“In his message for the fifth World Day of the Poor, celebrated in the Catholic Church globally on 14 November 2021, Pope Francis has challenged the faithful to seek out and help the poor wherever they are:
"’We cannot wait for the poor to knock on our door; we need urgently to reach them in their homes, in hospitals and nursing homes, on the streets and in the dark corners where they sometimes hide, in shelters and reception centres. It is important to understand how they feel, what they are experiencing and what their hearts desire.’
“He also stresses that the poor have much to teach us and actually help us to look into the ‘true face’ of God. They retain the dignity of God's children that can't be taken away:
"’For this reason, a different approach to poverty is required. This is a challenge that governments and world institutions need to take up with a farsighted social model capable of countering the new forms of poverty that are now sweeping the world and will decisively affect coming decades.’
"’If the poor are marginalised, as if they were to blame for their condition, then the very concept of democracy is jeopardised and every social policy will prove bankrupt. With great humility, we should confess that we are often incompetent when it comes to the poor. …’
"’Poverty, on the contrary, should motivate us to creative planning, aimed at increasing the freedom needed to live a life of fulfilment according to the abilities of each person….’”
With permission, Independent Catholic News, Source: CBCEW, 26th Oct. 2021
“In a message to the Director General of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, Qu Dongyu, Pope Francis says we must adopt ‘innovative solutions’ to transform the way we produce and consume food ‘for the well-being of people and of the planet.’
“’The annual celebration of World Food Day brings us face to face with one of humanity's greatest challenges: overcoming hunger once and for all is an ambitious goal’ he says.
“In his message, the Holy Father says this year's theme for World Food Day – ‘Our actions are our future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life’ – ‘underlines the need for concerted action so that everyone has access to diets that ensure maximum environmental sustainability and are also adequate and affordable.’
“Pope Francis points to a paradox with regard to food access, noting that while more than three billion people do not have access to a nutritious diet, almost two billion are overweight due to poor diets and a sedentary life style.
“He writes that everyone has a role to play, emphasising, ‘If we do not want to jeopardise the health of our planet and our entire population, we must encourage active participation in change at all levels and reorganise food systems as a whole.’
“The Pope highlights four areas in particular where urgent action is needed: in the field, at sea, at the table, and in reducing food loss and waste. Although ‘individual lifestyle choices and daily consumption practices influence global and environmental dynamics,’ he says, ‘we must encourage producers and consumers to make ethical and sustainable choices and raise awareness among the younger generations of the important role they play in making a world without hunger a reality.’
“Pope Francis says that with the pandemic there is an ‘opportunity to change course’ so that the global food system will be better able to respond to future crises. But he stresses, ‘the fight against hunger requires overcoming the cold logic of the market,’ and instead ‘strengthening the logic of solidarity.’
“In his message, Pope Francis ensures the FAO's Director-General, ‘The Holy See and the Catholic Church walk side by side with the FAO and those other entities and individuals who do their best to ensure that no human being sees his or her fundamental rights undermined or disregarded.’
“He concludes his message with words of encouragement: ‘May those who sow seeds of hope and harmony feel the support of my prayer, pleading that their initiatives and projects may be ever more fruitful and successful.’
With permission, Independent Catholic News, Source: Vatican News, Oct. 16th 2021
“Bishop John Sherrington, Lead Bishop for Life Issues for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has written an open letter inviting Catholics to pray for the defeat of the Assisted Dying Bill to be debated in the House of Lords in October.
“It encourages them to write to peers at the House of Lords stating the reasons why they oppose this legislation and particularly explain from personal experience the reasons why this change in the law should be opposed.
“It urges discussion and communication about this important matter.”
(With permission) Sep 8th 2021, Independent Catholic News [Source: CCN]
"’I would like to thank all those who have prayed that this Bill might be defeated and who have written letters to Peers sharing their experiences and opposition to the Bill. The Bill has now passed to Committee Stage, without a vote, as is the convention of the House. Given that it is not supported by the Government, it will likely run out of time and not become law. We will continue to scrutinise and challenge this legislation in the months ahead.’”
With permission, Independent Catholic News, Source: CBCEW, Oct. 25th 2021
“Following the Pope’s lead, Bishop John Sherrington has encouraged Catholics to write to Peers about the upcoming Assisted Suicide Bill. Sarah Ward explains the background.
