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Year of Faith

The Baptist

His hair was harsh, his rugged voice was shrill,

He loomed across the desert, made us start.

His striding feet were bare, he held no staff,

Despised all human frailty of heart.

He shouted out 'Repent!' We stood transfixed,

Our silence shocked, our hands held open wide.

This monster of the night with sun-worn skin,

His beard unkempt, his face lined, sunken, thin,

A prophet representing all our sin...

We stood there speechless, all indignant pride.

A worthless brood of vipers on the path...

The arrows of grim truth pierce subtle deep...

We struggled to regain our smiling calm,

To bury all within contented sleep.

We halted there, together and alone

Reluctantly attentive to his word.

His eyes now seemed less hard, his hair less red,

The sun now shone more gently on his head

A creature of the living and the dead

He gave us news that only he had heard.

We raised our hands in silent slow consent

To this one man, a stranger, now our guide.

We bared our heads to waters of new life

In this oasis where we once had died.

And there, in trusting hope and rueful awe

We saw the stony paths our feet had trod.

We gazed into the distance, over the hill,

The howling wind was hushed, and all was still,

In heartfelt joy and free triumphant will

We all cried out 'Behold the Lamb of God!'


A quote from Pope Benedict XVI

“All of the faithful, called to renew the gift of faith, should try to communicate their own experience of faith and charity, to their brothers and sisters of other religions, with those who do not believe, and with those who are just indifferent. In this way, it is hoped that the entire Christian people will begin a kind of mission toward those with whom they live and work, knowing that they “have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every person.” 

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 QUESTION BOX

 

As part of our Year of Faith initiative, we put a question box near the CD’s that are on sale.  If there is something that you would like to find out, please fill in a question form which can be found near the Question Box.  From time to time there will be some responses to the frequently asked questions provided and from time to time some of these questions will be answered through the homilies.  Please take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about our Faith.


 


Thursday, 11th October - EXPOSITION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT in our church from 9.30am to 4.30 pm to mark the beginning of the YEAR OF FAITH. 12 noon Angelus and Rosary, Holy hour at 4.30pm followed by benediction and Mass at 6pm.





Prayer Card for THE YEAR OF FAITH

These will be distributed after every mass. It would be wonderful to know that every household is praying this prayer every day either as individuals or as families.

Year of Faith Prayer

Lord, let me see your face,

know your heart

and experience your love in my life.

Strengthen in me

the precious Gift of faith.

I believe Lord;

help my unbelief.

Amen.



St Anthony’s Novena

St Anthony’s Novena starting from 16th October in the Church. The first novena on 16th Oct will be at 6:30pm and thereafter it will be weekly at Tuesday 7pm.

In this 'Year of Faith' 4 SESSIONS OF “FAITH DEVELOPMENT” are being offered to the parents of our Confirmandi. This will take the form of reflection, discussion and prayer based on the 'Catholicism' DVD. We would like to extend an invitation to all parishioners who may be interested in deepening their own faith. The first of these sessions will take place on Sunday, 21st October from 4:00-5:30pm, in the Church.





Catholic Lighthouse Media

A variety of faith- related items are now available to buy. Leaflet 25p, CD £2.50, Book £3, CD & Book £5. Please put the money into the cash box of the display stand.


St. Michael and St. Martin's Sport and Cultural Society (“SCS")

We are pleased to announce the launch of ST MICHAEL AND ST MARTINS SPORTS AND CULTURAL SOCIETY (“SCS"). The aim of this initiative is to encourage sports and cultural activities in our Parish. This will also work very closely under the guidelines of The John Paul II Foundation for Sports. The SCS is open to all parishioners, so if you would like to know more or to get involved, please visit the Parish website or contact Talbert Rose, Romain Fernandes or Vincent J Fernandes.


Two Saints called Theresa

October offers us two female Saints to ask for intercession and to learn from. While they have much in common - Carmelite Sisters, Doctors of the Church, authors of influential works - how different they can seem from one another!


