St Anne's, Brockenhurst

 

Fr David Adams Parish priest and Co-Ordinating Pastor

St Anne’s Rhinefield Road, Brockenhurst

Hampshire SO42 7SR

Mass alternate Sundays at 6pm

All enquiries contact the Parish office:

Telephone  01590 676696

Email: lymbrockmil@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk

 

The parish of St Anne is part of the

Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth.

Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust is Registered Charity 246871

IF YOU ARE NOT DOING SO ALREADY:

PLEASE CONSIDER SUPPORTING THE PARISH FINANCIALLY WITH A REGULAR STANDING ORDER:

 

A/C NAME: “PRCDTR-BROCKENHURST - ST ANNE”

A/C NUMBER: 00875962

SORT CODE: 30-93-04​

 

 

 

THERE IS ONLY ONE LOVE            25th October

The Pharisees (literally “separated ones”) were a group that began with the hasidim (God’s loyal ones) in the 2nd century before Jesus. They concentrated on control of religious rather than political affairs. Their supreme concern and delight was to keep the law, including the traditions of the elders (Torah) in every exact detail. Most scribes belonged to the Pharisee group. They were model Jews by their own standards. They tended to keep themselves apart from others whom they considered either unclean or sinful in some way. While there were exceptions (e.g. Nicodemus) they were generally arrogant, judgemental and disdainful of others. This arrogance, combined with a dry legalism which put exact ritual observance before love and mercy led them into conflict with Jesus.

It is not clear why they thought the question “Which is the greatest commandment of the Law?” could cause potential embarrassment for Jesus. Perhaps there is a clue in Jesus’ answer. Jesus did not give them the answer they wanted because he mentions two commandments: Love God and love your neighbour as yourself. So perhaps we can infer that the Pharisees wanted to drive a wedge between these two commandments & to show that Jesus, by loving people as he did, was somehow infringing the first and greatest commandment.

The greatest temptation of religious people of any time or place is to hate others for the love of God. We can so easily delude ourselves into thinking that our own fears, greed, & hatreds can be justified by appealing to religious duty. Very conveniently, and probably for the most part unconsciously, we excuse ourselves and blame God: “Well don’t blame me for trying to kill you, I am only obeying God’s commandment. It is a holy duty! I have got to do it!” The cross of Jesus directly addressed this sin of the world. God is always with the victim, always on both sides of any divide.

Jesus’ teaching was not dramatically new as our extract from Exodus indicates. However the fundamental shift is that for Exodus “neighbour” meant primarily anyone of your own race – foreigners & pagans were not included. Jesus universalises this commandment & brings it, from a relatively obscure position, to be the second greatest commandment. He then says that all the writings of the Law (1st five books of the Hebrew bible) and the prophets hang or rest upon these two. This is an antidote to fundamentalism and legalism because everything has to be referred back to love, love is the greatest law.

God accepts and loves us, so we can love ourselves and others in the same way. Of course there is a deeper truth here. There is a deep unity of all things in God. When you love your neighbour you are, in fact, loving your greater Self. This unity is based first of all at the level of being: All things came into being through him (i.e the Word), John 1:3; in him all things hold together, Colossians 1:17. There is union finally at the level of love – God’s embrace of love for everything & everyone. (DMA).

 

Owing to a parishioner testing positive for Covid-19

Fr David is in isolation up to and including the 18th October.

Therefore, Sunday Masses on 18th October at

 St Anne’s, St Francis and Our Lady of Mercy & St Joseph are cancelled.

 

The next Masses on a Sunday will be:

25th October OLMSJ, Lymington

1st November, St Anne’s, Brockenhurst & St Francis of Assisi, Milford on Sea

Due to social distancing seats are limited and must be booked in advance via the parish office : 01590 676696

Give to God what belongs to God 18th October

The enemies of Jesus, an unlikely alliance of Pharisees (religious, anti-Roman), and Herodians (ruling classes, pro-Roman) try to trap Jesus. They frame a question in such a way as to force a damned if you do and damned if you don’t kind of answer. If Jesus says No to paying tax he can be arrested and executed as a rebel (or terrorist in contemporary terms). If Jesus says Yes pay the taxes he will alienate all ordinary people who detested the Roman occupation. (Incidentally, Jewish tax collectors were the most despised people in Israel at that time).

Why did Jesus have these enemies? He was obviously upsetting the system. He threatened the whole religious industry because if God gives freely then you no longer need to pay for it with money or animals. The whole economy of Jerusalem was being turned upside down and people’s jobs were on the line! Not only that but people’s self-importance, power and faults were being exposed. Few of us take kindly to that!

Jesus accuses the questioners of being hypocrites. First of all because their real intention is malicious – they want to trap Jesus.

Secondly, because they themselves are using the Roman coinage. This was itself tantamount to idolatry (the inscription often referred to the divine emperor) and revealed a practical acceptance of their rule.

Jesus’ response to them is a flash of wisdom and inspiration: Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.

This can be understood as saying respect the civil authorities, as far as possible, as this is necessary for the smooth running of society. However, we must look to our relationship with God above all else, loving God with all our mind, heart, soul and strength. Living in God’s love, doing the will of the God the Father/Mother is what is really important.

Of course, Jesus has much better things to give his followers than money. When we really appreciate the spiritual blessings – God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, gift of the Holy Spirit, sharing in God’s life – then gold, silver, jewels etc are all very pretty and we can enjoy them and learn to use them wisely but they don’t have any real value. God values all the creation and especially people. Each person is a precious gift. (DMA)

IMAGES OF THE BANQUET   11th October

Isaiah’s description of the banquet comes in a short section, chapters 25-27, which scholars agree to be a later interpolation into the text. Whereas most of Isaiah 1-39 is attributed to Isaiah himself, and dates from the eighth

century BC, these chapters, which refer to the fall of an imperial city, are probably from the fifth century. The wonderful feast celebrates the end of history as we know it: for God will “destroy death for ever”.

However, Isaiah (if I may still call the author that) is as interested in politics as he is in eschatology (the branch of theology concerned with end times); Israel’s troubled and precarious existence as a tiny state, tossed and sometimes crushed between surrounding and warring empires, will finally be resolved. Their loyalty to their God will be vindicated, as he brings about their salvation. Yet Isaiah is not narrowly nationalistic. While Israel’s shame in front of mightier nations will be removed, at the same time all nations will be invited to the banquet on the mountain of Jerusalem.

On the one hand, Isaiah envisages punishment for oppressive nations (the lectionary with its customary delicacy cuts the reading just before the grim fate of Moab is described).

On the other hand, the prophet proclaims a future where “the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness” (26:9) and recognise the Lord’s rule.

Both Matthew and Luke make use of a version of the parable of the wedding–feast, and their different treatments of it reveal their own theological interests. In Luke, Jesus is urging the wealthy to show hospitality to the poor and the handicapped, who will not be able to repay it. He is concerned to encourage generosity to the needy and to break down social barriers. The second set of guests invited are “the poor and maimed and blind and lame”, while the third are summoned from “the highways and hedgerows”.

Matthew uses the parable quite differently, to continue his narrative of the conflict between Jesus and the Jewish leaders over the question of God’s relation to Israel. Again he presents the story as an illustration of the kingdom

of heaven. The motif reappears of the servants who are ill treated and killed, who represent the prophets. The king’s revenge on their murderers is described with Matthew’s usual lack of squeamishness. He is not interested in whether the second set of guests are poor or maimed (indeed, they seem to be expected to be able to afford a wedding garment).

His point is simply that the feast is now open to all-comers. Once again, the challenge is aimed at Jesus’ religious opponents: the time of fulfilment is here, and the kingdom of heaven will welcome anyone who accepts the invitation, Jew and Gentile alike.

(From Priests & People , preaching and teaching the Word by Margaret Atkins).

IS THE KINGDOM BEING TAKEN FROM US? 4th October

 

In the Gospel this weekend Jesus says to the religious leaders: “The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you and given to those who will produce its fruit”.

It is important that we regularly ask that question of the Lord in our prayer: Are we losing the kingdom, are we losing our souls?

Forget about heaven and hell for a moment. It is about what is happening now in our hearts, minds, emotions, bodies, relationships and lives. Seeing things only in terms of “when I die” can be a subtle way to avoid the here and now issues.

History gives us many examples of people, communities, regions, countries “losing it”. Losing openness, tolerance, love, compassion, joy, variety, acceptance, values, meaning and whatever else makes the heart sing. A parish community can have its priests, its liturgies, its groups and still be cold and unwelcoming, judgemental and narrow-minded. It can have too little of the Spirit who comes from God and too much of the spirit of the world (fear, lethargy, discouragement, greed, factions, prejudices etc).

The soul is a very delicate thing. It can expand out to the whole universe and in its appreciation and acceptance embrace everything, even the mystery of God. The soul thrives on love, truth, compassion and freedom.

 

It responds to beauty and to disfigurement, to joy and to pain. It relishes spontaneity, diversity and harmony. With faith it can flourish on challenge and overcome adversity. Above all the soul can be refreshed and renewed by another or by the Other.

