the precious treasures I reveal to you." St Margaret Mary wrote: "I fear all my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in You, O Heart of Love, I hope all from Your infinite goodness. Imprint Your pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget You or be separated from You." Through our First Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus may we grow in the incomparable and unforgettable knowledge and love of Christ our Saviour.
The feast of Christ the King, which the holy Church throughout the world celebrates today, brings to a close the Church's liturgical year. Our image of a monarch tends to be of one who lives a privileged life and lords it over others. Christ our King is not like that. He came to serve, not to be served and he wants us to imitate him in his loving service of others. That is why, as St. John of the Cross said: "In the evening of life we shall be examined on love." If to love and to serve our neighbour is heavenly, hell is the suffering of one who can no longer love.
Faith in the God of love can bring us great happiness and confidence for "perfect love casts out all fear." The warnings about the end times in the Scriptures are meant to be a source of hope for us, not fear. All we need to do is to place our trust in Christ, who reassures us in today's Gospel, that the Lord will be with us. Jesus tells us that by our endurance we will gain our lives. This is a call to be constant, to persevere and to be steadfast in hope. In this regard St Paul gives us an example to imitate. Simplicity of life, hope and trust in the Lord will enable us to face difficult situations and to be confident that "the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing rays" and will enlighten us.
In the Gospel today Jesus speaks of the life of the Resurrection and he makes it clear that this is eternal life – a life qualitatively different from our natural life - because 'the children of the Resurrection' 'can no longer die.' We were made children of the Resurrection through Baptism – when we were baptised in the name of God the Holy Trinity in whose eternal life we now share. It is because we are 'children of the resurrection' that we 'dare' to call God 'Our Father' and it is for this same reason that we are presented, at Baptism, with a candle lit from the Easter candle which represents the light and life of the Resurrected Christ, in whose light and life we share. And being children of the Resurrection we are also children of God – the God who lives and reigns for ever and ever and we are called to shine as lights in the world to the glory of God, our Father.
We near the end of our month of the Holy Rosary. St Dominic, a Catholic, did most in the development and the early spreading of the Rosary, nevertheless the Rosary is valued and prayed by members of many different Christian traditions, including Lutherans, Methodists and Anglicans. Richard Baumann, a Lutheran, writes: "When the Rosary is said, truth sinks into the subconscious like a slow and steady downpour…It is a long and persevering gaze, a meditation, a quieting of the spirit in praise of God." J. Neville Ward, a Methodist minister says: The Rosary has a profound message for our times…It is a message of consolation, Scriptural in its background, and reasonable as well as devotional in its content." According to the Reverend Ward, the Christian who has a Rosary in his or her hand is within an ancient tradition, for no other scheme of prayer has been so widely used in the Christian West. And the Anglican Guardians of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham write in their handbook: "The Rosary is a devotion of which many people are frightened. But it is quite simple and quite sensible; it is like looking at a picture book on our mother's knee… pictures connected with the Life, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord, are shown to us by His Mother and our Mother, who prays with us and for us."
October, the month of the Rosary continues. Through praying the Rosary, we are invited to contemplate the mysteries at the heart of our faith. This leads us to draw closer to Jesus' life and teaching and helps them to become ever more deeply embedded in our hearts and minds. We can also relate the mysteries of the Rosary to our own lives - applying them to our own spiritual journey and needs. Also we can name an intention as we pray the Rosary, dedicating our prayer to someone or something - giving thanks to God or exercising love for others by praying for them or asking God's grace for our own personal needs. If anyone requires instruction on how to pray the Rosary I will be happy to help
In October we find ourselves in the month of the Holy Rosary and so it is fitting, at this time, that we should reflect on the power of the Rosary as a means of prayer and of the important part it can play in our spiritual life. God's grace comes to us through our praying the Rosary and that is why the saints prayed it faithfully and why Popes have endorsed it through the ages. Our Holy Mother has urged the praying of the Rosary wherever she has appeared in recent times. Surely this should be an encouragement to us to try and pray, at least, a decade of the Rosary daily. To this end, it can be useful to carry a Rosary with us always and to have one beside our beds. If anyone requires instruction on how to pray the Rosary I will be happy to help.
October is the month of the Rosary and we will be praying a decade at Mass through the week as a gentle reminder, if it is needed, of the great riches that are to be had in this form of prayer. Padre Pio, the holy saint who received the stigmata, loved to pray the Rosary. He always kept his Rosary beads in his hand. Because he prayed it almost constantly he was known as the 'living Rosary.' One day his superior asked him how many Rosaries he had prayed that day. Wanting to be respectful and honest with his superior he told him: “I have prayed thirty-four Rosaries today.” On another occasion a follower asked him to teach him a prayer that was most pleasing to our Blessed Lady. Without hesitation, he insisted that none is more beautiful or pleasing than the Rosary. And he further instructed him: “Always say the Rosary. The Rosary is a weapon in our hands.” Near the end of his life he didn't talk much and when people sought his advice or help he would simply show them the Rosary. Let us follow St Pio's example and always have our Rosary with us
We hear in the Gospel today of the apostles' desire to grow in faith, "Increase our faith," they say. Jesus' response is to speak of how faith can accomplish great things, even if it is small. What Jesus seems to be saying is that what really matters is that faith is exercised, put into practice - that is how it strengthens and grows. Our faith increases when we put it into practice and our practice is to be that of disciples of Jesus. And when we have proved faithful servants of Christ, all we can rightfully say is: "We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty."
The Bible is unambiguous concerning economic issues. The Biblical injunctions against the exploitation of the poor and the accumulation of wealth are clear and straightforward. Jesus declared war on the selfish materialism of his day and he speaks to the question of economics more than any other single social issue. If, in a comparatively simple society, Jesus laid such strong emphasis upon the spiritual dangers of wealth, how much more should we, who live in a highly affluent and materialistic culture, take seriously the Bible's teaching on poverty and riches.
On Wednesday evenings, after Mass, there is a time for quiet prayer and reflection before the Blessed Sacrament. This provides us with an oasis of peace in a busy world. A time when, in the silence, we can open ourselves up to Christ's healing and transforming presence. To help us we will be following meditations on the life and work of St Therese of Lisieux. Pope Pius XII said of St Therese that, “she rediscovered the Gospel itself, the very heart of the Gospel” and the heart of the Gospel is love - a love that inspired Therese's great confidence in God - a love and confidence she wanted everyone to know.
Today's Gospel passage speaks to us of the tender and forgiving love of God. It is the love which is at the heart of Christ and which he reveals through his words and actions. He is the friend of sinners. He seeks out the lost and rejoices over their return to the way of love and life. Those who encounter this merciful life-giving love in Christ are transformed for there is no greater treasure than this. St. Paul says that everything else is like so much rubbish compared to the forgiving love of Christ. And it is in this encounter with the sacred and loving heart of Christ that a religion of the heart is born. Not a religion of laws written on tablets of stone but a religion of love written on hearts of flesh.
Regarding discipleship and following Jesus, today's Gospel makes it clear that it is a choice which each of us has to make. Christ calls us to radical commitment to him and for that reason he asks all those who would be followers to first count the cost of discipleship. The cost is great, it demands are all but the reward is inexpressibly greater. We cannot follow him in our own strength. He leads us, he empowers us, he gives us the strength to follow so that we might increasingly immerse ourselves in that incomparable love of his which was revealed in his Passion and Cross - a love that is stronger than death and the love we were created to know and share in forever
The Gospel today speaks to us of humility and humility is necessary if we wish to be pleasing to God and find entry into his kingdom. Humility is one of the marks of a saint. Because the saints were close to God and deeply aware of his great holiness they felt their faults, failures and weaknesses more profoundly. We are to be humble, like Jesus and the saints, if we are to find favour with God and humility is about being realistic about who and what we are in the light of the holiness of God
The teaching of Jesus is clearly opposed to any kind of elitism or exclusivism. As one who was marginalized and excluded by his own people, Jesus identifies with those who are not members of the "in crowd." Always to be left out, always excluded, is a cause for sadness but always to be counted in can be an excuse for smugness and complacency. It was this instinctive desire to belong that prompted the question in today’s Gospel: "Sir, will there be only a few saved?" We have no answer to the question of whether many or few will be saved, what we do know is that we cannot afford to be smug or complacent about our own salvation. We must work to do God's will and cooperate with his Fatherly discipline in order that we might squeeze through the narrow door that leads to his kingdom
The saints are our models of Christian life. This is especially true of Mary because of the place she occupies in the history of salvation. Mary is the perfect Christian and as such she is the model for the whole Church. She can be seen as the Church in miniature. She shows us that we must be dedicated completely to Christ as she was, that we must be willing to suffer with him, as she did. And she also shows us that loyalty to Christ guarantees immortality, body as well as soul in complete happiness in heaven.
We must be open and ready to receive the God who comes to us in every present moment. God's name, revealed to Moses, is I AM. He is, therefore, the Ever-Present One. Too often, our minds are distracted by what has been or by what might be - by things past, which no longer exist and by things which may or may not come to pass. God, however, the Great I AM, meets us in real time - the only time which is real, the present moment. Prayer and the sacraments - especially the Sacrament of the Eucharist - can help to make us present to the One who is present to us in the sacrament of the present moment.
The Gospel calls us to place all our trust in God and his providence. Through prayer and the Sacraments we are to store up treasure for ourselves in heaven. Though we are poor in spiritual things, God makes us rich through his grace, allowing us to be sharers in his life and love.
Jesus taught his disciples how to pray. He was a man of prayer - he knew its value and he wanted his disciples to be people of prayer as well. In our Wednesday evening meditations, we have learnt how prayer is the rooting and grounding of oneself in God. Prayer seeks to open us up to communication and communion with God. It maintains and deepens our relationship with him so that his light and love can flow into us and out into the world in what we say and do. Our meditations on the Christian prayer life will begin again on Wednesday 10th August - All welcome
The mystery revealed in today’s readings is of God in Christ, our friend and companion - the Divine guest who comes to us and we are invited to welcome him, just as Abraham did at the Oak of Mamre and as Martha and Mary did at Bethany. Both Abraham and Martha welcomed their Divine Guest amidst a flurry of activity; whilst Mary sat at his feet and listened to him in the stillness. However we receive the God who comes to us, only one thing is needed - a heart open to love
As followers of Christ, we are all called to be like the Good Samaritan. We are to love our neighbour as ourselves - serving all people without distinction of race, colour or creed and having a special concern for the poor and marginalized. We are to demonstrate our love of God through being reconcilers, peacemakers and healers in a wounded world
After Mass on Wednesday there will be an opportunity to venerate the relic of St Margaret Mary. This is the relic which will be sealed in the altar during the Consecration of the church on Saturday. St Margaret Mary received from our Lord the famous revelations concerning the great love of His Sacred Heart. In these revelations Our Lord told her that she would be used to spread the truth of the love of his heart and that he would reveal the treasures of its graces through her, his chosen instrument and disciple of his Sacred Heart. His heart was to be honoured under the form of a heart of flesh - in a way familiar now to Catholics throughout the world, as evidenced in our own statue of the Sacred Heart. In one revelation Our Lord said to Margaret Mary: “Behold the heart which has so much loved men that it spared nothing.” May the relic of St Margaret Mary and the devotion to the Sacred Heart which she encouraged, remind us of the great love of God in Christ for us and all humankind
Saint Paul, in the second reading today reminds us that humanity, the sons and daughters of God, are equal before our loving heavenly Father. The foundation of this radical equality is in Jesus Christ. The scriptures teach us that God has a special care for the least, the forgotten, the excluded and despised. This means we have to affirm life wherever poverty, discrimination and violence are sowing death. This requires reliance on God’s spirit of kindness, forgiveness and prayer.
Saint Paul, in the second reading today reminds us that humanity, the sons and daughters of God, are equal before our loving heavenly Father. The foundation of this radical equality is in Jesus Christ. The scriptures teach us that God has a special care for the least, the forgotten, the excluded and despised. This means we have to affirm life wherever poverty, discrimination and violence are sowing death. This requires reliance on God’s spirit of kindness, forgiveness and prayer
The woman in today’s Gospel reveals the power of God’s merciful love to transform and make new. She has encountered and embraced the Lord’s mysterious free gift of forgiveness. She has known the vast love of God which passes human understanding and having known the greatness of his love and mercy is able to accept that “her sins, her many sins” have been forgiven. And knowing God’s great love for her, she is empowered to love greatly
Jesus gives us the best picture of what God is like and in today’s Gospel Christ’s words and actions reveal a loving, merciful and compassionate God. When Jesus sees the widow mourning for her dead son we are told that Jesus “felt sorry for her.” Jesus is moved by the woman’s disconsolate weeping, he suffers with her, revealing a merciful God who is moved by our sorrow and who has compassion on those who suffer.
Today’s feast turns our thoughts to the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist, and one of the peculiarities of the Eucharistic feast is that we, the Church, become the Body of Christ through our partaking of Christ’s Body and the consequence of our assimilation to the Body of Christ is that, like Christ, we become spiritual food for the life of the world, to be broken, given away and consumed. The Eucharist makes the Church, by making the Church Eucharist.
‘We are not to approach God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons; three Persons but one God, as a mathematical puzzle or a philosophical problem but, rather, as the Divine community of love whom we are called to know and enjoy for ever, for the one God, who has revealed Himself as Trinity, has made us for himself - to know and enjoy him forever. That is why, in and through sacred mysteries which we celebrate in the Eucharist, he gathers us to himself so that, by grace, we might share in the life and love of the Most Holy Trinity.’
Today the Church of God throughout the world celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost. It is God’s Spirit who inspires us to obey God’s commandments. All who love God experience the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. He counsels us and reminds us of what Jesus has said. The Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. As we thank God today for the gift of his Holy Spirit let us ensure that our Christian discipleship manifests these fruits of God’s Spirit.’
Today the Church throughout the world celebrates the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord into heaven. The earthly ministry of our Lord had ended and the time came for him to return to the Father and take his place at the right hand of God. The ascension is a cause of great joy for us for as Christ said: “It is better for you that I go to the Father.” The ascension means that he is with us in the most profound sense. He is with us when we gather for the Eucharist. He is with us in the word proclaimed, he is with us in the sacrament of the altar. Jesus is not out of sight and out of mind through the ascension. Through the ascension it is not his absence but his presence with us which makes our hearts grow fonder.
“Peace I give you.” Peace is a gift of God that brings wholeness, health, security, well-being and salvation. The peace spoken of by Christ and the scriptures is associated with God’s presence with his people. Christ is “God with us” and he is the “Prince of Peace.” Christ’s peace, which he shares with us, is the peace of the kingdom of God which reconciles, renews and makes all things new by gathering all into unity in Christ
In the Gospel today we see Jesus saying goodbye to his disciples and leaving them a summary of his teachings. He gives them a “new commandment:” “Love one another just as I have loved you.” This is “new,” not because it is the first time Jesus has mentioned it but because love is always fresh and new and makes all things new. Love is creative, transforming, transfiguring - the disciples have witnessed this in the life of Christ. They have seen the love of God in Christ reach out to all - a love which excludes no one and includes all those who are marginalized and oppressed. This is the love we feed on in the Mass and carry to a world hungry for its creative and healing power
Today is World Day of Prayer for Vocations. We pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life and that all believers will be faithful to their baptismal vocation. To follow Christ is to love him, to trust him, to serve him and to do his will - which is also what it means to be faithful to our vocation. Christ, the Good Shepherd, tells us that his sheep follow him “because they recognise his voice.” We have to learn to distinguish the voice of the one true God from the voices of the many false gods and idols which call to us today.
The consequences of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ do not end with Easter Day. For those for whom the power of the Resurrection was a first-hand experience, it affected the rest of their lives. Today we remember that the Resurrection was a dynamic and transforming experience for the friends of Jesus and we pray that it may be so for us also
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Humankind not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called to practice mercy towards others. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” It is to this end that we receive the transforming Spirit of God - the Holy Spirit, who through the power of God’s great loving mercy, transforms our interior life in order that it might radiate outwardly and be a transforming power in the world
A happy Easter to you all. Easter is a time of renewal. Jesus died and rose again in spring. In the same way that Christmas coincides with the victory of sunlight over darkness, when the days begin to lengthen, so Easter coincides with the renewal of nature - the universe is a symbol of spiritual realities. Springtime speaks to us - if we have ears to hear and eyes to see - of inner renewal, of the springtime of the soul. Easter, like springtime in nature, brings a message of hope. The Resurrection proclaims that we can be changed and made new.
Holy Week begins today and it is the most important week in the Church’s calendar. Holy Week opens with Palm Sunday when we carry palm crosses in procession to commemorate the Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem. During Holy Week we celebrate the Easter Triduum, comprising the liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday evening). The liturgy of Holy Thursday commemorates the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper; also there is the Washing of Feet in remembrance of our Lord’s example of humble service. On Good Friday we celebrate the Lord’s Passion and venerate the Cross. The wonderful liturgy of the Easter Vigil is celebrated on Saturday of Holy Week with the blessing and preparation of the Easter Candle and the celebration of Our Lord’s Resurrection. The celebration of Easter Sunday completes the celebrations we have prepared for during Lent. These sacred liturgies shine forth as the high point of the Church’s year. The Paschal Triduum is at the heart of all that it means to be the Church and we owe it to ourselves as Christians to be present at these key moments in the life of the worshipping community, for the sacred mysteries, which we celebrate on these three days, are not only the most beautiful liturgies of the Church’s calendar, they are also the axle on which the rest of the liturgical year turns
We see in the Gospel today how the Jewish Law was interpreted at the time of Jesus such that it prescribed the death penalty for the sin of adultery in the case of a woman. If the adulterous person was a man, the punishment was not death. Jesus rejects such unjust inconsistency, together with the lack of humility and mercy, shown in the story, by the woman’s accusers. “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Jesus’ just authority made all the accusers, all men, walk away. Jesus forgives the woman taken in adultery and rejects the cruelty and double standards of her accusers."
Today is Mothering Sunday and so we give thanks to God for our mothers and for all who are mothers in our community. May God bless them in their high calling, remembering that the greatest of the saints, Our Blessed Lady, was, like them, a mother and that through loving devotion to her calling attained to the heights of holiness. Mary is also the Mother of Mercy and the Gospel reading today proclaims the great mercy of God, our loving heavenly Father, who is always ready to forgive us and, as Pope Benedict said: "Only by experiencing forgiveness, by recognising one is loved with a freely given love, a love greater than our wretchedness but also than our merit, do we at last enter into a truly filial and free relationship with God."
The fig tree which bore no fruit, which we heard about in today’s Gospel, is a shadow of itself - it is not linked to the world in the way it should be, it is not making the difference to the world that it was made for. And in the Gospel today Jesus makes reference to two historical incidents in order to show how his proclamation of the kingdom and the Gospel way of life is linked, and should be linked, to the everyday world. Similarly, our faith should make a difference to the world we live in
Today in the Gospel we hear how the apostles Peter, James and John were given a glimpse of Christ’s glory on the Mount of the Transfiguration - the same glimpse of glory that we are all given when we gather for the Mass, for in and through the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist we ascend to the heavenly places where, with Angels and Archangels and all the host of heaven, we worship the Beloved Son of God who sits at the right hand of the Father. God, the Holy Spirit, gathers us into the cloud of his glory. We listen to him in the scriptures. We feed on him in the Sacrament of the altar. No wonder the disciples “kept silence.” “Master, it is wonderful for us to be here.”
Holy Week and Easter are the climax of the Christian liturgical year. The time of the Passion and Resurrection is proceeded by Lent, a lengthy period of preparation for these painful and illuminating mysteries. Lent is a time of penitence. It is a time for us to examine our conscience and seek reconciliation with the Lord. Lent is also a time for spiritual growth and enlightenment. In Lent we are invited to listen, and respond, ever more faithfully to the voice of God. Lent also commemorates Israel’s liberation from slavery in Egypt and their forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Lent relates this to our own spiritual journey, to our liberation, our pilgrimage, our feeding on divine manna and of our meeting with God. And, as we see from today’s Gospel, Lent also recalls the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert during which he contended with Satan, the tempter. And our Lent must be a period of fighting against temptation. From this one can see that Lent is a very rich, a very deep mixture of elements which serve to purify and enlighten us. During the time of Lent the Church leads us towards the radiant glory of the Paschal feast. The more serious our Lenten preparation has been, the deeper we shall enter into the mystery of Easter and gather its fruits.
The season of Lent begins this week on Ash Wednesday with the blessing and imposition of ashes in the Mass at 7.30pm. The Church teaches that Ash Wednesday is to be observed as a day of penance, one of both abstinence and fasting. Lent is a time for preparing for the celebration of Easter and the faithful are encouraged to participate in an ever more intense and fruitful way in the Lenten liturgy and in penitential celebrations. The Church also teaches that the faithful should approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation during this season. A Lent course will run on Wednesdays at 7.30pm, after the 7.00pm Mass, (see notice below) to help us in our preparations for Easter
In the Gospel today we hear how Jesus is rejected by the people of Nazareth and is chased out of the village by an angry mob who are determined to kill him. Why? Because he was telling the truth and they couldn’t bear to hear the truth. The truth can be hard to hear, especially when it exposes uncomfortable and unpleasant things about ourselves. This does not prevent Christ from continuing with his mission - to proclaim the truth that brings liberty and it does not prevent his opponents responding with violence
It seems that God likes to do big things in little ways. At Christmas time we saw the Saviour of the whole world born as a tiny infant in a humble cave in a small, unimportant town. Today in the Gospel, we see the fulfilment of centuries of promises and waiting come to pass in the synagogue of the unassuming village of Nazareth. God is also at work in his Church to do big things with our little lives
The week of prayer for Christian unity begins this week. The vision of the Church presented by the scriptures is of Christ’s mystical body – the place where God is gathering into one all peoples, nations, races, and tongues and dissolving all barriers and disagreements. The new humanity of the Church, reborn in and through Christ, can never live separate from others or with hatred or hostility against others. According to the Christian vision the new humanity of the Church must be one for it is out of the one Father that they have been reborn. It is for this unity that we pray this week
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and we leave behind the touching scene of the crib. Jesus has moved from the helpless infant of Bethlehem to a grown man who takes upon himself a tremendous burden and responsibility. The burden is the weight of the sins of humankind. The responsibility is to make reparation for those sins
Today, with the holy Church of God throughout the world, we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Epiphany means manifestation. This feast draws us away from the temptation to confine the Christmas celebration to our privacy and it puts it at the crossroads of the paths of history. For men and women travelling these roads, Epiphany is a call and a challenge. Epiphany topples barriers and reiterates that Jesus came for everyone
The Gospel today tells the story of Jesus staying behind in Jerusalem and of the subsequent anxious search of his parents. Scripture relates that they found him in the Temple - not just anywhere, but in the Temple and not just anywhere in the temple but “among the doctors” - that is among the wise and learned teachers of the Jewish religion. This teaches us that we must seek Jesus in the Temple of God - in the Church, among the wise and learned “doctors” of the Church who are faithful in communicating the teaching of Christ. If we seek him there we shall find him. Thank you for your offerings, gifts and cards at Christmas - you are very generous. Once more, I have very much appreciated the preparation for and celebration of Christmas at Blessed Robert Grissold. I am especially grateful to all those who attended the Advent meditations. I hope that like me, you experienced the mutual support and prayers of your brothers and sisters in Christ helpful in getting ready to receive the God who comes to us. Thanks to all of you for the ways you contribute, throughout the year, to the life of this community.
