Upcoming Activities & Offerings

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IMPORTANT DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

Thur. Aug 15th  --  Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary  (Holy Day of Obligation)


Dates for SECOND COLLECTIONS 

Sun. Sep 15th  --   Home Missions

Resources to help you pray

Fr Luke writes: Following last week’s homily several people asked me for details about the prayer apps and websites I mentioned. Therefore, I include a supplement with this week’s newsletter. (It is based on one we use in the IGNITE Youth team which lists useful resources and apps.) The teaching supplement on the Creed will resume next weekend.’ 

Interested in becoming a Catholic?

Want to know more about the Church?

Perhaps you are a Catholic but missed out on making your confirmation as a youngster.

If this is you, please consider joining our RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) programme. Please write to Fr Luke expressing your interest.

Children’s Liturgy at St Johns’ Mildenhall

Emily Burbridge and Sarah Limmer undertake children’s liturgy every fortnight during term time. Children’s Liturgy will resume in September. 


We are working towards a Children’s Liturgy at St Thomas’ too. 

Setting up St John’s for Sunday Mass

St John’s is used during the week by various community groups. This is one way in which we fulfil our mission in the local community. It means that we have to clean and set up the church each week. The most important task on these occasions is to prepare the altar for mass. Lorna, Jo and Janine help with this at the moment, but we do need some others to provide backup when any of these may be away. Please speak to Fr Luke or Philip Kemp.

Talking in Church and Silence before Mass

Fr Luke writes: One of the strong points of both Brandon and Mildenhall communities is the warmth of welcome one experiences when coming into Church. Without compromising on this warm and friendly atmosphere, I would like to take the opportunity to gently remind people that when we come to Church we come to pray and we need to be mindful of others who wish to pray. The general talking, hustle and bustle that occurs before Mass is not conducive to prayer and preparation for the Eucharist. 


At Brandon I regularly invite people to silence a few minutes before we begin Mass in order to recollect ourselves and focus our hearts and minds on the awesome mysteries we are about celebrate. 


We will begin a similar thing at Mildenhall in a few weeks’ time. I propose to have the bell rung a few minutes before the start of Mass. When the bell is rung this will be an invitation for talking to cease and silent prayer to begin. Please also respect others who may be trying to pray before and after Mass by keeping talking to a minimum in and around the main body of the Church. (This does not apply so much to Mildenhall after Mass as we have a Blessed Sacrament chapel for people to pray in whilst teas and coffee continue at the back of Church) 


Silent and prayerful preparation is something that Pope Francis asks us to take seriously, the Pope says: “Mass is the highest form of prayer and not an appropriate moment for small talk. At church, Catholics should spend their time in silence before Mass, preparing to meet with Jesus instead of engaging in "chitchat,”. Silence is so important…we are not going to a show. Silence prepares us and accompanies us." – General audience Nov 15th 2017 


         IF SILENCE IS GOLDEN, PLEASE GIVE JESUS A LITTLE OF YOUR GOLD 

Diocesan Summer Camp 23rd -26th August for ages 8-14

email: diocesansummercamp@gmail.com for more info.

Diocesan Marriage Course

Is your marriage struggling under the burden of arguments, resentments, or outright conflict? Or would you simply like a chance to enrich the way you communicate as a couple? The diocese is offering a half-day session on the Smart Loving Breakthrough program, which helps couples improve the way they communicate with each other. The program draws on relationship psychology and the Theology of the Body. It is both scientific and fully Catholic. 10am — 1pm on Saturday 14th September at OLISE Newmarket. Tea and coffee will be provided. To register as an individual or couple, please email: mflc.eastanglia@rcdea.org.uk. The Breakthrough program is also available online: https://smartloving.org/breakthrough/ 

WILL YOU?

The Parish - whole Church – depends on its members for finance to achieve its mission. That is why we have first and second collections at Mass and welcome people’s generosity in making donations. 


Have you considered continuing your contributions after you have departed? 


You can do this by making a gift in your will. You can specify what it is to be spent on and the charity that will benefit.  Talk to our treasurer for more information: 

Philip Kemp: Tel 07514430468; Email pjkemp1@gmail.com 

REMEMBER …

You can forget the chore of remembering to bring money for the Offertory by signing up to a Direct Debit. Talk to Philip Kemp. 

Fairly Traded

As a parish, we are dedicated to working for fair treatment of growers and suppliers in the Third World. 


