St James the Great R.C. Church Peckham Rye , 45 Elm Grove London, SE15 5DD UK
Published on 27 January 2023
NEWSLETTER Mon 30th January - Sun 5th February 2023.pdf
In today’s Gospel we hear how the crowds came from different parts of Israel to listen to Christ’s teaching. They were excited and eager to see Jesus. Isaiah says “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near”. Jesus taught them the meaning of happiness which enabled them to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, the sermon of the mount requests us to identify our gifts and use them in an appropriate way to lead a happy life which then leads to Paradise. Are you gentle? Are you merciful? Are you a peacemaker? Are you honest? Are you ready to be persecuted for the sake of the Gospel? Who are we today? We are Christ’s soldiers who are called to lead our faith and defend it. May Almighty God grant us His Grace in the coming week! Amen.
Published on 20 January 2023
NEWSLETTER Mon 23rd January - Sun 29th January 2023.pdf
Jesus started His public ministry by proclaiming “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand”. This profound message started ringing in the hearts of the people and they began looking for God’s forgiveness and mercy. This key announcement of Jesus demonstrates the prophecy of Isaiah “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light” Jesus is the light of the world, his mission is reinstate God’s Kingdom among us, which was distorted by human disobedience of God’s commandments. He enabled each one of us to see the true light out of His infinite love for us. He gave us the freedom to walk through this everlasting light. Now, it’s high time for all believers to let God guide and lead us. When the light of Christ shines within us we shall clearly see the presence of God’s Kingdom in our midst. In today’s Gospel, while Jesus was preaching by the sea of Galilee he called His first four disciples. They were astonished by his words, they had never heard such powerful preaching, afterwards they left everything and followed him. They recognised their master’s voice. Let us drop our vested interests and engage and labour for the kingdom of God, He will reward us.
Published on 13 January 2023
NEWSLETTER Mon 16th January - Sun 22nd January 2023 (1).pdf
Last week we heard we are beloved sons and daughters. Do I really hear it. John today declared openly that Jesus baptised with the Holy Spirit. He is the one who gives us the extra dimensions to our life. The one who empowers us. The one who helps us, yes to engage,
After 50 years in the priesthood, where I often blamed myself for the failures of the parish, I now think there is a very different dynamic at work. Or should I say not at work. Many of us do not want to engage. Still very much on the personal salvation route. Please consider do you engage with fellow parishioners, fellow brothers and sisters here in St James. We are all on this journey together and if we travel together, it is so much more enjoyable.
Published on 13 January 2023
NEWSLETTER Mon 16th January - Sun 22nd January 2023.pdf
Published on 06 January 2023
NEWSLETTER Mon 9th January - Sun 16th January 2023.pdf
People of my generation and younger will have the memory of the church as a hierarchical institution. Pope at the top then cardinals, bishops, priests and people. Very much like a school head, deputy head, heads of year teachers assistant teachers and pupils. But remember the most important people in the school are the children as in the church the people. This is the great shift to see the church as the PEOPLE OF GOD. All on a level playing field, pope, bishops and people with Christ as the centre, certainly not the priest as we often think in our parishes. "What does father say?" My sacrament is a sacrament of ORDERS. Special orders within the people of God. Through Baptism we are all equal. All in need of redemption with Christ as the only Bridge Builder between heaven and earth. So when people ask me, “am on my own in Peckham?" I usually reply, "Yes and a thousand people." Not forgetting that we are baptised with water and THE HOLY SPIRIT. The one who empowers us to be an active and living church, changing the face of society.
Published on 30 December 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 2nd January - Sun 8th January 2023.pdf
POPE FRANCIS a few thoughts.
Published on 23 December 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 26th December- Sun 1st January 2023.pdf
The incarnation, God becoming man is an amazing thought. Why would God want to join us here on earth? Are we so fantastic? Yes, we are. God wanted to bridge the gap between earth and heaven, He did not want to remain apart. The greatest thing we can learn from it is the importance of us becoming one as a people. Sharing our joys and sorrows, supporting each other, don't suffer alone. Talk to someone and feel connected and hopefully supported. Look for what unites us, what we share in common. Don't look for the divisions, the differences. We are God's chosen people, he loves and we should love one another. A sincere thanks to all the people who helped this parish through the last year. Much goes on behind the scenes by many faithful, dedicated workers. Feel appreciated, you certainly make my job less stressful. You make this parish go round and spread the love of God. Long may it live, make sure you are on board in the coming year. Happy Christmas and a Holy New Year to one and all.
Published on 16 December 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 19th December- Sun 25th December 2022.pdf
Many people want more information about their faith and about Jesus. Then they will go out and preach??????? The idea is not bad but.............Many people collect memorabilia about their heroes. And a few are willing to pay the price to emulate and follow them. Many kids will sweat their hearts out, and break their parents hearts in the process. Trying to emulate Mbappe (French) or Messi (Argentinian) and be in World Cups of the future. And when they don't make it there will be tears like you know who (sorry.) Olu in our shop sells a lot of memorabilia about Jesus and saints. Sometimes it worries me because Jesus does not want admirers he wants followers not collectors of memorabilia. Like the kid who is prepared to sweat his /her guts out to be like their hero. And when he/she fails they cry. Don't see too many Christians crying because of the failure of the Gospel or dare I say our failure. Conceive of Christ in your hearts and he will become a reality in your life this Christmas.
Published on 08 December 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 12th December- Sun 18th December 2022.pdf
Reading the prophet Isaiah, you can't but feel a great sense of joy. The optimism and the looking forward to someone coming. Someone who will bring great joy and freedom to the hearts of people. Do you feel that joy in your life right now? Do you experience anything, like the anticipation of a woman waiting for her first child to be born. The hope that is in her heart, the anticipation the sharing with her partner. This is their love personified. Living proof that we love each other. Our love on two legs. Yes, I am a romantic at heart. If we can't dream at the birth of a child, when can we dream? "What will this child grow up to be?" (A book could follow on the responsibility to keep that love intact. Sadly, some parents are only capable of giving physical birth.)The need for that child to grow up spiritually as a child of love. A child who was conceived in love, out of love and FOR LOVE.Parents pray with your children everyday so that they may know whom they truly are as your children and as brothers and sisters of the Christ child. Don't forget their search for God is their search for their own identity. Which parents give their children.
Published on 02 December 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 5th December- Sun 11th December 2022.pdf
Worthiness results in being loved not from just achieving. I am wonderful because God is wonderful. Today's readings are full of some powerful words. Check them again integrity, faithfulness, justice, peace, tolerance, produce appropriate fruit. When these virtues are in us people notice and we become the presence of God in our work place, in our schools and in our lives. If they are missing or a bit dormant Advent is a great time to resurrect them again.Tuesday we have a penitential service here in our own church at 7pm. Please use it to appreciate why Jesus came into the world. Then and only then will we be able to say with the mystic Julian of Norwich, "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all shall be well.”
Published on 25 November 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 28th November- Sun 4th December 2022 (2).pdf
We come again to a new year, all the readings starting from today will be from Year 1. In Advent like in Lent the vestments are in purple this is because they are both penitential seasons. Lent is the preparation for the Resurrection and Advent is the preparation for the birth of Jesus. We have a good tradition of doing something special in Lent, we should also do something in Advent. We know Christ is born – he came into history 2,000 years ago. Is he now coming more and more into my life. If Christ is to be born in me, I’ve got to make space in my heart, this means getting rid of any bitterness, jealousy, racism, lack of forgiveness, selfishness and so on. It is said that prayer has two wings – fasting and alms giving. So if our prayer is to be real we have to have fasting and alms giving.
Published on 25 November 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 28th November- Sun 4th December 2022 (1).pdf
Published on 25 November 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 28th November- Sun 4th December 2022.pdf
Published on 18 November 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 21st November- Sun 28th November 2022.pdf
Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. His ultimate desire is to be King of our Hearts. He is not a dictator king but, dare I say a benign king. He cares about each and every one of us and wishes for nothing but our complete good here on earth and there after in heaven. He wants to be king of our hearts. Is Christ present in your life? As Paul says;- "I am patient and kind. Never jealous, arrogant or boastful. Always ready to forgive, rejoicing in the wellbeing of others. I do not take offence and am not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people's sins but rejoices in the truth. Love does not come to an end." How did you do?
Published on 11 November 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 14th November- Sun 20th November 2022 (1).pdf
The end of the church year is fast approaching this Sunday and another Sunday left. A good time to take stock and review our lives. The one great virtue that we as Christians have is HOPE. Here we need to be aware of two pitfalls, DESPAIR, whatever I do will make no difference anyway, or I am useless and don't even trust God. The opposite extreme, PRESUMPTION is equally as bad/wrong. No need for me to do anything, God will take me to heaven anyway, regardless! Don't presume. Jesus says that"The kingdom of God is very near to us." When we are kind, generous, cooperative, compassionate, humble, honest and forgiving. By being this way, we will truly make the Kingdom of God present in our world.People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy. Hence my continual emphasis on reading the scriptures and modelling ourselves on Jesus Christ.
Published on 11 November 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 14th November- Sun 20th November 2022.pdf
The end of the church year is fast approaching this Sunday and another Sunday left. A good time to take stock and review our lives. The one great virtue that we as Christians have is HOPE.. Here we need to be aware of two pitfalls, DESPAIR, whatever I do will make no difference anyway, or I am useless and don't even trust God. The opposite extreme, PRESUMPTION is equally as bad/wrong. No need for me to do anything, God will take me to heaven anyway, regardless! Don't presume. Jesus says that"The kingdom of God is very near to us." When we are kind, generous, cooperative, compassionate, humble, honest and forgiving. By being this way, we will truly make the Kingdom of God present in our world. People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy. Hence my continual emphasis on reading the scriptures and modelling ourselves on Jesus Christ.
