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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, October 30, 2006

The parish is that family which gathers together around the Eucharistic altar of sacrifice. It’s the primary type of family. We are being formed into a true Christian community, a fundamental cell of the Church. We are being prepared for the communion of heaven. For most of us this journey will continue through purgatory to purify us of any selfish individualism. But for quite a few reasons it’s best to hope for and work for such purification and growth in communion now. We all need to help each other in this job. It’s certainly not just the job of priests!

So just for today we invite each of you to help the rest of us out by introducing yourself to someone you do not know well after Mass: in the Annexe where there will be coffee, or outside church. Communion involves communication. For some this will be more painful than for others. For the majority of English people it’s not simple! And we are all different, with strengths and weaknesses. But it’d be good if just very occasionally we tried it.

Just for today, after Mass, let’s try cutting back on our conversations with those we know, and inviting someone else into our acquaintance.

So it could be the person who’s been in the pew next to you for a while. Or one of the priests (we do need help to meet everyone). Or one of our four below, newish pastoral workers (‘name-tagged’!), who you may well not have had the chance to meet before.

· Dr Michael Jarmulowicz -- a long-term parishioners he has just started the three year diocesan training process to become a Permanent Deacon in this parish. This will conform him to Christ, the Servant, enabling him, among other things to preach, to lead marriages, funerals and baptisms and to be an ordinary minister of Holy Communion.

· Martin Plunkett -- our Youth Worker. Having become involved last year, this year he has started leading quite a bit of this work. He has just moved into Clergy House.

· Mrs Celia Edwards – Celia is from Watford. She has been leading our First Holy Communion preparation over the last two years. This academic year she is becoming more involved through running the new Echoes training programme and helping to lead our Journey in Faith programme.

· Chris Hack – has recently come from Cambridge Univ. to Clergy Ho. to work in the parish for a yr.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:31 am

Friday, October 20, 2006
An invitation to talk to someone in the parish who you haven’t met,
whether priest, parish worker or parishioner.

After Mass next Sunday we will have a special time of mutual introductions. This is to enable parishioners, who have not yet, had the chance, to meet the following people. We may make Mass a little shorter than usual to support this!

· Dr Michael Jarmulowicz -- has been an active parishioner virtually all his life (he and youth club members saw Bobby Moore & Geoff Hurst carry the World Cup along the High Rd). He has just started the three year diocesan training process to become a Permanent Deacon in this parish. This will conform him to Christ, the Servant, enabling him, among other things to preach, to lead marriages, funerals and baptisms and to be an ordinary minister of Holy Communion.

· Martin Plunkett -- our Youth Worker. Over the last year he has been getting more involved with our youth groups having gently begun late in 2005 with Tillie Callaghan, who tragically died last January. (He also produced her musical, Rock of the Anointed, last summer). This yr he has started leading quite a bit of this work, including starting the drama group. He has just moved into Clergy House. He will shortly write about himself on the newsletter front.

· Mrs Celia Edwards – Celia lives with her family in Watford. She has been very ably develo-ping our First Holy Communion Programme over the last 2 years. Last month she set up the Echoes training programme and has begun helping to lead our Journey in Faith programme.

· Chris Hack – has recently come to Clergy House to work in the parish for a year, whilst considering applying to become a priest. He recently introduced himself in this space.

· The Priests – Due to: (i) the amount of people who come here on a Sunday (1132 at the recent annual three-week October count); (ii) our shyness (that is the priests’, despite some people’s impressions!); and (iii) the range of interesting and important issues that are raised after Mass; its not easy to know everyone. Please help us out, and introduce yourself to us next weekend after Mass, if we haven’t, or only very briefly, met.

· Each other –many parishioners – even those who go to the same Mass haven’t had the chance to meet each other. Perhaps our lack of a hall does not help. It does help us to worship together if we know each other.

So next weekend we will be encouraging those who already know each other not to spend much time talking with each other after Mass! Talk to someone you don’t know –priest, parish worker or parishioner.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 2:56 pm

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Last Monday Cardinal Cormac had a private audience with the Pope. Afterwards a journalist asked him about it.

Journalist: This morning you had your first private meeting with the Pope since he was elected on 19 April 2005. You asked for this meeting, why?

Cardinal: I wanted to see him as the president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. I wanted to discuss with him the weaknesses and strengths of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, the particular things that concern us today, our relationship ecumenically. … I described the weaknesses and strengths of the Catholic community. The weaknesses: that fewer people are going to mass, there are less priests, the pressure and tensions of secular society. The strengths are that we count now more as Church than we did before and that, in a sense, if we could have more articulate lay people able to express their faith we are in a very good position to do so.
People respect the Catholic Church, even if they do not agree with its teaching in the moral sphere. They recognize the rationality here and I think, increasingly they see that what the Catholic Church teaches, it teaches it because it is true…. When I first thought of asking for this meeting, I had been thinking also about the possibility of his visit to our country, but then I got a letter from the Vatican saying he would not be able to do so in 2007. So that question did not come up very strongly in our discussion.


