With effect from 1stSeptember the Parish Office opening hours will beTuesday to Friday 9am -1pm
Dear Brothers and Sisters
Just before I went on retreat the report from IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) was published looking at sexual abuse cases at two English schools run by Benedictines of the English Congregation – Downside and Ampleforth. This report makes for difficult reading coming, as it does, hard on the heels of the scandal of the Chilean and Australian bishops ignoring of reports of child abuse by clergy and religious brothers, the conviction of the Bishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, for concealing child abuse and a devastating report in Pennsylvania into systemic and widespread abuse of minors by over 300 clergy. We are familiar with the scandal of the Boston archdiocese too brought to light by the Boston Globe and featured in the film “Spotlight”. We are all too familiar with the scandals that have hit the Church here in England over the last twenty years or so as well. And you and I could be forgiven for wondering where, or if, it will ever end.
Many have decided that our church is not fit for purpose any longer and have walked away – some to other Christian communities but a large number to nothing and nowhere. It is hugely distressing for those of us who remain and find ourselves struggling to make sense of it all and asking ourselves what we should do.
Last week’s Gospel reading was also hard-hitting and hard to hear. On hearing Jesus’ words about “eating and drinking His flesh and blood” many of his followers decided that this was “intolerable” and left him. It was, as we know extremely difficult language for Jewish people to accept, and Jesus turned to Peter and those who were still with him and asked “What about you? Are you going to go away too?” Peter’s answer isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of things as they stand. ‘To whom would we go” sounds like a person who wouldgo, who wouldleave, if onlyhe felt there was something better to go to. Except he can’t think of it right now. But Peter’s next words also reveal the challenge that he faces, and which we too face – “You have the message of eternal life”. So in essence he is saying ‘I would go but I don’t know where to and in any case you are the one, I believe, who brings this “something” that I’m not sure I can find elsewhere’.
I guess that for many of us, thinking about the scandals facing the Church and the clergy, and reflecting upon the fact that these are scandals largely committed by the clergy against the lay faithful, we too could be forgiven for only staying because there is in fact nowhere else to go. And somehow we also believe that despite the Church’s brokenness, somehow it does have the “message of eternal life” – even if a somewhat tarnished version of it. We have been brought up to think of the Church as “Holy” as well as Catholic and Apostolic. At times like these it is hard to think of her as “holy” and it can be also very hard to identify with her as one of her members when the news is so unrelentingly bad.
Of course the difficulties don’t begin and end with the abuse scandals that the Church is facing. There are other contemporary issues that we face of, for example, the role of women in the church where we appear to lag behind secular society where the voice, leadership, expertise and skill of women is increasingly accepted and encouraged. Pope Francis has called for an end to “clericalism” and many are joining in this call too. This is a complex area because clericalism isn’t just how the clergy wield their authority and power but also how power and authority is understood in the first place. So we need to see that power, authority and responsibility are shared between clergy and the lay faithful in a far more creative and empowering way – but this seems to be something that is taking ages and ages without much progress. It’s not really about whether women are in positions of responsibility as such, more about how power and authority are wielded by a predominantly male order within the Church.
Another thing the Church needs to look at is what secular society can teach and share with it rather than the other way round. For too long the Church has acted as if the traffic was all one-way. It is, after all, secular society that first condemned the Church for the cover ups, the self monitoring and excusing of abusers; the protection of the “good name” of the Church by silencing the very people who are the victims here, and also for downplaying, or failing to recognise sufficiently the long term mental, physical and spiritual harm done to the abused by abuse from within an organisation that people understood and trusted to be the protector of the marginalised and the weak.
As a priest I too ask myself what to do. I, of course, realise as perhaps you do too that the vast majority of priests, deacons and religious are hard working, devoted and entirely trustworthy people who love their people dearly and devote their lives to their well being and salvation. But I have to acknowledge that the task of persuading the young to remain, or become a part of our flawed Church, and to take a decisive role in her life is becoming harder and harder. There are the issues raised by science and sociology that question the very basis of the teaching of the Church. There are the “difficult’ teachings of the Church around human sexuality and reproduction that young people, with their preference for independent choices and thinking, find hard to accept. There are the issues around “what the church is for”, “what faith does” that are hard for our young people to see. And on top of this is unrelentingly bad news.
The thing is that the essential message remains clear and constant and, in fact, there is no human institution anywhere that is perfect. Everything is flawed – the awakening for some people is that this should be also true of the Church which for too long has been seen as a sort of “perfect society” – why? Because divine. Yet, like the Word of God in scripture the Church is not only divine but terribly human – subject to the weakness of false ideas and hopes of each successive generation. It is divine because at the heart of the message and life of the Church is Christ but it is also flawed because people like you and me are its members.
This can help us to see that the Church and I are always in need of repentance and renewal. Repentance which in our tradition means “turning back to God” and renewal which means letting go of flawed, out of date and unhelpful models of Church which do not serve our day well. Pope Francis has spent the larger part of his Pontificate attempting to do exactly that.
