Blank Image
St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
Just some images of our church
blank image
blank image
blank image blank image blank image blank image blank image blank image
Previous Posts

Click here to go back


Friday, April 27, 2012
Vocations Sunday 4th Sunday of Easter. (29th April)
Today is the 49th World Day of Prayer for Vocations; a special day of prayer for vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life instituted by Pope Paul VI in 1964. Pope John Paul in an Encyclical Letter in 1992 reminded us that God told the prophet Jeremiah: “I will give you shepherds after my own heart” (Jer 3:15) but then Jesus himself also said, as he sent out 70 disciples ahead of him: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest” (Lk 10:2). So our first duty is to pray for vocations to the priesthood. This coming Friday is the First Friday of May, so why not make an extra special effort this coming Friday (4th May) and come and spend an hour before the Blessed Sacrament at our 7:00 pm Holy Hour where we will pray especially for this intention. We need priests, because without priests we will have no sacraments. The Curé of Ars (St John Vianney) was fond of saying: “Priests are not priests for themselves, but for you”. The good news is there has been an increase in the number of seminarians at Allen Hall (our diocesan seminary) every year for the last six years, including our own Martin Plunkett and Tony Thomas. However we cannot relax as there are many priests approaching retirement age (which for priests is not 65, but 75 years of age!) But what makes people give their life in total service to God in the service of others? Pope Benedict, in his message for this Sunday, urges us all “to create the conditions that will permit many young people to say ‘yes’ in generous response to God’s loving call.” And in the family setting this will come from the experience of living in a family where they see self-giving love and forgiveness in action. The old saying ‘A family that prays together, stays together’ will always be true. Mother Teresa of Calcutta expanded it by saying: “The family that prays together stays together; and if you stay together, you will love one another with the same love with which God loves each one of us.” But there is also the reality that formation for the priesthood costs money, so in addition to your prayers we ask you to be as generous as you can in the retiring collection. If you pay tax, then sign the gift aid part of the envelope, and we can recover a further 20% from the taxman. God will always reward a generous giver. Deacon Michael

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:05 am

Friday, April 20, 2012
The Beginning and the End

A few years ago I was asked to be on the committee of the Diocese’s Sick and Retired Clergy Fund. And before you get too excited, I regret to inform that I am neither sick nor planning to retire…just yet. One of the interesting statistics is that within the next ten years, over 50% of our clergy will be of retirement age which for a priest is 75. It is quite a daunting task to prepare practically and financially for an aging population of priests.

At the other end of the chain, we have 33 students preparing for the priesthood. Given that it takes 6 years to train a priest, if you look at the number of priests we have, the number retiring far exceeds the numbers being ordained. As a result there is obviously a great need for us to pray for vocations and to encourage them in our parish community and especially among our families. Indeed, my mum loved a phrase she once saw on a vocations poster – “Your priest is somebody else’s son. Could your son be somebody else’s priest?” As you know, we have been blessed with a seminarian from our own parish, Tony Thomas, and whenever I see him at Allen Hall he seems extremely happy.

However, to paraphrase St James, we can’t be people of faith without good and practical works so I need to mention the nuts and bolts. Yes, while a seminary refers to a seed bed where priests are “grown”, they don’t grow for nothing: it costs £50 per day to keep a seminarian so each year of training costs £18,000. That means a total of just under £110,000 from being selected as a student to ordination to the priesthood. 12 students began in the first year in September which means it will cost £1.2 million for those men to end up as your priests. The figures are really quite staggering but remind us that the success of our prayers has a price!
Therefore I ask you to be generous next week in the annual collection for the Priest Training Fund. Please take home a donation envelope and return it with your contribution next weekend or at any time. If you are a taxpayer please complete the Gift Aid section of the envelope. You can also make a donation online by visiting

Blessed John Paul II once said, “When the spirit of adventure and great love dies, there will be no more priests.” That spirit is very much alive in many young men like Tony and by giving generously to this fund we can make a significant contribution to nurturing that generosity of heart and providing priests for the future. Pope Benedict said recently in a message for Vocations Sunday that when “the one who is called voluntarily leaves everything and submits himself to the teaching of the Divine Master…a fruitful dialogue between God and man begins, a mysterious encounter between the love of the Lord who calls and the freedom of the one who responds in love.” It is the deepest desire in our hearts to find where that encounter lies and over the next couple of weeks we focus on those who think they have found it in becoming a priest. As Blessed John Paul II wrote of priesthood, “One of its privileges is helping each baptised person to discover the dream for them which is found in God’s heart.” Please, support them with your prayers and financially so that they can help you discover that dream in the future.
Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:43 am

Monday, April 16, 2012
OCTAVE DAY OF EASTER (Divine Mercy Sunday) 15TH APRIL 2012
The Feast of Divine Mercy
The Church has always taught about God’s mercy, but it was only in the year 2000, during the canonisation Mass of St Faustina, that Pope John Paul II declared that the Sunday after Easter should be kept as the Feast of Divine Mercy. Pope John Paul II made two very important statements about mercy. First, he wrote, "Mercy is love's second name." Secondly, he taught that mercy is "the greatest attribute of God."

