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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, February 27, 2006
Understanding the Mass 26th February 2006

A series of Lenten highly recommended talks and meditations in our parish
Led by Dr Michael Jarmulowicz and Mrs Celia Edwards

Do you ever ask ‘Why do I come to Mass?’ Do you ever find Mass boring?
If the answer is ‘Yes’, then maybe it is because the Mass has not been explained properly to you.

Do you wish to deepen your understanding of Mass?Do you want to know what the Church teaches about the Mass?

Then come to a series of 5 sessions explaining the Mass,
what happens and why.

When –Tuesdays at 7:30pm, on 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th March & 4th April
Where –Here at St Mary Magdalen’s, in the Annexe & Church

Format of the Sessions
7.00 – 7:30: Talk
7:30 – 8.00: Directed meditation and prayers in front of the Blessed Sacrament
Details of the Sessions
Tuesday 7th March The structure of the Mass
Tuesday 14th March Signs & Symbols used during Mass
Tuesday 21st March Understanding the Mass as a Sacrifice
Tuesday 28th March Understanding the Mass as a Meal
Tuesday 4th April Understanding the Mass as the Summit & Source of Christian Life’

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:07 am

Monday, February 20, 2006
Religion in the Dock 19th February 2006

Recently Richard Dawkins presented a programme on Channel Four suggesting religion is the main cause of evil today. Actually of course religion is natural to human beings. We are more than matter and need communication with God like the plant needs sunshine. A few lines from a December Spectator article by Mark Steyn makes fun and fruitful reading on this theme.

“In fact, in the 20th century … Europe’s post-Christian pathogens of communism and Nazism unleashed horrors on a scale inconceivable even to the most ambitious Pope. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot: you’d look in vain for any of them in the pews each Sunday. Marx has a lot more blood on his hands than Christ — other people’s blood, I mean — but the hyper-rationalists are noticeably less keen to stick him with the tab for the party.

… A thinking atheist ought to be able to appreciate the benefits the secular world derives from monotheism — for example, the most glorious achievements in Western art and music. By comparison, militant atheism has given us John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, that paean to nothingness whose lyric — ‘Above us only sky’ — is the official slogan of John Lennon International Airport in Liverpool. Two years ago, in America’s Weekly Standard, Joel Engel pondered that favourite hymn of sentimental secularists, apparently so anodyne and unobjectionable that, in a world twitchy about the insufficient multiculturalism of ‘Jingle Bells’, never mind ‘Away in a Manger’, the holiday concert at my kids’ school nevertheless gaily programmed John Lennon’s fluffy nihilism as an appropriate sentiment for the season:
Imagine there’s no heaven, It’s easy if you try, No hell below us ,Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people living for today...

‘Okay,’ wrote Engel, ‘let’s imagine that; let’s imagine six billion people who believe that flesh and blood is all there is; that once you shuffle off this mortal coil, poof, you’re history; that Hitler & Mother Teresa, for example, both met the same ultimate fate. Common sense suggests that such a world would produce a lot more Hitlers and a lot fewer Teresas, for the same reason that you get a lot more speeders/murderers/rapists/embezzlers when you eliminate laws, police and punishment. Sceptics and atheists can say what they like about religion, but it’s hard to deny that the fear of an afterlife where one will be judged has likely kept hundreds of millions from committing acts of aggre-ssion, if not outright horror.
Nothing clears the conscience quite like a belief in eternal nothingness.’That sounds right. There’s an important exception, of course: the challenge of Islam is precisely that it’s a religion whose afterlife appears — at least according to many of its more blood-curdling spokespersons — to reward ‘wars and bigotry’. But the question then is what kind of society is best equipped to defend itself against such a challenge? It’s not just that a radical secularist present-tense society will produce more Hitlers and Stalins — not all of us want to work that hard — but that millions more will lapse into the fey passivity of Lennon’s song. For full article see

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:38 am

Monday, February 13, 2006
Planning for the future 12th Feb 2006

Cardinal Cormac has just published his “White Paper” concerning future parochial life of the diocese. Here are excerpts from his five priorities. There are a limited number of the full document in the Church porch.