At the heart of each of us though, myself included, has to be a decision based on faith, not so much in the Church, but on a personal faith in the person of Jesus who is the Lord of my life and who strengthens me each day, and who is beside me each day to heal me and give me life. Quite literally then, we may only be able to say with St Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” as a kind of makeshift, tentative, commitment to sticking with it and making the best of it because we feel that in the Church we can find the grace of the sacraments to heal us, forgive us and strengthen us and we also know that there is so much to be done to bring that grace to the world. Perhaps the best way of countering the disillusionment is to become more deeply involved in practical ways in serving, if you like, the Gospel even if we cannot serve the Church as she is.
Please join me in praying for the life of the Church; for renewal and repentance from the top to the bottom and for a change for the better.
With my love and best wishes Fr David
How Holy this Feast
How holy this feast in which Christ is our food: his passion is recalled, His grace fills our hearts, and we receive a pledge of the glory to come.
Next week Catholics from around the country will be gathering in Liverpool to celebrate the Eucharistic Congress. This is the first such congress for over a hundred years and some of our own parishioners have made their way to Liverpool to be a part of the events. We can join them spiritually by participating in some devotions here in our parish that are aimed at deepening our appreciation of the Eucharist which lies at the heart of our life as Catholics. On this page are a few snippets (only) of what the Eucharist means in the life of the Church. You might use these words and thoughts to prepare yourself for Mass and for the extra devotions we will have over the next weekend.
Events we have planned:
- Friday after Mass – Holy Hour with Meditation on the Eucharist – Mass 10am. Holy Hour – 10.30 – 11.30am
Confessions throughout Holy Hour
- Saturday after Mass – Holy Hour with Meditation on the Eucharist – Mass 10am. Holy Hour – 10.30 – 11.30am
Confessions throughout Holy Hour
- Sunday at 5pm – – Holy Hour with Meditation on the Eucharist and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
In the Liturgy we are called to respond both individually and corporately, as the Body of Christ. When we say ‘Amen’ as we receive Communion it is both a statement of personal faith and (literally) an act of Communion, communion with the whole Church. In a similar way prayer before the Blessed Sacrament is personal prayer and prayer with the Church. More than that the gift of this prayer is to help us participate in Mass more deeply, to be more deeply in communion.
From the Encyclical of Pope Francis Evangelii Gaudium
The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door. There are other doors that should not be closed either. Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself ‘the door’: baptism. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems. 
- Think about the various aspects of parish life you are involved in and what you would want to pray for each.
- Think of people at Sunday Mass who you only know by sight or slightly; how do they reveal Christ’s presence to you?
Think about those in your circle of family, friends and acquaintances and what you hope for them
Prayerfrom the Didache
We thank you, Father, for the holy vine of David, your servant, which you have revealed through Jesus, your Son. Praise to you now and evermore!
We thank you, Father, for the life and the knowledge that you have revealed through Jesus, your Son.
Praise to you now and evermore!
Just as this bread that we break was once distributed on a hillside and its fragments gathered so as not to lose any, so let your Church be gathered from the farthest parts of the earth into your Kingdom.
Praise to you now and evermore!
Because yours are the glory and the power forever. Praise to you now and evermore!
We thank you, holy Father, for your holy name that dwells in our hearts. Praise to you now and evermore!
For the knowledge, the faith, and the immortality that you have revealed to us through Jesus, your Son. Praise to you now and evermore!
It is you, all-powerful Master, who created the universe in praise of your name.
Praise to you now and evermore!
You give food and drink to the children of men; but to us you give the grace of a spiritual food, of a drink for eternal life through Jesus, your Son.
Praise to you now and evermore!
Above all, we thank you for your power.
Praise to you now and evermore!
Remember, Lord, your Church, to deliver it from every evil, and to make it perfect in your love.
Praise to you now and evermore!
Gather together from the four winds this sanctified Church into the kingdom that you have prepared. Praise to you now and evermore!
Come, Lord, and let this world pass! —Amen. Hosanna to the house of David! —Amen.
Let him who is holy come! —Amen.
Let him who is not, repent! —Amen.
Maranatha (Come, Lord)! —Amen.
We have decided to change the format of the weekly newsletter with effect from October. On the first weekend of October we will publish a bumper newsletter full of information for the coming month which will be relevant all month. At the Masses we will publish a one-page newsletter of Mass information. The weekly e-newsletter will continue. We ask that if you have events or notices that you would like advertised that you send these to the office in plenty of time for the first bumper newsletter of the month.
Inclusion Festival Arundel & Brighton– Everyone is welcome!
If you have not yet registered for ifab there is still time to do so! Come and join us at St Wilfrid’s School, RH11 8PG, Crawley on Sunday 16th September from 11am onwards to celebrate the value of each person and the diversity in our diocese. There are workshops in the morning and the day will conclude with Bishop Richard celebrating Mass with everyone at 14.30. Don’t forget to bring your picnic.