1) Mercy is Love's Second Name… Love can be defined as a sharing and giving of oneself to another; a selfless seeking of the good of another. So mercy flows from our love of neighbour. Mercy is not love itself but the practical expression of that love. Although playing games with one's children, or enjoying and sharing conjugal love with one's spouse, or singing the praises of the Lord at Mass would be considered acts of "love" we would not call them acts of "mercy." On the other hand, giving bread to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, and shelter to the homeless—or indeed bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the lost and the broken—these are all acts of merciful love: love stooping down to lift people out of their physical and spiritual miseries.

2) Mercy is the Greatest Attribute of God... Saint Thomas Aquinas defined mercy as "the compassion in our hearts for another person's misery, a compassion which drives us to do what we can to help him." Divine Mercy, therefore, is the form that God's eternal love takes when He reaches out to us in the midst of our need and our brokenness. Whatever our need or misery might be — sin, guilt, suffering, or death — He is always ready to pour out his merciful, compassionate love for us, to help in time of need.

The message of The Divine Mercy is simple. It is that God loves us — all of us. And, He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy.

The Divine Mercy message is one we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC:
A - Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.
B - Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.
C - Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.

Deacon Michael

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:17 am

Presidential Wisdom

Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” This is partly true, especially as we have celebrated the Passion and death of our Lord, an experience we will have to go through but most likely without the brutal manner in which He died.

St Augustine once told his people to “see on the altar the Sacrament of who you are and what you are to become.” We live by faith, focussed on the Lord and pray for a happy death in union with Him because we have lived a life of service to God and our neighbour. But in His risen body He is also what we are to become. Sharing in this everlasting life is the target, the aim, the ambition of every Christian life. We are oriented towards God at the most basic level of our existence. We conduct our lives in the direction in which he walked this earth through His manner of living for in that direction alone lies the secret of life and its true fulfilment.

When He rises from the dead Christ is unrecognisable to those closest to him and asks them not to touch Him, not to cling to Him. In other words, He is not be limited or bound by the things of this world for eternity precisely because He lived a life beyond the minimum standards of human goodness during His mission on earth. That life is offered to us if we too swim against the tide of public opinion, refuse to take the easy option and give without counting the cost.

In the liturgy we are participants in the Body of Christ, not spectators. The Risen Christ, truly present on the altar at every Mass, has descended into the darkest places of human history to bring light and redemption to all mankind. Therefore He has descended into the darkest places of our lives too and brought there the hope of new life. So move over Mr Franklin – the resurrection of the dead and the hope of everlasting life are also certainties for those who live out Christ’s way.

That is truly a reason to cry, “Alleluia,” and should be for each of us a real incentive to begin to live a new life today that we might more consciously be participants in our Saviour’s life, death and resurrection. With that thought in your minds and that hope in your hearts, I wish you and all you loved ones a most happy and Holy Easter. And thank you to everyone who made the church so beautiful and our liturgies so prayerful over the Triduum. May God bless each of you for your generosity of time and talents.

Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:12 am

Palm Sunday 1st April 2012
Liturgy is Theatre?

When I was in my first year at Allen Hall seminary we had a rather charismatic Benedictine teaching us liturgy who began his first lecture with the words, “Boys. Liturgy is theatre," accompanied by rather expansive arm waving. Much to Dom Anthony’s disappointment I never fully subscribed to that particular notion even though there are costumes, prescribed words and actions and, at a stretch given that we use candles and incense, occasional pyrotechnics.

However, the liturgies this week make me think of the time that the early Lloyd Webber/Rice musical Cats was on in the West End. When you looked at the listings in the newspaper, the New London theatre carried a unique warning which I have never seen attached to any play other then the feline one: it read, “Latecomers will not be admitted once the auditorium is in motion.”

On Maundy Thursday, we celebrate at 8.00pm the Commemoration of the Lord’s Supper. In that Mass we do more than just act out the Last Supper – that really would just be theatre. What we celebrate is the reality that the bread and the wine blessed and shared become one and the same with the broken body and blood poured out when Christ dies on the cross. Therefore, it makes little sense to come to Thursday evening and not come at 3.00pm on Good Friday for the Lord’s Passion and vice versa. By the same token, since we leave on Friday afternoon in silence because the Lord is in the darkness of the tomb, missing the climax of the whole action in the resurrection of Christ celebrated first at the Easter Vigil at 8.30pm on Saturday is also to impoverish ourselves spiritually.

An analogy for the Easter Triduum is provided by JRR Tolkein. Three of his books – The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King – are better known by the single title as The Lord of the Rings. What sense would it make to read The Two Towers on its own? If we did, we wouldn’t know why the action was occurring which is explained in the first book nor see the outcome unfolding in the third.
Of course, not everyone can come to all three services because of work and other commitments but the fact remains that the three liturgies are a seamless garment. Therefore like the soldiers who cast lots for Christ’s clothing, let us try not to tear into pieces what should be admired as one. The Divine action played out in a human auditorium gets in motion on Thursday. We are free to come and go as we please, but we would understand it best by staying for it all.

Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:05 am