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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

In the aftermath of our Centenary Year culminating in the last very busy six weeks we should be on the lookout for particular gifts (or ‘graces’) which God will want each of us to receive and so be open to. God works through particular events and particular traditions, and this parish is certainly one of those traditions. What is the Holy Spirit offering you at this summer-time?

The last of our recent grand events is illustrative of this dynamic. Our parish performance of the musical Rock of the Anointed, which played to three full houses last weekend, illustrated the life of King David. This biography is one of the numerous examples in the Old Testament of great, pre-Christian literature and great characters. It is foundational to the Catholic tradition of which we, by the grace of God, are a part.

In it we can discover much about ourselves in his life of failure and faithfulness, bereavement and hope, betrayal and forgiveness, lust and repentance, and about the purification of love. We are particularly reminded of the need to put God first and the danger of forgetting Him.

Our experience of producing this play is that it is indeed a tradition blessed by God. This has been the experience of those involved in its development over its previous three productions over the last two years. It has helped many people in their Catholic faith, in their living and loving. The fruitful Catholic youth organization, Youth 2000, itself blessed by God, was inspired to commission Tillie Callaghan and Edwin Fawcett to write it, as a work of prayerful and dramatic witness. Martin Plunkett has played the role of David in each production, and it has proved an important part of his spiritual journey. Our parish is now lucky enough to have received inspiration from this particular work of God. There will be follow-up initiatives in the new academic year. Watch this space.

The death of Tillie last January, in her first year working amongst us, shortly after having requested that we do this production here, has added a certain poignancy and power to the spiritual and witness dimensions of our production. The show seems to have touched many, along with other events during our centenary celebrations. Let us pray that as a community we may be open at this time the graces God wants to give each of us individually and as a family of families. Look out for him calling you deeper through it, and through all our centenary celebrations.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 1:12 pm

Monday, July 17, 2006
Here’s a shortened version of our national evangelization centre’s ten tips.

1. Prayer. Prayer is the driving force behind evangelisation. E.g. Offer to pray for workmates for example, when they share their troubles with you.

2. Help someone in need. Jesus is present in the poor. When we serve those in need our faith comes alive in a very concrete way. Through these acts of kindness we can attract others to the faith. Who in your immediate community could benefit from an hour of your time on a weekly or fortnightly basis?

3. Be proud of your faith. The Church says that the times we are living in demand a culture change and that we need to be more pro-active in witnessing to our faith. In small ways we become more confident in making public our beliefs. (For example, through publicly wearing a crucifix or by silently saying grace in the work's canteen).

4. Respect other people. We are to respect the dignity of each person whether we like them or not. This is a way through which we can begin to love those around us and often as a result people begin to be more open to hearing the Gospel message.

5. Charity begins at home. If we do not strive to love those closest to us, there is no way we will be successful in our attempts to reach out to others. Parents in particular have a crucial role in educating their children in the ways of Jesus. Attending Mass together is of central importance.

6. Start with your friends. Many of us have friends who are not Catholic and who know very little about Jesus. Sharing of our life of faith, as and when the Holy Spirit opens doors, can be a powerful way of evangelising someone.

7. Share your testimony. Again, as the Holy Spirit opens a door, be ready to speak about how God has helped you in your life. Perhaps it was during a time of bereavement or after the birth of a child?

8. Speech. Practice using God in your everyday vocabularly. Publicly say thank-you for example, when something goes right . For example, "I thank God for that......"

9. Bring a friend to Church . Many converts come into the Church because someone invited them to come along. How many people do you know who have simply never been invited to meet Jesus. Say a prayer and take the plunge!
10. Be Joyful. Jesus is the greatest source of joy in our life. He brings us life, peace and happiness. No one will take you seriously as a Catholic if you profess one thing and yet live completely the opposite. Of course, none of us live in perfect joy all the time, but we certainly experience it at least some of the time. Let's share that "joie de vivre" for life!

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:57 am

Monday, July 10, 2006

We are performing this in memory of Tillie Callaghan our recently deceased youth worker. She wrote the following words about the musical:

“The musical covers the life of King David, a dramatic, involving, and powerful story of God’s faithfulness, mercy and love towards his people. King David’s life also prefigures the life of Christ in a number of ways. Through the different parts of the story can be seen the infinite, unconditional and personal love God has for each and every person he has created. He loves us all individually, because He created us and He doesn’t create rubbish, no matter what we may think of ourselves.”

We are performing this piece as part of the diocesan “Open the doors” weekend as a way of reaching out in an unusual way to those distanced from the sacramental life of Christ in the Church for whatever reason. Please do invite your friends and neighbours.

Also as part of this weekend our post-Confirmation Youth St Vincent de Paul group has produced a mural which now hangs on our Church tower. It is a thought-provoking picture, with the words of Christ below “Who do you say that I am?”. This can all hopefully be easily seen by passing pedestrians and cars! Pray that it may touch people to become more open to their Way, Truth and Life.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:50 am

Monday, July 03, 2006

“What’s the use of having access to building if I don’t have access to life.”

Bishop Longley, who will be confirming here next week explains something about the day:
“This year we decided … (to look) at the whole range of life issues through the idea of the prism of people living with disability. It was important that we find a way of reflecting both on the experience of people living with disability, valuing their experience, valuing their presence within the life of the church, within the community - but also looking at the particular threats to life, the question of abortion, to abort a baby, a foetus, where there has been detected some disability, and supporting such families and people facing such choices …

“I'm very aware that in parishes, there are many people who are committed to working pro-life and who are glad of this opportunity that Day for Life offers to contribute something, and I would like to encourage individuals in parishes who are already engaged in another way with pro-life work to use Day for Life, to become part of the local teams that help to promote it, contact your local parish priest, make sure that the materials are being as widely used as possible in your parish setting, and encourage others also to look at the website and to sign up, so there is the possibility of a continuing involvement and we have the chance to build up a national network of those who are willing and have the energy and time to be more and more involved.”

N.B. It is possible to abort handicapped babies up to birth in this country. Currently more Down’s Syndrome conceptions here are aborted than permitted to join the community of the post-birth living.

See Yellow leaflets at back.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 10:43 am