St Francis of Assisi, Milford On Sea

Fr David Adams Parish priest and Co-Ordinating Pastor

 

St Francis of Assisi, Park Lane, Milford on Sea SO41 OPT

All enquiries ring the Parish office:

Telephone  01590 676696

Email: lymbrockmil@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk

office@lymbrockmil.org.uk

 

Mass alternate Sundays at 6pm

 

The parish of St Francis of Assisi is part of the

Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth.

Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust is Registered Charity 246871

 

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

 

A/C NAME: “PRCDTR-MIL-ON-SEA - ST FRANCIS ASS” A/C NUMBER: 00882772

SORT CODE: 30-93-04

ACKNOWLEDGING HYPOCRISY  29th August 2021

Also for 5th, 12th 19th September

The first step in being freed from hypocrisy is having the humility to acknowledge that we are easily susceptible to this embarrassing fault. Jesus condemns malicious hypocrisy very severely and society not only condemns the sin but is pretty merciless towards the sinner as well. Regarding society in general this is hugely ironic because hypocrisy is rife at all levels of society and particularly in some sections of the media.

The societal and religious taboo around hypocrisy only makes the problem worse. Hypocrisy is all about the disconnect between what we portray to the world (outside) and what we are feeling, thinking, intending, scheming and planning on the inside. This covers a whole range of human situations from the innocent and trivial to the sinister and malicious. Babies are too naïve to be hypocritical but young children, without any malice or fault, learn very quickly how to manipulate their parents. From the polite smile masking inner irritation to the little white lie hiding an embarrassing experience, we are all skilled at masking our inner reality. Sometimes this is absolutely necessary for survival. But it is also a necessary strategy for those intent on evil.

Societal and religious judgement and condemnation make people afraid and encourage the presentation of our “acceptable side” and the hiding of those things that are disapproved of by self-appointed judges.

Clinging to human traditions while neglecting the really important things like justice, mercy and good faith usually begins in a fairly innocent place. We naturally latch onto the things we can control, the easy things, the little things, the things that don’t turn our lives upside down. The really important things can be very demanding. The bigger problems begin when this early religious naivety hardens into a fearful, self-preservation and self aggrandisement at the expense of others. This is when toxic corruption sets in. Jesus reserves his severest criticism for those who seek approval from others for appearing righteous while they are intentionally seeking above all personal advantage & power. But Jesus has compassion for those who must hide their true selves from the cruel judgements of the ignorant and prejudiced. (DMA)

EATING THE FLESH AND DRINKING THE BLOOD OF JESUS (John chp.6) 22nd August 2021

I deliberately quote these words from John chapter 6 because we need to face them square on. As in the gospel, we find that these words are quite shocking and in some sense “intolerable”. This is deliberate because the truth of God is beyond all our expectations and is even offensive to our all too human ways of thinking and relating (Matt 16:23).

 

However, we must interpret these words in the light of everything else that we know and believe about God and Jesus. We must understand them in the broadest, most inclusive and most gracious way possible. This is perhaps what Jesus means when he says “the words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer” (John 6:63). Anything less leads to impossible contradictions. For example to link Jesus’s words exclusively to the reception of sacramental Holy Communion would automatically exclude the vast majority of humankind. It would even exclude all the baptised children who have not received their Holy Communion.

The first response to these words is given us by Sacred Scripture: Here we are told to feast on Divine wisdom; to devour God’s word, to accept the “bread” that God provides (Prov chp 9). In terms of Jesus this means fully accepting that in him God has indeed taken “flesh and blood”.

 

Basically “Eat the Incarnation”, fully accept and digest it because only then will we realise that the same life is in us. “Unless you eat the flesh, you cannot have life in you.” Accepting that God has taken on flesh and blood in Jesus means we can accept that God has taken flesh and blood in us. This is why eating and drinking is synonymous with believing (cfr. John 6:35).

Jesus, the spiritual artist, gave us a very simple, accessible ritual through which we can celebrate, embrace and receive this mystery of “God with us”. This mystery is, of course, a mystery of life, death and resurrection. Just as Jesus, on the Cross, is the expression of God’s forgiving, healing and reconciling love, so the Eucharist makes that sacrifice sacramentally accessible. In our frailty, vulnerability, sinfulness and unworthiness, God is with us making new life & resurrection possible.

 

When we “eat this Bread and drink this Cup” we are consciously receiving and celebrating our union with bread and wine, which is from creation, which is from Christ, the energy of Divine love, who is from God. Or to put it the other way: we are consciously receiving and celebrating our union with God in Jesus the Christ - in creation - in bread and wine. If God is at home with us, then we can accept ourselves in all the dimensions of our humanity: body, blood, soul and the divinity God shares with us. (DMA)

 

1st August 2021

This reflection also covers the 8th & 15th August 2021

as Fr David is away at a family celebration on 8th & 15th

THE HOLY EUCHARIST IN TWO WORLD VIEWS

PART TWO: OUR MODERN UNDERSTANDING OF THE UNIVERSE

Reality is what it is. Our philosophies and concepts are just words and thoughts that help us describe and to some extent understand reality. But they are not reality itself.

Aristotelian/Thomistic philosophy is no longer a generally accepted framework outside the Church. Its limitations are particularly evident regarding evolution, modern physics, biology & cosmology. It cannot accommodate the dynamic, relational understanding of reality which underpins evolution and every other sphere of knowledge today.

The Catholic Church has accepted the reality of evolution but it has not officially or culturally digested its implications. So many of its images, words, rituals and presumptions are still embedded in the medieval world. This results in a profound disconnect for any thinking person who is not content with keeping modern life and religion in separate “watertight” compartments.

