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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, September 22, 2008
Hi, I've just started here as the new Youth-worker in the parish and wanted to tell you all a little about myself.
It so happens that I have known my predecessor here, Martin, for a few years. I know what big shoes (and big heart) I have to fill. I wonder if I will be able to! I met Martin through our mutual and dear friend Tillie Callaghan RIP who came here with Martin to the parish and who I believe has lead me here to continue her work; She is our volunteer heavenly youth worker!
I am 23yrs old and I was brought up a Catholic but fell away as a teenager but was dragged kicking and screaming back into the church by a friend; since then I have been sharing this treasure with other young people, most recently at Birmingham University, which work will continue this year, alongside my work here.
I am very excited to be entering upon such a vibrant community as the parish (and of course schools) of St Mary Magdalen’s, which exhibits such commitment, energy and contemplation. I much look forward to learning more about this family, and growing with you all in our journey. Be patient with me!
Thank you for the warm reception I have received so far. I do hope to get to know all of you, though I realize it’s a big community. A particular request from me to all the young people in the parish; I would like to meet you so please come and talk to me, I don't bite! I will be outside Church after all Masses next weekend.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:48 am

Monday, September 15, 2008
Farewell from Martin Plunkett
It is with more than a little bit of sadness that I say goodbye to Willesden Green and the parish of St Mary Magdalen’s. I leave however with a great sense of gratitude for all that has happened during this time. It has been a joy to get to know so many people here, to be part of this community and to work with so many of the young people and others of the parish. I have learned and received a great deal since arriving here. The parish is a warm and friendly place full of good people of kindness and faith. For this reason it has been easy for me to be here, always feeling accepted and welcomed by everyone.

I am especially grateful to Fr Hugh for giving me the opportunity of working here. At his side I have experienced and learned a great deal which I hope to take with me on the next stage of the journey. One of the main things I take with me is the importance of living with conviction this beautiful faith of ours within a parish and within each family. I have seen, especially with the young, how influenced they are when they see the good example of others and I am even more convinced now of the deep need for this in our world at this time. May this great work continue!

I would like to express my thanks to all those who worked in the youth clubs, the musical and all the other projects over this time. These things could not take place without the willing help of interested parishioners. Thank you also to everyone at Clergy House and all those who help with the running of the parish and also to all who were so kind and generous in wishing me well for the future. The school and all the pupils gave me a lovely send off, as did the teenagers group (including a surprise birthday party!). For all these things and so much more – a big ‘THANK YOU!’

I am sure to come back and visit and please be assured of my prayer for the parish. May Jesus and Mary be with you all guiding you to our eternal home in heaven.


posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:30 am

Friday, September 05, 2008
Having been lucky enough to be with one or two young families recently I was struck even more forcefully than before what good caretaking parents do. Of their children that is. It certainly can be difficult. Hopefully it’s exciting and awe-full.

We know not what our children are 'going to be', though it's natural to have great hopes. God knows and also shares such hopes. He is the one who has ordered the cosmos and formed our personalities, and He goes on doing so. He has invited us all, though most especially parents, to cooperate intimately in this grand work. What could be more exciting, worthwhile, or long lasting!

The true greatness to which we are all called is a creative generosity in the image of and by the power of Christ. And we are all involved in fostering and forming such generosity, such love of God, in others, through our prayers, words and example.

The basic vocation of all of us is to foster this dignity, and thus to receive this dignity. What makes our parish community a true communion in Christ that we urge each other on to realize this grand vocation.

I am reminded of some first words of mine at my induction as parish priest here six years ago. I said I was merely a temporary caretaker in a community that has a long, rich, generous tradition going back well before my advent here and will go on, please God, long beyond my moving on. The moving on of Martin Plunkett after 3 years involved in our youth and some of our adult formation has highlighted this.

But my above referred to summer experience has brought out a deeper dimension of being a 'caretaker'. As St Paul (whose 2,000th 'birthday' we celebrate this year) wrote we "are not our own, we belong to Christ." God in Christ has a great work of love for each of us. The somewhat daunting but certainly exciting vocation of the Parish Priest is not to know the specifics of each parishioner’s vocation, but through coordination and discernment to foster it.

Parents are given a particularly beautiful and challenging place in this spiritual caretaking. All of us have a particular role. How will you foster Chrisitan formation over the next months? Watch this space for opportunities. At the end of the day (thank God) it's His work, not ours. (See you next weekend).

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:20 am