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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Saturday, May 29, 2010
Why is the moment of Holy Communion so important?
This physical, public meeting of union and communion symbolizes, makes profoundly real, and pushes forward the union and communion of Heaven and Earth.
So why doesn’t the Church invite everyone to come to Holy Communion?
Because in this life we are all on different journeys to the same destination of Communion with God. We are all called to reach the moment of going to Holy Communion at the appropriate stage of our particular journey – and not before we are ready to manifest, in our public lives (even though we be far from saints) the Communion of Christ’s family. This is not a measure of our holiness but of our public belief and witness to Christ in the Church.
Why should some people not come to Holy Communion?
The main category is someone who, in the public forum, has an impaired Communion with the Catholic Church. This is because if such a person is not yet able to support that aspect of the Mass which is the symbolic and actual forming of the public family of Jesus. For example if someone is not a Catholic. Or it could include a Catholic who is clearly doing something seriously against the full familial Christian life. This includes living as if married with someone to whom they are not married (in the eyes of the Church) or having been away from Mass for more than a period easily explained by travel or illness.
Isn’t this harsh against people who might be victims of difficult, modern circumstances?
No, it is just a recognition that a particular person’s journey is at the stage of not, yet, being able to go to Holy Communion. It is a way of recognizing the difficulty of some modern circumstances and the need for healing. The pain of staying in one’s bench or coming up for a blessing (by crossing one’s hands across one’s chest) will bear fruits of healing (in God’s time), particularly for others in similarly difficult situations. To ignore this Church teaching is to lose the opportunity for healing and to damage the communion of us all.
Isn’t that judging that state of someone’s soul before God? No, it’s simply to do with the public, social, dimension of union and communion which is being formed by God – because the social dimension is crucial to us humans.
Does that mean someone who is privately, in their heart, far from God can go to Communion?
No. Another category of people who should not go to Holy Communion are those who are privately conscious of being in “mortal sin” (having done something seriously wrong knowingly and deliberately) They should refrain from going to Holy Communion until they have been able to go to confession first. But only they, with a spiritual direction or confessor, can make that judgment. Another reason for not going is if you have eaten within the hour before Communion. One can make a “spiritual communion”.
Going to Mass, even if not Communion, is very fruitful for all.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:53 am

Friday, May 21, 2010
Pentecost 23rd May 2010 Year C
PAPAL VISIT 16-19 Sept - retiring collection today, & see prayer cards at the back
Unlike Pope John Paul’s “pastoral” visit in 1982 this is, primarily, a State Visit and will have a missionary character. Access to these events will be limited though all will be live on the internet. We hope to take at least a coach load to Coventry on the Sunday. Watch this space. Because there is also a pastoral dimension the Catholic church is expected to pay about 1/3 of the £18m it is costing. Hence today’s retiring collection.

Thursday 16 September - Scotland
He will go firstly to Edinburgh where he will be received by Her Majesty The Queen, and people representing British society. He will then travel to Glasgow where he will celebrate an open-air Mass

Friday 17 September - London
On the second day of the visit, Pope Benedict is going to St Mary's University College, Twickenham. He begins the day praying with representatives of religious congregations - particularly those who have a charism for education, then meeting leaders of education and enterprise, who also are people of faith, in the newly refurbished Walpole house.

He will then go and meet about 3,000 young people - schoolchildren, students - to celebrate Catholic education. From there he will then meet and discuss with religious leaders and others.

Later in the day, the Pope is scheduled to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury to speak and the Anglican diocesan bishops and the Catholic diocesan bishops of England and Wales.

He has then been invited, as part of the State visit, to address British society. Representatives of British society will be invited to Westminster Hall to hear the Pope's address. He will finish off the day with the Archbishop of Canterbury and Christian leaders at Westminster Abbey with Evening Prayer.

Saturday 18 September -London
Pope Benedict will celebrate Mass in Westminster Cathedral where he will also, from there, greet the people of Wales. Later in the day he will visit a home for older people, giving the Pope an opportunity to go to those who cannot meet with him. In the evening he will lead a prayer vigil in Hyde Park.

Sunday 19 September -West Midlands
The Pope will beatify Cardianl John Henry Newman at Coventry airport. He will conclude the day by meeting with the bishops of England, Scotland and Wales in Oscott College, in the chapel where John Henry Newman preached his “Second Spring” sermon.