The difference between our present world view and the medieval world view cannot be over-emphasised. It is massive in almost every sphere of knowledge. Now we know that everything is inter-related and inter-dependent. Reality is relational in its essence.( Incidentally this re-invigorates our appreciation of God as Trinity. God is relational by nature!) And just like our bodies the Universe is essentially “holographic”. Each recognisable element or part belongs to a greater “whole”.

 

God is in total harmony with God’s creation and so no laws of nature must be set aside or overridden. The whole of creation is a miracle of divine love and power. So, in terms of God’s relationship with us and the material world the Eucharist is in fact the most natural thing.

Everything is connected because everything has emerged from, and is held in being by, the Divine Energy. Jesus was consciously aware that he had “come from God”. He also knew everyone & everything else had the same source. He knew and believed that bread and wine belonged to the same physical world as his own flesh and blood. Together they share the same essence – the Divine energy. This relationship constitutes their reality. The Universe in its totality is already the living Body, Blood and Soul of God. As part of the Universe bread and wine, Jesus’s flesh and blood and our flesh and blood are all united, are all one in the same source. We are all “one body, one Spirit in Christ” (E.P. 3)

When we celebrate Eucharist the reality of bread and wine changes. We no longer see them as separate, isolated entities, as disconnected material elements. We see them (by faith) in their full relational reality. Bread and wine participate in the same Divine energy that brings into being the flesh and blood of all humanity, including Jesus. The words of the Liturgy reveal this true nature of bread and wine and thus also reveal our true nature and the true nature of everything. God is “through all, with all and in all” (Eph. 4:6) and God is “all in all” (1 Cor 15:28). DMA

THE HOLY EUCHARIST: IN TWO WORLD VIEWS

PART ONE: FROM MEDIEVAL TIMES UNTIL THE 19th CENTURY 25TH July 2021

From medieval times Catholic theology in the West was dominated by the work of St Thomas Aquinas (12th cent.) St Thomas adopted and improved the philosophical framework of Aristotle, the early Greek philosopher (4th cent BC). For Aristotle the “isness” of a thing, which he called the “substance” (not to be confused with chemical substance) is known by the “accidents”, the empirical, observable properties.

So, St Thomas affirmed (by faith) that when the bread and wine are consecrated at Mass the “isness” of the bread and wine is changed into the “isness” of the Body & Blood of Jesus the Christ. However, the “accidents” manifestly do not change, all the empirical evidence remains the same. For St Thomas, this was such a contravention of natural laws as he understood them, that it could only be explained as a miracle.

This contributed in in no small part, to the mystification of the Eucharist and the unhealthy emphasis on the “power” of the priest who alone could bring about this marvellous event. Another unintended consequence has been the objectification of the Eucharist. It came to be presented as a holy object to be preserved and worshipped and ritualised as if this was its the primary purpose. This only encouraged people NOT to receive Holy Communion and it deepened the sense of separation. If we cannot receive Holy Communion at least we can worship from afar.

This is completely contrary to the desire of Jesus who wants us to eat and drink and who has overcome all separation. He is Emmanuel “God with us”.

Many Catholics today have a physical understanding of the Eucharist which is not consistent with the theology of St Thomas. This distortion is particularly common among those who reject Vatican II and want to return to a medieval Catholic world.

St Thomas Aquinas teaches us that Jesus’s presence in the Eucharist is not a physical presence but a sacramental presence. He tells us that while the sacrament is present in many tabernacles around the world the presence of Christ is one and undivided. The sacrament might be taken in procession, but the presence of Christ does not move. The sacramental presence ceases when the physical elements lose their “sign” capability. So when the bread is no longer recognisable as bread, for example when the particles are too small, then sacramental presence ceases. When wine is so diluted as to no longer be recognisable as wine the sacramental presence ceases. St Thomas describes this as follows; it is like when a bird dies, God ceases to be the God of that creature.

Next time we will explore a different way of understanding the Eucharist that is more consistent with our current scientific understandings of the Universe. (DMA)

(Our Bishop has designated this year as one of special focus on the gift of the Holy Eucharist so we will devote a number of reflections to this very important aspect of our faith experience.)

 

NEXT PUBLIC MASS

 

As of 24th July our 3 churches will be open.

Saturday 6pm Our Lady of Mercy, Lymington

Sunday 9am St Francis of Assisi, Milford on Sea

Sunday 10.30am Our Lady of Mercy, Lymington

Sunday 6pm St Anne's, Brockenhurst

 

There is no longer a booking system.

We strongly recommend you wear a mask in church

Sanitize your hands

Sign in for Test n Trace by scanning the QR code on your NHS app

By easing up restrictions our churches, we can no longer guarantee that our premises are Covid secure any more.

 

Weekday Masses from 27th July will be

Tuesday OLMSJ  Lymington

Wednesday  St Francis Milford on Sea

Thursday St Anne's Brockenhurst

There will not be a Mass Monday (Father's day off),

Friday or Saturday.

DESTROYING HOSTILITY IN HIS OWN PERSON 18th July

 

A few centuries ago Christians were tearing themselves apart because of religious divisions. The mind-set or consciousness that reacts by fear, hostility, rejection and violence is never far from the surface even in our own "civilised" societies. The Catholic Church is divided again today between those who accept Vatican 2 and those who reject it. Divided between those who want to preserve clerical power as an exclusive celibate male domain and those who want the Church to open up ministry to all. Literal conflict may not have broken out but the war of words in the press and on social media is as toxic and hostile as ever. The situation gives still more credence to the view that this kind of religion really does produce nothing but oppression and conflict.

A new start is needed, a new consciousness has to arise, humanity has to move on or else we will destroy ourselves and the whole planet with us.

But isn’t this “new start” and “new humanity” precisely what Jesus has done? Our second reading could not put it more clearly. For he is the peace between us, and has made the two into one and broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart, actually destroying in his own body the hostility caused by the rules and decrees of the Law. This was to create one single New Humanity in himself.

