The quarterly magazine of the Roman Catholic parish of Bognor Regis & Slindon
Winter 2018/19 | FREE
In this edition ... Friendship & Fellowship with Madaba church, Jordan
Becoming a Catholic
THE CATHOLIC PARISH OF BOGNOR REGIS AND SLINDON We are followers of Jesus, on fire with his love, sharing that love with each other and with the world.
Sunday Breakfasts for those who are homeless
3 - Zebra to Alpha: Vision for mission 4 & 5 - Alpha 6 & 7 - Friendship & Fellowship with the Parish of St. John the Baptist Madaba, Jordan. 8 & 9 - Youth Ministry in Bognor & Slindon
Every Sunday our church welcomes those who are homeless to sit together and eat a hearty breakfast. Many of those who come along for this service are users of Stonepillow’s Glenlogie house next door to Our Lady of Sorrows church. Donations to help keep this ministry afloat are always needed! If you are able to donate, then we’re always looking for the necessities that make a great cooked breakfast. Current needs include, jam, marmalade, peanut butter, ketchup and brown sauce. Please drop food in the collection bin in the foyer of the parish centre. Alternatively you can make a cash donation so that fresh produce can be provided each week. Please could we ask that cash donations are placed in an envelope marked FAO Julie Mersey, Sunday Breakfasts, and hand post these to the mailbox by the parish centre door.
10 - Schools update: St Mary’s Primary 11 - Schools update: St Philip Howard Secondary 12 - Cafod 13 - Becoming a Catholic 14 & 15 - Fr Stan writes: Religious experience and spiritual life 15 - Money matters
There’s a story I like to tell the parents coming to prepare for the baptism of their children. It’s about a priest who goes into the local primary school to talk to a class. He asks the children, ‘I wonder if you can tell me what I’m thinking about – it’s black and white and looks like a horse?’ Hands shoot up, and the priest asks a young boy at the back of the class. ‘Yes, Tommy, what do you think?’ ‘I know the answer is Jesus,’ says Tommy, ‘but it sounds like a zebra!’ Last year, as part of the preparations and discussions that preceded the launch of our diocese Pastoral Plan, Bishop Richard asked the priests: what gives them life, energises them? And what drains a priest of energy? Many priests answered the second question saying it was administration, looking after the maintenance of buildings, Health and Safety etc. We’re very lucky in this parish to have an excellent Parish Administrator that looks after those things for us. But the question of maintenance is a deeper one – is that what we’re here for, to sort of keep the show on the road? The answer is, of course, no. It’s Jesus! I’ve always liked the strapline of St Mary’s Church in Chiddingfold – To know Jesus better; to make Jesus better known. This is the task of the Gospel, the mission of the Church. But how do we go about it?
“We are followers of Jesus, on fire with his love, sharing that love with each other and with the world”.
Over the last couple of years there have been a number of books on the theme of discipleship, mission, and evangelisation, one of which was Fr James Mallon’s Divine Renovation. It’s subtitle is Bringing your parish from maintenance to mission. There was a Conference in London in October 2017 on the themes from the book (better to say, on the themes from the lived experience of the parish from which the book was drawn) – Fr David King told me that if you booked early, you got a discount, so I did. It was a great experience, to come together with over 200 priests and lay faithful in an atmosphere of hope, joy, faith, commitment and courage. There was prayer, headline speakers, workshops and time to chat. In the year since the Conference, we have established a Parish Leadership Team, currently four lay people (Martha Myers, David Beresford, Margaret Fraher, and Dan McNamara) and Fr Stan and myself. This is a deliberate pooling of leadership, a team with its mix of talents is stronger than one or two. We have been trying to put into place some of those ideas. From Divine Renovation. First we wanted to articulate and share where we thought we were going on this journey. We formulated a Vision Statement and shared it with the parish – We are followers of Jesus, on fire with his love, sharing that love with each other and with the world. This is, in one sense, a description of who we are, and in another, a description of who aspire to be, better and better. To encourage us all on this journey, we wanted to start our focus on two things: to think about our celebration of Sunday Mass together – how welcoming are we to each
other or to visitors, how can we deepen our engagement with the amazing gift of Jesus in Word and Sacrament? – and to create a culture of evangelisation, a community of people keen to share their love of Jesus and his love for us all. Alpha has been an important tool for us, offering the chance to reflect in a welcoming and supportive atmosphere on those big questions. Connect groups are another new edition, these are small house groups where six to ten people meet each month to pray, study scripture and the Church’s teachings, and socialise – get to know each other better. Tommy was sure the answer to any question a priest asks must be Jesus – that’s not bad! Jesus is the answer to every question we have about life, it’s meaning, our place in the world, and our life as the Church. What on earth are we doing here? Or, what are we doing here on earth? Engaging with these questions will help us serve the mission Jesus gives us in the Gospel, the mission at the heart of our life as the Church.
