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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Friday, November 30, 2012
1st Sunday of Advent 2nd December 2012
How are your Christmas Preparations Going? We have 22 shopping days to Christmas. Are you getting stressed worrying about getting the Christmas cards done, buying all the presents, planning the food and cooking, wondering about the family get together and whether like last year there will be another row? Well what about your spiritual preparation for Christmas? How is that going? Or have you forgotten about that? There's nothing wrong with pre-Christmas preparations. But it's important to balance the sacred part of the Advent with all of the other things you are doing. If you don't make time for quiet reflection, prayer and conversion of heart, you will find yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted by Christmas Day. Your Christmas celebration might look perfect on the surface, but deep down you will feel spiritually unsatisfied. You will have a hard time experiencing the joy and peace that the baby in Bethlehem brings. The word "Advent" comes from the Latin Adventus, which means "coming." We anticipate the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The readings prepare us for the birth of Jesus, but they also prepare us for the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of the world. So how should we prepare? 1. First decide what you are going to say ‘No’ to. To stay spiritually grounded we must leave time for our spiritual stuff, which means we cant say ‘yes’ to everything secular. 2. Change your prayer – I assume you have a daily ‘God-time’ for personal prayer and meditation. If not, now is the perfect time to start. If you are praying daily and say using devotional prayers, why not switch to reading the bible – eg the readings of the day. If you cant come to daily Mass, why not read the Gospel of the day (Bible Alive, or a Daily Missal) . 3. Plan to go to confession—Don’t forget Advent is a penitential season! 4. Do choose some entertainment. We all benefit from the relaxation that entertainment gives us. We actually need to make healthy recreation a part of our lives – we are not robots, after all. But do something different. Deacon Michael

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:14 am

Friday, November 23, 2012
Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King- 25th November 2012
Thank you We have now completed the active campaigning for the Archbishop’s Growing in Faith project, and we wish to thank you all for your great generosity, patience and cooperation in this venture. To date you have pledged £190,000. Although this is £30,000 short of the ambitious target that we were set, we are immensely proud of the amazing contributions that you parishioners have made. We are still able to receive pledges - just hand them into clergy house or give to one of the clergy. Who is your king? In the Book of Samuel we read how the Hebrew people asked for a king ‘like all the other nations’, (1 Sam 8:5) forgetting that earlier the Judge Gideon had said, when the people asked him to be king, ‘I will not rule over you. … the Lord will rule over you.’ (Judges 8:23) So who or what is our king? Do we want to be ruled by the secular values of our society, where short term gain and pleasure is the rule by which we live? Or do we see our lives from the higher perspective where truth and perfect happiness exist under the rule of Christ the Universal King? Although we will only be able to achieve full happiness in the next stage of our lives, we can begin to experience, in this life on earth, the true peace that only God can give. Let us never forget Jesus’ words ’My own peace I give you; a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.’ (Jn 14:27). And so how do we get that peace which Christ promises to give? By trusting in God’s word—that is by trusting that what he said is true, which in turn means that we can be confident that in following his commandments we will not go astray. We prayed in our responsorial psalm ‘Truly your decrees are to be trusted’, so let us take that prayer to heart and truly believe that it is true. This week’s leaflet on catechesis is on the ‘Magisterium’ (the teaching authority of the Church) which explains about Jesus’ guarantee that the Church will not teach error. So let us all trust in the teaching of the Church. Yes, we may fail—but we can always start again with Confession. Deacon Michael

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:01 am

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
33rd Sunday of the Year- 18th November 2012
Earworms There was a fascinating programme on Radio 4 a couple of weeks ago about earworms which are the tunes that get stuck in your head for days on end. My current ones are “You are my heart’s desire” (which must be quite disconcerting for people ringing the door bell) and “Its getting better” by the Mamas and the Papas. Mama Cass of the group was not the slimmest person in the world so the fact that her singing is in my head seems apposite since the phrase, “It ain’t over ‘til the fact lady sings” comes to mind. This is because as I mentioned last week, with this “Commitment Weekend” our parish completes the Growing in Faith campaign to help secure the future of the diocese. Our parish was set the goal of raising £220,000 over five years. To date, with 46 pledges of an average £2200, our total stands at a staggering £106,000. I am in awe of your generosity and thank you very much for supporting our own parish project, our priests and the poorest and most needy in our diocese. We have tried to contact everyone so by now most of you should have received a pack in the post and a telephone call from me or a member of our volunteer team and I would like to express my thanks to the members of that team for their support and the time they have committed to the campaign. If you haven’t heard from us, I apologise for the failure of our record system but invite you to make a pledge nonetheless. I realise that the figures that we are asked to give you can seem quite staggering at first but I would remind you that they amount to a total pledge over a five year period. For example £1800 is a daunting figure but it breaks down to £1 per day (the price of as Sainsbury’s egg and cress sandwich) over the 60 months. Incidentally, given our Mass attendance, if everyone in the parish pledged £1 per week we would reach our target! Thank you all for considering how you can participate in Growing in Faith and to all who have made it such a success. Please continue to pray for it. Now, back to my earworm, “And its getting better, growing stronger…” Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:53 am