 

After this religion can never be used as an excuse for or source of violence and hatred between peoples. Yet when we examine history it’s almost as if nothing happened at all. Is it because Christianity developed into just another competitive, even hostile religion like any other?

Rather than becoming a rival religion should Christianity have developed as a reconciling agent uniting all things in heaven and on earth and bringing everything together under Christ? Christ who stands not as another “name” or another competing deity but as the historical symbol of the Divine presence in everything and everyone.

But this is something that many so-called Christians cannot understand. They make the cross of Christ meaningless. Such a distortion of all that Jesus stands for just adds further weight to the secularists’ argument that this kind of religion is nothing but a threat to the human race. Paul suggests that Jesus would be in total agreement with that. He acknowledges that the Law was a cause of hostility.

Hostile religion begins with the security of the tribe but it ends with the bitterness of conflict. It’s the wide easy path to destruction. The hard narrow way of the cross means hostility has to be overcome within the person so that peace can be made outside. If we cannot transform our pain through love we will always transmit it in hate and anger. The way of peace is a hard road and few find it or are willing to pay the price for it. (DMA)

“GO, PROPHESY TO MY PEOPLE”  11th July

 

So it was that the outsider Amos used his talent for disturbing the peace. He went to the shrine of Bethel, which was the sanctuary of the king, a chapel royal. There he came face to face with Amaziah, the priest of Bethel. He was exasperated by the preaching of Amos and accused him of being disloyal - an old trick to discredit the prophet who opposes the status quo. The royal functionary telegrammed the king: “Amos is plotting against you…The land is unable to endure all his words.”

In today’s reading the priest tells the prophet to go home and leave the royal sanctuary in peace. Amos replies with the story of his own experience. He has never belonged to the official guild of prophets. He was a shepherd; now he is God’s spokesman. The single cause of this radical change was a compelling event: “The Lord took me.” To Amaziah’s command: “Go home”, Amos rejoins with God’s command: “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”

Amos states simply that he did not become a prophet by self – appointment or by royal appointment; he was conscripted by God for the declared purpose of announcing his message. Therefore, he is not torn between two competing loyalties: his loyalty to the word of God has clear priority over any other loyalty in his life.

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus summons the twelve apostles and sends them out on a missionary tour. Like the prophet Amos, the chosen followers of Jesus have to carry the word of God as a challenge to others.

In that mission the apostles have the authority and the power of Jesus. They have to travel on that.

So, they are not to rely on their own resources but on the authority that has been given to them and the hospitality that will be offered them. With no bread and no money, they have to depend on the kindness of others: that vulnerability makes their message their real resource. If they have bread to eat, it means that people are not only hospitable to them but to the word they preach. If they are not accepted, they have no option but to move on. And when a town rejects their message, the apostles are to shake the dust from their feet – a symbolic act performed by strict Jews returning to Palestine after journeying abroad.

Both the prophets and the apostles have to rely on the authority and the power given to them. In taking to the road, they will test their message on foreign soil; they will see if their conviction can pass beyond the boundaries of national difference and personal indifference; they will discover if their vocation can survive the official stamp of disapproval. For it is not only the message that is being tested, it is the messenger.

This process continues every day in the life of the Church and the world – every time a preacher braces himself to declare the word of God, every time a Christian goes public on the values of the Gospel, every time any man or woman takes a stand against injustice.

(From Seasons of the Word by Denis McBride)

 

CONTENT WITH WEAKNESS 4th July 2021

 

Mark summarises the reaction of the Nazareth community to their fellow citizen: "And they would not accept him." For them, the sheer ordinariness of Jesus cancels out his new wisdom and works. Nothing kills like frozen familiarity. How does Jesus react to the locals? He says to them: A prophet is only despised in his own country among his own relations and in his own house.

This is a hard saying. The other evangelists soften it saying, "No prophet is accepted in his own country." In Mark's version Jesus is rejected by his own relations and by those in his own house. Mark has already told us that Jesus' relatives believe him to be out of his mind (3:21): now the rejection seems to be complete.

Jesus' experience of rejection in Nazareth renders him powerless to do any miracle among his own people. This is an extraordinary statement about the human Jesus: people’s lack of trust limits his ministry. Jesus is profoundly affected by the way people react to him. He is not a robot, programmed for flawless performance, indifferent to all responses. Distrust disables him. So he moves elsewhere, refusing to be enslaved by his failure to reach his own people. And he never returns to Nazareth again.

By coping with discouragement and failure, Jesus points beyond himself to the power of the Father. The cross of Jesus becomes the most striking symbol of weakness pointing beyond itself, beyond the brokenness of Jesus to the glory of the resurrection. New life emerges out of dereliction. This theme, so constant in the writing of Paul, is applied by the apostle to his own life.

 

Paul shares a very personal experience. He has come to learn that his own weaknesses are not a problem for God, as if God has no truck with poor achievers. Paul's human limitations, which refuse to go away, not only force him to be more realistic about himself, they also force him to change his image of God. Paul discovers through his own handicap that God's grace does work through human frailty: "So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am content with my weaknesses...For it is when I am weak that I am strong."

Being content with our weaknesses is not an attitude that comes easy to most of us, educated to be content with nothing less than perfection. We might still suspect that God disassociates himself from those who are beaten down by their own limitations; but, like Paul, we have to learn that God isn't like that. Failure and human weakness give God immense scope to act out his own purposes.

Nazareth was the beginning of a new road for Jesus. Paul's thorn in the flesh was the occasion for a whole new way of looking at God and at himself. And we know from experience that when we admit our failures and limitations, that exercise in honesty can mark the beginning of a new understanding. If God can take failure in his stride, we might even end up boasting about God's fantastic style!