Fr Chris Parish Priest, Bognor & Slindon RC parish
Over the last two years, many people from our Church have been deepening their relationship with Christ through Alpha. Alpha is a series of sessions where people gather in a group, get to know one another by sharing a meal together and explore their Christian faith. As a parish, our aim is to nurture a culture of discipleship, and Alpha is one way in which we are doing this. By getting to understand our faith, and know ourselves and other members of our parish a little better, we are following Jesus’ call to love. Our next Alpha course is due to begin in the new year, but for now, you can find out the impact that Alpha had on Rosemary Swindells in a conversation she had with one of the Alpha hosts, Margaret Fraher.
Margaret: Hello Rosemary. Firstly, how long have you been a member of the parish? Rosemary: 16 years. Margaret: Oh right - that’s a long time, and have you always been a Christian? Rosemary: Yes, I didn’t come back to church until Easter Sunday, that’s when I came back to the Catholic faith. Margaret: Had you been away from the church for a while? Rosemary: Yes. Margaret: It must have been lovely to come back on Easter Sunday. It was good that you could be there. So how did you hear about Alpha?
“She invited me to come. She’d told me a lot about it and I was convinced to come along.” Rosemary: From my daughter, Susan. She was doing the Alpha course as well and then she invited me to come. She’d told me a lot about it and I was convinced to come along. Margaret: So it must have been quite a big decision. It’s a difficult thing to step over the threshold of a door and wonder what you’re going to. What was it like on the first week?
“It’s easy to say “I forgive you”, but now, I truly, truly have forgiven them. I have to say, I can’t describe it, it’s like an overwhelming love in my heart.” Rosemary: It was very nice. Margaret: In what way? Rosemary: People were very welcoming. Margaret: And how was the room set up? Rosemary: There were groups, tables, and people shared a meal together. We went into groups after we’d seen the film, we watched the film first then went into our groups and had a conversation. Margaret: How did you find the films? What were they like? Were they inspirational? Were they boring? Rosemary: They certainly weren’t boring! They were very inspirational. Margaret: That’s good to know! I think there’s a different theme each week isn’t there- that the film picks up on? We were in the same group weren’t we, and the conversation in the groups tends
to be on that topic but it doesn’t matter if someone wants to bring anything else up does it? Rosemary: No, not at all. Margaret: So, did you go on the Alpha weekend? I say weekend, but it’s normally Friday evening and Saturday. Last year we went to Storrington. Did you go on it?
were two people in my life, years ago, and I really couldn’t forgive them. I’d tried to, I’d prayed and nothing happened. It’s easy to say “I forgive you”, but now, I truly, truly have forgiven them. I have to say, I can’t describe it, it’s like an overwhelming love in my heart. So it’s with the Holy Spirit’s help, and with the help of Jesus that I was able to do that.
Rosemary: I did yes. Margaret: Can you just give us an idea about the kind of things that went on during that weekend? Rosemary: Sometimes we’d have a time of reflection, then we’d pray together in the Chapel, also we prayed to receive the Holy Spirit. Margaret: What was the feeling of the group you were in, about praying for the Holy Spirit to come to you? Were they excited, or anxious? Were they unsure at all? Rosemary: I think they wanted to be involved and to experience the Holy Spirit. Margaret: Did you pray with people and receive the Holy Spirit?
So it’s with the Holy Spirit’s help, and with the help of Jesus that I was able to do that. Margaret: Thank you so much, that’s such a powerful witness. So are you still involved in Alpha? Rosemary: Yes, I help to set up the chairs and serve the food. Margaret: You’re a very valued member of the Alpha Hospitality Team and without people like you Alpha wouldn’t happen - so thank you very much!