In today’s Gospel Luke relates the story of the Visitation and it involves the encounter of two pregnant women. Mary, who is from Galilee, journeys to Judea, the place where, one day, the son she is carrying will be cruelly rejected and condemned to die. At Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child in her womb “leapt for joy.” Joy is the first response to the coming of the Messiah. Preparing for the great celebration of the Nativity of the Lord means experiencing the joy of knowing that our God is the God who comes to us - the God who gives himself for us because he loves us
John the Baptist, who we hear about in today’s Gospel, marks the end of the time of waiting and the beginning of the new age in Jesus. John is the last of the great prophets, For a long time the people had been without a messenger from God but in John the Baptist the people discovered an end to God’s silence. Through John they could hear the word of God. We are told that many went out from the towns and cities to see John - which is testimony to his charismatic power to attract people - such is the powerful attraction of the word of God alive and active in a person
The invitation to welcome the God who comes to us in Christ and to cast away empty living is repeated in the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Advent. The Opening Prayer of the Mass asks that no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet Christ. And today we hear the lonely voice of John the Baptist who exhorts us to prepare a way for the Lord. May our faithfulness to the spirit of Advent create a space so that the Lord can come to us
As we begin Advent our thoughts are guided, through the liturgy, to the coming of Christ - his first coming to us in humility and weakness and his second coming in majesty and power. The description of the Second Coming of Christ should not fill us with fear, rather we should look forward to it and prepare for it through prayer and right living
The feast of Christ the King, which the holy Church throughout the world celebrates today, brings to a close the Church’s liturgical year. Our image of a monarch tends to be of one who lives a privileged life and lords it over others. Christ our King is not like that. He came to serve, not to be served and he wants us to imitate him in his loving service of others. That is why, as St. John of the Cross said: “In the evening of life we shall be examined on love.” If to love and to serve our neighbour is heavenly, hell is the suffering of one who can no longer love
Faith in the God of love can bring great happiness and confidence for “perfect love casts out all fear.” The warnings about the end times in the Scriptures are meant to be a source of hope for us, not fear, for “Christ, by his death and resurrection, has achieved our sanctification.” All we need to do is to place our trust in Christ and so be able to make the words of today’s psalm our own: “You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence.”
Today in the Gospel we hear the story of the “Widow’s Mite.” The mite was the tiniest coin in circulation. In the Temple the rich were giving from their loose change, but the widow, out of her extreme poverty, gave everything she had, two small coins. Although poor and in need of the few coppers she had, she never hesitated, never counted the cost. She gave everything to God. The widow became famous, not because she gave so little but because, in her extraordinary generosity, she gave so much
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints when we give thanks to God for all those who are in heaven, both those recognised by the Church as saints and those known only to the Lord. The Church teaches that sanctity is within everyone’s reach and we ask for the intercession of the saints in heaven as we endeavour to follow their example. Tomorrow, on the Feast of All Souls, we commemorate all the Faithful Departed when the Church invites us to pray for our beloved deceased
In today’s Gospel, we hear how Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus. Jesus heals out of love. Many would claim that love is blind but this is not the case with the love of Christ. Jesus sees us clearly. He sees us as we are and loves us as we are and, because he sees us clearly, he knows what we need and he sees how best to meet our needs. The world stands in great need of Christ’s love, together with the clarity of vision and fruitful action which proceed from it
Today is World Mission Day and today’s celebration reminds us that we are all missionaries by the very nature of our baptismal vocation and that to be a missionary is to have a passion for Jesus and his people. Today the entire Church unites as one universal family so that through our prayer and generosity we can reach the whole world with the joy of the Gospel and the message of Jesus’ love
Talks and discussion on the “Joy Of the Gospel”: Pope Francis, in his document Evangelli Guadium - The Joy of the Gospel, encourages all the Christian faithful “to embark upon a new chapter of evangelisation” marked by the joy of the Gospel. In response to the Pope’s encouragement Father Frank is running a series of meetings to provide us with an opportunity to read, reflect on and discuss the material in the document in the hope that this will help us to grow in our love and understanding of the Good News and in our desire to bring the joy of the Gospel to others. It will be held on Wednesday each week at 7.30 p.m. after a 7.00p.m. Mass, beginning on Wednesday 21st October and will run for five weeks. Please feel free to bring along those who may be interested in exploring the teaching of the Gospels. All welcome. Joe will be taking names after mass and has copies of “The Joy of the Gospel” (Cost £5) for those who have ordered them.
In today’s Gospel reading Jesus reminds us of God’s original intention in creation and he does so in response to the question posed concerning marriage and divorce. When St Paul speaks of marriage he says: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” He then goes on to say: “This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church.” (Ephesians 5:31,32). Christ and the Church is “the great mystery” signified by Christian marriage and by the reference Jesus makes to the book of Genesis in today‘s Gospel, it is also the mystery of God’s original intention in creation.
Last week the Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of England and Wales quoted Evangelli Guadium - The Joy of the Gospel. Pope Francis, in this document, encourages all the Christian faithful “to embark upon a new chapter of evangelisation” marked by the joy of the Gospel. In response to the Pope’s encouragement I propose to run a series of meetings to provide us with an opportunity to read, reflect on and discuss the material in the document in the hope that this will help us to grow in our love and understanding of the Good News and in our desire to bring the joy of the Gospel to others. We will meet on Wednesday each week at 7.30 p.m. after a 7.00p.m. Mass. The meetings will begin on Wednesday 21st October at 7.30 p.m. and will run for five weeks. To acquire a copy of the “The Joy of the Gospel” (Cost £5) please sign the sheet at the back of Church. Please feel free to bring along those who may be interested in exploring the teaching of the Gospels. All are welcome.
Today is Home Mission Sunday and it has been chosen by the bishops to invite every member of the Catholic community to pray for, celebrate and support the work of evangelisation in England & Wales. To aid us in this venture I propose to run a course based on the Pope’s recent document: ‘The Joy of the Gospel.” This will provide us with an opportunity to read, reflect on and discuss the material and to grow in our love and understanding of the Good News and in our desire to bring the joy of the Gospel to others. We will begin on Wednesday 21st Oct starting each week at 7.30 p.m. after a 7.00p.m. Mass, and will run for 5 weeks. To acquire a copy of the “The Joy of the Gospel” and join the course sign the sheet at the back of Church. Please feel free to bring along those who may be interested in exploring the teaching of the Gospels.
Today is Racial Justice Sunday when the Church is invited to work and pray for an end to racism and racial inequality, remembering the inclusive love of God for all people. We pray for all who work to protect the dignity and rights of all people.
St. James reminds us in our second reading today that we should not have a higher regard for those who are well-dressed and well-heeled. For him such an attitude is incompatible with faith in the one who washed the feet of his own disciples and who said: “Anyone who wants to become great among you must be your slave.” Discrimination against the poor, or partiality towards the wealthy, is seriously at odds with the teaching of Christ who, though equal with God, made himself poor so that we might be rich.
Jesus’ controversy with the Pharisees, in today’s Gospel, points up his opposition to a cold, formal and exterior religion. Jesus wants us to engage rather with the loving, interior demands of the kingdom of God. Like the prophets of old, he calls for conversion of heart rather than mere conformity to external standards and laws. One way to obscure the joy and truth of the Gospel is to reduce it to a series of formal rules which need to be observed only in an external fashion. The Gospel of Christ, on the other hand, is primarily a matter of the heart.
We see in the Gospel today how Jesus respects people’s freedom of choice. Jesus offers his followers the choice to stay with him or join the ranks of those who turn away from him. But the choice to remain with Jesus has to be kept alive by continually renewing our commitment to follow him. Decisions in faith are never settled once and for all. Like the apostles in today’s Gospel, we must keep on choosing Jesus, the One who has the message of eternal life.
The saints are our models of Christian life. This is especially true of Mary because of the place she occupies in the history of salvation. Mary is the perfect Christian and as such she is the model for the whole Church. She can be seen as the Church in miniature. She shows us that we must be dedicated completely to Christ as she was, that we must be willing to suffer with him, as she did. And she also shows us that loyalty to Christ guarantees immortality, body as well as soul in complete happiness in heaven.
Following Jesus and believing in him mean having eternal life. It is the life of communion uniting the Father with the Son. Jesus is the bread of that life. He nourishes and nurtures this communion by his testimony, his teaching and in the surrender of his life. Death does not put an end to it. The bread of life liberates us from death.
The journey to the God of life is not an easy task. We tend to get lost along the way and we are discouraged by the efforts we have to make. On their way to the promised land, the Jewish people turned against Moses - their difficulties made them yearn for a mediocre but familiar existence. Freedom frightened them, slavery being more familiar seemed more secure. This is the temptation of every believer and this is why Jesus says to his disciples: “Do not be afraid.”
In the Gospel today we hear how all the people eat and yet there is food left over. Love always means abundance and the fragments left over fill twelve baskets. This is a significant number: twelve refers to the twelve tribes of Israel, to the twelve apostles and to the entire people. Jesus’ loving sign in sharing the bread reminds us of the Church’s mission to continue that gesture through history with all people
The “sheep without a shepherd” spoken of by Our Lord in the Gospel today are the poor of Palestine. They are considered last by the scribes and Pharisees, by the powerful, but Jesus puts them first. He looks after them first because he has come especially for those who are last according to society. Jesus pays careful attention to them. No one is interested in them, yet they are the ones whom Jesus favours.
The disciples had already responded to the Lord’s call to them to “Come” and follow him, now Christ commands them to “Go.” The kingdom of God is at hand and the call is urgent. They are instructed to travel light. They were not to rely on their own resources but on the bountiful providence of God. Their simplicity of life would help them to remain unencumbered by distractions and help them to stay focused wholly on their mission
By referring to himself as a prophet in today’s Gospel Jesus identifies himself with the long line of Old Testament prophets who suffered rejection or violence because of the unpopularity of their message. The failure of the people of his home town to accept him and his message anticipates the more general rejection of those who will hand him over to be crucified: “He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.”
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. Peter, the brother of Andrew, the Galilean fisherman who was called by the Lord to be the leader of the Twelve. Paul, the tent-maker from Tarsus, a Pharisee and a Roman citizen who was called to be the Apostle of the Gentiles. Jesus’ key question, addressed to Peter and the disciples in today’s Gospel, is addressed to all who are called to be Christ’s disciples. The key question is who Jesus is for us.
St Paul, in our second reading today, tells us that, “For anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation: the old creation has gone, and now the new one is here.” Being in Christ requires imagination and creativity placed at the service of others. Christians are people who constantly invent forms of loving, not in formal compliance of a duty but in terms of concrete persons: our neighbours - especially those most in need - today’s poor and oppressed. St. Paul says that the love of Christ overwhelms him and urges him on in the service of others. May we experience this same sense of love and urgency
In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus telling Parables of the Kingdom. The first declares that the growth of the Kingdom resembles the mysterious process of nature; so too the growth of the Kingdom is equally mysterious, as God’s ways always are. A second parable, that of the Mustard Seed, stresses the enormous potential of the Kingdom in spite of its tiny beginning. A parable, from the Greek word meaning “laid alongside,” can be seen as an earthly story with a heavenly meaning
Today, on the great Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, we welcome Bishop William Kenney who will celebrate Mass and the Confirmation of Daniel Green and Jacob O’Brien. Today’s feast turns our thoughts to the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist, and one of the peculiarities of the Eucharistic feast is that we, the Church, become the Body of Christ through our partaking of Christ’s Body and the consequence of our assimilation to the Body of Christ is that, like Christ, we become spiritual food for the life of the world, to be broken, given away and consumed. The Eucharist makes the Church, by making the Church Eucharist
We are not to approach God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons; three Persons but one God, as a mathematical puzzle or a philosophical problem but, rather, as the Divine community of love whom we are called to know and enjoy for ever, for the one God, who has revealed Himself as Trinity, has made us for himself - to know and enjoy him forever. That is why, in and through sacred mysteries which we celebrate in the Eucharist, he gathers us to himself so that, by grace, we might share in the life and love of the Most Holy Trinity
Today the Church of god throughout the world celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost. It is God’s Spirit who inspires us to obey God’s commandments. All who love God experience the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. He counsels us and reminds us of what Jesus has said. The Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. As we thank God today for the gift of his Holy Spirit let us ensure that our Christian discipleship manifests these fruits of God’s Spirit
Today the Church throughout the world celebrates the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord into heaven. The earthly ministry of our Lord had ended and the time came for him to return to the Father and take his place at the right hand of God. The ascension is a cause of great joy for us for as Christ said: “It is better for you that I go to the Father.” The ascension means that he is with us in the most profound sense. He is with us when we gather for the Eucharist. He is with us in the word proclaimed; he is with us in the sacrament of the altar. Jesus is not out of sight and out of mind through the ascension. Through the ascension it is not his absence but his presence with us which makes our hearts grow fonder.
Jesus calls us to follow his example in choosing to give ourselves in love, even when it hurts for this is the kind of love that mirrors God’s love. Authentic love is about self-­giving -­ this cannot be accomplished in our own strength -­ but we can choose to try, confident that our efforts will be backed by God’s energetic and all-­conquering love.
We pray for the parents, godparents, family and friends of Katherine Megan Lloyd who will be baptised here today after Mass
Today is World Day of Prayer for Vocations and this year’s theme for Vocation’s Sunday is “Change of Life.” This reflects the dramatic change for anyone who begins to answer their vocation and deepen their relationship with God. We pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life in our Archdiocese and that all believers will be faithful to their baptismal vocation. There are Prayer Cards for Vocation’s Sunday available in the narthex - please feel free to take one
The consequences of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ do not end with Easter Day. For those for whom the power of the Resurrection was a first-­hand experience, it affected the rest of their lives. Today we remember that the Resurrection was a dynamic and transforming experience for the friends of Jesus and we pray that it may be so for us also.
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Humankind not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called to practice mercy towards others. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” It is to this end that we receive the transforming Spirit of God - the Holy Spirit, who through the power of God’s great loving mercy, transforms our interior life in order that it might radiate outwardly and be a transforming power in the world
Christ has risen. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the joy of Easter. Today, with the Holy Church of God throughout the world, we proclaim and celebrate the truth which is foundational to our Christian faith, that on the third day Christ rose again. And Christ, the Risen One, does not depart from us but returns to greet us with his peace and to remain with us until the end of time. And we share his peace and rejoice in his presence in the Mass. I am pleased to announce that Archbishop Bernard has formally confirmed my appointment as priest to the community of Blessed Robert Grissold. Thank you for the collection today, which is the customary Easter offering to your priest. I am grateful for the generosity of spirit which is shown in so many ways in the life of the Parish
Holy Week begins today with Palm Sunday, when the Church recalls the entrance of Christ the Lord into Jerusalem to accomplish his Paschal Mystery. The Paschal Mystery, the passage from death to life, is the heart of our faith. The account of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus forms the oldest part of the Gospels. It is what the evangelists recorded first. For them, it was the heart and nucleus of the Lord?s witness to the loving purposes of God. That is why the Paschal Mystery is at the heart of our communal celebration as the Church and is at the heart of our lives as Christians and this is why the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter are so important. Through the Easter Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday we celebrate the greatest mysteries of our redemption keeping, through very special celebrations, the memorial of our Lord?s crucifixion, burial and resurrection. I hope as many of us as possible will gather for these key celebrations in the Church?s calendar
Jesus calls us to serve him and follow him -­ to conversion. To turn away from sin -­ from all that harms our relationship with God and with our neighbour and to turn toward him, to serve him, do his will, to be faithful to our baptismal vocation. Conversion is a gift from God, won for us through the sacrifice of Christ and we must ask for it through fervent prayer in order that we might know the power of Christ’s Resurrection working in our lives.
Today is Mothering Sunday and so we give thanks to God for our mothers and for all who are mothers in our community. May God bless you in your high calling, remembering that the greatest of the saints, Our Blessed Lady, was, like you, a mother and that through loving devotion to her calling attained to the heights of holiness.
The portrait of Jesus in today’s Gospel is a world away from the storybook caricature of him as “gentle Jesus meek and mild,” whose harmlessness can sometimes look indistinguishable from effete weakness. Jesus was a builder -­ a carpenter by trade and, no doubt, he presented an imposing figure in the Temple when he overthrew the moneychangers’ tables and drove out the sellers of cattle, sheep and pigeons. No one was able to resist the power of this gentle and meek man.
Jesus set aside his glory to become human and to suffer for our sins. Yet today we recall how some of the disciples were allowed a glimpse of his heavenly glory. They were graced with a foretaste of what will constitute the happiness of the faithful in heaven. No wonder Peter wanted to stay there. But the journey of faith is not like that ? it’s not confined to mountain top experiences. Christ goes down from the mountain to continue his journey toward the Cross and asks his disciples to follow him, trusting that the Cross leads to the transfiguring light of the Resurrection.
Today is the First Sunday of Lent, the season when the Church prepares for Easter, the greatest of her celebrations. During the season of Lent we are encouraged to participate in an ever more intense and fruitful way in the liturgies of the Church and in penitential celebrations. In order to assist us there are additional Masses and times for instruction, meditation, prayerful reflection and discussion. I will also ensure that there is a Penitential Service and opportunities for people to make their confession. I hope that these arrangements will be helpful to our deepening of faith in this holy season.
At the time of Jesus, lepers were treated as social and ritual outcasts. They were not welcome in society or in the Temple. Therefore the leper in today’s Gospel makes a bold move in approaching Jesus. Jesus makes him “clean” enabling him to be accepted as part of the worshipping community and revealing to us how God, in Christ, is reconciling the world to himself. No one is outside the welcoming love of God.
The healings and exorcisms of Jesus are a visible manifestation that the Kingdom of God is breaking into and conquering the world -­ that all things are being made new in and through Christ. The Gospels see illness as part of our fallen human condition which Jesus comes to heal and make whole.
The Gospel today describes the first of many miracles performed by Jesus which reveal his authority and power. Jesus speaks with the same miraculous power by which he acts. This first miracle in Jesus’ ministry signifies that Satan’s power over the world has come to an end and that the dominion of God has broken into human history.
In today’s Gospel reading we see how Jesus begins his public life with an exhortation to repent because the kingdom of heaven, or in Mark’s version the kingdom of God, is at hand. This warning prompted by love is addressed to all, for no one is without sin. Yet no matter how many wounds our human nature has sustained, we are never justified in giving way to despair, for the Lord, in his great love for us, pours out his compassion abundantly on all who need it.
Today’s Gospel conducts us to the River Jordan. This was the holy place where first century Judeans expected to see the Messiah come. It was also at this place that the people, long ago, crossed over into the Promised Land. Today’s story finds us here at this holy place, where John the Baptist is proclaiming Jesus to be the Lamb of God -­ the One who takes away the sins of the world, the One we are to follow.
The week of prayer for Christian unity begins this week. The vision of the Church presented by the scriptures is of Christ’s mystical body – the place where God is gathering into one all peoples, nations, races, and tongues and dissolving all barriers and disagreements. The new humanity of the Church, reborn in and through Christ, can never live separate from others or with hatred or hostility against others. According to the Christian vision the new humanity of the Church must be one for it is out of the one Father that they have been reborn. It is for this unity that we pray this week
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and we leave behind the touching scene of the crib. Jesus has moved from the helpless infant of Bethlehem to a grown man who takes upon himself a tremendous burden and responsibility. The burden is the weight of the sins of humankind. The responsibility is to make reparation for those sins.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and we leave behind the touching scene of the crib. Jesus has moved from the helpless infant of Bethlehem to a grown man who takes upon himself a tremendous burden and responsibility. The burden is the weight of the sins of humankind. The responsibility is to make reparation for those sins.
Today, with the holy Church of God throughout the world, we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Epiphany means manifestation. This feast draws us away from the temptation to confine the Christmas celebration to our privacy and it puts it at the crossroads of the paths of history. For men and women travelling these roads, Epiphany is a call and a challenge. Epiphany topples barriers and reiterates that Jesus came for everyone.
Today, with the holy Church of God throughout the world, we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Epiphany means manifestation. This feast draws us away from the temptation to confine the Christmas celebration to our privacy and it puts it at the crossroads of the paths of history. For men and women travelling these roads, Epiphany is a call and a challenge. Epiphany topples barriers and reiterates that Jesus came for everyone.
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus and we are reminded of how Jesus needed a family in order to grow to maturity. The Church is our wider family. As members of the Christian community we have a common Father and we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. We cannot attain maturity in isolation from others.
The whole of Advent is a period of waiting and preparation for the coming of the Lord. The last week in Advent might be called a time of invitation, for over the days immediately preceding Christmas the Church issues invitations, especially through the Great Antiphons, which are joined to Magnificat during Evening Prayer. One of the Great Antiphons addresses Him Who Is to Come with the following words: “O Immanuel, you are our king and judge, the One whom the peoples await and their Saviour, O come and save us, Lord, our God.” Immanuel! -­ This is the ultimate invocation and invitation and it also testifies that the invitation has been accepted because “Immanuel” means “God who is with us.
Advent not only reveals God’s coming to us, it is also an invitation to follow that path which leads us to God. The Commandments lead us along this way. It is a way of purification of the soul from attachment to sin -­ a casting away of all that obscures the light of Christ from shining in us and through us. This requires the purifying power of God which, little by little, weakens sinful attachments so that we are filled with the light of Christ’s joy and peace.
The invitation to welcome the God who comes to us in Christ and to cast away empty living is repeated in the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Advent. The Opening Prayer of the Mass asks that no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet Christ. And today we hear the lonely voice of John the Baptist who exhorts us to prepare a way for the Lord. May our faithfulness to the spirit of Advent create a space so that the Lord can come to us.
Today we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent and we begin the Church’s liturgical year. This gives us a chance to make a fresh start. Advent is not a time for sleep. It is a time to wake up to the ways in which Christ comes to us. It is a time for us to make ourselves ready to receive him, to welcome him as Lord of our life. The Church, in this penitential season, celebrates the triple coming of the Lord: in history, in grace and at the end of time. The tone of its prayer during Advent is one of anticipation, expectancy and yearning.
The feast of Christ the King, which the holy Church throughout the world celebrates today, brings to a close the Church’s liturgical year. Our image of a monarch tends to be of one who lives a privileged life and lords it over others. Christ our King is not like that. He came to serve, not to be served and he wants us to imitate him in his loving service of others. That is why, as St. John of the Cross said: “In the evening of life we shall be examined on love.” If to love and to serve our neighbour is heavenly, hell is the suffering of one who can no longer love.’
In today’s Gospel we hear of a man who returned everything he had ever been given to his master ? and yet he was censured. He was blamed, not for misusing the gifts he had been given, but rather for not having used them at all. This Gospel passage encourages us to reflect on how we use the gifts and talents we have received from God. The Parable of the Talents teaches us that true religion -­ a true response to Christ’s call to be his disciples -­ involves risk, adventure and enterprise. To use God-given gifts and talents aright is to share in the joy of the kingdom.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. Although this celebration began in Rome to commemorate the anniversary of the dedication of the Bishop of Rome’s cathedral, the prayers of the liturgy today emphasize the present church built of "living stones". So the emphasis is on the holiness of our lives. God helps us to create the beauty of a spiritual temple by lives which are built upon holiness and the Holy Spirit.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints. The Gospel today reminds us what the blessedness of the saints consists in. The saints are those who are poor in spirit, meek, afflicted, hungry and thirsty for justice, merciful, pure of heart, peacemakers and persecuted for the sake of the Gospel. We are called to be like them. God calls us all to the holiness, blessedness and happiness of the saints and he supplies the grace we need to be faithful to such a high calling through the sacred mysteries we celebrate in the Eucharist.
God loves each and every one of us -­ he loves all his creatures -­ all that he has created. He wants us to know his love and so to grow in our love of him and of our neighbour and of all his creatures. That is why the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind and to love our neighbour as our self. In these two commandments we have a summary of the whole Bible and the teaching of the Church.
It is not uncommon for Christians to be faced with difficult decisions. But we have an inner voice to guide us, namely, the voice of conscience. We are all responsible for our actions, even though we might try to hide behind others – merely doing our duty. Millions today sell their souls to institutions, companies or corporations. Yet if in the course of so-­??called duty, people lose themselves and their own souls, what does it profit them? Would that every Christian could say what St Thomas More said: ?I die the King's good servant, but God'?s first"
God continually breaks out beyond our conceptualisation of Him. He is always more unlike anything we say and think about Him than He is like what we say and think about Him. If we say He is "?love"? -­ we are right but our concept of love, even at its richest, falls far short of the reality of the love of God. That is why so many images of God are employed in the revelation of scripture. We see this in today's readings and this is because no one image is adequate to the glorious reality of the Godhead. Our God is always new -­?? a God of surprises. If our image of God is bland, boring, tame and domesticated, we have a wrong picture of Him.