(From Seasons of the Word by Denis McBride)

 

HEALING SOCIETY FROM THE BOTTOM UP

June 27th 2021

 

The crowd gathered around Jesus, by the sea, is comprised mostly of the poor class of the day. The two main characters in this saga are from opposite classes. Shame and honour codes require different treatment of both. Jairus, a ruling class personage, approached Jesus as an equal. Contrast Jairus with the woman, an unclean, lower class personage. The woman is nameless she has no status. No one comes forward to defend her. Mark makes no bones about the serious nature of her poverty and illness. She has been treated poorly by doctors and has spent all her income trying to get well, but to no avail. She is an outcast's outcast.

The restoration of the woman is dramatic. According to the levirate law, she was permanently segregated from the community. Her blood disorder demanded it. She was not permitted to contaminate the community. Adding insult to injury, she was further abused by the very system that should have helped her-the medical community. In antiquity the poor who were in dire need of medical attention were often taken advantage of. The woman had spent everything she had and had nothing to show for her efforts. Jesus, the Great Physician, will cure her and charge her nothing. Jesus violates the purity code and his own purity by touching her, just as he did in the healing of the leper. Her healing signified restoration to physical wholeness as well as social wholeness. The healing restored her to the community.

Jairus came to Jesus out of a privileged social class that rejected him-not as a member of that class, but as an individual in great need. Jairus's plea was interrupted by an outcast woman who touched Jesus and subsequently fell at Jesus' knees to pay him homage. According to the culture, the official deserved greater attention and higher priority.

 

From the bottom of the honour scale she intrudes upon the daughter of someone on the top of the honour scale-but by the story's conclusion, she herself has become the 'daughter' at the centre of the story. “ Jesus elevated the woman to a status greater than Jesus' male disciples because she had faith greater than theirs.

Jesus continues on his first mission-to heal Jairus's daughter. The official mourning had already commenced. Mark highlights their disbelief. Jesus throws everyone out of the house. Jesus dismisses everyone but the parents of the girl and the disciples. He completes his mission, takes the girl by the hand, and restores her to life. The erudite symbolism of the moment is irresistible. The number twelve is of great significance.

The girl represents the twelve tribes of Israel. Mark's Jesus believes he is presiding at the collapse of the social order determined by Jairus's Judaism. The twelve-year-old daughter of privilege was dead. The woman with no privilege suffered for twelve years not only with the physical ailment, but with the effects of exclusive purity codes. She took the initiative to restore her status. She reached out to gain access. She sought freedom. Jesus responded to her initiative. Israel need only embrace the reign of God in their midst, thereby tearing down the walls of social and religious status. In the reign of God, all are welcome.

'This alone will liberate the lowly outcast and snatch the 'noble' from death. Mark's narrative of symbolic action thus achieves the same effect as Matthew's blunt announcement to the Jewish leaders that 'tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you' (Mt 21:3 1)-and with equal shock value"!

(source unknown)

 

FEAR IN A STORM    20th June 2021

In today's Gospel Jesus suggests to his disciples that they cross the lake to the other side. The sun has set; soon it will be nightfall. The pressing crowds are left behind, but what lies ahead is no picnic. The lake is normally calm, but because of its position - about seven hundred feet below sea level - it is subject to sudden windstorms, which sweep down from the surrounding hills, rush through the narrow gorges that break upon the lake, and whip up the saucer-like sea. This is what happens in today’s Gospel: the rapid change of weather causes the waves to break into the boat so that it starts to fill.

In the midst of this chaos Jesus is fast asleep on the small bench at the back of the boat, his head on a cushion. The disciples have no intention of letting Jesus doze through a disaster; the boat is sinking and, perhaps like most fishermen, the disciples cannot swim to save their lives. They wake Jesus with an accusation: "Master, do you not care? We are going down!" Jesus wakes up, rebukes the wind and commands the sea to be quiet. After rebuking the tempest Jesus rebukes his disciples for their large fear and little faith. In the midst of the calm there arises the central question about Jesus: "Who then is this?"

The question about Jesus' identity arises from seeing, what Jesus actually does. People begin to wonder about who Jesus is when they witness what he does. If everyone had been washed overboard, for example, the question would not have arisen. The question is posed; the answer, however, will be understood only after the resurrection.

We believe with St. Mark that the answer to the question "Who is this man?" is that he is the Son of God. That proclamation of the identity of Jesus is at the heart of our Christian creed. But the question remains whether our faith in Jesus will stay with us even during threat and danger and storm. The experience of the disciples on the Sea of Galilee is a graphic one: they feel all at sea, they feel up to their neck in difficulty, they feel powerless to withstand the environment of threat. For sure, their experience is not alien to us.

We believe that Jesus accompanies us on our journey to God, that he is "on board" with us. Sometimes, when we see such disorder and chaos around our world, we might wonder if Jesus has chosen to sleep through disaster - even though we know that his presence is no insurance against our own fear and anxiety. To journey with Jesus is to journey through storms, not around them. The peace of our Galilees will be disturbed. But we know that the disciples of Jesus went on to face shipwreck and hardship and rejection. Ultimately, many of them came face to face with a violent death and martyrdom. What kept them going is what keeps us going: a strenuous belief that Jesus is Lord of all chaos, a stubborn faith which tells us that there is no storm that will not be stilled at last by the peace of his presence.