Day with Mary on September 15th, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. This Apostolate encourages devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. The event will include Mass and two talks with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and processions and recitation of the Rosary. Fr John Seddon OSB will be the main Celebrant. 10.00 am -4.30 pm. Please bring a packed lunch. Tea and Coffee is provided. An extensive selection of devotional items will be on sale. Fr John Seddon OSB
Fr David Conway at the Barpello Mission sent me this message about a project he had started to help the community in a remote part of his Mission area.
“The people of Nasorot, Naudo, Nadome and Akwichatis have no water resource. Women walk for up to 20Kms daily to secure enough water for Bathing, Cooking etc. We opted to construct a water pan, as it is known that a borehole may be salty. We had not planned for this cost, that is why we are asking for any contribution.”
The total cost of the project amounts to some five and a half million Kenyan Shillings (over £42,000). The pan will provide water for domestic purposes, for livestock and with any surplus for kitchen gardens. The estimated number of livestock in the area to be served by the water pan is 8,000 sheep and goats; 2,000 cattle; 600 camels and 2,000 donkeys. Fr Conway has secured a grant of Euros 40,000 from an Irish charity, has promised to find Ksh 330,000 from local contributions, but still needed some £6,000 for the project to proceed. I circulated news of the project to members of the Pound a Week Group whose email addresses I have and I am delighted to tell you that we now have donations for the full £6,000. I shall be sending the money, along with other donations to Fr Conway early next month. From Eugene McGivern
Missio Red BoxesITheteam of parish promoters would like to collect the monies from the Red Boxes during September. Most box holders should be contacted by their promoter direct but if you are not, could you leave your box in the Sacristy at Bramley or Cranleigh. Please ensure your name is on the bottom of your box for identification. Many thanks for your support. Fran Pickett. Tel. 01483 276614 Email email@example.com”
Hi, My name is Amelia Schumacher and I am a former pupil at St Cuthbert Maybe and I am currently in Year 13 at St Peters. I am a reliable and responsible 17 year old available for babysitting. Call or text me on 07582 288824.
You are invited to a community tea party with tea sandwiches and cake on Saturday 1stSeptember from 3-5pm at St Nicolas Church Rooms, Church Lane, Cranleigh. Entertainment by Emilee Lucia. RSVP to 01483 274376. Lifts can be arranged and everyone is welcome.
ADORE (Alton Day Of REnewal) – Saturday 22nd September 11.00-4.00
You are warmly welcome to a mini-retreat day (or morning/afternoon) of spiritual refreshment and renewal, focussing on Renewal and Mission. At Alton School, Anstey Lane, Alton GU34 2NG. 11.00am Rosary; 11.30am Mass; 12.15 Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; 1.00pm Shared lunch (please bring finger food to share); 2.00pm Praise & Worship; 2.30 Talk “New sight for the blind – Mission and healing.” – Pauline Edwards and Fr Laurence Brassill of Little Way Healing Ministries; 3.30 Prayer for healing. We end about 4pm.
There is no need to register in advance, and no charge (though a collection will be taken to cover costs). For more information and directions, see poster or website: www.altonrenewal.com Or telephone Alastair Emblem on 01252 714809. Following month’s meeting: 27th October. “The Spirit has sent me” – Fr John Seddon
St Augustine’s Abbey, Chilworth, Learn about Catholicism
THE BENEDICTINE MONKS of St Augustine’s Abbey, Chilworth warmly invite anyone interested to a presentation on ‘Catholicism – a journey to the heart of the faith’,by the acclaimed author and speaker Bishop Barron. One of the ten episodes of the series will be shown consecutively over a period of ten months, beginning on Saturday 22 September 2018, then 20 October, 24 November and 15 December. Dates for January onwards will be publicised depending on demand.
These Chilworth Abbey Study Days will be given by Benedictine monk Fr John Seddon OSB, who will contextualise each episode and then teach about the episode’s subject matter after lunch.
The day begins with Mass at 9am, followed by coffee. A brief introduction will precede the showing of the film. Questions will follow, then Midday prayer and lunch. Episode 1 deals with God’s incarnation in Jesus Christ. After lunch there will be teaching to clarify further the film’s theme. The Day concludes at 4 pm. Come to part, or all of the day, as it suits you. Bring a packed lunch and a friend. Tea and coffee is provided. Free to attend, no need to book. Find out more at http://www.chilworthbenedictines.com/ St Augustine’s Abbey, Sample Oak Lane, Chilworth, Guildford, Surrey GU4 8QR
Apostleship of the Sea invites you to a Mass in honour of our patron Stella Maris, Our Lady Star of the Sea.Come pray for the work of Apostleship of the Sea and for seafarers on Wednesday, September 12th, at 11am, in Arundel Cathedral, London Road, Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 9AY. Monsignor B Richard Madders will celebrate Mass, followed by a reception. All invited. Please RSVP by email firstname.lastname@example.org