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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008
2nd-11th February. A special Gift from Our Lady of Lourdes
To mark the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Blessed Lady to St Bernadette at Lourdes the Holy See in Rome has announced that it is possible for all to obtain what is called a “Plenary Indulgence”

What’s this?
An indulgence is an act through, with and in Christ, by His Body the Church, by which the loving offerings of the martyrs and other saints come to bear healing fruit in the life of a particular member of the Church. This person then must be taking every reasonable effort themselves to be open to the redeeming love of God.

How do you get an indulgence?
By doing a particular act set by the Church, whilst at the same time going to Confession, Communion and praying for the Pope’s intentions. This is best done on the same day but can be within the same week (or two).

What is the particular act needed for this indulgence?
The veneration of an image of Our Lady of Lourdes from 2-11 February. This is best done at our formal parish occasion, on Sunday February 10th February at 3pm, whilst going to Confession after any of the Sunday Masses (there will be a priest available after all Lenten Sunday Masses). But it can be done by a private prayer for the Pope’s intentions in front of the special image of Our Lady of Lourdes which we will have present during this period, and going to Confession and communion during this period.

FAMILY FOLLOW-UP TO THIS SUNDAY’S GOSPEL: tell your child about a real boy in our community who wakes his mum up early in the morning on Sundays because he is afraid of missing something at church! Ask Why? Is He becoming a disciple? Thank God in Jesus for showing us how to be disciples.
Next Sunday will have our bi-weekly children’s liturgy at the 10:30 am Mass.
This is for reception children upwards.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:27 am

Monday, January 21, 2008
Beloved friends,

At the end of my very pleasant stay in this parish, I extend my heartfelt thanks to one and all. An unknown author wrote: “The land you live in is the Holy Land”. It is not necessary to make a pilgrimage to Palestine and Jerusalem to experience God’s presence; Everywhere is present to God. We can meet Him where we live, and wherever we travel to. I had never visited “The Holy Land” but have managed to voyage to Willesden Green. This Parish has been a “Holy Land” for me, with its loveable priests and sincere and good people. My stay here has been very fruitful. It is with a renewed spirit and thankful heart, especially for the contribution of £687 towards my mother’s operation from after the final Mission Mass, I go back. Let us be united in prayer.

FAMILY FOLLOW-UP TO THIS SUNDAY’S GOSPEL (& CHILDREN’S LITURGY): Explain to your child that very often we get so busy and noisy that God's voice is completely drowned out. Try being silent together for just 60 seconds, first just as a (fun!) experiment and then asking the child to think of the words “Jesus, Help me”.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:13 am

Tuesday, January 15, 2008
What are the Pope’s Intentions?
Those who say the Rosary usually start with an Our Father, three Hail Marys and a Glory Be for the “Pope’s Intentions”. Similarly in activities and prayers associated with indulgences it is a requirement to pray for the Pope’s intentions. But do you know what the Pope’s intentions are? Or how this practice of praying for the Pope’s intentions started?

It all started in 1844 when a group of young enthusiastic Jesuit seminarians, keen to go out and start working in the missions, were feeling frustrated by their lengthy studies and were wondering how their detailed study would make them better missionaries. Their Spiritual Director reminded them that salvation of souls was a supernatural goal and the best way of achieving a supernatural goal was by supernatural means. He told them that for the moment they had to be apostles of prayer and offer each day to God. By offering up their work, suffering and joy, in union with Christ, they would advance the work of the missions just as much as their being directly there. And so was founded the Apostleship of Prayer. This offering was soon formalised into the Daily Morning Offering and it rapidly spread outside the seminary; today many people start the day with a simple Morning Offering, offering their day to God – it is highly recommended.

In the 1880’s Pope Leo XIII saw how this simple yet profound way of life was spreading and so he announced his prayer intentions for every month, to go with the Daily Morning Offering; in this way these prayers would unite the whole Church. All popes since then have continued this tradition of announcing the intentions for prayer for each month. In 1985 Pope John Paul II reminded us of how the early Church prayed for St Peter when he was arrested (Act 12:5) and how he was joyous of knowing that people were praying for the concrete problems that troubled the Church.

The monthly prayer intentions of the Pope can be found through the Internet at We shall be including the monthly intentions in our bidding prayers.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:30 am

Putting our hope in the Lord
“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. This means that today we remember that our God is a God who has been revealed to us. The three wise men were perhaps not sure what they would find, expecting maybe a great king surrounded by fine things. What they found instead was a poor family in a stable caring for a tiny baby.

