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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Holy Week is approaching. This is a profound divine activity within our very midst. The events of the first Holy Week are, because of our celebrations of them here next month, literally, not just symbolically, continuing to be played out in the lives of us who are baptized, Christ’s Mystical body. In order to enable Him to do this it is good to review our listening to God. Here are some words on silent prayer from a spiritual writer.

If silence is employed simply in desiring God, it is enough and we are truly at prayer. We can extend that thought and say that whatever we are doing, if the desire for God is present, we are indeed praying. St Augustine argues that it is only in understanding prayer in this way that we can fulfil St Paul’s command to pray without ceasing. He writes, ‘Your very desire is itself your prayer; if your desire is continued so is your prayer also.’

Could we but grasp this, silent prayer would become very simple; that does not mean that it will not be demanding. You take up your position, you allow thoughts and memories to drop away — which you do by not paying deliberate attention to them — you allow your unwanted bodily tensions to be released, and you simply desire God. It may help to repeat a simple refrain (e.g. some words of Jesus or ‘Lord Jesus, Have mercy upon me a sinner’) over and over again in the silence (or alone if you are alone, for the essence is the silence of the heart before God and not the absence of the voice) and if, after a time, what you are doing appears meaningless, you ask yourself one question only: ‘Do I desire God?’

Perhaps you will tell God that he already knows your desire, or ask him to renew it or strengthen it. If you are simply sitting in the silence and using no words, not even in the heart, the procedure is the same. Whenever your state seems pointless or a waste of time, ask only one question: ‘Do I desire God?’ On the answer to that, everything depends. Even so, if all you believe that you can truly say is that you desire to desire God, that is enough. God takes us from where we are and he will do the rest.This is not to say that every period will be spent in this way; the Holy Spirit is our guide here as at all times.
On another day, or at another stage, the drawing may be simply to rest in God as a child in its mother’s arms and to let God bear us and enfold us in his love. Here is the more passive side of prayer. Prayer is an ongoing process; it might be described as a holding on to God until we move into the knowledge that we are being held.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 3:10 pm

Friday, March 17, 2006
Today is the last day of the FAIR TRADE FORTNIGHT.
Today is the last day of the FAIR TRADE FORTNIGHT.

International trade may seem a remote issue, but when commodity prices fall dramatically it has a catastrophic impact on the lives of millions of small scale producers, forcing many into crippling debt and countless others to lose their land and their homes.

Too many farmers in the developing world have to contend with fluctuating prices that may not even cover what it costs to produce their crop.

Development agencies recognised the important role that consumers could play to improve the situation for producers. By buying direct from farmers at better prices, helping to strengthen their organisations and marketing their produce directly through their own one world shops and catalogues, the charities offered consumers the opportunity to buy products which were bought on the basis of a fair trade.

Today, there are now 19 organisations including the Fairtrade Foundation, that run the international standard setting and monitoring body Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO).

Producers registered with FLO receive a minimum price that covers the cost of production and an extra premium that is invested in the local community.
To support this worthy cause look out for products with the Fairtrade logo above.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 2:42 pm

Monday, March 13, 2006
As the Building Fund Appeal concludes with the May collection and standing orders we feel this is an appropriate time to publish an up to date position. The following is the position at 31st December 2005.

Cost at 30th November 2003 £481,813.43
(As per newsletter dated 25.01.04)

Costs incurred from 1.12.2003 to 31.12.2005 £ 4,959.04
Costs at 31st December 2005 £486,772.47

Estimate for Church Tower repairs £ 4,750.00
Estimate for replacement Boiler £ 5,000.00
£ 9,750.00
TOTAL COST: £ 496,522.47

Payments made & Funds available @1.04.2002: £ 249,507.00
Appeal funds received at 31.12.2005 £ 235,123.00

Shortfall at 31.12.2005 £ 11,891.67

Expected Appeal Funds 5 months collection
@ £2400.00 £ 12,000.00

Christmas Raffle receipts £ 1,117.00
Christmas Raffle (expected) £ 3,250.00
Income Tax Refunds £ 4,500.00
£ 20,867.00

This would produce a surplus of £ 8,975.33

It has been decided to allow disabled and elderly parishioners to park on the Church forecourt for Saturday evening and Sunday Masses. We are advised that the present slab surface would not be suitable in the long tern and would need to be replaced by either tarmac or block paving. The above surplus should cover this cost.

It looks likes the process is going to have achieved its aims. We thank God for working through you in the great work of grace. We look forward to Cardinal Cormac Blessing our efforts at our June 24th Centenary celebrations.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 10:23 am

Friday, March 03, 2006
The Church: Source of Charity 5th March 2006


A few weeks ago we printed extracts from the first half of the Pope’s first Encyclical letter “Deus Caritas Est”. These were on the relationship of the love of possession ‘eros’ and the love of self-giving ‘agape’. Below we present extracts from the beginning of the second part on “Caritas: the practice of love by the church as a ‘community of love’”

19. “If you see charity, you see the Trinity”, wrote Saint Augustine. In the foregoing reflections, we have been able to focus our attention on the Pierced one (cf. Jn 19:37, Zech 12:10), recognizing the plan of the Father who, moved by love (cf. Jn 3:16), sent his only-begotten Son into the world to redeem man. By dying on the Cross—as Saint John tells us—Jesus “gave up his Spirit” (Jn 19:30), anticipating the gift of the Holy Spirit that he would make after his Resurrection (cf. Jn 20:22). …. The Spirit, in fact, is that interior power which harmonizes their hearts with Christ's heart and moves them to love their brethren as Christ loved them, when he bent down to wash the feet of the disciples (cf. Jn 13:1-13) and above all when he gave his life for us (cf. Jn 13:1, 15:13).

The Spirit is also the energy which transforms the heart of the ecclesial community, so that it becomes a witness before the world to the love of the Father, who wishes to make humanity a single family in his Son. The entire activity of the Church is an expression of a love that seeks the integral good of man: it seeks his evangelization through Word and Sacrament, an undertaking that is often heroic in the way it is acted out in history; and it seeks to promote man in the various arenas of life and human activity …

20. …. In (Acts 2:44-5) these words, Saint Luke provides a kind of definition of the Church, whose constitutive elements include fidelity to the “teaching of the Apostles”, “communion” (koinonia), “the breaking of the bread” and “prayer” (cf. Acts 2:42). The element of “communion” (koinonia) …. (implies that) within the community of believers there can never be room for a poverty that denies anyone what is needed for a dignified life.

22. As the years went by and the Church spread further afield, the exercise of charity became established as one of her essential activities, along with the administration of the sacraments and the proclamation of the word: love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential to her as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel …

posted by Sinead Reekie at 2:04 pm