Rosemary: I did yes. Margaret: Can you share anything about it? Rosemary: It had a great impact on me. The experience brought me great joy and peace. There
Early in 2017 representatives of the small charity Parishes for Peace, (PfP), gave a presentation to interested parishioners in Bognor & Slindon parish about their work. PfP’s mission is to provide a link of Christian fellowship between UK parishioners and Iraqi Christian refugees who have fled to Jordan and sought the help of the Christian churches there. PfP described how they were directly engaged with families who are stateless and in transit and whose only formal identity is a United Nations refugee certificate. PfP outlined the impact the refugees were having on the parishes where help is being sought and told the meeting that a parish in Madaba had been identified as one that would welcome our help. Following this meeting it was decided to find out more and in June 2017 Fr. Chris and two parishioners, as part of a larger group, travelled to Jordan to see what was happening on the ground and identify ways in which we might be able to help. The group met a number of refugee families and saw ways in which they were trying to maintain some self esteem whilst waiting for visas to resettle, mainly in Australia, Canada or Germany. In Jordan refugees are
not permitted to be employed, but may be self employed and the group saw examples of jewellery making, and also visited a small atelier which was financed from Italy, and which has taught young women to design and make garments for sale. The group learnt that the parish of St John the Baptist in Madaba is finding great difficulty supporting the refugee families, especially as the parish has many poor Jordanian parishioners who also need help. The group met the head teacher of the Catholic primary school that is next to the parish church and learnt that Caritas (the social action arm of the Catholic Church, Cafod in England & Wales) pays the fees of the Iraqi refugee children attending the school. The school itself has high standards but very poor facilities - for example twenty four teachers were sharing one computer, and there was a definite shortage of books. As a result of this visit, and after considerable reflection, we decided that there was role for us here in Bognor & Slindon to help not only the parish of St John the Baptist in Madaba, to enable the parish to continue its work with both the refugee families and its own struggling parishioners, but
also to help the primary school which plays a key role in both the Jordanian and the Iraqi children’s lives.
“These funds, together with donations, have enabled us as a parish to give the school what they had asked for”.
A presentation was made one evening in OLOS giving a report of the fact finding visit and Fr. Chris invited interested parishioners to take this initiative forward. A small group of volunteers convened in Nov ember 2017 and agreed to make direct contact with the parish priest and with the school to make known our wish to help. Shortly after this we learnt that the school had a desperate need for a computer and printer and so fund raising began. A tabletop sale was organised and on a cold damp Saturday in February raised £160.00.
“St Mary’s Primary school has also now become involved and are considering ways in which the children can communicate with each other”.
More recently a Yoga Event was arranged and was enjoyed by all those who attended. This raised another £160.00. These funds, together with donations, have enabled us as a parish to give the school what they had asked for. Currently we have been asked to help with the purchase of shade sails to provide shade for the children in their limited play area, which has no shade and where temperatures exceed 40c in the summer.
St Mary’s Primary school has also now become involved and Peter Edgington the Head teacher at St Mary’s is liaising with the Head of St John’s school, Madaba to consider ways in which the children can communicate with, and learn about each other.
Picture the scene: a group of friends get together, they are from a surprising variety of backgrounds, they want to know Jesus although some are certainly not sure what he is all about; they share food together because that is the natural thing to do. There is a strong core group, whilst others come and go, drawn in by encounters, stories and intrigue. It is the 1st Century and it is one of many occasions, recorded and unrecorded, when Jesus sat down to eat with his friends. This is our model for youth ministry here and, of course, much Christian ministry throughout the world. Crossroads, Youth Café and Encounter are titles that appear in our Parish Newsletter on a regular basis but what goes on? Who are they for? Who goes? Does anyone go? What’s the point? Our youth ministry begins post First Holy Communion and, through Crossroads, Youth Café, and Encounter, continues for people into their mid-30’s. Crossroads, for roughly school years 4, 5 and 6, explores biblical themes through a creative programme of art, drama and dance and is now in its seventh year.
“As a Parish Community we should be very proud of our young people”.
Youth Café, for those in school years 11 to 18+, is at the heart of our Youth Ministry and is now in its fourteenth year. I will let Youth Café members tell you what Youth Café means to them. Encounter, a diocese-wide programme with a base in Bognor, has been running here for three years and here young adults 18 to 35 come together from across a wide area to praise God in song, listen to a talk, discuss, have a time of adoration and an opportunity to socialise. In answer to the question, ‘How would you describe Youth Café?’ some of our group wrote: “Youth Café is my safe place; it has been there for me when no one else was.” “It’s a great place to go; a lot of fun.” “It’s somewhere where negative isn’t a thing.” “Community.” “A big group of friends who eat, play, sing and pray together.” “Like my second family.” “A place where anxiety disappears and happiness fills your heart.” “Fun. Happy. Family. Safe.” “A group of friends all grouped together, feeling welcomed, and having the most amazing time.” “Highlight of my fortnight.” “Home.” “The light at the end of the tunnel.”
