Sun. May 24th -- 7th SUNDAY OF EASTER
Wed. May 27th -- 7:30 pm Faith Talk -- streamed live
Sun. May 31thst -- PENTECOST
What is it?
World Communications Day was established by Pope Paul VI in 1967 as an annual celebration that encourages us to reflect on the opportunities and challenges that the modern means of social communication (the press, motion pictures, radio, television and the internet) afford the Church to communicate the gospel message.
Where did it come from?
The celebration followed the Second Vatican Council, which realised it must engage fully with the modern world.
Why it is celebrated every year?
In setting it up on Sunday 7th May 1967, less than two years after the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI wanted to draw attention to the communications media and the enormous power they have for cultural transformation.
Engaging with the communications world
Increasingly aware of the world as a global village and the power of the media as a free market place for philosophies and values, the Church has sought to be in there with its message and to use the media to proclaim the values it sees are beneficial for human development and for the eternal welfare of people.
Analysis and action
Two important documents of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications – Communio et Progressio (1971) and Aetatis Novae (1992) have presented an analysis of the world of the communications media and made recommendations for the Church’s action. This year Pope Frances has a special message:
“I would like to devote this year’s Message to the theme of storytelling, because I believe that, so as not to lose our bearings, we need to make our own the truth contained in good stories. Stories that build up, not tear down; stories that help us rediscover our roots and the strength needed to move forward together. Amid the cacophony of voices and messages that surround us, we need a human story that can speak of ourselves and of the beauty all around us. A narrative that can regard our world and its happenings with a tender gaze. A narrative that can tell us that we are part of a living and interconnected tapestry. A narrative that can reveal the interweaving of the threads which
connect us to one another.: Message from His Holiness Pope Francis
Get the whole of Pope Francis’ Message from
On May 31st, (Next Sunday) the Church celebrates Pentecost. One of the most important feast days of the year, it brings the Easter season to a close and celebrates the beginnings of the Church. This day is the Church’s birthday. Pentecost is the celebration of the person of the Holy Spirit coming upon the Apostles, Mary, and the first followers of Jesus, who were gathered together in the Upper Room. A “strong, driving” wind filled the room where they were gathered, and tongues of fire came to rest on their heads, allowing them to speak in different languages so that they could understand each other. It was such a strange phenomenon that some people thought the Christians were just drunk - but Peter pointed out that it was only the morning, and that the phenomenon was caused by the Holy Spirit.
People have scratched their heads over the gift of tongues that were bestowed to those in the Upper Room. However, gifts from God are have a subtlety beyond their appearance. This gift was more than the capacity to communicate with others. Those who were there were from many lands within the Roman Empire and outside, so the presence of people speaking different languages, as well as the common languages of Latin and Greek (and, for many, Hebrew) should have been no surprise. What did surprise, especially those not directly involved, was what was being said and understood.
Here is a mystery. What was said? One clue is that these were followers of Jesus, some well-established, others new converts. What the Holy Spirit must have made clear to them was the language they should use in Jesus’ name and therefore in God’s name. God is love and Jesus offered his love to all, freely and fully. The Spirit filled the apostles and followers with understanding of what and how to speak the language of love – Christ’s mission. And this is a new language, one rarely heard before in the pagan world. Live not in fear, captives of greed and oppression, but in the
knowledge of the freedom Jesus has won for mankind: “God asks only that we return his love. “
No wonder the stupefied observers thought the apostles and followers were drunk. They were: but with the new understanding of what their beloved Christ was asking of them.
Those who have visited the Holy Land and seen the Shrines and other holy places will probably have been to Bethany on the Mount of Olives and seen the place from where Christ is said to have ascended into heaven. This place of wondrous joy is also remarkable because one can see, it is claimed, the print of Our Lord’s foot in the ground. I can’t remember whether it was the right or left foot. What was remarkable was that it was about 20 inches long! It is things like this that can undermine religion and the faith on which it is built. It can disillusion those who have a literal
view of the events described in the Bible. It can confirm the scepticism of those who reject Christianity or, indeed, all religions. It can encourage a pick-your-own attitude to belief, making it adapted to individuals’’ preferences, rather than embracing the whole rich and rewarding scope of faith, and the teaching of the Church.
