Welcome to our Parish Website



I would like to draw your attention to the Book  THE MASS IN CLOSE-UP.

 It is a book I wrote during a prolonged period of convalescence. It began life as a series of articles on the Mass to explain to my parishioners the reasons for the textual changes of 2011.  But with time on my hands during convalescence, I expanded it to an explanation of the whole Mass, its history, its theology, its purpose, its meaning.

 I took it off Kindle, where it had been published as an ibook, because I wanted my parishioners to have easy access to it.  I have been convinced since I was a young priest that Catholics on the whole do not understand the Mass anything like they should.  And as the Mass is the white hot centre of our Catholic Faith, deeper knowledge of it leads to deeper understanding of what the Faith is about and an inevitable deepening of our love for Christ and his Church.  To read The Mass in Close-Up, just click on the image above.

May I also draw your attention to the CATECHUMENATE PAGE on this website.  There, in audio, you will find the whole course I gave a few years ago to instruct adults in the Faith.  It is ideal for introducing someone to the Catholic Church while, at the same time, an opportunity for a Catholic to look more deeply into their Faith.


Dear Parishioner,
8 November 2015 Go Slow!
It seems that the worthy citizens of Liverpool are locked in heated and agitated debate. And such is the important nature of their discussions that it is no wonder they are getting worked up.  The great magnitude of their deliberation will have its effects far and wide: even here, perhaps, in Llandudno.  The worthy Liverpudlians are seeking, no less, to decide upon the thorny issue as to whether the footpaths in the City Centre should be divided into lanes, a fast one and a slow one.  Now I defy you to think of anything more serious than that!
As far as I can get my head around this highly complex question, it seems to me that there are obviously two warring factions in the city: those who want to get around the town at speed and those who want to loiter, meeting people and window shopping. The Fastlaners, who appear to be miles ahead of their opponent (as you would expect) are incensed that people standing in groups talking, others checking their mobiles, others queuing on the pavement to get into the betting shop – all these and more besides, Pavement Loiterers as they call them, are getting in their way, hindering their speed and consequently lessening the amount of shopping they can do.  The Slowlaners, on the other hand, are arguing that the High Street is a public place where people can meet and exchange news, can tell how cousin Karl is getting on in Hindley Prison or auntie Lilly in Broadgreen Hospital, how baby Tom is now over his bronchitis and why Everton will never beat Liverpool in the upcoming local derby.
While the Fastlaners, according to opinion polls, are way out ahead, it would seem to me that the Slowlaners have the better of the argument. They point to the antisocial dimension of this and its destructive force.  Watch these sprightly Liverpudlians, like the Olympic race-walking champion Elena Lashmanova,  striding through the City streets with no time to talk, no time to notice anything or anybody, just hell-bent on the all-important job in hand – shopping. The Slowlaners are telling us to heed even the advice of those rather obnoxious Trade Union Chiefs in the late 70s and early 80s who insisted that their members Go Slow.  For Speed Kills. It kills communication, conversation, relationships, and a whole lot of other things besides.  Sorry, I just haven’t got time. And eventually it will kill us too, physically and spiritually.
Take the Church as your example. How slowly she moves!  Popes St  John XXlll and Saint John Paul ll were amazing exceptions: usually it takes centuries for the Church to decide someone worthy of canonisation. This is a lesson that I have tried in vain to teach myself throughout life: Go Slow. When it comes to decisions,  my natural impulse is to act immediately, but if the problem is not thought through sufficiently, it will probably not succeed.  Mañana, as the Spaniards would say: tomorrow is time enough.
Look at the Mass, how slowly it moves!  The entry procession of priest and altar servers is at a snail’s pace, and the rest of the service follows the same pattern.  Everything is slow and deliberate.  Even the hymns are slow!! There is no rushing around whatever, except perhaps by some errant young altar server who mistakenly thinks he is not in the sights of the watchful Sr Jennifer; or  like some equally errant curate who once famously dribbled a football down the aisle during his sermon (remember?).  Could the Church, by her slow and deliberate habits, be trying to tell us something?
Yes, I think she is. We will never find God in haste.  When he appeared to Elijah on Mount Carmel, it was not in the raging and racing fire, not in the brisk and rushing storm, not in the ground moving earthquake, but in a gentle breeze or in a still small voice, as some translations put it.  And there is no wonder, for  God lives in the eternal Now, where there is no tomorrow and therefore no hurry.
Spiritual writers, and the Saints almost to a man/woman, tell us that if we want to get into deep contact with God, then we have to watch our speed, have to slow down, have ultimately to stop altogether.