“’Year on year we have seen the so-called ‘Assisted dying’ lobby attempt to introduce changes to the laws that exist to protect the terminally ill and the vulnerable,’ writes Sarah, pro-life representative on the Diocesan Marriage and Family Life Commission. ‘This has been done with a series of proposals to Parliament such as the current Bill due for debate or by test cases brought in the name of individuals.’
“’Very often these focus on heart-wrenching hard cases, and words like ‘dignity, ‘autonomy’ and ‘compassion’ are cleverly misused to sway our emotions on this complex issue. Whilst we continue to fight against this threat to the sanctity of all human life, we must be on our guard against the manipulations of the mainstream media who increasingly show strong bias towards the legalisation of assisted suicide. Please do write to members of the House of Lords.’”
(With permission) Eldred Willey, Sep 27th 2021, Diocese of East Anglia
Download the text of Bishop Sherrington’s message here,
“The attention of most adults is primarily focused on what they consider to be the most important reality in the world- themselves, especially many clerics. Yet there is one overriding unassailable truth that stands above all else in the teaching of the founder of Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth.
“The truth that 2,382 billion Christians, including 1,329 billion Roman Catholics, have supposedly bound themselves to accept and obey is that children are the most important in the Kingdom of God. To accept, recognise and affirm a child with that exalted status and dignity is to accept Jesus himself.
“That's what he said and taught and for which he gave his life. He stood a child before them and declared, ‘Unless you change and become as innocent as this little child, you will never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. The greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child, and whoever welcomes in my name one such child, welcomes me.’ (Matthew 18:1-5)”
With permission, Independent Catholic News, Oct. 8th 2021
The Top 10 family values according to ‘The Bible and Catholics’ website.
“Adoption - The Holy Family (Matthew 1:18-25)
"We start with our ultimate model of family. The family God provided for his own Son. A young woman of great faith and a just man who took on the role of adoptive father. Joseph’s adoption of Jesus plays a key role in the Holy Family.
"What we know of Joseph’s life reveals the love and service towards others that comes with adoption. Joseph is protector of Mary and Jesus, and listens to God’s direction through his dreams to guide his family to safety (Matthew 2:13-15). From Joseph, Jesus would have learnt the importance of work and skills, and the stability that comes from a love between parents. It is also significant that through adoption into Joseph’s family, Jesus is born into the family line of King David and God’s promise that it will produce a Messiah who will bring into being God’s kingdom of Justice and peace.
"Adoption is a wonderful life-giving gift, both for the adopted son or daughter and for the adopting parents. It is a beautiful parallel that just as Jesus, through adoption, shares Joseph’s family life so we through baptism, share the life of Jesus in the family of God."
“Forgiveness – Joseph’s Family (Genesis 37, 39-45)
“Looking back to the Old Testament, we encounter an earlier Joseph and the dramatic story of him and his family. We hear of how Jacob had twelve sons but loved the young Joseph more than all the others and how the brothers jealous of this love sold their brother into slavery. Joseph goes on to endure years of suffering, he is sold, wrongfully imprisoned, and apparently forgotten. However, his story turns around when he is the only person that can reveal the meaning behind Pharaoh’s dream (with his special gift from God) and he is suddenly elevated to power and responsibility working for Pharaoh. Meanwhile, Joseph’s brothers also seem to be suffering as a result of their actions, they endure terrible guilt as they witness the grief of their father day-after-day. The story has a happy ending though. Joseph is reunited with his brothers when they travel to Egypt during the famine to request grain. They do not recognise Joseph at first and so he is able to test them and discover that they are truly repentant for their past actions. Once he knows this, Joseph reveals himself and offers them his forgiveness and the family is reunited. This great story becomes the foundation story of the forming of the 12 tribes of Israel and the understanding that all families and states depend on mutual forgiveness and reconciliation.”
