Sunday, October 26, 2014

Renew, Refresh, Rejoice - Poems from a Priest

More Poems From The Pen Of Father Rob
In Thames Ditton parish, faced with the mammoth of task of raising £250,000 for the repair and renewal of their church buildings (which celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2015), it’s ‘all hands to the pump’. Events range from the Parish Ball run by the Women’s Group to a Car-Wash organised by the Confirmation Candidates. Father Rob Esdaile, the parish priest, is making his own contribution, publishing a second volume of poetry, with its title drawn from the theme of the parish’s Jubilee Year, Renew, Refresh, Rejoice. It would be an ideal stocking-filler for Christmas! Copies can be obtained for £5 (+ £1.50 postage) from Our Lady of Lourdes RC Church, Hampton Court Way, Thames Ditton KT7 0LP.

Reproduced below is one of the more seasonal poems in the collection:

His Name Is John

That stubborn look in his wife’s eye,
the glint that he’s observed often of a morning or an evening
across the breakfast table or when doling out the steaming stew;
that set of mouth which both provokes and yet attracts
and which he knows he cannot countermand,
voices her conviction that ‘His name is John.’
And a dozen pairs of eyes are fixed on him
as he scribbles down his mute reply: ‘She’s right!’
Then a dozen tongues are of a sudden wagging,
plus his own, restored, pouring out his praise of God
against the nosy neighbours’ counterpointing commentary.

His name is John, or rather Jehohanan:
Meaning,‘The Almighty has shown forth his favour.’
The aging priest already knows the meaning of this blessing:
his son is not in his control. For the tiny infant scowl betrays
the self-same stubborn rightness of his wife
and in a few years, no doubt, the boy will be gone,
lost to wanderlust or to some harebrained plan of revolution, he presumes,
but lost in fact (did he but know the truth) to God.

No matter, though: ‘His name is John.’
God’s favour rests on him.
And while he voices his first flush of pride
this father gives his restless son
the tools to do his future work
hymning the undying goodness of the Lord.

©Rob Esdaile, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wintershall Nativity - A New Generation Takes Over

Charlotte de Klee and Peter Hutley
Production of the great Wintershall religious plays performed in Surrey, London and Glastonbury has been passed to the next generation of the Hutley family, ensuring that the tradition stays alive.

Peter Hutley has written and produced first the Wintershall Nativity, and latterly either the Passion Play or the epic Life of Christ as well, every year since 1990.

Now in his late 80s, he has passed the baton to his daughter Charlotte. He will still be a part of the theatre, acting in the plays and inspiring the cast, but she will take over the responsibility for the productions.

With a cast ranging from 75 for the Nativity to 200 for the Life of Christ, all willing amateurs except for the professional Christ, the plays are a huge undertaking and luckily Charlotte knows just what she is taking on.

The whole Hutley family, parents, children and grandchildren, have been involved in the productions from the start – in the case of the grandchildren since birth – and Charlotte shares Peter’s passion for the plays. She has been responsible for staging the Wintershall Nativity in Scotland where she lives, for the last 16 years.

The Wintershall productions have always had professional directors, Ashley Herman and Kathy Longbottom, and the theatre project has never stood still. As the repertoire of plays increased, so did the venues. The Passion played in Guildford High Street and is now regularly staged in Trafalgar Square. This year, it also went to Glastonbury. The Nativity will be performed at Wintershall and also returns to All Souls Church in Langham Place and the piazza at BBC Broadcasting House.

Peter’s vision saw Christ’s cross, straw, sheep, donkeys and whole families of actors take the plays to central London. Where will Charlotte’s vision take them next?

Top of her initial wishlist is a new generation of actors to join the cast. “It’s like a family, a community,” she said, “We don’t have auditions and everyone is welcome. It’s really about the Body of Christ. We are all part of it and nobody is excluded.

“Rehearsals are mostly at weekends from October and the actors are trained by first class directors. At least one child had their life changed by the experience as it is such a tremendous confidence builder.”

Rehearsals start next month. Contact 01483 892167 if you would like to be involved. Performances are on December 17 in London and December 18-21 at Wintershall.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pope Francis Beatified Pope Paul VI It was a symbolic morning at the Vatican which was led by three Popes: Pope Francis declared Paul VI blessed, accompanied by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Benedict XVI, although frail, followed the ceremony attentively.

In front of thousands of people, the Pope inscribed Paul VI in the Book of Saints.

"We declare that the Venerable Servant of God Paul VI, Pope, shall henceforth be invoked as Blessed...”