On Tuesday we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and October is the month of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Church commends the Rosary as a devotional practice and as a powerful method of prayer, so there will be an opportunity for us to share in praying the Rosary, before Mass, every Tuesday in October. The Rosary never left the hands of the great saint and stigmatic, Padre Pio, whose power to draw souls to Christ and to an amendment of life was the fruit of his prayer life and especially of the Rosary, which he prayed constantly. When he was asked what inheritance he wished to leave his spiritual children, he answered immediately, “The Rosary.” He also pointed out how the Holy Virgin has urged the recitation of the Rosary wherever she has appeared in recent times. Isn’t that an indication that we should try to pray at least a decade of the Rosary each day – especially in October, the month of the Rosary? Mass this Tuesday at 10.30am – The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary – preceded by the Rosary at 10.00am – a good way to commit to the Month of the Rosary.
Today’s Gospel speaks to us of our freedom to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to God. But it also talks about the possibility of change. Jesus obeyed his Father’s will not only in word but also in deed and Christ assures us that it is not too late to turn to God and to do his will.
God's ways are not our ways, and the love and generosity of God cannot be measured. According to human calculation his justice appears foolish. After all, what sensible employer would behave like the man in today?s Gospel? St Paul knew this immeasurable love of God. It caused him to love God so much that he could not decide whether it was better to live and continue his good work or to die and be with Christ
Today we celebrate the great feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and we are reminded that "?God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life"? (John 3:16). The Cross of Christ reveals God’s great love for us and his creation and in that divine love is all our hope
Reconciliation is at the very heart of Christianity and is at the heart of the Eucharist. Through the sacred mysteries of the Mass Christ gathers us and binds us together as a community. We are responsible for one another
Like Jeremiah in our first reading today we all experience reluctance in offering ourselves completely to Gods will -­ we shrink from accepting the cross. Christ who knew this reluctance of the flesh to accepting the cross and had to struggle to overcome it. He is our brother in all things but sin. He understands our weakness but calls us to get behind him and follow him.
I very much enjoyed being with you all last week. Thank you for the warm welcome and support. I have been working as Assistant Priest at St Augustine’s, Solihull but the Archbishop has asked me to serve you as Priest in Charge until further notice. I am very much looking forward to being with you.
Today's Gospel reminds us that we should remain in Christ's love and he tells us that we remain in his love by keeping his commandments. Obedience to his commandments are not the source of our love but the fruit of it. Keeping Jesus' commandment to love one another is the proof, the outward manifestation, of the fact that we remain in his love. His love comes first. When we do keep God's commandments it is not something we do in order to make God love us; rather it is the result of his having loved us first. "We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the performance of good works" and because we are 'God's handiwork' it is to the Father's glory that we should bear abundant spiritual fruit.
Safeguarding
The Parish follows the safeguarding standards advised by The Archdiocese of Birmingham. You can view these standards by following the link here.

A link to the Archdiocese safeguarding website can be found
here.

Safespaces is a free and independent support service, providing a confidential, personal and safe space for anyone who has been abused by someone in the Church or as a result of their relationship with the Church of England, the Catholic Church in England and Wales or the Church in Wales. If you have been affected, however long ago, Safe Spaces can provide you with support. You do not have to have told the police or the church authorities, and you do not have to still be involved with the church. Your information will not be shared without your consent unless you or someone else is in immediate danger. To contact Safespaces, please follow the link to their website here.

The Isaiah Journey The Isaiah Journey is a working group of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales which has grown out of the need for a pastoral-spiritual response to the suffering of victims and survivors of abuse in the Church. It provides A Guide for Survivors of Abuse that can be found here.

The Safeguarding Rep for our Parish is Monica Green and she can be contacted via email at sg.brg.balsallcommon@rcaob.org.uk.

Parish Events

Looking for the rest of the Parish Event List? We have archived the list from our old site but you can still view them here.
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Date
TitleDescription
04.07.2024General Election 2024Please see https://www.cbcew.org.uk/election24/ where you will find information and guidance on key issues of importance to us, as Catholics, to help inform how we vote
04.07.2024SVP and CAFOD working together in the run up to the General ElectionAs Catholics, we know that tackling poverty and injustice are among the most important issues politicians should act on. St Vincent de Paul Society and CAFOD have produced a guide for Catholics for the Election, with suggested questions to ask candidates. Please see cafod.org.uk/encounter or svp.org.uk/encounter for more information.
02.07.2024Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at BRGAdoration of the Blessed Sacrament at BRG will follow the 7.00pm Mass every first Tuesday of each month, followed by Benediction at 8.00pm. All welcome.
27.06.2024Closing of Deanery Visitations MeetingCanon John would like to invite you all the Closing of Deanery Visitations Meeting which will commence with Vespers at the church of the Immaculate Conception, Bicester, OX26 1UN, followed by a meeting in the St John Paul II Centre (next door to the church) on Thursday, 27th June at 7pm. His Grace Archbishop Bernard Longley and Episcopal Vicar Canon Paul Fitzpatrick will report on the current parish visitations taking place in our Deanery.
18.06.2024Tuesday MassNo weekday Masses this week as Fr Frank will be on his annual retreat. Please see the Deanery website for other weekday Masses taking place in the area: https://banburyandwarwick-catholicdeanery.org.uk/
16.06.2024New translation of the lectionaryBy Advent Sunday this year, all parishes must begin using a new translation of the readings at Mass. These are taken from the English Standard Version, Catholic Edition (ESVCE). The new Lectionaries are not yet available, but the complete ESV-CE Bible is. If anyone would like to consider donating one of the four volumes we shall need for the church, they cost £175 each – please let Father Frank know, thank you.
16.06.2024Confirmation Commitment MassToday is a ‘Commitment Mass’ for the young people of our parish who are currently preparing for Confirmation. We welcome our candidates together with their parents, families and friends as they make their commitment to their ongoing preparation for Confirmation later in the year. Please keep them in your prayers as they deepen the understanding of their faith and prepare for this important Sacrament.
16.06.2024Volunteer Sunday After Mass today we are holding an information session (during coffee) about the various volunteering roles and rota vacancies within the parish. This is to provide information on what is involved with the various tasks with the aim of boosting volunteer numbers. When the rota’s are full most roles involve helping only a handful of times a year. Only a few of the roles have a more significant commitment. We would encourage all to attend to explore opportunities to enable us to lighten the load from the existing volunteering teams and fill the current vacancies.
12.06.2024Parish Coffee MorningThe next Parish Coffee Morning will be on Wednesday 12th June - tea, coffee, scones and cake in abundance - everyone welcome.
09.06.2024Urgently neededNew Treasurer From the end of this month, Mike Fairbrother will be standing down as Treasurer. We therefore urgently require a new treasurer to step forward. The Parish cannot function without a treasurer. Full training and support will be given. Our thanks to Mike who has completed more than one stint in this role and has proven to be an invaluable member of our community.
09.06.2024Cafod Sudan appealA big thank you to everyone who contributed to the CAFOD Emergency Sudan Crisis Appeal. £568.70 has been collected. Also £385 of this was gift-aided, which will add in another £96 (approx). This will take the total up to around £665. Thank you.
08.06.2024Ripples of Hope As we look ahead to next year’s Jubilee. CAFOD invites you to Ripples of Hope, a special day of reflection, prayer and spiritual nourishment led by well-known and much-loved Catholic speaker, teacher and author David Wells. The event will be held on Saturday 8 June 2024 at The Dormer Conference Centre, St Peter Apostle Catholic Church, Leamington Spa, CV32 5AA from 11.00am – 4.00pm (a light lunch will be provided). To attend please register here: https://cafod.org.uk/news/events/ripples-of-hope
07.06.2024June - the Month of the Sacred HeartJune is the month of the Sacred Heart. The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus falls on Friday 7th June. Great benefits are promised to those who practice this devotion. Also, during this month, we can seek to deepen our devotion to the love of God revealed in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus - a devotion encouraged by St Margaret Mary, whose relic rests in the altar at Blessed Robert Grissold church. We might even consider consecrating ourselves to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.
04.06.2024Adoration of the Blessed SacramentAdoration of the Blessed Sacrament: will follow the 7.00pm Mass every first Tuesday of each month, followed by Benediction at 8.00pm. All welcome.
02.06.2024WelcomeWe are delighted to welcome Fr Ed to celebrate Mass for us this Sunday. As you all know we have been supporting him over the last 24 years. Please join us after Mass for a coffee and Danish Pastries and hear about the developments of his work in Peru.
02.06.2024Retiring Collection for Father Ed (Millenium Project)The retiring collection taken after Fr Ed's visit last Sunday raised £443.60. This is a great result and thank you all for your generosity.
28.05.2024Catholic maritime charity Stella Maris (formerly called Apostleship of the Sea) Catholic maritime charity Stella Maris (formerly called Apostleship of the Sea) is very grateful for this parish’s prayer and financial support of its work on Sea Sunday last year. To report back on the use of those funds, it invites parishioners to join an online update and thank you webinar on Tuesday 28th May from 7:30pm to 9:00pm. You will hear about the impact of your generosity on the lives of seafarers, fishers, and their families over the last year. Its CEO and chaplains will share inspiring stories of how they have helped seafarers and fishers through your support. To register for this virtual event, please visit www.stellamaris.org.uk/thankyou2024
26.05.2024Midweek Mass w/c 27th May 2024Please note that there are no midweek masses at BRG or St Francis this week. Please go to the deanery website for details of Masses at other churches in the area: https://banburyandwarwick-catholicdeanery.org.uk/
25.05.2024BaptismPlease pray for Maria who was Baptised yesterday, 25th May at Blessed Robert Grissold. Please also pray for her Parents and Godparents
20.05.2024Pilgrimage to Rome & Assisi26 October - 2 November 2024. For more information contact Mgr. McHugh at: co.ordinator.ethnic.chaplaincy@rcaob.org.uk/07812 110640 by 20th May 2024.
19.05.2024Maggie EllisMaggie sends her best wishes to her friends and parishioners at BRG and would welcome visits from them. Although Fr Frank is taking Communion to her during the week, she would appreciate one of the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion taking it to her on Sundays.
19.05.2024Deanery Pastoral Council RepresentativeI am grateful to Iain Butlin-Moran for taking on the responsibility of Deanery Representative of the Parish. Along with Fr Frank, he is responsible for conveying Parish concerns to the Deanery and for reporting back on Deanery meetings.
19.05.2024Could you be a seed of hope? The Archdiocese of Birmingham is inviting enthusiastic individuals to create a network of Environment Champions. To celebrate Laudato Si week (19-26 May), please help us get as many parish/cluster/deanery Environment Champions as we can. Your mission is to be a channel of communication between the Archdiocese and your parish, cluster or deanery, to promote Care of Creation and to enthuse others to help in responding to Pope Francis’ call in Laudato Si to a spirituality which supports an ecological conversion. You will receive the full support of the Care for Creation Committee as part of the diocesan effort to act as stewards of creation. For details, please see https://www.birminghamdiocese.org.uk/seedofhope
19.05.2024Pilgrimage to WalsinghamPilgrimage to Walsingham: as part of the Jubilee Year 2025. If you are interested please see information website: Come to Walsingham for the Jubilee Year 2025! - Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady
19.05.2024Parish CouncilPlease print your name on the sheet provided at the back of the church if you would like to serve on the Parish Council for Blessed Robert Grissold.
15.05.2024Parish Coffee Morning This month’s gathering will be held this Wednesday 15th May. All welcome for tea, coffee and cakes a plenty at 10:30 in the Narthex.
12.05.2024Retiring Collection todayRetiring Collection today for Catholic Communications
12.05.2024Deanery Pastoral Council Further to the Archbishops Pastoral letter during Lent, the Banbury and Warwick Deanery is in the process of establishing a Deanery Pastoral Council and a couple of preparation meetings have been held which a number of our parishioners have attended. The first Deanery Council meeting is planned for June. More information to follow in due course.
09.05.2024Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord to be celebrated on Thursday 9th May at 9.00am at Saint Francis. This Mass will be followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. All welcome.
08.05.2024First meeting of the Banbury and Warwick Deanery Pastoral Council (DPC) Over 40 lay representatives and parish priests/ deacons met for the first meeting in Bicester. The minutes will appear on the Deanery website soon. Meanwhile, the main agenda item was around the grouping of the parishes into 5 possible clusters, known as Leamington, Rugby, Bicester & Banbury, Stratford and Kenilworth. It was agreed that the representatives of the parishes on the Deanery PC should meet with the parish priests before the next meeting on 19th September, to discuss the proposed clusters, recommend any improvements and share how parishes within the cluster can support each other in fulfilling the Diocesan Vision.
07.05.2024Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will follow the 7.00pm Mass on Tuesday at BRG on 07/05/24 and every first Tuesday of each month, followed by Benediction at 8.00pm. All welcome.
05.05.2024Opportunity for Pilgrimage to Walsingham as part of the Jubilee Year 2025 If you are interested in visiting Walsingham as part of the Jubilee Year please see information on their website: Come to Walsingham for the Jubilee Year 2025! - Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady https://www.walsingham.org.uk/come-to-walsingham-for-the-jubilee-year-2025/
05.05.2024Urgent appeal for VolunteersThere is an urgent need for volunteers to come forward to assist the small team who are currently managing all aspects of Church maintenance, finance, hall hire, cleaning etc. We would be so grateful to anyone who can offer their time or skills to lighten their load. Please email Fr Frank at fr.frank.smith@rcaob.org.uk if you can help.
05.05.2024Baptism of Roman James Martin The Baptism of Roman James Martin will take place on Sunday 5th May at 1pm. Please keep Stephen, his Parents and Godparents in your prayers.
04.05.2024Thanksgiving Mass for MarriageAn invitation is extended to married couples, those celebrating a milestone anniversary and those preparing to marry this year, to an annual Mass for Marriage at St Chad's Cathedral at Midday on Sat 4th May, followed by refreshments. Visit www.vocations.org.uk/marriage-mass
04.05.2024A Year of EncounterWith a UK general election due sometime this year, politicians will be looking for our votes. We have a responsibility as Catholics to make sure that parties commit to tackling issues such as poverty and injustice. Raising our voices and contacting parliamentary candidates as a parish community will send a strong signal to those standing for election in our local constituencies. A Year of Encounter is a joint initiative between CAFOD and St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP), equipping Catholics to ask key questions of local candidates at the key moments. Please see cafod.org.uk/encounter for more information, including an online sessions on Saturday 4th May to learn more.
28.04.2024Job vacancy Friends of the Holy Land Friends of the Holy Land are looking for an energetic, dedicated individual to join our fast-moving, growing charity making a difference to Christians in the Holy Land. The successful candidate must have office experience, excellent oral and written communication skills and be a ‘people person’; social media experience is also desirable. Full details are available at https://www.friendsoftheholyland.org.uk/jobs. Closing date for applications is 29th April. Please send your CV and covering letter to Jen Hill at office@friendsoftheholyland.org.uk
27.04.2024True devotion to Jesus and MaryThe Warwickshire group would welcome anyone from the deanery to join. This devotion is a perfect renewal of baptismal promises and is based on the teachings and spirituality of St Louis Marie de Montfort. Please bring your rosary for our first meeting: Upper Room St Peter’s parish centre, Dormer Place, Leamington Spa, CV32 5AA on Saturday 27th April at 11am. Parish website: catholicleamington.org.uk. Local contact: Peter Dimambro 01926 428399. Email: rcia.cathleam@gmail.com
21.04.2024Second collection this SundayThere will be a second collection today for the Clergy Training Fund
21.04.2024Adults seeking receptionAdults seeking to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church should email Fr Frank by the end of February.
14.04.2024CAFODA huge thank you for the response to the CAFOD Lent appeal which raised £518.75. When added with Gift Aid totals £633.75. This will really help the impoverished communities around the world.
11.04.2024Deanery Pastoral CouncilFurther to the Archbishop’s Pastoral Letter of 17th March, a second information and preparation meeting for the Deanery Pastoral Council was held this week and a few parishioners attended. A further meeting is scheduled for 18th June. More information to follow in due course. If you would like further information please speak to Ian and Ellie Clarke, Bob Jones or David Green
10.04.2024Stella Maris MassYou are invited to the Stella Maris Mass celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Longley on Wednesday 10 April at 12:15 at St Chads Cathedral, Birmingham. Should you be able to join on that day please RSVP to Roland.Hayes@stellamarismail.org or by phone on 0207 901 1931
10.04.2024Get TogetherThe next gathering of the monthly parish coffee morning will take place at 10.30 am on Wednesday, 10th April, in the Parish Room. Join us for tea, coffee, cakes, scones and chat. All welcome
07.04.2024Easter Offering Thank you for the collection last weekend which was the customary Easter offering to your priest. I am grateful for the generosity of spirit which is shown in so many ways in the life of the Parish
07.04.2024Easter raffle A huge thank you to everyone who donated gifts and bought tickets for the Easter Raffle. The total sum came to £260 and will be given to Church funds. Thank you to Teresa and Dominic Green for organising this.
02.04.2024Weekday MassWeekday Mass on Tuesday 2nd April will be at 7.00pm at BRG instead of the usual 10.00am Mass
29.03.2024Collection on Good FridayThere will be a collection on Friday for the Holy Places in the Holy Land.
28.03.2024Ministers of the Eucharist Ministers of the Eucharist will be invited, at Mass on Maunday Thursday, to renew their commitment to serve the parish
26.03.2024Opportunity for Adoration and ConfessionOn Tuesday 26th March Mass at BRG will be at 7pm followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and an opportunity for Confession. There will be no 10.00am Mass
24.03.2024Altar ServersIf you would like to serve at the altar please contact Fr Frank
24.03.2024Blessed Robert Grissold Church 30th Anniversary, dates for your diary2024 marks the 30th Anniversary of the opening of Blessed Robert Grissold Church. The following is advanced notice and dates for your diary of planned events to celebrate the anniversary year: The Archbishop has been invited to celebrate Mass during the year to coincide with Blessed Robert Grissold’s Feast day and the Churches Consecration (Early summer - date to be confirmed). Parish Quiz Night - 28th Sept 2024. Parish Meal (and entertainment) - 23rd Nov 2024, Youth Mass (followed by a party for the youth and children) – 24th Nov 2024 (Youth Sunday)
24.03.2024Holy Week and Easter Services 2024Click on the link to see the times of services at Blessed Robert Grissold during Holy Week and Easter 2024
10.03.2024Urgent appeal for volunteers to manage the weekly collections process We require 2 people (or more) to form a team to manage the weekly offertory collection process and take over from Mike Fairbrother who has done this task for many years. No previous or accounting experience required! But it would be preferable for at least one of the team to have ability to use spreadsheets. If you can help please contact Father Frank or Mike Fairbrother
10.03.2024Urgent appeal for volunteers for the church cleaning rotaThe rota of volunteers for church cleaning has become seriously depleted of late and we urgently need more helpers. We need to maintain a clean and attractive church not only for services but also for the hall hire which generates important income for the church. All cleaning supplies are provided for use. No prior experience required! If you can help please contact Louise Perry after mass or call on 01676 533357.
06.03.2024Balsall Common memories café - Dementia Friends Awareness SessionThis is a 1 hour interactive session open to everyone who wants to become a Dementia Friend or know more about dementia. The session will be taken by David Rees-Jones from The Alzheimer’s Society at 2.30pm on Wednesday 6th March 2024 at the Village Hall, Station Road, Balsall Common. For more information contact: Christine Hornsby on 07974 140353.
03.03.2024Second Collection for CAFODThis Sunday there is a second collection for CAFOD Lent Fast Day. Chris Lynn will give a short talk after Mass about family fast day and CAFODs aim to eradicate extreme poverty throughout the world. There will be envelopes available for giving donations. Please can these be returned to Chris either today or next week with your donation inside. Thank you very much for your support.
03.03.2024Churches Together Lenten breakfastsThe Churches Together Lenten breakfast series continues on Saturdays during Lent at the Methodist Hall, Station Road. They start at 8.30 with a Danish pastry and tea/coffee (£2 donation) and the talks start at 9.00. For further details please see Parish Notice Board. This year’s subject is: ‘Trail blazers of faith: Women Spiritual Icons in Christian History’. The dates and remaining talks this year are: 2nd March - ‘Evelyn Underhill’ Canon Mark Britton (hosted by Blessed Robert Grissold), 9th March - ‘Teresa of Avila’ speaker Annie McCormick and 16th March - ‘Julian of Norwich’ speaker Susan Mobberley. For more information about the speakers please see Church notice board.
03.03.2024Preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation Preparation for this important Sacrament is open to young people who are in Year 6 and above at school. For further information please contact Teresa Green on 07583 540060.
02.03.2024Volunteers neededBlessed Robert Grissold are hosting the third Lenten talk to be held on Sat 2nd March at the Methodist church. This involves being at the Methodist Church hall at 8am to help with refreshments. Talks start at 9.00am. Then help to clear up afterwards at 10.00. Please contact Louise Perry.
01.03.2024World Day of PrayerThis Friday 1st March is the World Day of Prayer which has been prepared by the World day of Prayer committee in Palestine. This year the theme is I beg you, bear with one another in love. Our local celebration is being held at 10.am at St Mary the Virgin, Temple Balsall B93 0AN followed by tea/coffee and home made cakes. As we participate in this service of Prayer which starts at sunrise in Samoa, a great wave of Prayer will circle the globe ending at sunset back in Samoa. 146 countries participate to pray with and for the people of Palestine.
27.02.2024Tuesday MassStations of the Cross will be prayed after the 10.00am Masses on Tuesdays during Lent at Blessed Robert Grissold. Tuesday Mass Intention this week is for Fr Christopher Greaney (RIP).
25.02.2024Millennium ProjectOur thanks to Joe Martin who recently took the ‘Coke Bottle’ into the bank. The amazing amount of £151.86 was counted. A cheque has been given to Columban Father Ed O'Connell. He hopes to join us for Mass one Sunday to update us on the projects which are still ongoing in Lima.
22.02.2024Notice of Electrical WorksAn electrician will be in church most of the day this Thursday 22nd February from 8.30am onwards. If you do need to enter the church please take notice and take care
14.02.2024LentLent begins on Wednesday 14th February (Ash Wednesday). During Lent, Father hopes to follow each Tuesday Mass at BRG and Friday Mass at Saint Francis with Stations of the Cross. He also hopes to run a Lent Course at Saint Francis on Wednesdays after the 9.00am Mass.
14.02.2024Ash WednesdayLent begins this Wednesday 14th February (Ash Wednesday) with the customary imposition of ashes at Mass. There will be a Mass at 9.00am at Saint Francis and 7.00pm at Blessed Robert Grissold
11.02.2024Weekly envelope offerings The new envelopes for 2024/25 are now available for those parishioners who contribute to the Church by using the weekly planned envelope scheme. The boxes are available on the table in the Narthex; should any problems arise, please contact Teresa Green on 07583 540060.
07.02.2024Funeral of Fr Christopher GreaneyThe funeral of Fr Chris will be held at St Peter’s in Leamington. On Wednesday 7th Feb at 6pm there will a Reception and Mass celebrated by the Dean. On Thursday 8th Feb at Midday there will be a Funeral Mass celebrated by the Archbishop. Please pray for him and his family.
02.02.2024Desmond Orr (RIP)Please pray for the repose of the soul of Desmon Orr whose Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Blessed Robert Grissold on Friday 2nd Feb at 11:30 am, followed by cremation at Oakley Wood Crematorium, Bishops Tachbrook, CV33 9QP. Remember in your prayers all those who mourn his passing.
30.01.2024Parish MeetingOn Tuesday 30th January at 7.30pm there will be a meeting in the Parish Hall to discuss the arrangements for the Parish to celebrate its 30th Anniversary Year. All welcome.
21.01.2024Christian Unity ServiceThe Week of Prayer for Christian Unity takes place each year from 18-25th Jan. This year the theme ‘You shall love the Lord your God and your neighbour as yourself’ (Luke 10:27) has been chosen by an ecumenical team from Burkina Faso in West Africa, the service being based on the parable of The Good Samaritan. As part of Churches Together there will be a service held today, Sunday 21st, January, at St Peter’s Church 5.30pm. All are welcome.