A daily period of complete shut-down on our part is, as the Saints insist, essential to our spiritual lives.  But, as any motorist knows, you can’t come to standstill instantly; you need to apply the brakes and slow down over a distance before you can come to a full stop.  If you devote a daily period of time to the essential business of prayer, then you too have to slow down, and in two ways.  You have to slow down generally.  You will never be a man or woman of prayer if you cannot stop flying around in ever decreasing circles.  Secondly, you will not persevere in your resolution to pray daily if you have not learned that within that very period of prayer itself you have to slow down yet further, recognising that it takes time to stop even when you have applied the brakes.
So, we begin our prayer.  Our minds are full of what has been going on during the day: our anxieties are hovering around like fallen angels and our hopes and plans like good ones. These thoughts force themselves onto our consciousness.  We struggle to focus on God, we fail, we give up.  That most important resolution to pray daily has been blown to the winds, all because we do not know how to slow down and stop.
If we are to learn to pray, to meditate (which is what I am really talking about) we have to devote the first several minutes of our prayer period to the process of braking, slowing down and stopping. We have to enter into that private room, as Our Lord describes it, of our inner self, leaving everything else outside.  It is there that we will hear that still small voice. It is there and then that we meet our God most perfectly, as really as we meet our friend in the street.
But how do we apply the brakes, slow down and stop?  What’s the technique?  We see Our Lord in the Gospels going to some lonely place to pray or spending the whole night in prayer.  In that lonely place, in the darkness and solitude of that night, Our Lord escapes from the thousand-and-one demands the people were making on him.  So must we, for a little while, every day.
The mystics tell us that having freed ourselves of external distraction we then must turn out attention to freeing ourselves from all that internal distraction with which our mind is so full. Begin by not getting upset by the fact that you cannot at first concentrate on God. Turn inward gently.  Let your senses lead you to that quiet place.  A technique which predates Christianity by millennia is to sit still, comfortable, eyes closed, and just take note of the feeling of your body: your shoulders against the back of the chair, your hands resting on your knees, your feet in your slippers.  Every bit of us is filled with feeling, but generally we do not even notice them at all.  As you sit there, start to notice them, come back to your senses. As the minutes pass by, with your attention fixed as fully as you can on one bodily sensation after another, you will find yourself breathing more slowly and more deeply, you will find yourself relaxing in the Presence of God.  You have applied the brakes. Maybe you will never come to a complete stop; only the greatest Saints and mystics have achieved that.  But now you are going slowly and, like watching the view from a slow-moving vehicle, you are able to see things far more clearly than from a fast-moving one, able  to sense more deeply this Presence within you.   Then you can properly experience what prayer really is, then and only then can you stop on the pathway of life and talk to your God, as it were face to face, even about cousin Karl in prison  and auntie Lizzy in hospital.
The  Universe, from its beginning at the Big Bang, has been expanding all the time, and even though it is now billions of years old is still accelerating, getting faster and faster all the time.  It makes you wonder: is speed in our very genes?  Is this the reason why we find it so hard to go slow and even to stop?  But we must go slow even while we are, with the rest of the created Universe,  hastening on our journey to the Alpha and Omega of our existence, Almighty God Himself..
God bless you,                          Fr Antony
Dear Parishioner,
1 November 2015
I am looking forward to Wednesday Evening, (7pm, Stella Maris) and I am hoping you are too.  It will be an evening of self-congratulation, a time for patting one another on the back, a time for telling one another what a jolly good fellow you are!  And when you think about it, such an occasion is pretty rare.  We usually meet to be told what to do (as in school), or to pray (as in church), or to be fed (as in the restaurant), or to be entertained (as at a football match or theatre).  But meeting simply to say “what a great chappy you are”, well……
This Parish, though I say so myself, is full of jolly good people, and I am sure that you, dear reader, are one of them.  For you are very likely to have contributed regularly for several years, and very generously, even when times were hard and money scarce, to the Feed My Lambs project in our Parish.  You have had the bigness of heart to recognize that there are people in this world of ours who are in far greater need than yourself.  You have consistently supported these children whom you have never seen nor ever will, who are of a different nationality and culture from yourself, and who will never know who it was who deprived themselves so that they could be fed and watered, nurtured and kept alive.  You did not give your donations so that others would marvel at your generosity (for Our Lord assures us that those who do so have received their reward already).  Nor did you give in the warm expectation that someone would come along, all smiles, grasp you warmly by the hand and say Thank You.  You gave knowing there would be no expressions of thanks. You have given over all these years out of simple generosity, and, as Our Lord promises, the poor whom you have so sincerely and generously helped, will be queuing up at the Gates of Heaven to welcome you.