Because of lack of support, we no longer have a Traidcraft stall at Mildenhall, but we are still obliged to use Fairly Traded tea and coffee. If these cannot be purchased from shops and supermarkets locally, Gillian Caple can order it from Traidcraft. Please ask her. 


Locally, Sainsbury’s have opted out of using the Fair Trade logo and, therefore, there is uncertainty about the status of their products. Non-fair trade brands such as Nescafe, Lavazza, etc. should not be used in St John’s. Please inspect purchases carefully for the Fairtrade logo. 

Note about 'IN OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS'

We have a number of ways of recording people for whom prayers are said, including, books at each church and this section of our weekly Newsletter. 


In the Newsletter we record the names of those whose anniversaries occur each month and sometimes those for whom special requests have been made. These names will, of course, re-appear the same time next year. Because of limited space, the anniversaries are for those who have died since 2010. 

Learn more about your FAITH!

Fr Luke writes: I am gradually revamping the resources and CTS racks in our churches. New ‘CTS Essentials’ leaflets have been purchased dealing with a variety of subjects including: Contemplative Prayer, the Blessed Sacrament and Sunday Mass please feel free to take any of these leaflets.

(These leaflets are free - even if they are priced at 20p!) Books and booklets remain as individually priced, but I will be updating the selection shortly – Please use this resource to help nourish your faith.

Support Our Parish 50/50 Club

Sign up, win a prize and support the parish! Please fill out a form and return to David Thomas, Philip Kemp or Angela Jordan – or Fr Luke! 

Gift Aid

Thank you to those who signed up to GA following my recent finance update after Mass. If you missed this and would like to discuss your GA, please let me know. If you pay UK tax the Parish can claim back 25% of your Sunday offering from the tax office. The only details required are your name, address and signature confirming you pay UK tax. Philip Kemp Tel 07514430468 Email pjkemp1@gmail.com

Teas and Coffees at Mildenhall

This is a valuable act of service and ministry to the parish, which helps to build up the community. Please consider signing up and serving our parish family in this way. 


If you haven’t time to help in this way, you can help by providing tea and coffee (Fairtrade please!!) or cakes and biscuits. Homemade cakes will be especially welcome. 

Our Food Banks

We are collecting for the foodbank at Brandon each week.  Please help local families in crisis by buying items and bringing them into St Thomas’ or St John's as our collection points.


Milk (UHT or powdered), Sugar, Long life Fruit Juice, Cereals, Tinned sponge pudding, Tinned Tomatoes, Tinned vegetables, Soup, Tinned rice pudding, Tea bags/instant coffee, Instant Mash, Rice, Tinned meat/fish, Tinned Fruit, Jam, Biscuits/snack bars 

Pasta or Pasta Sauces are not currently needed.

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Justice & Peace Group

Your local J&P Group brings together Brandon, Mildenhall and Newmarket as our two parishes work together to promote practical action in support Catholic Teaching. We: 

  • Arrange exhibitions & displays;
  • Organise peace vigils;
  • Provide resources to celebrate church festivals (from Easter chicks to Peace Poppies);
  • Run campaigns (e.g. “Share the Journey”) to support people in need in the UK and elsewhere round the world;
  • Raise funds for specific projects;
  • Keep people informed about J&P Matters.

We always welcome new members to the group. You don’t have to come to meetings! You can join by using Skype of Face Time or just receive and respond to our monthly Update. 

 

The Justice & Peace Group usually meet on the first Monday of each month. All are welcome.


Talk to Tom or Gill Caple for more information: 01638 716474 

 

Prayer 

O Lord Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, full of compassion and maker of peace, you lived in poverty and suffered persecution for the cause of justice. 

You chose the Cross as the path to glory to show us the way of salvation. May we receive the word of the Gospel joyfully and live by Your example as heirs and citizens of Your kingdom. Amen. 

Dealing with Climate Change

On Sunday, July 7th, the Justice & Peace Group facilitated a shared lunch and discussion on what a parish might do to counteract or reduce the effects of climate change. Here are some of the ideas that emerged: 

     

A. Become a Live Simply Parish 

B. Use Solar Panels/Raise money for Solar Panels 

C. Become a plastic-free parish? 

D. Educate the kids in the Children’s Liturgy 

E. Make a commitment as a parish to: 

     • Turn off lights when not in use 

     • Make sure all our lights are LED bulbs 

     • Check the lights 

F. Have a walk/cycle to mass Sunday (for those who can) 

G. Share cars to get to Church using less fuel.


Many other suggestions were made as well, some of which are already in place. There’s no doubting that more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of local action, and not just waiting for world leaders to solve the problem. 


