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9 March 2014
In this first week of Lent, I invite you to focus on your prayer-life. If we are to find the joy in our Faith that Our Lord would have us find, then we must be men and women of prayer. We have to take prayer seriously. We have to take it as seriously as we do the other duties of our life. We have to give precious time to it, perhaps marking off half-an-hour every day to devote to it. It is your daily communication with God who is not only your Father and Redeemer, but also the real joy of your heart, the joy that will last for ever.
A way of spending that half hour is to sit down quietly with your Bible on your knees. Don’t attempt to read it at any length, just a verse or two will suffice. But let those words percolate in your mind, over and over again. Just as the water percolates in the coffee pot until it turns into coffee itself, so the Word of God should percolate in our minds until we become ourselves transformed into the image of Christ. It is best, in my opinion, to use the Gospel texts for this purpose.
Just let the Word speak to you. The Bible is the Word of God and comes alive when we read it in this way. The Living God actually communicates Himself to us. Prayer becomes a dialogue, with God doing most of the talking. You needn’t say much; He knows what you need before you ask Him. But in praying like this you rise above the level of asking, above the petition mode of prayer, into that mode whereby be rejoice in the Lord for he is good.
Praying before the Blessed Sacrament is greatly to be encouraged. Try during Lent to spend some time during the week praying before the Lord in the Eucharist. We have three periods of exposition: Wednesday from 730pm to 830pm; Friday from 12noon to 4.15pm and Saturday at 10am with the young people.
I wonder whether during this first week of Lent you might spend some quiet time with the following hymn by David W Hughes (1911-1967)? Maybe you could use it as part of your daily Lenten morning prayer?
Creator of the earth and skies,
To whom the words of life belong,
Grant us thy truth to make us wise;
Grant us thy power to make us strong.
Like theirs of old, our life is death,
Our light is darkness, till we see
The eternal Word made flesh and breath,
The God who walked by Galilee.
We have not known thee: to the skies
Our monuments of folly soar,
And all our self-wrought miseries
Have made us trust ourselves the more.
We have not loved thee: far and wide
The wreckage of our hatred spreads,
And evils wrought by human pride
Recoil on unrepentant heads.
For this, our foolish confidence,
Our pride of knowledge and our sin,
We come to thee in penitence;
In us the work of grace begin.
The Steering Committee met last Tuesday in preparation for the Parish Council Meeting on Tuesday 18 March. Usually I ask you in advance of this meeting to make known to any of the Parish Councillors anything you might wish discussed at the meeting. I apologise, but I forgot to do this this time. But all is not lost; if there is something you want discussing, please tell me personally before the eighteenth.
Because of the increased use of Stella Maris by groups outside our Parish Family, it has become impossible to lock the car-park gate. This means that the permits this year are good for nothing. So, if you have paid for your parking permit, please don’t be shy to ask for a refund. But this is not the end of the scheme; we must work out some way of getting around the problem, and when we do, I shall let you know.
I am very happy to announce to the Parish that we have a new Parish Safe-Guarding Representative. Mike Hendry has kindly agreed to take on this very important role. Hopefully, he will never have any case to handle in his new job, but should a problem ever arise concerning the safety of any child in the Parish, he will be there, genned up on all the legal procedures. Although we hope he will never have any case to handle, yet he still has much work to do. Just keeping abreast of all the forever changing legislation and procedures which apply to child safety is a serious job in itself. It also falls to him to make sure that each and every person who comes into close contact with any of our children has been thoroughly checked out, that his or her past record is totally unsullied. We are very grateful to him indeed. And we thank again Keith Mottram for all the work he did in this role; and Marie Crossland who was willing to take on this post before circumstances changed.
And now for a wonderful sign of life in our parish. This weekend, seven of our young people, at the older end of the scale, are down in Cardiff attending a YOUTH 2000 retreat! Isn’t that great?
God bless you, Fr Antony
PLEASE KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PAGE WHICH DETAILS THE CURRENT FINANCIAL SITUATION OF THE PARISH. THE COLLECTIONS ARE CURRENTLY FALLING FAR SHORT OF WHAT WE NEED TO RUN THE PARISH FROM WEEK TO WEEK, LET ALONE SAVE FOR THE INEVITABLE REPAIRS OF THE PROPERTIES.
NEXT POLISH MASS: Father Leniart wants the Polish Catholics of the Parish to integrate into this parish by attending one of the usual Sunday Masses. The other parishioners who have come from distant parts are now very much at home in our Parish Family. You Polish People are very welcome. Fr Leniart will be here again before Easter for Confessions. You may also make your Confession in Polish to me, Fr Antony.