07.01.2024Thank you from MaureenI would like to thank you for the Christmas cards, gifts and good wishes that I received, they were most welcome. Wishing you all a Happy and Peaceful New Year and hoping you had a wonderful Christmas. You remain in my thoughts and prayers. I am always happy to see you. Maureen
07.01.2024Recently deceasedPlease pray for Pierluiga Piga, recently deceased. Funeral will be held at Blessed Robert Grissold at 11am on 15th January. Also, Eithne Orr and family are sad to announce the passing of Desmond Orr on 2nd January. Please pray for Desmond and the family. Funeral to be arranged.
02.01.2024Fr Frank post-Christmas break Fr Frank will be taking his post-Christmas break from Tuesday of this week, returning on Saturday 13th January. The Parish office will also be closed until 11th January 2024.
01.01.2024Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of GodWhat better way to begin the New Year than to celebrate this great Marian feast and to commend ourselves and the world to the powerful intercession of Our Blessed Lady. There will be a Mass at St Francis on Mon 1st Jan at 10.30am. All welcome
31.12.2023No weekday Masses at BRG No weekday Masses at BRG this week as Fr Frank is taking his post-Christmas break. The Parish office will also be closed until 11th January 2024.
31.12.2023Thanks from Fr Frank Thanks once more for your cards, gifts, kindness and support. I am overwhelmed by your generosity. Also, I am grateful for all the work you put in to ensuring that there is a Eucharistic presence in this place. Together, by faithfully assembling week by week, we ensure that we witness to the love, light and hope of Christ and his in-breaking Kingdom. That is the distinctive and incomparable gift we are called to offer to the world through our assembly as the Church, but, in order for this to happen, many have to give of their time and energy in raising funds and being responsible for day to day administration and maintenance. May the Lord bless you for your hard work on behalf of Christ and his Kingdom. It is a privilege and a joy to share with you in this service.
28.12.2023Baptism Please pray for Ruairi Sullivan Fagan who will be Baptised at BRG on Thursday 28th December. Please also keep his Parents and Godparents in your prayers.
26.12.2023No Mass on Tuesday 26th December at BRGPlease see bulletin for Saint Francis for other Masses during the week
24.12.2023Emergency Support for Christians in GazaFriends of the Holy Land are still able to channel funds to families in both the Latin (Catholic) and Greek Orthodox Christian parishes in Gaza, where there are just 1000 Christians remaining. 600 are currently sheltering in the Latin parish and your donations will provide medicines, food and water, which are still available in small quantities. They obtain power from extensive solar panels. To read the latest reflection from Sami El Yousef, the CEO of the Latin Diocese of Jerusalem, please visit: https://www.friendsoftheholyland.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=1f2678e3-6ae4-4158-bae6-f55032c9d6cc. To make a donation online, please visit www.friendsoftheholyland.org.uk/christmas
23.12.2023Fourth Sunday of AdventThe mass for the fourth Sunday of Advent will take place at St Francis Church at 6.00pm on Saturday 23rd December. Due to when Christmas falls this year this will be the only mass said on the fourth Sunday of Advent.
17.12.2023Carol ServiceOur annual Christmas carol service takes place tonight at 6.30pm. There will be readings, congregational carols to sing and our choir will be singing several Christmas choral pieces too. After the service, mince pies and mulled wine will be served in the parish room and a chance to meet and socialise with friends and parishioners. Everyone is welcome so bring your family and friends!
17.12.2023Christmas PresentsIf you are buying a present this Christmas for anyone who has everything or for grandchildren to teach them the importance of helping others, then please consider supporting CAFOD world gifts. The gifts start from as little as £5 (which buys a vegetable garden) A nice card is sent to the recipient, explaining how the gift helps! I have left some booklets at the back of the church. You can scan the QR code or go directly to the CAFOD website at www.cafod.org.uk/worldgifts. Thank you! Chris Lynn
17.12.2023100 Club Draw1st Prize - £250.00 – Bob Jones; 2nd Prize - £100.00 – Christine Harris; 3rd Prize - £50.00 – Mike Fairbrother
17.12.2023Christmas OfferingsAs is customary, your Christmas offerings are for your Parish Priest. Many thanks for your generosity.
13.12.2023Get TogetherOur next Get Together will be on Wednesday 13th December at 10.30. Do join us for mulled wine, mince pies and cake
09.12.2023Mary’s Meals Christmas ConcertThe Mary’s Meals Christmas Concert will take place on Saturday 9th December at 7.30pm, doors open 6.30pm in St Martin in the Bullring, Birmingham B5 5BB. Step in from the winter chill and join us for an evening of joyful music featuring Lichfield Gospel Choir. Hear from Mary’s Meals founder and Sunday Times best-selling author, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, browse seasonal stalls and enjoy mulled wine and mince pies. All proceeds help Mary’s Meals serve nutritious school meals to children living in some of the world’s poorest countries. Tickets £10 from Eventbrite: averygospelchristmas.eventbrite.co.uk or call 0800 698 1212 or email info@marysmeals.org
07.12.2023Val Tims RIPOur good friend’s funeral will be at our church at 11.15am on 7th December. Please keep Val and her family in your prayers.
03.12.2023Save the Children: Charity Christmas FayreThank you to all who came and supported this Charity Fayre last week. A grand total of £1,561 was made, which is an excellent result. All proceeds will go to benefit children, in this country and beyond, who are in need of support. Particular thanks to Terry who helped in setting up / cleaning up the hall afterwards. The church hall has a lovely ambiance which I am sure helped to make the event such a success. Julia Greensall.
03.12.2023Advent talksFr Frank will be happy to present Advent talks on the Infancy Narratives in the Gospels on Friday mornings at St Francis Baddesley Clinton after 9am Mass providing there is sufficient demand. If you are interested in attending, please email or message Fr Frank before Advent Sunday 3rd December.
02.12.2023Christmas TogetherChristmas Together: Saturday, 2nd December 10.30am to 12 noon. The Jubilee Centre. Coffee and carols. Everyone welcome.
26.11.2023Christmas TreeMonica Green and Claire Keane will be organising Christmas tree gifts for Father Hudson’s Society this year. Please take a tag from the Christmas tree from next week, buy the relevant gift and return it under the tree in time for the Carol Service on 17th December so that they can be sent to Fr Hudson’s on time to distribute. Thanks very much
26.11.2023100 ClubKen Higgins and Stefan Hunka will be in the Narthex after Mass ready to take any further subscriptions for the 100 Club. It is likely that this will be the final opportunity for parishioners to participate this year before the draw is made.
24.11.2023Church CleaningOn Friday 24th November from 9.30am onwards we have organised a church cleaning blitz. This is an opportunity to give the church a good clean especially as Christmas is looming. We are looking for more volunteers. Cleaning materials will be provided, and coffee, tea and biscuits will be available! Please join us.
19.11.2023Holy SoulsThere will be Masses offered for the Holy Souls at both BRG and St Francis throughout the month of November. The names of those who have been presented will be named in the Intercessions
19.11.2023CAFODAn enormous thank you to everyone who donated to CAFOD in the collection recently! I am delighted to tell you that we raised £485.80! An amazing sum! Can I thank you all on behalf of all the desperate people out there who will be immensely grateful! Thank you. Chris Lynn
18.11.2023Day of Renewal"Come to me all who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest" (Mtt. 11:28) A day of Refreshment, Renewal and Healing. Speaker - Ross Powell. Saturday 18th November from 10.00am to 4.30pm at St Thomas More Church, Knoll Drive, Coventry. Mass at 5.00pm. All are welcome. Tea and cofee will be provided: please bring your own lunch.
12.11.2023Remembrance SundayToday is Remembrance Sunday when we pray for the repose of the souls of all those who have lost their lives as a result of war
12.11.2023Book of RemembranceWe are updating our Book of Remembrance in the church and on our website. If you would like the name of a loved one to be added, please complete one of the forms on the lectern next to the Book of Remembrance and leave it in the back of the book today. Alternatively, please email the name and the date of their anniversary (day and month only) to iehclarke@btinternet.com.
12.11.2023Month of RemembranceNovember is the month the Church especialy remembers to pray for the dead and we continue ot pray for our deceased loved ones throughout the month of November. Scriptures and the Church teach that we can help the departed through the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for them, consequently Masses will be offered up for the Holy Souls of our loved ones over the course of November.
08.11.2023Get TogetherOur next Get Together will be on Wednesday 8th November, at 10.30am in the parish room. Please come and join us. Everyone is very welcome.
07.11.2023Deanery VisitationThe opening Service of the Visitation – Vespers and Benediction with Archbishop Bernard – is on Tuesday 7th November at 7pm at St Peter’s, Leamington Spa. Bicester parish will host closing Vespers.
05.11.2023Second collection todayThere will be a second collection this Sunday (5th November) for the Johnson Association
05.11.2023Parish CouncilAs agreed at our previous meeting, we will have a Parish Council Meeting in November/December. Watch the bulletin for further details
05.11.2023Adoration of the Blessed SacramentThere is an opportunity for us all to spend time with Our Lord in silent prayer and meditation every Thursday at Saint Francis, Baddesley Clinton. Christ has chosen to be with us in the Eucharist until the end of time. We can reverence the love and humility of Christ, who comes to us in this way, by being with Him, listening to Him and opening our hearts to Him as he is presented to us in the Blessed Sacrament on the Altar. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament begins after the 9.00am Mass on Thursday and ends at 10.30am, with Benediction (a blessing with the Blessed Sacrament). This is a very powerful means of growing in prayer and devotion to Christ. Stay for as long as you like - use the opportunity to pray, meditate, say the Rosary, to engage with the Holy Scriptures or spiritual reading, or simply to be still in the presence of our Blessed Lord. Feel free to leave when you are ready - think about making this a regular part of your prayer life in order to grow in your knowledge and love of God and be a witness to that love in the world.
05.11.2023Holy RosaryThere is an opportunity to pray the Holy Rosary together every Wednesday immediately after 9am Mass at St Francis Church.
04.11.2023Coffee Together – CTBBOur next coffee morning will be this Saturday 4th November at the Jubilee Centre from 10.30am to 12 noon. Everyone is welcome, come along for a coffee, cake and a chat.
02.11.2023All SoulsThe Church, after rejoicing on Wednesday with those who are in heaven, prays on Thursday for all who, in the purification of purgatory, await the day when they too will join the company of the saints. We can help the departed through the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for them. There are our envelopes for your prayer intentions and offerings at the back of the church. Please write the names of your loved ones on the back of the envelope and place them, with your offering, in the tray in front of the altar. The Mass will be offered up for all your loved ones who you have named at the Mass of the Solemnity of All Souls and at Masses throughout the month of November.
01.11.2023All SaintsWednesday 1st November is a Holy Day Of Obligation - that is a day when all, if possible, should present themselves at Mass. The Solemnity of All Saints celebrates the feast of all the saints who are now in heaven. Mass will be at St Francis at 9.00am and as is usual on a Wednesday, will be followed by the Holy Rosary. All welcome. All Souls: Thursday 2nd November 9.00am at St Francis and 7.00pm at Blessed Robert Grissold. The Church, after rejoicing on Wednesday with those who are in heaven, prays on Thursday for all who, in the purification of purgatory, await the day when they too will join the company of the saints. We can help the departed through the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for them. There are our envelopes for your prayer intentions and offerings at the back of the church. Please write the names of your loved ones on the back of the envelope and place them, with your offering, in the tray in front of the altar. The Mass will be offered up for all your loved ones who you have named at the Mass of the Solemnity of All Souls and at Masses throughout the month of November
29.10.2023End of British Summer TimePlease note that the clocks go back 1 hour at 2am next Sunday 29 October
29.10.2023Banbury and Warwick Deanery VisitationWe welcome Canon Paul Fitzpatrick today, who is visiting our parishes this weekend on behalf of Archbishop Bernard. On Sunday 29 October, Canon Paul invites all the parishioners of Baddesley Clinton to meet with him after Mass.
22.10.2023Second collection todayThere will be a second collection today for Missio, the Pope’s charity for world mission.
19.10.2023John Peat (RIP)Please keep in your prayers our recently departed friend John and his wife Madeleine, his family and loved ones. There will be a Requiem Mass for John on Thursday 19th October at Blessed Robert Grissold at 12 noon.
17.10.2023No Mass on TuesdayThere will be no Mass this Tuesday. Please see other weekday Mass times at St Francis at http://www.sfachurch.org.uk/
13.10.2023Deanery meetingA group of parishioners from our attended a deanery meeting for priests and laity on Friday evening in Bicester. This was an opportunity to meet with parishioners from other churches in our deanery, and to hear more about the Diocesan Vision from the Dean, Canon John Batthula, and the Episcopal Vicar, Canon Paul Fitzpatrick.
11.10.2023Finance CommitteeThere will be a meeting of the committee on Wednesday 11th October at 7pm.
11.10.2023Parish Coffee MorningThe next Get Together will take place at 10.30 am on Wednesday 11th October. Everyone is welcome, so please let others know.
10.10.2023Early Mass StartThe Mass on Tuesday will begin at 9.45am this week.
08.10.2023100 ClubThe next draw will be before Christmas but you need to be in it to win it! Stefan Hunka and Ken Higgins will be available in the Narthex after mass today if you wish to sign up – cash or cheques accepted.
08.10.2023CAFOD Family Fast Day.You can still bring in your envelopes containing your donations for last Friday’s Family Fast Day. You can also make your donation online: https://cafod.org.uk/fundraise/family-fast-day.
01.10.2023HCPT Group 83 is turning 50! To kick off our golden year, we are holding a celebratory afternoon tea on Sunday 1st October, 2pm at Sacred Heart Church, Silver Link Road, Tamworth. B77 2EA. It would be lovely to see some of our friends from Balsall Common there. Tickets £10 adults, £8 children. To reserve places, or if you have any questions, please email group83@hept.org.uk with the number of tickets you would like and any dietary requirements.
30.09.2023Ukulele ConcertThere will be a Ukulele convert, on behalf of Save the Children, at St John Church, Berkswell, Saturday 30th September,7.00pm. Entry and refreshments (tea/coffee/cake) by donation.
24.09.2023CollectionsNext Sunday there will be a retiring collection for Fr Hudson's Society. Father Hudson's mission is to provide Catholic Social Care in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, reaching out to support vulnerable people in need in communities near you. As inflation rises the challenges faced by those with the least are multiplied. Please give generously to support those with nowhere else to turn.
24.09.2023Cake Fest!The organisers of the recent fundraising event for Manisha UK, thank the parishioners who supported the event, which raised an amazing £1,400!
22.09.2023Friday MassesFather Frank intends for there to be a Mass at 9am at St Francis.The Mass will be followed by Stations of the Cross.
15.09.2023Our Lady of SorrowsThere will be a Mass on Friday 15th Sept at 9.00am at St Francis, Baddesley Clinton to celebrate Our Lady of Sorrows.
13.09.2023Get Together Our next Get Together will be this coming Wednesday, 13th September, at 10.30 in the parish meeting room. Please join us for tea, coffee, cakes and a chat. Everyone is welcome.
12.09.2023Earlier Mass on this Tuesday, 12th SeptemberPlease note Mass begins at 9.00am this Tuesday to allow Fr Frank's attendance at the Deanery meeting.
05.09.2023No Mass at BRG this weekHowever there will be an additional Mass at St Francis on Friday, 8th September to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
03.09.2023Instrumental GroupThe Instrumental group will be supporting our Mass on 3rd September! We would very much welcome any new members. If you are interested in joining us please contact David Green for more information at david.monica@btopwnworld.com
20.08.2023Marriage of Brett David Hopkins and Emily Rose GreenPlease pray for Emily and Brett who are to be joined in Holy Matrimony this week.
18.08.2023Diocesan Novena to Blessed Dominic Barbari Diocesan Novena to Blessed Dominic Barbari begins on Friday. The annual Novena of Prayer for the Cause of Blessed Dominic Barberi is a moment to pause and to appreciate the work of this holy Passionist in our Archdiocese and to pray for his Canonisation. Blessed Dominic arrived in the Archdiocese in February 1842. He spent the next seven years based at Aston Hall in Staffordshire, from where he celebrated Mass, preached Missions, heard confessions, and received many people into the Catholic Church, the most famous being St John Henry Newman in October 1845. Blessed Dominic had a well known reputation for sanctity and holiness of life. He is also remembered for his love for the poor, and those in need of prayer and help. In our Archdiocese his memory is held in special regard and each year we pray a Novena of Prayer asking God to grant a miracle of healing through the intercession of Blessed Dominic, which could further his cause for Canonisation. Please pray the Novena during the nine days from August 18 until August 26. It can be prayed in the parish or at home. Novena Prayer for the Canonisation of Blessed Dominic Barberi - O God, who so lovingly raised Blessed Dominic to the heights of holiness, learning and apostolic zeal and made him a powerful minister of your mercy, listen to our humble request. We pray that you will in your goodness, grant a miracle through the intercession of Blessed Dominic, so that the Church may further honour him on earth and that many more people will come to know and invoke the help of this faithful servant of the Church. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen. Mary, Mother of Holy Hope, Pray for Us. Saint John Henry Newman, Pray for Us. Blessed Dominic Barberi, Pray for Us.
13.08.2023Martyrs WalkFollow the steps of our English Marytrs on Sunday 13th August. in commemoration of the Warwick Martyrs Blessed John Sugar, Blessed Robert Grissold and Blessed William Freeman. Leaving St Mary Immaculate Church, West Street, Warwick at 2.30 pm, ending at Gallows Hill.
23.07.2023Readers at MassWe are in urgent need of some additional readers. A few more would reduce the number of occasions in the year when you would need to read. Please contact Godfrey after mass or on 532352
23.07.2023Masses through the SummerThere will be no midweek Masses until 2nd & 3rd August at St Francis, Baddesley Clinton. Weekend Masses will continue as normal. See bulletin or Parish website for information concerning Mass times through the Summer.
23.07.2023Parish office closed Parish office closed during the school holidays. Normal office hours (Tuesday and Thursday afternoons) will resume in September.
16.07.2023FlowersI am in the process of updating the Flower rota for the coming months and would welcome anyone interested in helping out. It works out approximately twice per year. As you know the cost of flowers has increased dramatically, and we are very grateful to everyone who buys and arranges flowers in church. If anyone would like to claim for flowers, please do let me know, there is money available for this expense and I have claim forms. Many thanks to everyone involved. Pam Martin - 534916
12.07.2023Get Together Our next Get Together will be this coming Wednesday, 12th July, at 10.30 in the parish meeting room. Please join us for tea, coffee, cakes and a chat. Everyone is welcome.
09.07.2023Second Collection next SundayNext Sunday there will be a second collection for the Apostleship of the Sea. Seafarers and fishers play a vital role in all of our lives, but they often work in difficult, hazardous conditions. In the last year, more crews have been abandoned by their employers than ever before. Many are still being denied the right to leave their ships for even a short break away from the relentless noise and pressure onboard. Many are reporting more stress and poorer mental health. Sea Sunday is Sunday 9th July. It is when the Church prays for all those who live and work at sea. Your support will make a big difference to seafarers and fishers in need. You can donate in church, by visiting www.stellamaris.org.uk/donate, or by texting ‘SEA’ to 70460 to donate £5. This collection is vital to enable Stella Maris (formerly called Apostleship of the Sea) to continue its important work - so please give generously. Thank you.
09.07.2023Pact Pact (Prison Advice and Care Trust) is holding a roadshow on Saturday 15 July between 10am and 1.30pm in the Grimshaw Room on the St Chad’s Cathedral site, Birmingham. At the roadshow we will reflect on Catholic Social Teaching in the light of imprisonment. We will hear from people with lived experience of the criminal justice system. Prison chaplains and Pact services staff will speak about their work and the people we serve. The Welcome Directory is a small charity which supports faith communities to become places of welcome and acceptance for those leaving prison. Find out about how your parish might become such a place. Pact warmly invites you to join us in person at the Roadshow. You can register via this link: https://www.birminghamdiocese.org.uk/Event/pact-to-host-justpeople-roadshow-in-birmingham-saturday-15-july
02.07.2023After Mass CountersWe are now approaching the end of the current rota and we need a few more volunteers to replace some of the existing team members who are unable to continue.The work is not difficult, lasts usually not more than half an hour after Sunday mass and help will always be on hand to solve any problems. The commitment is not at all onerous – each team (of two) performs the count only 5 or 6 times each year. Any help would be much appreciated. So if you could help the Parish by volunteering to count the collections after Mass – please contact me (Mike Fairbrother on 07921 944024 (mobile), Michael.fairbrother1@btinternet.com (email) or tap me or one of the existing counters on the shoulder after mass and we can give you more details.
01.07.2023BaptismPlease pray for the parents and godparents of Giorgio Nikolas Walker who is to be baptised here on Saturday 1st July at 4.00pm.
01.07.2023Coffee TogetherCoffee Together on Saturday 1st July at 10.30am to 12 noon in the Jubilee Centre. You are invited to share a coffee (or tea) with friends old or new
29.06.2023Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul: Apostles There will be a Mass at Saint Francis, Baddesley Clinton celebrating this Solemnity of the Church on Thurs 29th June at 9am. The Mass will be followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction for those who can stay.
25.06.2023Sacred HeartJune is the month of the Sacred Heart. The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus falls on Friday 16th June - which we will celebrate with a Mass at St Francis, Baddesley Clinton at 9am.. Also, during this month, we can seek to deepen our devotion to the love of God revealed in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus - a devotion encouraged by St Margaret Mary, whose relic rests in the altar at BRG. We might even consider consecrating ourselves to the Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ. To this here is a Prayer of Consecration, written by St Margaret Mary, which we could pray daily throughout the month of June. I give and consecrate to the Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, my whole life, all my actions, my trials, my sufferings, devoting every portion of my being to loving, honouring, and glorifying him, to working for his love alone, renouncing with all my heart whatever may be displeasing to him. I take you, then, O Sacred Heart, for the one object of my love, the protector of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my inconstancy, the redeemer of all my faults, and my sure refuge in the hour of death. O Heart of all goodness, be my justification before God the Father, and shield me from the effects of his just anger. O Heart, overflowing with love, I place all my confidence in you, for I dread my own weakness, while I hope everything from your goodness. Destroy in me whatever displeases you or goes against your will. May pure love of you be so deeply imprinted in my heart that I may never forget you nor be separated from you. I implore you by all your love that my name be graven upon you. May it be my happiness to live and die as your slave. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
25.06.2023After Mass CountersWe are now approaching the end of the current rota and we need a few more volunteers to replace some of the existing team members who are unable to continue. The work is not difficult, lasts usually not more than half an hour after Sunday mass and help will always be on hand to solve any problems. The commitment is not at all onerous – each team (of two) performs the count only 5 or 6 times each year. Any help would be much appreciated. So if you could help the Parish by volunteering to count the collections after Mass – please contact me (Mike Fairbother) on 07921 944024 (mobile), Michael.fairbrother1@btinternet.com (email) or tap me or one of the existing counters on the shoulder after mass and we can give you more details.
25.06.2023Exposition of the Blessed SacramentThere is an opportunity for us all to spend time with Our Lord in silent prayer and meditation every Thursday at Saint Francis, Baddesley Clinton. Christ has chosen to be with us in the Eucharist until the end of time. We can reverence the love and humility of Christ, who comes to us in this way, by being with Him, listening to Him and opening our hearts to Him as he is presented to us in the Blessed Sacrament on the Altar. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament begins after the 9.00am Mass on Thursday and ends at 10.30am, with Benediction (a blessing with the Blessed Sacrament). This is a very powerful means of growing in prayer and devotion to Christ. Stay for as long as you like - use the opportunity to pray, meditate, say the Rosary, to engage with the Holy Scriptures or spiritual reading, or simply to be still in the presence of our Blessed Lord. Feel free to leave when you are ready - think about making this a regular part of your prayer life in order to grow in your knowledge and love of God and be a witness to that love in the world.