As is usual during beatifications, this tapestry was unveiled on the facade of the basilica. From there, the newly Blessed seemed to gaze at the crowd with a loving smile.

Pope Francis said:
"When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks! Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church!”

Paul VI was an intellectual Pope, whose thoughts continue to incluence the Church today. He is most likely one of the often quoted Pontiffs by Pope Francis, who admires his texts on the apostolate.

Blessed Paul VI served as Pope for 15 years until his death in 1978. During that time he traveled to 19 countries in all 5 continents. He became one of the strongest voices for peace and the defense of human life.

His feast day will be celebrated on September 26th, the day of his birth.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apostolic Administrator Appointed to Arundel & Brighton

Rather belatedly details of the appointment of the Apostolic Administrator:

On 4th October the Holy Father accepted the resignation of Bishop Kieran Conry. At the same time the Holy Father has appointed Archbishop Peter Smith as the Apostolic Administrator of the vacant See of Arundel and Brighton, until such time as a new Bishop takes possession of the Diocese.

Letter from Archbishop Peter Smith

On Sunday 5th October the following letter was read out at Masses across the Diocese

My Dear brothers and sisters,
The announcement last weekend that Bishop Kieran had offered his resignation to the Holy Father came as a great shock and was very distressing. Working with him in the Bishops’ Conference since 2001, and more recently as a Bishop of the Province of Southwark, I am well aware of all his dedicated work in the Diocese and nationally in his work as Chairman of the Department of Evangelisation and Catechesis.
My heart goes out to you at this difficult time, and I just wanted to write and let you know that I have offered Mass for you and all those hurt or distressed by Bishop Kieran’s actions. I will be keeping you and all those involved in my prayers in the coming weeks and months as you continue your preparations to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese next year.
The words of Pope Francis in his letter to the Church, “Evangelii Gaudium”, struck me as particularly appropriate at this difficult time: “I invite all Christians everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask you to do this unfailingly each day.” May I gently suggest that in the coming weeks and months, you consider having a regular period of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament in your parish churches, which would be a very fitting response to that invitation, and an excellent preparation for the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who was your Bishop for 24 years, has asked me to send on to you a letter, which I am attaching to this message.

With an assurance of my prayers and good wishes,
+ Peter

Letter from Cardinal Cormac

My dear People of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton,
I just want you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. The resignation of Bishop Kieran and the events accompanying it have been a great shock and sadness to us all.
As it happens, I know Bishop Kieran had intended a letter about the Church to be read out to you today. In it he says, “The Church is what joins us to Christ and builds and supports that relationship. It is also what binds us to one another. It is where we find healing and forgiveness. It is where we find support and encouragement.” We all need that healing and forgiveness as Bishop Kieran does at this time. We are all dependent upon one another for prayer, support and encouragement in times of trouble and failure. I know that you will pray for Bishop Kieran as he seeks God’s guidance for the time ahead, and for all those who have been hurt by these events.
The Diocese of Arundel and Brighton is a great diocese and will continue to flourish and develop with the renewal that has already begun in preparation for the Golden Jubilee. Know that you are and will always be in my prayers.
With my kindest wishes,

Yours devotedly in Christ,
+ Cormac

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bishop Kieran Resigns

Bishop Kieran Conry has offered his resignation as Bishop of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton. In a statement he said:

Statement by Bishop Kieran Conry
I am sorry to confess that, going back some years, I have been unfaithful to my promises as a Catholic priest. I would like to reassure you that my actions were not illegal and did not involve minors.

As a result, however, I have decided to offer my resignation as bishop with immediate effect and will now take some time to consider my future.

I want to apologise first of all to the individuals hurt by my actions and then to all of those inside and outside the diocese who will be shocked, hurt and saddened to hear this.

I am sorry for the shame that I have brought on the diocese and the Church and I ask for your prayers and forgiveness.

There will be no further comment.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Blogs Away!

There will be no further updates on this Blog until after 16 October. 

In the meantime don't forget Festival 50 on 5th July 2014 at the Amex Stadium, Brighton:

Monday, September 22, 2014

An App to Follow and Learn about the Mass features a new app:
This educational app offers the Mass from a different point of view. It's called "Mass Explained” and it is the perfect way to understand and learn more about the meaning of the actions, words, signs and rites of the Mass.

It explains the Roman Rite, the Mass the majority of Catholics are familiar with. Additionally, it explores each section of the liturgy with prayers and unique gestures.

The app is interactive and includes 3D videos and panoramic photos. It also contains biblical references, quotes from the Fathers of the Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and encyclicals.

"Mass Explained” is available in English for the iPad.