Dear Brothers and Sisters
Two subtle enemies of holiness! – so says Pope Francis
I asked you last week to read the latest Papal document “Rejoice and be Glad” and I’m aware that many people are struggling with the second chapter. It is an important chapter so it is necessary to try and get the most out of it – but it isn’t so important that, in failing to fully understand it, you should be put off reading the rest of the document which is full of very sound advice from a spiritual and pastoral master.
However, I thought I’d just give a little space to trying to unpick what the Pope means in his writing. There is a chance I could make it more opaque but I hope not.
The two false paths that Francis writes about are Gnosticismand Pelagianism. Pope Francis deals with them in that order and so I will too.
Gnosticism is to do with ‘Knowledge’ and, specifically, with what having a certain kind ofintellectualknowledge does for one. To have theKnowledge is to be a kind of Illuminati – an Enlightened One – who holds a secret (Latin: occult) knowledge of the things of God. Being a holder of the Knowledge; being Illuminati, an enlightened One; having secret knowledge not understood by everyone or even most people puts the Gnostic in a position of assumed superiority over ‘mere’ mortals. It gives them power to control and direct. It allows them to have airs of superiority over those whose understanding of God is more, shall we say, practical, first hand, un-explained and inexplicable because knowledge is power. If you are a woman and have ever gone to get your car fixed in a garage and had that condescending ‘look’ or gone into a Hi-Fi shop to be met with a pitying curl of the lip for “just not getting it” then you will understand how the Gnostic tends to view those uninitiated into the Knowledge. Gnosticism tends to be a spirituality of the head, intellect, mind and has a low view of the body or what we sometimes call the ‘incarnational.’
Pelagius was a monk (c. AD 360 – 418) and a theologian of British origin who advocated free will and asceticism. Nothing too terrible sounding there except that this teaching moved on to a more unsecure footing by suggesting that we can earn our salvation by personal effort. It could be said that this is a theology of ‘ought, should, and must.’ I ought to say my prayers better if I want to get to heaven. I should go to mass every day if I want to be really holy. I must be kind to people I don’t like in order to win God’s approval. I should go without this, or that, if I want to be seen as holy and prayerful. And so on.
What Pelagianism forgets about is grace. Grace is an undeserved gift from God precisely to make us holy and it does this by gradually helping to overcome our shortcomings and lack of faith, or love, or mercy, or whatever, by prompting us, strengthening us, guiding us, and shooing us in the right direction. When we co-operate with grace we begin the process of becoming holy as God wants us to be holy – not as I have defined ‘holiness.’ Last week I spoke of the need for gratitude as a principal of attitude. Gratitude is what opens the door of grace and lets God in. I may have failed to be as holy as I wished I were but grace will get me there in the end, if I let it.
God bless and be excellent to each other. Fr David
Great news. A member of the Pound a Week Group has most generously made a donation of £7,000 to cover the full cost of furnishing the new nursery classroom and building the school store at the Rotu Mission. Here is Fr Sean’s report:
Good afternoon Eugene,
The Pound a Week Group comes up trumps for the umpteenth time. Once again the generosity of members of the Group continues to amaze me. To your good parishioner who made the donation, my kindest greetings and most sincere thanks.
I am sending you a photo of the finished classroom. Still a few small jobs to finish inside but it looks rather smart from the outside.
There were 38 children in class this morning in the first classroom at the nursery.
In my last email,I promised to write more at length later. ‘ Later’ has stretched out a bit longer then I had intended due to the demands of the mission. Never a dull moment.
I have had a bit of bad luck. In brief, my Assistant Priest, a young man from Malawi, drove our very valuable land cruiser down a very steep incline. It overturned at least once maybe more and came to a sudden stop against a sturdy tree some 20 metres down. It took 4 days of difficult and dangerous work to get it out. Fortunately the engine was ok and the drive shaft, but the body suffered multiple serious bangs. The next saga was getting it to Nakuru to the garage. At last it’s there and the insurance are looking at an assessment. The garage estimates about 2 months to get it back on the road, if it’s not written off. From the accident to the garage it took 2 weeks hard labour. But fortunately Father Patrick was not injured and he had no passengers.
