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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Friday, May 30, 2008
week of the 1st June 2008
FRIDAY: MERCY IN MUSIC - as well as in words and paint.
The theme of our annual concert this Friday evening, led by Patricia Rozario and Mark Troop, which is in aid of our expensive new Church boilers, is “The Quality of Mercy”.

The theme comes from that for the month of June, which begins today, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the seat of his powerful love and mercy as revealed to St Margaret Mary back in the 16th Century. In the last Century the visionary St Faustina Kowalska saw Jesus with rays of light coming from His heart. She also received revelations concerning the “Divine Mercy”. For instance she heard the words: “The flames of mercy are burning Me - clamouring to be spent; I want to pour them out upon these souls....Distrust on the part of souls is tearing at My insides.” These and other words she recorded will be recited at the concert, as will the source of our concert theme, Portia's plea in Shakespeare's the Merchant of Venice: “The Quality of Mercy is not strained, ...”. Local actors Toby and Michelle Byrne will perform this for us.

The Catechism reminds us that Jesus' Sacred Heart was “pierced by our sins and for our salvation” (n.476). Blood and water flowed out representing the healing and life given to us through the Sacraments. Not long ago Patricia Rozario commissioned a friend, a recent parishioner of ours, Francesca Pringle, to paint a representation of the Sacred Heart. This led to her producing a number of paintings some of which will be on display during the concert, hanging from the pillars in the front half of the Church. They flowed from some of Francesca's reading of Kahlil Gibran and Rudolf Steiner as well as a childhood fascination with understanding the Sacred Heart, which “led to a subconscious quest to understand the SPIRITUAL HEART in its broadest sense: the centre, life's sacred heart, the veil ... I explored the image of the Sacred Heart .... abstracting, expressing, allowing the images to flow freely. I tried to understand the veil to shed it, to touch the centre”.

Also at this concert Martin Plunkett, our youth worker of the last three years who leaves us this summer, will be performing, with some young people from our Year 7/Year 8 Youth Club, the beautiful theme tune of the musical he produced here two years ago, Rock of the Anointed, about the mercy given to and received by King David: “When cares increase in my heart, Lord, your Mercy holds me up ...” (Psalm 93/94).

posted by Sinead Reekie at 1:44 pm

Friday, May 23, 2008

In a free vote our Britain's constituency Members of Parliament have just decided to:
1. Maintain the 24 week limit for healthy unborn babies. The ability and reality of legally aborting handicapped unborn babies up to birth will remain
2. Remove a legal requirement to consider fatherhood as a child's natural right.
3. Develop experimentation upon human embryos for medical research

No. 3 was supported by the Association of Medical Research Charities and the Genetic Interest Group. Between them they represent 223 patients' charities including Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation and the Parkinson's Society.
It is thus almost certain HFEA Bill will pass, including its repealing of the 2001 Act which forbade the bringing to birth of human clones (initially for those mothers whose mitochondrial disease prevents their eggs being available to be naturally fertilized).

Making a Difference – and stabbed teenagers' parental example
There is a clear, radically distinct alternative to our increasingly 'anti-life culture' (John Paul II's phrase). It is based on the belief that the development of true peace, love and compassion must and can include all members of the human species in its remit, including the weakest, e.g. embryos and unborn children. This alternative is our Catholic Faith. Our faith is nothing without this basic belief.
These two visions of human life and love, that represented by our parliamentarians and medical charities and that represented by the Catholic Church, cannot both be right. Let's use this moment of crucifixion to renew our commitment to our spiritual life, our learning and living within our parish – and to being courageously unfashionable, witnesses to hope. As an example of this see the comments of recently stabbed Jimmy Mizen's parents on the inside bottom left of our newsletter.
Also early last week a prominent report stated that the £45m spent by the government on reducing teenage crime had completely failed to have a noticeable effect. Surely the increasingly hope-less 'playing God' of our younger people is linked with the increasingly hope-less 'playing God' of our political & cultural leaders.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 2:12 pm