If you have suggestions about practical actions we can take, please contact Gill or Tom Caple 

Our Common Home

Ten years ago the UK Government took a global lead and passed the pioneering Climate Change Act committing us to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. Recent research by climate scientists has stressed that this is no longer enough. We need to go further, faster. Unless we make dramatic changes, the damage caused by climate change will be irreversible. We need to reach ‘net zero’ emissions by 2045 at the latest. This is based on the science behind keeping global temperature rise below 1.5C. Several countries have already committed to reach this target. The UK as a global leader on climate change must join them to ‘revive’ our common home. So what can we do? 


For further information about the national campaign go to www.cafod.org.uk/climate 

Justice & Peace Recent Activities

Working with Adult Faith Formation (AFF) 


AFF is a group that has come together to work together in their spiritual development. They meet monthly on Thursday evenings and Tuesday lunchtimes for prayer, talks by invited speakers and study sessions. 


In February the J&P led an event on Intercessions.  AFF members took part in an interactive session involving discussion, practice in composing intentions and reflection.  The papers supporting the session can be obtained from Tom Caple.  Participants said that the session was helpful.


The session was repeated (with suitable adjustments) for the Tuesday Lunch Club.  It also got a positive response.


Stations of the Cross 


We led a poetry-based Station service at OLISE on Palm Sunday.   Each participant read a relevant poem at each station. Across the echoing church, each reading draped us with insights and reverence for Christ’s gift of sacrifice. It proved a very moving way of remembering Jesus’s journey. 

Nonviolence Works

Nonviolence Works is a network of Christian Peace Organisations, including Pax Christi, committed to furthering peace in communities. The network has evidence that there are ways other than violent intervention to resolve differences and bring an end to wars. It publishes cases that show how nonviolent approaches can and do work. We will publish examples from time to time. Here are three: 


Norway 1942 

Teachers refused to co-operate with the pro-Nazi Quisling regime and, although many endured prison, the obligation to teach Nazi doctrines had to be withdrawn. 


Mozambique 1989-92 

The Rome-based Community of Sant” Egidio brokered an agreement between RENAMO and FRELIMO forces, ending ten years of war. 


Guatemala 2007 

Young stilt walkers used circus acts and carnival in the streets to transform the climate of violence spread by brutal youth gangs. 

NON-VIOLENCE WORKS!

I made a choice

War changed my life. For us ordinary people of Croatia, the violent disintegration of Yugoslavia came so suddenly we were confused. The war and the logic of war spread like a violent fire. From a culture of nationalism to the fear-ridden images of the enemy, to being surrounded by Serbian forces bombing us… I started to think like others, there was no other way. It is them or us… While we were thinking and praying in a small group we spoke about the meaning of love for our enemy in this very situation. …. I started to think, what would it mean to love my enemy in this time of war? I could not find the answer. But then I made a choice, from my will. So, I chose to love my enemy as Jesus would. This choice was my first move from the logic of violence, and I felt I could breathe again. 

My next step was to think how would I defend life? I would defend life but not by killing. But what if I needed to defend the life of my children? I don’t know what I would do in such a situation. But this transition from the logic of violence opened my heart and my mind to ask: what could I do for peace and the end of the war? I met someone who was an ethicist and then a conscientious objector. … And this was the beginning of the peace movement, the Centre for Nonviolence and Human Rights in Osijek, from the middle of the war. 

                               Katarina Kruhonja, former Board member, Pax Christi International 

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Pray as You Go PAYG

A superb free App from the British Jesuits. Lots on the App including a daily 10-12 min prayer meditation, as well as Stations of the Cross, Rosary meditations and other prayer resources. If you have a smart phone download the App, it could help develop your prayer life and your friendship with Jesus. Why not try it out for Holy Week? 

Interested in joining the Ignite Team?

Are you leaving school or university soon, in between jobs or would like to do something 'different'? The Diocesan Youth Service is looking for people age 18-30 to join the Ignite Team, sharing the Gospel Message with young people in a way they can relate to. These are full-time positions, with food, accommodation and a monthly allowance provided. Ideal as a ‘gap year’. For more information see www.rcdea.org.uk/youth .

CATHOLIC PEOPLE’S WEEKS (CPW) HOLIDAYS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE

CPW offers a chance to enrich and develop your faith, as well as warmly welcoming people from other faith traditions who are in sympathy with the catholic tradition. Events range from 1-day meetings to 7-day holidays, from retreats to conferences to walking holidays. They vary from activities for whole families (in school holidays) to 18+ events: and they are affordable holidays in comfortable accommodation. A limited number of leaflets are available. For details talk to Gill or Tom Caple. 

