18th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2nd August 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – God’s generosityClick to find out more
What are other examples of God’s generosity? The greatest example is how God the Father sent Jesus, His only Son, to earth for all of us, how Jesus taught us how to live and how He died on the Cross to save each and every one of us. But our lives are full of examples of God’s generosity – our own life, our families, our friends, the beauty of the natural world around us.
How do we respond to God’s generosity? In our Gospel last week we looked at how, if we find something that is really precious to us, we take great care of it (cherish it like our grandparents!). During these summer holidays, we encourage you to take some time on your own or as a family to reflect on God’s generosity. What are the things in your life that you are most grateful for? Who around you is a sign of God’s generosity? What do you notice that maybe haven’t seen before? What can you do to cherish all these wonderful gifts?
What we can all do is pray! As we reflect on God’s generosity, it is natural that we thank God for the things that we realise He has given us – here is a simple prayer you can say together as a family.
And enjoy the Summer! That’s it from us until after the Summer Holidays. We wish all our families a happy, sunny and restful break.
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 26th July 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – Cherish our grandparentsClick to find out more
Why is this important today? Today is the feast of Saints Anne and Joachim, the parents of Our Lady, and Jesus’ grandparents. The Bible doesn’t tell us about how Jesus spent time with his grandparents, but we can be sure that He did!
How can we cherish our grandparents? There are so many ways that you can show your grandparents that you appreciate them. If you can contact them, you can make them a special card, go for a picnic, or make something for them. If you can, we encourage you to visit your grandparents – or to call them, if they are shielding. If you cannot contact them or if they have passed away, then share memories of them, what they did for you and meant to you.
And we can also pray! This week we encourage you to say this special prayer as a family that Pope Benedict XVI wrote for grandparents.
you were born of the Virgin Mary,
the daughter of Saints Joachim and Anne.
Look with love on grandparents the world over.
Protect them! They are a source of enrichment
for families, for the Church and for all of society.
Support them! As they grow older,
may they continue to be for their families
strong pillars of Gospel faith,
guardians of noble domestic ideals,
living treasuries of sound religious traditions.
Make them teachers of wisdom and courage,
that they may pass on to future generations the fruits
of their mature human and spiritual experience.
help families and society
to value the presence and role of grandparents.
May they never be ignored or excluded,
but always encounter respect and love.
Help them to live serenely and to feel welcomed
in all the years of life which you give them.
Mary, Mother of all the living,
keep grandparents constantly in your care,
accompany them on their earthly pilgrimage,
and by your prayers, grant that all families
may one day be reunited in our heavenly homeland,
where you await all humanity
for the great embrace of life without end. Amen!
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 19th July 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – serve the communityClick to find out more
Why is this important today? Last week we thought about how we can ‘tend the seed of faith’. One of the stories in the Gospel this week is about how a tiny seed – a mustard seed – given time, grows so big that birds can rest in the branches. That is what can happen to us if we let God tend the seed of faith he planted in us: given time and patience, it can grow and grow so much in us that we have to share God’s generosity with everyone we can.
Saturday 18 July is Nelson Mandela Day – a day held each year by the United Nations to honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s former President by encouraging people to remember him by doing something to reflect his 67 years of service. You can learn more about Nelson Mandela Day here.
How can we serve our community? There are so many things we can do. You could offer to get shopping for a neighbour who has to isolate at home. You can donate some food for our parish Soup Run or to one of our local Food Banks helping the homeless and local families who are struggling.
Perhaps you could volunteer to help make the sandwiches for the Soup Run on Saturday afternoon during the holiday period. You can see if you have any items at home that you could donate to a local charity shop.
CAFOD also have suggestions of ways for families to raise money for their Coronavirus appeal with their ‘Summer of Hope’ – just click on the picture.
What else can you think of?
What we can all do is pray! Remember that prayer is a type of community service too! You can pray for your teachers, for Father Sean, for all the people in our parish who help in different ways, and for all the volunteers throughout the world who work so hard to help others. And remember to pray for yourself, that with God’s help, our seed of faith may grow and grow like the mustard seed!
