Newsletter

St James the Great Weekly Newsletter

pdf NEWSLETTER Mon 17th May Sun 23rd May 2021 New

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NEWSLETTER Mon 17th May Sun 23rd May 2021

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............?   

pdf NEWSLETTER Mon 10th May Sun 16th May 2021

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NEWSLETTER Mon 10th May - Sun 16th May 2021.pdf

NEWSLETTER Mon 10th May Sun 16th May 2021

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.

pdf NEWSLETTER Mon 3rd May Sun 9th May 2021

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NEWSLETTER Mon 3rd May - Sun 9th May 2021.pdf

NEWSLETTER Mon 3rd May Sun 9th May 2021

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.

pdf NEWSLETTER Mon 26th April Sun 2nd May 2021

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NEWSLETTER Mon 26th April - Sun 2nd May 2021.pdf

NEWSLETTER Mon 26th April Sun 2nd May 2021

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.

pdf NEWSLETTER Mon 19th April Sun 25th April 2021

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NEWSLETTER Mon 19th April - Sun 25th April 2021.pdf

NEWSLETTER Mon 19th April Sun 25th April 2021

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”.

 

pdf NEWSLETTER Mon 12th April Sun 18th April 2021

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NEWSLETTER Mon 12th April - Sun 18th April 2021.pdf

NEWSLETTER Mon 12th April Sun 18th April 2021

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.

pdf NEWSLETTER Mon 5th April Sun 11th April 2021 Popular

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NEWSLETTER Mon 5th April - Sun 11th April 2021.pdf

NEWSLETTER Mon 5th April Sun 11th April 2021

"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.

pdf NEWSLETTER Mon 29th March Sun 4th April 2021 Popular

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NEWSLETTER Mon 29th March - Sun 4th April 2021.pdf

NEWSLETTER Mon 29th March Sun 4th April 2021

This week as we celebrate the passion of the Lord, I am sure many of you feel you are having your own passion, some more severe than others. Let us all keep each other in our prayers and as I have so often said here, "Do not suffer alone." Many people have come to have a chat, outside, in church or wherever and I do believe, we all are the stronger for it. No magic solutions but like Jesus on the way to Calvary met different people: Veronica, his mother, the women of Jerusalem, Simon of Cyrene, even the soldiers; all different encounters, some brutal, some helpful and others helpless, but caring. We probably all feel a bit like that today, helpless but caring, just don't do it alone. Jesus on the cross could not even give himself a drink; helpless but caring. It was then He saved you.

pdf NEWSLETTER Mon 22nd March Sun 28th March 2021 Popular

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NEWSLETTER Mon 22nd March - Sun 28th March 2021.pdf

NEWSLETTER Mon 22nd March Sun 28th March 2021

Hope you are all keeping well? I said before and I say again, "Don't suffer alone." Please God the end is in sight. And hope springs eternal. Easter is a way of life and not just a day. We are now moving towards Good Friday and Jesus is reconciled to the fact there is no turning back. The only way out now is through the Cross. "Now the hour has come." St Paul says something similar;- "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, all that is left now for me is the crown of glory." Pick up my trophy. I hope when my time comes I can share in the above sentiments and make them my own. Such a noble way to face death.

pdf NEWSLETTER Mon 15th March Sun 21st March 2021 Popular

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NEWSLETTER Mon 15th March Sun 21st March 2021

Love is a much loved word. But how much do we actually know about love, or more especially about the experience of being loved. I love football, chocolate, a good movie. Fine, these things make me happy, but not much more. I can live without them. So when we talk about the love of God........what does it do for me? Do I really feel empowered to do, to be something, do I feel energised. That's how I like to imagine my marriage, my wife/husband energise me, empowers me, encourages me to go on and do great things.It/she/he gives me inner strength. Often when I ask in church, "who is in love?" I can see some people who actually radiate joy and enthusiasm. They clearly are in love. That's like the love of God within us. I radiate power and joy..

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 8th MARCH 2021 SUN 14th MARCH 2021 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 8th MARCH 2021 SUN 14th MARCH 2021

Hope you are keeping well and not suffering too much because of the pandemic. Please don’t suffer alone.  Get in touch. It would be infantile to see the cleansing of the temple in today’s gospel as just a tidy up operation only. Jesus was throwing out the whole notion of offering sacrifices of animals and buying your way into heaven. Now there will be one supreme sacrifice of Himself and the only way to tap into it is through Love. “He offered himself once and for all.” Share in his love and share that love with the rest of the world. Get rid of the clutter in your own life that comes between you and God.  Prayer/Screen.  Accumulating/sharing. Selfish/helping, Happy/grumpy, Forgiving/unforgiving. Time/busy, Money/generosity.  The clutter is endless.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 1st MARCH 2021 SUN 7th MARCH 2021 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 1st MARCH 2021 SUN 7th FEBRUARY 2021 .pdf

NEWSLETTER MON 1st MARCH 2021 SUN 7th MARCH 2021

Go up your own Mount Tabor with Jesus and your two best friends.  Imagine the impossible and enjoy being cradled by the heat of the sun.  Enjoys the comfort of being cuddled by God. Enjoy the light wind on your face, the beauty of the mountainside and the sheer peace of just being away from everything.  Let your imagination go crazy. Tell Jesus about you and your thoughts and ask him how he is feeling.  Do wait for an answer.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 22nd FEBRUARY 2021 SUN 28th FEBRUARY 2021 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 22nd FEBRUARY 2021 SUN 28th FEBRUARY 2021.pdf

NEWSLETTER MON 22nd FEBRUARY 2021 SUN 28th FEBRUARY 2021

Hi,

Hope you got off to a good start for Lent.  If not start again.  The Kingdom is within you.  You are the most valuable thing on this planet. Enjoy it.

Love and prayers, 

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 15th FEBRUARY 2021 SUN 21st FEBRUARY 2021 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 15th FEBRUARY 2021 SUN 21st FEBRUARY 2021.pdf

NEWSLETTER MON 15th FEBRUARY 2021 SUN 21st FEBRUARY 2021

I hope and pray that you and yours are all ok under God’s protection.  I pray for you every day at the altar. Spring is in the air, the days are getting longer, many are vaccinated and the kingdom of God is within us and among us. Lent is on the horizon and again the call of the Gospel is, “REPENT.”  Mortification and penance are about being in charge of body and soul.  The thing is, if I am eating too much chocolate, drinking too much alcohol, munching too many crisps, consuming, too many biscuits, feasting on too many cakes and sweet thing, not bothering about others and their wellbeing, just basically being self-centred,   being lazy and careless with my prayer life, not bothering with mass/communion.   Then you are not in charge of your life. So repent, change your ways, get in control of your life, body and soul and be a divine person ruled by your head and God and not just following your basic instincts.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 08th FEBRUARY 2021 SUN 14th FEBRUARY 2021 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 08th FEBRUARY 2021 SUN 14th FEBRUARY 2021

“The fever left her and she began to wait on them.”
In this time of pandemic let us wait on each other.
Please we are our brother and sisters keeper.  If there is anything we/I can do please talk or forever hold your peace.
Love and prayers,

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 01st FEBRUARY 2021 SUN 07th FEBRUARY 2021 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 01st FEBRUARY 2021 SUN 07th FEBRUARY 2021

