‘In the name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.’
Although we will be considering only the Hebrew and Christian Bible, I have taken these lines from the first words of the Qur’an, because as Pope Francis wrote in his Bull opening the Year of Mercy: ‘There is an aspect of mercy that goes beyond the confines of the church. It connects us with Judaism and Islam…. I trust that this year of Mercy will foster an encounter with these and other noble religious traditions.’ The Jubilee Year is one of openness to all. Continue reading Mercy in the Bible
This is the text of the tribute to Sister Margaret given at her funeral on 29th January 2016 by Sister Joan.
Margaret was born in Ireland in1930 and left her home town in Gort, County Galway 20 years later in order to follow her desire to become a Religious Sister. This desire became a reality when she made her First Profession in 1952 with The Sisters of St Gildas in France. On her return to England she studied for a teaching diploma and taught for several years in our schools in Somerset and London.
In the early 60,s Margaret embraced Vatican 2 wholeheartedly. She heard the cry of the poor and that famous quote from Gaudiem et Spes.
“The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts.”
From then on Margaret’s, spirituality was being fully human and being involved in humanity and finding God there.
So she asked to leave teaching in our private schools and studied to become a social worker and when qualified she worked first in Birmingham and later joined the Crusade of Rescue in the Westminster Diocese. This entailed a great deal of travelling all over London and the Home Counties helping young pregnant women who were alone and facing difficult decisions. This work also involved working with young couples wanting to adopt children.
On retirement Margaret became more actively involved in the parish as a member of the parish and the deanery team. She worked on the RCIA programme. She had groups of young mothers, who having dropped off their children to school met together to share the Scriptures in view of helping their children grow in faith. Margaret enjoyed going into the Infant school to read with the young children. She was also very committed in the Justice and Peace Movement and represented the congregation at diocesan level. One of her great joys was the Padre-Pio group which she continued to organize until quite recently.
Remember this was her retirement but she still had so much energy to give, so she enrolled in a course to qualify for massage with the principal intention of ministering to people who did not have the means to avail of this service. So she went along to Crisis at Christmas for some years where she washed and massaged the feet of many homeless people. Margaret was unstoppable.
Of course we must not forget her great love of animals, cats, dogs, you name them ,she loved them, and could often be seen walking the dogs of our neighbours. She knew them all by name.
During her long life Margaret had such a good influence on so many people and I am sure that many of you here today will have your own memories of her and your own reasons for gratitude. She had so many gifts and was always so willing to share them.
I would like to end with a quote from Matthew 25 v 34 -36 because these words were the reality of Margaret’s daily living.
“I was hungry and you fed me. Thirsty and you gave me a drink.
I was a stranger and you received me in your home.
Naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you took care of me.”
Jesus has truly said to her
“Come Margaret, welcome home my good and faithful friend”
The beginning of the Jubilee Year is always solemnly marked by the opening of a Holy Door by the Pope in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. However, for this Jubilee of Mercy Pope Francis also wanted a Door of Mercy in each diocese so that everyone throughout the world may be able to celebrate the Jubilee.
In the Diocese of Westminster there will be a Holy Door at the cathedral and there are also Holy Doors at: Brook Green; the Italian Church, Clerkenwell; Enfield; Haverstock Hill; Hounslow; Kingsland; Lincoln’s Inn Fields; Marylebone; Soho Square; Stanmore; Waltham Cross; Our Lady’s, Welwyn Garden City; Our Lady of Willesden. Continue reading The Holy Door
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
On December 8 2015, Pope Francis opened the ‘Year of Mercy’. During this time, the mass readings have mostly been taken from the Gospel of St Luke, which fits very well with the Pope’s theme. Although God’s mercy is stressed throughout the Bible, it has a special emphasis in the third gospel. In the first chapter, Luke presents two ‘songs’, the first of Mary (‘The Magnificat’) in which she is aware of the blessing of God to her personally, but also ‘his mercy from generation after generation’. In the song of Zachary (‘The Benedictus’), he also recalls the past where ‘God showed mercy to our ancestors’ and looks forward to the ‘tender mercy of our God who from on high will bring the rising Sun [Jesus] to visit us….’ Continue reading Reading the Gospel of Luke in the ‘Year of Mercy’ 2015/2016
Here are a selection of photos from the recent charity concert in aid of Seeds
A total of £570.16 was raised towards Seeds, our new parish provision for learning disabled adults so a huge thank you to everyone who contributed. We were very grateful to violinists Duo Klier and their pupils of St.Gilda’s School, St Gilda’s school choir and director, Tom Fowkes, and everyone who made the evening such a success. Sue Hessel, Mary Halliday and Kayte Brimacombe
Photos copyright Kayte Brimacombe.
Click on the thumbnail to see the full-size image