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 12th July 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – tend the seed of faithClick to find out more
How can we “tend the seed of faith”? Tending seeds in the garden is hard work – it requires patience, and a lot of effort. Perhaps you have tried growing seeds while you have been in lockdown at home. If you have a garden, spend some time in it this week together as a family, helping to water the plants and remove the weeds…and also just to sit and enjoy the sunshine together. And tending our own seeds – the seeds of our faith – also takes effort. Talk together as a family this week about how God plants faith in us that is looked after by our parents when we are very small, and then by us as we grow older to keep it growing and strengthening.
What we can all do is Pray! Praying together – on our own, and as a family – is one of the best ways to tend the seed of our faith. Here is a prayer that you can say together as a family this week.
Tell us what you think: Tell us what you think: Share your reflections on tending the seed of faith with us either as an email to Fr Sean or on our Facebook page.
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 5th July 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – rest in JesusClick to find out more
Why is this important today? In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus says “Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.” Life can be busy and stressful – even more so in these days when we have been living in lockdown, and trying to learn, study, work and live in the same place. Maybe we have been sick, or someone we love has. Maybe we’ve been worried, about ourselves or others that we love. So the message of today’s Gospel is very important.
How can we rest in Jesus? There are different ways that you – as just one person, or as a family – can rest in Jesus. One way is to share stories of previous times that you asked Jesus for His help, and share how it made a difference. Another way is to take a moment each day (maybe first thing in the morning, or last thing at night) to give Jesus your day and everything that’s in it – especially the hard things.
What we can all do is Pray! And have you ever heard the saying “to sing to God is to pray twice”? We think the hymns Lay your hands gently upon us and I the Lord of sea and sky are lovely prayers you can either sing or listen to together as a family this week.
Tell us what you think: Share your reflections on taking rest in Jesus with us either as an email to Fr Sean or on our Facebook page
Saints Peter and Paul – 28th June 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers –Pray for our PopeClick to find out more
Why is this important today? Today is the feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Both of them were very important in the early years of the Church…in fact, Saint Peter was the very first Pope! Jesus Himself appointed Saint Peter, when he told him that “upon this rock, I will build my church” (Saint Peter’s nickname Cephas meant “rock”). We have had 265 popes since Saint Peter. One of the important jobs of all Popes is to teach the church in the same way that both Saints Peter and Paul taught by writing letters to the early Christian churches. Here is a recent example of teaching from Pope Francis about the coronavirus epidemic and the poor.
Who is our current Pope? Our current pope is Pope Francis. He is from Argentina, and his name before he became Pope was Jorge Mario Bergoglio. You can learn more about him by watching this short cartoon.
How can we pray for the Pope? When he was a priest, Pope Francis used to teach children how to pray using the 5 fingers on their hand to pray for 5 different intentions. This week, we encourage you to use this guide to praying with your fingers – and remember to pray for Pope Francis when you get to your index finger, as he is our leader in faith!
Tell us what you think: Share your reflections on praying for Pope Francis with us either as an email to Fr Sean or on our Facebook page.
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 21st June 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers –Celebrate Fathers and FamilyClick to find out more
How can we celebrate Fathers? We encourage you to do something special for your fathers today, whether it’s serving them breakfast in bed, making them a card, writing them a letter, or making their favourite dessert. And if you have a grandfather, a father-in-law, or a father figure in your life, maybe you can celebrate them by calling them, sending them a card, or praying for them.
How can we celebrate Family? You can celebrate family by doing something fun together – going for a walk, playing in your garden or the park, cooking a meal together, or watching a film that you will all enjoy. You can also keep using the gratitude jar that we shared with you a few weeks ago, as a way of recognising and being grateful for things about each member of your family.
