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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, September 18, 2006
Dear friends, thank you for the warm welcome I’ve received here at St. Mary Magdalen’s, especially when I met many of you after last week’s Masses. I’m at the end of my first week now and starting to find my feet here in the Parish.

I was born in America, but brought up in Gateshead, in North East England and my family still live there. For the last four years, I studied physics at Cambridge University and I graduated on the 1st of July.
I am a ‘cradle Catholic’, but it wasn’t until about halfway through my time at university that I really got interested in the Faith. At that time, I became involved with the Cambridge Chaplaincy (called Fisher House after St. John Fisher). I served as an executive officer for the student Catholic Fisher Society and helped run social events and discussion groups. I was also involved in student ecumenical dialogue and organising ecumenical events. Other interests include drama and music, which I hope to be able to pursue while working for you here in Willesden Green.
Considering my future at the end of my time in Cambridge, I wasn’t quite sure of God’s plan for me. I’m thinking about applying to train for the priesthood and I was advised to spend some time living and working in a parish to help in my discernment. I’m here for a year. The fame of Willesden Green has spread far and wide and I feel very fortunate that there’s space for me here and a chance to do a range of work – from Confirmation classes to visiting the sick – among such a warm and active community.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 10:07 am

Monday, September 11, 2006

The word ‘Progress’ is used quite a bit today – for instance by politicians, scientists and advertisers. But it’s not often we reflect about what it means, let alone where exactly we are ‘progressing’ to. A certain political policy or building project may move us ‘forward’ but which way is forward? In our faith we do know to some extent what all our activity is about; sharing the life of God – in this life and in the life to come (and that means we should stop the activity sometimes to listen). We know where we are going. We know what progress is. Don’t we?! Well we can gradually find out, and so gradually truly progress.

This is a good time to check we are truly moving forward. Some have been lucky enough to lay down certain loads for a while over the summer period. Many once again take on challenges at this time. With the schools and parish groups starting again many will experience a certain novelty. All of us in a certain way are “putting our hands to the plough” once more. Our Lord tells us “not to look back”.

If you have a managed to climb a hill walk over the summer you’ll know you need to do it in stages, to persevere. And if you’re not going up you may well slip back, particularly at the steep bits. You may have to go at the pace of the slowest, but just keep your eye on the summit. Water and chocolate help you to persevere. This is the equivalent of the sacramental grace of Christ, though its nowhere near as helpful.

At this time we embark upon another ‘academic year’. Let’s move forward together. We need each other, and noone is walking alone. On the inside of this newsletter (all weeks but particularly this week and in the coming weeks) are a few ideas and supports for making this journey. We all have more to discover of the love of God. He is keen to show this to us. We must invest out “talent”, not “hide it in the ground”, which seemed to make god pretty angry in the parable.

Be even more generous with God, he will not be outdone – take the plunge. Get more involved in one of the new or old groups mentioned this week and/or in the coming weeks. And have a happy new year! May we reach the summit together.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:51 am