Today is Racial Justice Sunday
The second collection today is to support the Catholic Association for Racial Justice who promote racial justice in our schools, parishes and wider society. Racism is a hateful vice in the heart of any man or woman.
We are all brothers and sisters made in the image of our Father.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 25th JANUARY 2020 SUN 31st JANUARY 2021 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 25th JANUARY 2020 SUN 31st JANUARY 2021.pdf

NEWSLETTER MON 25th JANUARY 2020 SUN 31st JANUARY 2021

*I AM THE "7%"*

_This is something we should all read at least once a week!!!!! Make sure you read to the end!!!!!!_

Written by *Regina Brett*, 90 years old, of the Plain b Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio_

*To celebrate growing older, I once wrote few lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written.*

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 18th JANUARY 2020 SUN 24th JANUARY 2021 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 18th JANUARY 2020 SUN 24th JANUARY 2021

What a beautiful scene above by the sea of Galilee. Wouldn’t I love to be there in such a setting?  But I have been there.  That’s me standing in the background. An old photograph 2019 I think. What a most ordinary common question, “Where do you live?” How many times have we all asked? Then the wonderful invitation, “Come and see.” Jesus does not tell them, He actually brings them. Like in a supermarket, you ask where the malt loaf is and the staff says I’ll show you. Two things to notice:-

1.  They were just going about their daily work when they met Jesus.  Not in prayer, not in church.

2. He was prepared to spend time with them.

As you go about your life have your eyes and eyes open.  Spend time with people and you will see Jesus.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 11th JANUARY 2020 SUN 17th JANUARY 2021 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 11th JANUARY 2020 SUN 17th JANUARY 2021

Christmas has come and gone but Jesus remains.  Don't pack Him off with the decorations.  Keep the joy and hope of the season alive. Brexit has come and gone we will see the fall out. And please God Covid will be gone in the not to distance future. Keep your heart up and your faith alive. Mass is still on as normal. Don't just dismass it as being oportune. Keep your faith immunity alive.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 04th JANUARY 2020 SUN 10th JANUARY 2021 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 04th JANUARY 2020 - SUN 10th JANUARY 2021.pdf

NEWSLETTER MON 04th JANUARY 2020 SUN 10th JANUARY 2021

For all your gifts, financial, cards and otherwise. For your love, cooperation, friendship and support over the year,  I believe we have all grown stronger in the Lord.

Thank you for all you do for the building of God’s Kingdom here in Peckham Rye. May we grow stronger and more prayerful in 2021. 

Lots of love,

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 28th DECEMBER 2020 SUN 10th JANUARY 2021 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 28th DECEMBER 2020 - SUN 10th JANUARY 2021.pdf

NEWSLETTER MON 28th DECEMBER 2020 SUN 10th JANUARY 2021

As we say goodbye to 2020, we look forward to 2021. 2020 probably tested our hope and our joy, but thank God we are alive. If any of your family or loved ones have died, we trust that they are happy with God in heaven. Sincere thanks to all the people who helped in St James’ parish over the past year, people with their time, talent and treasure have made this parish what it is, sincere thanks to you all. We look forward with hope to 2021 and with God there is joy in your hearts. Stay safe, lots of love, prayers and blessings.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 21st DECEMBER 2020 SUN 27th DECEMBER 2020 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 21st DECEMBER 2020 - SUN 27th DECEMBER 2020.pdf

NEWSLETTER MON 21st DECEMBER 2020 SUN 27th DECEMBER 2020

"God our Father, you loved us so much you sent us your only Son, Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, to save us and lead us back to you. "We pray that, with your blessing, these images of Jesus might be a sign of your presence and love in our homes. "Good Father, give your blessing to all who gather with us this Christmas, family and friends. Open our hearts, that we might receive Jesus in joy, do always what he asks of us and see him in those who need our love. And we ask Him now to throw his mantle around each one of us during this pandemic. Keep us and ours safe and may we be faithful servants. "We ask this in the name of Jesus, your beloved Son, who came to give peace to the world. You, who live and reign forever and ever. Amen."

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 14th DECEMBER 2020 SUN 20th DECEMBER 2020 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 14th DECEMBER 2020 SUN 20th DECEMBER 2020

There has been bad news with Covid, sad news with deaths and fake new with Trump, but like John the Baptist I come with Good News. Yet so often people do not want to hear it; the simple message is, "we all hear what we want to hear." As a cliché tells us in another place, "there is none so deaf as those who do not want to hear." So do we all in our own way add to the misery of the world? Each one of us adding a little bit of selfishness here and there, making up to a pandemic not necessarily Covid but a pandemic of selfishness and "I'll do it my way." Jesus came with a simple message of peace to all people of good will. And I do believe the more I see Christ in my own life, the more I see him in others.

 

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 7th DECEMBER 2020 SUN 13th DECEMBER 2020 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 7th DECEMBER 2020 SUN 13th DECEMBER 2020

As we move through advent, preparation to receive Jesus at Christmas should be top of our agenda. The gospel calls on us to move on, grow up, confess our sins, repent. The twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, all ask us to go contrary to our natural desires . . . they all deflate our egos. When it comes to ego deflation, few Steps are harder to take than Step Five. But scarcely any Step is more necessary to long time sobriety and peace of mind than this one step "ADMIT WRONGS." Once I admit, I can begin to grow. Accountability and healing is very necessary in the life of us all, especially the life of a Christian. So often I settle for, "I'm OK." I need a human mirror so that I can dump, ventilate, release, and be forgiven. Someone has to be prepared to sit in the “mercy seat” (Exodus 25:17-22) and declare with authority that what God forgives, they dare not hold against themselves, or one another. In short, admitting our wrongs in confession and not only moving on, but growing.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 30th NOVEMBER 2020 SUN 6th DECEMBER 2020 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 30th NOVEMBER 2020 SUN 6th DECEMBER 2020

As we move into Advent we remember Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. But today Jesus tells us, "Be on your guard, stay awake." Stay awake, HERE and NOW. Yesterday is history and gone, tomorrow may never come, so make the most of the here and now. Life is a journey and an adventure. Bur many people live with the obsession of wanting to arrive. I hope to go to heaven eventually but I WANT TO ENJOY THE JOURNEY here and now. That's why I enjoy being a member of the church, travelling together, helping each other along the way, support when you're under pressure. As you travel along, notice your neighbour, the smell of a flower, the beauty of the sky, the crispness of the autumn weather, the breeze on your face and in your heart the HOPE of spring/vaccine. So "stay awake," or so Jesus says.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 23rd NOVEMBER 2020 SUN 29th NOVEMBER 2020 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 23rd NOVEMBER 2020 SUN 29th NOVEMBER 2020

Jesus said, “What good is it to love your friend? Even gang members do that.” Okay, He really said tax collectors… but I figured gang members would be a modern day equivalent of the cliché bad guy.
Jesus routinely calls us to do more than love our friends. In Matthew 25 He tells us, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto me.” We have to go beyond our comfort zone. We have to have charity that’s wider than our social circles. It doesn’t do us any good to only love the people we know. We also have to love the stranger and not just the well-to-do stranger, who could turn into our benefactor, who can pay us back. No, we’re called to have charity towards the least of these strangers. We’re called to love the invisible person. The person who means little to us, the person we hardly even think of; whose existence we barely notice. Instead of overlooking these individuals, we need to challenge ourselves to see Christ in them. To serve them as we would serve Christ Himself. "Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me."