What we can all do is Pray! God the Father is father for every single person, all over the world. And Jesus himself taught us a special prayer that we can say to Him: the Our Father. We encourage you to pray this together as a family, today on Father’s Day or during the week – both for your own family, and for families everywhere
Feast of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – 14th June 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – reflect on the real presence of Jesus in the Holy EucharistClick to find out more
What is Corpus Christi? “Corpus Christi” is the name by which this Feast has been known for hundreds of years. It is a Latin phrase that means “The Body of Christ”. Today we try to use the English ‘Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ’ to reflect the real presence of Jesus in both the bread and the wine of Holy Eucharist, which we believe as part of our Catholic faith.
How can we reflect on the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist? The presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist is a mystery; something that can be hard for us (even grown-ups!) to fully understand. We encourage you to talk together about how Jesus loves us so much that he wanted to be so close to us, so he invented this way to be with us – as food, to bring continuing life to us. You can also watch this video, and discuss it together as a family.
What we can all do is Pray! Our parish website has a beautiful prayer of “spiritual communion” – a way of recognising the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, even when we are not able to physically receive Holy Communion – that we are saying during every Mass. We encourage you to pray it together as a family throughout the week.
Interested in more? Parents, we also invite you to watch this video message from Cardinal Nichols about today’s feast.
Holy Trinity Sunday – 7th June 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – understanding the Holy Trinity more.Click to find out more
Why should we learn about this today? Today is the feast of The Most Holy Trinity, a day when as Catholics we reflect on this special mystery. It is a belief that we share those who follow other Christian faiths – including Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists.
How can we understand the Holy Trinity more? Run a family experiment! Get each person in your family to take an apple, and cut it in half. Explore together how there is the peel, the fruit we eat, and the core. Discuss how there are three distinct and different parts in one apple – there’s no such thing as an apple without a peel, or without seeds, or without the fruit. Then consider together how in the same way, the Holy Trinity means we must have the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Finally, you can use the apples you’ve cut up as a snack, or to make a special dessert as a celebration of today’s feast – maybe apple pie or apple custard!
What we can all do is Pray! We invite you to say this prayer – which has existed since the 4th century – together as a family: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”
Interested in more? Parents, Parents, if you’d like to learn more about the meaning of the Holy Trinity, we invite you to watch this video from Bishop Robert Barron.
Pentecost – 31st May 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – Give thanks to God for all our giftsClick to find out more
What are the gifts that we have? There are things that we are – you might be good at sport, or a particular subject at school, or playing a musical instrument. And there are things that we do – like being kind, sharing toys, helping with chores, or being cheerful. All of these are gifts from God.
How can we give thanks to God for our gifts? As a family, you can create a “gratitude jar” and celebrate each other’s gifts! Get an old jar, some pens, and pieces of paper. Sit down together, and get each person to write down a gift they are grateful for in another member of the family – for example “Paul is very good at making me laugh” or “Mum listens to me”. Write on a separate piece of paper for each person. Then put all the pieces of paper in the jar, shuffle them up, and take turns pulling them out and reading them out loud to each other.
And we can show our gratitude to God through prayer! At the end of your “gratitude jar” family activity, you can say this prayer together: “Lord God, thank you for the gifts you have given each member of our family. Fill us all with joy and peace. Let your Holy Spirit come upon us to help us share His gifts with everyone and make them grow.”
Interested in more? Parents, if you’d like to do more to celebrate and reflect on Pentecost, we invite you to watch the pastoral message from Cardinal Vincent Nichols. And this video provides more information on the gifts of the Holy Spirit for older children.
7th Sunday of Easter – 24th May 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – How should we look after God’s world and our world?Click to find out more
Parents, why should we do this this today? Today, 24 May is the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ letter on care for the world, our common home. Called Laudato Si’, it is an inspiration during moments of difficulty. It encourages us to reflect on the values we share and create a more just and sustainable future. Pope Francis asks us to come together as one people around the world today to prayerfully look for the lessons of this moment while the world experiences a history-defining crisis with Covid-19, and reflect and prepare to build a better world. You can see more, starting with a message from Pope Francis, at https://laudatosiweek.org/
What sort of world do we want? Parents – explain what sort of world you think God wants you to pass on to your family. Children and teenagers – tell your mums and dads what sort of world you hope (last week’s word!) to grow up in.