Youth Café convenes fortnightly on a Friday evening, (dates in the newsletter, on the website and on the cards at the entrances to the church) and it is hard to say why it is so important to all of us who experience its powerful draw but, reading the above I guess that it’s a sense of fellowship and shared journey and, of course with prayer at its heart, the Holy Spirit is always at work. We have fun together, we discuss together, we eat together (thanks to Jeanette), we praise God in song together, we pray together, and we support one another. The Parish Vision statement calls us to be, ‘…followers of Jesus, on fire with his love, sharing that love with each other and with the world.’ is expressed powerfully at Youth café. Many things and many people have influenced the evolution of Youth Café over the years from its earliest beginning as a six week video series with Fr. Terry Martin (Yep! That’s all I signed up for!) There was a key moment early on when, needing to pray hard for a particularly difficult circumstance, we were gathered around an open fire in Fr. Terry’s garden in the twilight. It was a powerful moment, perhaps the moment when the original group first experienced the power of the Holy Spirit moving among us.
“Addressing the needs and concerns of the family is key to the growth of Youth Ministry”
There was that same experience this summer at our Youth Alpha Holy Spirit Weekend during our prayer time together. So many young people have influenced the growth of Youth Café over the years. Just as in a wider parish community it is upon the back of those who were here before that what is happening today rests. Perhaps one person’s influence stands out above all others for the input they had in the very short time they were with us: Fr. David King. Fr. David re-energised us (ask anyone about monkey ball); but, more seriously, the spiritual growth his presence engendered is still very much with us. The sorrow and tears at his departure are still strong in the memory but, wonderfully the void left has
been filled by a fresh energy from within the group. Our leadership team has been enriched by Danni and Kyra, once our youngest Youth café members, and the joy of shared song that Fr. David gave us continues thanks to Rosie who has filled the gap he left behind. As a Parish Community we should be very proud of our young people. I often hear it said that we need to do something for our Youth. I would argue that it would perhaps be better to ask what our young people teach us. The recent Synod urges us to listen, support and include the young. There is a lot happening for the good, there is also so much more to be done and to achieve.
People say to me that we don’t see many young people at Mass and that is true although you might be forgiven for questioning that when you see the size of the Altar Serving Team at the 10.00am Mass most Sundays. The Sunday experience is a focus for the Parish team and is something we cannot neglect. Again, to quote the Synod, speaking of young people it said, ‘their criticism, too, is needed because, not infrequently, we hear through them the voice of the Lord asking us for a conversion of heart and a renewal of structures.’ Addressing the needs and concerns of the family is key to the growth of Youth Ministry. Thanks are due to all who have assisted in our Youth Ministry but most of all to the young people who have made it what it is. To borrow the words of one of our Youth Café members, for me, too, Youth Café has been a light at the end of the tunnel.
Message from the Head Teacher, Mr Edgington This year is already proving to be very exciting for St Mary’s. Our new reception class children have settled in well, and are growing in confidence and making new friends. The children have enjoyed their stunning starts to their new topics which include Ancient Greece, Turn Back Time and Mighty Mountains. Class activities so far this term include a Year 3 / Year 4 survival evening on the school field, Year 1 / Year 2 trip to Marwell Zoo, Year 5 / Year 6 Greek Day including costumes and Early Years enjoying time in Hotham Park.
Message from the Chair of Governors, Mrs Rosa
Our new RE Council for this school year have been appointed. Their first job was running the Rosary Prayer group through the month of October, the month dedicated to the Holy Rosary. Children throughout KS2 were invited to come along and pray a decade of the Rosary once a week at lunchtime. The children find this a very peaceful and calming experience. Later in the year, during the month of May, children in KS1 are also invited to join in, when it becomes a bit more interactive. The RE Council are now helping to organise fundraising for the Deanery Advent Service which includes children from St Mary’s, St Richard’s, St Phillip’s and St Philip Howard. This year the service is being held on Wednesday 5th December at 6.30pm. Expansion Update We are excited to announce that planning permission was approved during the summer holidays for the new expansion at St Mary’s. This means that we can move full steam ahead with the proposed building works. The project will include 3 new classrooms, a larger school hall, a modern KS1 library, new school offices as well as a spacious and welcoming reception area. Work is due to commence in February, when the current school offices
I’m writing as we approach the festive season. We have been so blessed with the weather and I know the children have been making the most of all the outdoor space we are so lucky to still have at St Mary’s.
the spring and I hope that your little ones have been settling into school life and you are also getting to know St Mary’s and maybe thinking about getting involved in school life via the FSA or reading in class - there are lots of opportunities for anyone who has even half an hour to share with the school.