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 16th NOVEMBER 2020 SUN 22nd NOVEMBER 2020 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 16th NOVEMBER 2020 SUN 22nd NOVEMBER 2020

We are all gifted in one way or another and some of us may feel we have been dealt a poor hand in life. Whether it be 5, 3 or 1, appreciate what you have been given. The real beauty of talents is not how many I have, but how well do I use my talent. We see many less well able people achieving great things with very little. But they are mega in their determination. We admire and congratulate people like them. As a young person growing up I was a fluent Irish speaker. I did not use it after leaving school and so I lost it. As we say; "Use it or lose it." So the land owner, Jesus is going off to a distant land, heaven. He has totally trusted us and given us, as his people, everything we need to make the world a good place for everyone. He has given us the tools, wonderful creation, sacraments, prayer, each other and he has given us all different gifts, talents to take care of it. Some of us could not manage five talents so Jesus, very kindly has given us what he knows 4, 3, 2, 1, according to our ability to be fruitful.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 9th NOVEMBER 2020 SUN 15th NOVEMBER 2020 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 9th NOVEMBER 2020 SUN 15th NOVEMBER 2020

We now live in what the New Testament call the present age and we look forward to the age to come. But we already live in the age to come which began with the Death and resurrection of Christ. It is what you might say, “Already but not yet.” The new age has begun but its fulfillment is in the future. This is what we say every Sunday in the creed- “I look forward to the resurrection from the dead and the life of the world to come.” Look at what Paul is saying in the second reading. So start living the new life here and now if you have not already started.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 2nd NOVEMBER 2020 SUN 8th NOVEMBER 2020 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 2nd NOVEMBER 2020 SUN 8th NOVEMBER 2020

A woman was taking her child around a very fine church in Paris. When her child saw the stained glass windows, she got very excited and asked her mum what they were. Mum replied that they were saints. The child, not to be daunted, asked, "And what is a saint Mammy." "They are very good people who have died and gone to heaven," mum replied. The child was not impressed. As they continued with their tour, the child got very excited and shouted mammy, mammy, I know what a saint is. Mammy is all ears. "A saint is someone who lets the light in." I don't think I can give you a better answer- They are people we all know who were a breath of fresh air when they were about, they brought light, joy and fun to our lives. As Pope Francis says. "A sad Christian is a bad ad for our faith." These are the fruits of the Holy Spirit: joy, love, fun, harmony, enthusiasm, generosity, co-operation and togetherness. I hope you are blessed with many of these gifts and that we will all be saints one day.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 26th OCTOBER 2020 SUN 1st NOVEMBER 2020 Popular

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NEWSLETTER MON 26th OCTOBER 2020 SUN 1st NOVEMBER 2020

Our readings today are straight talking and if we read carefully there is no ambiguity about what we should do. The Book of Exodus originated in the exiled Jewish community of 6th-century BC and was written a lot later, around 1450 to 1400 BC. The need to take care of the stranger / migrant / immigrant, the widow and orphan, we could add many more to that list.
The Gospel talks about loving God and each other and again we could add in the planet. I have included with the newsletter, an open letter on the protection of the Amazon to the world leaders from Ecuador Indigenous leader Nemonte Nenquimo. The Amazon is one of the most vital landscapes on our planet: it not only contains 30% of the world’s rainforest but it is also home to 10% of all known species. More crucially, the Amazon plays a critical role in regulating global climate, the water cycle as well as its role in system resilience which is fundamental for planetary health. We also recognise that it is also a crucial economic resource for Brazil, for both now and in the future. Last year, widespread fires and destruction in the Amazon made news across the globe.

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Today's gospel is a classic approach of a non-genuine person. I'm sure we have all met them. They come and patronise Jesus "We know you are an honest man........." Then they lay their trap. But Jesus can see their skulduggery. So he more or less ignores their question. The Pope sums up beautifully the answer:- "Christians are called to commit themselves concretely in the human and social spheres without comparing 'God and Caesar; comparing God and Caesar would be a fundamentalist approach. Christians are called to commit themselves concretely in earthly realities, but illuminating them with the light that comes from God. The primary entrustment to God and hope in him do not imply an escape from reality, but rather the diligent rendering to God that which belongs to him. … To live earthly life to the fullest, and to meet its challenges with courage. Pope Francis, The Angeles, Oct.22, 2017.
The image of Cesar may be stamped on the coin, but the image of God is stamped on each one of us. Be confident and hold your head up high, "You are worth more than many coins."

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Another familiar parable.
Let us just take a few simple lessons from today's gospel. How you dress coming to church is not important, you may say, Christ is more interested in the spirit in which you come. True. “But the dress often proclaimeth the person." Church going must never be a fashion parade. But there is a garment of the mind and of the heart and of the soul – the garment of expectation, the garment of humble penitence, the garment of faith, the garment of reverence - and these are the garments of which we ought to approach God. It is too often the case we go to God's house with no preparation at all; if every man, woman in our congregation came to church prepared for worship, after a little prayer, a little thought, and a little self-examination, then worship would be worship indeed - the worship in which and through which, things happen to people's souls and in the life of the church and in the affairs of the world.

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A great parable to teach us many things: It tells us about God. It tells us about God's trust in people. The owner of the vineyard gives out the land and goes abroad.He totally trusts them to get on with the job.It tells us about God's patience with us. He sends messenger and messenger to tell us the truth and we refuse to listen. He even sent his own son and we refused to listen. It tells us about God's judgement. He eventually takes the job away from the people. What a horrible indictment?It tells us about people.How privileged we are. We are given everything necessary to do the job.The freedom we have got. We are left to get on with life as we can.We have got to be answerable for what we do or don't do.Tells us about the deliberateness of human sin. It tells us about Jesus.Tells us about Jesus' willingness to die for us. Jesus claims to be unique. He is the Son.

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Two sons, two stories: It would be easy to criticise the rights and wrongs of the two, I'm good at that; the whole world passes every day before my tribunal. I've found plenty of guilt in politics, economics, slums, alcohol and the film industry. I see it in so many people, Christians, priests, politicians; all in all, in just about the whole world except me. Because of this many people pack up their faith, their going to church etc. The great pity about all of this is that people throw out the baby (Jesus) with the bath water. Paul wants people to believe in Christ so that they will be united in their love, with a common purpose and a common mind. That is the one thing that would make us completely happy. We were made for love and outside of it we die very quickly.

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Life is not fair but it is wonderful.
Looking at today's gospel that is all I can say, because most of us would think it is unfair. A few thoughts to guide us. I do not have a right to salvation. It is a free gift from God.
Everybody needs a just wage to live. The guy in the morning had 5 kids but so also did the guy who came in the evening have 5 kids, so..?
This spells out the fairness of Jesus: Concern for ALL people.

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Many of us have been hurt by the actions or words of another. Perhaps a parent, teacher or coach constantly criticised you growing up; a friend sabotaged a project, or your partner had an affair. Or maybe you've had a traumatic experience, such as being physically, emotionally or sexually abused by someone close to you.These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger and bitterness — even revenge. But if you don't forgive, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. The real beneficiary of forgiveness is myself.

 

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Hello Everybody, Great to see so many of you today, I hope we can go forward on a positive note and continue to be an active part of God's family here in Peckham. If you did not make it, today, we hope to see you soon. Post Covid there will be many experts and know-alls in hindsight, easy to be wise after the event. Why is true joy harder to access and hold onto rather than anger, bitterness and fear?