Your Red Box

TO BE A CHRISTIAN IS TO BE A MISSIONARY - YOU CAN HELP BY PRAYING FOR THE MILL HILL MISSIONARIES AND DONATING THROUGH USING A RED BOX.


THREE HUNDRED, FIFTY-NINE POUNDS AND NINE PENCE or £359.09 – that’s the amount of money donated through the Red Box Scheme for the first half of this year. Thank you very much! 


Thank you for helping their Missionary work. Please keep up this good work for 2019.


Not got a Red Box? Some spare boxes are at the back of the church. Take one and tell Sue Dean or Fr Luke. 

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Newsletter Teaching Supplements “What we believe”

Fr Luke writes: I have decided to produce regular (or semi-regular depending on commitments!) articles which I shall include with the newsletter from time to time as a supplement entitled ‘what we believe’. I hope to explore with you some aspects of our faith that perhaps, we haven’t always (or at least recently) thought about too deeply. It is not always possible and not really the right forum to explore these themes in depth in homilies so I have decided to explore them in written form with the hope that we can go a bit deeper and, if you wish, read at your own pace and re-read as necessary. I may also in time have these available online as well.   

The third reflection on the Creed: ‘Creator of Heaven and Earth’.  

The fourth reflection: ‘Of all things visible and invisible’. 

The fifth reflection:  I believe in Jesus Christ, the Only Son, Our Lord.’ 

The sixth reflection: "He was conceived by the Holy spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. "

Adult Faith Formation (AFF)

This is a programme of weekly sessions exploring understanding of our faith and spiritual development, held at Our Lady Immaculate & St Etheldreda after 7 pm Mass each Thursday.  All are welcome. Tom & Gill Caple have details. 

For a full programme see the OLiSE website - www.olise.co.uk. 

Parish Mission Advisory Team (P-MAT)

Fr Luke writes: In order to help me run our parish I am looking to appoint a group of advisors from both the Mildenhall and Brandon Community. I am going to spend some time next week praying over the mission and ministry of our parish and planning the way forward. A constitutive part of this team will be a new safeguarding rep as our current rep, Andy Watts has decided to step down. I am grateful to Andy for the work he has done. If I approach you over the next few weeks, please be generous in giving of yourself in service of our parish community. If you have any ideas or suggestions about how things are done in our parish please feel free to email me or to talk to personally, I want to hear your views. 

“Let’s Go To Mass” A Booklet for Children and Their Parents

An anonymous donor has given the parish 10 copies of this Redemptorist booklet, which can be used by children (with or without their parents, depending on age) to follow and learn about the Mass. Users can colour in and wipe off again and again. 

Five of the copies will be available in each church. You may use it, but please clean and return it after Mass. If you want to take it home for study between masses, please do so, but return it the following week. Thank you. 

Mass Intentions

There is a bit of a back log with Mass intentions: If you would like Mass offered for a particular intention on or near a specific day, (and at a specific location) please give as much notice as possible – some people book days a year in advance. If the date that you would like is unavailable Mass will be offered at the requested location, on the next available free-day. The current schedule, however, means that this could be as long as six weeks after the proposed date. If you are not too-concerned about where Mass will be offered (Brandon or Mildenhall) then it is often possible to fit a Mass in sooner than this. 

Discipleship Days

A new series of day-retreats entitled 'Discipleship Days' aimed at those aged 16 - 35, are now being launched around the Diocese of East Anglia. These days are for those who wish to grow in their faith through a day of fellowship, formation and prayer. The first one took place on the 23rd of February in Brandon. These events are free of charge. If you are under 18, please go to www.rcdea.org.uk/youth for a parental consent form. 

New St Thomas Of Canterbury Books for sale

Gracewing has just published a beautiful little book Devotions to St Thomas Becket by Fr John S. Hogan, a priest of the Diocese of Meath in Ireland, with illustrations by a monk of Silverstream Priory. As well as the Christmas Novena to St Thomas, Fr John's book offers an 'armchair' pilgrimage to Canterbury with the Seven Stations of St Thomas of Canterbury. The book retails at £7.99 St Thomas Becket, a popular little life of the saint, at £6.99 - you can find copies of these books at the back of the Church in Brandon. Please put money in the CTS pamphlet box on the wall. 

Statue of Our Lady of Walsingham

A new statue of the Virgin Mary under the title Our Lady of Walsingham has been donated to our parish for the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at St Johns. Please have a look at our new statue and take a moment to ask the prayers of Mary, Mother of God of Walsingham. 