On behalf of the whole governing body, I would like to say a particular welcome to all the new families who have joined us this term. I met many of you at the new parents’ evening back in
At the first governors’ meeting of this year we celebrated the amazing results of last year’s year 6 students and the work of their teachers and support staff. Governors also asked the
will be no longer be accessible due to enabling works. Parents, carers and grandparents have been warmly welcomed into school for a number of events this term, one of which was our annual Grandparents Service. Over ninety guests joined us for tea and cakes served by our wonderful Families and Staff Association. Children of all ages shared memories of their own grandparents as well as read prayers they had written, before the Year 6 children showed guests around the school. The afternoon was a wonderful reminder of how special grandparents are. As always, our families were extremely generous with their donations for Harvest Festival. Not only did we receive monetary donations totalling £240 for Cafod, we also received a fantastic amount of food which was donated to Glenlogie which offers support to homeless and vulnerable people within the local area. The children enjoyed a Harvest Festival service at Our Lady of Sorrows church which was led by Blake Class (Year 3 / Year 4). Yours,
senior leadership team about maintaining the rich creative curriculum in our school and I’m pleased to let you know that the plans for continuing to offer this throughout the school are firmly in place. This is important for all children and at St Mary’s, this is one of the many ways we celebrate the diverse range of children’s gifts and talents that make them unique and special. With best wishes,
It has been another busy start to the academic year at St Philip Howard School. Following another year of record results at GCSE and A Level which place us at the top of the tables for West Sussex and in the top 10% nationally. We are looking forward to our continued work developing our Teaching School Alliance and the Bosco Catholic Education Trust (BCET). BCET is the Diocesan MultiAcademy Trust for Sussex and has been formed to enable Catholic schools in the Diocese to collaborate on a strategic level, benefit from shared
Chaplaincy News As a school, we have encouraged some of our older students to go on pilgrimage to Lourdes with the Diocese for a number of years now. Each summer this provides some of our pupils a fantastic opportunity to put their faith into context and experience the love of God in a truly Spirit filled place. It is rather fitting therefore, that as our Year 7 has yet again grown in number this September, our newest addition to our House Saints is Saint Bernadette. Bernadette was humble, faithful, honest and extremely brave; many traits that we should all strive to exhibit in our everyday lives. As a school community we will be turning to our Patron and House Saints as an example this year as we turn our focus to putting our “Faith in Action”. This is our theme of prayer this year, and will provide much of the inspiration behind our Daily Prayer, Assemblies and Masses. The Year 7s celebrated their inaugural Mass together at the end of September, along with family and friends, which provided a great opportunity for many of our students to begin
to put their Faith into Action, contributing to the Mass in different ways. This September brought about change for the rest of the SPH community too, as Clare Long, Chaplain to the school for the past seven years, left to pursue a career in Mental Health Nursing. We pray for her, for our new students, for those beginning their journey to exams, and all staff at St Philip Howard, as we move forward into new challenges and experiences in this academic year. On 19th October we were able to celebrate the life and example of our Patron Saint during our St Philip Howard Day celebrations. In the morning the whole school attended one of two Masses led by Fr Peter Newsam and Fr Chris Bergin. Many of the students had the opportunity to get involved in the preparation of the Mass, and three of our older students were even commissioned as Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist. In the afternoon, our Sixth Form Charity Team hosted fun and games for all to get involved
expertise and raise standards for all children in our schools. Whilst at present BCET formally includes SPH and St Mary’s Catholic School in Worthing, we are working with other Catholic schools in the Deanery and beyond and expect more schools to join the Trust in the coming years. Do keep the work of our Catholic schools in your prayers.
David Carter Headteacher
with including a staff vs student dance off and inter-house competitions. On the field there were bouncy castles and other inflatables to enjoy, and with the money raised from activities and non-school uniform, we have raised approximately £3000 to go towards worthy charitable causes. All of this, accompanied by fantastic sunny weather, meant the whole school really did have a Feast Day to remember! May Saint Bernadette, St Philip Howard, and all our House Saints pray for us throughout this year as we look for ways to grow in faith, aid our community, and put our Faith into Action.