I doubt there are many people who believe that Jesus had 20” feet. Equally it would be no surprise to find that the majority of Christians dismiss the ‘relic’ as, at best, a misunderstanding, and, at worst, a trick to squeeze a bit more money from tourists. Both reactions miss the point, because this is a symbol, rather than a true representation of our saviour’s anatomy. Whist we can be aware of symbols (such as road signs) we are used to interpreting them for their relationship to the ‘real’ world. We think we see a representation of an outsize foot and respond by reference to our understanding of foot sizes that humans have. That’s understandable, but irrelevant. In terms of faith and what we believe, we need to ask what it could mean to have such an image before us. Perhaps it is meant show, not how big, but how great God is, or how powerful Jesus was – or both.
This time of the year celebrates five great events and mysteries of our Faith: Resurrection, Ascension, Pentecost, TheMost Holy Trinity and the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The truth of each lies in what we are asked to believe and the strength of our belief is to be found in what the Church teaches, and our reflections on the meaning of these events. For example, why should God visit the apostles in the person of the Holy Spirit to ensure they understood their missionary role? What is the significance of the fire at Pentecost? Reflecting on these things and reading about them can help us understand both their actual and symbolic roles in our Faith.
Fr Luke writes:
Would you like a personal visit from the Risen Lord? Although restrictions prevent people receiving Holy Communion and gathering in Church. As a ‘religious worker’ I am key worker and so can come to you and assist you. I can bring the Blessed Sacrament to your home, expose the Host in small monstrance at your door, window or back garden if there is a side entrance (keeping 6ft away) lead prayers with you and then give you Benediction.
So how about it? Are you missing Jesus? Want to pray together in person? Contact me now and we’ll book in time for a visit from the Risen Lord! I will remain at your door/garden/front window with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I will not come in, social distancing will be observed at all times.
Wednesdays at 7:30 pm
This week: Genesis, Creation and The Big Bang
Each Wednesday Fr Luke will be giving talks on aspects of our faith. These talks will be streamed live via www.facebook.com/bmrcparish/live There will also be a time of Q & A where Questions can be submitted during the live feed via the comment sections and phone via the Presbytery (01842 812200).
Missed a talk? The full series is available to ‘watch again’ via both our parish website and Facebook.
Simply go to https://stthomasstjohnparish.com/ and click on the ‘faith talks’ tab at the top menu.
Topics covered thus far:
Fr Luke has a new Daily Radio Show on Catholic Radio Station, Radio Maria!
‘Heroes of Faith’ profiles heroic and saintly Christians from throughout history in the
hope that we can draw some inspiration from their lives.
The show is on Mon – Friday at 3:10 pm and repeated at 10:25 pm each evening.
The station is available on DAB Radio* and online at https://radiomariaengland.uk/
you can also download their app (Radio Maria World family) from the app store –
you will need to select Radio Maria England from the list.
*Likely that DAB coverage in our area won’t get Radio Maria
Don’t worry you can now just visit our website!
The Facebook live steam in now integrated with our parish website, this means you can simply go to the parish website and see the live stream. The video will appear in a screen below the main logo (active while services are being streamed live). If it doesn’t appear after a few minutes refresh the page. If still having problems, click on the link in the box below the live stream place holder.
For those of you who are using Facebook and commenting, please continue to do so as you can only interact with the page through Facebook.
The Irish station Radio RTE, which is based in Dublin, is broadcasting to the UK on long wave 252kHz. Every other Sunday they broadcast Mass at 11am. The next one will be on Sunday, May 3 and fortnightly thereafter.
Radio Maria England, which is based in Cambridge, broadcasts on DAB+ in Greater London and on DAB (Band 11C 220.352 MHz) in Cambridgeshire and the surrounding areas. You can also listen to it from across East Anglia online at https://radiomariaengland.uk Broadcasts include Masses, the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, and morning and evening prayer.
EWTN, which has a base in Walsingham, Norfolk, produces a wide range of radio programmes and can be reached on https://www.ewtn.com/radio
Premier Christian Radio is on DAB, Internet and can be also accessed via TV Freeview 725
At this time, it will not be possible for people to receive Holy Communion. Everyone is invited, however, to join in the ancient practice of making regular spiritual communions, this can be particularly fruitful when following the daily Mass in your Missals on online via the live feed.