Theresa of Avila,

came from an aristocratic Spanish family. Born in the 16th century, she would have been the first to describe her youth as ‘worldly’:


well-educated and strong-minded she was addicted to reading exciting romances, following fashion and wearing exotic perfume. All changed after a serious illness, a time spent reading St. Jerome’s letters. She entered religious life at the age of twenty. Over three hundred years later,

 

 

Theresa of Lisieux,

born into a more humble and more overtly devout French family, joined her birth sisters in religious life. She tried - and generally succeeded - to carry out each and every element of the Carmelite regime that her predecessor Theresa of Avila had so stringently reformed.

Perhaps the most important lesson that these two extraordinary women can teach us concerns prayer. No method is superior to another because what God wants is ‘a humble and contrite heart’. The Spanish Theresa stresses in her writings the existence of different levels of prayer. Some people might be shocked, others reassured, that the French Theresa disliked the Rosary and often fell asleep during Community prayer - yet what a model of simple prayer she is for so many of us. This makes her so real and endearing - as does the other Theresa’s comment to God, when caught in a horrendous thunderstorm: “If that’s how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few!”

Both Theresa show us that one can pray to God through mundane and tedious tasks - like sweeping up and washing up. We can talk simply to Him and stay simply close to Him by observing the principles He gives to us in the Scripture - and loving Him.

- Compiled by a Parishioner


St Michael - ‘Who can be like God?’

Understandably, St Michael is a great favourite for many people, particularly in our parish! He is a dramatic figure and it is interesting to know that not only Christians but Jews and Muslims recognise him as Commander-in-Chief in the war against the Devil.


Although he plays an important part in the Book of Daniel, where he is ‘the great prince who mounts guard over your people’, we are most probably familiar with him through the Book of Revelation, where John sees war breaking out in heaven and victory accomplished by Michael and his angels. The other Biblical text that draws attention to Michael, however, is perhaps less familiar to us but offers an important lesson: St Jude’s Epistle tells us that even when he argued with the Devil, Michael did not abuse his opponent himself, saying ‘May the Lord rebuke you.’


Michael, the great champion, is a model for us: he knows his place as God’s Servant. His very name means ‘Who can be like God?”, a challenge to us to try to imitate God’s goodness- as shown to us by Jesus-but to remember who created us and all beings. While we know Michael as the warrior saint- the prayer that many of us know and use comes to us from Pope Leo XIII who had a vision of Michael victorious over the horrors of hell-, when Christians first appealed to him to help them it was as patron of the sick; later he became popular as the patron of cemeteries.


Today Michael is patron saint to many. Besides the sick and the dying he guards radiologists, paratrooper, policemen and bankers. He is also patron saint of grocers-because he is often depicted with scales – helping God to weigh souls.

 St Michael, pray for us.


St Martin,

Co-patron of our parish, St Martin is well known all over Europe, where countless parish churches and hundreds of villages are dedicated to him. He lived in the fourth century and became one of the most popular saints in the Middle Ages. Many miracles were attributed to his intercession (both before and after his death) and his Life, by his friend Sulpicius Severus, was one of the most read books!

Martin was born into a pagan family and followed his father into the Roman army. However, he wished to become a Christian from an early age and came to believe that being a Roman soldier was incompatible with being a follower of Christ. After leaving the army he was baptised by St Hilary of Poitiers, became a solitary monk and continued to practise that lifestyle after becoming Bishop of Tours in 372.


The story of Martin sharing his cloak is well known and depicted in many works of art. We may wonder why he gave only half of his cloak. The practical answer is 'common sense'. Northern France, where the incident occurred, can be extremely cold. The beggar was virtually naked but Martin still had to travel and he needed some outer covering. However, Martin shared far more than his cloak. It might have been easier to surrender the garment, clothing the beggar, and then ride away. The halving of the cloak made the beggar and Martin equals, the former richer, the latter poorer. The beggar had been the object of mockery; Martin most probably was treated with derision on his return to base. Being able to conceal his nakedness and vulnerability the beggar became 'decent', decent meaning 'fit for society'; Martin made himself 'indecent’ in no longer being fully dressed as a Roman soldier. The cloak was not only a practical garment. The better the cloak the more prestigious a person you were reckoned to be.

Martin's act of charity was unquestionably courageous and Pope Benedict concludes his encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) by offering Martin as someone 'almost like an icon, illustrating the irreplaceable value of the individual testimony to charity'.

 

 



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