The gift points to the giver.

Dear Friends,

Our readings are beginning to turn our attention towards Lent. In the old Calendar this Sunday is referred to a Septuagesima, reminding us there are 70 days until the end of Easter week and 3 Sundays before Lent begins.

This is a time to prepare for the gift of the season of Lent. We are asked to focus especially on prayer, fasting and almsgiving during this season so that our minds are turned towards the needs of others and to remind ourselves that our lives are not made secure in material things alone.

The created world is God’s gift to us that points us to his wonderful creativity and generosity which in turn should lift our hearts in praise of our glorious God. However, too often we have treated this gift as an end in itself and lost sight of the giver. It is so easy to build our security and trust in material things themselves and to think that they define who we are.

This week Jeremiah and Jesus both, in very stark language, remind us that our focus, trust and identity is to be found in God alone and not in what is ‘here today and gone tomorrow.’ St Paul tells us that Christ’s death and resurrection are proof of the triumph of the eternal over the temporal, life over death and divine love over sin.

Blessings Fr Neil

    My eyes have seen the King.

    “What a wretched state I am in! I am lost… eyes have looked at the King, the Lord of Hosts.”

    These words are uttered by the prophet Isaiah in response to the glorious vision of heaven he received. He saw the angelic host sing what we call the Sanctus and they sang with such powerful voices that the sanctuary shook and the smoke of incense was everywhere. In the midst of this vision was the majesty of the Lord of Hosts that filled the sanctuary.

    Isaiah had encountered the holiness of God and became only too aware of his own unworthiness and the sin of his people. He was not however consumed by the holiness of God as he feared but was cleansed of his sins by a coal taken from the altar so that he might continue to stand in God’s presence.

    Simon, who will become Peter the rock, also encounters the holy presence of God in the person of Jesus. His response is similar to Isaiah, falling on his knees saying, “leave me, Lord: I am a sinful man.” Yet again though God doesn’t banish but heals, purifies and calls. Who will I send? And I will make you fishers of men.

    The word they are to proclaim? St Paul tells us “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Ce’phas, then to the Twelve.”

    Blessings Fr Neil

      The Pegleys in Ordinariateland

      We are all pleased to have Graham and Sharon back from their travels. Every year,  they spend months  looking after guests at the Bella Vista. Every year, once the hectic holiday season is over, they take the opportunity to travel themselves. This year they managed to fit in visits to two very different Ordinariate groups. Before Christmas, while visiting family in Oz, the pop in on one of the groups that form part of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross. Sharon writes “The small group meet at Upper Coomera, a region of the Gold Coast. Their priest, Fr Andrew Kinmont and several members of the Ordinariate group made us very welcome. They even provided tea, coffee and biscuits after Mass…..but outside on a picnic table, as it was so hot!” IMG_9239



      Their next stop was less sunny. A New Year visit to more family in Wales allowed them to visit Ss Basil and Gwladys Church, Newport, home of the Ordinariate of South West Wales. Inside church

      sanctuary The Ordinariate, with its unifying patrimony and varied expression of that heritage and faith, is spread far and wide. Sometimes it isn’t always easy to be in non-geographical dioceses. When our people do get to visit other Ordinariate communities it can give us a fresh perspective and remind us why we do what we do. Thank you Graham and Sharon for sharing this with us.

        Announcement of Easter and the Moveable Feasts 2019

        Paschal candle
        The announcement of the year’s liturgical calendar is made after the Gospel reading in the Mass of the Epiphany. The Council of Nicaea (AD 325) is said to have formalised the tradition — which was ancient even then — of the Patriarch of Alexandria’s mission to send the date of the Paschal solemnity to other Eastern Patriarchs and to the Roman Pontiff, who was then to inform the metropolitans of the West. The customary proclamation is called the Noveritis after the first word in Latin, and it’s sung to the same tone as the Exsultet in the Easter Vigil, giving a taste of the Easter joy to this publication of the date of Easter.

        Know, dear brothers and sisters, that, as we have rejoiced at the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so by leave of God’s mercy we announce to you also the joy of his Resurrection, who is our Saviour.

        On the seventeenth day of February will fall the Sunday of Septuagesima.

        On the sixth day of March will fall Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the fast of the most sacred Lenten season.

        On the twenty-first day of April you will celebrate with joy Easter Day, the Paschal feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

        On the thirtieth day of May will be the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

        On the ninth day of June, the feast of Pentecost.

        On the twenty-third day of that month, the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

        On the first day of December, the First Sunday of Advent of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

          Blessing of the House at Epiphany

          20+M+C+B+19The Epiphany mass is when chalk is blessed so that we can mark our houses with a blessing for the coming year. Suitable prayers are available from a variety of sources. These are from The Twelve Days of Christmas by Elsa Chaney.

          Peace be to this house, and to all who dwell herein.

          From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of his burial.

          Our Father …

          All they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense.
          O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come unto thee.

          Let us pray. O God, who by the guidance of a star didst on this day manifest thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we who know thee by faith may also attain the vision of thy glorious majesty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

          Arise, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee—Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary. And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light and kings in the splendour of thy rising, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee.

          Let us pray. Bless, we pray thee, O Lord God almighty, this home, that in it there may be health, purity, the strength of victory, humility, goodness and mercy, the fulfilment of thy law, the thanksgiving to God the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. And may thy blessing remain upon this home and upon all who dwell herein. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

          After the prayers of the blessing are recited, the initials of the Magi — Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar — and the year are inscribed upon the doors with the blessed chalk. (The initials C M B can also be interpreted as the Latin phrase Christus mansionem benedicat which means “Christ blesses this house”.)

          The Catholic Herald has also published an article.

            Masses by candlelight.

            Tomorrow sees the second of the three Rorate Masses this Advent. Members of our community have attended and contributed to these over the last couple of Advents.

            Fr Neil celebrated the first one, this year.

            Fr Neil celebrating the first one, this year, last week.

            Starting at 6:30am at Our Lady of Ransom, they are lit only by candles and are quiet and meditative. Perfect for the reflective nature of Advent.