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WORLD SERVICE IS THE NAME WE ARE GIVING TO A WEEKLY SUNDAY SERVICE AT 3PM. ITS PURPOSE IS TO PRAY FOR THE NEEDS OF THE WORLD. EACH WEEK A DIFFERENT WORLD PROBLEM WILL BE HIGHLIGHTED AND PRAYED FOR. THE SPECIALLY CONSTRUCTED SERVICE WILL TAKE PLACE BEFORE THE BLESSED SACRAMENT EXPOSED. IT WILL LAST ONE HOUR.
19 October. On the World Service and the SVP
The World Service at 3pm on Sunday afternoon has gone very well for its first couple of weeks when we prayed especially for the victims of ISIS and of the Ebola epidemic. It is a powerful and invigorating experience to pray together for the needs of the world in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. If we could only bring home to ourselves that this Presence is the white-hot centre of the world, the Power behind all power, the Wisdom inspiring all rational thought. What an authoritative thing it is to pray in such a Presence, and especially as we are his friends and siblings, baptised into his very Self.
We are going to launch now a series of World Services based on the Our Father, praying for our world in the light of the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. The first will be this afternoon (Sunday). Our prayers will be that the world may come to recognise the Fatherhood of God. It will tie up with the end of the Synod in Rome where the Holy Father and Bishops from around the world have been reflecting on Family Life and the problems that beset the family in our modern world. I hope this series of World Services (seven in all) will help us to deepen our understanding of the Lord’s Prayer, pray it more completely and that our private recitation of it in the future may remind us of the needs of the world as well as our own.
A bright sun shone as I stood at the door to say good-bye to the worshippers after the World Service and it threw into high relief a fuchsia nearby radiant with red blooms. The people were slow in coming out (would that I could say the same for Sunday Masses!) and I stood there wondering at the loveliness of this shrub so amazingly beautiful in mid-October. As people dribbled out, I directed their attention to it and to the time of year. “Fancy blossoming in October” said one. “Isn’t it amazing, and at this time of year” said another. “Wow, and in autumn as well” said a third. Just at that moment, as luck would have it, Mrs Hills, a well known and much loved local florist came out. “Look, Mrs Hills” I said, “tell me, why is this fuchsia blooming in October?” “Because” she said, putting an abrupt end to the conversation, “they always do bloom in October”.
Also blooming in October, and especially this October, is the OLSS conference of the SVP. Under the presidency of Mr Toni Fossi, our branch of the SVP has really blossomed, with several new members and an impressive work history. As I have often mentioned, any Christian parish can reckon its worth by the care it takes of the poor. They are the ultimate measure of its integrity. The SVP is one of the main ways in which we, as a parish, reach out to the needy and marginalised in our area. And those of us who are not active members do so by our regular support. As PP, I can only say how much I appreciate the work the Conference does in the Parish and how ready they are to respond to any request I make of them.
I say that our local SVP is blooming especially this October, the reason being that this week they are celebrating their Silver Jubilee, twenty five years since the Conference was set up under Canon Kelly. And they look well set for another twenty-five years at least! To celebrate the occasion they will be holding an anniversary Mass on Wednesday at 6pm which you would be very welcome to attend.
If you would like to join the SVP and get stuck in, then please get in touch with Toni. You will find it very beneficial to your life as a Catholic. You will not only be “at the coal face” when it comes to people in need, but you will also benefit spiritually from fellowship with the other members and from the spiritual input which is always part of the weekly meeting.
It is not through the local branch of the SVP that we send our Feed My Lambs aid to Sudan and South Sudan. This is done at SVP national level, though it was through the local SVP, and Mr Ian Mawdsley in particular, that our Feed My Lambs scheme came into existence. It has proved so successful that there are several parishes up and down the UK which also have a Feed My Lambs scheme in operation. There is even a feeding centre in Sudan which has actually adopted that name. And, to crown it all, let me tell you that we are within just a few pounds of reaching, or we have already just reached (my counting leaves something to be desired!) the incredible sum of £100,000 which we have sent to feed those starving children. And not only that, let me remind you also of the many thousands of pounds you contributed in addition to Sr Jean’s Clinic, a collection we had to stop when the extra levies were put on us earlier this year. Your generosity has been quite astounding!
We had a diocesan audit of our financial records last week, and everything was fine. An opportunity for me to thank our trusty team of counters, Teresa and Marjorie; our sturdy carrier, Hugh, who banks it; our serene Secretary Sharon who records it; and our proficient Peter who sorts out the Gift Aid, a scheme which would baffle any lesser man! I am very grateful to them all for doing such a superb job, a humdrum job perhaps but one that is utterly essential to the efficient running of the Parish.
God bless, Fr Antony
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