This Friday evening you can bid for the following items. Monies go towards the rebuilding of our Junior School. Just go to the Corrib’s Rest, Salusbury Rd. for 8 p.m.

Ø Dinner Party for Six prepared for you. You plan menu and provide food.
Ø Disneyland, Paris, pass for four.
Ø Editor for the Day of the popular, glossy ‘Grove’ Magazine.
Ø Headteacher for the day at St Mary Magdalen’s.
Ø One month’s pass at Holes Place Gym.
Ø Wallpapering of a standard sized room by a skilled decorator.
Ø Roy Keane, republic of Ireland shirt. Actual shirt worn by him against France.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:55 am

Monday, October 09, 2006
Today is the World Apostolate of Fatima’s World Day of Prayer that the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death may be upheld. Last week in the United States an important statement entitled That They May Have Life was published by a leading group Catholic and Evangelical Protestant thinkers. Here’s some extracts from the first half – the full text can be seen at

In the present statement we intend, however briefly and inadequately, to make the case for what is commonly called “a culture of life”—and to do so in a way that invites public deliberation and engages questions of public policy. Our primary purpose, however, is to explain to our communities why we believe that support for a culture of life is an integral part of Christian faith and therefore a morally unavoidable imperative of Christian discipleship …

We invite those who disagree, including those who do not share the gift of faith in Christ, to join with us in attempting to move beyond “culture wars” to a reasonable deliberation of the right ordering of our life together.

As Christians, we are informed, inspired, and sustained by our faith in a commitment to a culture of life, which includes the protection and care of the unborn, the severely disabled, the dependent elderly, and the dying. The culture of life encompasses also the poor, the marginalized, and those who, for whatever reason, are vulnerable to neglect or exploitation by others. This is not a uniquely Christian commitment. Disagreement on our obligations to those in need should not be viewed as a conflict between Christians and non-Christians.
The moral and political dispute is over which human beings, at whatever state of development or decline, possess rights that we are bound to respect. The question is this: Who belongs to the community for which we accept public responsibility?

Every human life is, from conception, created by God and is infinitely precious in His sight.We can no more abandon our contention for a culture of life than we can abandon our allegiance to the lordship of Christ, for our contention is inseparably part of that allegiance.

At the same time, we contend that the public policies pertinent to the defense of the humanum are supported by reasons that are accessible to all and should be convincing to all … Copyright (c) 2006 First Things 166 (October 2006): 18-27.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:54 am

Monday, October 02, 2006

Today we publish the final accounts for our Building Appeal – see the green insert. As predicted the results are extremely positive. We made just twenty one pounds more than the figure requested by Fr Tony Dwyer in 2002! Because costs have been a little less than expected we have over £9,000 available to sort out the Church lights if necessary (as explained on the insert) and to put towards future building work!

We have ‘shored up’ our great Church – ensured its witness and its use for the present and for a future generation. It is a fruit of the material and spiritual generosity of the parishioners here. We all owe a particular debt of gratitude to Martin Doyle who has overseen the accounts for these last five years, with his calm & clarity - a great weight off various parish priests’ shoulders!

May it all bear fruit in our living and loving.


Extract from the Holy Father's address to Muslim representatives at Cologne on 20.08.05We must seek paths of reconciliation and learn to live with respect for each other's identity. The defence of religious freedom, in this sense, is a permanent imperative, and respect for minorities is a clear sign of true civilization. In this regard, it is always right to recall what the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council said about relations with Muslims:

The Church looks upon Muslims with respect. They worship the one God living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to humanity and to whose decrees, even the hidden ones, they seek to submit themselves whole-heartedly, just as Abraham, to whom the Islamic faith readily relates itself, submitted to God … the Council urges all parties that, forgetting past things, they train themselves towards sincere mutual understanding and together maintain and promote social justice and moral values as well as peace and freedom for all people (Declaration Nostra Aetate, n. 3).

For us, these words of the Second Vatican Council remain the Magna Carta of the dialogue with you, dear Muslim friends... Christians and Muslims, we must face together the many challenges of our time. There is no room for apathy and disengagement, and even less for partiality and sectarianism. We must not yield to fear or pessimism. Rather, we must cultivate optimism and hope. Interreligious and intercultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims cannot be reduced to an optional extra. It is in fact a vital necessity, on which in large measure our future depends.'

posted by Sinead Reekie at 10:38 am