In the meantime, we struggle on and hold on to our hats! (from Denis McBride - Seasons of the Word)

The Growth of the Kingdom 13th June 2021

 

In the first parable of today's Gospel Jesus compares the kingdom of God to what happens when seed is sown by a farmer. Once the seed is sown, the farmer waits for harvest time. The cycle of growth follows its own secret rhythm; how it all happens the farmer does not know. Even though nothing much seems to be happening, the miracle of growth is taking place. The farmer cannot improve the crop by staying awake at night and worrying; the seed is nurtured in its own silence. The harvest will not be rushed; neither will the kingdom of God be advanced by those restless for instant results. Just as the harvest comes in its own time, so the kingdom will reach its completion in God's appointed time. It is God's kingdom, not ours. In the second parable Jesus compares the kingdom to a mustard seed that grows into the largest shrub so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade. In the ancient world the size of the mustard seed was a byword for the smallest and most insignificant thing anyone could imagine.

According to the Koran: "God will bring good and evil to light, even if they are no bigger than a mustard seed." In Jesus' parable the contrast is made between the smallness of the seed and the exuberance of its growth. Unremarkable beginnings can make for mighty achievements. Littleness is no index of importance. The small mustard seed grows to become a shelter for all the birds of the air.

It is worth noting that the phrase "birds of the air" was a traditional Jewish expression for the Gentiles, all the non-Jews. In today's first reading, for example, the prophet Ezekiel speaks of the universal openness of God's welcome in the image of the tree where all birds can find a resting place. Every kind of bird will live beneath it, every winged creature rest in the shade of its branches. Similarly in Jesus' teaching: the kingdom of God is open to all peoples. The greatness of the kingdom, which grows from such a small beginning, is for the benefit of all peoples; it is not the exclusive domain of any one flock.

When we think of the small beginnings of Jesus' ministry in Galilee to the spread of his message throughout the world, we can appreciate the vast growth that has taken place in history. The seed which Jesus planted has indeed grown: who could have guessed in Galilee in 27AD what would emerge from Jesus' ministry? From small beginnings – Jesus' preaching, his attention to the afflicted, his quiet transformations, his unusual company of followers – there did indeed arise the greatness of the kingdom of God.

God's work still continues, not only in the Christian churches but in people and places unknown and unrecognized by us. At the heart of the familiar God works in so many ways. His kingdom grows of its own accord; how, we do not know. This doesn't mean that we can be complacent, but it does save us from cynicism and despair. We have reason to rejoice in God' s work, that his kingdom still attracts and welcomes so many different people. We are part of that kingdom. And we shouldn't be surprised if we seem to be sharing the shade with some really strange birds! (from Denis McBride – Seasons of the Word)

 

Dear parishioners,

As you know, Father David celebrated his 40th anniversary of ordination on 4th May 2021. Unfortunately, we were not able to celebrate this special occasion as we would have liked due to the restrictions that are currently in place. However, we hope and pray that we will able to do so later in the year.

The three parishes of Lymington, Brockenhurst and Milford thought that it would be a nice idea to organise a collection so that we are able to give Fr David a present to mark his anniversary.  We will organise events in the parishes to celebrate when we have a better idea as to when restrictions are going to be relaxed.

However, in the meantime If you would like to make a donation please use the link below.

https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/fr-davids-40th-anniversary-collection

Many thanks.

The Chairs of the Parish Council of the three parishes:

Ian Holden- St Anne’s Brockenhurst

Mike Reynolds- OLMSJ, Lymington

Roger Maughan- St Francis of Assisi, Milford on Sea

Corpus Christi 6th June 2021

“RECEIVE YOUR OWN MYSTERY” (St Augustine, 4th century)

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”or the Eucharist 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 every day 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 in 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, Soul & Divinity how much more does God takes us and delight in us being the “Body and Blood, Soul & Divinity 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 its 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 its 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)

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GOD’S CHOICE: – YESTERDAY, TODAY & FOREVER: 30th May

 The only choice that ultimately matters is the choice that God has made from all eternity. 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.

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

The Big Yes that is Confirmation 23rd May 2021

Yes to Life: to your wonderful, awesome, mysterious life; to the beautiful, awesome & terrible Universe; to the Life of which your life is a part.

Yes to Love: to receiving and giving love with: family; friends; a future life partner; maybe your children to be; with all humanity; with God who loves you & everyone totally, unconditionally and forever.

Yes to Acceptance: of reality; of the circumstances of your life; of limitations; weakness; suffering; sinfulness; the fragility of life; the necessity of struggle and hard work.

Yes to Responsibility: for yourself, for others; for society; your country; your world; for other creatures; to give and not just to take.

Yes to your Potential: to the Spirit in you; to the gifts, capabilities and creativity that is in you; that you can discover and use for your fulfilment and for the good of others.

Yes to Solidarity: with all who desire and work for peace, freedom, truth, tolerance, fairness, justice & compassion: the “Church” of God.

Yes to Joy: the joy of life; of love; of trusting you are loved completely by God; gratitude for laughter, pleasure and the gift of existence.

Yes to the Journey: to openness, to learning, to the necessity of growing, changing and moving on; carrying forward the blessings of the past and open to the blessings still to come.

Yes to Forgiveness: for yourself; for your friends & loved ones; for others; for your “enemies”.

Yes to God: to the unfolding mystery of God in you and you in God; to God who is all in all.

(DMA)

All things are yours,….., the world, life, death, the present, the future – all belong to you, and you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God” (1 Cor 3:21ff)

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 35-39)

LOVE ENDURES 16th May 2021

 

“No one has ever seen God, but as long as we love one another God will live in us and God’s love will be complete in us”. (1 John 4: 12).

 

CAC core faculty member, Cynthia Bourgeault, beautifully describes growth in “conscious love” in her sermon, given at her daughter’s wedding. I hope you will find it quite profound, as I did.

 

It’s easy to look at marriage as the culmination of love, the end point of the journey that begins with “falling in love.” [But] marriage is not the culmination of love, but only the beginning.