 

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The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for
we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s
poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded

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Aleppo has long been a martyred city. In the nine years since the outbreak of fighting in Syria, it has been at the heart of the clashes. As a consequence, it has lost four-fifths of its diverse
Christian population. There are only about 30,000 people left from the various denominations. Most of them are elderly. Most of the younger Christians have fled the war torn country.
Despite this dramatic situation, Aleppo's newly restored Maronite Cathedral was due to be re-opened on July 20. St. Elijah's Cathedral suffered severe damage from bombings. Its roof had been totally destroyed. "It is a sign of hope after the feeling of having lost everything," rejoiced Archbishop Joseph Tobji, Maronite Archbishop of Aleppo.

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A Catholic priest and staunch critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte fears he is being watched and could be arrested by the government after discovering videos and photos were taken of him and his congregation by police during a Mass in his Manila parish church. Activist priest, Father Robert Reyes of San Isidro Labrador Parish in Quezon City, said his parish’s closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera captured uniformed policemen taking photos of him during his Sunday Mass on July 12. Father Reyes said the discovery was disturbing and had left him fearing for his security and his parishioners. “Their behaviour was very suspicious. If they were on official business, they should have had the courtesy to ask permission,” Father Reyes said in an interview. Father Reyes is known as the “running priest” for bringing attention to social issues through running. In 2019, Father Reyes together with two other priests said they had received death threats
for speaking out against Duterte’s war on drugs. Father Reyes openly denounced extrajudicial killings saying they were contrary to the teachings of Christ.

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Thanks mum that was a lovely meal, I really enjoyed. Yes indeed! But much work went into that meal, shopping, paying, washing, preparing, cooking, serving and you enjoying. The soil that yielded a rich harvest in today’s gospel, only produce a full harvest because the farmer had done good work. Ploughing, harrowing, spraying, rain and sunshine. Yes a bumper crop. Think of any famous footballer/athlete, the immense training n they have to put in. During this time of lockdown we have plenty of time to prepare our Sunday readings. Reading, praying, thinking, discussing, meeting Jesus in his word. If your mum did not prepare you would go to bed hungry. And so as Catholics we go to mass on Sunday with no preparation and we leave hungry.  Very hungry.  And so we say mass is boring.  And I would agree.   No pain, no gain.

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A yoke is a bit of harness specially made for two particular animals. Made to fit, bespoke for the person wearing it.  And so to Jesus, His yoke is light, no more than we can bear, but more important He is the one pulling and working with us.  That is truly why it is light. As Paul says. “With God on our side who can be against us. ”Jesus is saying this to counteract the harshness of the attitude of the Pharisees.  And their problem was…. They were always looking in the wrong places. Jesus tells us to become like little children, with humility and simplicity. Listen to Him in this trying times, “Come to me all you who labour and overburdened and I will give you rest. Learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart.”

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A feast of two great heroes of the Church.  Following Christ to the death. Peter, a fisherman and probably not to educated but with a heart as big as a house. Paul, a tent maker and a prolific writer. Like all of us they had their history/ humility. Peter who denied Jesus several times.  Paul who thought he was doing a great job for “god” by killing Christians. But both fiercely remained close to Christ and died for love of him. Our faith has to be a deep love rooted in Our Lord Jesus Christ.  And never more so than now.A few quotes from both of them. “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ.” “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

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There are many things in today’s world that can make us fearful, the pandemic, the threat of terrorism, the fear of job loss, anxiety connected with our children and family, lack of money. Unfortunately God is not a Santa Clause to take away our fear and give us what we want. However in the Bible God tells us no less than 365 times not to be afraid. So I believe, now more than ever we are called to an intimacy with God, to live in the present moment.  This is holiness.  Yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come.  The only true reality is now.  Yesterday may be full of guilt and failure.  Let it go, God has.  Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday, it is here, live it. Some of us may have grown up with the fear of God, this later became reverence.  I love the word of young people today, “God you are awesome,” and he has replied; - “Jack your awesome.”  Relax and enjoy his company.

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If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. Can this be true? Well a pie needs flour and if you make your own flour from scratch, you will need wheat and milling equipment.  To get that, you will need a farm and metal, soil and minerals and farming skills. You’ll need seed of course. Likewise for the apples –and don’t forget some bees for the pollination.  You’ll need to organise the climate also, else nothing will grow.

So throw in the clouds, sun, rain and seasons.  Invent electricity, add water and a few cloves and sugar to taste.  To truly say it was I who made the pie, you’ll have to make the primary elements which you would sweep up from the dead stars.  And don’t forget to create a dynamic order so everything happens at the right time and dovetails with everything else.

(Carl Sagan  and  I enjoyed it)

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Don’t just watch UK news only. You very quickly become isolated and forget there is a big world out there in need of our prayers. With God as Daddy we should never forget we are FAMILY.
While COVID-19 and the American disaster may unite us in a common bond, we need to be much more clearly united under the leadership of Jesus who loved us so much that He died for every single man, woman and child ever born. Who are we to think any less of any one? Let us stand as a generation that loves each other. July 4th has been a suggested day to going back to church. Got no details yet, but watch this space. Still need a few more volunteers/Marshalls for when it does happen. Don’t be shy.

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The gospel is not idealism but realism plus. And we have got to hold the mystery without understanding it. At this time, I find that God can live in our emptiness. But staying connected as I said above and also “holding hands” with 2 or 3 other people, not just in service but in solidarity. As Jesus says; - “Where 2 or 3 people are gathered…….” Don’t forget the people in your own house partner, parents, children, brother, sister. Mother Theresa says: - “Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.” Let us go forward in hope but truly in humility.

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Dear Friends, I hope you, your family and friends are coping with the present crisis. I have been doing much facetime with individuals and groups. It is very supportive for all of us. Give me a call. Make the words of today’s psalm your own, “I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.”

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...Because our minds are closed. I have been so used to doing things this way, I can't change now. An arrogance of refusing to listen. To hear and be converted to Jesus Christ. Humility is an essential virtue for the Christian. Lack of it keeps me trapped in my own way in my own little miserable, narrow world. Refusing to open up to new ways, to the spirit of God which we are awaiting at Pentecost. In this time of pandemic Jesus is not leaving us orphans...

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ZOOM connection for Tuesday the 12th May at 7.30. Be encouraging to see you.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81151341409

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You can't run from trouble. There isn't a place that far. However, today's Psalm gives us a place. Whenever things seem to be hopeless I, personally repeat different lines over and over again. It does work and He is our refuge, our only refuge. This psalm ends with the line: “Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Maybe here in the UK if I say dog instead of sheep, we will better understand. Think of the relationship between a dog and his owner, how well the dog knows the voice of the owner, the dog listens to instructions of ‘heal, sit, fetch, come here, no’. Think of the excitement of the dog in seeing his owner, going for a walk, listening for instructions, the joy of being patted and told "good boy/girl." Who loves the most, the dog or the owner?