Walsingham is our National Shrine and the centre of the New Evangelisation as designated by the Bishops of England and Wales, we are blessed to live so close to this beautiful and important site for Catholicism in our Country. 

Stole Fees

There is sometimes confusion about what stole fees are and who receives them. 

They are amounts of money given to priests for various services (Baptisms, Marriages, funerals, etc.). In some countries, the priest keeps the fee. In East Anglia, because priests receive a modest stipend (salary) each month, Bishop Peter Smith decreed that fees should be part of the parish income. This is still the situation. 

Lost or Left Property

Items left behind or lost are now accumulating. If you have lost anything please check what is in the narthex. We will keep abandoned items for one month, but will then have to dispose of them. Items of value may be kept longer, but we cannot take responsibility for these or anything else left behind. 

Takeaway Sunday Lunches at the Orient Express (Great Eastern Hotel) Brandon

If you are struggling to get a roast dinner ready after Mass at Brandon, consider taking one home with you from the Orient Express Carvery! For £9:99 they give you a takeaway tin and you fill it with freshly cooked food and locally sourced meats. 

New Altar Cloth

Thank you to Lina Busuttile, a member of the Mildenhall community who kindly created the new altar cloth for St Thomas’. Mass goers at St Thomas’ will also notice the new icons around the Church. These were purchased with the remaining funds that with given to the parish by an anonymous benefactor of the Divine Mercy Pictures 

Paschal & Prayer Candles

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Anna Liwak, the parishioner from Brandon who created out beautiful Paschal candles is now taking commissions for Candles.

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Her candles are handcrafted and can be personalized for First Communion, Baptisms, Memorials, Anniversaries or any other important occasions. Individual prayer candles are also available.

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For more information please contact Anna on 07741209889 or check out her facebook page: ‘Artistic Heart.’ 

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Masses & Flowers

Having a mass said or paying for flowers in the church are practical ways supporting the work of the parish. Please give your donations to Fr Luke or Philip Kemp. 

2019 Catholic Diary

Need a 2019 Catholic Diary? Contact Tom Caple 

House Blessing/Visit

Has your house been blessed? Would you like a home visit and a blessing for you home and family? 


If you would like Fr Luke to visit you in your home and invoke God’s blessing upon your home and family, please speak to him after Mass or call the presbytery. 


Even if your home has been blessed in the past we can still pray together and ask for God’s blessing upon our lives. It’s also an excellent way for priest and parish to get to know each other! 

Traidcraft

Just Traid, the Fair Trade shop next to St John the Baptist Church, St John’s Street, Bury, has launched an exciting new menu in their café and a wide range of goods in their shop. Well worth a break to rest your legs and your pocket, when Christmas shopping! 

  • Just Traid are also looking for volunteers to help in the shop and the kitchen. For more talk to Gill Caple. 

What is the St Edmund Fund?

The Fund deals with emergency grant applications from families or individuals in need. It also considers support for young people wishing to explore a third world project in their gap years or long vacations. 


The fund is administered by Caritas East Anglia. All applications come from the parish or endorsements from professionals working with applicants. 


Over the past year, the Fund has supported families and individuals facing homelessness or job losses resulting in rent arrears. Others helped have been dealing with the sudden onset of terminal illness. 


For more details go to:  https://www.rcdea.org.uk/caritas-east-anglia/ 

Book of the Dead

November is a traditionally the month when we pray for the dead. In both of our Churches you will find a ‘Book of the Dead’. 


Please put the names of your loved ones who have died in the book and they will be prayed for throughout November. I will also offer Mass for the Holy Souls at various points in November and they shall be remembered in those Masses. 


To add a name, simply find the page which corresponds to the month that they died and write the name in. Any name of any deceased person can be added, they do not need to have died in this last year nor do they need to be a Catholic. All people alive and dead can benefit from our prayers! 

You too can help our community -- We Need YOU!

Children’s Liturgy

 If you would be willing to help run a children’s liturgy group at Mildenhall or Brandon please speak to Fr Luke. 

Alter Servers

If you have made your first Holy Communion and would like to serve at Mass at either Brandon or Mildenhall, speak to Fr Luke. We need you! 

Mary’s Month

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May -- Mary’s Month

The Lord knows full well how His children have limited the time they have for each of the many tasks they put upon themselves to the point of exhaustion. This seems especially true today when life seems lived at breakneck speed.