 

Love remains and deepens, but its form changes. Or, more accurately, it renews itself in a different way. Less and less does it draw its waters from the old springs of romance, and you should not worry if over time these dimensions fade or are seen less frequently. More and more, love draws its replenishment from love itself: from the practice of conscious love, expressed in your mutual servanthood to one another.

 

It will transform your lives and through its power in your own lives will reach out to touch the world. But how to stay in touch with that power? At those times when stress mounts and romance seems far away, how do you practice that conscious love that will renew itself and renew your relationship?

Here is the one [practice] that works for me:

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7).“Love bears all things.”

This does not mean a dreary sort of putting-up-with or victimization. There are two meanings of the word bear, and they both apply.

 

The first means “to hold up, to sustain”—like a bearing wall, which carries the weight of the house. To bear [also] means “to give birth, to be fruitful.” So love is that which in any situation is the most life-giving and fruitful.

 

“Love believes all things.” [This] does not mean to be gullible, to refuse to face up to the truth. Rather, it means that in every possible circumstance of life, there is a way of perceiving that leads to cynicism and divisiveness, a closing off of possibility; and there is a way that leads to higher faith and love, to a higher and more fruitful outcome. To “believe all things” means always to orient yourselves toward the highest possible outcome in any situation and strive for its actualization.

 

“Love hopes all things.” In the practice of conscious love you begin to discover a hope that is related not to outcome but to a wellspring a source of strength that wells up from deep within you independent of all outcomes. It is a hope that can never be taken away from you because it is love itself working in you, conferring the strength to stay present to that “highest possible outcome” that can be believed and aspired to.

 

Finally, “love endures all things.” Everything that is tough and brittle shatters; everything that is cynical rots. The only way to endure is to forgive, over and over, to give back that openness and possibility for new beginning which is the very essence of love itself. And in such a way love comes full circle and can fully “sustain and make fruitful,” and the cycle begins again, at a deeper place. And conscious love deepens and becomes more and more rooted.

 

(from Fr Richard Rohr’s Daily Reflection - Wednesday, May 2, 2018)

 

Congratulations to Fr David who celebrates his 40th Anniversary of his Ordination on Tuesday 4th May.

 

As we can’t all meet up to contribute to a gift for Fr David,the three parishes of Our Lady of Mercy & St Joseph, Lymington, St Francis of Assisi, Milford on Sea and St Anne’s, Brockenhurst have set up a Give as you live page for anyone who would like to donate towards a gift to acknowledge Fr David’s important day.

https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/fr-davids-40th-anniversary-collection

 

Hopefully there will be a date in the not so distant future when we can all meet to present him with his gift.

 

 

Gracious and loving God, we thank your for the gift of our priest, Father David.

Through him, we experience your presence in the sacraments.

Help Father David to be strong in his vocation.

Set his soul on fire with love for your people.

Grant him the wisdom, understanding, and strength he needs to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

Inspire him with the vision of your Kingdom.

Give him the words he needs to spread the Gospel.

Allow him to experience joy in his ministry.

Help him to be an instrument of your divine grace.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest.

Amen.

 

May the love of the Lord be with you always.

Blessings on the anniversary of your ordination to the priesthood Father David.

 

GOD’S LOVE IMAGED THROUGH THE FEMININE & MASCULINE 9th May 2021

The treasures of wisdom in Christ are, as St Paul wrote, “infinitely rich”. That is why, like St Peter, we are always coming to realise new dimensions of truth or recovering lost pearls of God’s wisdom. God & God-is-love are the greatest truths. So how we imagine God-is-love or present God-is-love to others is crucially important, not only for ourselves but also for the work of sharing the Good News with others. We have to receive the Good News before we can share the Good News. We must know, both conceptually and emotionally (mind & heart knowledge), that it is “not our love for God” that has priority but “God’s love for us”.

We are in danger of diminishing or even distorting God’s love if we present it only in terms of our own limited understanding, feelings or experience. God’s love can only be revealed by the whole creation. For us humans that means all of humanity, male and female and anyone who doesn’t fit neatly into those gender categories. The relational God of creation (“Let us make…Gen. 1:26) is imaged in male & female & the whole of humanity.

It is not a coincidence that in the two millennia of Christianity, experienced generally through the mediation of patriarchal institutional structures, Mary the Mother of the Lord and wife of Joseph has had such an important role. Mary bore and gave us not just the Christ child but also the maternal face and heart of God. When Jesus’s humanity got obscured by his Divinity it was Mary who communicated the tenderness, gentleness and indulgence of God. She anchored the Word in the flesh. When St Alphonsus Liguori (1696–1787, founder of the Redemptorists) declared that “Mary represented the hand of God’s mercy and Jesus represented the hand of God’s justice”, he was voicing the common theological presumptions of his time. In retrospect, thanks to Vatican II and our greater familiarity with the Scriptures, we can see that these presumptions were warped.

The limitations, distortions and impoverishments that inevitably result from a heavily patriarchal institution and culture mean that the situation is essentially unhealthy. Patriarchy is inherently pathological. Unfortunately, virtually everything we do and say in our Church is affected by it.

Our current English translation of the Liturgy is one of the most blatant examples, notwithstanding many important theological and spiritual gems. Already patriarchal in its Latin form it has been given an added twist by a very small, exclusively male, celibate, clerical and generally European group with an explicit brief to avoid inclusive language and cultural intelligibility and keep slavishly to a Latinised form of English.

Phrases like the following reflect perhaps the human experience of a distant, insecure relationship between a son & his father: (the Father) who “summons” his children (EP 3), the ubiquitous use of “Almighty” (although it must be admitted this is preferable to “All powerful”), hoping God will look upon “these offerings, with a serene and kindly countenance”, those who were “pleasing to you at their passing from this life”.