On the 13th of this month I have the official Visitation from our general administration in Rome. They will be in Rotu for 3 days. Then I must go to Nairobi for a general meeting with them on 26th. On 2nd July I am due to go to Ireland for 4 weeks. Before that I have several jobs to tidy up. I am making concrete blocks now for the new storeroom at the school. They take 28 days to cure so all will be ready for use when I get back to Rotu by the 1st of August.
The further saga of our medical programme I will relate later.
God bless for now. And again a thousand thanks to everyone in the Pound a Week Group for your continuing and most generous support.
I have circulated Fr Sean’s photos to those members of the Group who gave me their email addresses. If you would like to see them, please let me know. In the next transfer to Fr Sean I shall include an additional £1,000 from the funds I have on hand from the weekly donations.
Eugene McGivern at email@example.com
The Parish Picnicis planned for Sunday 8th July at the beautiful gardens of Trish and Peter Lebus in Shere.
Suggested arrival by 10.30am with Mass at 11am and a picnic to follow. Please bring enough food for your family and something to share. Best cake will be judged in time for dessert.
The Address is Vachery Hook Lane, Shere, GU5 9QQ
There is lots of parking and everyone is welcome to enjoy a shared picnic.
The Next care group meeting will be on Friday 15th June at 11am in the Parish room
Please feel free to join the festivities of the St Cuthbert Mayne Summer Fair on Sunday 10thJune. There is food, drink, games and raffle prizes to enjoy. Everyone is welcome.
Dear Follower up the path!
This is just to say that after 28 years (0ctober 2000) we are changing the time of our monthly Stations of the Cross walk from St Francis Chapel, from 7 am to 8 am……starting as we began on Friday 4th October.
Please would you be so kind as to tell anyone you might know or would like to come, that this will be the revised time and we will certainly continue thus if the timing is popular.
You might be interested to know that never ever has a First Friday of the Month been missed over the years, albeit rain, sun. Or snow ….. Or be the group large or very small!
Thank you so much for your endless and wonderful support, and we look forward to seeing you and anyone you wish to bring, in the future. Please inform your Parish as we are always welcoming new Priests, Vicars or religious to lead us (or indeed yourselves). Please keep in touch! All love and blessings. Peter and Ann Hutley
CAFOD Mass of Thanksgiving for Volunteers and Supporters
Each June as part of volunteers’ week CAFOD holds a mass to thank all our volunteers and supporters for their support. This year the mass for the South East region will be nearby on Saturday 16th June at Our Lady Help of Christians Church, Farnborough, GU14 6JS at 2pm followed by tea/coffee and cakes. There will also be a short talk about our work in Latin America. Everyone is welcome but please let me know if you are able to come so that I have an idea of numbers for the refreshments by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Martin Brown on 01483 898 866.
Gaudete et Exultate
I have ordered fifty copies of Pope Francis’s latest exhortation hoping that you will buy them and, more importantly, read them! The cost £4.95 each – that is about the price of a glass of wine or a pint of beer at the Onslow these days! Read this over a pint and absorb what the Pope is saying about our faith. Be holy as the Lord your God is holy. Read this!
Jane Penson will host an Afternoon Tea Party at 25 Mead Road on Sunday 10thJune from 3pm. Please let Jane have your RSVP if you would like to join this event. Tel 271102 in aid of the Parish Hall.
The coach trip to the English Martyrs Catholic Church in Worthing will take placed on Friday 20thJuly departing Cranleigh around 10am with Mass to be help in the church. The cost of the travel will be £10 per person and we already have 15 interested people.
Numbers will be restricted to 29 maximum. Lunch will be at Harry Ramsdens at the end of the pier and the coach will return in the afternoon.