On November the 12th, Julie Ethingham a journalist, reported on the ITV 10 o’clock news from Lebanon where she had met many refugees from Syria including dozens of young children forced either to work long hours to earn a pittance or to beg on the streets. A young lad of ten, Mostafa and his younger brother, Hussein, shared their pain of missing school over the past four years as well as the struggle to earn enough to help put food on the table by daily working in a shop and on a building site. Their lives have recently been transformed as they are both now funded to attend a Catholic run school with the help of Caritas, Cafod’s partner. Their faces lit up when they shared their aspirations for the future. Mostafa wants to be a doctor and heal others and Hussein sees himself as a builder rebuilding Syria. Their words expressed so much about their own need for healing and hope. Many other children sadly remain unsupported on the streets. Their faces displayed their despair. A passion for justice born out of love lies at the heart of Jesus’ message. This same passion inspires Cafod’s involvement in Africa, Asia and South America where hope and dignity are brought to some of the poorest people in the world whatever their religion or culture. Here in our parish the collections that take place during Lent and harvest time are some of the most generous of all the charities we support. More recent parish involvement has been
campaigning with Cafod. Earlier this year many parishioners signed Power to Be postcards which were sent to the UK’s representative at the World Bank, Melanie Robinson. Cafod asked that she speak out at a major stakeholders’ meeting in favour of renewable energy. Melanie Robinson responded: ‘Thanks to you, major stake holders and key people at the World Bank heard our voices and spoke out on renewable energy and its impact for the world’s poorest people. “Without reliable access to electricity, entrepreneurs find it harder to set up small businesses and create jobs. Electricity is also crucial for communities, to provide light for children to study at night and to refrigerate vaccines in health facilities.” It’s great to see so many people in England and Wales supporting efforts to bring power to people without access to electricity and I was pleased to understand more about CAFOD’s Power to Be campaign.’ During this summer the parish Cafod group organised three Share the Journey walks in solidarity with migrants and refugees. This campaign was launched by Pope Francis who urged Catholics globally to share the journey with people forced from their homes and lands by physically walking, praying together and signing a petition to World Leaders to base future decisions regarding migrants and refugees on respect for human dignity and family life and to help tackle the problems behind this current global crisis.
A group of St Mary’s primary school pupils clocked up 54 miles by walking to swimming lessons. Parishioners, ranging in age from 8 months to eighty + walked along the prom and in Slindon woods. Prayer and sharing on route, led to a real sense of community, solidarity and mission. This spirit of community and mission based on prayer is important to our small group. We hope over the coming months to build on this.
‘When the history of our times is written, will we be remembered as the generation that turned our backs in a moment of global crisis or will it be recorded that we did the right thing?’ These words spoken in June 2005 by Nelson Mandela during the global Aids epidemic continue to resonate and remain relevant in our world today as we hear about and respond to our modern day crises.’
Every Tuesday evening in the parish centre, a group of people come together to explore aspects of the Catholic faith and to share something of their own spiritual journey. Two different groups meet, in alternate weeks, one, at an early stage, when the journey is beginning, the other deepening the search for what God is asking. The name ‘Emmaus’ recalls the walking of the risen Jesus with two disciples and his accompanying them until they recognised him (Luke 24: 13-21). The same assurance, that Jesus is present, is a certain guide at each gathering. The scriptures provide the context in which Catholic teaching is explored and the topic for the evening is clearly identified and introduced. Thereafter discussion moves in all kinds of directions. Nothing is ‘off-limits’ - most important if people are to be really frank and not feel inhibited by religious language and situations which are unfamiliar. Experience has shown that people from nonreligious backgrounds often have both respect and immense curiosity about the Christian story; while those who have been hurt in some way through religious institutions need to explore issues fully until they are able to leave obstacles behind, as understanding and trust develops. The words of a former participant, echoed by others, provide some insight into the process: “I felt very comfortable within the group; it was not at all
judgemental. There is something really wonderful in taking risks, to share part of ourselves that we don’t normally share, and to be fully accepted and affirmed. Since becoming a Catholic, I have felt much more confident about expressing my feeling and thoughts and also committed to joining in the activities of the church” .”.......it was only when I had the experience of being with the Emmaus group that I felt really accepted, by a group who took what they were thinking and saying seriously, and who took me as I was... They have system where someone ‘walks’ with you and can be there for you when you need to talk about how the experience is affecting you.... Two important rites of the church take place in the course of the journey. The first is the Rite of Acceptance in which individuals are welcomed by the parish community. It takes place in this parish on the feast of Pentecost. Individuals receive a special blessing and the congregation undertakes to pray for them as they continue their spiritual searching. The second is the Rite of Election, celebrated by the Bishop at Arundel Cathedral on the first Sunday of Lent. Here people walking on the same pathway come together from all corners of the diocese, to be welcomed personally by the Bishop and to pray with him. In the early years of the Church, when Christians met in small house groups, it was the Bishop who was responsible for the
final weeks of spiritual formation for those seeking baptism and admittance to the church. After Vatican II, this practice was recalled and the new Rite of ‘Election’, signifying God’s call to each one, was proclaimed, through the Bishop (1972). Subsequent years saw the development of what is now known as the “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults” (RCIA), on which the parish programme is based and adapted for local use. The Second Vatican Council provided the impetus for this current activity in the parish. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the Council’s teaching calls out to all, identifying every Catholic as an ‘apostle’ for Christ, charged to reach out to others and seeking their good. But it continues: “Genuine apostles are not content, however, with just that. They are also very serious about revealing Christ by word to those around them. It is a fact that many men and women cannot hear the Gospel and come to acknowledge Christ except through the lay people with whom they associate” (Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People 1965) Here then is the mission at the heart of the Church, made possible through grace working in all who come and in all who welcome them.