We also have the presentation of an unhealthy dualistic conflict between body and soul, inherited not from Christ but from strands of pagan philosophy. This ignores the words of Scripture in Colossians 2:23: “human commands and teachings - (that) have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-imposed piety, humility and severe treatment of the body, but they are of no value in checking self-indulgence”.

Then there is the paradoxical “dance” between what we “merit” by our efforts and the undeserved grace we hope to receive. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when one considers how female representation and input in the whole area of marital relationships, child-bearing and nurturing has been excluded. So, to fully experience “God’s love for us” as distinct from “our love for God” we need the witness of the whole of humanity, feminine and masculine and indeed of the whole of creation. (DMA)

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S READINGS 2nd May 2021

Direct confrontation often causes more harm than good. Saul was aggressively hunting down the followers of Jesus. That aggressive energy was still driving him when, only days after his dramatic conversion, he begins challenging his former co-religionists with his new-found faith “Jesus is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20). Today’s reading describes him “preaching fearlessly in the name of the Lord”. Having raised a proverbial hornet’s nest Paul and his companions began to suffer the unintended consequences of his zeal. His minders took the wise and prudent decision to quietly spirit him away. Today’s extract finishes with: “The churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were now left in peace, building themselves up, living in the fear of the Lord, and filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit”. How we say something has a greater effect than what we say. Are we trying to share a truth or insight we have come to realise or are we just trying to prove ourselves “right” and the other person “wrong”? Before we presume to confront or challenge or dialogue it would be good to become aware of the energies that are driving us. Are they angry and aggressive or peaceful and benevolent?

We are often prone to anxiety. And God can sometimes be sensed, experienced or thought of as One who is overwhelming and all-demanding. In contrast we experience ourselves as weak and sinful and never good or holy enough.

If we are not careful our negative imaginings and anxieties can run away with us. In our second reading today, John recognises the vulnerability of our consciences which can “raise accusations against us”. We need to “quieten our consciences” to preserve the peace Christ gives us and even our mental health! The way to do this is to honestly assess the reality of our practical compassion and love. Are we really trying to love and care for one another according to our capacity and means? If yes, we can be at peace. If no, we need to repent.

“I am the Vine and you are the branches”. The life, beauty and goodness of God is manifest in everything. We human beings can begin to appreciate these qualities in the experience of our relationships. It is in our relationships that God’s life, beauty and goodness are freely given and received as love. The fullness of God’s self-giving can only be received in relationships of love and freedom. One has to be in it to win it, as the popular saying goes! One has to be in the relationship to receive the blessings of the relationship. “Remain in me”, Jesus says, “as I remain in you”. We are part of the Divine mystery. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:13: we may be unfaithful, but he is always faithful for he cannot disown his own self. And it is only in this Divine relationship that we can “bear fruit”. This is because the fruit is none other than the personal goodness of God given to us and flowing through us as pure gift. As Paul wrote in Galatians 5:22: the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. By keeping the great commandment, love one another as I have loved you, we will bear much fruit. (DMA).

Jesus the Good Shepherd 25th April 2021

The wandering figure of the good shepherd, anxiously tending his sheep to the point where he is willing to surrender his life for them, is the image Jesus uses about himself in today's Gospel. That mixture of tenderness and toughness, care and self-sacrifice, is one that summarizes his own practice of leadership. It is not a leadership of detachment and defensiveness; rather it is a leadership of physical involvement and self -sacrificial love. In the good shepherd's foolish extravagant love, his own life matters less than that of his sheep.

The good shepherd is not an image of religious authority that is eternally pleased with its own importance, blind to the useless pain it causes in those it leads. The authority of the shepherd costs the shepherd, not the sheep. The image of the shepherd cannot be separated from how the shepherd actually cares for his own sheep. His concern is not untroubled, his courage is not bloodless, his love is not detached. When we see how Jesus actually behaves as a leader, we see his tenderness and courage. Jesus tackles his opponents, face to face. He confronts those who steal the dignity of the little ones. He names the wolves in sheep's clothing. He is willing to leave his enemies looking sheepish. He warns his followers about the rough terrain ahead. He goes there before them. He is defensive when people attack his own followers.

He is realistic about people's wayward ways. He endures isolation and insult. He faces his own fear but stays loyal. He risks being slaughtered himself. He does lay down his life for his sheep. In his life and in his death Jesus sought out the lost and the least and the last. When he wanted to speak of a tender God he told the people about a shepherd who, when he loses one of his sheep, leaves the other sheep and goes off in search of the lost one. The shepherd refuses to accept the loss of one sheep as "just one of those things". He searches for the lost sheep until he finds it, and then taking it on his shoulders he returns to share his joy with all his neighbours.

That is Jesus' image of pastoral care, a search that continues until a find can be made. We know, of course, that a search is not automatic after a loss. Many losses are not even registered. Where there is no love, there is no loss. Some people are regarded as "no great loss". Other people are encouraged to "get lost". But all of us hope that when we are lost someone, somewhere, will be looking for us, like the good shepherd.

The good shepherd challenges our own way of leaving people for lost: "I have come to seek out and save the lost." Probably all of us know two or three people who have wandered away (from the family, from the friendship group), from the Church, who have lost their sense of belonging, who feel they have no community to belong to. How will they know they are welcome back if no one tells them? How will they be helped back if no one offers to make the journey with them? (from Seasons of the Word by Denis McBride)

A TOUGH ADMISSION & UNDESERVED BLESSINGS

18th April 2021

 

We must have some sympathy with the religious authorities who had Jesus executed. They had been on the receiving end of the harshest words that Jesus ever spoke. They had been determined to do away with him. They had him arrested, tortured and cruelly put to death. Peter reminds them of all the grizzly details and of their responsibility, proverbially rubbing their noses in it! Yet amazingly Peter also describes some mitigating circumstances: neither you, nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing. Even more astonishing Peter calls them to accept forgiveness and promises that God will send them this Christ, whom they had just killed, as their Lord and Saviour! Peter is calling for the most radical, heart tearing, gut wrenching conversion that could possibly be imagined!