But the soul can also shrink and wither. It can lose the joy. It can become locked into anxiety, bitterness, security and comfort. The soul can become fearful and self-preoccupied. Remember I am not talking so much about sin, although that may be part of the picture but about life, energy, creativity, appreciation, joy, openness or rather the lack of these experiences. We can be going to the sacraments but our souls can still be starving because we are not really letting Christ into the whole of our lives. One moment with the Lord will have little impact if we spend hours & hours consuming only the trivial and superficial.

Bad leadership can also stifle the soul. Rigid, authoritarian and regimental leadership negates confidence, creativity and God-given self-worth. And weak leadership which fails to call forth the best in us can encourage complacency. If we are living only in the expectations of others. We may not belong to ourselves. If they are the mirrors which reflect back to us our reality then we won’t know who we really are. We won’t realise that we are mirrored by Christ as children of God. We need to ask ourselves who am I when I am not a husband, wife, father, mother, wage earner, single person, etc? Do I know myself as one uniquely loved and called by the Other who is the real friend and life of our souls? (DMA)

Let’s Walk Together: A Walk for Creation

- Saturday 10th October at 10: 00am

The 3 churches in Brockenhurst have joined together to organise an ecumenical “Walk for Creation” on Saturday 10th October. Let’s walk, pray and reflect together on the gifts of creation and the mission given us by God to care for the earth and respond to its needs today.

The walk will be around 2 miles along forest paths, starting and ending at Ober Corner car park. Dogs welcome!

In compliance with the latest government ‘Rule of 6’ regulations, we will be walking in staggered groups of six, each with a leader.

We hope to serve coffee and cakes at the end of the walk - please bring your own mug!

Please register your interest by calling or emailing any of the contacts below:

St Saviours Church Office 01590 624584

Annabelle Mellor: 01590 624587 or annadmellor@gmail.com

Milla Pearse: 07963 818638 or ecochurch@brockenhurstchurch.com

SUNDAY MASS AT ST ANNE’S: All being well we hope to celebrate Mass on Sunday, 4th October at 6pm.

We are grateful to the stewards who make this possible.

If you wish to come to Mass at that time, please book in via the Parish Office. Numbers are very restricted.

GETTING INTO THE DANCE     27th September

 

True religion is not first morality and then relationship. It is first relationship and then morality.

 

Think of the way a family nurtures a new baby. First come the bonds of joy, love, tenderness and belonging. The first years are fairly crucial. If the right foundations are laid the young person can go forward with confidence, self-worth and trust. They are free enough to begin taking responsibility and seeing beyond their own needs. They learn that right and wrong have their source in love. In the absence of sufficient love and affirmation a person becomes haunted by a certain emptiness and a feeling of unworthiness. It becomes more difficult to break free from the preoccupation with one’s own needs. It takes longer to begin responding to the needs of others.

 

This development pattern is also true in our relationship with God. It is not us loving God so that God will have to love us. It is God loving us first so that we can love in return. We do not get it all right and then enter the “kingdom” of God’s loving friendship. The offer of God’s friendship is given to us and then we begin to get it right. If we have fear and anxiety as the foundation of our relationship with God we will continually try to win God over. Our spiritual lives will be very self-centred.

We won’t be able to share the Good News because deep down we haven’t heard it ourselves. We can’t give what we haven’t got.

 

This explains why we can take years anxiously struggling to be good and holy. We either give up in discouragement or deny the shadow both to ourselves and others. We then have to fabricate a righteousness to mask the shadow. We cannot imagine God loving us with our sins and weaknesses. Deep down we resent the effort to “make God love us” and we don’t really like the false image of God we have in our imaginations. It is no wonder that joy does not characterise our Christianity as much as it should.

 

It may be shocking to us but “the tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before” us. There isn’t any indication here that tax collectors and prostitutes have been able to instantly change their occupations. What has changed is that they have accepted God into their lives. They have accepted God’s undeserved love. They agreed to join the dance. The joy and strength this love gives will enable them to let go of anything that is not right in God’s eyes. Pope Francis wants the whole Church to receive again with joy this liberating and enabling loving mercy of God (DMA).

THE FIRST AND THE LAST: 20th September

 

One way of responding to the teaching of Jesus is to take a Gospel passage and identify with each of the main characters in the parable or story. Then one needs to recognise one’s feeling and reactions. It is called “owning our biases”. We all approach the Gospel with preconceived ideas and basic assumptions about life. This is just the way we are and it’s not a matter for guilt or blame. We can however take responsibility for ourselves which opens the way to seeing things in a new light and responding in a different way. Jesus is always challenging our basic assumptions about self, others, the world, what is good and bad and what is worth striving for. If we want a relationship with God now and if we hope for that relationship to endure for eternal life then we must continue the effort to get on God’s wavelength. Thankfully God will do all the hard work if we let her.

Take this Sunday’s Gospel. There are three main characters, the landowner, the labourers hired first and the labourers hired last. We need to stand “in the shoes” of these different people and experience what it feels like. Then we can ask ourselves why we think and feel the way we do.

Some years ago, when I was in South Africa I noticed that in certain places in the towns labourers and craftsmen would stand around waiting to be hired by contractors. Imagine if you have a family to feed or if one of your children is sick. You don’t have regular job & therefore no regular wage.

 

You have to depend on others to hire you. Then when you have been hired and have worked hard all day long you get the same money as someone who has only worked a few hours. How does that make you feel? What are the expectations of justice and fairness? What if you are a trade union representative?

Now put yourself in the shoes of a labourer hired last. You have been waiting for most of the day. You are getting more and more depressed and worried. Will you get enough money to live on? Will you have to work on into the night? How will you feel having to go home to the family with only a little money, not enough to pay the bills and buy food? How will you feel when you are paid the same as those who have worked all day? You receive something you didn’t earn or deserve. The gift comes from the sheer benevolence of the landowner. How does that feel? Would you feel more secure if you had earned the wages?

Now put yourself in the position of the landowner. It is your land, your money and you control the work. Would you pay the labourers the same? Would you think about their personal circumstances? Would you be influenced by the objections of other people?

If the landowner represents God it means that God looks to the needs of each person. It means that God gives according to God’s own goodness. God is free to do as she sees fit with her gifts. As God is loving to us all we have no reason to complain. (DMA)

THE SCANDAL OF FORGIVENESS

13th Septmber

 

It is strange that the Good News is sometimes also disturbing news. But this disturbance is only the discomfort of moving from a small spiritual place to a much bigger spiritual place. Jesus is always connecting us to the mystery of God who is always greater, always fresh and new.

We have our own ideas about forgiveness, our own limits and conditions. The Scripture begins by softening us up somewhat. The reading from Ecclesiasticus takes the approach of reason. If we seek forgiveness from God how can we refuse forgiveness to another human being? What right have we to seek vengeance when that right belongs to God?

 

The Gospel takes things further. Peter wants to set a reasonable limit to forgiveness – seven times – surely that is enough? Jesus completely blows that one away. Not seven times but seventy-seven times – Jesus effectively says that there is no limit to forgiveness. The reason is clear from the parable. God’s forgiveness is prodigal, lavish, unlimited. In fact it is scandalous and shocking. In the parable the servant owes the master a ridiculous amount of money – equivalent to millions of pounds at today’s values. The master feels sorry for the servant and cancels all the debt. But this servant has lent a few pennies to another and he demands repayment. When this is not forthcoming he has the other servant put into prison.

 

The message of the parable is clear. Our debt to God is far greater than we could ever imagine. By comparison our debts to each other are almost insignificant. If God has forgiven us then we should forgive each other.

But the Gospel is more disturbing still. And this is the really worrying part. The master in the parable imprisons the ungrateful and pitiless servant who refused to forgive and hands him over to the torturers. Jesus says this is how his heavenly Father will deal with us unless we forgive from the heart. Now clearly Matthew cannot believe God has a band of torturers just waiting to inflict pain. Surely, Jesus cannot be saying his heavenly Father is a sadistic torturer?

 

No, of course not, rather Jesus is using strong language to wake us up to the damage that unforgiveness and resentment can do to our own hearts, souls and bodies! Refusing to forgive is like locking ourselves into a prison and torturing ourselves with our own pain. It is like holding thorns tightly to the breast afraid to let go. In effect we end up torturing ourselves. The only way out is to ask God for the grace to forgive. (DMA)

 

The Season of Creation is an ecumenical liturgical season dedicated to prayer, reflection and celebration of God the Creator running from 1st September to 4th October. This year the theme is Jubilee for the Earth. There is a lovely Liturgy Guide which can be found at https://ourcommonhome.org/media/docs/2020-Season-of-Creation-Liturgy-Guide-LISTEN.pdf

 

 

DATE FOR YOUR DIARY - WALK FOR CREATION on Saturday, 10th October starting at 10 o'clock. St Anne’s Care for Creation group has joined with Eco Church at St Saviour's in organising a local prayer walk along forest paths for our combined Parishes to reflect on the gifts of creation and the mission given us by God to care for our planet and respond to its needs and crises today. Details will follow. All welcome, including dogs.