If we are asked “what is your passion”, I reckon, our answer will engage our whole person because “passion” is something we feel, imagine and do with great energy and enthusiasm. But talking about “passions” we also realise that not always we can pursuit them as we would like to. Sometimes we need to make a difficult decision to modify or even give them up especially when we think about who we are, what we do or fail to do, and for who we something do. Yes, what is felt and imagined by us (or within us and through us) we have to discern it (using the subjective voice of our conscience illumined by God’s Word with help from the Church’s Magisterium (teaching authority)), and also asking for guidance and advice, especially in moral and spiritual matters which are the “privileged field” for attacks of evil spirit and for inspirations of the Holy Spirit (that is why we are offered help and guidance from our Bishops, Priests, and Catechists. The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks about “man’s capacity for God” and “the desire for God” (numbers 27-36), but also realistically points out that that crated (natural) potential brings limitations and ambiguity of “religious experience” (based on senses, feelings and imagination) and directs to “the knowledge of God according to the Church” (i.e. the Body of Christ through whom Christ, the Son of God, sanctifies, teaches and governs), and that leads to spiritual life (the life in Christ, numbers 36-38; 1691ff). It would be just and wise to approach these passages with a section dedicated to passions and their relation with moral life and spiritual life. The whole section cites and refers to the Psalms, the
Gospel and the two catholic “giants”: St. Augustine and St. Thomas (see numbers 1762-1775). It is worth reading that passage just to make some key distinctions which helps guide our thoughts and feeling, our moral life. But in order to have a more just - clearer perspective we should also dedicate our time to read the section dedicated to experience of grace, merit, holiness (1996-2029) and the Christian prayer (2558ff: religious experience and spiritual life). St. John of the Cross left a deep personal experience on this subject. Ignoring him would not be just; his wisdom points us in the right direction. What he says in the Dark Night (chapter 6, number 1-2) is: “A great deal can be said on spiritual gluttony, the fourth vice. There are hardly any persons among these beginners, no matter how excellent their conduct, who do not fall into some of the many imperfections of this vice. These imperfections arise because of the delight beginners find in their spiritual exercises. Many, lured by the delight and satisfaction procured in their religious practices, strive more for spiritual savour than for spiritual purity and discretion; yet it is this purity and discretion that God looks for and finds acceptable throughout a soul’s entire spiritual journey. Besides the imperfection of seeking after these delights, the sweetness these persons experience makes them go to extremes and pass beyond the mean in which virtue resides and is acquired (…). The devil, increasing the delights and appetites of these beginners and thereby stirring up this gluttony in them, so impels many of them that when they are unable to avoid obedience they either add
to, change, or modify what was commanded. Any obedience in this matter is distasteful to them. Some reach such a point that the mere obligation of obedience to perform their spiritual exercises makes them lose all desire and devotion. Their only yearning and satisfaction is to do what they feel inclined to do, whereas it would be better in all likelihood for them not to do this at all”. There is a passage in the Gospel of St. John which speaks about Jesus’ zeal (spiritual experience) in the context of his visit of the Temple of Jerusalem (John 2:13-22). When we hear about Jesus’ zeal we can also read it as God’s passion, God’s zeal. Jesus was strongly concerned about His father’s house which instead of being a house of prayer it became a market place. If we do not suffer from a spiritual indifference we know that we go to Church, our Father’s house, not to get angry, but to pray and to receive God’s saving love and yes experience our personal repentance and conversion which bring us inner peace. Jesus’ passion was to fulfil the will of God his Father. And His fatherly will is still the same: that all may get to know the truth and be saved (1 Timothy 2:4); that all may recognise Jesus as their Redeemer and find their salvation in Him through the sacramental and institutional mission of His Church (Ephesians 1: 3-23). Jesus’ zeal for each one of us is still the same: He wants to save us and have us in His Father’s house in heaven (John 17: 20-26). Let us pray for the grace of purity of our intention and spiritual discernment which were in Christ; that passion for Father’s glory, His saving love and truth, and for the salvation of our souls and those around us. The Gospel of John gives us an unique picture of Christ who “made a whip He then drove cattle, sheep and pigeons out of the Temple and scattered the money changers’ coins (2:15). St. Thomas Aquinas made a deep comment on it (Commentary to the Gospel of St. John, Lecture
2, number 383): “The devil plots against the things of God and strives to destroy holy things, the chief is avarice. Thus a person sells oxen, sheep, and doves in the temple when he harbours bestial movements in his soul, for which he sells himself to devil. For oxen, which are used for cultivating the earth, signify earthly desires; sheep, which are stupid, signify man’s obstinacy; and the doves signify man’s instability. It is God who drives these things out of people’s hearts.” Jesus Christ knows the condition of our mind and how we struggle to be concentrated on God’s glory and God’s love when we pray, worship and act. So, let us pray that our Saviour may cleanse us with the power of His and His Father’s Spirit, put in order all our affections and heal obstinacy and instability of our mind and will. Jesus offers us what we need through his blood flowing in the sacraments which heals our mentality of mercenaries and forms our unique mentality of God our Father’s (grown up) children, the Father who gathers us in and through the Church, the Body of Christ and makes us the temples of His Holy Spirit.