So, you are a jolly good fellow!  But so you jolly well should be!  You are a Christian.  You are aware, through the Revelation that came to us through Christ, that everything you have and are, every breath you breathe, every step you take, God gives you, here and now.  Everything is God’s gift to us; we can claim nothing to ourselves, except our sins.  But such generous giving on the part of God was not enough for Him.  He decided to give us his own Son as well. And He, in his turn, gave Himself for us on the Cross. He gave his all.  And in the Blessed Eucharist He has devised a way of continuing to give Himself to us.  This is the very nature of God.  God is Gift, with a capital G.  And we, to whom He draws so close through the Sacraments, must be like Him in this.  We must be generous if we are to be Christians.  We must be kind if we are to be Christians.  If you are kind, you will get to heaven – trust me!
The suffering in both Sudan and South Sudan is extreme.  The famine there is biting hard. But our television screens show us others who are suffering severely too.  Our minds these days are full of the plight of the refugees and asylum seekers striving to enter Europe in the hope of a peaceful and stable future.   Muslims, mostly, striving to enter Christian Europe.  But they must surely be asking themselves what exactly and where is this charity that Christians speak so much about?  Fenced off and forbidden entry like criminals, left to travel through perilous seas and to tramp though continents on weary and badly blistered feet carrying their children and meager belongings, left outside by night to face the rain and the cold.  Christian Europe, in my opinion, has let itself down badly. Muslims, on the whole, are not kind to Christians; but that is no reason why Christians should not be kind to Muslims.
The crowds of migrants were described by one television commentator to be of biblical proportions.  In other words, vast numbers just like the mass migrations described in the Bible.  I was reminded of this when I saw coverage of a huge column of people making their journey through a cornfield somewhere in southern Europe.  Like them, God’s people also were migrants who spent forty years making their way from Egypt to the Promised Land. Let’s hope it won’t take that long for these people to find their promised land!
Today we celebrate the Feast of All Saints. The crowds we have just been speaking about reminded me of what St John says in his vision of heaven, where he sees huge crowds, impossible to count, from every nationality and culture, gathered around the Throne of God.  But are all these around God’s Throne Catholics?  Are they all Christians?  Is there room there for Jews and Muslims and Hindus and atheists and the rest of them?  While we know that Christ has revealed to us the true nature of God and the true way He wants us to reach Him and worship Him, we must always remember that He died for all of us, individually and with no exceptions.  He died for every one of those Muslims we see sailing in perilous boats and trudging though Europe with little welcome from those who have been given so much, including the True Faith itself. Our notion of All Saints must be inclusive of everyone.
But let’s get back home.  Tomorrow, Monday, is All Souls’ Day.  It is the traditional day when we remember especially and pray especially for those who have died, particularly those whom we have known and loved.  There will be three Masses, according to the ancient tradition of the Church, at 10am, 12 noon and 630pm.  The 12 noon Mass will be a Requiem for Joe Rowlands who died suddenly last week. May he rest in peace. We offer out deepest sympathies to Margery and the family and assure them of our prayers in what is always a traumatic time.  At the other Masses, we will remember and pray for especially the souls of those who have died during the last three years.  Their names will be called out during the bidding prayers when family members and friends will be invited to come forward and light a candle under the altar (in accordance with the vision St John received in the Apocalypse) in special memory of the loved one.
Tuesday, as I spelt out at some length in last week’s Newsletter, sees the start of the instructions for the young people in Years 7 and 8.  This will be at 4pm at Stella Maris, and the sessions will continue for the rest of the school year.  Margaret Hunt, Fleur Williams, Ronnie Lawson (catechists) and myself will be there to meet the young people and as many of the parents as are able to come.  Last week, you may remember, I harped at great length on the importance of these sessions.  I was tempted to repeat myself again today but decided not to. I wouldn’t want to run the risk of anyone making the hideously false assertion that the Newsletter was boring.  Which it never is, of course!
God bless,          Fr Antony