 

HOW DO WE RESPOND TO SERIOUS BAD BEHAVIOUR?

6th September

 

Notice in the Gospel for this Sunday, how the work of forgiveness & reconciliation, the power to “bind & loose” & the freedom to initiate good works are given to all the disciples, irrespective of gender.

Of all the sacraments, Reconciliation has been the one which the Church, over the centuries, has moulded, re-worked and changed the most. We only have to compare the text of this Sunday’s Gospel to our present practice to see the difference.

 

For many complex, often understandable reasons, the vast majority of Catholics who are still attending Mass regularly on a Sunday do not frequent the sacrament of Reconciliation. A reasonable proportion may avail of the sacrament once or twice a year. Recent exhortations to return to a more frequent, devotional reception of the sacrament seem to have been largely ignored. In order to respect Church discipline children must make a first Reconciliation before they make their first Holy Communion. However, as the parents don’t go themselves very few are brought to Reconciliation after that.

Let us return to the basics here. Sacred Scripture teaches that God loves us and calls us to love one another and the whole human race, even our enemies. Love does no wrong to the other and positively tries to do good where it can. Any behaviour (intentions, words & actions) that is, in any way, damaging to self or others, or to the relationship with God is bad, unhealthy, sinful.

Scripture warns us that when we engage in bad behaviour then harmful consequences follow. Remember we are punished by our sins not for our sins. Scripture admonishes us to change and seek forgiveness from those we have offended and from God. It also assures us that if we are sincerely sorry, even after countless “falls”, then God’s forgiveness is there for us.

 

Institutional corruption is to be courageously exposed and challenged. The weak, powerless and vulnerable are to be given special protection. As far as possible the good name of the offender is to be protected. But this protection of the offender is a not an absolute. The welfare of the injured always takes priority. Scripture encourages restorative justice, re-building relationships and making amends as far as possible.

Scripture tells us that God has reconciled the world to God’s self. In fact, on God’s side it always was, is and ever will be fully reconciled. The world already has General Absolution! Scripture encourages us to confess our sins to one another, pray for one another and so experience healing (James 5:16). The grace of reconciliation, forgiveness & healing has to be an every day, everywhere experience. Its for couples, for families, for places of work, for life at school & college, for friends. Our receiving forgiveness is inseparably linked to our giving forgiveness.

 

The time is long overdue for a wholesale re-working of how the Church community responds to us when we mess up, fail & seriously sin. Ignorant, misguided and damaging “sin” labels need to be discarded. We need to re-think better ways of how we can acknowledge our damaging & harmful behaviour; how we might be helped to change; how the vulnerable can be properly protected; how the assurance of God’s forgiveness is best communicated. The sacrament of Reconciliation must be a healing, encouraging, restoring encounter accorded the appropriate confidentiality. However, it must not be abused in such a way as to enable an unrepentant offender to go on causing serious harm to another, vulnerable person. The Church has changed the way it does this sacrament many times before. It can do so again. (DMA)

 

God’s Way of Thinking! 30th August

Our readings for this Sunday are rich in many ways. We see Jeremiah struggling with the difficult and unpopular task to which God had called him. He had to warn the political and religious leaders that the policies they were pursuing would only end in disaster. His truth-telling was not appreciated! Jeremiah tried to suppress and ignore his calling but he couldn’t do it

 

We see Peter, no sooner had he been blessed with Divine insight given by the Father, than he falls back into an all too understandable human way of thinking. Like all of us, Peter & Jeremiah recoil from suffering or even the thought of it. We don’t wish it on others and to seek it for ourselves would be morbid. So we sympathise with them both here.

However, God didn’t call Jeremiah to suffer but to speak “truth to power”. Jesus wasn’t determined to suffer pain and death. He was determined to do the Father’s will, to be faithful to his Father & to his sisters and brothers. He was indeed determined to stay this course even if it meant suffering and death.

The logic of a love that is so strong and pure that it is willing to suffer for the good of the other is the way of our God, who is love. The “way of the world” is only interested in self-advantage to the detriment of the other.

It is good to know that the heroes of our faith, who received Divine callings, were still very human and could get themselves in a mess just like we do. We too can and do receive God’s blessings and inspirations and we too can be called to bear witness and to speak the truth courageously. We too are called to love and to accept the cross (the sacrifices) that true love inevitably requires of us. As St Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face remarked, we don’t carry our crosses gloriously, but like Jesus, we stumble and fall. And if we persevere the strength has come not from ourselves but only from God.

 

Finally, Paul reminds us that this Divine wisdom is received primarily by loving and not just by thinking. God has given God’s self to us. We are invited to give ourselves to God and to allow God to give us the “new mind”, the “mind of Christ” which will enable us to change our behaviour. It will help us understand what God wants. We don’t try to change our behaviour to make God love us, that is a futile endeavour. God already loves us, it is by accepting that love, and only by that love that we can begin to change our behaviour for the better. Can this be our prayer? (DMA)

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St Anne’s, Brockenhurst

CORONAVIRUS

Due to a lack of Stewards there will not be a Mass at St Anne’s until September

 

 

REFLECTIONS ON AUTHORITY & LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCH 23rd August

Any short extract of literature needs to be understood in context. In fact, taking things out of context can lead to great misunderstandings and distortions. (This certainly applies to the short extract from Romans 11:33-36 for this Sunday. The preceding verses 25-32 point to the mystery & paradox of God’s mercy: ‘God has imprisoned all human beings in their disobedience to show mercy to all’ v32).

So “You are Peter & on this rock…” (Matt 16:18) needs to be understood alongside Matt 16:23 where Jesus says to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things”. So, Peter is gifted by the Father’s revelation but at the same time remains a frail human being subject to weakness & worldly thinking. So, church leaders may or may not be open to God’s inspiration but they will always be “earthen vessels” prone to frailty.

In this Sunday’s Gospel passage we read that the keys of the kingdom of heaven are given to Peter, with power to “bind & loose”. However, we need to understand these words in the light of other passages where Jesus gives a similar authority to all the disciples (Matt 18:18).

Also, we must consider Matt. 23:8-12: But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

And in Mark’s Gospel (Mk 10:41-45) Jesus says how authority is to be exercised: When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

St Peter himself wrote: (1 Peter 5: 1-3) I exhort the elders among you …. Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock.

A healthy church community is one in which everyone is respected, listened to, has a part to play, and is able to co-operate and collaborate. A healthy community is one where God’s love is the supreme law, where each is responsible for and accountable to the other. A healthy community needs leadership that nurtures the gifts of the Holy Spirit working “in all sorts of different ways, in different people” (1 Cor 12:6).

Pope Francis has been trying to re-balance how authority is exercised in the Church by exposing clericalism and re-introducing dialogue, collaboration and subsidiarity. However, there has been little progress, if any, on the inclusion of women in the leadership of the Church. A few token gestures have made recently but much more needs to be done to exorcise the demons of patriarchy and misogyny. For the vast majority of young people today this is one of the major scandals which diminishes the light of Christ in the Church. (DMA)

MARY RECEIVES THE FULLNESS OF GRACE

16th August

“Mary, assumed body & soul into the glory of heaven” can be seen as the final triumph of God’s graciousness towards humanity. Where death & decay were once understood as just punishments for sin, now they must be understood in the context of grace. Where once body & soul were pitched against each other in a false dichotomy now they can only be seen as reconciled and united in the mystery of Christ - the creative Word. Mary was sinless not by a independently achieved perfection of thought, word and deed (cfr Phil 3:9) but by the favour of God whose forgiveness covers all (Jer 31:34), and whose grace produces the perfect goodness. In this relationship of grace there is “no longer any consciousness of sin” (Heb 10:2). For the parent a child’s accidents, mistakes, temper tantrums and sulks are not “sins” bringing condemnation and separation but learning experiences on the journey of life.

Mary as mother of Jesus, the eternal Word made flesh, is ennobled in her motherhood. This nobility is shared by the whole creation which is one with the Divine because it receives its being from the Word (John 1:3).

What of Mary’s body? In Scripture body has many meanings: the community is the Body of Christ. As the Word became flesh, so the Word becomes bread & wine, the sacramental Body & Blood of Christ.

The universe is the body of the Christ who “fills the whole creation” (Eph 1:23, Teilhard de Chardin & more recently Pope Benedict). Paul writes that there are different kinds of bodies and that the mortal body that is “sown” is not the same as the spiritual body that is “raised” (1 Cor 15:44). So when we speak of “body” we mustn’t assume we fully understand what we are talking about. But the implication here is that the material body is subsumed within the spiritual body just as the colours of the spectrum are drawn back into the oneness of pure light. Or like the tulip that dies back into its source, the bulb. So the unity of body and soul, and all the dimensions of created being are held within the creative energy of the Divine Word, the source of all creation.