Published on 03 November 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 7th November- Sun 13th November 2022.pdf
We have four gospels. All telling the same story but with a slight variation here and there, and that is as it should be. We all probably have slightly different views of Christ but they must be true to the gospels. As Paul says we preach what we know. However, Matthew, Mark and Luke talk very much about all things leading to the end of time, death, judgement, heaven and hell. John by contrast has a very different view. He talks about it all happening in the here and now. "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day. "We have eternal life here and now. We are truly blessed as children of the father, here and now. The Holy Spirit lives in us here and now..... thus we are able to do some good. Without him nothing would be possible. As sons and daughters, we are a living family and should behave as such in the here and now. For John it's all happening in the here and now through the power of the Holy Spirit in us. Enjoy it and practice it.
Published on 28 October 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 31st October - Sun 6th November 2022.pdf
“How many of you read a passage of the Gospe! every day? Keep a small Gospel always at hand. Open it to a random page, read what Jesus says, and experience that Jesus is there! At any time in the day I take the Gospel out of my pocket and read a little something, a short passage. Read the Gospel. We’ve said this before, remember? Read a passage of the Gospel every day. Carry a copy of the Gospel with you, in your pocket, in your handbag – have one at hand, anywhere. And there, reading a passage, we will find Jesus” Whizz kids may wish to use their phones.
Published on 21 October 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 24th October - Sun 30th October 2022.pdf
Just wondering if anyone did any practice on the prayer of last week Y_H_W_H. Did you find it helpful? YAHWEH or put another way, the vowels are silent. I hope so. Helped you to relax, clear your mind, feel good about yourself. That is all good but there is so much more. We are not doing yoga/feel good, important as that may be, we are supposed to be praying, putting ourselves in the presence of God. So we need to get into the mind of God which we find in the scriptures. Proper breathing should help us to focus. And we have the answer in today's readings. Does my prayer make me humble, "The humble person's prayer pierces the clouds." God hears the voice of the poor, God is not a respecter of personage. My prayer must lead me to hear the voice of the poor, otherwise it is not real. Everyone of us baptized is called to be holy, caring for the physical and spiritual needs of people, and sharing that holiness with other people, a spreader of the fire of the Holy Spirit that sets the world ablaze.
Published on 14 October 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 17th October - Sun 23rd October 2022.pdf
In today's gospel Jesus tells us that even the unjust judge gives in to the woman. If he can do it how much more will God help us if we only trust Him. "Pray continually." If you are praying well, continue doing so. However, how do we pray continually? A tall order. But Jesus says it and we must try to understand. In the Hebrew language vowels are not pronounced. So if we take the name of YAHWEH and leave out the vowels what do we get......Y-H W-H. Now pronounce that yh wh. It is synonymous with our breathing, yh wh, yh wh, yh wh. So in our breathing we are continually saying the name of God. For those who do good yoga that is what you are trying to do....get in touch and keep in touch with your breathing. Just repeating the name of God. When you popped out of the womb and the midwife slapped you on the rear end......you gasped and said God. And as you give your last breath, probably with one great gasp and a gurgle you will say yh wh. So we come into the world and leave the world with the name of God on our lips. Wow???? So in between the womb and the tomb we need to be continually in touch with the name of God on our lips. This is why finding quiet time throughout the day to get in touch with our breathing, with yh wh can be very calming and contemplative. And the result is that in between time we have a heightened awareness of yh wh. Praying continually.
Published on 07 October 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 10th October - Sun 16th October 2022.pdf
“Thanks” such a lovely word and we all love to hear it. Pope Francis said three very important words are: please, thanks and sorry. Today we don't see much thanks in the Gospel. Ten were cured, one said thanks. In the life of a Christian we should not be disappointed not to be Thanked. Jesus is not thanked by nine. Jesus says;- "to give without counting the cost." And it is not always easy. Give, give, give?? When last did you thank your mum, your dad, your teacher, your priest, your boss, your employee, Your God? Eucharist means THANKSGIVING. So, we come to mass every week to give God thanks, on our own behalf and on behalf of the world. You may not feel great about it but you know it is the right thing to do.
Published on 30 September 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 3rdOctober - Sun 9th October 2022.pdf
If you told someone 100 years ago that one day a man would walk on the moon, they would probably laugh at you. Could you blame them? If you approach something in life saying it must be done, the chances are it will be done. How many great things have been done because of man's/woman's belief in themselves. I hope you have achieved quite a few things in life yourself, because of your self-belief, did you not surprise yourself. Congratulations. Continue to believe in yourself and you will still do great things. Don't settle for the pile as they say. Now if you are confident that you approach no task alone, how much more will you do? You always have an all-powerful God at your elbow. He even tells us: - "If your faith were the size of a mustard seed, you will do great things. Often, I think when people say they have no faith they are saying one of two things: -Really, I do not believe in myself, suffering from lack of confidence. And so, I cannot move forward. 2. Often people say they doubt, their faith is weak. If you are reading this, your faith is not weak, rather you are looking for certainty.
Published on 23 September 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 26th September - Sun 2nd October 2022.pdf
Our first reading today is from the prophet Amos and is all about the poor. It is the favourite reading of all who care about the poor, Martin Luther King, Helder Camerar, Oscar Romero just to name a few. They were always on the side of the poor. I feel embarrassed myself because of often being aligned with the rich. We all have to find a way to deal with it. As British Rail say, "Mind the Gap." Surely that is the issue. When a few people own more wealth than the whole world put together. Problem is we live in different worlds. We do not understand each other. The rich man is not necessarily a bad man, but he just does not seem to notice. It's mine, I'm entitled to it, I've worked for it, I earned it. And God says it is all gift. We haven't a clue how other people live. And maybe the poor are not any better. They also aspire to be rich, famous, celebrities to be at the top and may often despise people at the bottom. But God sees things very differently and has a different arrangement. The scraps are given to the poor whether it be scraps of food, leftover clothing, or the change in the bottom of my pocket/purse. Pray for enlightenment.
Published on 16 September 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 19th September - Sun 25th September 2022.pdf
The Gospel today is all about stewardship. Am I a good steward with my Time, Talent and Treasure in this parish of St James. If everybody did one job, an hour a month, this parish would be buzzing. Can you afford an hour? Or can you refuse an hour? So:-What are your dreams and desires for your parish?What wonderful initiatives are already taking place?What tangible steps will you take to make your dream a reality?Will you give it that hour a month, or better even a week?
Published on 09 September 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 12th September - Sun 18th September 2022.pdf
"Christians are usually sincere and well-intentioned people until you get to any real issues of ego, control power, money, pleasure, and security. Then they tend to be pretty much like everybody else. We often give a bogus version of the Gospel, some fast-food religion, without any deep transformation of the self; and the result has been the spiritual disaster of "Christian" countries that tend to be as consumer-oriented, proud, warlike, racist, class conscious, and addictive as everybody else-and often more so, I'm afraid.” Richard Rohr
Published on 02 September 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 5th September - Sun 11th September 2022.pdf
The Comboni Missionaries state that they dedicate themselves to the missionary apostolate to the populations that are not yet or not sufficiently evangelized, especially in Africa. They are present in Europe (Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Spain), Africa (Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, Zambia), in the Americas (Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru), and Asia (Philippines, Macao, Taiwan). The Mother House is in Via Luigi Lilio in Rome. At the end of 2008, the congregation had 328 houses with 1,803 religious, 1,296 of whom were priests. Today Fr Mario is here to do an appeal on their behalf. Your generosity is appreciated.
Published on 26 August 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 29th August - Sun 4th September 2022.pdf
The key word of today's readings is humility. If I live in a castle or people put me on a pedestal there is always a great fear I will be toppled. Often as a priest people want to put me on a pedestal. I've always resisted. For some of us life is a drama. And like Shakespeare says, "Do I have to play all the parts." And yes, some of us feel we do. I am the writer, the director and the lead actor. And it is everybody's else's job to make me look good. Let's get it right, God is the writer, (not the controller). So, relax and don't take yourself too seriously. Nobody else does. When we live our lives in relationship with God, we realise our lives are not about us. And that is a very liberating experience. We get rid of the monkey on our back. That Super Inflated EGO of mine which makes life impossible. And like today's gospel, as in a drama, the least likely character is the hero.
Published on 19 August 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 22nd August - Sun 28th August 2022.pdf
Is there anybody who can open the “narrow gate”? If you were making a sign for this gate, could you call it “love”? According to Pope Francis, that is the only thing that opens the gate? Jesus makes it clear that it is not a matter of numbers, that there is no “limited number” in Paradise! Rather, it is a case of taking the right way from now, and this right way is for everyone, but it is narrow. …. He tells us things as they truly are: the doorway is narrow. In what sense? In the sense that, in order to save oneself, one has to love God and neighbour, and this is uncomfortable! It is a “narrow doorway” because it is demanding. Love is always demanding. It requires commitment, indeed, “effort,” that is, a determined and persevering willingness to live according to the Gospel. Saint Paul calls it “the good fight of the faith” (1 Tim 6:12). It takes a daily, all-day effort to love God and neighbour.
Published on 12 August 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 15th August - Sun 21st August 2022.pdf
Today we celebrate Mary been taken up into heaven. For all of us our mother has a special place. And obviously all of us would like our friends to like our mothers. Hence the respect and love we have for the mother of Jesus. I often wonder did Mary have a midwife for the birth of Jesus. I say that because I believe in very many ways, I am a midwife. Apart from the fact that I delivered a baby on the side of the road at two o clock in the morning. You see God is within all of us but sadly many of us are still looking for him outside of ourselves. God is within and I believe all preaching is an attempt to help us all to give birth to that God within. God is there, "I live now, not I but Christ lives in me." Waiting to be born in me so that I really become aware of the Gospel as the Good News. Many people spend a life searching for God not knowing where to find him. He is in our hearts and very apparent when we love, forgive, share, rejoice and so much more. And he is in our midst when we welcome, help, support, forgive and so much more foreach other. My friend Jimmy spent so much time searching for God, worried so much about it and when he died.... God found him. "Don't worry you are worth more than many sparrows, every hair of you head is counted."