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
32nd Sunday of the Year- 11th November 2012
The Last Leg I couldn’t run for a bus never mind complete a marathon but I can imagine what it must be like to see the finishing line. I say that because we are approaching the final stage of the diocesan Growing in Faith campaign which will support our parishes, our priests and those in need across the Diocese. Our parish will benefit, along with training catechists to pass on the faith, by developing the front of the church and the sanctuary. I’ve had discussions with people who are interested in these things and I’m excited by their ideas. As far as the priestly part goes, we will support training for Deacon Martin and Tony Thomas and others which makes this another cause close to our hearts. And I would remind you that Tony invited our parish to visit the seminary on 25 November. 19 people have asked to go but there are more spaces available which will allow you to see exactly how part of what you pledge will be spent. On the financial front, thus far we have reached £72,800 at an average pledge of just under £4300 per person over five years. I am deeply touched by your generosity. But whatever you have given, or can, thank you. We are coming to the end of the campaign and will complete it with a Commitment Weekend on 17/18 November at all Masses. Our goal is to get an informed decision about making a pledge from everyone in the parish and to date we have done well in contacting as many of you as possible. That process continues but no system is perfect so next weekend, if we were unable to reach you and you will support Growing in Faith, please speak to one of our volunteers at the back of the church after Mass or arrange a time to suit you. The Church in Westminster faces challenges and we must respond. These needs are urgent and while it would be nice to complete the campaign in the style of Alistair Brownlee at the London Olympics, could we try pulling out all the stops for a sprint finish like Mo Farah? Above all, pray for Growing in Faith. On behalf of the Archbishop, thank you so much for your support. Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 10:30 am

Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Grumpy Old Man I’ve been having a bit of a rant this week about how difficult it has been to get hold of a poppy. In the end the nearest place I found a seller was at Tesco in Brent Park. So to help us support our current and former service personnel, I got our own box from the Royal British Legion in Queens Park. Practicing self-sacrifice and love for one another, especially those in need is a fundamental call of Christ—each individual should express their faith by carrying out works of charity. The Archbishop’s Growing in Faith campaign, as well as supporting priests, and our catechesis and redecoration, aims to expand the Diocese’s tradition of reaching out to the poor and needy. This is mainly achieved through the St John Southworth Fund but will be aided by the formation of a network called Caritas which will spread across parishes and link them to the wider community. The main aims of Caritas are to increase opportunities for volunteers, support parishes who wish to start their own project, ensure collaboration and communication amongst volunteers and expand the work of the fund in supporting needy individuals and parishes. Most of you will have now received information from the Diocese and our parish through the post because it is the Archbishop’s wish that everyone in the parish should be fully aware of what Growing in Faith is all about. If you would like to discuss it in more detail please speak to me or Deacon Michael or one of the volunteers at the back of the church. If you would like more time to discuss the campaign we would be happy to meet at your convenience. The success of this depends on us being in this together because only together will we grow and fulfil the mission of the Church. In our parish the Archbishop's vision has received incredible support from the prayers and generosity of many of our families and individuals. To date our total stands at £67, 300 from 14 donations which is an average pledge of almost £5000 over five years. I deeply appreciate your prayers and generosity and thank you on behalf of the Archbishop. While I fully understand that sum may be too much for everyone, we can at least buy a poppy to show our care for the needy. Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:57 am

New Beginnings This week marked the last meeting of our parish’s Union of Catholic Mothers because the numbers have dwindled in recent years. I want to thank them for the myriad ways they have contributed to life here at St Mary Magdalen’s over many years. However, I’d prefer to say that they are merely in abeyance as some mums have ideas for the future. Watch this space… In the same vein of contributing to parish life this is an important weekend for us here in Willesden Green. At the request of Archbishop Nichols we have embarked on a campaign called Growing in Faith which will have a direct impact on our parish, the lives of our priests, on-going vocations and our role in supporting Catholic social action in our area and throughout the Diocese. These are important areas for us as Martin Plunkett and Tony Thomas are in formation, I am on the committee that looks after the sick and retired priests, and we are big supports of Cricklewood Homeless Concern. And as far as the effect on our parish is concerned, we plan to make the entrances more welcoming, redecorate the sanctuary and train more catechists to continue the tradition we have here of excellence in teaching the faith. Of course we all should pray for these endeavours but we must also acknowledge that we have a responsibility to finance them. To achieve this, the Diocese has set us a goal of raising £220,000 over five years and to date we have had great success as our total currently stands at over £53,000 from just 11 gifts and there are still more pending. Your generosity is overwhelming. As part of this campaign, in the coming weeks, on behalf of the Archbishop and me, a member of our volunteer team may contact you to respectfully ask you to consider supporting Growing in Faith. I hope you will say, “Yes” to helping these projects for our parish and our Diocese come to fruition. Above all, please pray for the success of Growing in Faith because it is important as a long-term solution to strengthen our parishes, support our priests and play our part in the world. Thank you and God bless you all. Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:48 am