For the Church, Mary assumed expresses the final triumph of God’s grace for God’s creatures. The language of separation, alienation, decay & condemnation is no longer relevant. All the experiences of life - the beautiful, the good, the tragic & ugly, the destructive and vain, the heroic & the wicked are seen in a new light. The empirical realities are what they are, flesh is still flesh, decay still happens, wickedness is still evil, love must still suffer and struggle - but everything is bathed in a new light. This light is the glory of the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus & everything in creation is subject to it and nothing has the power to diminish it. Mary personally receives the fullness of grace and is therefore the symbol of graced humanity. (DMA)

 

TRUSTING THAT GOD IS WITH US IN STORMY TIMES

9th August

In today’s Gospel two things are going on simultaneously. As the disciples set off across the lake, Jesus goes up on the mountain to pray (v.23). The biblical idea is of Jesus ascending the mountain, a traditional place for contact with God. In prayer, Jesus returns to the source of all that he is and does.

But while Jesus is in close contact with God the crossing of the lake becomes a conflict, a battle with a heavy sea. Jesus leaves the union of prayer with God to join his struggling disciples. Yet, despite their need for him, his presence strikes fear into their hearts as they cry out, “It is a ghost” (v.26).

Jesus reveals himself to them in a formula, which has a long history in the Bible: “It is I” (v.27). From Moses’ encounter with the burning bush (see Ex 3:14), down to the conflicts of the prophets with the false gods introduced into Israel (see Is 43:10; 45:18), this formula was used to speak of the presence of the true God to his people: “It is I”. Equally important to moments when God or the Angel of God speaks to his people are the words of encouragement: “Do not be afraid”.

Peter’s response is typical. At first he is prepared to take a risk upon the word of Jesus. If it is Jesus, he will only have to call him across the water, and he will come (v.28). At first he places his trust in the Lord, but then succumbs to the pressures of the storm around him. However, in this situation he calls on the help of the Lord, and Jesus holds him and keeps him safe (vv.30 -31). In Peter’s situation of little faith and doubt, his Lord has stood by him. So it is with all the disciples in the boat. Jesus and Peter get into the boat, the wind drops and all confess: “Truly, you are the Son of God” (v.33).

In the experience of the disciples and Peter we find reflected the experience of every Christian. We often begin with the great courage, which only faith can give us, but such courage of faith dwindles when wind and wave assail it. In this situation we remain ultimately dependent upon the gracious help of our Lord. Without Jesus we can make no headway. Jesus is the one who is close to God, who unfailingly looks to him for guidance and strength, while we go on with the everyday things in our lives, never giving our God a thought. Yet, when difficulties come God is there, coming out of the darkness into our lives. But even then our faith can falter. He sometimes asks us to do strange things: to jump out of the boat into the stormy water. Encouragingly, Peter’s story – and the story of disciples who thought Jesus was only a ghost – tells us it is to those of little faith that Jesus still comes, holding us close and leading us into safety and peace which only he can give.

(From “This is the Gospel of the Lord” Year A, by Francis J. Moloney).

YOU GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO EAT 2nd August

With the death of the Baptist Jesus crosses the lake, to be alone with his disciples. However, the crowds travel the long distance around the lake to receive the wholeness that Jesus brought into their lives. The sight of their brokenness moves him.

Now the crowds must be nourished for their journey. The disciples do not see this as their responsibility. They ask Jesus to send the people off to look after themselves. But people who have been restored to wholeness by Jesus must be nourished, and he demands that his disciples see to that nourishment: “Give them something to eat yourselves” (v.16). He has been unable to take the disciples into a lonely place to instruct them, but he will instruct them by calling them to minister to a broken and needy people.

The disciples can only reply in the terms of the poverty of their possessions, but Jesus asks them to come to him with the little they have. He accepts their poverty, blesses it and gives it back to them (v.19). Jesus himself does not minister to the people; the disciples have the task of distributing the loaves to the crowd. The large number of people adds to the wonder of what has happened.

Reading this Gospel, we think immediately of the Eucharist. Jesus raises his eyes, blesses, breaks and the disciples distribute (v.19). Jesus is the one who both restores the broken to wholeness (v.14), and who nourishes them for the journey. It is not enough for Jesus to tell his people: “Go, you have been healed”. He must also travel with them, nourishing them on their journey. However, it is not only Jesus who is involved in this task. He has intimately associated his disciples, and thus those of us who form the Church of today, with his life-giving mission. We are commanded to feed those in need.

Like the first disciples who preferred that the people go to the villages to look after themselves, we too shy clear of the challenge of Christian loving. This often happens because, again like the disciples in the story, we feel we have little or nothing to offer. But Jesus can take what little we have to offer, bless it, and give it back to us so that we might bring fullness to those whose lives we touch. As Jesus transforms the eucharistic bread, so he also transforms us into eucharistic people. The meal of Jesus is always open. As long as there are people looking for the gifts Jesus offers, this nourishment can never be totally consumed. But the story also tells us that Jesus wants disciples who are prepared to distribute his gifts.

(From “This is the Gospel of The Lord” Year A by Francis J. Moloney SDB).

THE TREASURE WITHIN & WITHOUT 26th July

 

St Augustine said that “our hearts are restless till they rest in you, O Lord”. If we desire peace, blessing, true joy and every good, there is only one source and that is God. But how do we find God, connect with God, be with God? From our little self-centred perspective God can seem so far away, so far above.

We are confused, our lives are a bundled of contradictions and conflicting desires and aspirations. Each of us, individually and all of us collectively are like the net full of fish. We are a mixture of good and bad, positive and negative. Only God can transform the bad into the good and bring peace and harmony to our souls and to humanity as a whole.

But what is impossible for us, is supremely possible for God. We cannot ascend to God so God has descended to us. We cannot find God, so God has found us. We cannot reconcile ourselves to God, so God has reconciled the whole world to himself in the Christ.

The priceless pearl is, in the words of St Paul: “Christ among you, your hope of glory”. It is the Holy Spirit within us uniting us to the Father and the Son and welling up as a spring of eternal life bringing joy, hope, restoration and everlasting love. The Kingdom of God, says Jesus, is not here or there, it is within us, among us.

In fact every thing and everywhere can be a portal to the Divine because everything has come from the hand of God. As God purifies our hearts more and more we begin to see God more and more, (Blessed are the pure in heart they shall see God!).

If we approach everything seeking light and love ,and are ready, according to our capacity, to give light and love then we will find those infinite treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ (Col. 2:3). Jesus said there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents and again that: the one who is forgiven little loves little. So even our falling into sin can be turned to good if by grace it leads us to fall into the merciful hands of God with greater humility.

So all our relationships, activities, work, hobbies, interests can lead us to God if we receive them with gratitude and we are open-hearted and loving to all.

It is just a shame that some self-appointed “gatekeepers” are so judgemental and narrow minded. They want to keep control and be the Masters and Rabbis. They want people to depend only on them. So they do not encourage people to find God everywhere and to celebrate the Spirit that God has poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28) and the gifts God gives to all people, irrespective of gender, race, status or age.

So we are graciously invited to connect to the Divine life present everywhere. This is a connection nourished by prayer and Sacred Liturgy, but a connection that we must personally respond to & seek to nurture. But even so it is all grace. This union in our deepest heart and soul is not a retreat into introspection or a flight from the world. Drawing on the Divine life within enables us rather to engage with the world to bring, above all by our actions, attitudes and our relationships, something of the peace and love of Christ. (DMA)

 

 

LEAVING THE FINAL JUDGEMENT TO GOD 19th July

That demand for instant judgement, for rooting out those who have done harm in the community, for bringing the last judgement into the present tense, is something that is seriously challenged in today’s scripture.

The author of Wisdom tries to answer the pressing question: why does God allow the bad to flourish? Why is God so patient and moderate with Israel’s enemies? He argues that God’s moderation is not a result of weakness: his justice, after all, has its source in strength. But how does God actually use this sovereign strength? The answer is that he disposes of it in favour of governing with “great lenience”. So God’s mercy is heaped on everyone in sight, even on traditional enemies. And in this there is a purpose:

By acting thus you have taught a lesson to your people

how virtuous man must be kindly to his fellow men,

and you have given your sons the good hope

that after sin you will grant repentance.

 

The people are asked to share in the same spirit of God and act with kindness to their fellow human beings. The argument is that God’s leniency will give the people of Israel the good hope that when they wrong God, they too will surely benefit from his forgiveness. This same hope is enshrined in the Our Father: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

The scandal of God’s patience and forbearance with wrong-doers appears again in the Gospel. The kingdom of heaven is compared to a farmer who is confronted with a serious problem: his field is alive with wheat and a poisonous weed, darnel, which can only be distinguished from the wheat when the growth is advanced.

 

The farmer’s servants want to weed out the darnel, but the farmer tells them to leave it alone; he is worried that uprooting the weeds will endanger the wheat. He orders that no premature attempt be made to separate them. Thus both the wheat and the darnel are allowed to grow, and only at the final harvest are they separated.

 

T he message of the parable is something that Jesus lived throughout his ministry. He reached out to all sorts of people, mixing with prostitutes, priests, crooks, scribes, politicians, children, tax-collectors. Religious separatism was something Jesus refused to advocate, making it his business to seek out and save the lost. The Pharisees, those whose very name means “the separated ones”, criticised him for associating with the wrong crowd. But Jesus knew that all communities are a mixture of the good and bad, the crooked and the cracked. And further that it isn’t always easy to tell which is which. In the end Jesus is the one weeded out by the authorities and thrown on to the killing fields.