Published on 05 August 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 8th August - Sun 14th August 2022.pdf
Knowledge is power. In today's second reading we see Abraham growing in stature/faith. God asked him to go to a foreign land and he set out to a strange country. God told him he would be a father despite Sarah's age. God told him he would be the Father of many nations. Abraham trusted in God and God was being faithful. All seemed to be going well. And then God asked him to kill his only son. Abraham must have been shattered and in obedience proceeded. Perhaps not in obedience but he trusted in God. God had been so good to him, all along He/God would not let him down now. That is the faith we must all grow in. We need a certain knowledge and appreciation to grow in faith. That's why when people say they do not believe in God. I believe they are not rejecting God, but rejecting their childhood notion of God. And rightly so, because the God they believed in as a child is not going to be much good to them as an adult. Sadly, they have never grown in their understanding of the God of Jesus Christ.
Published on 29 July 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 1st August - Sun 7th August 2022.pdf
Hope many of you had a chance for a break of some sort or other, whether in sunny Peckham del Sol, or away from Peckham with family or friends. I just had a very nice break in Ireland while still celebrating my Jubilee. All the family are well. Thank God. Today's readings bring us back to reality with a bump. Look into your own heart and what do you find there? Like the first reading, are you looking for a lot of vanities/wealth, things that pass? What do I really want out of life? Whatever it is, share it. Support others. Build relationships. Do not be greedy. Remembering; “It is in giving that we receive."
Published on 22 July 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 25th July - Sun 31st July 2022.pdf
Today we welcome Fr Brian Oswald MHM to promote the RED BOX. Many families have one, but many more I am sure will be very happy to help. I have no doubt you will give him a fantastic St James’ welcome. Together we are helping missionaries share the love of Jesus overseas For almost 200 years, we have been supporting world mission, providing missionaries with the spiritual and material support they need to enable local people to build and sustain their own faith communities. Today we continue to empower the Catholic Church globally, showing the love of Christ to everyone, and especially to those in need. We achieve this with our partners, the Mill Hill Missionaries, and your generous Red Box donations.
Published on 15 July 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 18th July - Sun 24th July 2022.pdf
Jesus, in protecting Mary in today's reading, is protecting all women. In many parts of the world today women are forbidden to go to school. "Girls do not need education, they are for bearing children and manual work!" The reason for manual work is not a reason for a woman to give up her heart’s desire. Martha understood the place of women in their society. They were to clean the house and cook like Martha was doing, and there was no need for them to have education. Their husbands would see after them???? No wasting time like Mary was doing. Martha demands that Mary be made to ‘play the woman,’ and as ever Jesus will not go along with the stereotype: “Mary has chosen the better portion and she shall not be deprived of it.” How much women have suffered over the world, over the centuries, because of the perception of their "proper role!" Dare I say as defined by men?????????? Like Sarah in the first reading, they are for cleaning the house and cooking food.
Published on 08 July 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 11th July - Sun 17th July 2022.pdf
Probably the best short story ever told and the best known world-wide by all religions: The Good Samaritan. We know it by heart, we have heard it a thousand times, we even use the phrase, "be a good Samaritan." We all know what it means. You could even say we are quoting scripture, but the call to be a GS is something else. We are all good from time to time and help now and again. But we say there is a limit. This, I believe, is the difference between a Christian and a non-believer. The non-believer may get tired. A Christian never gets tired. You go on and on. As Jesus says to give without counting the cost, now there is a challenge. When you start to count you have lost the plot. Jesus gave the last drop of blood, we are called to do no less, giving a bit here and there. Yes, you're a good person, even a nice person, but as Paul says: - "Even the pagans do as much, do they not?" So being a GS demands sacrifice. Now there is a word you don't hear too often, S.A.C.R.I.F.I.C.E. By and large we do not like making sacrifices, going to mass is a sacrifice, spending time with people we may not like is a sacrifice, giving up something for the benefit of another is a sacrifice. And that is the call of the gospel, going the extra mile.
Published on 30 June 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 4th July - Sun 10th July 2022.pdf
I believe that St Francis’s message is even more important in light of this most recent pandemic. Francis—and his spiritual sister, Clare—remind us we are all connected. The paths of greed, consumerism, individualism, and nationalism endanger the planet and its peoples. In the spirit of Francis, we need to break down barriers of friend and stranger, citizen and immigrant, rich and poor, if we are to survive in this increasingly interdependent world. Nations need to see patriotism in terms of world loyalty as well as self-affirmation.
Published on 22 June 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 27th June - Sun 3rd July 2022.pdf
I often worry about what I write here and what I preach. Why? My mother used to bake brown soda bread and it was beautiful. Many other women bake brown soda bread, even here in the parish. But none of them make it quite like my mother. It is a very personal experience. You see, I could give you a recipe here for a wedding cake. All the best quality ingredients, quantities and how to put them together. But no way does that compare to the sheer joy of eating/sharing a wedding cake and a glass of champagne with the happy couple. Reading the scriptures and doing what Fr Jack suggests, no way compares to the sheer joy of knowing Christ. You've got to sit down and spend your own time with the readings/ingredients and hopefully that will bring you to knowing the person of Christ in a very personal way. "I live now, not I but Christ lives in me." This is the freedom that Paul talks about in the second reading. The freedom of being in love.
Published on 17 June 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 20th June - Sun 26th June 2022.pdf
I am not often stuck for words, but last week must go down as the mother and father of all parish days. Just shows you what can be done with everyone pulling their weight and everybody contributing. You did me proud, everybody was impressed and I believe enjoyed themselves as well. And God, himself was not to be outdone in generosity. A day to be remembered. But I fear for who can organise next year. The obvious answer is we keep the DQ on. Do I hear you say yes? The food, the music, the barbecue, the drinks, the planning, the organization, the clean-up, just everything. My family and friends were delighted, but now no longer feel sorry for me. In fact, they envy me. And I also hope you feel very proud and happy to belong to St James’. This is faith in action. "LOVE CHANGES EVERYTHING." One priest had the audacity to ask me when I was retiring. And he was not thinking of my well-being???. To one and all, big hugs and kisses, all around. Let's continue to build. Proud and happy to belong to St James' and for your very generous gift. Be blessed.
Published on 10 June 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 13th June - Sun 19th June 2022.pdf
The beauty of God is in relationship. Not the father implementing draconian laws or the son being a proud know it all, because of his pedigree. No, it is in their unity of spirit and purpose which ironically is us. Creating a wonderful world for us and showing us how to treat each other. The more we listen and act the more we become like them' creating a beautiful world for the better of all people. Creating a spirit and atmosphere of love which is nothing other than God himself in the person of the Holy Spirit. You see Jesus became man in order to participate in our human condition and transform it from within. And the father’s only desire is that we share his happiness. But we have got to make his words our own. As Paul says; - "I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me." And it is only when we make it our own will it become the driving force in our life. Because happiness is an internal job and we can only enjoy it in relationship.
Published on 03 June 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 6th June - Sun 12th June 2022.pdf
Happy birthday. Yes, today is our birthday. The church was born from the side of Christ. Blood and water flowed out, meaning Christ is dead and the way is now open for the Holy Spirit to come. So, his arrival today is the beginning, since the Ascension of Jesus they are locked in the upper room, AFRAID. But today they get the Holy Spirit and get courage to go out and preach, go out and preach to the point of death. Around the world millions of people are prepared to die for their belief. Here in the UK, we will never be asked to die for our faith. But we are continually asked to stand up for our faith, speak out when you see wrong doing etc. The 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, council, fortitude, knowledge, piety and the fear of the Lord. The Twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit: 1. Charity 2. Joy 3. Peace 4. Patience 5. Kindness 6. Goodness 7. Generosity 8. Gentleness 9. Faithfulness 10. Modesty 11. Self-Control 12. Chastity. When some or all of the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit are present, then you know God is around. QUESTION: How alive is the Holy Spirit in your life?
Published on 27 May 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 30th May - Sun 5th June 2022.pdf
Whether it be marriage, a school, an office, or family, a country or institution, unity is the key to happiness. All people working and pulling together under the leadership of the boss/head, trusting they are a good leader. Jesus knew that so well. His departing words were, "That all would be one." The breakup of the Christian churches into thousands, yes thousands, many vying for position, must surely go down as the greatest scandal of our time. The result is a very weakened church, lack of conviction and a failure to preach the gospel message of PEACE. A failure to change the face of society. At the moment, if we are trying to hold the church together, it must be as an instrument of peace and not preserving it for its own sake. The dying prayer of Jesus was: - "That all may be one." "Father may they be one as we are one. May they be one, with me in them and you in me, may they be so completely one that the world will realise it was you who sent me."
Published on 19 May 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 23rd May - Sun 29th May 2022.pdf
The arrest of Cardinal Joseph Zen by the Hong Kong government this week is bad news for the Vatican. It's true that the 90-year-old cardinal, who is in poor health, has been released, but he is out on bail and will face a trial. By targeting the man who has been nicknamed the "conscience of Hong Kong" and who has been a tireless defender of human rights on the island, Beijing is conveying to Pope Francis all the fragility and ambiguity of the rapprochement it initiated in 2018 with the Vatican. Moreover, it is a rapprochement that Cardinal Zen has criticized. He has always seen it as the pope compromising with an increasingly harsh regime. Therefore, it's no coincidence that the Holy See, contrary to its usual practice, raised its voice immediately and strongly protested the cardinal's arrest. This is also bad news for China. By inaugurating his mandate as chief executive of Hong Kong with the condemnation of a Catholic figure respected throughout the world, John Lee is giving proof that he intends to continue Beijing's takeover of the island. After attacking political and economic opponents, the regime is now targeting religious leaders. This heralds difficult years for Catholics in Hong Kong. And beyond that, for all those on the mainland.
Published on 13 May 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 16th May - Sun 22nd May 2022.pdf
"After Paul and Barnabas had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch. They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” They appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith." This reading today from Acts, is a very good model of how the church could/should work in any/this parish. People who will agree to take responsibility for different ministries and will be faithful. Great things happen in this parish because of a few people. Just imagine how much more effective it would be with everybody doing something. Are you up for it?