18.06.2023Piety StallThe stall has a selection of Mass Cards, Sympathy Cards, Birthday Blessing, Birth Cards and many more. Please put the money in the Piety Stall Box.
18.06.2023First Holy CommunionPlease pray for Asher, Sarah and Evronie who are preparing for First Holy Communion on Sunday, 18th June at our church
14.06.2023Get TogetherOur next Get Together will be on Wednesday. 14th June at 10.30 am in the parish room. Come and join us and enjoy coffee, cakes and a chat. Everyone is welcome.
04.06.2023VolunteersIn order to meet the diocesan priorities of evangelisation, formation, liturgy and worship, and social outreach, volunteers are needed at BRG. If you are willing to help there is a range of jobs and responsibilities that need attending to including: Church maintenance, cleaning, social events, fundraising, children's liturgy, choir, hall hire and social outreach. In due course, I plan to hold meetings to discuss these matters. Please email Fr Frank with your contact details and the areas you would like to work in.
31.05.2023Martha Clements (RIP)There will be a Requiem Mass for Martha Clements at BRG at 11.00am on Wednesday 31st May. Her family invite everyone to join them in Haig’s Hotel after the Mass to celebrate her life. It would be helpful with catering if you could let her daughter Loretta know if you hope to be present
27.05.2023Wedding CongratulationsPlease pray for Elizabeth and Tom to be married at our church on Saturday, 27th May
27.05.2023Maureen is going to LourdesMaureen is going to Lourdes on 27th May for a week. If anybody has any petitions they would like her to take to Lourdes, please can they contact her with theon pearlcoreleader@fatherhudsons.org.uk and the carers at Fr Hudson’s will pass on the message to her. She doesn’t want any donations, just prayer intentions please.
23.05.2023Received into the Catholic ChurchPlease pray for Tom, who is to be received into the Church on Tuesday, 23rd May at the 10.0am Mass at our church
14.05.2023CAFODJust to let you know that we have had more money added to the CAFOD collection for this Lent and the total now is standing at over £616.At least £370 of that money has also been gift aided so the extra gift aid added will be over £90, giving us a final total of at least £700. This is an amazingly generous gift and will certainly help many people in dire need to be able to produce their own food and hopefully be self sufficient in the future! Thank You all. Chris Lynn.
14.05.2023A message from CAFODDid you know that Church teaching says that we should not only support those in poverty but also tackle the root causes of poverty? Pope Benedict XVI said that “Love —?caritas?— is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace.” For decades CAFOD has spoken out against injustice. To find out more and get involved in tackling the root causes of poverty, please go to cafod.org.uk/latestcampaigns
13.05.2023The Parish Quiz and Hot Dog SupperParish Quiz and Hot Dog Supper is on May 13th at 7 pm. We need one or two more contestants. All contestants, please bring your own drinks, there will not be a bar.
04.05.2023Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament followed by adoration and silent prayer will take place after the 9.00am Mass on Thursday (from 4th May) at Baddesley Clinton. Benediction will follow at 10.30am. This is a wonderful opportunity to pray the Rosary, to meditate and reflect on spiritual reading and to adore our Lord and to discern His voice as we rest in his healing and life-giving presence. You are welcome to pray before the Blessed Sacrament for whatever time you are able to give. Simply reverence the Blessed Sacrament and leave in silence when you are ready. There is a pause between the end of Mass and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for those who have to leave immediately
23.04.2023Church CushionsDo you feel the need for a little 'extra' padding when sitting on our lovely but hard church pews? If you do, please help yourself to a grey cushion from the box that is on/ under the table in the narthex, hopefully it will help! Please return the cushion to the box after use.
23.04.2023ConfirmationAnyone seeking confirmation this year should contact Fr Frank as soon as possible.
23.04.2023Hall lettingsVolunteers are needed to look after the letting of the church hall and opening and closing of the church after lets. This provides a very necessary source of income for the church. If you are able to help, please contact Fr Frank.
16.04.2023No weekday Masses this week - Fr Frank's post-Easter break Fr Frank is having his post-Easter break which will continue until the weekend of the 4th Sunday of Easter. Therefore, there will be no weekday Masses for the next two weeks. The Sunday Masses will still go ahead.
16.04.2023HCPT Group 83 HCPT group 83 have arrived safely in Lourdes. The group thanks all those who have supported their trip. Unfortunately, due to the smallness of the group postcard may not be sent this year. Group 83 will be remembering you all in their prayers at the grotto.
16.04.2023Divine Mercy Sunday On behalf of the Warwick Deanery, we welcome you to the Divine Mercy Devotions, with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and confessions. This year they are from 4pm to 5pm in St Peter Apostle Church, Dormer Place, Leamington Spa, CV32 5AE.
16.04.2023First Holy CommunionIf anyone has a child aged 7 and above and would like them to make their First Holy Communion, please contact Chris Mitchell on 0774 2288722.
11.04.2023No mass on TuesdayPlease see St Francis' website for alternative weekday Masses
09.04.2023Visits to MaureenMaureen Carroll is staying in St Joseph’s care home Coleshill for six months; she would be delighted if anyone wants to visit. Please see Louise or John Perry for door codes at the care home
09.04.2023Easter OfferingThank you for the collection today which is the customary Easter offering to your priest. I am grateful for the generosity of spirit which is shown in so many ways in the life of the Parish
09.04.2023CleanersVolunteers for cleaning the church and hall are needed. Please contact Fr Frank if you can help
07.04.2023Good Friday CollectionOur collection on Good Friday will be for the Holy Places in the Holy Land
02.04.2023Holy Week and EasterFr Frank is very much looking forward to celebrating Holy Week and Easter at Blessed Robert Grissold this year.
02.04.2023Millennium ProjectThank you to everyone who supported the breakfast last Sunday. It raised £175 which will be sent to Fr Ed to help with his work in Lima. Special thanks to all those who helped in any way.
02.04.2023Warm HubThe warm hub opened its doors for the last time last week, reopening (all being well) at the beginning of November. Thank you to those who have supported this new venture.
02.04.2023Holy Week and Easter Services 2023Click on the link to see the times of services at Blessed Robert Grissold during Holy Week and Easter 2023
27.03.2023Pilgrimage to Knock ShrineLed by Mgr Daniel McHugh. £699.00 per person sharing. Price includes flight, all transfers, 4 nights in Knock House Hotel with full board. All entertainment and excursions included. See flyer on noticeboard for more details. Contact Patricia on 01268 762278 or 07740 175557 or email knockpilgrimages@gmail.com.
26.03.2023Book of RemembranceWe will be updating our Book of Remembrance during Lent. If you would like an anniversary to be added, please complete one of the paper slips in the book in church or email the person’s name and anniversary (day and month only) to Ian and Ellie Clarke at iehclarke@btinternet.com.
26.03.2023CAFODThank you so much everyone! We have had a wonderful collection for CAFOD - we raised £531.16 for some of the poorest people in the world. This money will go such a long way to help combat climate change. Also, it is amazing to see how many people filled out the gift aid form. £370 of that was gift Aided, so that will give us an extra £90. So, donations from BRG are worth over £620 to CAFOD!
26.03.2023Easter CardsNow available from the Piety Stall in the Narthex for £1 each. Please place your payment in the Piety stall box
26.03.2023Clocks change next week!Please be aware that the clocks go forward next Sunday 26th March.
26.03.2023Millennium ProjectWe are holding a breakfast after Mass today – come and join us for croissants, toast, tea, coffee, or orange juice. All proceeds will be sent to Columban Father Ed O'Connell to help his work in poor parishes in Lima. All welcome
21.03.2023Talk - Palestine and Israel re-revisitedA talk, 'Palestine and Israel re-revisited' will be given by Paul Clark, Human Rights Monitor on Tuesday 21st March at 7.30pm at Balsall Common Methodist Church
19.03.2023Mothering SundayToday is Mothering Sunday and so we give thanks to God for our mothers and for all who are mothers in our community. May God bless you in your high calling, remembering that the greatest of the saints, Our Blessed Lady, was, like you, a mother and that through loving devotion to her maternal vocation attained to the heights of holiness.
12.03.2023Family Fast DayDonations are being collected this Sunday (12/03) for CAFOD’s Family Fast Day – envelopes are available in the Narthex. Please consider completing the details for Gift Aid if you are a UK taxpayer. Chris Lynn will give a short talk on CAFOD’s work after mass. Thank you in advance for your donation.
12.03.2023Book of RemembranceWe will be updating our Book of Remembrance during Lent. If you would like the anniversary of a loved one to be added, please complete one of the paper slips in the book in church and leave it in the back of the book or email the person’s name and anniversary (day and month only) to Ian and Ellie Clarke at iehclarke@btinternet.com.
08.03.2023Get-TogetherOur next Get Together will be on Wednesday 8th March at 10.30am in the parish room. Everyone is welcome, so come along and enjoy tea, coffee, cakes and a chat
05.03.2023Churches Together Lent ReflectionsAll are welcome to attend these sessions, held each Saturday during Lent at the Methodist Church Hall, starting with tea, coffee & Danish pastries from 8.45 am (donations welcome). Each talk starts at 9.00 am followed by questions, to finish by 10.00 am. The guest speakers this year have been asked to address a topic that we tend to avoid talking about in ‘polite society’: 25th February – Dr Chantal Meystre – Death 4th March – Professor Mark Johnson – Racism 11th March – Canon Peter Holliday – Wealth 18th March – Rachel Christophers – Dementia 25th March – Canon Mark Bratton – Gender Each church takes a turn acting as ‘host’ at the Methodist Hall for a session – Blessed Robert Grissold’s turn is on 4th March – volunteers needed to help! Please see John or Louise Perry for details
05.03.2023Refugee Children - please helpRefugee Children aged 5 – 10 years old, are being fed and housed in a local hotel. They have nothing to play with and no money. They would really appreciate any good condition, suitable (not bulky) games, cards, dolls, teddies, colouring pads and crayons/pencils/pens, purses, necklaces, hair accessories, PS4/Nintendo, CDs, etc. Their parents need clothes including smart interview clothing. Please bring donations a.s.a.p. to Mass on Sundays or to our Tuesday mornings Warm Hub 10.30 – 12.30. Thank you.
05.03.2023Children’s LiturgyWe are running Children's Liturgy each Sunday during Lent. We look forward to seeing the children there as we prepare for this special season in the Church's calendar. It would be great to have some more volunteers for Children's Liturgy in either a leader or helper capacity. Being a helper doesn't involve preparation beforehand and will only take your time on the day! If you're interested, then please speak to Roz or Chris Blewitt (07532179704 / rosalindblewitt@hotmail.com).
05.03.2023100 ClubKen Higgins and Stefan Hunka will be in the Narthex after Mass on Sunday 5th March to collect annual cash and cheque subscriptions for 2023. Subscriptions are £15 per number per year.
03.03.2023World Day of PrayerThis Friday 3rd March at 10am, Blessed Robert Grissold is hosting the Churches Together celebration of the World Day of Prayer, prepared by the Christian women of Taiwan with the theme ‘I have heard about your faith’. Refreshments are available afterwards. All are welcome
26.02.2023A Warm HubOur church continues to be open from 10.30 – 12.30 (after mass) on Tuesdays as one of the Churches Together Warm Hubs. Please contact John & Louise Perry for further details.
26.02.2023ConfirmationAnyone seeking confirmation this year should contact Fr Frank as soon as possible
26.02.2023Changes to the liturgy in LentIn the penitential season of Lent we do not sing the Gloria and the Alleluia is dropped from the Gospel Acclamation
26.02.2023Lent DevotionsTo help us prepare for the celebration of Our Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection, the following are available: At Blessed Robert Grissold: - Tuesdays - 10:00am Mass followed by Stations of the Cross At St Francis, Baddesley Clinton: - Wednesdays - 9.00am Mass followed by Stations of the Cross, and Thursdays - 9.00am Mass followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. All are welcome to join in these Masses, prayers and devotions.
22.02.2023LentLent begins this Wednesday 22nd February (Ash Wednesday) when there will be a Mass at St Francis, Baddesley Clinton at 9.00am and at Blessed Robert Grissold, together with the Imposition of Ashes. Let us make every effort to make a good start to the season of Lent and to use this time to renew and deepen our life in Christ. To help us prepare for the celebration of Our Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection, the following are available: At Blessed Robert Grissold: - Tuesdays - 10:00am Mass followed by Stations of the Cross At St Francis, Baddesley Clinton: - Wednesdays - 9.00am Mass followed by Stations of the Cross, and Thursdays - 9.00am Mass followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. All are welcome to join in these Masses, prayers and devotions.
22.02.2023Classical Music AppreciationDo you know the difference between Vivaldi and Verdi? Brahms and Bach? Mozart 40 or Peer Gynt’s Morning mood? If not, why not come to Classical Music Appreciation at BRG on the fourth Wednesday of every month – 2pm to 4pm? The first meeting is on Wednesday 22nd February. Enjoy listening to the music and a talk about each piece. Refreshments are available. All details are the U3A website, or if you have any questions, please see Terry Biles.
19.02.2023New envelopes for weekly offeringsPlease collect from the back of church if you use these. If you wish to sign up for a set and a gift aid declaration, please Joe Martin after Mass
13.02.2023Snowdrops at Temple BalsallVisitors are welcome to see the first spring flowers in bloom at St Mary’s Church on Fen End Road on Sunday 13th February. Guests can take a walk around the church yard and neighbouring gardens and woodland. There will be afternoon tea available from 2.30pm until 4.30pm
12.02.2023Fr. Frank awayThere will be no mid-week Masses this week.
12.02.2023BaptismPlease pray for Sonny Joseph Traynor to be baptised this week. May God bless and protect him, his parents and Godparents and lead them in the way of Christ
12.02.2023Guttering “hedgehogs”The church is disposing of some lengths of “hedgehogs” that fit inside a guttering to reduce blockages. If anyone wants to take some, please do so (promptly!)
08.02.2023George Burgess (RIP)The funeral of George Burgess will take place here at 2.00pm on Wednesday 8th February. Please pray for the repose of his soul and for his family and friends who mourn his passing.
08.02.2023Get TogetherOur next Get Together will be on Wed. 8th February at 10.30 in the parish meeting room. Everyone is welcome, so come along and enjoy tea, coffee, cakes and a chat.
05.02.2023Thank you from HCPT Group 83Thank you to all who supported HCPT Group 83's cake sale last week. We raised a fantastic £225.80! Your donations will help us to offer a pilgrimage holiday of a lifetime to some much deserving young people this Easter. We are always grateful for the support we receive from the parish, and we will remember you all at the Grotto. Thank you again.
05.02.2023For sale – table-tennis tableWe have a second-hand table-tennis table for sale in good condition - price £100. The buyer will need to collect it from church. Please see Joe Martin or phone 01676 534916 if you are interested.
02.02.2023CandlemasThe Feast of the Presentation of the Lord will be celebrated at 9am on Thursday 2nd February at Saint Francis, Baddesley Clinton
29.01.2023Cake Sale TodayGroup 83 HCPT are hosting coffee after our Sunday mass and are holding a cake sale in aid of HCPT funds. Please join us in the parish room to enjoy a delicious cake with your tea or coffee and support this worthy cause.
29.01.2023BaptismsPlease pray for Oscar James Shopland and Parker M. Williams to be baptised this week. May God bless and protect them, their parents and Godparents and lead them in the way of Christ
15.01.2023Choir PracticeWeekly choir practice has restarted – we meet every Sunday after mass, and we are working on music for Lent and Easter. New members are very welcome; you don’t need to read music or have any previous experience of singing in a choir. We’re happy to welcome both adults and younger parishioners (from year 7 upwards).
15.01.2023Peace SundayToday is Peace Sunday, with the theme ‘No one can be saved alone. Combatting Covid-19 together, embarking together on paths of peace’. Pax Christi, the international Catholic movement for peace, has produced a variety of resources to celebrate the theme. Further information can be found at: www.birminghamdiocese.org.uk/Event/peace-sunday-15-january-2023.
08.01.2023WelcomeOur thanks to Fr Bernard who has kindly agreed to offer the Mass today.
06.01.2023Solemnity of the Epiphany of the LordFr. Frank will celebrate The Mass of the Solemnity of the Epiphany at St Francis Church, Baddesley Clinton, at 9.00am on Friday 6th January. All welcome.
03.01.2023Fr. Frank’s HolidayFr Frank will be taking his post-Christmas break from Tuesday 3rd January until Friday 13th January. Cover will be provided for the weekend Mass.
01.01.2023Thank you from Fr. FrankThanks to all those who worked so hard to prepare for the Christmas celebrations. Thanks also for your cards, gifts, kindness and support. I am overwhelmed by your generosity. Also, I am grateful for your devotion to the Mass – for ensuring that there is in this place a faithful witness to the love, light and hope of Christ and his in-breaking Kingdom. That is the peculiar and incomparable gift we are called to offer to the world as the Church, but in order for this to happen, we have to be faithful to the Mass, to worship and prayer and many have to give of their time and energy in raising funds and being responsible for day-to-day administration and maintenance. May the Lord bless you for all your hard work on behalf of Christ and his Kingdom. It is a privilege and a joy to share with you in this service.
01.01.2023Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of GodThis Sunday is the Church's great feast, celebrating the unique privilege of Our Blessed Lady, called to be the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, and so of God. On the cross, Jesus gave us his mother as our mother. Like Christ, we should love and honour her.
25.12.2022Christmas OfferingThe collection today is the customary Christmas offering for your priest. Thank you for all your support and generosity throughout the year.
25.12.2022Merry Christmas!Wishing all of our parishioners and visitors a happy and holy Christmas and a peaceful and joyful 2023.
25.12.2022Carol service – thank you!Thank you to everyone who attended the carol service last Sunday and to all of those involved in making the evening such a successful celebration for the parish. The collection raised £152.25 for Friends of the Holy Land.
24.12.2022Christmas Masses at BRGOur masses for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are: Saturday 24th December at 8.00pm and Sunday 25th December at 9.30am. All are welcome.
18.12.2022Carol ServiceOur carol service is today at 6.30pm. Come and join us for congregational carols, choir anthems and readings, followed by mince pies and mulled wine in the parish room. Bring a friend!
18.12.2022Thank you from CAFODYour support over this past year has been life-changing and very much appreciated. Thank you for praying, campaigning, donating or volunteering to support people and communities in their struggles against poverty. An example is in South Sudan; communities who take in displaced people fleeing violence or natural disasters. The arrivals are given food and some are given land. They erect temporary structures as shelter and some start farming. Nyanguet, who fled with her five children after her village was attacked, says, “The community host us well. My children and I feel safe now.” Thank you for helping to support people and communities like this throughout the world. Have a joyful Advent and a happy Christmas.
14.12.2022Get TogetherOur next Get-together will be on Wednesday 14th December in the parish meeting room. We will be starting at the slightly earlier time of 10.15am. Come and enjoy mulled wine and mince pies as well as tea, coffee and a chat. Everyone is welcome, so if you know someone who would like to join us, please bring them along
13.12.2022Tuesday MassPlease note earlier start this Tuesday (9.30am) to enable Fr Frank to attend Deanery Meeting on time.
11.12.2022Christmas cards and Piety StallChristmas cards will be on sale in the Narthex – please place your donations for them in the Piety Box. Don’t forget that our Piety Stall has a variety of cards for all sorts of occasions: Mass cards, birthday, blessings, sympathy and lots more.
04.12.2022Reception into full communionAdults interested in becoming Catholics and entering into full communion with the Church, please contact Fr Frank ASAP.
04.12.2022Adoration of the Blessed SacramentDuring Advent at St Francis, Baddesley Clinton, there will be adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with silent prayer prior to the 9.00am Mass on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Exposition begins at 8.15am. All welcome.
04.12.2022Thank you – Save the Children FayreA big thank you to all those who attended or supported this Fayre in any way. I am delighted to say that £1,530 was raised; all the money will go to support the work of Save the Children. Special thanks to Father Frank for the use of the Hall, and to Terry for all his help in setting & clearing up, and support on the day; we couldn’t have done it without him! Best wishes, Julia Greensall
04.12.2022Second CollectionThere will be a second collection today for the Poor Parishes of the Diocese
04.12.2022Advent Children’s LiturgyWe will be running Children's Liturgy every Sunday during Advent to share with the children more about this special season of preparation before Jesus' birth (27th November, 4th, 11th and 18th December). It would be great to have some more volunteers in either a leader or helper capacity. Being a helper doesn't involve preparation beforehand and will only take your time on the day! If you're interested then please speak to Roz or Chris Blewitt (07532179704 / rosalindblewitt@hotmail.com).
27.11.2022Poor ParishesThere will be a second collection at Mass next Sunday (4 December) for the poor parishes of the Diocese.
27.11.2022AdventNext Sunday the Church's new year begins as we enter Advent, the season of preparation for Christmas.
26.11.2022Quiet Morning‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest’. Mark 6 v 31. Meet at the Old Hall, Temple Balsall (adjacent to the church), Saturday 26th November 10 am to 12 noon. Coffee will be available at 9.30am. The Revd. Kathy Lloyd Roberts, retired vicar of St Mary’s, Temple Balsall will help direct our thoughts before we find our ‘own individual space’ within the beautiful grounds and buildings. In order for the morning to be helpful to those attending we can only take a maximum of 30 people. Please submit your name to Doug Timmis (01676 534346) as soon as possible.
26.11.2022Save the Children Christmas FayreA Christmas Fayre will be held in our Parish Room on Saturday 26th November from 10 am to 3pm. On sale will be hand-made items, and other “environmentally friendly” goods suitable for presents. Refreshments will be available, including delicious home-made cakes. No charge for entry but donations welcomed. All proceeds to the charity Save the Children. If anyone would like to donate cakes, raffle prizes or can help in any way, please contact Julia Greensall on 01676 530 285
20.11.2022Millennium Breakfast - Thank you!Thanks to everyone who supported the breakfast last Sunday. It was a wonderful occasion and raised £285 which, together with a donation of £500, gives a grand total of £785. Special thanks to everyone who helped in any way. Fr Ed will be delighted and it was a fitting tribute to Sue.
13.11.2022Millennium BreakfastAfter a break of almost three years, we are planning to hold our Millennium Breakfast once again after Mass on Sunday 13th November. This will be a special occasion as we honour the memory of our former parishioner, Sue McGovern, who helped inaugurate the project in 1998 and helped to organise every breakfast since that date. The money raised from the breakfast will be sent directly to Columban Father Ed O'Connell, who has worked in poor parishes in Lima, Peru for more than twenty years.
13.11.2022Masses for the Holy SoulsThroughout November Masses for the Holy Souls will be offered, and we will pray for those whose names have been placed before the altar.
13.11.2022Remembrance SundayNovember is the month the Church especially remembers to pray for the dead. Next week is Remembrance Sunday when we pray for the repose of the souls of all those who have lost their lives because of war, praying especially for local residents who died serving our country. The silence we keep today presents us with an opportunity to remember, honour and give thanks to God for all those courageous men and women who have laid down their lives for the sake of others and in defense of what is right and good. Also, we continue to pray for our deceased loved ones throughout the month of November.
13.11.2022Remembrance SundayNovember is the month the Church especially remembers to pray for the dead. Next week is Remembrance Sunday when we pray for the repose of the souls of all those who have lost their lives because of war, praying especially for local residents who died serving our country. The silence we keep next Sunday presents us with an opportunity to remember, honour and give thanks to God for all those courageous men and women who have laid down their lives for the sake of others and in defence of what is right and good.
09.11.2022Get TogetherOur next Get Together is this Wednesday 9th November at 10.30 am in the parish meeting room. Come and enjoy tea, coffee, cakes and a chat. Everyone is welcome, so if you know someone who would like to join us, please bring them along.
08.11.2022Mass time on Tuesday 8th NovemberMass on Tuesday 8th November will be at the earlier time of 9.00am this week to allow Fr. Frank to attend a Deanery Mass for deceased clergy and a meeting.
06.11.2022Second Collection this SundayThere is a second collection today for the Johnson Association. his charity exists for the support of the Secular Clergy of the Archdiocese who, on account of age, infirmity or sickness, need financial help.