Dear Parishioner,

25 October 2015  The Parish Website

Sincere thanks to Mike Townsend who has been hard at work!  Not only has he  set up a new website for the SVP at national level but has done a lot of splendid work on ours too.  So let me remind you of some of the things you can find there, which you can access easily by searching Llandudno Catholic Church.
On the home page, it gives you the current Newsletter.  On the same page it also gives you the opportunity of downloading, printing off or just  simply reading The Mass in Close-up, the book I wrote during that period of convalescence I had in 2012.  You may remember that in 2011 the text of the Mass changed.  It caused some confusion. People were saying the changes were unnecessary.  But because they were necessary and important, I set about in my Newsletters to explain to you why the changes had been made.  But during my nine month convalescence the following year, this explanation expanded into a full-blown explanation of the Mass from beginning to end.
It was, in one way, God’s gift to me, for working on it prevented my going round the bend with boredom.  But I like to think that maybe it is God’s gift to others too, for the more we understand the Mass the more we come to love it.  And coming to love the Mass more, where Christ Himself is in action as our most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, we come more to love and reverence Him.
I published it first on Kindle, but withdrew it very soon.  I wanted it to be more available to the Parish.  One visitor told me that in her parish they use it in a study group.  Some of my own parishioners tell me that they have found it very enlightening.  I do not tell you this by way of fishing for compliments!  My only concern is that more and more people come to know the Mass more clearly, for it is the very encapsulation of our entire Catholic Faith.
Our website also offers you a full live recording of the Catechumenate.  There are forty-odd talks, covering the Creed, the Sacraments and the Commandments, what we believe and what we do.  Because the recordings are live, they are not perfect, but they are more than adequate for a person to rethink the essence of their Faith or for introducing someone to Catholicism.  Please recommend listening to the series to anyone showing interest in the Church.
You can also find on the website a long, detailed and very interesting History of the Parish, reaching right back to its formation in the late 19th Century.  This includes the story of the building of the church and presbytery and a detailed description of all the priests who have served here.  The Times of Services and a weekly-updated Financial Report are also to be found on the Website
Among the many improvements Mike has introduced to our website, making it much easier to read and easier to handle (user-friendly, I believe, is the jargon), he has created a new page each for the UCM and for the SVP.  Here you can find the full lists of membership, the upcoming events they are planning, reports on earlier ones, and how to join or get into contact.
The website proudly displays our Parish Motto: May we know Christ more clearly, love Him more dearly and follow him more nearly, displayed alongside a collage of St Peter’s Square with Our Lady’s, Llandudno, and its parish priest superimposed on it.  Some have taken the micky out of me for this, suggesting that I have illusions of grandeur, though, if I have, succeeding to the See of Peter is not one of them!  Again, all credit to Mike who created it and which delighted me when I first saw it.  To my mind it symbolises the Universal Catholic Church, centred on the Holy Father in Rome, with us, the Parish of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, enfolded in it and a living part of it.