Published on 06 May 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 9th May - Sun 15th May 2022.pdf
Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. We all love the image of Jesus carrying a sheep around his neck and carrying him back to the fold. Just imagine yourself with that closeness. The Good Shepherd Jesus himself taking care of you. I hope after 50 years I have reflected some of that love in my parishes. Pretty demanding trying always to keep the bright side out. But a man can only do their best. I am sure there were many shortcomings and for that I trust in the mercy of God. The grace of God is a wonderful thing. How do I describe it? 50 years ago, I put on my souvenir card, "By the grace of God." Not sure what I really meant then, but now I know. That grace which has kept me faithful to the job for 50 years and close to the Good Shepherd. To God be the glory.
Published on 29 April 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 2nd May - Sun 8th May 2022.pdf
Today is a beautiful homily story. The apostles dejected, no fish to sell, no money to buy food for their family, not even a fish. Can you imagine them going home, the children running with excitement, "Daddy, Daddy what have you got?" Sorry children, not even a fish, not to mention the bread and sweets they would have bought with the fish they sold. The pain of a father watching his children go hungry. The sense of failure. Cold, dejected, and hungry after a long night. Jesus, a non-fisherman telling them what to do. Fishing in the daytime, never heard of. Then the success and the bar-b-que on the beach. I've done it many times. Wonderful. Then the challenge to Peter, "do you love me." The pain of being asked and asked and asked again. But no doubt in Peter's heart. Despite what he had done. He knew his Lord and master.
Published on 22 April 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 25h April - Sun 1st May 2022.pdf
The reality of life is death. And not death to be avoided but death transformed. This is the great news of the Resurrection. The only trustworthy pattern of spiritual transformation is death and resurrection. As Christians we must carry our cross. Death and life are two sides of the same coin; you cannot have one without the other. Each time you surrender, each time you trust the dying, your faith is led to a deeper level and you discover a Larger Self underneath. You decide not to push yourself to the front of the line, and something much better happens in the back of the line. You let go of your narcissistic anger, and you find that you start feeling much happier. You surrender your need to control your partner, and finally the relationship blossoms or ends. Yet each time it is a choice—and each time it is a kind of dying. It seems we only know what life is when we know what death is. Or try Paul’s famous one-liner: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Things change and grow by dying to their present state, but each time it is a risk. (R. Roher) As spring follows winter and summer follows spring = dying, budding and blossoming. May you blossom this Easter in the knowledge that Christ is risen and alive in you. "I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me."
Published on 15 April 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 18th April - Sun 24th April 2022.pdf
Thanks for all your good wishes and prayers. I hope you have a wonderful Easter and that the Lord shines in your heart. Amen HAPPY EASTER
Published on 08 April 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 11th April - Sun 17th April 2022.pdf
A Happy Easter to one and all!
Published on 01 April 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 4th April - Sun 10th April 2022.pdf
I love today's gospel: A very angry crowd. A very calm Jesus. That's how to do it. Jesus bends down, He doesn't want to look the woman straight in the eye and embarrass her. Such consideration. And then the finger of God writing on the dust just as it had written the 10 commandments on the tablets of stone earlier. He is the author of the law and as such he must respect it. The people thought they had him over a barrel. As ever Jesus is not out done and he puts the challenge back to the angry crowd. He challenges their own sincerity. It is easy for Christians to take a self- righteous attitude towards the world. It is much more difficult to take Jesus's attitude. "Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more." All of us have contributed to the darkness of the world, none of us can cast the first stone. If I have mis- judged you, please let me know.
Published on 25 March 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 28th March - Sun 3rd April 2022.pdf
The wasteful son. We know it backwards. One of Jesus' most famous stories. Often the problem we have in hearing it, is we tend to compare: The older son, the younger son, the father. The good, the bad and the kind. Useless exercise. If you want to compare, compare yourself with Jesus. Jesus, as ever, turns religion on its head as it should be. I hate the word. (religion) The ones who do wrong are forgiven, transformed and rewarded. And some of us good Christians do not like that. Some situations we cannot fix, understand or control. Up to that moment it has only been religion. Now faith has to take over. "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me," A similarity of life. At that moment Jesus fell totally into the hands of the Father. That is faith/trust. And that is resurrection. (Comment is welcome)
Published on 18 March 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 21st March - Sun 27th March 2022.pdf
God is a wonderful gardener. Just look at the world he has given us and he also takes care of it. Some of us do a bit. I prefer God's Garden. Ours tend to be a bit too manicured. The joy of the forest, the variety of trees, plants and shrubs. Interconnected, feeding of each other, supporting each other and at times destroying one another. All part of nature and God's way. Not to mention the home it provides for millions of insects, animals. The roots holding water and avoiding floods and landslides. The music in the wind and the birds and the bees. Don't you feel truly blessed? And it runs in the family. It seems his son is an equally good gardener. Today he does not want to cut down a "useless" fig tree. Give it another chance. Don't you feel doubly blessed? Because He is talking about you and I. He gives us a million chances to find happiness and life. But we often do not want to appreciate what He is doing/has done. We still want to do it our our way. Frank Sinatra will never be dead. (only for the over 50's)
Published on 11 March 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 14th March - Sun 20th March 2022.pdf
The transfiguration of Jesus Christ was a powerful demonstration of His divine nature and manifestation of His glory. The transfiguration of Jesus was quite a dramatic event. We may not be capable of transfiguration but we can be transformed. Again, let Paul be our guide. In his letter to the Philippians, he says: - “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: even though he is God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped......" But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of all men: And being found in human form, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death on the cross. Or again: - "I live now not I, but Christ lives in me." "Him in whom I live, move and have my being. Yes, we are being continually called upon to be of the same mind as Christ. Through reading his word we form the mind of Christ in us, so the transformation at death will, I hope, be easier, but then again, "no eye has seen or ear heard what God has prepared for those who love him." Sounds spectacular. I pray and trust we have a wonderful future. Enjoy it in embryonic form here and now. Stay close to God.
Published on 04 March 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 7th March - Sun 13th March 2022.pdf
PRAYER The beauty of prayer is to be silent in the company of another person. Not having to talk but just to BE. Be yourself. Be still and know that I am God Be still and know that I am Be still and know Be still Be Confident that He is listening. FASTING Taking good care of your body. Eating good food and enjoying it. Maybe the food on your table comes from six different countries. Think of all the people who have provided this food for you. Cultivated, transported stored it. Say a prayer for them. It can be " Eucharistic.""Look good, avoid obesity and feel good. Our god is wonderful. ALMSGIVING Don't stuff yourself and put a few bob in the jar for Pecan. With a little thought, a little can go a long way for all of us.
Published on 25 February 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 28th February - Sun 6th March 2022.pdf
I would like to believe we are all good people and I am sure God does as well. However, we are all capable of so much more and that's what God wants, our best. "The glory of God is man/woman fully alive." And so, Ash Wednesday is coming. An opportunity for all of us to do better. The secular world cashed in on Lent. Stoptober, alcohol free January etc. Lent is our time to improve, change direction, look at God's plan. The pope has asked us to make Wednesday a day of prayer and fasting for Ukraine. Can we do every Wednesday and Friday? Looking at Kiev this morning on the BBC, I thought it could be London, New York, Tokyo. The thought made me shudder with fright. People going about their daily business, happy and self-sufficient. Tomorrow it could be a desolate country like Syria. Millions of displaced people cold and hungry. These are our brothers and sisters. Let's use our number one weapon, God, prayer and fasting, now, to prevent such a disaster and not be having collections for the next ten years.
Published on 18 February 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 21st February - Sun 27th February 2022.pdf
Be you compassionate, perfect or tolerant. Our God is a great God. Today’s mass just calls for each one of us to have a BIG HEART. There is nothing worse than a mean petty Christian. In fact, my language is a contradiction. Mean Christian??????????? yuk. When you have a problem, don't look at other people but look at our loving Father and just be grateful and wish everybody else the same. Why, when it comes to God, do we ask so many questions? We want to be equal and understand??? As if our mind could comprehend the mind of God. "No eye has seen or mind understood......" God defies logic and it is only with love that we can have a proper outlook on life. Find time to read the readings and try to deepen your appreciation of what is in the scriptures. Check out one of the zoom sessions on this newsletter when the time comes. BE INTERESTED IN DEEPENING YOUR FAITH, THERE IS A LOT OF HELP OUT THERE. Don't rely on Fr Jack on Sunday morning.
Published on 11 February 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 14th February - Sun 20th February 2022.pdf
Jeremiah says: A curse on the man who puts his trust in men, who relies on things of the flesh whose heart turns from the Lord. You have often heard me say, “I have never met anyone who does not believe in God”. When they tell me they do not believe in God, I ask them to tell me about the God they do not believe in…. Then I usually say “Neither do I, because the God you describe is not the God of the Gospel, he is not the God of Jesus Christ”. He is a figment of their own imagination, often based on a little knowledge they received from their granny, their school, or their priest. Finish the reading from Jeremiah and bear fruit.
Published on 04 February 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 7th February - Sun 13th February 2022.pdf
Today we have this powerful story of the miraculous draught of fish. 153 in all. Reminds me of the feeding of the 5,000 people. And food left over. Also, of the changing of 180 gallons of water into wine. Joseph obeyed and took Mary as his wife. The generosity of God in all this is enormous. And we should be grateful. However, all four events happened after people OBEYED. I know many people do not like this word and it is not a word you often see in these pages. But listen. Peter fished all night and caught nothing but at your word "I will pay out the nets." Great catch. Get the people to sit down in groups of 50. All fed. Do whatever he tells you.The wedding was saved. Joseph became the foster father of Jesus. In all cases the people OBEYED and were amply rewarded. I think you get my drift. Need to listen and obey.
Published on 28 January 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 31st January - Sun 6th February 2022.pdf
Our parish presbytery next door is a large building. It contains too much space for the needs of a parish priest and costs a lot to keep maintained and in good condition. We have not spent much money on the building in my time here and as people who have visited me in the Presbytery over the last few years will know, it is in need of refurbishment and therefore considerable financial investment. I have been discussing this with my parish finance committee and the option of building a new Presbytery elsewhere within the church grounds has been put forward as a viable alternative. This would enable us to produce a smaller Presbytery that is fit for purpose and can meet the needs of all future parish priests. It can also be constructed using modern methods of construction meaning it can be more cost-effective to run and in the long term, provide environmental benefits. If we were to proceed with this idea, various options for the future of the current Presbytery would be taken by the Diocese, including sale, redevelopment, or repurposing. We would not like the costs of any such plans to be a drain on parish finances. For a purpose-built Presbytery to be constructed, it would require the use of funds available to St James’s. I therefore, welcome your thoughts and opinions on this proposal, this idea is in the very early stages of development. If the feedback we receive is positive, I would love to hear from Parishioners with construction industry experience or experience running projects of any kind to form a new committee to enable this idea to become a reality. Please call/text/email or come and see me to offer your views on this idea and let me know if you would be interested in joining the committee.