“Peace – Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:19-34, 27 and 32-33)
“Joseph’s father Jacob had his own experience of family drama. The intense rivalry between him and his twin brother Esau which almost ended in war. The Bible tells us that Jacob and Esau had been fighting since the womb. Rivalry among siblings can take many forms, it can be rivalry over academic excellence, sporting success or rivalry over a parent’s attention and praise. In this case, it was rivalry over their father’s blessing and inheritance. Jacob, though the younger brother, managed to deceive his blind father into giving him the blessing. Esau was furious and threatened to kill Jacob and so Jacob flees. Years later, Jacob is fearful when he hears that Esau is marching towards him with hundreds of men, he thinks that Esau is coming to fight him and so readies himself for a battle whilst also trying to appease his brother with gifts. Amazingly, Esau greets Jacob with a hug and not a fight. It is not clear why Esau greets Jacob peacefully. Perhaps because he has forgiven Jacob, or because he values reconciliation with his brother over winning the rivalry, or because he was pleased to receive the gifts from Jacob, or because God had moved his heart towards peace. God is the source of true peace (Leviticus 26:6; Psalm 29:11; John 14:27), he brings order and completeness out of chaos and offers us peace with him through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).”
“Mercy – The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)
“Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son reveals to us the love that God the Father has for us all. A selfish younger son asks for the inheritance he will receive when his father dies while his father is still alive. And the father who loves him gives it to him, but he soon squanders it all in reckless living. For a while, pride keeps him from seeking help from his family and he ends up working and living in a pig-sty. However, when he does return, he is welcomed back as a new son. His father, who has been waiting for him to come home, immediately shows his long lost son mercy and forgiveness. The brother is called to share in this welcome but appears bitter. The parable ends on a cliff hanger so we don’t know if the elder brother will be as joyful as their father is in their family’s reunion. The question hangs over us as to whether we who live in the mercy of God every day, show mercy to those who have strayed and returned needing welcome and forgiveness?”
“Hospitality – The widow and her son meet Elijah (1 Kings 17:7-16)
“The story of this single mother and child’s life-transforming interaction with the great prophet Elijah started with a simple act of hospitality. The widow could have been too consumed with fear and grief for herself and her son to respond to Elijah when he asked for water. However, she extends hospitality sharing the last of her food, and Elijah responds through miraculously multiplying her flour and oil so that she never runs out during the famine. What’s even more wonderful about this story is that God knows this woman’s hospitable heart, because he tells Elijah that she will provide for him. God sees and knows our acts of hospitality when we welcome others into our family home, no matter how much or how little we have to share, it is always honoured and blessed by God.”
“PRAYER – SIMEON AND ANNA (LUKE 2:25-38)
“Often, it is those who are older in age who become the prayer warriors of our families and churches. When younger people tend to want everything in the here and now, older people can provide a long-term perspective, they are our living memory. They can set the example of faithful service, patience and trust in God’s promises. Simeon and Anna are two such people who are honoured in the Bible. Simeon is described as righteous and devout and Anna as someone who did not depart from the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer night and day. Both are present when Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the Temple as a new-born, and both recognise that in Jesus all of their prayers have been answered. How amazing it must have been for them, who had believed they would see this day, that their countless prayers and hopes had been answered and they could now die in peace. They remind us just how significant the prayers of our grandparents and all who are older in years are, and that we should always cherish them. This year Pope Francis has instituted a World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly and it will be held on the fourth Sunday of July in churches across the globe.
“BELONGING – THE CHURCH FAMILY (EPHESIANS 2:19-22)
“There’s a deep desire in every one of us to belong. Unfortunately, that desire for belonging can sometimes be misplaced, either in persons or ways of looking at the world, but in Christ we are given the opportunity to belong not only to him but to one another through our adoption into God’s family. To belong to God’s family, at its core, is to follow Jesus’s two commandments to love God and one another (Mark 12:30-31), just as Jesus said ‘For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50)
“For some of us who don’t have families or have difficult relationships with family members, being part of God’s family means gaining a loving father (God), mother (Mary) and older brother (Jesus) and quite a few less than perfect church siblings!
“CELEBRATION – THE WEDDING AT CANA (JOHN 2:1-11)
“The wedding at Cana like a modern wedding drew together family and friends from far and wide. Celebrations and holidays are an opportunity to reconnect with family members and to thank God for his grace and generosity. It wouldn’t have been expected by the Jewish leaders at the time that the promised messiah’s first public miracle would involve turning water into wine at a wedding feast, but thankfully, Jesus’ concern for the wedding couple (and an arm twist from mum) reveals that God loves a joyful celebration. We are all invited to the heavenly banquet with all saints and sinners, called by God. Something of that joy should be in every Mass when we celebrate with Jesus the free meal of the family of God.”