Prayer of St Alphonsus: My Jesus, I believe that you are present in this Holy Sacrament of the altar. I love you above all things and I passionately desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come spiritually into my soul so that I may unite myself wholly to you now and forever. Amen.
Struggling with the coronavirus and social distancing measures? Scared? Need to talk? Struggling to get shopping or basic groceries?
Pick up the phone! Your parish is your family and we are here for you, in the first instance feel free to call Fr Luke on 01842 812200 and he will do his best to help you, support you and put you in contact with others who may be able to help. If you don’t get an answer. Leave a message and your number (Clearly) and he will get back to you. We may be socially isolating -but we are not on our own!
(especially if you are having trouble live-streaming Online)
Radio Stations: DAB (Digital) Radio: Radio Maria England, Premier Christian Radio (available on TV Radio as well and has Sunday Morning Worship) Radio 4 Has Sunday Worship on Sunday Morning at 8:10 am on FM and a Daily Service at 9:45 am on Long Wave (not FM).
TV: Sky TV 588 is ETWN (Catholic Channel) and has Daily Mass broadcast as well as other prayers and devotions.
Coloring prayer resources: If you would like adult-coloring sheets, to help with
prayer/mindfulness/meditation please contact Fr Luke and he will try and source them for you.
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.
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’)
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.
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.
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.
This is important if we are to understand plagues and other disasters and what they might mean.
In ancient times, plagues, floods, earthquakes and other unexpected catastrophes were often interpreted to mean that God was saying something, usually by way of warning or punishment. That belief has lasted, so that, for example, people took the Black Death (a fourteenth century pestilence) as God punishing the world for its sins. This belief in God the Awesome Avenger lingers today in some communities, and in some people’s beliefs.
Such vindictive action is nothing to do with the Christian God. As Richard Leonard points out in his article, “Jesus never sends a plague, a natural disaster, or turns anyone into a pillar of salt. If Jesus isn’t into murderous retribution, nor …… is God the Father. Jesus is the incarnate correction to false views of how God works in the world.”
It makes sense doesn’t it? If God is Love, and loves us so much that he asks his Son to take human form to guide us to a better understanding of that love and to sacrifice himself for the sake of that love, it makes no sense whatsoever to believe that the same God would act so punitively towards us. God did not send us COVID-19, whatever its origins. It is in great part the result of poor human practices and bad decisions.
“Spiritual sanity in these difficult days rests in seeing that every moment of the day God does what he did on Good Friday: not intervening to prevent humanity killing Jesus, but not allowing evil and despair to have the last word.” [Richard Leonard ibid.]
As the lockdown continues, the stress of having very limited freedom of movement and action is affecting people differently. Each of us, I guess, can get low and fret for an end to the restrictions. That end seems as far away as ever. This is particularly the case if we get bad news. For example, I have just heard that a very good friend has tested positive for the virus. Shocking and painful though this news is, I find some help in the writings of Blessings of the Daily:
“There are moments when one arrives at a point of despair and senselessness. But those moments are always God’s hour. It is then that he is most at work in us. It is out of sheer despair that I gaze at Jesus, both Crucified and Risen. I see the marks of his passion, the wounds he endured during his crucifixion, and, suddenly, I see this human body that endured so much suffering being transformed by the power of God into the glory of the Resurrection. He …. is rewarded precisely because of his immense sufferings…. It is this that gives me hope to look beyond my own struggles, my limitations, my own sense of despair …... As Christ’s disciples, we are called to follow him through his death into his Resurrection…. It is through faith that I can see light at the end oi the tunnel.”
Blessings of the Daily Brother Victoire-Antione d’Avila-Latourette
We are never alone on our journey. Even at the darkest times. Jesus is with us, just as he was with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, as we hear in today’s Gospel. Like them we may not always recognise his presence, but our faith tells us he is there, with crook and staff, the inspiration of our courage, the guardian of our hopes, the shepherd of our souls.
Easter is the greatest and the most important feast in the Church. It marks the birthday of our eternal hope. "Easter" literally means "the feast of fresh flowers." We celebrate it with pride and jubilation for three reasons:
Why do we believe in the Resurrection of Jesus ?
The Easter Mass Offering is normally an important contribution to annual income of the Parish Priest. If you are considering making a BACs (online transfer) for this purpose please reference it 'Fr Luke'.