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The two disciples are leaving Jerusalem. They had known Jesus for many years and had followed Him. No doubt they were devastated by his crucifixion. Furthermore they were undoubtedly frightened by the prospect of what might happen to them as followers of Jesus. On their way home, they meet a STRANGER. They begin with small talk but quickly they realise this man knows a lot about scripture. BUT SADLY THEY MAKE NO CONNECTION BETWEEN WHAT HE SAYS AND WHO HE IS. (could be any Sunday morning) Then in the house they recognise Him and RUSH BACK TO JERUSALEM TO TELL THE GOOD NEWS. Christ cannot be contained in our churches or homes. They may very well have headed straight into death like Jesus. Here we see the power of the resurrection.

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Fear is fear and it can be very frightening, even paralysing. At the moment people are afraid to go out. Many parents tell me, that their children are afraid to go out. People are afraid of hospitals, even to go for a routine checkup. Fear of an operation, fear of exams, or no exams. Fear of dying. Many parallels with today's readings. The apostles are locked in the room, for fear of the Jews. They are probably also afraid of Jesus and recriminations. They had abandoned Him at the time of his death. One of them had turned him over to the authorities. Another had denied he even knew Jesus. The others ran away, apparently in fear. That same fear still gripped them and the disciples stayed behind locked doors, like many of us now...

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If you love you will get hurt, probably killed. If you do not love you are probably dead already. Christianity is the door to infinity and that was never more true than today, Sunday of the resurrection. We are called out of the darkness of the tomb and to infinity. Jesus is preparing the future. True courage is not being unafraid, it is not being prisoners of ones fear. Peter and all the apostles denied and abandoned Jesus on Good Friday, but today they are transformed into men and women of courage and vision. Mary Magdalene rushes back, with love to tell the good news. They now are people of excitement, enthusiasm and energy. They will go on to change the world.

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Dear Friends in Christ, so much has been said and so much to do. Words and apps can become very meaningless, at best empty. Tomorrow as we move into the Passion of Jesus, we have some chance of Light. The Passion was never more timely.Jesus endured the sense of being abandoned by the one He loved most, his Abba. He chose to experience all of humanity’s worst suffering. What does this tell us? Even though he couldn’t access their love, do you think the Father and the Spirit were there with Jesus on the cross? Given that this is immeasurable love, how do you respond to it? The Cross of Christ bears the suffering and the sin of mankind, including our own. Jesus accepts all this with open arms,bearing on his shoulders our crosses and saying to us: “Have courage! You do not carry your cross alone! I carry it with you.

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For all those who have died from the present virus, we pray that they are with God in heaven. Our hearts go out to their families and loved ones. I celebrate mass for all of you and for the world every day. I walk around the church three times, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, asking God to embrace you all in your absence and keep you in his love wherever you are. We fight at times but it is lonesome without you. We all are the poorer. Whether you live or whether you die, you are in my hands says the Lord. If only I could trust Him. Many people are now living in very confined spaces for long periods. Parents may find they are not able to provide, money may be scarcer, nerves may be frayed and tensions could be mounting in these situations. Look out for each other, help where you can and remind your children to keep an eye on their friends too, friends are needed now, more than ever.

And trust in Him.

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Let us pray,
God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
The psalmist today tells us - "The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want."Let these be our mantras as we go through this trying time for all of us. Like the footballer who never takes his eyes of the goal mouth, we must never take our eyes off God, otherwise we won’t win. When we take our eyes off God, we begin to see all sorts of funny things, like the people in today’s Gospel: Is this a wicked man since he is blind? Was he born blind because his parents were sinners? God has got the whole world in his hands, even in our crises. Of this we are sure. Don't blame him for one little bit of what is happening. Be strong in his name, He will conquer. Let us work together for the good of all.

 

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My favourite gospel...The woman at the well, or as we had in Ireland, the village pump. These meeting points were as good as any BBC and the precursor to the radio. People gathered every morning to get
water for the day and also to catch up with the local news, especially the local gossip. Hence the woman of Samaria could not go in the early morning since the chances are that she would be a big topic of conversation. She, like the Englishman, had to go out in the mid- day sun when she would be on her own. There she had a wonderful encounter with Jesus, probably the first man who respected her and did not want her for her body. First we have denial on the part of the woman, so Jesus’ first job is to get her to face the truth about herself and her life. As she does so we see her growing, as Jesus helps her to face up to the truth about her life. As she faces the truth about herself she grows in her understanding of Jesus.
Look at the growth:
I see you are a Jew,
I see you are a prophet
I see you are the Christ
You are the Messiah.
Only when we face the truth about ourselves can we come to know Christ.
Because He IS THE TRUTH.

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This Gospel is all about encouragement.
Jesus takes three apostles up the mountain and gives them a glimpse of his Glory, so that when the going gets rough (crucifixion) they will stand strong.
I hope we all have had moments of transfiguration in our lives, good moments which will keep us going when times are not so good.
It is a message of hope, light and joy. But I have got to climb the mountain; prayer, reflection and contemplation.
This is the graft for the good time to come, when we feel God actually listens to us.
When we get a glimpse of Christ, we also get a glimpse of who we really ARE.. THE TRUTH ABOUT OURSELVES.

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An invitation to relationship with God
“Whoever believes this message rejects the lie that our life is ours to do as we will”.
Pope Francis says that during this season of Lent, he wants to invite the faithful to fix their eyes on the crucified Lord, and allow ourselves “to be saved over and over again”.
Jesus’ Pasch is not a past event; rather, through the power of the Holy Spirit it is ever present, enabling us to see and touch with faith the flesh of Christ in those who suffer”.
The importance of prayer
The Holy Father emphasises the importance of prayer during Lent, as a means of responding to God’s love, “which always precedes and sustains us”. We are also called to hear and respond to the Word of Jesus, in order to experience “the mercy He freely gives us”.
A commitment to building a better world
“Putting the paschal mystery at the centre of our lives means feeling compassion towards the wounds of the crucified Christ present in the many innocent victims of wars, in attacks on life, from that of the unborn to that of the elderly, and various forms of violence”. This means being personally committed to and involved in “the building of a better world”, Pope Francis concludes his message with a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary “that our Lenten celebration will open our hearts to hear God’s call to be reconciled to Himself, to fix our gaze on the paschal mystery, and to be converted to an open and sincere dialogue with Him”.

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Jesus says, "No one is good except God alone." Today He tells us, "Be you perfect." A tall order.
By now I believe we all know the meaning of perfect, translated as be you TOLERANT. We often get intolerant with people who don't see things our way. People who are different. People we do not understand. People who do not understand us.
And at times we may even think they are silly. We may want to throw them into prison and throw away the keys.
We even wonder why God does not reign down fire and brimstone on all nasty people. But no.
He is tolerant. And I thank God that he is tolerant with me.
He goes to the other extreme and forgives and loves me.

 

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Chapter five of Matthew is a great chapter to help us understand the make-up of the Bible.
Revelation (understanding of God) is something that must be going on all the time in the life of the Church as a whole and in our individual lives, otherwise we are stagnant/dead.
We must continue to read, pray and grow.
Jesus says, "You were told," ("thousands of years ago") "But I say to you." The fulfilment of the Law is the icing on the cake, moving on and growing.
The third commandment says, "Keep holy the Sabbath day."
But I say to, "Come to mass on Sunday because you love me, not only because you have to."
Because you want to grow in your relationship with me, you want to know me as your Lord and saviour, as a friend and you want to build my Church here in Peckham, "so that the community may believe." This is adult faith.

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Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
“Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
Then when you call, the Lord will answer.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumours!
Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.