We can, perhaps, understand a little of how the people and leaders must have felt. Often in Lenten pious literature and prayers we are reminded that our sins made Jesus suffer. There is a sense in which that is true, but we must not take it in such a way as to negate the saving work that Jesus did on our behalf. The Father wants, and Jesus wants to save us from our sins, from fear, anxiety, guilt and discouragement. Our focus must be on the Lord and we should allow ourselves to feel gratitude, love and joy for the love Jesus revealed on the cross.

For these reasons I concluded long ago that one of the traditional expressions of contrition is not as helpful as it should be. O my God, I am sorry and beg pardon for all my sins because they deserve Thy dreadful punishments, because they have crucified my loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, and most of all because they offend Thine infinite goodness etc.

This presents a very severe portrait of God and one that Jesus himself did not offer. It concentrates on all the negative effects of sin and increases feelings of guilt and anxiety at a time when a person needs to be encouraged to have trust and confidence in God. It has all the hallmarks of the heresy of Jansenism, which had such a chilling impact on the Church of Northern Europe in the 18th-19th centuries. We are still living with the ghosts of Jansenism today and people’s experience of God is still blighted by its chill.

The Gospel presents us with an altogether different picture of the Risen Jesus. Jesus is bursting full of joy and loving energy. He is the same Lord and Saviour who died on the cross, but he has a new body which is in complete harmony with the Spirit (St Paul calls it a “spiritual body”; “The first man, Adam, became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit” 1 Cor 15:45). It transcends space and time and is personally present to everyone in the universal presence of the Christ (cfr. Eph 1:23). It is not limited in the way our present bodies are. This universal presence of Christ is mysteriously manifest in creation, in you and me, in everyone & everything, in the sacrament that is the Church, and in the sacraments that celebrate the Divine life in us. Jesus’ risen body is a sign that God’s love triumphs over our sin and death and unites all the realms of existence. It shows that the Father can be trusted to the utmost as Jesus did when he accepted the Father’s will in the Garden. In this Easter let us receive the blessing of Jesus, trust in his wonderful love and allow the Spirit more deeply into our lives. (DMA)

 

WOUNDED & RESURRECTED                      11th April 2021

 

The archetypal encounter between doubting Thomas and the Risen Jesus (John 20: 19-28) is not really a story about believing in the fact of the resurrection, but a story about believing someone could be wounded and also resurrected at the same time! That is a quite different message, and still desperately needed. “Put your finger here,” Jesus says to Thomas (20:27). And like Thomas, we are indeed wounded and resurrected at the same time, all of us. In fact, this might be the primary pastoral message of the whole Gospel. Earlier, I wrote that great love and great suffering (both healing and woundedness) are the universal, always available paths of transformation, because they are the only things strong enough to take away the ego’s protections and pretensions. Great love and great suffering bring us back to God, with the second normally following the first, and I believe this is how Jesus himself walked humanity back to God. It is not just a path of resurrection rewards, but always a path that includes death and woundedness. We cannot jump over this world, or its woundedness, and still try to love God. We must love God through, in, with, and even because of this world. This is the message Christianity was supposed to initiate, proclaim and encourage, and what Jesus modelled. We were made to love and trust this world, “to cultivate it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15

 

Do not think I am talking about believing only what you can see with your eyes or proposing mere materialism. I am talking about observing, touching, loving the physical, the material, the inspirited universe – in all its suffering state – as the necessary starting place for any healthy spirituality and any true development. Death and resurrection, not death or resurrection. This is indeed the depth of everything. To stay on the surface of anything is invariably to miss its message – even the surface of our sinfulness. Jesus invited Thomas and all doubters into a tangible kind of religion, a religion that makes touching human pain and suffering the way into both compassion and understanding. For most of us, the mere touching of another’s wound probably feels like an act of outward kindness; we don’t realise that its full intended effect is to change us as much as it might change them. Human sympathy is the best and easiest way to open the heart space and to make us live inside our own bodies. God never intended most human beings to become philosophers or theologians, but God wants all humans to represent the very Sympathy and Empathy of God. And its okay if it takes a while to get there.

 

(Extracts from The Universal Christ by Fr Richard Rohr OFM, pp111-113, SPCK, 2019)

 

 

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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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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.

SUPPORT FOR THE VULNERABLE & ISOLATED

Please can we all try to keep in touch with one another, especially those who are on their own, using phone calls, texts & emails. Practical help & support, if needed should be offered by those who are not high risk to themselves or others but hygiene and social distancing must always be observed. Help should only be accepted from persons who are known to you or who have been authenticated by someone you know. Do not answer the door to strangers and let all phone calls go to answer machine or voice mail unless you know and trust the caller. If anyone needs help and support please ring or email the parish office 01590-676696.

MILFORD SECULAR PARISH COUNCIL has already set up a scheme to help with connecting helpers to isolators in Milford. If you are in isolation and need help they can be contacted on: Milford 644410. Anthony Kirke says he has been allocated a helper & he arrange on for Daphne as well.

ALSO FROM ANTHONY: Hello Friends, I have started a WHATSAPP group for members of St Francis’ Church! Please do join and watch and/or contribute as you like. I think you need to do it on your mobile, (or can you do it on tablet or laptop?) You need to download the WHATSAPP app (free) and then use the link below: You can add photos too if you want.

https://chat.whatsapp.com/Gz27ZrWk8f9BWPoRbOuiro

Keep well in your isolations! Anthony

 

 

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.