06.11.2022Masses for the Holy SoulsThroughout November Masses for the Holy Souls will be offered, and we will pray for those whose names have been placed before the altar
02.11.2022All Souls MassThere are envelopes for your prayer intentions and offerings at the back of the church. Please write the names of your departed loved ones clearly on the envelopes provided. I will offer the Mass for those named on All Souls’ Day and they will be named in the intercessions at the Masses for the Holy Souls that will be offered throughout the month of November. A tray will be placed by the altar to receive your Mass intentions and offerings. The Commemoration of All Souls will take place at 11.00am on Wednesday 2nd November.
01.11.2022All Saints MassThe Solemnity of all Saints will be celebrated at 10.00am on Tuesday 1st November. All welcome.
23.10.2022Second Collection this SundayThere will be a second collection this Sunday. The collection will be for Missio, the Pope’s charity for world mission.
23.10.2022Altar ServersAnyone who is interested in being an Altar Server, please contact Fr Frank. All the necessary training will be given.
22.10.2022BaptismAyla Rahati is to be baptised here on Saturday; please keep her, her parents and godparents in your prayers.
16.10.2022CAFOD: Thank you!An enormous thank you to everyone who contributed to the CAFOD Family Fast Day Appeal, whether on-line or in the envelopes provided. They can still be handed to Bob Jones in the next couple of weeks. If you have missed the appeal and would like to donate, please go to the CAFOD webpage www.cafod.org.uk and click the link to the World Food Crisis Appeal.
16.10.2022100 Club - Draw resultsThe draw for the 100 Club took place at the Get Together on 12th October. The lucky winners are: 1st prize (£150) – John Perry; 2nd prize (£100) – Tina Anderson; 3rd prize (£65) – Conor McSorley.
15.10.2022BaptismSeadna Pike is to be baptised here on Saturday; please keep him, his parents and godparents in your prayers.
12.10.2022Get TogetherOur next Get Together will be on Wednesday 12 October in the parish room. Come along and enjoy tea, coffee, cakes and a chat. Everyone is welcome, so if you know someone who would like to join us, please bring them along.
12.10.2022100 ClubThe next draw for the 100 Club will take place at the Get Together this Wednesday
09.10.2022Second Collection today for CAFODMillions of families are facing a food crisis that could be the worst in living memory. Your donations can help CAFOD local experts to provide emergency food supplies to families in the worst affected countries in East Africa and support communities around the world. Please use the envelopes available at the back of church or donate online at https://cafod.org.uk/Give.
09.10.2022October and the RosaryOctober is the month of the Rosary and it is a good time therefore to renew our devotion to our Lord and our Blessed Lady through this rich source of prayer. In the most important Marian apparition of recent times, our Lady of Fatima encouraged us to pray the Rosary daily.
08.10.2022BaptismsLouis Martin and William Hocking are to be baptised here on Saturday, please keep them, their parents and godparents in your prayers.
08.10.2022Coffee TogetherCoffee Together in the Jubilee Centre, Saturday 8th October, 10.30 – 12 noon. All are welcome.
07.10.2022CAFOD Family Fast Day – World Food Crisis AppealFamily Fast Day is this Friday 7 October, and there will be a collection next Sunday. Millions of families are facing a food crisis that could be the worst in living memory. Your donations can help CAFOD local experts to provide emergency food supplies to families in the worst affected countries in East Africa and support communities around the world.Get Together
07.10.2022Votive MassIt is my intention to offer a votive Mass of the Sacred Heart on the first Friday of every month at St Francis Church, Baddesley Clinton at 9.00am, beginning on Friday 7th October. All welcome
06.10.2022MarriagePlease pray for Dolfey Buckland (of the parish of Our Lady of the Wayside) and Bernice Stokes (of this Parish) to be married here on October 6th 2022.
04.10.2022No Mass at BRG this TuesdayThe Mass on Tuesday will be at St Francis (9.00am) as it is their Patronal
03.10.2022Job vacancyThe Archdiocese of Birmingham is seeking a Head of Safeguarding. The post holder will manage the operations of the safeguarding team, who operate in accordance with the statutory framework and the Catholic Church’s safeguarding policies and procedures. Following a period of significant change and improvement, now is an exciting time for an experienced safeguarding professional to join this friendly and creative team to further develop and embed excellence in safeguarding practice. This will be a rewarding role for an experienced safeguarding professional. Closing date 3 October. To find out more, please go to www.birminghamdiocese.org.uk/jobs
02.10.2022Children’s LiturgyChildren’s Liturgy will be starting from today (2nd October) during the 9.30am Mass. It will take place every first and third Sunday of the month during term time. We will share the Sunday Gospel at a level for the children to understand and enjoy. Parents are welcome to accompany younger children
02.10.2022Parish StatisticsThe annual Mass count will take place on the third and fourth weekends of September and on the first and second Sundays of October
25.09.2022Your choir needs you!We desperately need new voices in our parish choir as several members have had to drop out for health reasons. If you enjoy singing, and would like to expand your musical horizons, you would be very welcome to join us – no previous choir experience necessary! Come an join us for practice after mass today.
25.09.2022Bernadette Relic Tour 2022This month and next month, the relics of St Bernadette will journey on pilgrimage to England, Scotland and Wales for the first time. This once in a lifetime event will provide an opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the special gifts and charisms of Lourdes, in a church or cathedral near them. Individuals and groups are warmly invited to register their attendance at their chosen location on the Relic Tour website: https://stbernadette.org.uk/registration
25.09.2022Second CollectionThere is a second collection this Sunday (25th September) for Fr Hudson’s Society
25.09.2022Charity LeafletsThere are leaflets available at the back of the church detailing the work of, and how you might help Hudson Care and PACT
21.09.2022Ecumenical Service on UN International Day of PeaceThis service will be held at Coventry Cathedral on Wednesday 21 September at 5.15 pm. The service will be led by Archbishop Bernard Longley and the Bishop of Coventry. There will be light refreshments after the service. To help with planning, please register at: office@friendsoftheholyland.org.uk or call 01926 512980.
18.09.2022Prayer for the UkraineLet us continue to pray for the people of Ukraine, praying for a lasting peace and an end to war in that land, remembering also the Ukrainian Eparchy, for Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski, his clergy and people and the Ukrainian parishes in our own Archdiocese
18.09.2022100 ClubStefan Hunka and Ken Higgins will be in the Narthex after mass today to accept your subscriptions for the 100 Club – there are still some numbers available. The next draw will be in October.
14.09.2022Get TogetherOur next Get Together will be this Wednesday 14th September at 10.30 am in the parish meeting room. Come along and enjoy tea, coffee, cakes and a chat. Everyone is welcome, so if you know someone who would like to join us, please bring them along.
11.09.2022Goodbye from the Cant familyThank you to everyone at Blessed Robert Grissold for being so friendly and welcoming in the years we have attended the church. We have now moved to Cubbington but just wanted to say we will miss you all and hope to see you in the future. Dave, Aislinn, Cormac and ?rlaith.
08.09.2022Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (RIP)We pray for the repose of the soul of our recently departed and dearly beloved Monarch, for our new King and for all the royal family in their grief. Rest eternal grant to her O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace.
08.09.2022Feast DayThe Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary will be celebrated at St Francis church, Baddesley Clinton on Thursday 8th September at 9.00am. All welcome.
04.09.2022Children's LiturgyWe are planning to restart Children's Liturgy during term time at the 9.30am Mass at Blessed Robert Grissold. If you have any ideas or are interested in helping please speak to Rosalind (rosalindblewitt@hotmail.com / 07532179704) and Chris Blewitt (chrisblewitt@hotmail.co.uk / 07852721158). All volunteers will need to complete a DBS check via our parish safeguarding representative Monica Green (sg.brg.balsallcommon@rcaob.org.uk / 07788200544). We hope to be in a position to run this from September and any support would be greatly appreciated!
28.08.2022Your prayers are askedPlease pray for the repose of the soul of Sue McGovern, who passed away peacefully last Tuesday, with Kevin and Angela by her side. Before moving to be closer to Angela, Kevin and Sue lived in Balsall Common for many years and were very active within the parish. Please also remember Kevin and the rest of their family in your prayers
28.08.2022Countring TeamYou will recall that a few weeks ago I made an appeal for parishioners to volunteer to help with the counting of our Sunday collections. I am very pleased to be able to announce that we have achieved our objective and we now have a new rota in place comprising 12 teams. These comprise a healthy mix of counters from the previous rota and new volunteers. As Parish Treasurer, I would like to thank everyone involved for their support of this very important aspect of Parish life. Mike Fairbrother
21.08.2022Masses through the WeekPlease note, there are no weekday Masses at Blessed Robert Grissold Church this week. Please see the parish website for further updates and information about the return of the midweek Masses in due course.
21.08.2022WelcomeA warm “Welcome back” to Fr Jim Fleming who is saying Mass for us today
14.08.2022WelcomeA warm welcome this weekend to Monsignor Danny McHugh
07.08.2022WelcomeA warm welcome this weekend to Fr Jim Fleming. Fr Frank is very grateful to him for covering for me at short notice.
06.08.2022Coffee TogetherOn Saturday 6th August Blessed Robert Grissold is hosting Coffee Together, as part of Churches Together in Balsall & Berkswell, in the Jubilee Centre 10.30 – 12 noon. All are welcome.
01.08.2022ConfirmationPlease submit the names of any seeking Confirmation next Summer to Fr Frank by 1st August
31.07.2022Notice from the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales “The pressing challenges of the pandemic have lessened significantly. Most people have resumed the wide range of normal activities, no longer restricted by the Covid measures. We therefore believe that the reasons which have prevented Catholics from attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation no longer apply. We understand there will be some members of our congregations who, for reasons of health, do not feel safe enough to return to Mass. It has always been the understanding of the Church that when the freedom of any Catholic to attend Mass in person is impeded for a serious reason, because of situations such as ill health, care for the sick or legitimate fear, this is not a breach of the Sunday obligation.”
31.07.2022Masses during the coming Week (w/c 1st August)There are no Masses through the week until Fr Frank has recovered from COVID. He has arranged cover for the weekend Masses.
31.07.2022WelcomeA warm welcome this weekend to Fr Denis Carter from the Columban Fathers. Fr Frank is very grateful to him for covering for me at short notice.
17.07.2022Call for WardensWe are updating our list of wardens/ welcome team and If you are willing to join these teams to welcome people to church and give out the Mass books and hymn books before and after Mass can you please see Joe Martin after Mass or ring him on 01676 534916.
17.07.2022Flower RotaWe are updating our flower rota and would welcome a couple of new people to help. It is only a couple of times a year. If you are willing to help please ring Pam Martin on 01676 534916.
16.07.2022BaptismPlease keep William Hocking, his parents, Godparents, family and friends in your prayers. William is to be Baptised here on Saturday
10.07.2022Margaret Collins RIPWe have heard that Margaret, a long term and hardworking member of our Parish, has died after a long illness. Please remember Margaret, John and their family in your prayers.
10.07.2022Lant Charity“I am a Trustee of the Lant Charity which is a local charity able to give grants to local residents, including refugees, in Balsall, Berkswell and Temple Balsall parishes to meet specific needs. This can be for specific purchases such as school uniform or equipment, sports kit, assistance with setting up refugee accommodation etc. We may be able to help you so we have asked our Clerk Jane Lytton to message you. Alternatively you can contact her with your request as follows - clerk.lantcharity@gmail.com or 07989 741036." Godfrey
10.07.2022Au RevoirWe say farewell and best wishes to the Hobbs Family (Greg, Nicolette, Cameron & Amelie) as they move later this mont#h to their new home in Exeter, Devon.
06.07.2022Parish Get Together The next Parish Get Together will be at 10.30 am on Wednesday, 6th July. All are welcome.
03.07.2022Thanks from MaureenMaureen would like to thank everyone for the gifts, flowers, cards, good wishes and prayers she received for her 90th birthday. Special thanks to Louise and her team for the wonderful spread on Sunday after mass. It was lovely to see so many people there, who will be remembered in her prayers. Happy memories of her 90th birthday remain with her. Click on the link to the left to see photos!
03.07.2022Counting rota for Sunday collectionFollowing my appeal a couple of weeks ago for volunteers to help with the counting of our Sunday collections let me thank those who volunteered to join or rejoin the rota. This is very very much appreciated. I am happy to say that we are already well on our way to reaching a sensible number of teams to fulfil this very important task. This will ensure that the time commitment required is not too onerous. I still have to contact a few parishioners regarding their participation and I would hope to be able to publish a first draft of the rota later in July when I am back from holiday. Mike
03.07.2022Confirmation TodayA warm welcome to Bishop William who will be celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation here today. Please keep our Candidate, Brian Docherty, his parents, family and friends, in your prayers.
29.06.2022Solemn Feast DaysOn Wednesday 29th June there will be a Mass at 9.00am at St Francis Baddesley Clinton celebrating the Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul. This is a Holy Day of Obligation. All welcome
26.06.2022Happy Birthday Maureen Carroll!Maureen Carroll is celebrating her 90th birthday today and she would welcome you all to join her celebration with coffee and a piece of cake after mass.
26.06.2022The Piety Stall returnsThe Piety Stall has been re-stocked with a variety of cards - Birth, baptism, first communion, birthday blessings) and many more. Please take a moment to look, purchase and leave the money in the Piety Box. Thank you.
24.06.2022June is the Month of the Sacred Heart June is the month of the Sacred Heart. The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus falls on Friday 24th June. Great benefits are promised to those who practice this devotion. Also, during this month, we can seek to deepen our devotion to the love of God revealed in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus - a devotion encouraged by St Margaret Mary, whose relic rests in our altar at Blessed Robert Grissold church. We might even consider consecrating ourselves to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ. To this end I have printed, below, a Prayer of Consecration, written by St Margaret Mary, which we could pray during the month of June - Consecration to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Chris: I give and consecrate to the Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, my whole life, all my actions, my trials, my sufferings, devoting every portion of my being to loving, honouring, and glorifying him, to working for his love alone, renouncing with all my heart whatever may be displeasing to him. I take you, then, O Sacred Heart, for the one object of my love, the protector of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my inconstancy, the redeemer of all my faults, and my sure refuge in the hour of death. O Heart of all goodness, be my justification before God the Father, and shield me from the effects of his just anger. O Heart, overflowing with love, I place all my confidence in you, for I dread my own weakness, while I hope everything from your goodness. Destroy in me whatever displeases you or goes against your will. May pure love of you be so deeply imprinted in my heart that I may never forget you nor be separated from you. I implore you by all your love that my name be graven upon you. May it be my happiness to live and die as your slave. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
08.06.2022Get TogetherOur next Get Together will be on Wed 8th June at 10.30 in the parish meeting room. Everyone is welcome!
05.06.2022Trinity SundayNext Sunday the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.
05.06.2022100 ClubStefan Hunka and Ken Higgins will be sat in the Narthex after Mass ready to deal with 100 Club matters.
05.06.2022PentecostOn the 5th June, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost
04.06.2022Special Jubilee Coffee Together at Jubilee Centre On Saturday 4th June, there will be a special Jubilee Coffee Together at Jubilee Centre from 10 30 – 12 o’clock. Coffee, tea, soft drinks with home-made cakes and pre-wrapped biscuits. All refreshments free to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Special for the Jubilee - Come and have a try at decorating a biscuit with a regal theme (biscuits and icing sugar provided). All welcome. Organised by Churches Together in Balsall and Berkswell.
29.05.2022Retiring CollectionThere will be a retiring collection after Mass on on 28th May for Catholic Communications
24.05.2022AscensionThis Thursday, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, is a Holy Day of Obligation when we should be at Mass if we are able. There will be a 9.00 am Mass at St Francis, , Baddesley Clinton. All welcome
15.05.2022Quiet Morning‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest’. Mark 6 v 31. Meet at the Old Hall, Temple Balsall (adjacent to the church). Saturday, 21st May. Coffee will be available at 9.30am as we arrive for a prompt 10.00am start; finishing at 12 noon. In the Season of between Easter and Pentecost, The Revd Jane Braund, Methodist Minister – Balsall Common, will help direct our thoughts before we find our ‘own individual space’ within the beautiful grounds and buildings.“In order for the morning to be helpful to those attending we can only take a maximum of 30 people. Please submit your name to Doug Timmis (01676 534346) as soon as possible.
15.05.2022St George and St Teresa Catholic Primary School in Bentley HeathSt George and St Teresa Catholic Primary School in Bentley Heath is a caring and inclusive school. We have a few remaining Nursery and Reception places available for September 2022. Please feel free to make an appointment with the Head Teacher Nicola Wright, who would be delighted to show you round the school to meet our wonderful staff team and children. Please visit our website for further information www.stgandt.solihull.sch.uk or call / email the school office on 01564 774906 / office@stgandt.solihull.sch.uk
15.05.2022Maureen CarrollAfter previously receiving an award from the Queen, Maureen Carroll was at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday as a guest at the Queen’s Garden Party. Maureen is going into St Joseph’s Care Home in Coleshill on Monday 16th May for two weeks respite.
15.05.2022ConfessionFather is available every Saturday between 5:15-5.45 pm at St Francis Baddesley Clinton, or by arrangement.
13.05.2022Our Lady of FatimaA Mass commemorating Our Lady of Fatima will be celebrated at 9.00am at St Francis church, Baddesley Clinton on Friday 13th May. All welcome.
13.05.2022Baptism of Benjamin CowlingPlease pray for Benjamin who will be baptised here on Saturday and also for his parents and Godparents that, together with them, we may be obedient to the voice of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.
10.05.2022Early start Tuesday Mass will be at 9.30am on Tuesday to allow Fr Frank to attend the monthly Deanery Meeting.
08.05.2022Bob JonesOur many thanks to Bob Jones who is taking a deserved rest from his duties as Parish Treasurer. He has served the Parish in this capacity for a great many years and the excellent way he has exercised his duties has been recognised by Archdiocese and auditors. I am also very grateful to Mike Fairbrother for being willing to take on this role - I’m sure we all wish him well and will give him our support.
01.05.2022Easter RaffleA big thank-you to everyone who donated chocolates/bought raffle tickets. The response was great, and we managed to raise the sum of £220, which will be added to parish funds. The winners were Judith & Bysshe Gibbs, Chris Mitchell & Celine Burley. Many thanks to all. Teresa.
24.04.2022WelcomeWe welcome Father Fleming from the Columban Fathers, who will celebrate Mass for us today and next Sunday.
17.04.2022Easter OfferingThank you for the collection today which is the customary Easter offering to your priest. I am grateful for the generosity of spirit which is shown in so many ways in the life of the Parish.
17.04.2022Thank youMany thanks to the members of our choir for their hard work in preparing the music for our Easter services. This year has been particularly challenging due to illness, holidays and a reduction in the number of people in the choir post lockdown. Special thanks to Linda Chesshire for her hard work in rehearsing the choir whilst Ellie and I were away; and to Nick Pitarello, Adam Rolleston and Goodwill Nkomo from our community choir ‘Synergy’ who stepped in to sing with our church choir at short notice to ensure we had enough voices to sing the Easter pieces. Our choir really need some new members so if you enjoy singing and might be interested in joining us, or would like to join our new Community Choir, Synergy, please contact me on iehclarke@btinternet.com or call me on 07976731471. Ian & Ellie Clarke.
17.04.2022Special thanks Special thanks To Ian, the choir and Linda, our organist, who have enhanced the liturgies of the Easter Triduum so well. Also, thanks to all those who have worked so hard behind the scenes to ensure that we can celebrate the Sacred Liturgies. Fr Frank
17.04.2022Tea and coffee after Sunday MassTea and coffee after mass will resume on Easter Sunday. A rota will be sent to all concerned shortly. Best wishes Louise.
15.04.2022Good Friday - Churches Together Walk of WitnessGood Friday - Churches Together Walk of Witness will start at St Peter’s Church at 10.30 am and end with a Simple Lunch at the Methodist Church
14.04.2022Ministers of the EucharistRe-commissioning of the Ministers will take place during the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Maundy Thursday. All Ministers are asked to make every effort to attend, if possible.
10.04.2022Save the Children Coffee MorningLast week’s Coffee Morning in Berkswell raised £960. Thanks for your support
10.04.2022Easter OfferingThe collection at Mass at Easter is the customary Easter Offering for your parish priest. If you are away this Easter you can make this offering to your priest at any time by leaving a cheque payable to Rev Frank Smith or cash in an envelope marked ‘Easter Offering.’ Thank you for your support.
10.04.2022Holy WeekNext week marks the beginning of Holy Week - the most important week in the Church’s calendar. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday. During Holy Week we celebrate the Easter Triduum, comprising the liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday evening). These sacred liturgies shine forth as the high point of the Church’s year. The Paschal Triduum is at the heart of all that it means to be the Church and we owe it to ourselves as Christians to be present at these key moments in the life of the worshipping community, for the sacred mysteries, which we celebrate on these three days, are the axle on which the rest of the liturgical year turns.
10.04.2022Prayer for the UkraineLet us continue to pray for the people of Ukraine, praying for a lasting peace and an end to war in that land, remembering also the Ukrainian Eparchy, for Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski, his clergy and people and the Ukrainian parishes in our own Archdiocese.
10.04.2022Stations of the Cross Stations of the Cross will be prayed after the Tuesday Mass in Lent here at BRG and on Wednesdays after the 9.00am Mass at St Francis, Baddesley Clinton.
05.04.2022Our next Get-together Our next Get-together will be on Tuesday 5th April at 10.30 in the parish meeting room. Come and enjoy coffee, tea, cakes and a chat. Everyone is welcome, so if you have a friend or neighbour who would like to join us, please bring them along. If you need help with transport contact Madeleine (07981 533070) or Fran (01676 530371).
03.04.2022First Holy CommunionWe welcome Megan and Joseph who are to make their First Holy Communion here today.
03.04.2022Easter RaffleWe look forward to receiving lots of prizes for our Grand Easter Raffle.
03.04.2022St Mary's College, Oscott - TrusteesOscott College, the diocesan seminary, which forms men for the priesthood and the diaconate from England Wales, Scotland and further afield, is looking for additional trustees. The particular areas of expertise which are needed are:-Diversity and inclusion /Education and academia/HR and training IT and digital/Media/PRTrusteeship is a voluntary role, and is a way to put your skills at the service of the church. If you would like any further information please contact Jackie Hall, College Bursar at Oscott jackie.hall@oscott.org
27.03.2022Mothering SundayToday is Mothering Sunday and so we give thanks to God for our mothers and for all who are mothers in our community. May God bless you in your high calling, remembering that the greatest of the saints, Our Blessed Lady, was, like you, a mother and that through faithfulness and loving devotion to her calling attained to the heights of holiness. May Mary, the holy Mother of the Church, pray for us and all mothers as we continue our journey through Lent.
27.03.2022Lately DeadMartin Dunne – a much loved member of our parish. His funeral will take place here at 12 noon this Wednesday, 30th March
27.03.2022First Holy CommunionPlease keep in your prayers Megan and Joseph who are to make their First Holy Communion here today
27.03.2022Easter RaffleWe look forward to receiving lots of prizes for our Grand Easter Raffle.
20.03.2022Enrolment MassElliot Murtagh will be enrolled here at Mass today for reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.
20.03.2022First Holy CommunionPlease keep in your prayers Megan and Joseph who are preparing to make their First Holy Communion.
02.03.2022LentLent begins on Wednesday 2nd March (Ash Wednesday) when there will be a Mass at BRG at 7.00pm together with the Imposition of Ashes. Let us make every effort to make a good start to the season of Lent and to use this time to renew and deepen our life in Christ. To help us, every Tuesday in Lent, after the 10.00am Mass, there will be an opportunity to pray the Stations of the Cross. All are welcome to join in these devotions.
20.02.2022Pope Francis’ Invitation to the Synodal ProcessThanks to those of you who have responded to the request to engage with the Synodal Process. Please return any feedback to me as soon as possible. Fr Frank
20.02.2022After Mass RefreshmentsWe will soon be resuming coffee and tea after Sunday Masses, I'm looking at preparing a Rota based on the original Rota, so if anyone would like to be included or excluded, please let Louise Perry know at jlgperry@btinternet.com or 01676 533357.