Pope Benedict has recently written to the Church on the theme of hope. In his encyclical he has asked Christian people to consider afresh that our Lord and Saviour truly has been revealed to us as he was revealed to the three wise men. Many people these days, he says, have put their hope in earthly things; in money, science or careers, in the belief that these will satisfy the yearning in their hearts. He has asked us to be an example to these others as those who have truly put their hope in God.

All the wise men had as their guide was the light of a small star; they were then given the grace to recognise the Lord of life when seeing him in the manger. They are an example for us in their humility which allowed them to ‘fall down and worship’ the Son of God in the most unlikely of places. Could we put our trust once again in a God who wants to come into the humble details of our earthly lives and worship Him?

Like the wise men we can offer our ‘treasure’ to the Lord. We may not have gifts such as theirs but we have something far more valuable, we have the gift of our love. If we need help we can ask Our Lady for she is the one who God chose to bring Jesus into the world and she was the one who presented Him to the three visitors. We pray at the start of this New Year that she will also show us Jesus so that we may place our hope in Him, the only one who can answer all our heart’s needs.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:23 am

The sudden death of a close friend, the sudden appearance of a new “star” in the night sky, another friend slowly dying of cancer...ques¬tions... real questions that go straight through one's heart and mind as Christmas 2007 approaches. With these and more turbulent outer events occupying my attention I was given a … short essay titled, 'Before The Manger'. Delp puts this important question to humanity:

Why does the stable of Bethlehem with its wonders and history stand there, while so many of us pass it by...? An entire nation, a whole people can walk past the manger. So too, an entire epoch can pass by this manger. ...we will know that the mystery of this [holy, silent] night leads us to an encounter with the Absolute. As such, we will be shaken up. For when we stand before the Absolute, what is genuine & real is revealed. If we fail to be moved when we come to the manger, something ultimate is missing

That evening my neighbour stood outside and called me over to look in the area of the constellation Perseus. "There is something wrong about that familiar star pattern," he
said. "It has been cloudy for the past week but I believe we are seeing a comet!" Sure enough comet Holmes had brightened 1,000,000 times on the 24th of October. Just by my neighbour's keen observation I was made aware of this new object in the heavens! It was a discovery using the only method available to the men of ancient times.

Again Delp writes:
And then there were wise men - those who by long seeking and searching and waiting and enduring became inwardly honest and ready. ...They were men who saw the greater relationships … They were the ones who could sense from a thousand indications where … the answer could be found.

Genuine questions...? Alfred Delp was put in a Nazi prison for helping Jews in Munich, Germany escape to Switzerland. His collection of essays in When the Time Was Fulfilled were written from prison. The Gestapo offered Delp his freedom if he would leave the Jesuits, but he refused. In 1945 they ended his life by hanging. … His death was because he..."really loved him".
In order to see the new comet that suddenly appeared, we need to look up into the night sky. Our attention should go away from ourselves this Advent and Christmas time toward the great things that God is prepar¬ing for this earth.
By John Menz (abridged)

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:18 am

As we head back across the water the Mission team would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those in the parish who responded with their attendance and prayerful support. It helped make the week of Mission a great and memorable time of grace.

A week of mission is a time of grace for the whole parish, not only for those who could attend. It does not only last just for the week during which the mission is actually held. The mission is an offering of grace from God to each of us to draw closer to Him, to hear His word and seek His face in our everyday lives. It is a time to change and turn in deep trust to the merciful God, who is full of com-passion, and longs to guide us to a deeper life in Him. This is his ongoing work.

Recently we did a mission in Tuam Cathedral, Co. Galway. The Archbishop who celebrated the morning mass told us, “During this mission Jesus and Mary walk among us, not only in the church, but around the whole town, bringing their blessings upon our lives and those of our families.” His words really illustrate to us that a mission, as a time of hope and new beginnings, truly has no end.

What will be our response to the invitation the Lord has given to us to draw closer to Him over this past week? Whether we have been able to attend the mission evenings or not, the Lord still stands at the door of our hearts knocking, waiting for us to open the way to allow his transforming love and grace to enter. It does not matter whether we are five years old or ninety five, whether we are strong in our faith, or maybe if we struggle sometimes, each day is a new chance to grow.

How will we respond to what God is asking from each of us?

What we do know is that when we respond to His call, by reaching out to others in our families and community, we will experience the deep joy, peace, and fulfilment that comes from a deeper union with Christ and His church.

May God Bless You all in His Deep Love

St. Patrick’s Community.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:09 am