There will be a special missal and a question and answer booklet produced. This latter will be able to be given to anyone interested in our faith.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 8:58 pm

Saturday, May 15, 2010
Ascension Sunday–Year C – 16th May 2010

As this is the first of our two First Holy Communion weekends we are continuing the series from where we left off exactly two years ago!


What is Holy Communion? Jesus. That which was bread, has become, at the consecration, the Body, Blood, soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Why? To feed us with his divine life in a human manner. The Son of God is the means of becoming sons of God for all creatures, including all angels and humans. For humans this means the Son of God becoming human, with a physical body. His physical body participates in enabling us, soul and body, to become sons of God. We need to touch and feed upon this Body, as a baby needs the mother’s milk, for sustenance in body and soul.

Did Jesus teach this? Yes, see John chapter six, where he repeated that we must really “chew upon” his actual flesh and drink his actual blood, if we are to have life in him. It is the one place in the Bible where his repeated teaching, sadly, made lots of his followers walk away from him.

So when we touch the white Host (after the consecration at Mass) are we really touching Jesus? Yes. 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 true Bread of Life, the One who took on a Body 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 a fruit of Jesus’s 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 Jesus 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’.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 10:16 am

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Martin Plunkett, who was with us for three years as a youth worker, will be back at the Sunday Masses (not Sat 6:30) to explain a bit about this appeal. He is now in his second year of training, and has recently received the “ministry” of Reader. This is to be formally instituted to minister at the lectern, that is to read during the Liturgy of the Word at Mass. It is a traditional step towards becoming a priest. The next step, next year, is to become an “Acolyte”, to minister at the altar, that is as a server during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

About a year after that Martin would then be formally called by God through the Bishop to become a priest by becoming a “candidate”. About a year after that he would, God-willing, be ordained a Deacon, and take his vows of celibacy and obedience and respect towards the Bishop. A year later he would become a priest!

It costs 50p a day to prepare someone for priesthood.

Also next weekend is the deadline for giving saying that you would like to join our parish group on the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes – cost £595 including Eurostar trip.

The theme for 2010 is, 'With Bernadette, Let us make the sign of the Cross' - nothing less than an invitation to enter into the life of the Trinity itself, by following the way of Christ.

Lourdes is ‘a place apart’. Without doubt a place of prayer but also of peace and consolation, where the pilgrim can pour out their troubles, worries, anxieties in wordless conversation with Our Lady. A place, in the first instance of Our Lady, quietly showing the way to her Son.

Lourdes is situated in the foothills of the Pyrenees in S W France. The story begins with a young girl, Bernadette Soubirous, the eldest of nine children. In 1858, Our Lady first appeared to Bernadette in the cave of Massabielle on February 11th of that year. She was to appear a further 17 times. Each year the Sanctuary chooses a theme to help us focus on the Lourdes message and what it can mean for our lives.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 12:40 pm

Tuesday, May 04, 2010
It is good to vote. The basic dynamic of democracy is good, flowing as it does from the recognition of the dignity of every human being. Aspects of this insight were in the classical tradition and developed by Enlightenment thinkers in the 18th century. The high point of the classical tradition and the firm foundation of the modern tradition has been the historical fact of God becoming Man. Please see the special yellow A5 leaflet “Relevant Information on local candidates”.

What adjectives would you use to describe the large face that is on display front right of our Church? It may well speak to you. It may be the fairly miraculously produced “death mask” of Our Lord. If so it may well speak of unspeakable sadness at the tragic reality of your sin and your suffering, as well as of healing hope for you and love of you.

It is a photographic negative of the face on the Shroud of Turin, which is a linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with crucifixion. This is now on display in Turin Cathedral for the first time in decades.

The image on the shroud is much clearer in black-and-white negative than in its natural colour. The Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor rejected the shroud, though Popes have venerated it and commented on its mysterious beauty.

The Shroud of Turin is one of, if not the, most studied artifacts in human history. There is evidence that the shroud is the cloth placed on the body of Jesus Christ at the time of his burial, and that the face image is the Holy Face of Jesus. This concerns the origins of the material and details of the image which are accurate in the light of modern historical knowledge. In 1978 a detailed examination was carried out by a team of American scientists called STURP. It found no reliable evidences of forgery. STURP called the question of how the image was formed "a mystery".

In 1988 a radiocarbon dating test was performed on small samples of the shroud. It gave a strongly probable verdict that the cloth dated from the Middle Ages, between 1260 and 1390. However since then two peer reviewed papers in scientific journals have questioned the tests, for instance whether the material used was from medieval repair work after a fire which damaged the cloth.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:06 am