“HOPE – MARY, MARTHA, LAZARUS AND JESUS (JOHN 11:1-44)
“Grief and despair is something we all have to face at some point. Some of Jesus’ closest friends were the siblings Mary, Martha and Lazarus, and they experience a family tragedy when Lazarus dies. When Lazarus dies Jesus too experiences grief for a lost friend. It’s here that we read the shortest and possibly one of the most powerful verses in Scripture – ‘Jesus wept’. Mary and Martha both show their deep faith and hope in Jesus when they meet with him. Jesus seems to use the situation to show that not only can he prevent death, but he is ‘the resurrection and the life’ for all who believe when he raises Lazarus from the dead. In this incidence, we get a snapshot of the future hope that awaits us, when death will no longer separate us from our loved ones.
“LOYALTY – RUTH & NAOMI (BOOK OF RUTH)
“This story seems very far removed from our modern day context, however, at its heart is a great example of loyalty between family members.
“Ruth could have left her mother-in-law after the death of her husband, Naomi’s son; indeed Naomi suggests this and her other daughter-in-law chooses this option. However, Ruth chooses to stay by the side of her mother-in-law. If Ruth had chosen to leave, she could have remarried and started again. Yet, Naomi would have been left completely alone, as both her sons had died, and she had no other immediate family around her. At the time, the custom allowed for Ruth to marry a distant relative of Naomi’s and through him, she could provide an heir for her deceased first husband. This is the part that seems very strange to us nowadays, but is ultimately what happens for Ruth, and through this Naomi receives a grandchild and heir for her line. It also ends happily for Ruth as she finds a great husband in Boaz. God honours the generous loyalty of Ruth because she is now protected, and included in the genealogy line of King David, and later Jesus.”
With permission, The God Who Speaks, 22nd June 2021
“Who do you think you are biblically?
“We've prepared this new resource to help you discover more about your extended family in the Bible and their life stories.
“… Who do you relate to most in Scripture? Who would feature in your family tree? And what can we learn from them? Share [this resource] in your parish for the Year of the Family.”
[Download the file at this link.] https://www.godwhospeaks.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Who-do-you-think-you-are-biblically.pdf
With permission, The God Who Speaks, 30th June 2021
“…From 14th to 22nd October, in the lead up to the Second Reading [of the Assisted Dying Bill in the House of Lords], the bishops encourage the faithful to unite for nine days of prayer, seeking the intercession of St John Paul II, as part of our efforts to help defeat this attempt to legalise assisted suicide.
“Prayer “Merciful God, we pray with thanks and gratitude for the great spiritual gift of Saint John Paul II's apostolic life and mission. Through his heavenly intercession we ask that the 'Assisted Dying' Bill be defeated and that the infinite worth of each human person is upheld through proper investment in palliative care. Grant also that we may grow in love for You and proclaim boldly the love of Jesus Christ to all people. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen”
With permission, Independent Catholic News, Oct.10th 2021
“March for Life UK will be taking place in September as an actual, in-person event to inspire, educate and motivate the nation to value all life from the moment of conception.
“The March will be in London on Saturday September 4. In the morning the Life Fest will take place from 10.00 – 13.00 in the Emmanuel Centre, Marsham St, London, SW1P 3D.
“Pro-Life organisations from around the UK will be showcasing their work. There will be inspiring speakers, moving testimonies, live music, pro-life merchandise, pro-life tots, kids and teens’ activities, selfie stands and much more.
“The March will take place from 13.30 – 16.00. Pilgrims from the diocese of East Anglia are encouraged to congregate together outside the Emmanuel Centre at 1pm and walk under the banner of Our Lady of Walsingham. “Please contact Sarah Ward on firstname.lastname@example.org to let her know you will be attending.
“In June Sarah took part in the online March for Life livestream ‘Raising a ProLife Family’ https://vimeo.com/563452426.”
(With permission) Eldred Willey, July 21, 2021, The Diocese of East Anglia,
We welcome the Icon of St Joseph and the Holy Family which has be traveling around the diocese for the Year of St Joseph and the Family. The icon was painted by our parish priest, Fr Luke Goymour.
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Permission to reprint, podcast, and / or stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE with license M-401533. All rights reserved.
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The Roman Catholic Parish of Brandon and Mildenhall is part of the Diocese of East Anglia covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and the Unitary Authority of Peterborough within the Province of Westminster, part of the Catholic Church of England and Wales in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.