The message of the parable still challenges the Church today. It is not the place of the Church to set up inquisitions, support witch hunts, organise purges to free the field for its own approved supporters. The Church is not God. As Christians we have no authority to pronounce the final judgement on anyone. The last word cannot be said about anyone until death, and then it is God’s part, not ours, to say it.

(From Seasons of the Word by Denis McBride)

Risk assessment opening church july 2020[...]
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May I share this homily from Pope Francis with you.

FINDING HAPPINESS 12th July

You can have flaws, be anxious, and even be angry, but do not forget that your life is the greatest enterprise in the world. Only you can stop it from going bust. Many appreciate you, admire you and love you. Remember that to be happy is not to have a sky without a storm, a road without accidents, work without fatigue, relationships without disappointments.

To be happy is to find strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in the stage of fear, love in discord. It is not only to enjoy the smile, but also to reflect on the sadness. It is not only to celebrate the successes, but to learn lessons from the failures. It is not only to feel happy with the applause, but to be happy in anonymity.

Being happy is not a fatality of destiny, but an achievement for those who can travel within themselves. To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and become your destiny's author. It is to cross deserts, yet to be able to find an oasis in the depths of our soul. It is to thank God for every morning, for the miracle of life.

Being happy is not being afraid of your own feelings.

It's to be able to talk about you. It is having the courage to hear a "no". It is confidence in the face of criticism, even when unjustified. It is to kiss your children, pamper your parents, to live poetic moments with friends, even when they hurt us.

To be happy is to let live the creature that lives in each of us, free, joyful and simple. It is to have maturity to be able to say: "I made mistakes". It is to have the courage to say "I am sorry". It is to have the sensitivity to say, "I need you". It is to have the ability to say "I love you". May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness. That in spring may it be a lover of joy. In winter a lover of wisdom. And when you make a mistake, start all over again.

For only then will you be in love with life. You will find that to be happy is not to have a perfect life. But use the tears to irrigate tolerance. Use your losses to train patience. Use your mistakes to sculptor serenity. Use pain to better appreciate pleasure. Use obstacles to open windows of intelligence. Never give up .... Never give up on people who love you. Never give up on happiness, for life is an incredible adventure. (Homily by Pope Francis, July 2020)

To contact Fr David

Telephone   01590 676696

Or email

lymbrockmil@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk

KEYHOLDERS- Please do not enter the church during this time of isolation.

           SCROLL DOWN FOR FURTHER INFORMATION                  & DETAILS OF 'BROCKCARE'

THERE MIGHT BE MASS BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT!

5th July

We have been working through the five pages of Diocesan Re-Opening Guidelines and the fourteen pages of the Risk Assessment required by Government legislation. These documents arrived late on Friday and were further amended today, Saturday!

First of all, our Bishops remind us that no one is obliged to go to Mass. We are encouraged to pray and if possible follow Mass online. Those in an at risk group, 70+ and/or shielding should continue to stay at home as much as possible. Anyone displaying symptoms that may indicate a COVID-19 virus infection MUST NOT attempt to come to church. We are all to remember that there will be no toilet facilities available.

Hopefully, we will be able to begin a very limited provision of Sunday Mass on 12th July. And even that may not happen if we do not have the required stewards at all our churches. But it will not be Mass as we have known it. To say it will be minimal would be an understatement. There will only be space for a few. Places will need to be booked and contact details given at the time of booking. We will need to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to participate in Mass at least once a month. This will be unavoidably selective and divisive.

We will need to practice social distancing and scrupulous hand hygiene. We should wear masks but we will need to provide our own. We should sanitise our hands on entering and leaving the church. Hand sanitisers will be available at the church door. Seating will be allocated by the stewards. Instructions will be given for receiving Holy Communion which should be in the hand only. We will be instructed on how to leave the church at the end of Mass.

There will not be any leaflets, singing, or candles. We can have some recorded music during Holy Communion but not such as to prolong the celebration. Sacristans, Servers, Readers and Ministers of Holy Communion will not be required. The duration of Mass will be much shorter and unessential elements will be omitted.

Perhaps it is good to remind ourselves that this is not a unique situation in Church history by any means. In modern times millions of Catholics around the world still have very limited provision of Mass and the sacraments. For the last 30 years or so for some communities in rural France Mass has only been celebrated once a month. In poorer parts of the world it may be available once or twice a year. Pope Innocent III also placed the kingdom of England under an interdict for six years between March 1208 and May 1213, after King John refused to accept the pope's appointee Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury. An interdict effectively bans nearly all celebrations of the sacraments. I often wondered many years ago why many priests in Ireland celebrated the Mass so quickly. Apparently, it became the norm during the penal times when Catholics were persecuted, and Mass prohibited. The priest would gather the people around, often out in the countryside availing of a suitable rock or fallen tree and by necessity would celebrate Mass speedily. So these restrictions are nothing new really.

At the beginning of this pandemic I, and a few other priests, suggested to the Bishop that it may be better to calmly and patiently wait until we can return to a full, joyful, unrestricted celebration of the Holy Eucharist as we were able to do before this crisis started. It might be a while, but it would save a lot of expense and anxiety. It would also spare those elderly priests who are living alone with no parish staff or volunteers to help put in place the necessary health & safety measures. We would also be all experiencing the same deprivation and learning the same lessons together. There wouldn’t be just the lucky few for whom it is safe and easy to come to church. It would also protect the good, positive memories we have of celebrating Eucharist together and allow absence to make the heart grow fonder! If Mass is newly associated with anxiety, hassle, restriction, and dissatisfaction people may not be so keen to return.

Anyway, that approach was not adopted. So as soon as we can, we will distribute information about booking a place at one of the Sunday Masses for 12th July. This will be emailed around in the usual way. It will very deliberately NOT be published on the website because it will only cause problems if people turn up without a booking. Our few, generous, stewards have enough to do without having to turn away disgruntled visitors. It is surprising how rude some Christians can be when they don’t get their own way! DMA.

BROCKCARE: Here are the relevant contact details:

St Anne’s: Ian and Aude – 623408; Madeleine and Paul - 622360

Brockcare: St Saviour’s Church Office - 624584

(Open 10.00 - 12.00 Mon to Friday. At other times please leave a message and your phone number and someone will

PASTORAL MESSAGE FROM BISHOP PHILIP

 

My dear People, “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16: 18 ESV). These words of Jesus from the Gospel today, the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, are thrilling. They reassure us that the Church is founded on Christ and led by the Holy Spirit, that as disciples of Christ, abiding in Him, we will be safe in the Truth, and that whatever perils the Barque of Peter might encounter in history, the Church’s life and mission will endure on earth until the Lord returns at the End-Time. Dear friends, these last months of coronavirus have been extraordinary and very distressing. Let us commend to the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, all who have been ill and those who have generously cared for them, all who have died and their families, and all who have suffered - and will continue to suffer - financially or in whatever way because of the pandemic. We humbly ask God our Father to grant everyone a safe and effective recovery. In His name, I want to thank every one of you in the Diocese of Portsmouth, and not least our clergy. Thank you for all you have been doing during this time to preserve and deepen your Catholic faith. Each day, our priests have continued to pray and to offer Holy Mass for their people. Each day, parish and school communities have sought to care for the poor and needy. Each day, our faithful, whilst having to endure a long and painful period of time without the salvific support of the Sacraments, have continued to offer prayer at home and to join live-streamed liturgies and devotions online. Each day, our chaplains have worked on the front-line, along with others caring for the dying. Many parishes, many priests and many people have been amazingly creative, keeping in touch with one another and with the most vulnerable by phone and by email. It is now a great consolation that, within the requisite safeguards, our parish churches at last have begun to reopen and the public celebration of the Sacred Liturgy is to resume.

We know, of course, that the danger has not passed. COVID will be with us for some time to come. Let us implore from the Lord His continuing protection. Let us pray for a resolution of this pandemic. Let us ask Him for the discovery of an effective vaccine and for a secure recovery. But I want to recall another line of Scripture, this time from St. Paul: “Now is the favourable time: this is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6: 2). These words surely speak to us. For now is a favourable time! This is the time to pray for the gift of hope. Hope is the anticipation that God is about to act in our lives to bring about something new. The Holy Spirit is at work, uniting us with Jesus and through Him with the Father, which is why Mother Church can look forward with renewed hope and trust. The pandemic has been a huge challenge to our parishes, our schools, our Diocese. But we now need to move forward, to be reunited joyfully with the Lord in His Sacraments, to draw new life and energy from Him and to reopen, rebuild and rejuvenate our communities. To do this, we need to look beyond COVID and to resume our historic mission of Bringing People Closer to Jesus Christ through His Church. As the Diocese of Portsmouth, this is our purpose. The pandemic has made many review their priorities in life, their values, their spirituality. We must not now become absorbed solely with internal repairs. We need to look beyond, to seek and to serve the needy, to reach out in love to those who wish to know more about the Gospel and the Catholic faith. “Now is the favourable time: this is the day of salvation”. So let’s get going again – with these words before us over the weeks and months ahead! Let us enlist the help of St. Peter and St. Paul that we may deepen our own conversion to Christ and thus be equipped to go out on mission. Let us ask our inspiring patrons to pray for us: Mary Immaculate, St. Edmund of Abingdon and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. And let us continue ever to love and care for one another. With my prayers and best wishes – please pray for me too –

 

In Corde Iesu, +Philip, Bishop of Portsmouth

29th June 2020 The Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul

THE LORD IS AT OUR SIDE – A MIGHTY HERO

21st June

Our gospel today is full of paradox. Three times Jesus says: “Do not be afraid”. Then Jesus says that if we should fear anyone we should fear God who has the ultimate power. Then Jesus counters this by saying that God has compassion even for the sparrows. But God respects us deeply and also respects the radical choices we make. God does not force herself upon us if that is not what we really want.