So, in May we have the chance to slow a little, take time out from the daily hustle. This is because May is the Month of Mary, Christ’s Mother and, thus, the Mother of the Church. 


She is the example, as well as the guide and inspiration, of everyone who, in and through the Church, seeks to be the servant of God and our sisters and brothers, and the obedient agent of the promptings of the Holy Spirit.


We have no evidence that Mary rushed about trying to do an impossible number of things all at once; nor that she scolded anyone; nor that she gossiped, argued or nagged to get her way. She took Time and did not let Time take her.


For Mary, God’s way determined her way (as in the Annunciation): she also knew that what she could not do, her Son would (Cana). Most of all, she understood that love - not the overbearing pressure of time - is the foundation and framework of a satisfied life,. Love springs from Faith and Mary lived a life of faith and piety. Piety is the virtue that protects us from reducing faith to unfeeling, loveless dogma and mindless praying.


So May is the time to renew our acquaintance of and love for God’s Mother. Saying one Hail Mary thoughtfully, or the Litany of Mary, are simple ways of renewing our reverence for her and reminding ourselves of the selfless, patient and faithful way she responded to God’s plan for her.


May this be the example we can follow in peace, freed from stress, now that the earth yields its fruits for us once more.

Our Lady of Walsingham

According to tradition, in an apparition to Lady Richeldis, the Blessed Virgin Mary fetched Richeldis’ soul from England to Nazareth during a religious ecstasy to show the house where the Holy Family once lived and in which the Annunciation of Archangel Gabriel occurred. Richeldis was given the task of building a replica house in her village, in England. The building came to be known as the "Holy House", and later became both a shrine and a focus of pilgrimage to Walsingham.


In passing on his guardianship of the Holy House, Richeldis' son Geoffrey left instructions for the building of a priory in Walsingham. The priory passed into the care of the Canons Regular of S Augustine, sometime between 1146 and 1174.


An immensely popular place of pilgrimage during the middle ages, the shrine was destroyed during the Reformation and restored in the 19th and 20th centuries. 


The Slipper Chapel is now the centre of what has become the Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady and is regularly visited by people from the English dioceses and beyond. In mediaeval times this was the last staging post, where pilgrims began a 1 mile barefoot walk to the Shrine in the village. (Hence ‘Slipper’)

Our Lady of Carfin

Carfin Lourdes Grotto, is a shrine in Scotland dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, and was created in the early twentieth century. The "Carfin Grotto", as the shrine is locally referred to, was the brainchild of Father, later Canon, Thomas N. Taylor (died 1963), parish priest of St. Francis Xavier's Parish in the small, mining village of Carfin, two miles east of Motherwell. 


Following a trip to Lourdes, Canon Taylor's vision was to build a religious memorial in honour of Our Blessed Lady. Since its opening in the early 1920s, the "grotto" has attracted pilgrims in the hundreds of thousands. For the past 90 plus years, the grotto shrine has offered a pilgrimage season with Sunday processions, rosaries, outdoor masses and dedicated Feast Day events which runs annually from early May until late September. 

Our Lady of Knock

The evening of Thursday, 21 August 1879, was a very wet night. At about 8 o'clock the rain beat down in driving sheets when Mary Beirne, a girl of the village, accompanying the priest's housekeeper, Mary McLoughlin, home, stopped suddenly as she came in sight of the gable of the little church. There she saw standing a little out from the gable, were three life-size figures. She ran home to tell her parents and soon others from the village had gathered. 


The witnesses stated they saw an apparition of Our Lady, Saint Joseph and Saint John the Evangelist at the south gable end of the local small parish church, the Church of Saint John the Baptist. Behind them and a little to the left of Saint John was a plain altar. On the altar was a cross and a lamb (a traditional image of Jesus), with adoring angels 


This is now Ireland’s National Marian Shrine, and is a popular pilgrimage centre, especially for those with illnesses or disabilities. 

Our Lady of the Taper

Legend tells how, in the Middle Ages, a beautiful statue of Our Lady, her Son on her lap, and a burning taper in her hand, appeared on the banks of the River Teifi in Cardiganshire. Any attempt to move the statue to the parish church in Cardigan resulted in its reappearing at the spot where it first appeared. It became a place of pilgrimage and St Mary’s church was built on that spot in 1158. The original statue was destroyed in the Reformation. 


At the beginning of the 20th century, monks from Brittany gave their abbey church the name of Our Lady of Cardigan and revived the devotion. They made the same dedication to the small church they built in Cardigan in 1912 The monks left in 1916 and the devotion lapsed. 