Fr Luke writes: Thank you so much for all your kind offerings, gifts and cards all appreciated, I hope that despite everything you are still able to enter into the joy of season and celebrate our faith in the Risen Lord.
We are a small parish, as everybody knows and, unusually, we have to maintain three buildings. Fortunately, we have a congregation which, time after time, provides funds, through offertory payments, stole fees and donations. So we are very grateful. One way in which you can help the parish in the long term is to consider a bequest in your will. Talk to Fr Luke or Philip Kemp for further information about this.
With Christ as our saviour and friend, this Parish can survive the COVID-19 disease attacking our community. We all have our part to play. We must carefully follow all government advice and help to care for others, if and when we can.
Some of that care is needed for the parish as a whole. For however long the crisis lasts, we still have commitments to meet. We still have heating and lighting bills to pay, we still have community charges to meet, we still have to pay our parish priest – his only source of income.
No public Sunday Mass means no offertory. As well as this the regular bookings for St. John’s are temporarily suspended, a loss of £670 per month. The only regular source of income that remains is from those few people who pay their offertory donations by Standing Order or Direct Debit.
We are now asking everyone to consider how they can donate at least equal to their normal giving. Here’s how you can do this:
1. By Standing Order or Direct Debit. A form is included in the next section which you can use. Details of the parish’s bank account are
2. By making a transfer from your bank account to the parish’s, using the details above.
3. By sending a cheque to the parish made out to Brandon & Mildenhall RC Parish.
*** Please do not send cash ***
We suggest that you arrange these payments on a monthly basis, starting on the first Monday of each month.
Thank you to all those who have been making bank transfers or forwarded cheques as offertory donations to the Parish since the lockdown commenced. Bank transfers are preferred but if you do make cheque payments please note that the payee details for the Parish are "Brandon and Mildenhall Catholic Parish".
THANK YOU for helping in keeping the parish going.
Fr. Luke Goymour, Parish Priest
Philip Kemp, Parish Treasurer
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
I am obliged to inform existing members of the Gift Aid Scheme that I will be claiming tax rebates for 2019-20 tax year on your behalf unless informed of the contrary. You are also requested to advise me of any changes in address, post code or name in the last 12 months.
Philip Kemp, Parish Treasurer & Gift Aid Organiser
Tel 07514430468; Email email@example.com
50-50 Club April winners
1st prize £20 no.125 Mrs Whitehurst
2nd prize £15 no.33 Janet Murphy (Georgia)
3rd prize £10 no.89 Karen MacLoughlan (Megan)
Winners, please advise Philip Kemp of the details of their bank account so that he can do an electronic transfer. Otherwise winnings will be held over until Sunday Mass attendance resumes. PhilipKemp: firstname.lastname@example.org
The 50:50 Club is a major source of income to help keep this parish running. --- FACT
The proceeds go half to winners and half to the parish --- FACT
You can join now! --- FACT
Speak to David Thomas (St Thomas’); Janet Murphy (St John’s) --- SIMPLE!
You can forget the chore of remembering to bring money for the Offertory by signing up to a Direct Debit. Talk to Philip Kemp.
A new book by a local Catholic author Derek Williams is available at the back of the Church priced £7.99.
“Tithing for Catholics is an innovative piece of writing that cuts to the heart of Scripture and Church Teaching…. the author takes us on a journey of first-hand experiences that demonstrate how tithing is a real service of faith that won’t let you down because God cannot be outdone in generosity”
- From the cover of ‘Tithing for Catholics’
Please place money in CTS box or give to Fr Luke directly.
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 email@example.com
Whether you want to support a local cause such as your parish or diocese, provide for vulnerable families in the UK or help overseas communities and parishes, a legacy could be the most far-reaching gift you ever make.
Go to https://www.yourcatholiclegacy.org for more information.
One of the casualties of the recent panic buying of foodstuffs is that Food Banks across the country are experiencing a severe drop in contributions from the public. This leaves those in most need with healththreatening problems for themselves and their children. We can show the UK that Mildenhall is not and will not follow this trend!
Next time you shop – or have someone shopping for you – use two bags, one for you and one for those who cannot afford to find good food for themselves.
We can’t collect your donations as usual with the Churches not open, but you can
• Take your bag with you the next time you go shopping and drop it off at the Food Bank, or
• Ask a neighbour who is going shopping to deliver your contribution, or
• Have your contribution put into the Coop’s or Sainsbury’s special basket for Food Bank donations.