There is no neat and easy solution to this paradox and we should be suspicious if any were offered. The paradox arises from the meeting of two freedoms, God’s and ours. If we allow God’s love to fill us, to hold us and keep us then no earthly terror, or power, or evil can have the ultimate victory over us (“Do not fear those who can kill the body…”). But this is scary stuff and Jesus needs to constantly reassure us not to be afraid.

Of course in our cosy Western Christianity we have effectively neutralised any danger of being rejected by the world. Our Christianity is so lukewarm, our confrontation of injustice and evil so weak that no one bothers to persecute us! Our danger is not in denying Jesus with words. We are very good at protestations of faith. Our danger is to deny Jesus by our actions, or lack of them.

We need to ask ourselves what we are really afraid of. Is it the ridicule of others or the rejection of others? Is it physical pain and discomfort? Is it the loss of wealth and prestige? Jesus says that if we insist on living out of fear then just remember who should be feared the most! So lets fear God if it brings us back into God’s love and truth. Jesus is not talking about ultimate rewards and punishments because God’s love is beyond all that (the free gift of grace comes after sin and considerably outweighs the sin!).

Jesus is challenging us here and now to make a decision. God is the only source of our good. If you are a follower of Jesus you are assured of ultimate victory. If we allow God to lovingly hold us and lead us then fear will gradually be banished from our lives. (DMA)

Corpus Christi 14th June

 

RECEIVE YOUR OWN MYSTERY

 

Today we are also celebrating the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (known previously by its Latin title: Corpus Christi).

 

Jesus was a spiritual genius and artist because he took simple things used in everyday meals and, by a unique association with himself in the death and resurrection he was to experience, he created a transformational ritual. This ritual which we have come to call the “Mass” has been at the centre of the liturgical life of Catholic & Orthodox Christianity since the beginning.

 

The Eucharist is first of all the celebration of God’s work in Jesus freeing us from sin and death and sharing with us Divine life. For this free, undeserved grace we can only give heartfelt thanks, which is in fact the meaning of the word Eucharist. Secondly the Eucharist is invitation and challenge. The invitation is to be “one body, one spirit in Christ” so that we can no longer regard ourselves as separate from others. Rather we are invited to recognise our responsibilities for others and to others. The call is to treat others as ourselves, to love others as ourselves. This way of love is a challenge to accept the sacrifices love may ask of us. As Jesus gave his life and death for us, so we are called to give our living and our dying for one another. In this way the Eucharist expresses something that is happening in our everyday lives: a growing experience of gratitude to God and a growing capacity to love as Jesus has loved us. All this is made possible by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Eucharist reveals the ultimate pattern and purpose of our lives.

 

In the Eucharist we celebrate the gift of ourselves in God. Holy communion makes a powerful statement that God’s life is in us, as the prayer at Mass says: “By the mingling of this water and wine may we come to share the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity”. Holy Communion gradually attunes us and confirms us in this mystery of loving union with God. If God can take simple bread and wine and make them his Body & Blood how much more does God takes us and delight in us being the “Body and Blood of Christ” in the world today. This is not our doing; it is by God’s graciousness alone. We are no better than anyone else, it is just that by faith, we are made aware of this relationship and by the Holy Spirit that we can begin to respond appropriately. This is the Good News to be shared respectfully with others.

 

God’s big HUG and EMBRACE which is the Eucharist accompanies us at every stage of our lives. It is the hug and embrace of unconditional love which desires the best for us and nurtures the best in us. When we’re very young it’s all hugs and kisses and comfort. As we grow there is also encouragement. As we get older still there is also challenge. As we get older still it’s there is a call to loving service and responsibility. We are never ready for so great a gift or for so much love. We respond gradually, sometimes enthusiastically, sometimes indifferently, sometimes we rebel, maybe upset at God for not making things go as we would like. As long as we keep returning to the Source in humility with as much acceptance as we can muster the grace continues its work. Everything is turned to our good once we allow ourselves to be caught up in the flow of God’s love which fills the whole creation. (DMA)

 

EVERY LIFE MATTERS – ALL HUMANITY HAS BEEN CHOSEN BY GOD FROM ALL ETERNITY

Trinity Sunday 7th June

 

Before the world was made God chose the whole of creation, humanity included, us included, IN CHRIST (cfr Ephesians 1:4). The Christ is the eternal union between the Divinity and the creation, between the Infinite and the finite, between, spirit and matter, between heaven and earth. In a finite and limited way we share in the Self of the Christ (cfr. 2 Timothy 2:13). God is the whole of creation, but the creation is not the whole of God. God is the whole of me and you, but you and I are not the whole of God.

The Blessed Trinity, one God, is not a puzzle to be solved, nor a mystery to be shelved or ignored and left to the academics. Our God, Father, Son & Holy Spirit, is the life in which we live, the flow that carries us forward and the power that binds everything together. The Holy Trinity is our origin, our purpose, our meaning and our ultimate glory.

 

God is not just relational by nature. God is relationship itself in a very dynamic sense. God, Father, Son & Holy Spirit is not just loving but is love itself. God is love and love is always giving and receiving, always flowing back & forth. In God it is the giving and receiving of Divine life. The Divine Beauty, Goodness and Truth is made visible in the Christ. The exchange or flow of life and love between the Invisible and Visible (the Christ) is the Spirit.

 

The God who is love can only be truly known and loved in freedom. We are that part of the Christ mystery that can, by the Spirit, begin to respond in love and freedom to the One who is the Source of all, the Divine Mother/Father. We are invited to receive the love and to let the love flow through us and to give the love to everyone and everything.

 

That is why our relationships with others are so important. Every opportunity to help, encourage, support, forgive, heal, strengthen, to share, to receive and so on, is an opportunity to let God’s love flow in and out of us to the other.

This is why, at this time of cultural, social and economic shock we appreciate more deeply the people who are showing practical love and care: the medical staff, the care staff who look after us when we are helpless, the essential workers enabling us to receive the food we need and the services that enable society to function. This is the life of God, the Blessed Trinity in action within us poor, unworthy but still wonderful human beings. We are earthen vessels that hold this Divine treasure (2 Cor 4:7). (DMA)

 

In God we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28); the God who is, who was, and who is to come (Rev 1:8). God is in all and through all and with all (Eph 4:6). Everything exists from God, through God and for God (Rom 11:36). Glory be to God the Father through Jesus Christ his Son in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen)

31ST MAY PENTECOST

I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT ON ALL FLESH (Joel 2:28)

For Luke, the writer of the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel, Pentecost is the great empowerment of the disciples of Jesus. They had been discouraged by Jesus death, mysteriously enlivened by the resurrection experiences of Jesus but they were still afraid and unsure of their next move.

So they were altogether, women, men, apostles, disciples - and Jesus’ mother was there too with Jesus’ relations. They were praying for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Amazingly, just as was prophesied by the prophet Joel, the Holy Spirit comes down on all of them, with wind & tongues of flame. They are given courage and boldness to openly praise God for all God’s wonderful works. And all those who heard it were amazed that they could hear the praises of God in their own language.

So, irrespective of gender and status, the great gift of the Holy Spirit is given to everyone, male & female, slave or free person. The praises of God are declared in the different languages of the hearers. They didn’t have to listen to it in Hebrew or get a translator.

So the Holy Spirit was overcoming divisions, prejudices, statuses and empowering everyone male or female, young or old. The Holy Spirit was establishing the democracy of the Spirit. In harmony with Jesus’ own teaching the Spirit does away with selfish ambition, status, power, privilege. The Holy Spirit does away with special clothing and any other obsession with appearances or trivial things. The Holy Spirit makes known to everyone that God is with us in all our situations. We don’t have to be in any particular places, or say any particular words, or use any particular style of language. We don’t have try to reach up to God, or try to make ourselves acceptable to God. We don’t have to change God’s mind or persuade God to be good to us. God has already done all this for us in Jesus. God is now Emmanuel, God With Us. In Christ we become his Body & Blood and God is present with us in the ordinary things and situations of every day.