For many years the dominant image of our website front page has been and still is Varrun (a boy then, a man now) holding aloft the newly blessed Easter Candle in a swirl of incense.  This too, to my mind, is very symbolic.  Christ is the Light of the Word.  We meet and unite ourselves to Him through the great Sacrament of the Mass (symbolised by the incense). By the manner of our lives, we hold Him up before the eyes of our society (symbolised by the holding up of the Easter Candle). And the catholicity (universality) of our Church and local community is also symbolised by this image. Both as a worldwide Church and as a local parish we are a Family made up of people from many different cultures across the world.  Varrum, a born and bred Indian, holding up the Easter Candle in our Welsh church seems to me powerfully symbolic of this.
Now let’s turn from the subject of the Website to something else.  Last week we had a meeting of the Baptism Team.  This consists of Klara, Suheila Lewis (who has just very kindly accepted the appointment) and Stephen Watson.  At that meeting we decided that the whole Month of Sundays preceding the month in which the baptism is to take place will be devoted to the preparation of the parents and godparents.  On the first Sunday, the person will be presented to the Parish at the 930am Mass.  There will be no instruction following this Mass. The procedure of the parishioners marking the Sign of the Cross on the forehead of the child does not leave enough time for further instruction.  But after the Mass on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Sunday the parents will be invited to Stella Maris where the team will try to help them understand more fully the great Sacrament God is soon to bestow upon their children.
Klara will be responsible for the 2nd Sunday’s instruction, Suheila for the 3rd and Stephen for the 4th.  But they decided at the meeting that, when possible, they will all attend every session, while leaving the main input to the catechist whose particular responsibility that Sunday is.  I think this is a very good development.
And moving on from one set of catechists to another, let me remind you that our two year Catechism Lessons for Years 7 and 8 begin on 4 November and will continue every Tuesday during term time at Stella Maris at 4pm.  Margaret Hunt and Fleur Williams have been running these classes for several years now, and we appreciate their work immensely.  They will be joined this year by Ronnie Lawson as an apprentice Confirmation Catechist! We are very grateful to her too.
This two-year series of instructions is a unique service our Parish offers to our young people. To my knowledge, you will not find its like anywhere else in the Diocese.  Each catechist stays with the same group of children for the whole two years.  In the first year, they go through the articles of faith held in the Creed.  This gives them the opportunity of approaching in a more grown-up way the teachings of the Church.  The second year is geared to the Sacraments and Commandments.  This enables them to understand more clearly their own identity as baptised Christians, the immense mystery of the Mass, and the other sacramental ways in which they will meet God in the course of their lives.
I cannot stress too strongly the importance of these weekly sessions.  Would you parents and grandparents and family members and friends please do all that you can to ensure that the young people within your sphere, who are in years 7 or 8, do attend these sessions, and attend them regularly and punctually.  To those who have spiritual responsibility for these children please know that your co-operation and encouragement is, most certainly, what God wants of you.  Parents and grandparents are, of course, always welcome to sit in on any session they like.
And finally, a further word about the Children’s Liturgy, our provision for the little ones during Sunday Mass.  For the children to sit easily, the sacristy has been rigged out with a rubber floor-covering which, to my surprise, looks quite good, as well as being warm and comfortable!  I am delighted that so many adults feel free to stay with their children for the session, but I ask them, for the sake of the longevity of the flooring, not to position their chairs on the rubber!  I would like to assure the parents that during the cold weather the heating in the sacristy will most certainly be switched on. And, to be sure, if you keep a regular eye on the Parish Website, you too will be a switched on parishioner.

God bless,                                Fr Antony

Contact me :    antonyjones23@gmail.com