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Known originally as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is a relatively ancient celebration.
The Church at Jerusalem observed the feast as early as the first half of the fourth century, and likely earlier. The feast celebrates the presentation of Christ in the temple at Jerusalem on the 40th day after His birth.
The first male child belonged to God so the parents had now to buy him back,so they presented the offering of the poor, two turtle doves.
It was also the purification of the mother, but since Mary was a virgin that was not necessary.
Here also we get the great prayer of Simeon, a holy man who spent his time waiting for the Messiah. He gives us that great prayer: - ”Now Lord you may dismiss your servant because my eyes have seen........."
What a great prayer to be able to say on our death bed. "I have completed the job the Lord gave me to do." Or like Jesus himself: - "It is accomplished."

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"The people that lived in darkness have seen a great light." I hope you are one of those people who have seen a great light; not lost but knowing where we are going and knowing what we will receive. Surely this is the Good news. Then Jesus goes on to call the first four disciples. And from there he has been continually calling more and more, including us. Jesus calls us to build up the unity of the church, his body. Paul makes it a passionate plea. "I appeal to you brothers and sisters, for the sake of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to make up the differences between you and instead of disagreement among yourselves, to be united again in your belief and practice." And the dying prayer of Jesus was:- "That all may be one."

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I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth's sweet flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in Summer wear A nest of robins in her hair; Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree. Joyce Kilmer (1913)

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This is my Son the beloved, listen to Him. The above is the result of parents taking their children's baptism seriously. Praying with their children every day and letting them see that God is important to mum and dad. Many parents do the above and you can see it in their children for whom church and God and praying is second nature. Thank you very much. Good families make good parishes like we have here in St James, a joy and pleasure to work with. They also make for a good country, filled with joy peace and love. With God all things are possible.

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Yes we all know about the Magi, the three kings from the East. They came to see Jesus, making it clear that Jesus came for all people and not just the Jews. It is an Epiphany, a sudden realisation. Now every Christian should be having epiphanies, realising new truths about their self, the gospel and Jesus Christ. We need to be continually growing in our faith, growing in our understanding and our relationship with Jesus. This present year is to be known as THE YEAR OF THE WORD. Let our word be our integrity; be men and women of our word: Reading the Word of God and preparing our mass during the week and coming to mass every Sunday on time, prepared . Then going away refreshed in the Lord.

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Pope Francis on the Family Dear families, you know very well that the true joy which we experience in the family is not superficial; it does not come from material objects, from the fact that everything seems to be going well… True joy comes from a profound harmony between persons, something which we all feel in our hearts and which makes us experience the beauty of togetherness, of mutual support along life’s journey. But the basis of this feeling of deep joy is the presence of God, the presence of God in the family and his love, which is welcoming, merciful, and respectful towards all. And above all, a love which is patient: patience is a virtue of God and he teaches us how to cultivate it in family life, how to be patient, and lovingly so, with each other. To be patient among ourselves. A patient love. God alone knows how to create harmony from differences. But if God’s love is lacking, the family loses its harmony, self-centredness prevails and joy fades. But the family which experiences the joy of faith communicates it naturally. That family is the salt of the earth and the light of the world, it is the leaven of society as a whole. Dear families, always live in faith and simplicity, like the Holy Family of Nazareth! The joy and peace of the Lord be always with you!

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Today is a wonderful day to celebrate St. Joseph, the transformation of a humble carpenter into one of the greatest saints the world has ever known. It appears that Joseph was not a man of wealth. When Jesus was taken up to the temple to be circumcised, Joseph only presented the poor man’s offering of two turtle doves to be sacrificed and not the specified lamb. However, when Mary and he were looking for lodgings in Bethlehem, he went to the hotels and hostels looking for a place to stay, and we have to assume he had the money to pay for them, so they were not destitute either. When he discovered Mary pregnant he was kind and compassionate. Another man would have thrown her out for having committed adultery and thus she would have been stoned to death. When told in a dream (the Annunciation to Joseph) what was going on, he really responded with all the vigour of a good father. He fed, clothed, educated and housed Jesus. At Bethlehem he stayed with Mary (having forgotten to book a room) to get a place for her child to be born. He moved to Egypt to get away from Herod. He is the patron saint of FATHERS AND WORKERS. A good role model for all men. Do you live to work, or do you work to live???????? Joseph would have prayed with Jesus and Mary, taught him carpentry and given him a good future. But then his Father intervened and had a different plan.

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Today’s Gospel frightens me. And it must challenge any church goer. Jesus reply to John’s disciples had to be in such a way that John would have no doubt about the genuineness of his messianic activity, and the message he sent back to John was about the blind receiving their sight, the lame walking, the lepers being cleansed, the deaf hearing, the dead being raised, and the poor having good news brought to them. He did not say a word about people praying more or going to the synagogue or making God the centre of their lives: the age of the messiah, as expressed in this report, does not concern “religion” in the traditional sense of the word. One knows that the messiah has come because a real change has taken place in society, a change that involves the liberation of those who have always been cut off from the “main branch” of society. We can turn the statement around to say that if the marginalised of society do not experience liberation, then Jesus is not the messiah. But Jesus is the messiah, and so the dead have come to life: those who have been unable to ‘live’ in a society that has written them off, are now alive with hope. The Gospel has truly been a leaven of liberty and progress in human history, even in its temporal sphere, and always proves itself a leaven of brotherhood, of unity, and of peace. Therefore, not without cause is Christ hailed by the faithful as ‘the expected of the nations, and their Saviour. Vatican II, Decree on Missionary Activity. Your comments and suggestions on the above would be appreciated.

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Anything worth doing is worth doing well. We prepare for exams. We prepare meals. I prepare homilies. Without preparation things can’t work. And so we prepare for Christmas. ----------------------------------------- There is nothing like a common enemy to bring people together. We see the Pharisees and Sadducee who are normally arch enemies. Now come together against their common enemy, Jesus. John the Baptist has very harsh words for them...you brood of vipers. But again John is very fair and says if you are willing to repent and changes your ways, you too can be saved.

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Last Sunday I talked about Jesus raising humanity to a new level: Being faithful to his calling/commitment. Paul today gives us a similar idea: "Throw off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us walk becomingly as in the day." Allow God's vision of peace to inspire you: Positivity, honesty and integrity. Be vigilant, be prepared, be attentive and invite Christ into your life. This is as much about here as hereafter. At the time of Noah people were immersed in the things of life. They did not notice, they did not listen to what was going on around them. The Flood came.. A Thought --------Are environmentalists teaching us a lesson today?

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What a noble day. Jesus Christ King of the Universe. Adam and Eve did not follow through. Don't eat the fruit they were told. And they did. Jesus in the desert was tempted three times and he did not give in. Today on the cross He is tempted again three times and he did not give in. 1. The leaders jeered Him. 2. The soldiers mocked Him. 3. One of the criminals abused Him. Jesus stood firm and did not retaliate. In the desert and on the cross, Jesus follows through. HE TAKES HUMANITY TO A NEW LEVEL. Equally when we do not give in to our weaker self, we take not only humanity to a higher level, but we actually take ourselves to a higher level. Follow the King and be strong. Children away from home, visit and call your parents.