13.02.2022Further Lifting of RestrictionsIn order to create more seating space in the body of the church the seating restrictions on the back four rows will be lifted from this week. There will also be a return to congregational singing. Medical advice suggests that it is still wise to continue wearing masks throughout the Mass - even for singing. Whilst required, seating in the front rows of the church will continue to be restricted in order to provide a space for those who wish to maintain social distancing. There is also provision for people to sit in the narthex and hall. It is advised that churches should ‘continue to ensure good ventilation’ - so continue to wrap up warm.
13.02.2022Confirmation Preparation for 2022Please submit names to Fr Frank of those wishing to prepare for Confirmation this year. Preparation will start around the beginning of March.
08.02.2022Early Start to Mass on Tuesday 8th marchThe Mass on Tuesday this week will begin at 9.30am to allow Fr Frank to attend the Deanery Meeting that morning.
06.02.2022Lifting of COVID-19 restrictionsFollowing the Church’s guidance for safe uses of places of worship we will continue to gradually lift restrictions over the next few weeks. This guidance states that ‘there is still a risk associated with gathering for sustained periods in enclosed spaces and therefore there needs to be continued caution by all against infection’ and those ‘displaying symptoms of Covid-19 should stay at home and not participate in acts of worship in church.’ Also, ‘those attending an act of worship may continue to wear a face covering.’ It is advised that churches should ‘continue to ensure good ventilation’ - so continue to wrap up warm. We look forward to the return of congregational singing, though there is a general encouragement ‘to wear face coverings while singing.’ In conclusion, the church’s guidance reminds us that ‘whilst this reduction of restrictions brings about a more normal way of living, the Covid-19 virus is still in circulation, and this should be in the mind of those participating in the life of the Church as time goes forward holding in balance the need for personal safety and taking responsibility for that safety.’
06.02.2022After Mass RefreshmentsWe will soon be resuming coffee and tea after Sunday Masses, I'm looking at preparing a Rota based on the original Rota, so if anyone would like to be included or excluded, please let Louise Perry know at jlgperry@btinternet.com or 01676 533357.
06.02.2022Collection for LIFEThere will be a retiring collection for the charity LIFE this Sunday.
06.02.2022100 ClubStefan Hunka and Ken Higgins have taken over responsibility for the 100 Club. They will set up a table in the Narthex on Sunday, 6th February. Please see them to renew or establish new numbers.
03.02.2022Sports MedicineDr Rav Naik a leading expert in sports medicine is giving a talk about how to look after your joints, ligaments, bones and muscles plus how to be your best at sports. When: 7.30 pm 3rd February 2022 Where: The Lant (Tennis Club) Meeting House Lane, Balsall Common.
31.01.2022The Synodal ProcessWe have been asked to respond to the questionnaire that was given out on the last few Sundays. An informal meeting is planned tomorrow, 31st January in the church hall at 7-30 pm. The proposal is to list our comments, ideas, and views from the Parish so that they can be given to Fr Frank to pass on to the Diocese at the end of the month. All are very welcome to come and give us their views on this very important occasion in the Churches development
30.01.2022Thanks you from Hudson’s CareThank you for your support with our Christmas appeal it has made such a huge difference to the children and families we work with
30.01.2022Thank you from CAFODThank you for your generous donation of £200
30.01.2022Easing of the COVID-19 restrictionsFollowing the Church’s guidance for safe uses of places of worship we will continue to gradually lift restrictions over the next few weeks. This guidance states that ‘there is still a risk associated with gathering for sustained periods in enclosed spaces and therefore there needs to be continued caution by all against infection’ and those ‘displaying symptoms of Covid-19 should stay at home and not participate in acts of worship in church.’ Also, ‘those attending an act of worship may continue to wear a face covering.’ It is advised that churches should ‘continue to ensure good ventilation’ - so continue to wrap up warm. We look forward to the return of congregational singing, though there is a general encouragement ‘to wear face coverings while singing.’ In conclusion, the church’s guidance reminds us that ‘whilst this reduction of restrictions brings about a more normal way of living, the Covid-19 virus is still in circulation, and this should be in the mind of those participating in the life of the Church as time goes forward holding in balance the need for personal safety and taking responsibility for that safety.’ Please DO NOT attend church if you, or someone in your household, has: a high temperature or new, continuous cough or loss, or change, to your sense of taste or smell. You must stay at home. (Guidance from the Bishop’s Conference)
26.01.2022Thomas Powditch (RIP)Please pray for the repose of the soul of Thomas Powditch. His funeral will be at 11.00am on Wednesday 26th January 2022. Also please keep in your prayers his family and friends
23.01.2022Week of Prayer for Christian UnityThis years’ Service, organized by Churches Together, will take place in St Swithin’s Church, Barston, at 6.30pm this evening.
23.01.2022Baptism of Florence O’ReaganFlorence will be baptised here on Saturday. Please keep her, her parents and Godparents in your prayers.
16.01.2022WelcomeToday we are pleased to welcome Father Michael Dolman, Rector of Oscott College, to celebrate the Mass.
16.01.2022Get TogetherDue to the increased risk presented by the Omicron Covid variant, we have decided not to have a Get Together in January. We will hopefully have our first one of 2022 on Wednesday 2nd February at 10.30 am in the Parish Meeting Room.
16.01.2022Pope Francis’ Invitation to the Synodal ProcessIn preparation for our participation in the Synodal Process I have devised a questionnaire to help us reflect, individually and in small groups, on how we can respond to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us today. I would be pleased to receive written responses to those questions which most interest you and I will use your written responses in formulating a response to the Archdiocese who will forward a summary of the feedback from parishes to the Synod on Synodality in Rome in 2023. The questionnaires are available at the back of the church
16.01.2022Millennium ProjectThe Bottle is back in the narthex. Any loose change can be deposited in the Bottle and the contents will eventually be sent to Fr Ed O'Connell, a Columban priest working with needy communities in Lima. We have been supporting Fr Ed for many years now. Columban calendars are available in the narthex too.
09.01.2022Local Coronavirus updatePlease click on the link to see an update from local Coronavirus Community Champion
02.01.2022BulletinVolunteers are needed to join those who ensure the printing of the weekly Bulletin for the Mass - full instruction will be given. Volunteers share the responsibility for the printing of parish news and notices for a limited number of weeks. Please contact Fr Frank for further details if you are interested.
25.12.2021Christmas OfferingThe collections at the Christmas Masses are for your Priest
24.12.2021Christmas MassesClick on the link to see when Masses will be celebrated at Blessed Robert Grissold this Christmas
19.12.2021Local Coronavirus updatePlease click on the link to see an update from local Coronavirus Community Champion
19.12.2021The Sacrament or ReconciliationI will be hearing Confessions by arrangement after masses this week
19.12.2021ThanksThanks to Claire Kean for her work in raising funds and acquiring gifts for our Christmas charities and to all those who have generously supported her efforts
19.12.2021Millennium ProjectThe Bottle is back in the narthex. Any loose change can be deposited in the Bottle and the contents will eventually be sent to Fr Ed O'Connell, a Columban priest working with needy communities in Lima. We have been supporting Fr Ed for many years now. Columban calendars are available in the narthex too.
19.12.2021Notice from the ArchdioceseThe wearing of face coverings (masks) is now mandatory in places of worship. There are exemptions for priests, for the public proclamation of spiritual readings and for those who have a legitimate exemption.
19.12.2021CAFOD World GiftsBuy a Christmas gift that makes a difference! Help provide emergency support to a family in urgent need this Advent. The World Gifts range will delight the people you give them to and help transform the lives of families living in poverty. Shop online at www.worldgifts.cafod.org.uk
12.12.2021100 Club Winners in the recent drawCongratulations to our winners in the recent draw: 1st Prize £130 Bob Jones; 2nd Prize £100 Meghan Westall; 3rd Prize £80 John McLellan; 4th Prize £40.00 Margaret McLellan
12.12.2021Save the Children Christmas FayreA few ‘thankyous’ for the Fayre a couple of weeks ago. Over £1,000 was raised, which will really support the work of ‘Save the Children. A fantastic amount considering the wintry weather on the day. Thanks to all who helped, Terry, who helped set up and clear away, also having the task of clearing the snow away. Thanks also to Father Frank, for use of the hall. Congratulations to those lucky parishioners who won raffle prizes. In addition, a large cake tin, with a blue lid pear-like has gone missing from the kitchen. If someone took it home to carry cakes, please return it to Terry. Thank you. Julia Greensall
12.12.2021Notice from the ArchdioceseThe wearing of face coverings (masks) is now mandatory in places of worship. There are exemptions for priests, for the public proclamation of spiritual readings and for those who have a legitimate exemption. Please note that our choir have all taken lateral flow tests with a negative result before singing on a Sunday
12.12.2021Sad NewsPlease remember in your prayers Thomas Powditch, a former member of the parish, who has died suddenly. Please also remember his family.
12.12.2021Christmas Giving to Father Hudson's ProjectThis Advent we are going to collect gifts for Father Hudson's. They have asked for Christmas selection packs, Family Biscuit or Chocolate boxes. Family presents eg a family game, and Gifts for adults eg toiletries or winter accessories. Either wrapped (with a label stating who it is for) or unwrapped. If you prefer to give a gift voucher for food or other gifts, that would also be lovely. (Please see the enclosed leaflet for details of this) We will be collecting all gifts /vouchers at church on the 5th and 12th Dec- Just put your donation in the box under the tree. We will also have a box there for food donations for the food bank. Please also see the notice in the Narthex. Thanks for all your donations – Claire.
08.12.2021Immaculate ConceptionThere will be a Mass celebrating the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary at St Francis Baddesley Clinton at 9.00am on Wednesday 8th December.
08.12.2021Get TogetherOur next Get-together will be on Wednesday, 8 December in the Parish Meeting Room at 10:30 a.m. Come along and enjoy mince pies and mulled wine and, of course, tea and coffee. Everyone is welcome. We ask for a voluntary contribution to help with expenses. If you need help with transport please contact Fran Lester (01676 530371) or Madeleine Peat (01676 532452).
05.12.2021Christmas Giving to Father Hudson's ProjectThis Advent we are going to collect gifts for Father Hudson's. They have asked for Christmas selection packs, Family Biscuit or Chocolate boxes. Family presents eg a family game, and Gifts for adults eg toiletries or winter accessories. Either wrapped (with a label stating who it is for) or unwrapped. If you prefer to give a gift voucher for food or other gifts, that would also be lovely. We will be collecting all gifts /vouchers at church today and 12th Dec- Just put your donation in the box under the tree. We will also have a box there for food donations for the food bank. Please also see the notice in the Narthex. Thanks for all your donations – Claire.
28.11.2021CAFOD World GiftsBuy a Christmas gift that makes a difference! Help provide emergency support to a family in urgent need this Advent. The World Gifts range will delight the people you give them to and help transform the lives of families living in poverty. Shop online at www.worldgifts.cafod.org.uk
27.11.2021Christmas FayreA Christmas Fayre in aid of “Save the Children” will be held in the Parish Hall on Saturday, 27th November - from 10 am to 3pm. Hand-crafted items, and other goodies suitable for presents, will be on sale. There will be refreshments, including home-made cakes. There is no charge for entry but donations are welcomed. If anyone would like to donate cakes, raffle prizes or can help in any way, please contact Julia Greensall on 01676 530 285.
21.11.2021Month of RemembranceIf you wish for your deceased loved ones to be prayed for by name in the Masses throughout the month of November please write their names on a piece of paper, enclose it in an envelope together with your offering and deposit the envelopes in the tray beside the altar.
21.11.2021AdventNext Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent
15.11.2021No Tuesday MassFr Frank is away next week so there will not be a Mass this Tuesday.
10.11.2021Get TogetherGood news! We are starting our parish Get-together again after a long break. Our first one is on Wednesday, November 10 in the parish meeting room at 10:30 a.m. Everyone is welcome to come along and enjoy tea, coffee, and cake and a chat. Everyone is welcome, so if you know of friends or neighbours who would like to come they are very welcome. If you do not have transport please contact Fran Lester (01676 530371) or Madeleine Peat (01676 532452).
10.11.2021Invitation to gather, pray and socialise An invitation to gather, pray and socialise 7.00pm Wednesday 10th November at St Francis of Assisi, Kenilworth. Everyone across the district is invited to an ecumenical service at St Francis of Assisi church, Kenilworth, CV8 1HL, followed by a light buffet in the adjacent Parish Centre. For catering purposes please confirm your attendance by 1st November on 01926 852163 or to peter.rand@friendsoftheholyland.org.uk
07.11.2021First Holy CommunionPlease keep in your prayers our twelve candidates who are preparing for First Holy Communion.
07.11.2021Fake EmailsPlease be aware that fake emails in the name of parish priests are being sent out to parishioners. Please feel free to contact me if you are in any doubt about any email purporting to be sent by me. Fr Frank
07.11.2021Second CollectionThere will be a second collection for the Johnson Association which looks after retired and infirm clergy.
07.11.2021Lately DeadPLease pray for the repose of the soul of Maureen Franklin, a helper for many years for HCPT The Pilgrimage Trust Group 83 and Group 524 (Hosanna House).
02.11.2021All SoulsIf you wish for your deceased loved ones to be prayed for by name in the Mass of All Souls and at Masses throughout the month of November please write their names on a piece of paper, enclose it in an envelope together with your offering and deposit the envelopes in the collection boxes at the back of church. I will offer the Mass for those named at the Mass on All Soul’s Day, Tuesday 2nd November at 10.00 am. and at the Masses throughout November.
31.10.2021All SaintsSunday 31st October is the Solemnity of All Saints
24.10.2021The Coventry Circle of the Newman AssociationThe Coventry Circle is part of the Newman Association and our members are drawn mainly from Catholic parishes in Coventry, Warwickshire and Rugby. The national Association, founded in 1942, is inspired by Saint John Henry Newman and seeks to promote greater understanding of our Catholic faith in the contemporary world. The Circle has approaching 50 members. Each year we organise a series of talks with speakers on a theme related to theology, scripture, spirituality, pastoral life, Catholic culture and history, ecumenism or interfaith dialogue. We also strive to deepen our faith through Circle Masses, an annual Retreat, a reading group, ecumenical outreach and social activities. Click on the link to see the programme of lectures from September 2021 to May 2022. All are delivered on zoom at 7.30pm. In the future, as we emerge from the pandemic, it is envisaged that more of our talks will be delivered in a hybrid form, with some meeting in a physical venue and others zooming in. Contact details are included in the link.
24.10.2021World Mission SundayInformation available at the back of the Church this Sunday.
24.10.2021Clocks go BackPlease note that the clocks go back next Sunday.
24.10.2021All SoulsIf you wish for your deceased loved ones to be prayed for by name in the Mass of All Souls please write their names on a piece of paper, enclose it in an envelope together with your offering and deposit the envelopes in the collection boxes at the back of church. Envelopes must be returned by next Sunday 31st October. I will offer the Mass for those named at the Mass on All Soul’s Day, Tuesday 2nd November at 10.00 am.
17.10.2021Wanted – singers! After an 18-month hiatus, we are now looking to restart our choir so that we can begin to provide some of the music at Sunday Mass. This is a fantastic time to join us for the next chapter in the music ministry for our church. No previous experience is necessary, you don’t need to be able to read music; all you need is to enjoy singing and be willing to attend regular choir practices after Sunday Mass. If you are interested, please contact Ian Clarke: iehclarke@btinternet.com or 07976 731471.
17.10.2021CAFODCongratulations to the people of BRG who managed to raise £471.00 for CAFOD - this is a splendid effort.
12.10.2021Mass time change on TuesdayPlease note that the Mass on Tuesday this week will be at 9.30 am to allow Fr Frank to attend the Deanery Clergy Meeting
10.10.2021October and the RosaryOctober is the month of the Rosary and it is a good time therefore to renew our devotion to our Lord and our Blessed Lady through this rich source of prayer.
10.10.2021Fr Hudson’s CareThere are booklets giving details of the work of the Fr Hudson’s Society, the Social Care Agency for our Archdiocese, together with pre-paid envelopes for donations at the back of the church. You can also find more information about their work with children and families, adults with complex needs, and community projects, on their website: www.fatherhudsons.org.uk, which includes a link to make your donation online.
10.10.2021Local Coronavirus updatePLease click on the link to see an update from local Coronavirus Community Champion
02.10.2021Churches Together Balsall & Berkswell - Coffee TogetherChurches Together will be restarting their “Coffee Together” mornings from 2nd October. These are held at the Jubilee Centre from 10:30 – 12:00, and for the price of £2.00 you can enjoy coffee, a wrapped biscuit and a chat with friends old and new. All are welcome. October’s Coffee Together will be hosted by St Peter’s Church; John and Louise Perry will be asking for volunteers to help when it is our church’s turn to host (date to be confirmed but probably in the New Year).
01.10.2021Family Fast DayA reminder that this coming Friday is Family Fast Day on behalf of CAFOD. The Coronavirus pandemic is pushing millions of people around the world into poverty and deepened inequality. The poorest and most vulnerable people in the world are also the ones who are being hit hardest by climate change. Harvests are failing. Cities are flooding. Entire communities are finding it harder and harder to survive in the place they call home. By donating to CAFOD this Family Fast Day, you can help communities affected by the worst impacts of the climate crisis. CAFOD works with local experts to help people around the world to adapt to the changing climate and to protect our common home. What we save by going without for one day can help to save the lives of others. Our offerings should be returned next Sunday 3rd October. There are envelopes available for the offerings.
28.09.2021Save the Children Social Get-TogetherTuesday 28th September, 10.00 am to 2.00 pm at Blessed Robert Grissold Church. Coffee, tea, cake, soup and scones will be available. There will be a “Bring and Buy – lockdown books and jigsaws” (all in good condition!) and greeting cards on sale. No entry fee but donations are welcome – all profits go to Save the Children. All are welcome
05.09.2021BaptismsThose who had to postpone Baptism as a result of the pandemic should contact Fr Frank if they are ready for the Baptism to proceed
15.08.2021Parish Gift Aid Co-ordinatorWe are looking for a new co-ordinator for our parish Gift-Aid. The Parish Gift Aid co-ordinator ensures that the Parish receives a sizeable tax refund each year from the Gift Aided contributions of our parishioners. Every assistance and support will be given to anyone who can take on this responsibility. Please contact Fr Frank if you are interested.
15.08.2021100 Club Co-ordinatorWe are looking for a new co-ordinator for our 100 Club. The 100 Club is a fun way of raising a significant amount of money each year for the Parish. Every assistance and support will be given to anyone who can take on this responsibility. Please contact Fr Frank if you are interested.
01.08.2021Welcome again Fr Michael DolmanA warm welcome to Fr Michael Dolman, Rector of St Mary’s College Oscott, who will say mass for us again today. Father Bernard McDermott of the Columbans will say mass for us next Sunday.
20.06.2021Day for LifeToday is the Day for Life which supports the dignity of human life and the Church’s teaching. This is especially important this year when a Bill has been introduced into the House of Lord’s on assisted suicide. Please click on the link to view the attached poster for further details
13.06.2021First Holy CommunionsInstruction for children not attending a Catholic school will start on or about 13th September with a view to making Communion in November. Children should be at least 7 years old. Please contact Chris Mitchell: 0774 2288722 or Anne Stewart: 07704 210957
06.06.2021June is the month of the Sacred HeartJune is the month of the Sacred Heart. Great benefits are promised to those who practice the devotion encouraged by St Margaret Mary, who received a vision of Our Lord’s Most Sacred Heart and whose relic rests in our altar. We might even consider consecrating ourselves to the Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ. To this end please find in ur newsletter, a Prayer of Consecration, written by St Margaret Mary, which we could pray daily throughout the month of June.
30.05.2021Praying for the End of the PandemicPope Francis has invited all the faithful to be united in prayer with Our Blessed Lady throughout the month of May in praying for the end of the pandemic. The holy Father has asked us to pray the Rosary daily through the month of May, invoking the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
23.05.2021Pentecost SundaySunday May 2rd is Pentecost Sunday when we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, on the Church.
13.05.2021Ascension of the LordOn Thursday of this week the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. The Ascension crowns Christ’s earthly mission - His heavenly Father welcomes him after his victory over sin and death and glorifies him in heaven. The Ascension marks God’s acceptance of Christ’s work of reparation for our sins. His sacrifice on the Cross is accepted and blessed and the spotless Victim ascends into God’s heavenly presence where he will continue to offer and be offered eternally in a heavenly manner. The Good News is that we ascend with Christ to the heavenly places for he assumed our humanity and has taken it with him into the heart of the love that exists eternally between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As St Paul says: ‘God has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Ephesians 2:6).
09.05.2021May - the Month of MaryMay is the month of Our Blessed Lady and what better way to celebrate the incomparable beauty of her Christ-like humility and obedience than to pray the Rosary daily - offering up at least a decade each day for the Church, for the world, for our own intentions and in reparation for our sins and those of the whole world?
02.05.2021First Sunday MassFr Chris Greaney will be presiding with the congregation gathered in the main body of the church this Sunday at the 9.30 am Mass.
02.05.2021May - the Month of MaryMay is the month of Our Blessed Lady and what better way to celebrate the incomparable beauty of her Christ-like humility and obedience than to pray the Rosary daily - offering up at least a decade each day for the Church, for the world, for our own intentions and in reparation for our sins and those of the whole world?
02.05.2021First Sunday MassFr Chris Greaney will be presiding with the congregation gathered in the main body of the church on Sunday 2nd May at the 9.30 am Mass.
24.04.2021Dymphna Cassidy (RIP)Dymphna’s husband, Terry, has asked me to pass on his gratitude to all those Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion who took the Blessed Sacrament to Dymphna during her time at Harper Fields.
11.04.2021Thank youThank you for your generous Easter offerings and for the way you contribute to the life of our worshipping community, so facilitating our mutual strengthening in the faith.
28.03.2021Easter OfferingsThe collection at Mass on Easter Sunday is the customary Easter Offering for your parish priest.
28.03.2021Wanted: Gift Aid OrganiserJohn Mclellan, our Gift Aid Organiser at BRG, has decided to step down in April. As a parish we owe a great debt of gratitude to John for his work in this capacity, not least because the Gift Aid Organiser ensures that substantial funds are returned to the Parish each year. John has kindly expressed his desire for a planned and orderly takeover and is prepared to show his successor the ropes. If you would like to volunteer for this position, or if you want to explore the possibility further, please contact Fr Frank
23.03.2021National Day of Reflection for Covid-19Tuesday 23 March has been designated a National Day of Reflection to mark the anniversary of the first national lockdown with a minute’s silence at midday and doorstep vigils of light at 8pm. All are asked to make this not only a Day of Reflection but also a Day of Prayer.
14.03.2021Princethorpe Employment OpportunityTeacher of English (Full or part time); Teacher of Mathematics (maternity cover). Also, Crescent School Rugby requires a Teacher of Science and Design Technology. Further details and application forms: www.theprincethorpefoundation.co.uk/join-us
14.03.2021Archbishop’s Pastoral LetterArchbishop Bernard’s Pastoral Letter will be read at the online Mass this weekend and feature as the Reflection in this week’s Spiritual Communion.
26.02.2021Family Fast DayCAFOD Family Fast Day is on Friday 26 February 2021. This Lent in lockdown, we can help transform lives! Abdella has to walk ten hours a day to find water to keep his family alive. Please watch the short film by clicking on this link: https://youtu.be/x8NOXN45t_A. More information about CAFOD’s work and their Lent 2021 appeal, including how to donate, are available on their website: www.cafod.org.uk.
17.02.2021Ash WednesdayI will also post the Mass for Ash Wednesday this week. Please use the same link above for both the Sunday and Ash Wednesday masses.