Tuesday, May 20, 2008
PRAY, HOPE AND DON’T WORRY - Padre Pio’s key advice
What’s happening in Parliament tomorrow? Key debates concerning the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill. Monday is on the creation of human/animal hybrids, and ‘Saviour Siblings’, that is the creation of new, eternal members of the human species primarily to be organic donors for sick siblings. Tuesday will focus upon the removal of legal acknowledgement of a child’s inherent right and natural orientation to having a father.
Is it really true cloning will be extended? This Act is repealing an earlier one restricting cloning. In the case where it appears that parents cannot otherwise have a child, a clone may be brought to birth.
Why is all this so bad? The traditional Western vision of Man and civil society, which came out of Catholicism, is opposed the idea that any adult has a “right” to a child. An adult may well want one for all sorts of understandable reasons. What is important is that these reasons do not override openness to the basic, eternal plan of God – that is the primary call to each human to become a child of God through being conceived through the marital act and brought up as a child of a mum and dad.
Doesn’t that mean In Vitro Fertilization is wrong? IVF does override such divine will and human dignity, trying to make ourselves masters of procreation. N.B. As has often been the case since IVF came in, this Bill clearly goes significantly further than permitting IVF.
Do we condemn childless couples to their fate? The Church’s unique interest in research into natural Fertility control over the last 40 years means that Catholic centres such as FertilityCare in Soho Square now claim figures approaching 50% for enabling those classed as ‘infertile’ by the NHS to conceive.
Shouldn’t we fight this Bill very hard? Yes but we should remember that in the face of evil being bitter or pointing the finger only increases the destruction. Let it all be a spur to ourselves (i) to “Mind the Gap” between the Christian vision of love and that represented by our political elite and relativist consensus, by carefully educating ourselves on these issues (e.g. through our PIA group) and (ii) to hope to be more converted ourselves through this. At this veritable low-point of western civilization let us follow Padre Pio’s advice, Pray, hope and don’t worry.
Isn’t this all so complicated? There are two simple facts fundamental to this whole issue:
1. The biological evidence, acknowledged by those experimenting upon human life, is that those living things with a human nucleus are members of the human species.
2. All members of the human species, however small or weak, should be treated as
having an absolute value.
(Communion Q/A’s continue again soon!)

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:56 am

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What is Holy Communion? Jesus. That which was bread, has become, at the consecration, the Body, Blood, soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. If you shake hands with Fred Bloggs you are literally touching the person of Fred. In Holy Communion we are literally being fed by Jesus’ Body and so intimately, humanly, encountering the person of Jesus, our Bread of Life, the One who took on a Body in order to nourish us with Himself, to give us life and life to the full, eternal life.

How does Holy communion fit into the Sacrifice of Christ in the Mass?
The gift of Holy Communion is fruit of Jesus’ eternal Self-Gift, through His life and death on earth.

Should we make a sign of reverence before going to Holy communion?
Yes, the Church strongly recommends a bow, sign of the Cross or genuflection, as the previous person is receiving. One can receive the Body of Christ on the tongue or the hand, kneeling or standing.

Why do we say ‘Amen’?
As we together received Holy Communion at the meeting point between the Sanctuary and the Nave, The Bridegroom, commits to His Bride the Church, and we say ‘Amen’ – ‘so be it’.

Why is this moment so important?
This physical, public meeting of union and communion symbolizes and makes profoundly real the union of Heaven and Earth.

Next Week: Isn’t it rather harsh to suggest that some should not come to Communion?

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:53 am

Thursday, May 01, 2008
Celebrations for May time are very old indeed, and have often centred around a female figure: in distant past a pagan goddess and for today’s Christians, Mary the Mother of Christ.

In ancient Rome the goddess Flora was the goddess of Spring: ceremonies in her honour around the empire celebrated the return of vegetation to the earth after the barren winter.

All sorts of traditions involving flowers became established in Europe, in particular the crowning of a young girl as “May Queen”, with garlands of flowers gathered specially for the occasion. “Fetching in the May” – gathering the flowers for the garland and shrine – was a joyful community event for the young. Fr Mark Elvins writes “It is plain that the May Queen has thus continued in folklore as a modified form of the ancient Roman goddess Flora. In the Middle Ages the church felt obliged to give this harmless but obviously pagan custom a Christian guise. Where pre-Christian customs had become firmly established the Church would seek to introduce a Christian context and … a special religious flavour, although the devotions were of a popular rather than a official nature.

“By the thirteenth century, Christian May ceremonies had become well established and in the fourteenth century Blessed Henry Susos, a German Dominican friar, could write of ‘fetching in May’ once for Christ and once for ‘the tender flower and rosy Maid, the Mother of God. He also mentions .. the May custom of making a little chaplet (garland) of roses to crown a statue of the Virgin Mary–the precursor to the ‘rosary’ beads, at first sculpted roses.
(from a Book of Feasts and Seasons, Joanna Bogle, Gracewing)

posted by Sinead Reekie at 1:46 pm