The Holy Spirit gathers the community together where all are brothers and sisters. No one sets themselves up as the only Teacher or Master, because Christ is the Teacher. No one allows themselves to be

called Father and the others do not allow anyone to dictate or dominate the group because they have only one Father, in heaven. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the followers of Jesus learn from the gentleness and humility of Jesus. They allow themselves to be changed and become as children, not silly, naïve and irresponsible, but spontaneous, grateful, non-judgemental, trusting, believing, & benevolent. The Spirit teaches them to love and serve one another with joy and graciousness. The Spirit teaches them that they are all one. So there is no need for competition, jealousy or envy. Everyone has an equal value in God’s eyes and everyone has some role they can fulfil which helps the community. No one is better than anyone else.

The Holy Spirit teaches everyone that they are on a spiritual growth journey. The Spirit is leading them into the fuller truth. They will come to know other “sheep” that Jesus has that don’t come from the same culture or religious tradition. The followers of Jesus will listen to them, share with them and learn from them. They will admire and respect the work that God has done in gathering all these different groups in different parts of the world.

The Holy Spirit will dwell in the hearts of all, leading them on a spiritual journey of prayer. On this journey it doesn’t matter about words, because the Spirit will pray in ways that are beyond words. The prayer of the “little ones who have faith” will be primarily thanksgiving and praise. They will praise God for all the wonders of the creation. They will thank God for all the greatness of God’s compassion, mercy and goodness revealed in Jesus.

They will delight in all the marvellous things they can do, in all the gifts and talents they have, in the many ways they can be kind, loving, caring and life-giving. They will recognise also limitations, weaknesses, faults and failings. But because they have complete trust in God’s love they do not waste energy on self-condemnation, guilt or anxiety. They do not allow themselves to be paralysed by discouragement. Instead, taking responsibility for themselves and for those in need they take positive action and do all they can to make things better for everyone. (DMA)

RE- REOPENING CHURCHES

The plans for reopening the churches are with the Bishop in consultation with the Clergy. The Diocese has to be compliant with Government guidelines. As instructed by Bishop Philip, we are waiting to see the final draft of the guidelines before we can consider opening any of our churches.

When the final draft is submitted by the Bishop, Linda, as our 3 parishes H&S co-ordinator & myself have been asked to do the risk assessments of all 3 churches and work out the possibilities which will be, of course, different for each of our churches.

Therefore, as the person legally liable for the safety of my parishioners I must insist that nothing is done without my express permission. Fr David

RELATIONSHIP: THE REAL ISSUE

24th May

Following on from this Sunday’s Gospel (in John 17:20) Jesus prays for a radical unity for those who believe in him. That is a unity rooted in the relational being of God: Father, Son & Holy Spirit, (“May they be one in us”). This unity is not a facile agreement to disagree, nor is it an imposed uniformity or conformity. It is the love that seeks to hold together, with respect and non-judgement, the whole spectrum of perspectives. It does this while at the same time inviting all to an openness of heart and mind that acknowledges and accepts difference. So the people of God are on a constant journey of discovery. This process of being led “to the fullness of truth” (John 16:13) is never a smooth path because our egos always resist surrendering the prized possession of superiority in the imagined state of “being right”. Pope Francis has been trying to re-establish in the Church the structures and processes of dialogue as endorsed by the Second Vatican Council. He has called this process synodality. For the official exposition of synodality cfr: Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church, a document published by the Vatican Theological Commission on 2nd March 2018 and available from the Vatican website. Its basically about giving everyone a voice, listening to all and together, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, finding a consensus, a way forward that all can accept.

The Church has always experienced tension, controversy, argument and discussion. It is there in the heart of the Hebrew & Christian scriptures. It is the wrestling with a God who is always breaking in upon our closed minds and hearts, always leading us to a fuller and more wholesome understanding and way of life. The clash of ideas and attitudes is a necessary and healthy process in the context of God’s inexhaustible patience and the freedom we have been given.

It would be very unhealthy for the Church if people were afraid to express their thoughts and feelings. Dialogue and discussion are as much a human right as they are a necessity. All that God asks of us is that we respect each other & not judge one another, that we are open and honest and faithful to that part of truth that is given to us. We need to recognise that none of us has the whole picture, that truth is present on all sides. Our viewpoint is precisely that – a view from a point. There are many other points! We do not have all the answers and we do not need to have them. Thankfully we have a God who is the answer to everything. God understands even if we do not!

At work, at home, in the Church and in society, if we cannot agree on everything then we try to operate on mutually acceptable compromise. However there are some things that cannot be compromised though even here people will disagree. In the Church the one thing that cannot be compromised (as I see it!) is the “Good News” – the free gift of God’s love and mercy, given to all irrespective of sex, age, race, status or any other human label that can be applied. All of us and every authority in the Church must be humble enough to accept examination by the light of God’s mercy revealed in Jesus. There can be no exceptions based on power, status or vested interest. Jesus does not pray for the “world” or the “worldly” church. No one has the right to limit God’s mercy. No one can claim to be acting in the name of Jesus if they exclude or scapegoat another person or group for any excuse whatsoever.

Beyond divisions of right and left, conservative and liberal is the relationship with all people that God has revealed in Jesus. The love of God and the holiness of each person in God’s love can never be compromised. (DMA)

JESUS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!

17th May

This time is a great opportunity to dig deep and uncover some of the neglected aspects of our faith which can nourish us in perhaps new and invigorating ways. I have used the slightly facetious heading to help us be less dependent on physical buildings. There’s nothing wrong with them but they can become very constraining and use up much of our resources and energy. Remembering “new wine, new wineskins” the post-Vatican 2 recovery of community, active participation, collaboration and shared ministry has suffered from the limitations of many older buildings designed with a very different set of priorities. It was new wine into old wineskins!!

 

The first break in this understandable dependency on buildings came at the crucifixion of Jesus when he “yielded up his spirit”: “and suddenly the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom..” (Matt 27:51). God had left the building. Christ’s body is the real Temple which fills the whole universe. “I could not see any temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb..” (Rev 21:22). As God is everywhere in every possible way, “over all, through all and in all (Eph. 4:6), so all creation is part of the temple. It’s a bit like Russian dolls, one mystery nested inside another mystery. The community is God’s temple (1 Cor 3:16) and so is each person. Jesus says he is going to prepare a “place”. Scholarly research has linked this to the temple. God is preparing each one of us to be a place, a temple: “you will understand that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you” (John 14:20). And a bit further on: “Anyone who loves me will keep my word, and will be loved by my Father, and we shall come and make a home in that person” (John 14:23).

 

As Bishop Philip said some years ago, we need to concentrate not on the Church of the Lord, but rather on the Lord of the Church.

 

During this time instead of wasting energy fretting and worrying over so many things we may feel we’ve lost or cannot have. We can concentrate on the “one thing necessary” (Luke 10:42), our personal and collective relationship with the Lord. We can imagine and discover new ways of being together, sharing, interacting and helping. We can receive more deeply the “peace the world cannot give” and be assured like St Paul: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nothing already in existence and nothing still to come, nor any power, nor height nor depths, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39).

We are never alone because our loving, kind and gentle God is always with us, healing, guiding, forgiving, consoling, patiently teaching, strengthening and empowering. And with just a few others, ( like Mum, Dad and the children) these blessings are multiplied “For where two or three are gathered in my name I am with them” (Matt 18:20).

 

We can re-discover and rebuild the domestic church. Knowing that whoever loves has been begotten by God (1 John 4:7) we know it isn’t about religious labels or whether people are able to have explicit faith. Its about what is in our hearts. If we can be united in genuine love, care and compassion then we can trust we are united in God. (DMA)

 

 

A message from Fr David 10th April

Dear People,

Below you will find pdfs with resources for Good Friday.

The commemoration of the Passion is traditionally held at 3pm on Good Friday.

Included are the Scripture readings, the prayers, Stations of the Cross prayers & hymn verses (plus pictures in a separate PDF).

Unfortunately, the Koder meditations that accompany the pictures are too long to reproduce, so just use your imaginations.

There is a reflection about asking for forgiveness & trusting in God’s mercy.

There are a couple of penitential psalms and a psalm of thanksgiving for God’s mercy.

Finally three hymns appropriate to Good Friday.

I hope you will find at least something helpful.

We look forward to celebrating Easter – the triumph of God’s life, love and mercy for all!

Keep safe & well.

God bless you all.

Fr David

A message from Father David 4th April

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

It's good to see you have found the website. You will find lots of resources at this time of crisis to help you here.  It also directs you to the live streamed Masses and the latest information from Bishop Philip.

Thank you to all of you who offered help. We have had many more offers of help than requests for help, but this may change in the coming weeks so we have kept your name ‘on the books’ and will contact you if anything changes.

If, in the coming weeks, you have changed your mind and find you need help with shopping or collecting medication, or you would just like a friendly phone call, please contact the parish office 01590 676696 and we will organise that for you

This is a difficult time for all of us, but we must pray and stay strong and we will get through this together. We are approaching Palm Sunday leading to the Holiest of weeks in our Liturgical calendar. Our churches remain closed, but the Holy week services will take place at the usual times, sadly without a congregation.