14.02.2021Lent – Teaching and DiscussionIf there is sufficient interest, I am happy to prepare talks and discussion, online, for Lent. These would provide a regular opportunity to reflect on our faith. Please contact Fr Frank if you are interested in taking part. I will publish any details of these events in this online bulletin
14.02.2021A Prayer for Spiritual CommunionPlease find below a prayer which you can join in praying during the Mass online as you make your Spiritual Communion: My Jesus, I believe that You are truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as being already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. We make this, and all our prayers through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
08.02.2021COVID 19 vaccination newsflash for the over 70sAre you over 70 and not got a Covid vaccine appointment yet? The Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group have vaccination spots available to all those over 70 years of age who have not yet had their covid vaccination and who do not yet have an appointment. You will probably have to travel outside of Balsall Common to have the jab but you might gain several days. To book an appointment then do one of the following 1. Copy this address into your browser: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/ and follow the instructions or 2. Call 119
07.02.2021Fr Sebastian 75th Birthday and Golden Jubilee as a PriestThis year Fr. Sebastian celebrates his 7th birthday and his golden jubilee as a priest. Read more about it here
03.01.2021Post for Fr FrankPlease hand to one of the stewards at Mass. They will see that Fr Frank receives all post, including Mass cards, after Mass. Fr Frank will respond to you during the week.
03.01.2021“Giving Tree” CollectionThank you to everyone who donated to our parish collection before Christmas to replace our usual Christmas Giving Tree. The total of money and vouchers donated was £410 – a wonderful result, especially with current restrictions on numbers able to attend mass. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to deliver a small gift and Christmas card to 21 of our older, more isolated parishioners, as well as a gratefully received donation to Father Hudson’s Care, which will be used to help those in need in our diocese. If you missed our parish collection, you can still donate to Father Hudson’s directly, via bank transfer, cheque or online – see their website for details: https://www.fatherhudsons.org.uk/getinvolved/donate/3.htm.
03.01.2021Focus Group volunteers neededThe Joint Working Group of Balsall Common and Berkswell Parish Councils has invited local churches to form their own focus group to provide their views on the future development of Balsall Common centre, as part of their project to obtain community input. The group would consist of one or two people from each church who regularly use Balsall Common centre, and would “meet” via Zoom for a session of about 2 hours in January – probably in the early evening. If you are interested in representing Blessed Robert Grissold in this way, please email Ian Clarke at iehclarke@btinternet.com. This “Churches Focus Group” is just one of a number of groups that the Joint Working Group hopes to establish to discuss plans – there is a link to their general request for volunteers for focus groups especially on the home page of our parish website. The general groups are open to everyone – the Parish Councils are particularly keen to see that the views of all age groups are represented.
03.01.2021Thanks from Fr. FrankFr Frank would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your cards, offerings, gifts and for all your generosity and support and to wish you and your loved ones a happy and blessed New Year.
20.12.2020Christmas offering for the Parish PriestIt is traditional for the offering at the Christmas masses to go tothe Parish Priest. This year, there will be a box at church on the next two Sundays and at the Christmas Masses for your Christmas offering to Fr. Frank. Alternatively, you can drop it off at 12 Priors Close Balsall Common CV7 7FJ and Joe will ensure that Fr Frank receives it.
13.12.2020100 Club DrawJohn McLellan and Chris Burleigh have just done the final 100 club draw for the year, over Zoom using a random number generator. here are the results: 1st, £75 No. 99 Eileen Selby, 2nd, £45 No. 62 Jean Henser and 3rd, £30 No. 40 Megan Westall. Congratulations to the winners!
29.11.2020Parish Giving Tree 2020Our annual giving tree has to take a different form this year.  Rather than buying and wrapping gifts for different age groups, Fr Hudson’s society has asked that we donate cash or store vouchers instead.  COVID has hit us all this year but, as with any crisis, the people who were already disadvantaged will have been most affected.  We are therefore asking the parish to come together, in a safely socially distanced way, to make a Christmas offering for this.  We will be collecting cash, cheques, or store vouchers (please include a receipt with these) outside the church between 9.00am and 9.30am on Sunday 6th and 13th December. There will be an additional collection in the car park on Saturday 12th December 10.00am-11.00am. Some of the funds collected will be used to send Christmas cheer to members of the parish who are unable to come to church during the pandemic.  If you would like to help with distributing a local gift please leave your contact details for Kathryn Driffield  at one of the collections
22.11.2020Normal Weekly OfferingThe Finance committee would like to let any parishioners who wish to catch up with their normal weekly offering know that this can be done safely and easily by dropping a cheque payable to Blessed Robert Grissold Church to Bob Jones at 58 Balsall Street East or give it to one the Finance team who will pass it on. Bob will always ensure that you have a receipt. If you prefer to provide cash that is no problem.
04.11.2020Sunday Mass will not be available for the next four weeksAs I am sure you now realise with the latest government announcement, we will not be holding Mass for at least the next four weeks. We would like to thank all members of the parish for offering to help with the cleaning and opening the church for mass for the last two Sundays which went very well. We had over 20 helpers and considering the size of our congregation we so lucky to have so much help thank you. We will keep you all informed what is happening as soon as more information becomes available. A weekly Spiritual Communion will be available on this website if you wish to use it.
31.10.2020Balsall Common Coronavirus Community HelpPlease be aware of the following service available in Balsall Common. Please use the phone number or email address if you need any support.
17.10.2020St George and St Teresa Catholic Primary School Virtual Open DayNotification of virtual open mornings at St George and St Teresa Catholic Primary School in Bentley Heath, Solihull. You can find out more at www.stgandt.solihull.sch.uk
10.10.2020Midland Charities Association Christmas card shopsDue to the ongoing Covid19 situation, we have reluctantly decided not to open the Midland Charities Association Christmas card shop in Balsall Common or Allesley Park libraries this year. We are hoping to be able to sell cards from home for a limited number of charities as well as some sundry items such as wrapping paper, gift tags, money wallets etc. In order to do this, we would need to take orders in advance. If you would be interested in buying your cards in this way, please speak to Janice or Bob on 01676 534407 or email mcacards20@yahoo.com. I would like to thank both volunteers and customers for all your support over the years. We will make every effort to open the shops as normal in 2021 if the situation allows. Best wishes, Janice
06.09.2020100 ClubJohn McLellan and Chris Burleigh have just done a Zoom draw for the 100 Club, the results of the 3rd 100 Club draw for 2020, conducted using a random generator on a Zoom call with John McLellan, as follows: 1st 19 Tracey McAtammney (£75), 2nd 78 Kathy Jones (£45), 3rd 82 Judith Gibbs (£30). Congratulations to the winners!
17.03.2020Solemnity of St JosephOn Thursday at 10:00 am we celebrate the Feast of a very great saint of the Church: St Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This Mass will be followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until 11:00am.
15.03.2020Coronavirus Diocesean response - please readPlease make every effort to read about the changes that the Diocese have asked us to make in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. You can click the link to the left or use the one at the top of this page.
15.03.2020100 ClubThank you to all who have renewed or taken out a subscription this year. The first draw of 2020 will take place after Mass today. Prizes are £75, £45 and £30.
15.03.2020Please pray for Eleanor Rose Orme Please pray for Eleanor Rose Orme who is to be baptised here today, for her parents and godparents, her friends and family - that together with them we will grow ever more faithful to our baptismal promises.
12.03.2020Mass and Stations of the CrossThere will be a Mass at 10:00am on Tuesday 17 Mar morning (Feast of St. Patrick) followed by Stations of the Cross.
12.03.2020Parish meetingThere is a parish meeting next Thursday 12th March in the parish room after Mass to plan events for the coming year. All are very welcome to attend
11.03.2020First Holy CommunionsMeeting in the parish room on Wednesday 11th March at 4.30pm for parents who would like their children to make their First Holy Communion this year. Contact Chris Mitchell if any queries - 07742288722
08.03.2020Please pray for Brian Bernard Stokes Please pray for Brian Bernard Stokes who is to be baptised here today, for his parents and godparents, his friends and family - that together with them we will grow ever more faithful to our baptismal promises
08.03.2020Thanks from Solihull Cooperative Funeral CareOur visitors from Solihull Cooperative Funeral Care were overwhelmed by the welcome and support which they received here last Sunday and by your generosity. With your help they raised £165.00 for Dementia UK. They have asked me to pass on their thanks.
08.03.2020Thanks from Father FrankFather Frank would like to thank those who are responsible for cleaning the church.
06.03.2020World Day of PrayerWomen's World Day of Prayer on Friday 6th March at 10.30am, St Swithin's Church, Barston. Prepared by the Christian Women of Zimbabwe. All welcome, please contact Louise Perry if you can take part in the service.
04.03.2020Get-togetherGet-together on Wednesday 4th March at 11.30am in the parish room for soup and dessert. All welcome.
01.03.2020Kneelers - Safety ConsiderationsFollowing a recent incident in the church, a risk assessment and inspection of the kneelers has been carried out (by the Parish Maintenance Committee). While the kneelers are in good condition and did not require repairs, the inspection concluded that keeping the kneelers in the 'down' position is more hazardous than in the upright position. The Committee would like to remind everyone to take care when entering and exiting the pews.
01.03.2020Second CollectionThere will be a second collection on Sunday 1st March for Cathedral Maintenance
01.03.2020March 'Prayer Calendar' for VocationsWe have been invited by the Deanery again, this year, to contribute a month of prayer for vocations to the priesthood. We are each asked to choose one day in March and to commit to saying on that day, a prayer - short or long - for increasing numbers of vocations. If you would like to support this, please sign your selected day on the sheet at the back of church. We hope to have one or more people praying this every day of the month. For further details, see Bysshe Gibbs.
26.02.2020Ash WednesdayLent begins this week with Ash Wednesday with the Blessing and Imposition of Ashes. The Church orders the season of Lent to our preparation for the celebration of Easter. The forty days of Lent run from Ash Wednesday up to, but excluding, the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Maundy Thursday. We are encouraged to participate fully in the Lenten preparation for Easter, approaching the Sacrament of Penance and making our confession during this season. The season of Lent also presents us with an opportunity to reflect on our prayer life and to give ourselves over to meditation upon the scriptures or some other spiritual reading.
23.02.2020Thank youThe sale of Christmas Cards, Advent Calendars and Candles in 2018 and 2019 amounted to £139.70. Proceeds went to HCPT Group 83. Thank you for your support, it was much appreciated.
23.02.2020Lately deadPlease pray for the Repose of the Soul of Columban Father Joe Flanagan, who died recently in Ireland. Fr Joe celebrated Mass for us here on many occasions before we had our own Parish Priest. And also, for Peggy Anderton, a neighbour, friend & supporter of Group 83
23.02.2020Walk with MeWalk with Me Booklets for Lent £1 each will be available this weekend. Please put your donation in the wall box. Thank you
16.02.2020Warwick Deanery Parish Visitation 2020This weekend we welcomed Bishop William Kenney for the Warwick Deanery Parish Visitation to our parish. Click on the link to learn more about it and read the parish report presented to the Bishop
16.02.2020Welcome to Bishop William Welcome to Bishop William who is carrying out his Visitation this weekend. He will celebrate Mass and preach today.
16.02.2020Tom Green's Cake sale fundraiserA huge thank you to everyone who supported my cake sale last Sunday. The response was fantastic, and I raised an amazing £282. This money will all go directly towards my projects in Tanzania. I am volunteering with Christian charity 'Go Make a Difference Tanzania' for 3 months from the 21st March. I will be working on rural community projects such as a reforestation scheme and building goat sheds. Many thanks again. Tom
09.02.2020Two volunteers required for Church CleaningDue to the resignation of two volunteers for church cleaning a vacancy has arisen for two people to join our dynamic team. The honour of cleaning our lovely church comes around every 8 weeks. No previous experience needed. Please apply in person to Louise Perry.
05.02.2020Get-togetherGet-together this Wednesday 5th February. We meet in the Parish room at 10.30am for coffee, cakes and a chat. All welcome.
02.02.2020Parish AccountsThere will be a Finance Committee meeting after mass next Sunday, 2nd February, when the 2019 accounts will be presented.
01.02.2020Father Frank and his recoveryI am grateful to you for all for the support and kindness, shown both to my family and myself during my recent period of illness. Until I have regained more strength, I will only be celebrating Sunday Masses and the Baptisms that I have agreed to. After the regular daily round of prayer, meditation and study, I have more than enough to keep me busy at my desk and in the seemingly endless task of unpacking after our recent move. I look forward to returning to celebrating the weekday Masses, visiting and other parish duties when I am sufficiently recovered. I would like to give special thanks to Joe, Bob and Chris who made repeated trips to the tip in order to dispose of the mountain of waste which built up during the move. Also, to those of you who have ensured on-going prayer, during the week in the church. Thank you all for your patience and continuing prayers. Fr Frank
01.02.2020BaptismWe pray for Milo Kristian McKeever who is to be Baptised after Mass here today - we pray also for his parents and godparents, friends and family.
26.01.2020Choir returnsOur choir practice begins after Mass next Sunday 26th January. If you have ever thought that you would like to join our choir, this is an ideal point to join in! We are going to start work on music for Lent and Easter. Everyone is welcome!
19.01.2020100 ClubThank you for your support each year, which contributes at least £600 towards church funds. Subscriptions for 2020 are now due and Chris and John will be in the hall for the next few Sundays to collect your subscriptions. The cost is £15 for the year, with the chance to win £75, £45, or £30, each quarter. You may take out more than one subscription, thereby increasing your chances of winning! New members are always welcome. If you can, it helps our admin if you set up a standing order. We can provide the necessary form. Good luck for 2020!
19.01.2020New diary for Candle of dedication is now available for 2020If you would like to have the Candle of Dedication in remembrance of a loved one or in thanksgiving for a special occasion for a week of your choice, please find at the back of church the diary and envelopes for your name and donation (suggested amount is £5) for you to fill in. You may select to have the candle in front of our Lady (OL) or Sacred Heart (SH)statues. Please give your envelope to the Warden, Ann Ostler or Bridget Harrison.
12.01.2020Christmas giving treeThank you so much for all your generosity in giving the lovely gifts you donated to Fr Hudson's Society and local parishioners this Christmas, via the giving tree. They were gratefully received. A big thanks also to all the families who delivered the local gifts. Claire
08.01.2020Get-togetherGet-together this Wednesday, 8th. January. We will meet at 10.30am in the parish room for coffee, cakes and a chat. All welcome.
05.01.2020Christmas RaffleMany thanks to everyone who donated prizes or who bought/sold tickets, resulting in an outstanding result of £1,051. Most particular thanks to Tracey
25.12.2019Father Frank's Christmas Message 2019Click on the link to read Father Frank's Christmas message for 2019
25.12.2019Christmas 2019 Newsletter now availableOur 2019 Christmas newsletter is now available. This bumper issue covers the whole of 2019 and celebrates the 25th anniversary of the construction of our church. Click on the link to access our special newsletters page and then click on the Christmas 2019 link to access the newsletter. Alternatively paper copies will be available at both of our Christmas services on 24th and 25th December.
15.12.2019CAFOD at Christmas I have put some CAFOD "World Gift" Catalogues at the back of the church. Please take one. Please consider giving a present at Christmas that will really change the lives of people of all ages living in extreme poverty. We often buy presents for friends that really have everything they need, and they may like to think that they are giving to others in need instead! You can use the website to cafod.org.uk/worldgifts if you prefer. Thank You Chris Lynn.
15.12.2019Carol ServiceOur carol service will be held this Sunday on the 15th December at 6.30pm. Come along to listen to Christmas readings, music from our choir and sing Christmas carols. The service will be followed by mulled wine and mince pies in the parish room
15.12.2019Christmas Goodies SaleA grand total of £250 for parish funds was achieved last Sunday. Thanks to all those who contributed in any way.
08.12.2019Walk with Me BookletsWalk with Me Booklets for Advent are available. Price £1.00 each. Please put money in the wall box.
08.12.2019HCPT ChristmasChristmas cards, calendars & candles are on sale. All proceed will go to HCPT Group 83.
04.12.2019Get togetherGet together: This Wednesday, 4th December. We are going to Wyndley Garden Centre. Meet in BRG car park at 10.30am in order to sort out transport.
03.12.2019Cancellation of daytime masses until Sunday 8th DecemberPlease note that all Masses for the rest of this week are cancelled as Father Frank is preparing to move house. Sunday Mass on 8th December will be celebrated as normal at 9:30 am
01.12.2019Charity Christmas FayreI would like to thank all those who supported the Fayre on Saturday. It was an enjoyable day and a total of £1,548 was made, to be divided equally between Acorns and Save the Children. Your generosity is much appreciated. Thank you also to Father Frank for allowing the use of the Hall and to all those who helped make the day run smoothly. Julia Greensall
01.12.2019BaptismPlease pray for Liam Joseph Hunt, who is to be baptised today after Mass. Also, pray for his parents, godparents, family and friends.
01.12.2019Christmas RaffleRaffle Tickets, for the draw after Mass next Sunday, are available to sell at the back of the church. Please take away and sell to friends, colleagues and family. We have some fantastic prizes including £150 cash prize to cover the cost of Christmas Lunch! Christmas Hamper, Lunch for 2 at Mallory Court, Sunday Lunch for 4 at The Counting House Leamington Spa, Afternoon Tea for 2 at Whittles Restaurant, Binswood Hall, Vouchers, Bottles, Christmas Cake, Chocolates & much more.... Many thanks – Tracey
01.12.2019Advent Advent begins today. During Advent, the evening Mass on Thursdays will be followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament ending with Benediction. The meditations accompanying Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during Advent and Christmas will reflect the themes of those holy seasons. In addition, there will be an opportunity to make your Confession prior to Christmas, after Mass on Thursday 19th December
01.12.2019Thursday Evening Mass Thursday Evening Mass will begin at 6.00pm every week unless otherwise notified in the bulletin.
01.12.2019Christmas giving treeEvery year we decorate our Christmas tree with tags for presents that we, as a parish donate to others. Some will be given to local parishioners and the rest are given to Fr Hudson's charity. They have many projects (I have added their newsletter to the notice board) and our gifts will be given to those who use their projects. This year they are asking us to identify what is in the present to ensure it gets to the right person. They have said they find gift packs of toiletries and winter gifts (eg slippers) useful. Selection boxes, food hampers (see noticeboard) and tins of biscuits are also very welcome, they don't need wrapping. Please give whatever you can, wrap it and place it back under the tree with the tag. Many thanks.
24.11.2019BaptismPlease pray for Cora Beatrice Noonan, who is to be baptised today after Mass. Also, pray for her parents, godparents, family and friends
17.11.2019Millennium BreakfastThe total raised at last week's breakfast was £213.20, a brilliant result. Many thanks to everyone who supported the breakfast and to those who gave a donation. Fr Ed will receive the money in the next week or so and will be delighteda
12.11.2019Early MassPlease note Early Mass on Tuesday to allow Fr Frank to attend the monthly Deanery meeting
10.11.2019Book of RemembranceOur Book of Remembrance will be updated in time for the mass on 10th November. If you wish to add any names into the Book, please could you complete one of the forms at the back of the Book and leave it under the Book by Sunday 3rd November. Please print any names you wish to be added on the form and be sure to include the month and day in which you would like that person to be remembered. Thank you.
10.11.2019Counting RotaWe need an additional member of the team. You will only need to count one Sunday in every ten. Please speak with Bob Jones or Godfrey Chesshire after mass. Thank you
10.11.2019ConfirmationThanks to all who made last Sunday such a special event in our 25th Anniversary year. You can see the photos in our parish archive by clicking on the link to the left
10.11.2019Holy Souls Throughout November Masses for the Holy Souls will be offered when we will pray, by name, for those placed before the altar for All Souls.
10.11.2019LourdesMaureen, together with the rest of Group 83, had a lovely time in Lourdes. She was well looked after. She remembered you all there, and has brought back some Lourdes Holy Water. If anyone would like some, please speak to her.
06.11.2019Get-togetherGet-together this Wednesday November 6th. We are meeting at 10.30am in the parish room for tea, coffee, cakes and a chat. All welcome
03.11.2019Dates for your diary relating to the Silver Anniversary Year of Blessed Robert Grissold ChurchSunday 3rd November: Confirmation, together with the Blessing of our commemorative window by Bishop William. Wednesday 25th December: Christmas Day - the 25th anniversary of the first Mass at Blessed Robert Grissold
03.11.2019ConfirmationWe welcome Bishop William next week. He will celebrate the Mass, preach and Confirm our candidates. He will also bless our commemorative window. There will be a reception in the hall after Mass - to which all are welcome. Please keep the Confirmation Candidates, Chloe, Ethan, Carys, Erin and James, in your prayers as they make their final preparations to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation next Sunday 3rd November.
03.11.2019Silver Anniversary Year of Blessed Robert Grissold ChurchThe church will be providing a buffet after mass on the 3rd of November to celebrate the children's confirmation and blessing of the new window by Bishop William. Could we please have volunteers for making cakes and providing food. Please see Ann Dodd and Louise Perry after mass today if you feel you could help.
03.11.2019Welcome to Sasha WardWelcome to Sasha Ward, the artist who has produced our window commemorating the 25th anniversary of our church. Thanks to Ian Clarke who coordinated this project.
03.11.2019Masses for the Holy SoulsThere are envelopes for your prayer intentions and offerings at the back of the church. Please write the names of your departed loved ones clearly on a piece of paper and enclose it in one of the envelopes provided, together with your offering. I will offer the Mass for those named at the Masses for Holy Souls during the month of November - they will be named in the intercessions at the Masses during this month of remembrance. A tray will be placed by the altar to receive your Mass intentions and offerings.
02.11.2019All SoulsThere are envelopes for your prayer intentions and offerings at the back of the church. Please write the names of your departed loved ones clearly on a piece of paper and enclose it in one of the envelopes provided, together with your offering. Fr. Frsnk will offer the Mass for those named on All Souls' Day and they will be named in the intercessions at the Masses for the Holy Souls that will be offered throughout the month of November. A tray will be placed by the altar to receive your Mass intentions and offerings. The Commemoration of All Souls will take place at 10.00am on Saturday 2nd November.
01.11.2019All SaintsThe Solemnity of all Saints will be celebrated on Friday 1st November at 7.00pm
31.10.2019Christmas RaffleIt's that time of year again when I am looking for the donation of Raffle Prizes for the Christmas Raffle. As you are aware the raffle is one of our biggest fundraisers each year made possible by your generosity in donating prizes, buying the raffle tickets and selling to friends and family. In particular, I will need to know the first three prizes before the end of October when the tickets go to print. There will be a list at the back of the church, or you can contact me directly, traceymcatamney@btconnect.com or 01676 532940. Thank you – Tracey.
31.10.2019The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will be offered in the Mass on Thursday at 6.00pm. Mass is followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, meditations and silent prayer until Benediction at 7.05pm.
27.10.2019October is the month of the Rosary October is the month of the Rosary and we have prayed a decade of the Rosary at each Mass throughout the month of October as a gentle reminder, if it is needed, of the great riches that are to be had in this form of prayer. Padre Pio, the holy saint who received the stigmata, loved to pray the Rosary. He always kept his Rosary beads in his hand. Because he prayed it almost constantly, he was known as the 'living Rosary.' One day his superior asked him how many Rosaries he had prayed that day. Wanting to be respectful and honest with his superior he told him: "I have prayed thirty-four Rosaries today." On another occasion a follower asked him to teach him a prayer that was most pleasing to our Blessed Lady. Without hesitation, he insisted that none is more beautiful or pleasing than the Rosary. And he further instructed him: "Always say the Rosary. The Rosary is a weapon in our hands." Near the end of his life he didn't talk much and when people sought his advice or help he would simply show them the Rosary. Let us follow St Pio's example and always have our Rosary with us
27.10.2019Memories of Our ChurchAs part of the commemoration of 25 years of our church, we would like to collect your memories and photos of our parish over the last 25 years for a pull out and keep souvenir to be published as part of our Christmas Newsletter. If you would like to share your memories and photos please contact Eleanor Clarke after Mass or email her on iehclarke@btinternet.com
27.10.2019BaptismWe welcome and pray for the parents, godparents, family and friends of Eleanor Irwin who is to be baptised here today.
24.10.2019Mary Teresa Petropoulos (RIP)