I am pleased to be given this opportunity to write about our Parish finances, how things stand currently and how they will be affected in the future. We manage to just cover our general expenditure through the offertory collections, gift aid rebates, donations and legacies that we receive, but for any specific expenditure we have to consider additional fund raising e.g. the restoration of the organ. However, due to a generous legacy by one of our parishioners we have been able to go ahead with this work and we have ideas for enabling this wonderful instrument to be used for recitals in the future. This is an exciting time for our Parish and with the introduction of Bishop Richard’s Pastoral Plan we need to be reaching out to the wider community. I have included a pie chart which shows a break down in our expenditure in % terms and you will note that approx 17% of our expenditure is sent to the Diocese, this figure is based on Mass attendance, and our commitment to the Pastoral Plan will mean a significant increase to this support over the next few years as the Diocese moves forward with the new ministries outlined in The Word Who Is Life e.g. the
Chaplaincy provision in all our schools and the development of the current formation services. As a Parish we also have an obligation to help our schools and last year we supported St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School in capital projects which included ICT updates for the classrooms and the server. Most of the other headings within the pie chart are fairly self explanatory but you will see that the Establishment expenditure is nearly 16% and includes the running costs of our churches, the Parish Center and the two priests’ cottages The Parish Administrator is diligent in his efforts to get the best value for money from the various suppliers. Once a year we ask parishioners to revisit their financial commitment to our Parish and although we have had a small increase in gift aid we have only achieved a very slight increase to our offertory collections. The Gospel reading from Mark 12:38-44, which was read at Mass on Sunday 11th Nov, was very pertinent, and I would ask us all to revisit what we can truly afford. By setting up a monthly standing order we can relax in the knowledge that we are making a regular commitment of a certain amount, and this can of course be gift aided if you pay tax which will increase your giving by 20%. The S.O forms are available from the Parish Office and should in the future you wish to update the amount you give this can be done by contacting your bank.
Angela Liu (Chair of Parish Finance Committee)
Our current financial year will end on 31st December, 2018 and the latest accounts will be prepared from these figures and shared with our parishioners when they are available.
What is prayer, how to pray? Tuesday 15th January Workshop leader: Sr Gabriel Davison 7.00 – 8.00pm Venue: Poor Clare Convent, Crossbush, Arundel
2019 Prayer workshops Prayer isn’t easy. Come and spend some time learning what prayer is and new ways to talk to God.
Tuesday 5th February Workshop leader: Sr Ruth Campbell OSM 7.00 – 8.00pm Venue: Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, Clarence Road
The prayer of the Church: The Divine Office
Tuesday 22nd January Workshop leader: Bethan Townsend 7.00 – 8.00pm Venue: Church of St Antony of Viareggo, Gossamer Lane, Rose Green
Tuesday 12th February Workshop leader: Dan McNamara 7.00 – 8.00pm Venue: Church of St Richard of Chichester, Top Road, Slindon
Praying with St Ignatius: The Spiritual Exercises
Praying with Art, creative prayer
Tuesday 29th January Workshop leader: Chemin Neuf community, Storrington 7.00 – 8.00pm Venue: Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, Clarence Road
Tuesday 19th February Workshop leader: Jane Ireland 7.00 – 8.00pm Venue: Parish centre, Hislop Walk
1867 - 2017
The Reynolds family on an outing circa 1880
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01903 730 666 Cemetery Lodge Horsham Road Littlehampton Bognor Regis & Slindon Roman Catholic parish is part of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton. BN17 6LX Charity number: 252878 www.reynoldsfunerals.co.uk 27-31 High Street Bognor Regis PO21 1RR
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Our Lady of Sorrows, Clarence Road, Bognor Regis | St Anthony of Viareggio Gossamer Lane, Rose Green | St Richard of Chichester, Top Road, Slindon. www.bognorcatholicparish.org.uk
Telephone: 01243 823619
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The quarterly magazine of the Roman Catholic parish of Bognor Regis & Slindon