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NEWSLETTER MON 18th NOVEMBER 2019 SUN 24th NOVEMBER 2019
There is no biblical basis for a hope in inevitable progress. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that things will gradually get better until at last the kingdom is present, and in fact it is closer to the biblical truth to say that things will get worse before they get better. Consider, for example, the matter of deaths caused by war: in the 18th century, about 4 million people died in wars; in the 19th century, about 8 million people died in wars; in the 20th century, nearly 100 million people died in wars. We know that the Lord comes to rule the earth with justice. The scales will be balanced in the end, and in the meantime we must live out our faith that God’s plans for us are peace and not disaster. In today’s world, including the world of economics, the prevailing picture is one destined to lead us more quickly toward death rather than one of concern for true development which would lead all toward a more human life. God speaks through the events of life but he does not cause them. OUR JOB IS TO SEE WHERE THE FINGER OF GOD IS WORKING IN ALL THESE EVENTS.

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Today's gospel is pretty difficult. Suffice it to say the Pharisees believe all the old law, oral and written. The Sadducees on the other hand, believe only the written law. So from the beginning they are on different footing. And by and large, Jesus, in being dragged into their argument ignores them and the question, and just goes on to say it is a futile argument because things will be so different: as it is written, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him." So live your life as someone who loves God and then your reward will be great.

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1. God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission; I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I have a part in a great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling. 2. Fear not that life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning. 3. I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, but God declared: “Go down again – I dwell among the people.” 4. A cloud of incense was rising on high; the people suddenly all bowed low; what could it mean? The truth flashed on him, fearfully yet sweetly; it was the Blessed Sacrament – it was the Lord Incarnate who was on the altar, who had come to visit and bless his people. It was the Great Presence, which makes a Catholic Church different from every other place in the world; which makes it, as no other place can be - holy. John Henry Newman could “advocate without accusation, could disagree without disrespect and could see differences as a place of encounter, not exclusion.”

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NEWSLETTER MON 28th OCTOBER 2019 SUN 3rd NOVEMBER 2019
We are very familiar with today's Gospel. But pride comes in many shapes. Not trusting in God. I want to do it my way. The opposite is also a problem, presumption. It does not make any difference what I do, it is all planned out anyway. God is in charge. Fact. But I plan my life and God has given me the freedom to do as I wish. He has also given me a brain and the Gospels to show how to live. Trust in Him, follow his advice and life will be yours.

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NEWSLETTER MON 21st OCTOBER 2019 SUN 27th OCTOBER 2019
We will ever be grateful to Paul for his legacy. And he "never saw Jesus." But since his conversion he truly has empowered billions of people. Today talking to Timothy he says how THE WORD OF GOD can be used:- - to inspire - to teach wisdom - to teach - refuting error - guiding - teaching Thus equipping the person of God, not only to get to heaven, but also how to live a fruitful, happy life and help make the world a better place. Read the word every day.

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Today, Paul talks about the Good News; Christ died and rose again. But in practical terms, do I carry that confidence in my heart? That, yes, I will not die, but live for ever with Christ. We need to have that confidence and joy that all will be well. For the believer, death is only the moment of passing over to a more beautiful life with those we love and Jesus. No room for tears. This month of October is a special month of mission, going out to tell people about Jesus. The world, UK, Peckham was never more in need of mission, to tell people about the love of God. Don't ignore the call of God. Talk to someone/family about God, bring them to church; introduce them to me, to others. "Go out to the whole world, proclaim the Good news."

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FAITH IN ACTION. What is faith? If it is the size of a mustard seed...... that does not seem to be too much to ask. But faith without action is dead. Never ask if you have faith, show me your good works St James says. People in the first reading are having problems and ask ‘why does God not intervene’. But God answers, ‘the just man will stand firm by faith’. In the second reading Timothy has received the gift of faith and Paul urges him to stir it up boldly, it is not a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. In both cases, faith and relationships are key: Paul's relationship with God and Timothy's relationship with Paul. Jesus finally tells us to be patient and do our duty.

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I hope you enjoyed the video, our common home over the last two Sundays. Suggestions that have come in:- 1. Get a dynamic speaker. 2. Organise the churches to do a peaceful march. 3. Each one to do something personal. Today's gospel puts the gun to our head.... take notice and help the poor. Rich man's problem, not that he is rich. But he did not notice. Friday is FAMILY FAST DAY, let each of us do our little bit and we will send the money to CAFOD. Also next Sunday we will collect any non- perishable food for the Manna Centre. But do bring along some food, fruit or cakes, we can share after mass....our harvest festival. Time to stop talking and take action.

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As last week with the prodigal Son, so this week with the unjust steward. Both are scoundrels, but then the parables are not about them. The first one is about The Loving Father and the second one is about a just Landlord. So often we take the gospels at face value, instead of reading them for what they are: A Book about Our God. About our loving father who cares passionately about all his children, loving them and moulding them into what he intended them to be… True reflections of Himself. We are created in the image of God, truly beautiful creatures reflecting his love. But from the moment we pop out of the womb we start getting damaged, some worse than others. And God spends a lifetime trying to mould us back into what we are meant to be. Read the first reading again. Does it say anything to you in the light of today’s care for the environment?

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NEWSLETTER MON 16th SEPTEMBER 2019 SUN 22nd SEPTEMBER 2019
When Pope Francis became Pope, he put two things at the top of his agenda. 1. THE POOR 2. THE ENVIRONMENT. Today is Mission Sunday, so I thought it would be good to have a look at the environment. Hence the video, which you can watch again on:- www.ourcommonhome.co.uk Discuss with your family or colleagues:- 1. Has the video challenged you? 2. What hinders you from making practical changes? 3. How can you recycle more? 4. How can you conserve more water and energy? 5. How can you reduce your carbon footprint? 6. What can you do to educate yourself more? 7. How can we use our political voice? 8. How can we respond practically as a parish? 9. Would you be interested in spearheading something in the parish? Please drop any ideas or suggestions in the suggestion box, or send through the parish website.

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Laudato Si (continued) 19. Following a period of irrational confidence in progress and human abilities, some sectors of society are now adopting a more critical ap¬proach. We see increasing sensitivity to the en¬vironment and the need to protect nature, along with a growing concern, both genuine and dis¬tressing, for what is happening to our planet. Let us review, however cursorily, those questions which are troubling us today and which we can no longer sweep under the carpet. Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosi¬ty, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.

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Laudato Si (continued) 17. Theological and philosophical reflections on the situation of humanity and the world can sound tiresome and abstract, unless they are grounded in a fresh analysis of our present situation, which is in many ways unprecedented in the history of humanity. So, before considering how faith brings new incentives and requirements with regard to the world of which we are a part, I will briefly turn to what is happening to our common home. 18. The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and the planet is coupled today with a more intensified pace of life and work which might be called “rapidification”. Although change is part of the working of complex systems, the speed with which human activity has developed contrasts with the naturally slow pace of biological evolution. Moreover, the goals of this rapid and constant change are not necessarily geared to the common good or to integral and sustainable human development. Change is something desirable, yet it becomes a source of anxiety when it causes harm to the world and to the quality of life of much of humanity.

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Laudato Si (continued) 16. Although each chapter will have its own subject and specific approach, it will also take up and re-examine important questions previously dealt with. This is particularly the case with a number of themes which will reappear as the Encyclical unfolds. As examples, I will point to the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet, the conviction that everything in the world is connected, the critique of new paradigms and forms of power derived from technology, the call to seek other ways of understanding the economy and progress, the value proper to each creature, the human meaning of ecology, the need for forthright and honest debate, the serious responsibility of international and local policy, the throwaway culture and the proposal of a new lifestyle. These questions will not be dealt with once and for all, but reframed and enriched again and again.

