Dear Friends in Christ Fourth Sunday of the Year 2018 27/28 JANUARY 2018
Jesus’ healing ministry included delivering people from oppression and possession of evil spirits. In other words, Jesus bore witness both to the reality and personification of evil. He affirmed the reality of demons, demon possession and the devil. The devil has various names: the Evil One, Satan, Beelzebub and the Father of lies. It is impossible to read the New Testament without encountering this reality.
There is certainly at work and at play nowadays a tendency to pooh-pooh evil and certainly the idea of personified evil in the form of the devil – we like to feel we have grown out of this, deliverance from evil and the demonic realm is considered extreme or unscientific, and those suffering from such torment are directed towards medical intervention or psychiatry. The idea of being prayed over to be liberated from the clutches of demons or evil isn’t embraced or accepted today. This is despite the Scriptures bearing eloquent witness to the reality and power of evil over us, despite the testimony of the saints. St. John Vianney wrestled with ‘the Grappin’ (as he called the devil) so violently that his bed would shake. St Ignatius of Loyola taught that the gift of discernment within the movement of God’s Spirit and without the influence upon us of evil spirits.
Pope Francis himself has invited fierce criticism for his bold and unambiguous teaching about the reality of the devil and demons. In so doing, he is following in the footsteps of Pope Paul VI, who famously said that ‘the smoke of Satan’ had entered the temple of God and that one of the major needs of the Church was to ‘defend ourselves from that evil that we call the devil.’
Every time we pray the ‘Our Father’ we humbly ask that we be delivered from evil. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reinforces this teaching: ‘In this petition, evil is not an abstraction, but refers to a person, Satan, the Evil One, the angel who opposed God. The devil (dia-bolis) is the one who ‘”throws himself across” God’s plan and his work of salvation accomplished in Christ’. (para 2851)
FR. JOHN’S EDITORIAL FOURTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR. 27/28 JANUARY 2018
Dear Friends in Christ,
On behalf of our Stewards of the Gospel, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of the parishioners who attended the Parish Consultation Group Meeting last Wednesday, there were a good number of parishioners, and to receive your input will be extremely beneficial when we have to make our report to the diocese with regards the proposals and changes that will take place at parish and diocesan levels! One cannot become complacent about our parish structures and provisions, that’s why the diocese is seriously looking at all aspects of parish and diocesan life. In truth, the reality is, that there are far fewer priests than there were 25 years ago. Most priests are on their own in parishes, this also applies to parishes that would have had three and four priests in the past, our own included. Many priests have other functions and ministries in the diocese on top of their parochial duties, and the proposals to link two and three parishes within the next ten years are going to affect every community!
On a positive note, I feel that this is a wonderful opportunity for the gifts and talents of all our parishioners to come to the forefront. The greatest asset to every parish community is the people. Your giftedness, your good will, your kindness and generosity, are the building blocks of a great parish. I have been here 16 years, and have been extremely happy to have worked with so many wonderful people. The future is exciting; it gives us an opportunity to explore new methods of parochial ministry, with the training of Catechists, and other people who can assume various apostolates and ministries throughout the parish. My philosophy as a priest of nearly 37 years has always been to enable and encourage all of our parishioners to assume their rightful place within the life of faith and the Church. And to this end it is incredible to witness wonderful growth and strength within the parish community.
Each one of you has something incredible to offer to God and the Church! If you feel that you would like to be involved, perhaps as a member of our newly constituted Parish Council, please see Leona Foster or myself. There are many other groups in the parish that you can be involved in, there is something for everyone. Also we will be starting some new groups, Bible Study, Apologetics Course, Series of talks, etc. Anything that can help in the mission of Evangelisation – proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ – can only be a good thing! When you know and understand about your faith it helps our commitment! Let us pray daily for our Parish!
May God Bless You All. Rev Canon John J Harvey
WEEKLY PARISH NEWS; FOUTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR 27/28 JANUARY 2018
FIRST HOLY COMMUNION PROGRAMME 2015/2016: The children will meet on Sunday 28th January 2018 in the Parish Hall. The next Parents’ Meeting will be on Wednesday 31st January 2018 at 8.00pm, Sacrament of Reconciliation. Dr Paul Doherty OBE will be giving the talk to the parents. The Parents’ Meetings are not optional! Some of the children are not turning up for their classes, and are visibly absent from Holy Mass. This is extremely serious, and needs to be addressed. If you have difficulty in attending the classes could the parents kindly contact Fr John immediately! Please pray for all our children and their families as they continue in their preparation for the Sacraments.
NEXT CONFIRMATION SESSION: Will take place on Wednesday 7th February at 7.30pm. Our guest speaker this month will be Dr. Paul Doherty OBE, Head teacher at Trinity Catholic High School. Theme: Being a Catholic – It’s hard, but it’s worth it! Our young people’s preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation has been enhanced and enriched by our wonderful guest speakers and also the work of our Catechists. As we changed the format of the Programme this year, we have been extremely happy with the very positive response from our young people, and their families. Just a little reminder to our Candidates, please ensure that you’ve thought carefully about a Confirmation name and also a sponsor.
JOURNEY OF FAITH PROGRAMME 2016/2017: will continue on Thursday 1st February at 8.00pm in the Parish Retreat. Theme: Escahtology – The four last things! Please pray for our 2 enquirers at this time. It is hoped that they will continue through to the celebration and reception of the Easter Sacraments in 2018. If anyone is interested in the Roman Catholic Faith please contact Fr. John at the Presbytery Tel No: 020 8508 3492
PARISH COUNCIL MEETING: Just a reminder to our Parish Councillors that there will be a Parish Council Meeting on Monday 29th January at 8.00pm in the Parish Retreat. We will be reviewing the ‘Stewards of the Gospel’ initiative.
YOUR CRIB OFFERINGS Will go to the work of the Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society. This wonderful Diocesan organisation does not receive government funding so is heavily dependent upon all charitable diocesan contributions. You have always been very generous with offerings in the past. The Crib will remain in our two churches until the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on the 2nd February.
PONTIFICAL NORTH AMERICAN COLLEGE: Over the next two weeks there will be about 10 Seminarians from the PNAC visiting. They have just completed their end of semester examinations, and now have break in-between semesters. Please extend them your usual welcome! Once again if anyone could help me out with some deserts over this period I’d be really grateful. The first arrivals are next weekend, and the following week a further group arrive. Thanking you in anticipation for your help!
VOLUNTEERS FOR PLAYGROUP: Parents, Grandparents, Carers, members of the parish. We are in urgent need of more volunteers to help at our Parent & Toddler group which meets every Thursday morning term-time 9.45am – 11.30am in the Church Hall. This is a really lovely friendly group which is invaluable to the young children of our parish. If you can help in any way please get in touch. We appreciate that volunteers cannot be there every week. You can pop into the Parish Hall one Thursday to register or e.mail Andy on firstname.lastname@example.org