In 1952, Bishop Petit learned that there had once been a shrine in Cardigan and decided to restore it. He commissioned a new statue, which was blessed in Westminster Cathedral in 1956. 


The Shrine of Our Lady of the Taper is now the national shrine for Wales and parish for the people of Cardigan and surrounding areas. 

Lectio Divina

A personal search for dialogue with God

Time set aside for Lectio Divina enables us to discover in our daily life an underlying spiritual rhythm. We discover an increasing ability to offer more of ourselves and our relationships to the Father, and to accept the embrace that God offers us in the person of his son, Jesus Christ. We can attend "with the ear of our hearts", listening for God's presence in our lives. 

How to Practice Lectio Divina as an individual

• Choose a text of the Scriptures that you wish to pray. This could be a reading for that day’s mass, or a particular book from the New Testament. The amount of text covered is in God's hands, not yours. 

• Place yourself in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become silent. This could be a few moments focused on your breathing, or a favourite prayer. Use whatever method is best for you and allow yourself to enjoy silence for a few moments. 

Turn to the text and read it slowly, gently. Savour each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the "still, small voice" of a word or phrase that somehow says, "I am for you today." In Lectio Divina, God is teaching us to listen to him, to seek him in silence. 

• Take the word or phrase into yourself. Slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories, and ideas. Memories or thoughts are simply parts of yourself that, when they rise up during Lectio Divina, are asking to be given to God along with the rest of your inner self. 

• Speak to God. Whether you use words, ideas, or images--or all three--is not important. Interact with God as you would with one you know loves and accepts you. Give to God what you have found within your heart. Experience God by using the word or phrase he has given you as a means of blessing and of transforming the ideas and memories that your reflection on his word has awakened. 

• Rest in God's embrace. And when he invites you to return to your contemplation of his word or to your inner dialogue with him, do so. Learn to use words when words are helpful, and to let go when they no longer are necessary. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is with you in both words and silence. 

How to Practice Lectio Divina as a group

 Many prayer groups find it a useful approach to collective study and prayer. 

This form of Lectio Divina works best in a group of between four and eight people. A group leader coordinates the process and facilitates sharing. The same text from the Scriptures is read out three times, followed each time by a period of silence and an opportunity for each member of the group to share the fruit of her or his Lectio. 

• The first reading is for the purpose of hearing a word or passage that touches the heart. When the word or phrase is found, the group's members take it in, gently recite it, and reflect on it during the silence that follows. After the silence, each person shares which word or phrase has touched his or her heart. 

• The second reading (by a member of the opposite sex from the first reader) is for the purpose of "hearing" or "seeing" Christ in the text. Each ponders the word that has touched the heart and asks where the word or phrase touches his or her life that day. Then, after the silence, each member of the group shares what he or she has "heard" or "seen." 

• The third and final reading is for the purpose of experiencing Christ "calling us forth" into doing or being. Members ask themselves what Christ in the text is calling them to do or to become today or this week. After the silence, each shares for the last time, and the exercise concludes with each person praying for the person on the right of him or her. 


Those who regularly practice this method of praying and sharing the Scriptures find it to be an excellent way of developing trust within a group. It also is an excellent way of consecrating projects and hopes to Christ before more-formal group meetings. 

 Based on “How to Practice Lectio Divina” Rev. Luke Dysinger OSB www.beliefnet.com 

Happenings in our Church at Large

Pope Francis ... on Prisoners and Prisons

"I think to myself, 'I, too, could be here.’ That is, none of us can be sure that we would never commit a crime, something for which we'd be put in prison." 


"We all make mistakes in life.  And we all must ask forgiveness and make a journey of rehabilitation so we don't make them again."


“It must be kept in mind that penal sanctions have the aim of rehabilitation, while national laws should consider the possibility of establishing other penalties than incarceration. In this context, I would like once more to appeal to governmental authorities to abolish the death penalty where it is still in force, and to consider the possibility of an amnesty." 


"Losing our freedom is not the same thing as losing our dignity.  That is why we need to reject all those petty clichés that tell us we can't change, that it's not worth trying, that nothing will make a difference."


“Prisoners who are re-entering civic society ought not be punished anew by neglect, indifference or, worse, contempt.” 

Pope Francis ... on our Catholic Church's Mission

 If one’s work as a Catholic is not united to Christ Jesus, it is no longer the “mission” to which the Church is called, Pope Francis told a group of religious brothers on Monday 29tth October. 