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Laudato Si (continued) 15. It is my hope that this Encyclical Letter, which is now added to the body of the Church’s social teaching, can help us to acknowledge the appeal, immensity and urgency of the challenge we face. I will begin by briefly reviewing several aspects of the present ecological crisis, with the aim of drawing on the results of the best scientific research available today, letting them touch us deeply and provide a concrete foundation for the ethical and spiritual itinerary that follows. I will then consider some principles drawn from the Judaeo-Christian tradition which can render our commitment to the environment more coherent. I will then attempt to get to the roots of the present situation, so as to consider not only its symptoms but also its deepest causes. This will help to provide an approach to ecology which respects our unique place as human beings in this world and our relationship to our surroundings. In light of this reflection, I will advance some broader proposals for dialogue and action which would involve each of us as individuals, and also affect international policy. Finally, convinced as I am that change is impossible without motivation and a process of education, I will offer some inspired guidelines for human development to be found in the treasure of Christian spiritual experience.

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Laudato Si (continued) 14. I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. The worldwide ecological movement has already made considerable progress and led to the establishment of numerous organizations committed to raising awareness of these challenges. Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated: “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation”. All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.

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Laudato Si (continued) 13. The urgent challenge to protect our com-mon home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particu¬lar appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmen¬tal degradation on the lives of the world’s poor¬est. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better fu¬ture without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.

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Laudato Si (continued) 12. What is more, Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. “Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker” (Wis 13:5); indeed, “his eternal power and divinity have been made known through his works since the creation of the world” (Rom 1:20). For this reason, Francis asked that part of the friary garden always be left untouched, so that wild flowers and herbs could grow there, and those who saw them could raise their minds to God, the Creator of such beauty. Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.

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Laudato Si (continued) 11. Francis helps us to see that an integral ecology calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take us to the heart of what it is to be human. Just as happens when we fall in love with someone, whenever he would gaze at the sun, the moon or the smallest of animals, he burst into song, drawing all other creatures into his praise. He communed with all creation, even preaching to the flowers, inviting them “to praise the Lord, just as if they were endowed with reason”. His response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and every creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection. That is why he felt called to care for all that exists. His disciple Saint Bonaventure tells us that, “from a reflection on the primary source of all things, filled with even more abundant piety, he would call creatures, no matter how small, by the name of ‘brother’ or ‘sister’”. Such a conviction cannot be written off as naive romanticism, for it affects the choices which determine our behaviour. If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously. The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled.

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Laudato Si (continued) Saint Francis of Assisi 10. I do not want to write this Encyclical without turning to that attractive and compelling figure, whose name I took as my guide and inspiration when I was elected Bishop of Rome. I believe that Saint Francis is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically. He is the patron saint of all who study and work in the area of ecology, and he is also much loved by non-Christians. He was particularly concerned for God’s creation and for the poor and outcast. He loved, and was deeply loved for his joy, his generous self-giving, his openheartedness. He was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.

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Laudato Si (continued) 9. At the same time, Bartholomew has drawn attention to the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems, which require that we look for solutions not only in technology but in a change of humanity; otherwise we would be dealing merely with symptoms. He asks us to replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing, an asceticism which “entails learning to give, and not simply to give up. It is a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God’s world needs. It is liberation from fear, greed and compulsion”.17 As Christians, we are also called “to accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbours on a global scale. It is our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God’s creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet”.

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Laudato Si (continued) 8. Patriarch Bartholomew has spoken in par-ticular of the need for each of us to repent of the ways we have harmed the planet, for “inasmuch as we all generate small ecological damage”, we are called to acknowledge “our contribution, smaller or greater, to the disfigurement and de¬struction of creation”. He has repeatedly stat-ed this firmly and persuasively, challenging us to acknowledge our sins against creation: “For hu¬man beings… to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human be¬ings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins”. For “to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God”.

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Laudato Si (continued) 7. These statements of the Popes echo the reflections of numerous scientists, philoso-phers, theologians and civic groups, all of which have enriched the Church’s thinking on these questions. Outside the Catholic Church, other Churches and Christian communities – and oth¬er religions as well – have expressed deep con¬cern and offered valuable reflections on issues which all of us find disturbing. To give just one striking example, I would mention the statements made by the beloved Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with whom we share the hope of full ecclesial communion.

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Laudato Si (continued from last week) 6. (cont.) Both are ulti¬mately due to the same evil: the notion that there are no indisputable truths to guide our lives, and hence human freedom is limitless. We have for¬gotten that “man is not only a freedom which he creates for himself. Man does not create himself. He is spirit and will, but also nature”. With pa¬ternal concern, Benedict urged us to realize that creation is harmed “where we ourselves have the final word, where everything is simply our prop¬erty and we use it for ourselves alone. The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any higher instance than ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves”.

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Authentic human development has a moral character. It presumes full respect for the human person, but it must also be concerned for the world around us and “take into account the nature of each being and of its mutual connection in an ordered system”. Accordingly, our human ability to transform reality must proceed in line with God’s original gift of all that is. 6. My predecessor Benedict XVI likewise proposed “eliminating the structural causes of the dysfunctions of the world economy and correcting models of growth which have proved incapable of ensuring respect for the environment”. He observed that the world cannot be analyzed by isolating only one of its aspects, since “the book of nature is one and indivisible”, and includes the environment, life, sexuality, the family, social relations, and so forth. It follows that “the deterioration of nature is closely connected to the culture which shapes human coexistence”. Pope Benedict asked us to recognize that the natural environment has been gravely damaged by our irresponsible behaviour. The social environment has also suffered damage.

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Laudato Si (continued from last week) “…the urgent need for a radical change.. in the conduct of humanity” in as much as “the most extraordinary scientific advances, the most amazing technical abilities, the most astonishing economic growth, unless they are accompanied by authentic social and moral progress, will definitively turn against man”. 5. Saint John Paul II became increasingly concerned about this issue. In his first Encyclical he warned that human beings frequently seem “to see no other meaning in their natural environment than what serves for immediate use and consumption”. Subsequently, he would call for a global ecological conversion. At the same time, he noted that little effort had been made to “safeguard the moral conditions for an authentic human ecology”. The destruction of the human environment is extremely serious, not only because God has entrusted the world to us men and women, but because human life is itself a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement. Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in “lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies”.

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3. More than fifty years ago, with the world teetering on the brink of nuclear crisis, Pope Saint John XXIII wrote an Encyclical which not only rejected war but offered a proposal for peace. He addressed his message Pacem in Terris to the entire “Catholic world” and indeed “to all men and women of good will”. Now, faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet. In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I wrote to all the members of the Church with the aim of encouraging ongoing missionary renewal. In this Encyclical, I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home. 4. In 1971, eight years after Pacem in Terris, Blessed Pope Paul VI referred to the ecological concern as “a tragic consequence” of unchecked human activity: “Due to an ill-considered exploitation of nature, humanity runs the risk of destroying it and becoming in turn a victim of this degradation”.2 He spoke in similar terms to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations about the potential for an “ecological catastrophe under the effective explosion of industrial civilization”, and stressed “the urgent need for a radical change. Pope Francis. (to be continued)