Published on 21 January 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 24th January - Sun 30th January 2022.pdf
The Spirit of the Lord brings seven glorious, eternal results: The Anointing with the presence of God Good News of Salvation for the Poor, Humble and Afflicted. People in need. Healing for the Broken-hearted. Stand with me. Liberty to the Captives. My mind is my own. Sight to the Blind. Knowing I am loved. Liberty for those Oppressed. Freedom of the children of God. The Year of the Lord’s Favour. Appreciation of what we have got. The spirit of the Lord has been given to all of us. I am capable of so much if I just trust in the Lord. Look back and thank God. Look forward and trust God. Blessed are those who believe without seeing.
Published on 14 January 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 17th January - Sun 23rd January 2022.pdf
The transforming of water to wine is a sign of how God will transform creation. Into a new creation beyond our wildest dreams. And Jesus does it by enlisting the cooperation of servants. The generosity of 180 gallons of wine is a foretaste of the ultimate generosity of God in heaven. This miracle was the first sign because it teaches us the first lesson. It wasn't the bride groom who discovered the water to wine miracle but the servants who knew where it came from. If you want to see miracles you must serve and with God there is always plenty. The wedding of Cana is a foretaste of the eternal wedding in heaven. With such anticipation we pray for broken marriages to be changed into the new wine of heaven. If you are in a bad situation, don't suffer alone. Talk to others, someone you can trust. And as the couple of Cana invited Jesus to their wedding make sure you also invite Him into your house to pour out the abundance of his love on you and your partner. And your children if you are blessed with some. When all you see is your pain, you lose sight of God.
Published on 07 January 2022
NEWSLETTER Mon 10th January - Sun 16th January 2022.pdf
Baptism, the sacrament of entry into the church. Many people believe in the importance of baptism for their children. I often wonder why it is not so important for themselves. Others want it done to get into a Catholic school. And some want baptism as the door to eternal salvation. And for most, John's baptism with water is sufficient. However, the same John tells us that Jesus' baptism was very different. He tells us that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Now these are two powerful and living things. We see how alive and frightening bushfires have been around the world. They just destroy everything in their path and are virtually unstoppable. How I wish our Christians were so on fire. But destroying only everything that is evil. And then there is the Holy Spirit; that inner dynamo who drives us on to do things we never knew we could do. The one who changes "the face of the earth." Who changes me? Who gives me energy and enthusiasm to live as Jesus wants me to live? Who tells me I am a "Beloved son”? That every other person is also a beloved son/daughter and that each one is my brother or sister, that we are family? This is what will change the face of the Earth.
Published on 31 December 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 3rd January - Sun 9th January 2022.pdf
Before we finish 2021, a very special thanks to all of you. In this year of Covid you have been faithful, respectful and supportive to keep our parish up and running. Thanks to God for being kind to us and if you feel otherwise don't lose heart. He will take care of us. Also, to all those great people who keep the parish running without much fuss, just get on with the job. You know who you are, be blessed. For your cards, gifts and financial support to the parish and me personally, sincere thanks. God bless you. WE ARE FAMILY. AND 2022 Here we go again…new beginnings. Any plans/resolutions. DAILY Pray every day (with others/family where possible) in your home/work. Join the rosary zoom group. Leave the table once a day saying no to that final bite. Walk to the next bus stop, or get off the bus a stop earlier. After a mistake, apologize immediately. WEEKLY Sunday Mass. Prepare for mass by reading the readings. Put a coin in the Red Box/jar for your special cause. Bring God into a conversation. YEARLY Join a team/Legion to visit the housebound, if only once a year. Clean the church, if only once a year. Be part of a hospitality team to welcome people to church. Make tea. Invite one other person to church and maintain a friendship with them.
Published on 22 December 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 27th December - Sun 2nd January 2022.pdf
A FEW TIPS FROM THE POPE ON FAMILY LIFE: 1. NEVER END THE DAY WITHOUT MAKING PEACE. 2. MAKE PEACE AND BEGIN AGAIN TOMORROW. 3. LEARN TO FORGIVE. 4. DIFFICULTIES? MOVE FORWARD. STRIVE. IT’S PART OF LIFE: 5. A LIFE FILLED WITH CHILDREN. 6. SPEND TIME WITH YOUR CHILDREN: 7. PRUDENT USE OF TECHNOLOGY: 8. SEEK WISDOM AND LOVE OF THE GRANDPARENTS:
Published on 17 December 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 20th December - Sun 26th December 2021.pdf
When time is going fast, they say you are enjoying life. If it is going slow, sorry you are probably bored. Either way Christmas is on us. Not Xmas... That would be Christmas without Christ, Christ is the centre piece. As I said last week, life can be like a wheel of fortune, when you spin it, the outside always changes; death, loss of job, new house, divorce, new baby etc. Always changing and often as a result my mood goes up or down. Don't live on the periphery. However, the centre always stays in the centre and for you and I, I hope that is Christ. My faith does not change with my mood swings, because Christ is my anchor. Right in the beginning God created Adam (men) and Eve (women) and so set up the family. Jesus comes into the world and comes through a family. I believe God is telling us something. THE FAMILY IS CENTRAL. If you want to change the world, go home and love your family. People keep blaming the social services, the police, the school, the council, the doctor, the church. The list is endless. Parents, accept your responsibility; if you make your bed lie in it. If you decide to have children make sure you are able and willing to take care of them. When I was ordained, the bishop asked me: "Jack are you ready and willing?" By keeping Christ at the centre, through Him, I have survived. Like Paul: "If I boast, I boast in Christ." Parents, make sure you have a crib in your house this Christmas and gather the family or yourself around and look into it. I am always impressed by what is there rather than what is not there.
Published on 10 December 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 13th December - Sun 19th December 2021.pdf
THE WORD OF GOD The crowds asked John the Baptist, “What should we do?” He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He answered them, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” Soldiers also asked him, “And what is it that we should do?” He told them, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone.” Fr Jack It would be stupid of me to try and do better than the word of God. I can't make it any simpler or better. Check your job and lifestyle and see who you let into your life. Be generous with your time, treasure and talent this Christmas. here are millions of needy people just around us.
Published on 03 December 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 6th December - Sun 12th December 2021.pdf
Advent I often feel is the poor relation of the year. Who cares about Advent – it is just something we have got to get through on our way to Christmas. And especially nowadays when we are so used to having everything instant. Why wait? Who wants to wait? Patience is in short supply. We can easily get overwhelmed by the ‘fast lane of life.’ We are in such a hurry. We want everything now. We rush from experience to experience. We can’t cope with the bigness of life. Stop. Look. Listen. Waiting for the day to come. Waiting for buses. Waiting for an appointment in a hospital. Waiting in A&E. Waiting for the end of winter. Waiting for the sun to shine. Waiting to get well. Waiting for pain to go. Waiting to grow up. Waiting for visitors. The above are all Ok and have a degree of anticipation. Maybe waiting for a baby to be born has a greater sense of excitement. The real appreciation of nine months. The waiting has all been worthwhile with the arrival of a baby. And I am not talking about Christmas only. Or think of the excitement and sense of anticipation as you wait for the girlfriend to arrive. Checking your hair is right, the tie is straight and a shrug of the shoulders and yes, "I am looking good." I Am waiting and expecting.
Published on 26 November 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 29th November - Sun 5th December 2021.pdf
At 73, I begin to wonder how many more times I can start. I hear many of you saying the same thing, first Sunday of advent, time to begin again. And why not let us begin again with a sense of excitement! Christ is bringing a new and fresh dimension to our lives. With Christ all things are new. Don't waste your time wondering when the end will be. There has always been much vain and useless argument about the second coming. When will it be and what will it be like? No one knows only the Father. Just be ready. Have buckets of love to present to him because that's the only thing you can take out of this world. The Gospel today makes it clear that History is going somewhere: The Stoics (3rd century BC), believed that you needed to live an ethical life, but they also believed that history repeated itself every 3,000 years which meant that history was going nowhere and people were trampling around on an eternal treadmill. But Christians know that life has a goal and that all things are leading to Christ. That is all we know and all we need to know. Like Mary, we need to get pregnant by the Holy Spirit. We need to let the word take such root in us that it begins to become part of our actual flesh. Then, like any woman who’s pregnant, we have to lovingly gestate, nurture, and protect what is growing inside us, until it’s sufficiently strong so that it can live on its own, outside us. . .
Published on 19 November 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 22nd November - Sun 28th November 2021.pdf
When I, driven by the spirit, meet you driven by the same spirit. Then we can truly say the Kingdom of God is in us and among us. The Kingdom of God is a space. It exists in every home where parents and children love each other. It exists in every country that cares for its weak and vulnerable. It exists in every parish that reaches out to the needy. The Kingdom of God is a condition. Its symptoms are love, justice, generosity, simplicity, appreciation, peace. etc. Jesus Christ is king! We pray today that God may “free all the world to rejoice in his peace, to glory in his justice, to live in his love.” Jesus came into the world 2000 years ago and told us that the kingdom of God is very near us. Many people thought he was speaking about the end of the world, but no, he was talking about the Kingdom of God being within our hearts. The best version of myself is, being in touch with this Kingdom and trying to live in it and by it. It is not simply the promise of the future victory of God over sin and evil, but that this victory has already begun—in the life and teaching of Jesus and I can live in it and enjoy it here and now. This is surely the good news.