Priority 1: The Call to Holiness, Prayer and the Eucharist

The first priority must be the universal call to holiness manifested in each one of us through a life of prayer & worship… I will be asking the Liturgy Commission to look at the provision of courses & resources for all involved in the liturgical life of a parish.

Priority 2: Formation of Adults and Young People

… formation of all the baptised for their mission of bearing witness to Jesus Christ. I wish to place special emphasis on formation for leadership and on formation for young people… People are looking for a deeper appreciation of the faith in order to communicate the reason for their hope to their neighbours and those with whom they work … in our ever changing world. … we must have a proper formation of lay people in their faith. …. A new Agency for Evangelisation … will begin by surveying … and then look at how to fill the gaps in provision.

Priority 3: Small Communities

The formation of small communities has been one of the fruits of At Your Word, Lord. ….. As Pope Benedict has indicated: “In the Church’s Liturgy, in her prayer, in the living community of believers, we experience the love of God, we perceive his presence and we thus learn to recognize that presence in our daily lives.”…. I have increasingly called the Diocese to be a ‘community of communities’. ….

Priority 4: Priesthood and Vocations

The priest is the spiritual leader of the people of the parish. He presides at the Eucharist and the other Sacraments. He preaches the Word of God … He is himself a sign of Christ by the example of faith and by the pastoral service that he gives. I am convinced that priests need to continue to renew their appreciation and their manner of celebrating the liturgy. …. More broadly, I would like us all to be involved in creating in the Diocese a stronger culture of vocations in the years ahead. I am asking the Vocations Director and his team to provide assistance … in order to foster vocations from the diverse communities within the Diocese.

Priority 5: Structures for Participation, Change and Accountability….

One element of renewal must be to provide for increased participation, collaboration and accountability in our diocesan mission. …. Each parish should have a parish council/team …. who are regularly consulted by the parish priest in relation to the history, the life, the structure of the parish, its resources and its mission….

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:20 am

Tuesday, February 07, 2006
God is Love 5th February 2006
Extracts from the Pope’s First Encyclical DEUS CARITAS EST (God is Love)

1. ….. Saint John … offers a kind of summary of the Christian life: “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us”...In acknowledging the centrality of love, Christian faith has retained the core of Israel's faith, while... giving it new depth & breadth
3. That love between man and woman which is neither planned nor willed, but somehow imposes itself upon human beings, was called eros by the ancient Greeks. …. of the three Greek words for love, eros, philia (the love of friendship) and agape, New Testament writers prefer the last, ….. The tendency to avoid the word eros, together with the new vision of love expressed through the word agape, clearly point to something new and distinct about the Christian understanding of love …… The Old Testament ….. in no way rejected eros as such; rather, it declared war on a warped and destructive form of it …… An intoxicated and undisciplined eros, then, is not an ascent in “ecstasy” towards the Divine, but a fall, a degradation of man. Evidently, eros needs to be disciplined and purified if it is to provide not just fleeting pleasure, but a certain foretaste of the pinnacle of our existence, of that beatitude for which our whole being yearns.
5. …. there is a certain relationship between love and the Divine: love promises infinity, eternity—a reality far greater … than our everyday existence. …. Purification and growth in maturity are called for … Far from rejecting or “poisoning” eros, they heal it and restore its true grandeur.
6. … agape …. expresses the experience of a love which involves a real discovery of the other … it seeks the good of the beloved: it becomes renunciation and it is ready, and even willing, for sacrifice.
… Love is indeed “ecstasy”, not in the sense of a moment of intoxication, but rather as a journey, an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self towards its liberation through self-giving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of God: “Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Lk 17:33), as Jesus says throughout the Gospels (cf.Mt 10:39;16:25; Mk 8:35;Lk 9:24; Jn12:25)7. ….. eros, [is] a term to indicate “worldly” love and agape, refer[s] to love grounded in and shaped by faith. … The more the two, in their different aspects, find a proper unity in the one reality of love, the more the true nature of love in general is realized…The element of agape thus enters into this love, for otherwise eros is impoverished and even loses its own nature. On the other hand, man cannot live by sacrificial alone. He cannot always give, he must also receive. Anyone who wishes to give love must also receive love as a gift… to become such a source (of love) one must constantly drink anew from the original source, which is Jesus Christ, from whose pierced heart flows the love of God.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 1:32 pm