FR BARRIE. We congratulate Fr Barrie on his 80th birthday next Friday and thank him again for all he continues to contribute to the life of our two parishes. He is away now until Monday week, enjoying some holiday with his family. Bro William has a birthday on the same day and Fr Brian Russell will be 77 the following Thursday.
Domestic Affairs. The lift finally became operational last Wednesday to the huge relief of most of the Redemptorist community, who had struggled manfully in the intervening eleven days. Next weekend Fr Andrew will again be away with Marriage Encounter, giving a retreat in Ireland for a priest who has taken ill. Once again please be patient with us as we struggle to cope with the extra workload. Fortunately the Deacons will be preaching.
Domestic Affairs. To compound the challenge of the major re-ordering work taking place in the monastery, there was a major malfunction of the lift last Saturday, which is taking a lot of resolving and causing much discomfort for the less mobile members of the community. Hopefully, by the time you read this it will be operational again.
NOVEMBER – THE MONTH OF THE HOLY SOULS
Ever since I was a child I have felt that there was something appropriate about this part of the liturgical cycle for those of us in the northern hemisphere. The clocks go back and the days are shorter and we remember those who have died, praying that they may rest in peace. By a happy coincidence, as a nation we also remember during this month, 11 November marking the day when the guns fell silent at the end of the First World War. Once again we invite you to write the names of your loved ones for the November lists. As well as the Masses which are especially designated for the Holy Souls, I want you to know that this year it will be the intention of one of the Redemptorist priests to offer Mass each day for all those whose names are recorded both at St Mary’s and Bishop Eton.
The end of half-term. I hope everyone is returning refreshed and renewed for the second half-term of the school year. I even managed a few days away myself last week as I am aware of how demanding the coming weeks are probably going to be. Hopefully we can all pace ourselves well so that the run-in to Christmas does not become a burden, but another opportunity for us to deepen our faith in the wonderful mystery of Emmanuel, God with us!
General Comment: As we approach the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act, this weekend the members of SPUC and the UCM from St Mary’s will be inviting you to support a postcard petition to challenge the Government again over this issue. I am very conscious of the continuing demands on all of us to be active and responsive members of the Christian community on so many fronts and at times it is difficult to respond to everything, including the many financial appeals that come our way. I can only say that I do try to monitor the whole situation and trust that you are all able to make your own decisions in good conscience about what is possible for you. Regarding the special collections, you may have noticed that there was a national appeal for the Walsingham Shrine, authorised by the bishops, which fell on the very day we had our foreign mission appeal. Now our General has asked Redemptorists worldwide to support our confrères in Haiti in the wake of the devastating hurricane. With so many special collections already in place in the coming weeks I am suggesting we take this collection next Sunday, assuring you that whatever you are able to give to all these causes is greatly appreciated.
St Gerard: The Sunday Mass always takes precedence unless it is a very special Feast of the Lord or our Blessed Lady, but today we give thanks to God for the gift of St Gerard to the Redemptorists and the Church. We especially ask his prayers for mothers and babies. If you do not have a medal of St Gerard and Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, you are welcome to take one from St Gerard's chapel.
To read more on St Gerard click here.
Challenges: As work continues on the reordering of the monastery, we are facing new demands on our aging community. For example, Fr James Smale will be missing for the next few weeks because major work is due to take place in and through his room. Since James looks after most 7.00am Masses during the week, the lot will fall on those of us who are still standing. We will do our best to keep everything in place, but do not be surprised if we have to start negotiating some revision of the timetables for both parishes in the near future.
Journey in Faith (RCIA):
The sessions at Bishop Eton last Tuesday and St Mary’s last Wednesday were truly inspiring and I am grateful to our catechists and all those who are planning to support the many enquirers on their journey. It has become clear that the most practical way forward is to join the two groups and this year St Mary’s will host the sessions on Wednesday evenings at 7:30pm. The sessions will last an hour and anyone else who may be interested is welcome to join us next Wednesday. That session will take place in the church, exploring the meaning of all that we find there, but there will also be a chance for the two groups to get to know one another
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