Published on 12 November 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 15th November - Sun 21st November 2021.pdf
With COP26 and the surrounding messages it could be a great time for prophets of doom..."The end is nigh." The end of many species and some countries and cultures will be wiped out. The ice cap will be gone, polar bears will probably have disappeared. And if we are lucky, that will be it. In today's gospel, Jesus could see something similar happening; the beautiful temple of Jerusalem will be destroyed, "and not a stone will be left on another stone." Jerusalem was being attacked from all sides. Jesus could see what was happening and "read the signs of the time." Many others also saw it, but never woke up, or did not like to admit it. Back to today, many people do not want to wake up, or do not want to admit what is happening. Are we being fair to future generations, to our children? Jesus and I are not talking about the end of the world. We are talking about the end of many things we take for granted. Because Jesus said, "The angels, even the Son, does not know when these things will happen. Only God alone knows the day and the hour." So, in case the reports from Scotland are too complicated, I give a few simple guidelines. But the end will come and we need to be prepared. So don't waste, consider others, try to save, protect and appreciate the wonderful world and facilities God has asked us to take care of. And teach your children.
Published on 05 November 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 8th November - Sun 14th November 2021.pdf
What an "exciting week!" What with COVID, COP26, the SYNOD and many more things. Is it any wonder there is global warming? A lot of hot air, or am I being cynical? Let me know your thoughts, I mean that, I would love to have a few comments or texts. Thank God for Sunday and mass. Today’s readings are very appropriate. Two words come to mind...... GENEROSITY and SIMPLICITY. A little bit of this from everybody could improve much in the world. It’s interesting that the woman in the first reading and the second reading is a widow. We have many widows in the parish. Ladies, do you have a hidden secret, or a direct line to God? Please come back to me and give me/us the answer for next week.
Published on 29 October 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 1st November - Sun 7th November 2021.pdf
One of the saddest things of my life as a priest is to find so many people who reject the gospel and say they do not believe in God or Christ. On further investigation I find that the God they reject is not the God of Jesus Christ, but the God of their own imagination, or some funny notion they got down the line from granny, a priest, parent, or someone else. Often there has been no growth in their faith. The God shown by Jesus exerts no dominating supremacy. In Christ, we see an image of a God who is not armed with lightning bolts, but with a basin and towel, who did not threaten, but preached good news for all; who rode not a warhorse but a donkey, weeping with people who do not know the way of peace. In Christ, God is supreme, but only in serving. God is the number one healer, the supreme friend, the perfect lover, the powerful life-giver who gives to the point of death. The king of kings and lord of lords is the servant of all and the friend of sinners. Exemplifying that the so-called weakness and foolishness of God, are greater than the so-called power and wisdom of people. Now (read today's second reading). "Think of the love the Father has lavished on us by letting us be called God's children. And that is what we are."
Published on 22 October 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 25th October - Sun 31st October 2021.pdf
We inhabitants of the earth are a people in exile. We are not at home on the very land we occupy, and so we rape and plunder it. We are not at home with each other, and so we violate each other’s dignity and kill. When one of us cries out prophetically to the Lord, as the blind beggar Bartimaeus did, the others “scold him to make him keep quiet.” G Darring. The above statement, if you agree with it, is a frightening reality. Are we so blind? Like Bartiemaeus we need to pray not for sight, but to see: To see the world as it is, to see myself, as I am.To accept the reality about myself, even if I do not like it. Turning to the lord and trying to borrow his eyes for a day. To see the world as he sees it, to understand the world as he created it. To read the scriptures and have a heart as big as Him. Now there is a statement: A heart as big as God's.
Published on 15 October 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 18th October - Sun 24th October 2021.pdf
Published on 08 October 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 11th October - Sun 17th October 2021.pdf
In a week's time Pope Francis will launch a process that has the potential to reshape the church in ways not seen since the second Vatican council. The global synod "for a synodal Church" begins in Rome this weekend, the 9th and 10th October and then a week later is scheduled to begin in every diocese across the world. The diocesan phase of this process will run until next April and will focus on listening to and consulting the people of God. Not every bishop across the world is eagerly embracing the opportunity for renewal and many are lukewarm or apathetic. Some leaders are ignoring the process and taking the view that it does not concern them. However in our own diocese we are enthusiastically open to the opportunity for renewal and I hope, here in our parish we will welcome this opportunity. As a church since the time of the Apostles we are a church on a journey listening to the Holy Spirit. Prior to Vatican 2, (1963/5) the church was seen as a hierarchical structure with the Pope on top and in charge and people were regarded as not having much to offer, apart from money. Vatican two stated that the church is the People of God and baptised people, share in the mission of the church, in their own right and NOT just as helpers for the priest. However this was very poorly embraced by powerful clergy. People, priests, bishops and pope are on a level playing field with Jesus at the centre; all of us around Him, who are in need of salvation. He is the way to the Father for all.
Published on 01 October 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 4th October - Sun 10th October 2021.pdf
We were made for love and outside of it we die very quickly. God does not love you because you are good. God loves you because God is good. We are all united with God but only some are consciously aware of it. Salvation is the ability to stay in relationship. When we don't give other people any power in our life and block them I think we are spiritually dead and not far from evil. God said: - "It is not good that man should be alone" in the first book of the bible. I've had a problem with my own position ever since. On my own and compulsory. Celibacy as a virtue is good for those who can carry it; sadly in the priesthood many could not carry it and opted for a different way of life. However I am not on my own and never have been. I've been lucky to have many good friends around me. I emphasise good over many. Yes good deep and lasting relationships, intimacy over sex. Friends that know understand and support you. Guide you when necessary and empathise with you in need. And in solitude, at last, we’re able to let God define us the way we are always supposed to be defined—by relationship: "The I-thou relationship, in relation to a Presence that demands nothing of us, but presence itself. Not performance but presence.” Be kind to yourself.
Published on 25 September 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 27th September - Sun 3rd September 2021.pdf
Today's scripture makes for sober reading. Jesus challenges the Apostles about their tribalism. They saw others preaching in Christ's name but they did not recognise them as part of their group. So they wanted to stop them. Christ defends the outsider and rebukes the apostles for their display of tribalism/closed attitude. A closed mind is very difficult to get into. Usually it is wrapped up in itself. They may not be the full shilling as we say but Christ's view is he is still one of his. He may not be an official member but he still comes to the father through Christ. Judas was an official member of the group and look what happened to him. Jesus' real anger is reserved for those who draw children away from the Father. We can do this by bad example or equally by not teaching them the Way. Jesus then goes on to talk about the seriousness of sin. We are sanctified by the blood of the Lamb and not by severed limbs. This really was the Jewish way of speaking and asking us;- "What is most important to you?" What do I need to cut out of my life in order to follow Christ more closely? Gold as James says. Greed, selfishness, pride, lust, despair........... We are not perfect but we have a perfect High Priest.
Published on 17 September 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 20th September - Sun 26th September 2021.pdf
James is on the war path again this week with more practical advice. No jealousy, bad ambition, fighting, pride or being prepared to kill. All these things begin in the hearts of people and kill the soul. James tells us to be peacemakers, working for peace with the wisdom of God. Power kills, and absolute power kills absolutely. Which is the more powerful? A dictator who kills and destroys people and countries. A celebrity who outshines all others. An athlete whom we all admire, Emma. A brilliant politician. A baby in a pram. I think the last one is the most powerful. Powerless, helpless, dependent. And yet he/she is the one to steal our hearts. Jesus on the cross, powerless, helpless, dependent, could not even give himself a drink and there he changed world history.
Published on 10 September 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 13th September - Sun 19th September 2021.pdf
I would love to have met our patron St James. He seems to have been a no nonsense man. He also seems to have captured the mind of Christ very succinctly. Just check the last two weeks' readings and today. Pure religion in the sight of God is coming to the help of widows and orphans.How can you be a believer if you make distinctions between people?You say you have faith without good works to show. I will show my faith by my works. Now you show me your faith with no works to show. THIS IS VERY REAL FAITH IN THE FACE OF WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD TODAY. # When there are still about 40,000 people dying every day from hunger. # When a billion people, one fifth of the human race still do not have decent housing. # When there are still 20 million Latin American children sleeping on the street. # When one out of every four people still do not have access to safe drinking water. # When we are still burning down the rain forest, depleting the ozone layer that protects us from the sun depositing black crude oil along the delicate shoreline of the world, sending noxious gases into the atmosphere so they return to the earth as acid and pollute lakes and streams, playing games with radioactive materials that will be around to torture our children for centuries.
Published on 03 September 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 6th September - Sun 12th September 2021.pdf
What a beautiful image from Isaiah; the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery. "For waters gush in the desert, streams in the wasteland, the scorched earth becomes a lake, the parched lands springs of water." - The renewal of the face of the earth. My God, do we need deliverance today? Maybe not you personally but 60% of the world.... The terror in the hearts of people of Afghanistan, Taliban takeover, the earthquakes in Haiti, racism, climate change, Covid fallout, trafficking, migrants, immigration, poverty, class discrimination and a whole heap of injustice, the floods in the USA. It's up to us. The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. With Christ we can change. He touched the man's ears and opened them. He wants to touch our ears and our eyes and our hearts and our minds and open them. Open them to new ways of seeing the world: To seeing things with the eyes of Christ. To seeing all people as my brothers and sisters and where there is need, helping them.
Published on 27 August 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 30th August - Sun 5th September 2021.pdf
As ever, the readings are a great challenge to us. Our mass should be a springboard for us to do the real thing -- "Coming to the help of widows and orphans." I am sure Paul would open that up and move us on to coming to the help of anybody in need today. And if our mass does not encourage, inspire, empower and move us onto coming to the help of those in need, then there is something radically wrong. Perhaps we need to reflect and search our hearts to find the weakness in our thinking and lack of feeling for others. Reflection, reflection, reflection has got to be the way forward. Again the question of evil raises its ugly head. Why is there evil in the world? There is no evil in the world, the only evil that exists, exists in the hearts of people. As Jesus says, "Nothing that goes into a man can make him unclean. It's the things that come out of a person that make them unclean." Evil thoughts and desires are created in the mind and in the heart. And when we reflect enough on them they become actions. Hence evil exists. Imagination is a good thing, but do not live there. At times it can drive us mad. As Paul says, "Fill your minds with all that is pure, noble and good. And let the peace of Christ reign in your hearts."