Linda has added a 'Prayer Request' page to the website. It will include details of Anniversaries at this time and the names of the sick and housebound. If you want to request prayer for someone please email the request to lymbrockmil@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk

Please remember all priests at this time. The Mass is a celebration for the priest and people together as a worshipping faith community. It is alien for them not to have any responses from the congregation when they are celebrating Mass alone. They need your prayers and support as they 'stay safe, stay home.' So please remember them in your prayers

Finally, reluctantly, I have to approach financial support for your parishes. For many of you this crisis will involve financial hardship and I do understand that. But this crisis will also significantly affect the upkeep of our parishes.

I'd like to thank those who are continuing to contribute by Standing Order or Direct debit. For those who use the envelope scheme or give cash each Sunday, perhaps you will consider setting aside an amount each week that you can afford. You could put the contribution in a marked envelope and keep it until such a time when it can be handed in. If you wish to contribute by Standing Order or Direct Debit instead, please contact the parish office.

There are also Special Collections that need our support too: The Clergy Assistance Fund (22/03/20); and support for the Holy Places (Good Friday

Keep safe & well. God bless.

Fr David

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Pope’s Easter Message: “The contagion of hope”

Sunday, April 12th, 2020 @ 11:05 am

 

Pope Francis’ 'Urbi et Orbi message on Easter Sunday challenges us to ban indifference, self-centredness, division and forgetfulness during this time of Covid-19 – and to spread the “contagion” of hope.

 

By Seàn-Patrick Lovett, Vatican News

 

No banner hung from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica. No bands played the Vatican anthem. No floral arrangements decorated St Peter’s Square. Nearby streets were empty and silent, as Italy continues to respect a nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

 

Inside the Basilica, surrounded only by his closest collaborators, Pope Francis delivered his traditional Easter Urbi et Orbi message to the city of Rome and the world.

 

A different “contagion”

Millions of people watched and listened on various media platforms as the Pope repeated the Easter proclamation: “Christ, my hope, is risen!”. He called this message “a different ‘contagion’”, one that is transmitted “from heart to heart”.

 

This Good News is like a new flame that springs up “in the night of a world already faced with epochal challenges, and now oppressed by a pandemic severely testing our whole human family”, said the Pope.

 

Christ’s resurrection is not a “magic formula that makes problems vanish”, he continued, “it is the victory of love over the root of evil”. This victory “does not ‘by-pass’ suffering and death, but passes through them, opening a path in the abyss, transforming evil into good”, he added.

 

Comfort for those affected by the coronavirus

The Pope’s thoughts turned immediately to those directly affected by the coronavirus. “For many, this is an Easter of solitude, lived amid the sorrow and hardship that the pandemic is causing, from physical suffering to economic difficulties”, he said.

 

“This disease has not only deprived us of human closeness, but also of the possibility of receiving in person the consolation that flows from the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist and Reconciliation”, said Pope Francis.

 

“But the Lord has not left us alone”, he added. “United in our prayer, we are convinced that He has laid His hand upon us”.

 

Gratitude to those providing essential services

The Pope then expressed his gratitude and affection to doctors and nurses, and “to all who work diligently to guarantee the essential services necessary for civil society, and to the law enforcement and military personnel who in many countries have helped ease people’s difficulties and sufferings”.

 

Encouragement to work for the common good

Pope Francis acknowledged that “this is also a time of worry about an uncertain future, about jobs that are at risk”. He encouraged political leaders “to work actively for the common good”, providing the means “to enable everyone to lead a dignified life and, when circumstances allow, to assist them in resuming their normal daily activities”.

 

Not a time for indifference

This is not a time for indifference, said the Pope, “because the whole world is suffering and needs to be united in facing the pandemic”. He prayed that the risen Jesus may grant hope “to all the poor, to those living on the peripheries, to refugees and the homeless”.  Pope Francis also called for the relaxation of international sanctions and for “the reduction, if not the forgiveness, of the debt burdening the balance sheets of the poorest nations”.

 

Not a time for self-centredness

This is not a time for self-centredness, continued Pope Francis, because “the challenge we are facing is shared by all”. Europe, in particular, was able “to overcome the rivalries of the past” following the Second World War, “thanks to a concrete spirit of solidarity”. It is urgent “these rivalries do not regain force”, the Pope continued. We all need to recognize ourselves “as part of a single family and support one another”. Selfishly pursuing particular interests risks “damaging the peaceful coexistence and development of future generations”, he added.

 

Not a time for division

This is not a time for division, said the Pope, as he appealed for “an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world”. Criticizing the vast amounts of money spent on the arms trade, Pope Francis called for a solution to the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon. He said he hoped Israelis and Palestinians might resume dialogue, that the situation in eastern Ukraine might be resolved, and that “terrorist attacks carried out against so many innocent people in different African countries may come to an end”.

 

Not a time for forgetfulness

This is not a time for forgetfulness, continued Pope Francis, referring to the humanitarian crises being faced in Asia and Africa. He prayed for refugees and migrants “living in unbearable conditions, especially in Libya and on the border between Greece and Turkey”. The Pope prayed also that solutions may be found in Venezuela, allowing “international assistance to a population suffering from the grave political, socio-economic and health situation” there.

 

Christ dispels the darkness of suffering

“Indifference, self-centredness, division and forgetfulness are not words we want to hear at this time”, said the Pope. These words “seem to prevail when fear and death overwhelm us”, and we want to ban them forever, he added.

 

Pope Francis concluded his Urbi et Orbi message with a prayer: “May Christ, who has already defeated death and opened for us the way to eternal salvation, dispel the darkness of our suffering humanity and lead us into the light of His glorious day. A day that knows no end”.

Coronavirus St Anne’s : Brockcare

As a church, we are committed to care for our community during the current Coronavirus outbreak - especially those who are elderly or vulnerable.

We are working with Brockcare, a group run by the Anglican Church in Brockenhurst, who is coordinating help throughout the village. For parishioners who are living in Sway, a similar group has been set up, so we can ensure you get the help you need.

If you have to self-isolate, we can arrange for shopping to be dropped off at your door, and/or for someone to keep in contact with you by telephone, in order to maintain a social link and to offer reassurance.

Here are the relevant contact details:

St Anne’s:

Ian and Aude - 623408

Madeleine and Paul - 622360

Brockcare: St Saviour’s Church Office - 624584

(Open 10.00 - 12.00 Mon to Friday. At other times please leave a message and your phone number and someone will get back to you ASAP)

Joyce Kolaczkowski (Brockcare) - 623329

                   Montford Missionaries               

Company of Mary

P.O. BOX 41

Mangochi

Malawi

C. Africa

 

3rd April 2020

To: Fr. David and Parishioners, St Anne's Parish, Brockenhurst

Greetings from Malawi! I hope you are keeping safe and getting used to all the enforced changes as a result of Covid 19. We are indeed living in extraordinary times. Let’s hope and pray that the corona virus battle will soon be won although it seems things might get worse before they get better!

Attached are some photos of the new classroom block at St Paul's Primary School. The block of classrooms was completed last Wednesday.  Not sure when they will begin using them because all the schools and higher institutions of education are closed because of Covid 19. Thank you all once again for having supported this project in such a big way. I’m very grateful.

Malawi still does not yet officially have the virus but all the surrounding countries (Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania) has it. I personally think it is in the country. Malawi has hardly any diagnostic kits or equipment so there has hardly anyone has been tested for the corona virus. Malawi is simply not well prepared or equipped to handle the situation so there are concerns that the disease could spread as a result of the failure to detect cases. Some measures have been taken by the government: schools are all closed, assemblies of more than 100 people are not permitted etc.  The Churches are open so the number of Masses on a Sunday has multiplied to make sure there is less than 100 people assembled. Every parish in Malawi has small Christian communities so they are informed what time Mass their community should attend on a Sunday to make sure the numbers are below 100.

There is talk of more measures being introduced by the government in the coming days. I don’t think social isolating would work here. Maybe one factor that Malawi and Africa has going for itself is that the vast majority of people are young. I would say only 3%-5% of the population are aged above 65 so maybe there will be less deaths here than in Europe as it seems many of those who have died in Europe are above 65.

I pray you all remain safe and that you take good care of yourselves. Please God the situation will soon begin to get better.

Wishing you all a very happy Easter. God bless

Charlie smm

 

Live streaming of Mass can be accessed from this website.

Please go back to the menu 'Live streaming of Mass'

There are several choices of locations and different Mass times

Mass from Our Lady of Lourdes, New Milton with Fr George

Mass with Bishop Philip

Mass from St John's cathedral, Portsmout

Mass with Fr Jamie Mc Grath from Our Lady & St Edmund Catholic church, Abingdon.

When you have selected the Mass click the red button below the Mass time you have chosen. It will take you directly to that Mass.

ACCESS TO THE OTHER SACRAMENTS:

Pope Francis has said that these crisis conditions now permit Bishops to authorise General Absolution when it is needed. And he has also said, in effect, that if it is not possible or advisable to access a priest we should pray to God directly expressing our sorrow for sin and our desire for forgiveness and then trust confidently in God’s mercy.

Fr David will to be available on the phone for counselling and reassurance. He will also be on call to administer the Anointing of the Sick in urgent cases.