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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, June 28, 2010
Newman's vision in a nutshell v.2
John Henry Newman (1801 – 1890) is to be beatified by the Pope this September in Birmingham. Here a little overview of the major theme of his thought, namely the importance of God’s communication to man – that is God’s “Revelation” in Jesus Christ in his Church.

In 1816 at the age of 15 Newman began to experience an inner conviction which stayed with him all his life. As he put it at the beginning of his Apologia, he began “to rest in the thought of two and two only absolute and luminously self-evident beings, myself and my creator.”

For Newman all human knowledge is based upon trusting relationship, ultimately with our revealing God – which friendship and knowledge we call “faith”. He wrote in 1870
“… to act you must assume, and that assumption is faith ... [Religion] has ever been synonymous with revelation … it has ever been an assertion of what we are to believe. … it has ever been a message, a history, or a vision.” (Grammar of Assent, c.4)

God’s intention to reveal to us, means that the Church "must be decided and plain spoken in its doctrine" (The Arians of the 4th Century,1833). In 1870 he wrote "That the Church is the infallible oracle of truth is the fundamental dogma of the Catholic religion." (Grammar of Assent, end of Part I)

Thus it is that Our Lord Jesus clearly instituted the office of the Pope.
“The supremacy of conscience is the essence of natural religion; the supremacy of the Apostle, or Pope, or Church, or Bishop is the essence of revealed religion. (Development of Doctrine, 1846)

Six years later Newman went further:

“Deeply do I feel, ever will I protest, … [that] the voice of Peter [in the Pope] is now, as it ever has been, a real authority, infallible when it teaches, … Before it speaks, the most saintly may mistake; and after it has spoken, the most gifted must obey. ... (Cathedra Sempiterna 1852).

Newman, a convert from the Church of England, saw that the 16th century Reformation in our country started a cultural denial of the definite presence of clear divine revelation, this is turn had, by his time, led to “Liberalism”, namely
“the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another … It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true … In my own country … it threatens to have a formidable success”
This is from his 1879 “Biglietto” speech on receiving the Cardinal’s hat. He confirmed that:
“For 30, 40, 50 years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of Liberalism in religion. [… this erroneous] spirit [is] sweeping into its own ranks great numbers of able, earnest, virtuous men”

In his famous “Second spring” sermon of 1852 on the restoration of Catholic Bishops to our land he predicted that we might now be entering an all too:
“English Spring, an uncertain, anxious time of hope and fear, of joy and suffering,—of bright promise and budding hopes, yet withal, of keen blasts, and cold showers, and sudden storms.”

He added that: “in proportion to God's grace is the fury of His enemies … [but] the more the enemy rages against us, so much the more will the Saints in Heaven plead for us.”

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:04 am

Monday, June 21, 2010
Organization for the Papal visit is moving forward. It is possible for us to nominate two people for each English event. If you would like be nominated please fill in a white A5 slip from the back and give to priest or Clergy House. For any lists which get over two names we ourselves will have a ballot and inform successful applicants. it is necessary to do this TODAY, SUNDAY 19TH. It seems that security and cost considerations have meant a severe limitation upon numbers and notice. We must have names and addresses by today.

Each individual person may choose only one of the below events. Please fill in one of the slips and at the back of Church and give in to Clergy House TODAY (19th) making clear which event, and, if it is the Cathedral Mass below, which of the six categories you fall under.

Here are the events for which we can allocate two possible places out of those who sign up today
• Westminster Hall, Friday 17 September. ‘Theme’ – service the Church gives to the culture and shared life of our countries and to the wider world. The Pope will address parliamentarians and others involved with political and civic life.
• Westminster Abbey, Friday 17 September. ‘Theme’ – the common Christian search for God through prayer, contemplation and beauty.
• Westminster Cathedral, Sat 18 Sept, Mass, morning. ‘Theme’ – the life-giving power of the blood of Christ, reflecting the dedication of the Cathedral to the Precious Blood.
We can nominate 2 people for each of the below 6 categories, which will then go into a ballot:
 Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion,
 Parishioners who care for vulnerable people
 Married couples marking significant anniversaries this year
 Catholics received into the Church this year – and their sponsors
 Young people Confirmed this year – with their sponsors
 Other parishioners.
• Vigil, Hyde Park, Saturday 18 September, late morning ‘Theme’ – prayer, especially prayer before the Blessed Sacrament - anticipating the Beatification.
• Beatification, Coventry, Sunday 19 September. At Mass, Pope Benedict XVI will Beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman, a man renowned for his emphasis upon our need for God’s revelation through the Church, his commitment to education, the hymns he wrote and his dedicated and faithful service as a Parish Priest. The whole diocese has only 110 places for this event! Likely to be leaving extremely early in the morning of that Sunday.
In addition we hope to provide the opportunity to some of these on a big screen at parish events.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:48 am

Saturday, June 12, 2010
I left the familiar surroundings and people with a heavy heart. But I was overwhelmed by the welcome received from the moment I stepped out of the airport. I haven’t felt that I am in a foreign land. There were members from the Sri Lankan community along with Fr David Irwin, co-ordinator of the Ethnic Chaplains, to greet me. Fr Hugh welcomed me with open arms and did not even for a moment allow me to feel that I am away from home. I met a few of those who are actively involved in Church activities and they were all very friendly and their encouraging words meant a lot to me. I would also like to mention the amiable Fr Kieran who helped me to feel more homely and relaxed.

I come from a beautiful island called Sri Lanka hailing from a family of seven members. My full name is Anslem Norman Rohitha Rodrigo. I joined the seminary when I was 13 years old and was ordained in 1997. After my ordination I served in two parishes as the assistant parish priest where I really enjoyed my priestly life as a pastor. After two years I was asked to serve in a catholic school in Colombo namely St Joseph’s College where about 4000 students are being educated. After serving there for four and a half years I was sent to another catholic school where 4500 students study, namely St Peter’s College. I was the Principal of the Primary section for six and a half years until the day I left my country to come over here.

I am here as the Chaplain for the Sri Lankan community where I will try my best to look into their spiritual needs and to build up the community. At the same time I wish to help the parish in whatever way I can and also study for my Masters Degree in Education.

With God’s blessings and your prayers I hope my stay here in Willesden Green will be a fruitful one for you as well as for me.

May God bless you all !
Fr Rohitha

posted by Sinead Reekie at 1:19 pm