Published on 20 August 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 23rd August - Sun 29th August 2021.pdf
FIRST READING The people of Israel, 4000 years ago:- "We have no intention of deserting the Lord our God, and serving other gods. Did he not bring our ancestors out of Israel and out of slavery, he has done so much for us. He surely has done so much for all of us. SECOND READING "Husbands should love their wives just as much as the Christ loved his bride, the church. He died for the church/us." You lucky women. THE GOSPEL What a mighty statement:- "Lord to whom shall we go? We know that you have the message of eternal life." we believe you are the holy one of God." Such positivity coming from all three readings. There is also much negativity as there is in all our lives. But I want to enjoy life so I prefer to look for the positive. Look at the positive, think positive, do positive, be positive and enjoy life. Dare I say; "Life is what you make it."
Published on 13 August 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 16th August - Sun 22nd August 2021.pdf
CELEBRATORS OF HOPE A 12-year-old who is fighting plastic pollution. Many of you are passionate about finding ways to help to protect the planet. Tilly, 12, from Cheshire is on a mission to help to reduce plastic waste by getting local shops to sign up to free water refills. She spends her spare time persuading businesses in the town of Wilmslow to be part of a special app, which shows how people can top up their bottles without charge. She hopes it will encourage the town to reduce its reliance of single-use plastics. You can find out more about the issue of plastic waste on google. Greta Thunberg started protesting outside the Swedish parliament in 2018, when she was 15. She held a sign saying "School Strike for Climate", to pressure the government to meet carbon emissions targets. Her small campaign had a global effect, inspiring thousands of young people across the world to organise their own strikes. By December 2018, more than 20,000 students - from the UK to Japan - had joined her by skipping school to protest. A year later, she received the first of three Nobel Peace Prize nominations for climate activism. In 2019, Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic on a yacht to attend a UN climate conference in New York. Delivering what is probably her most famous speech, she angrily told world leaders they were not doing enough. "You all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words," she said.Mary the mother of God was only fourteen when she proclaimed her great Magnificat. "He pulled down the mighty and raised up the lowly." What a vision. Young people are doing great things all over the world. Check them out on google. Don't let age or education hold you back. Jesus did not shy away from feeding the five thousand. He said put them sitting in manageable groups of 50. Do a little, do it well. You want a difference? Be the difference.
Published on 04 August 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 9th August - Sun 15th August 2021.pdf
The feeding of the five thousand is a challenge to us. There are thousands and the reaction of Jesus and the disciples is very different. The disciples say send them home. Not our problem. Jesus says you feed them. He told the disciples what to do. Tell them sit down in groups of 50. Then he blessed the meal. Now YOU give out the bread and collect the left overs. NOTHING IS TO BE WASTED. I am sure there must be a lesson here for all of us. I do what I can for a small group. But we just cannot pass wolf by on the other side. I would love to have some feedback on this; it may be a post pandemic way forward. Don’t forget much was achieved during the pandemic, the homeless were housed and the hungry were fed. Time we woke up.
Published on 30 July 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 2nd August - Sun 8th August 2021.pdf
Chapter six of John's Gospel is the great catholic chapter on the eucharist. Jesus very clearly tells us that He will give us his flesh to eat and his blood to drink. He did not say I will give you a symbol, or I will give you a reminder, no, I will give you the very real thing. For years the churches argued over consubstantiation and transubstantiation. I never succeeded in making much sense of it, opting instead to read chapter six. Here I encountered the real Christ and a person who cannot lie. This is my basis of celebrating mass about 25,000 times and making sense of it. A living encounter with a real person, and like any encounter it is always different. A person who passionately loves me and tolerates my shortcomings and can cope with me, as I hope I can cope with late comers, people on mobiles, noisy children, adults talking, all which go to make up the rich tapestry of the people of God here at St James’ to celebrate the Eucharist. Long may it live. Here we do in memory so that we never forget. Here I would encourage you to see the eucharist as an alternative lifestyle, rather than be too wrapped up in orthodoxy. An encounter with the Living God. Remember God loves you not because you are good, but because He is good.
Published on 23 July 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 26th July - Sun 1st August 2021.pdf
It is clear to all of us now that God sees after us body and mind. If we don't see it like this then we need new specs. Try to see things as God sees them. I think our picture says it all. Spend some time with this picture and count your blessings. Basically, "What other people think of you is none of your business." Or put another way, "Change the world today. Be yourself." Just remember you are not alone. We are all feeling a bit stressed/low. If you get a chance to get away, good for you, enjoy and come back refreshed. If you cannot get away just take time to relax and appreciate the positives in your life and in nature and in God. And don't forget there are good facilities in Peckham/Dulwich.
Published on 16 July 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 19th July - Sun 25th July 2021.pdf
Years ago Tony Blair's publicity manager said, "We don't do God." Well I don't do busy. I feel we are in an age where it is important to be busy: "I'm so busy" "I'd love to help but I am so busy" or "Maybe next time." For all our busyness and stress, are we any further ahead? Years ago I tried to impress people by saying the same thing. "I'm very busy." But years and experience has slowed me down and I'm sorry I did not learn years ago. I did learn the following in school but never practiced it:- Leisure by William Henry Davies.
Published on 09 July 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 12th July - Sun 18th July 2021 - for merge.pdf
IT IS A FASCINATING IDEA THAT WE HAVE BEEN IN THE MIND OF GOD BEFORE EVER THE WORLD BEGAN. In Him we also have the Holy Spirit active in our lives guiding, encouraging, fixing, giving strength and helping us to be faithful. Truly we are a blessed people. All this help has been given to us, not for our own benefit only, but so that we may go out and evangelise. Make humanity new. Our care for the poor, the environment, those we meet especially the suffering, those on the margins. He does not give us much by way of help; a staff and a pair of sandals. But we are consecrated in the truth, we have Christ Himself as our help and guide and in Him all things are possible. Hospitality was a sacred duty in the East. When a stranger entered a village, it was not his duty to search for hospitality; it was the duty of the village to offer it. Now if hospitality was refused, if doors and ears were shut then they must shake off the dust of that place before they leave. Jesus is being very tough on the people, if they refuse hospitality there can be no fellowship between them. The mark of the true disciple was utter simplicity, complete trust and the generosity which is always to give and never demand.
Published on 02 July 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 5th July - Sun 11th July 2021.pdf
“Who said that”? “Fred, the guy from Peckham”. “Oh him! I wouldn't believe one word he said”. How often do we condemn something out of hand just because of the person who said it? “Oh, that's Fr Jack”. We really need to listen to what everyone said and decide on the strength of the argument. Just because I don't like you, should not mean I condemn what you say. Jesus lived with this problem, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Today, He is condemned again because we know his family, a normal ordinary boring family just like our own. And that is a problem; we cannot see even God in the ordinary. As I write this here in Folkestone, I can see the trees and flowers, hear the birds, bees and the traffic, feel the gentle breeze of the sea, enjoy the morning heat of the sun and yes with technology I can do my work. In fact I am surrounded by God in his work and man/woman also in their work; beautiful harmony between God, people and myself. Another name for God: HARMONY. "God speaks through the mouths of babies." Very true, but do we listen? Ezekiel tells us in the first reading, ‘Speak even if they do not listen. At least they will know there was a prophet among them’. And so I speak.
Published on 25 June 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 28th June - Sun 4th July 2021.pdf
DOCTORS TREAT, JESUS HEALS. Yes, our God is a living God. Wanting only what is the best for his children. He cures the woman with the haemorage and he raises Jairus' daughter from the dead. Even the first reading tells us that, "Death is not of God's doing, he takes no pleasure in the extinction of the living.” TO BE -for this he created all. So let us get on with being; being who we are. Even at times when we do not like what we see, remember what your true identity is: You are a child of God, a son or daughter of the Father. You have a right to be here. So get up - Dress up - And show up.
Published on 18 June 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 21st June - Sun 27th June 2021.pdf
Our faith tells us that Jesus is always around. We just need to believe it and trust it. Today in the boat the apostles panicked, they forgot he was on board. And immediately He calmed the storm. Did He calm the storm, or was it their awareness of his presence that brought them security? Personally, I prefer this option. That's what prayer is, being aware that Jesus is about and all will be ok. There was an urgency. He does not always respond so quickly, but He does always respond. In his time yes and that is what we have got to trust. Paul tells us "The love of Christ overwhelms us when we reflect." When we spend time in reflection, life changes. We see other possibilities. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.
Published on 11 June 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 14th June - Sun 20th June 2021.pdf
The excitement of Easter, Pentecost, trinity and Body of Christ are over for now. The seeds have been planted and now it is down to the very regular task of watering, nurturing and giving sunshine for the seeds to grow within us. So very appropriately we have the parables of the Kingdom today. The seeds are all within us in embryonic form, like the baby in the womb. The baby in the womb develops "automatically," over nine months but still needs much nurturing. The Kingdom within us needs more attention. We have got to work at it. Being decent people, loving everyone regardless of their situation, abilities or background, being willing to help, to share, to not spread bad talk or rumours, supporting and encouraging, rejoicing in their well-being. Breathing deeply and reflecting on the values of our life. (Plato once said, "An unreflected life is not worth living.") Being willing to promote people and make them feel good about themselves. Some of us have perfected this to a large degree and some of us not so well. But hopefully all of us are on the road to blossoming into mature loving, serene adults. And so the Kingdom has grown within us. Now when you get many people like this in a parish, you can say the Kingdom exists among us. God's presence is experienced and felt by those people who come into close contact with us. What a beautiful parish St James is. Many people who join us talk of the happiness and joy in our celebrations and in our hospitality. Long may it live. And like the individual above, we are on the road. How far down the road? God knows. But post Covid let us move forward with greater determination. So now we as the church are at the service of the Kingdom, trying to make this world a better place for all God's children.