“Let us not forget that the condition of every mission in the Church is that we are united to the Risen Christ as branches to the vine. Otherwise what we do is social activism,” the pope said Oct. 29. 

“This is why I repeat to you the exhortation to remain in [Christ],” he continued. “First of all, we need to let ourselves be renewed in faith and hope by Jesus alive in the Word and in the Eucharist, but also in sacramental forgiveness. We need to be with him in silent adoration, in lectio divina, in the Rosary of the Virgin Mary.” 

Pope Saint Paul

On October 14th Pope Francis canonised Pope Paul VI (1963-78). Pope Saint Paul oversaw the Vatican Council, making numerous reforms. 

St Oscar Romero

On October 14th, Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (1917 – 1980) was canonised by 

Pope Francis. St Oscar lived almost all of his life in El Salvador. 

On 23 February 1977, he was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador. Welcomed by the 

government, many priests were disappointed, especially those openly supportive of 

liberation theology. Progressive priests feared that his conservative reputation would 

negatively affect commitment to the poor. 


However, just 17 days after his appointment, something happened which had a profound effect on him. Fr. Rutilio Grande a personal friend who had been creating self-reliance groups among the poor, was assassinated. St Oscar later said: "When I looked at Rutilio lying there dead I thought, 'If they have killed him for doing what he did, then I too have to walk the same path.' Romero urged the government to investigate, but they ignored his request. Furthermore, the censored press remained silent. 


He devoted the rest of his life to defending the vulnerable against the violence and cruelty of what became a Civil War. His sermons and broadcast speeches created many enemies in a country where assassination was commonplace. In March 1980 he urged soldiers who were Christians to keep to their faith and not follow orders to unjustly persecute and kill. The next day, saying mass at a hospital chapel, he was shot and killed. The revulsion and demands for justice raised by Salvadorans and the International Community have not yet led to the murderers being identified. 


When he was beatified, Pope Francis said of him: "His ministry was distinguished by his particular attention to the most poor and marginalized.” Hailed as a hero by supporters of liberation theology, St Oscar, according to his biographer, Jesus Delgardo, "was not interested in liberation theology" but faithfully adhered to Catholic teachings on liberation and a preferential option for the poor, desiring a social revolution based on interior reform. 


St Oscar agreed with the Catholic – and not the materialist - vision of liberation theology. A journalist once asked him: 'Do you agree with Liberation Theology' And Romero answered: "Yes, of course. However, there are two theologies of liberation. One is that which sees liberation only as material liberation. The other is that of Paul VI. I am with Paul VI… The most profound social revolution is the serious, supernatural, interior reform of a Christian. The liberation of Christ and of His Church is not reduced to the dimension of a purely temporal project. It does not reduce its objectives to … a material well-being or only to initiatives of a political or social, economic or cultural order. Much less can it be a liberation that supports or is supported by violence." 


A Prayer 

St Oscar Romero, pray for us that we too will model our lives on Christ and have the courage to face evil and work for justice. 

Easter Celebrations around the world

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Armenian Orthodox priests take part in a procession at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in 2018. 

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Parishioners hold candles during the Easter Vigil mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a government-sanctioned Catholic church in Beijing, China, in 2018. 

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South Korean Christians pray during an annual Easter service rally at Yeonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, in 2018. About 10,000 participants prayed for peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. 

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Christians in South Sudan re-enact Jesus being led to his crucifixion, in Juba in 2018. Christians are 60 percent of the population of South Sudan, approximately six million people, with the remainder of the population following traditional African religions and Islam, as well as other religions. 

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A Pakistani Christian girl prays with others during a Good Friday service at a church in Islamabad, Pakistan.

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Palestinian Christians attend a service on Easter Sunday at the Saint Porfirios church in Gaza City on April 1, 2018. 

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Participants get ready for the Dance of Death during a Holy Week procession in Verges, Spain, on March 29, 2018. Dancers dress in body stockings with skeletons painted on them and carry symbols to stir the people and prepare them for a good death. 

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A girl participates in an Easter Sunday procession representing the resurrection of Christ, in the historic Brazilian city of Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais State, on April 1, 2018. 

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A woman from Eritrea and her baby pray at the Stone of Anointing, where Jesus's body is said to have been anointed before burial, during rituals to celebrate Easter Sunday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City in Jerusalem on April 1, 2018. 

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Penitents from the El Nazareno brotherhood walk to the Jesus Nazareno Church before a procession in Cordoba, Spain. 

Confirmation

 If you want to be confirmed this academic year (usually in school year 9 and above) please fill out a form expressing your interest and return to Fr Luke.