The Food Bank is open from 10am - 12 noon each Monday and Friday. It is located on the ground floor of the King’s Project on the corner of Market Street and King Street, Mildenhall.
Useful items include: 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
... who contributes to the Food Bank. We thank God for this opportunity to comfort our brothers and sisters.
Needs our help!
Following in the footsteps of St Paul
Age 16 - 35, Come and join the Diocesan Youth Service Pilgrimage to Malta. From July 26 – 3st 2020. Places are limited and bookings must be received by April 13th.
For more information see Fr. Luke.
Are you leaving school or university this summer, in between jobs or would like to do something 'different'? The Diocesan Youth Service is looking for people age 18-29 to join the Ignite Team.
You would be working with young people in schools and parishes, developing your gifts such as in music, drama, art and tech. 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
The Bishops of England & Wales have declared this year a Year of the Word called ‘The God Who Speaks”. During this year we are encouraged to re-discover the Word of God in our Bibles and renew our love for Scripture. To help us do this I will make available each week a resource sheet called ‘The Wednesday Word’. The sheet contains the following: Sunday’s readings and guidance for a prayerful reading of scripture in order to prepare more fully for the. coming Sunday’s Mass.
Sheets are at the back of the church and available at the website http//www.wednesdayword.org/
Please watch this space for news of other initiatives throughout the year. A deanery retreat day on the Bible is also planned for later this year.
7-Night stay and Airport Shuttle from Dubrovnik or Split for €266 per person sharing. Book any flight – any time and we provide guaranteed airport shuttle service. Call us for further information and book the dates that suit you.
Tel. 020 3239 8662 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Having a Mass offered for someone’s intention is a good and holy thing to do. It is important to remember, however, that Mass is always offered in the first instance for all people. (For For God’s Glory and our sanctification) No one buys or owns a Mass. A Mass is always ‘our Mass’ - even if offered for a particular individual. Please also remember that in our parish only one Sunday Mass can be offered for an intention that someone has asked for. As people book up Masses, sometimes over a year in advance, there is no guarantee that you can have Mass offered on specific day. In this case, Mass will be offered on the next available Sunday (or weekday if that is what you originally requested.) Please remember, however that this can sometimes be several weeks/months after the specific date.
If you or someone you know has a child in year 8 or above at school who would like to be confirmed this academic year, please contact Fr Luke, speak to him after Mass or email email@example.com .
... with Fr Luke and Rev David Everett, 15th - 24th March 2021
Fr Luke is co-leading this pilgrimage next year.
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.
Free e-book (with church imprimatur) for your computer/tablet/phone:
The new Liturgical Year begins on the First Sunday of Advent. This e-book may be downloaded free of charge to any computer/tablet/phone. It offers the Gospel for every day of the coming Liturgical Year A-2 (Sundays Year A, weekdays Year 2), together with a reflection of some 750 words on each daily Gospel.
The e-book may be passed on for downloading to friends or acquaintances as desired, and may be accessed at the following URL address: www.catholic-thoughts.info/ebook/
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.
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.
Do you want to share our faith in everyday life here in the parish?
This autumn we have started a Proclaim! Group focusing on evangelisation. We are reading Sherry Weddell’s Forming Intentional Disciples together over six weeks and then we support each other to proclaim God’s Good News.
Following the first presentation on Wednesday 25th September at St Thomas’ Brandon, it was thought that it would be good to share our prayers with the whole parish. So a prayer pamphlet was enclosed in your newsletter on 29th Sep.
Please add these prayers to your own prayers at home.
Pray for yourself; and for the group who are estabilishing the programme on Wednesdays; and for the whole parish: that we will have the desire and confidence to share the beauty of God’s love with others.
In Western Europe, it has been customary for many centuries to include the name of a saint when naming a child– usually as the first personal name, and again after Confirmation. In the UK, there is a wide variety of first names given to boys and girls, but the most popular names seem to remain constant.
For example, the ten most popular name for girls in 2000 were, in order of popularity: -Chloe, Emily, Megan, Charlotte, Jessica, Lauren, Sophie, Olivia, Hannah, and Lucy.