Sign up sheets are in both porches or email your interest to email@example.com
As I mentioned last weekend at Mass the School, St Cuthbert Mayne, is having work done in the playground to fit hard play equipment to benefit the children’s play experience and learning.
I am asking for teams of stewards to be set up and have a meeting planned for Tuesday the 19th June at 7.30pm. This will be the Parish Meeting Room at Cranleigh.At this time we have not got the stewarding in place to supervise the playground when we use it. This means that I have reluctantly decided that we cannot use the playground for parking.
If you are a user of the car park, and are interested, or willing to be a part of the Stewarding Teams please come along to the meeting. Without the stewards we will not be able to use the playground as a car park and that will mean that we will not be able to welcome people properly to Mass. Please think about this request.
Tannoy 7.4 Loudspeakers!
I have recently won a pair of great speakers as a reward for writing a great letter! They are very good quality but superfluous to my requirements. They are worth about £450 – 500. Very efficient – even a small amplifier will enable them to go loud – but they are not all that wife friendly! If you fancy a pair and are willing to make a sizeable donation to the building fund they’re yours!
The Future of our Parish
Last year you were asked to think about your relationship with your parish and to try to think about what three things are most important to you about your Church. You filled in questionnaires and a few of you came to an evening where we shared the results not only from our parish but from the Deanery as well.
I want to tell you what I have been doing with the information you fed back and how I plan to take it forward so that the Parish can be equipped for the future and build strong relationships between all the people that make up our parish family.
The first thing that is going to happen (and shortly) is that I will be asking some people, some of whom are already helping me, to form a Leadership Team, or a Mission Team. The task of this Team will be to help me come up with a plan, a new vision, if you like, of how our parish should function in the future.
Once we have the Vision in place the Leadership Team, working with me, will then put in place a strategy to develop areas of parish life and engagement to work towards making the Vision “happen.” This will mean asking for, training, encouraging and supporting a wide range of people in a large number of voluntary roles to make the Vision a reality. If you like, the Leadership Team and I will determine the “what” based on your answers to the questionnaire and our pastoral wisdom and then the Leadership Team will invite others to begin the task of making the “what” become the “how.”
The Leadership Team may also be called the Mission Team – I can’t quite decide. Here’s why. I have already written and spoken about this but I will state again that from now on it is not going to be “business as usual.” We have to move out of a maintenance mode into a mission mode of being Church. This should involve everyone in some way but what it definitely does notmean is the same old people doing the same old thing just as we have always done it. From now on, whatever we do has to measured against a new benchmark – how is this event, programme, homily, choice of music, ministry, prayer, or social event orientated towards the parish’s Vision and Mission? If it doesn’t fit then, chances are, it shouldn’t happen and we should do something else instead.
I have spoken many times about volunteering – and it is quite clear from the answers on your questionnaires that you understand very well that it is time for lay people to have a share in the burden of the Parish – and also a share in its decisions and direction. This means that, if we are to avoid just making a parish in our own image, we have to be well informed about what Jesus wants us to be about and doing. He wants disciples who take an interest in their faith and try to live out their faith and share Good News with others. He wants disciples who are on fire with the love of God and who understand the power of their story – and will share this with others. Jesus wants a servant church – a humble church – a loving church – a spiritual church – a praying church – a worshipping church – and yes, a holy Church full of all sorts. He wants you, as the old poster went. and the way he wants you is to be a part of what your parish is doing for Him and with Him and in Him. Watch this space for more news.
|Rota||Vigil Mass||9 – Bramley||11 – Cranleigh|
|Welcomer||R&O Bond||J Golding||Orioha Family|
|1st Reading||I Watts||M Vincent||K Mantle|
|2nd Reading||P Bergin||S Hyde
Gift Aid Tax letters will be available after Mass this weekend for those who require one and have not received an electronic copy. Please see Trish after Mass.