Published on 04 June 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 7th June - Sun 13th June 2021.pdf
Today, Jesus gives us the greatest gift of all - Himself. No presents, no money, no wrappings but his very self. How honoured and privileged we truly are. Fed with this food we have a recipe and strength for life and happiness. To be happy - Follow His example. To be rich - Give. To succeed - Serve. To laugh - Make someone laugh.To prosper - Be honest. To excel - Be faithful. To change someone - Change yourself. To be great - Be disciplined. To be strong - Pray often. To live well - Forgive. To talk well - Bind anger. To sleep well - Work hard. To be loved - Love. To be respected - Be polite. To grow in faith - Meditate on the word of God. Deeply pause - To deeply reflect.
Published on 28 May 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 31st May - Sun 6th June 2021.pdf
From the beginning God made them male and female. He talked of a man and woman spending the rest of their life together, a tall order by any standard. But it spells out the need for good homes to rear a family, in an environment where children can grow up confident in the knowledge that they are loved and appreciated for who they are. Yes the need for the couple to be one spiritually, mentally, psychologically, emotionally and physically one. When it works it is wonderful to see and sadly, when it does not work there is a lot of pain for many people. I hope you know the joy of a happy home. Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Trinity, a trinity of "Gods", bound by relationships. The Father and Son loving each other so much that they create a third person called the Holy Spirit; yet so closely united in a bond of love that they are ONE; A FAMILY. Parents, pray together and pray with your children every day and let them see that God is real for you. Also, I hope that in church on a Sunday morning you can feel the presence of the Spirit among us. Singing, praying and caring, so much, that we actually make God's Spirit present.
Published on 21 May 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 24th May - Sun 30th May 2021.pdf
Happy birthday! Yes today is our/your birthday. The Holy Spirit coming upon the apostles gave them the courage to go out and preach and so the church was born. Until now they were a frightened bunch of sad people locked away. Still didn't get the message. Yes the Holy Spirit empowers us all to go out and speak the truth without fear or shame. Are you afraid to go out and proclaim? I like to think of the apostles in the room; frightened yes, but praying and discussing and arguing about what Jesus had said and done and more especially the implications of it. What should they do now? And like the man who stayed up all night, it suddenly dawned on them. It became clear that they too should go and proclaim the Good News and probably die like their master. And so the church was born. I asked the first communion children to draw a picture of the church. --Some drew the building. --Others drew a group of people --And finally one drew a group of people gathered around the Eucharist. Wow!! She was only eight.
Published on 14 May 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 17th May - Sun 23rd May 2021.pdf
For those of us who grow up in a happy home many things in life can come easy. We are loved, we know it and we experience it. This is a great foundation for the future. So Jesus telling us, "to remain in his love," should be second nature to us. GOD IS LOVE. And whoever remains in love remains in God. Do you believe in God? Are you a lover or a fighter? Does tension surround you, are you easy to live with, or is there disturbance wherever you go? Maybe for some love is a confused word, overused and little understood. Why? Because it is self love. The dying prayer of Jesus, "Father may they be one. Father may they be one in us. As you are in me and I am in you, may they be so completely one, that the world will know it was you who sent me." Yes that the world will know that the only way is love. Jesus tells us that He has consecrated us in the TRUTH, his truth, that we may be faithful. We await the Holy Spirit to come this week and teach us everything. These next few days are a special time of prayer to be open to the Holy Spirit and let Him lead you. If you have been born into violence and division you have my full sympathy, but there is still a way forward. It is a greater challenge, yes and more difficult, but God loves all his children equally and you deserve all the more credit in your struggle. Find a trusted friend. If I can be there............?
Published on 07 May 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 10th May - Sun 16th May 2021.pdf
If you want a friend; be a friend! If someone said to you, you are my best friend, wouldn't you be really chuffed? We all like to be friends and we all like good friends; the type that won't let you down. We really should be over the moon; Jesus has called us his friend. With a friend in Jesus, we surely are made up. And because we are his friends He has told us everything He has learnt from his Father. Yes! Friends do not keep secrets from each other. As He says, He wants our joy to be complete. Pause for a few moments and think what Joy you experience in your life right now? Imagine the sheer peace of knowing that Jesus wants the best for you. If you want to make that joy even more real, help the Lord:- "To reveal his saving power to the nations." Giving love away is the way to increase it in our own heart. Truly it is in giving we receive. Enjoy being an active missionary.
Published on 30 April 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 3rd May - Sun 9th May 2021.pdf
Hello everybody, hope you are all keeping well. During the pandemic many people did great work not only in the country as a whole, but here in our own parish.. A very sincere thanks to all. Hopefully, with fingers crossed and prayer, we are on the recovery road, but still observe the necessary restrictions. Here in St James’ your faithfulness to weekly mass, from the beginning has been encouraging. Others have been more cautious and kept their distance. I would encourage you to read what our bishops said recently:- “At this moment, then, we need to have in our sights the need to restore to its rightful centrality in our lives the Sunday Mass; encouraging each to take his or her place, once again, in the assembly of our brothers and sisters. We face the task of seeking to nurture the sense of Sunday as ‘a weekly gift from God to his people’, and something we cannot do without; to see Sunday as the soul of the week, as giving light and meaning to all the responsibilities we live out each day; to see the Sunday Eucharist as food for the unique mission with which we have been endowed.” Today’s Gospel where we see Jesus as the vine and He Himself tells:- "Cut off from me you can do nothing." Please it would be great to see you all again and do encourage each other. As Cardinal Nicholas says:- "It's time to put Mass back in the heart of our lives." Lots of love and prayers.
Published on 23 April 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 26th April - Sun 2nd May 2021.pdf
Today is very much my feast day. I hope it is not presumptuous of me to say so and align myself with the great good shepherd, Jesus Christ. But then it was he who called me. If it were not for Him I would not be where I am today. 49 years ago He called me, why I genuinely do not know. But then He did call a lot of strange people. On my ordination card I wrote, "By the grace of God." And 49 years later I see no reason to change it. I have survived for 49 years by the grace of God. I am sure many of you feel the same way about yourself, that yes God has been very good to you. It is good to be grateful. As Paul says, "Who can know the mind of God?" Because of Archbishop Bowen I have been blessed with a very fruitful ministry: Five different parishes in Southwark, Balham, Gillingham, Sydenham and Rotherhithe.. Five years with the Catholic Missionary Society in Hampstead...a kind of hit squad going around the country, 12 of us. Seventeen years in Maasai land, Kenya with lions and elephants for breakfast and now, believe it or not, so far, eleven years in sunny Peckham Rye. I pray I'll make my fiftieth. Would I do it all over again...? Probably a silly question, but I certainly have enjoyed my life, I am still enjoying it and if I may say so; "The Lord is a great boss." I trust He finds me a worthy servant. Deo Gratias. Life is too short to argue.
Published on 16 April 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 19th April - Sun 25th April 2021.pdf
Happy Easter again! Hope you are all still enjoying the resurrection in your own life; that things are moving forward and upward. Don't forget God is good. Trust Him, Love Him, believe Him and let it go to Him.These weeks of Easter we see Jesus moving all over the place looking for his Apostles. Last week after one week he revisited the apostles to specifically see Thomas whom he had missed the first time. He goes to Emmaus to find two more. He went down to the Sea of Galilee to find the others who were making a very bad hand of fishing. He was searching them out because they had all lost the plot and were going back to what had been "normal" for them, with what they were familiar. He showed them that there was no going back. Life with the Risen Christ was now going to be different and so it was. They all took on the challenge of living the message and all, like the master Himself lost their lives. At this time and always Jesus is seeking you and I out. We think we are seeking Him and that He is being elusive. But we are the ones being elusive, we don't do our homework. Each time the Gospels tell us that Jesus had to explain to them the meaning of the scriptures, beginning with Moses etc. We too need to be familiar with the scriptures, to spend time with them. Only last Sunday a person asked me “What is the best way to read the bible”. And I said...."Yes! Follow the Sunday readings and prepare your mass. There you too, will find the Risen Christ”.
Published on 09 April 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 12th April - Sun 18th April 2021.pdf
Happy Easter again! Yes happy Easter, because Easter is not a day, it is a life. We are an Easter people, so every day is an Easter day. A day when we are positive, resurrected and happy that God is on our side. Stay close to Him. So, happy Easter again! The pandemic has isolated us and kept us apart. But congratulations, here at St James most of you were in church over last weekend. It was great to see you all. Stay with it. If we take a few of the Easter Gospel stories; Thomas went off home and cut himself off from the gang/church. Peter and another went back home to Emmaus and lost heart. And I'm sure the rest of them slunk out of Jerusalem, quietly, hoping they would not be noticed. The church could have died. Easter 2019, I "celebrated" if you could call it a celebration here in church on my own. I could have thrown in the towel. Faith is not a private affair. As St John Paul told the young people in Cardiff, "a private, personal and individual approach to our faith is not Christian and comes from total distorted view of Christianity." So the coming together last weekend was a real joy and I hope a real faith builder for all of us. We need each other, so let's stay together and build our parish into a parish to be proud of. Thanks. Thanks again to all who helped in any way with the liturgies over the Easter period. You did a great job under difficult circumstances. Also thanks for all you gifts, financial and otherwise and your well wishes. St James's is great. Be blessed.
Published on 02 April 2021
NEWSLETTER Mon 5th April - Sun 11th April 2021.pdf
"Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ has come again." I hope you have met Him. Celebrating the greatest weekend in the church. Thursday at the Last Supper Christ must be very worried about the future of the Father's Kingdom. Peter whom He has chosen to be leader is about to betray Him. Judas will do the same with a kiss. At the supper the apostles are having a seminar about "who is the greatest." In the garden his three best friends are found snoring. At the cross they all run away apart from John and the three women. Why Jesus did not put women in charge, I will never know? Ladies take a bow. And we call it all Good Friday? We now make a quick transition to Easter, forward and upward. Again the women are to the front. They are the first ones to see New Life. Again I ask, why did Jesus not put women in charge, I will never know? The men don't seem to get it??????? The women wait, they expect, they hope they desire, they long. And they understand. Were they in Love? From Death to Life. From lack of forgiveness to total forgiveness. From selfishness to generosity. From negativity to positivity. From lies to truth. From hate to love. From COVID 19 to memories.