18 years later the ten most popular girls’ names were: Olivia, Amelia, Ava, Isla, Emily, Mia, Isabella, Sophia, Ella, and Grace.
What seem to be significant changes are not so revolutionary, since all these names were in the top 50 list for both years. We may be in for some startling changes next year, if you accept Harper’s Bazaar’s forecast that the top ten will be Adah, Reese, Mika, Paisley, Amina, Teagan, Nova, Aura, Pearl, and Billie, completely different from what went before.
So what is happening to the convention of naming children after saints? It seems that parents now resist pressures to name their children after their parents or relatives. Instead, a growing habit is to find attractive, or interesting, or ‘celebrity,’ names. This is a pity. The use of saints’ names has a purpose over and above carrying on a ‘family name’. By naming a girl Elizabeth, or a boy John, one is seeking a spiritual ‘sponsor’ and role model for the child. (That is not to suggest that choosing ‘Catherine’ brings with it a wish for the child to be martyred! Rather it offers St Catherine’s depth of faith as a model.) Getting to know about one’s patron saint is a splendid – and often exciting – way of learning about how Christians put their faith into practice and the spiritual strengths they have to support their actions. In a community where multiple faiths (and none at all) flourish, using a Christian name is a way of declaring our identity as children of God. Getting to know more about our patron saints can also lead to more reflection about whom we name when we say In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!
Fr Luke writes: Many thanks for all who have contributed to keeping a respectful silence before mass. This is a joyful practice and creates the appropriate atmosphere for the celebration.
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 the 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
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?
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 .
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.
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.
Our Red Box (Missio) collection for 2019 amounted to £1318.56 and the parish was 15th out of 56 parishes - a very good result. Well done!
Thank you for helping their Missionary work. Please keep up this good work for 2020.
Not got a Red Box? Some spare boxes are at the back of the church. Take one and tell Sue Dean or Fr Luke.
Prayer for Healing and Reconciliation
Praise to you Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
the source of all consolation and hope.
Be the refuge and guardian of all
who suffer from abuse and violence.
Comfort them and send healing
for their wounds of the body, soul and spirit.
Help us all and make us one with you
in your love for justice
as we deepen our respect for the dignity of every human life.
Giver of peace, make us one in celebrating
your praise, both now and forever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
You can find more prayer resources on https://somethingof.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/the-timeliness-of-things/
Pax Christi (The Peace of Christ) works for:
To do this Pax Christi works to:
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:
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
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.
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
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
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 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:
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.
The Rome-based Community of Sant” Egidio brokered an agreement between RENAMO and FRELIMO forces, ending ten years of war.
Young stilt walkers used circus acts and carnival in the streets to transform the climate of violence spread by brutal youth gangs.
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.
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
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. "
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Anna Liwak, the parishioner from Brandon who created out beautiful Paschal candles is now taking commissions for Candles.
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.
For more information please contact Anna on 07741209889 or check out her facebook page: ‘Artistic Heart.’
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.
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!
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!
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/
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!
If you would be willing to help run a children’s liturgy group at Mildenhall or Brandon please speak to Fr Luke.
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!
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.
• 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.
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
John Henry Newman (1801 – 1890) was one of the foremost churchmen and theologians of his day. He studied and then taught at Oxford University, and became the Vicar of St Mary the Virgin, the University Church; he was known for his intellect, his pastoral care, and his preaching.
A leading light of the Oxford Movement, which was seeking to move the Church of England in a Catholic direction, Newman left his considerable prospects and many friends behind when he converted to Catholicism in 1845, at a time when there was still widespread prejudice against Catholics in Britain.
Founding the first Oratorian community of priests in Birmingham in the late 1840s, he continued to write major works of theology and philosophy as a Catholic. He founded a university for Catholics in Ireland and, in 1859, The Oratory School in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
He was made a Cardinal in 1879 and he died in 1890.
Pope Benedict XVI beatified him in 2010.
Cardinal John Henry Newman is to be canonised after a second miracle in his name was confirmed by the Pope in February 2019. The canonisation (which has been welcomed by the Church of England) took place on October 13th 2019. It will make Newman the first English person who has lived since the 17th century to be officially recognised as a saint by the Church.
"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.”
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.”
On October 14th Pope Francis canonised Pope Paul VI (1963-78). Pope Saint Paul oversaw the Vatican Council, making numerous reforms.
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."
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.
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.