Some ideas for things to talk about together: Climate Change, hunger, access to clean water, poverty, justice, fairness, homelessness, jobs and work, healthcare, conservation of the world’s plants and animals, how we use the world’s resources…..
What can we do? We know we can’t change the world on our own but together perhaps we can. So, what things can each of us do that will make a difference? – At home, at school (when we go back), at work, when we go shopping, when we are out enjoying ourselves – for our families, our friends, as well as people we don’t know or have never met?
What we can all do is Pray! We have all been asked to pray together this special prayer at midday today, Sunday 24th May 2020. Like clapping to for all the essential workers on Thursday evenings, it’s the least we can do!
6th Sunday of Easter Year A – 17th May 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children, Teenagers – Write a Prayer about HopeClick to find out more
What is Prayer? – Prayer is both talking and listening to God. We pray for different reasons, which you can learn more about in this video. We also pray in different ways – attending Holy Mass is a type of prayer. Saying the Holy Rosary (which we learned about last week) is another way of praying. There are prayers we learn to say like the ‘Our Father’ and the ‘Glory be’. And just speaking or writing down your thoughts to God is a wonderful prayer too!
What is Hope? Our Catholic faith teaches us that hope is a virtue – something that helps us be a good person. Hope enables us to trust in God, even about things that seem difficult or impossible. Hope keeps us from getting discouraged and gives us strength, helping us to find joy in the world, and to share that joy with others.
How do I write a prayer? Have you ever written a letter or an email? Writing a prayer is a little bit like that – but it is sent to God. It’s also a bit like when your Mum or Dad asks you “tell me what your day was like” – but you write it down, instead of just saying it out loud. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated; “Thank you God” is a perfectly good prayer!
If it helps, you can start by saying it out loud, and ask a grown-up to record you. Then you can play your words back and write them down and, like the picture we have used here, you can add your own drawing to make it more special.
For parents: Hope can be challenging in these difficult times, but as Pope Francis says, it is the key to salvation. This video from Father Mike Schmitz is a great resource to reflect on what hope is, and why we need it, and this detailed guide on Hope is a great way to continue the conversation with your family, especially with your older children.
5th Sunday of Easter Year A – 10th May 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children – Discover the Holy Rosary!Click to find out more
Who started the Rosary? The spread of the Rosary, a devotion to the Virgin Mary (Mother of Jesus), is attributed to the preaching of Saint Dominic, a Spanish priest and founder of the Dominican order. Many popes have promoted praying the Rosary as a way of journeying “to Christ through Mary”. The Rosary is probably most often associated with the miraculous appearance of Our Lady to the young girl Bernadette at Lourdes in France in 1858 when Our Lady asked Bernadette to pray the Rosary with her and is why statues of Our Lady of Lourdes show her holding Rosary beads.
What are Rosary beads? We often pray the Rosary using “rosary beads” – a series of beads or knots on a prayer rope that provide a physical method of keeping count of the number of Hail Marys said as the mysteries are contemplated. It’s interesting to know that prayer ropes are used in many religions, including Buddhism and Islam…but only Catholics pray the Rosary.
How do I pray the Rosary? This video explains how you pray the Rosary – including how to use Rosary beads, and how to think of each “mystery” or theme as you pray.
More things to do: We’ve found several colouring-in sheets that you can complete either by printing them out, or online. You can colour rosary beads, a picture of Our Lady of the Rosary, or rosary beads where you can add your own name in the scroll. You could also find our more about the story of Saint Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes.
Share with us: We’d love to know what you learned about the Rosary – we encourage you to email us or post a comment on our Facebook page sharing your colouring-in, your favourite mystery, or a picture praying the Rosary with your family
4th Sunday of Easter Year A – 3rd May 2020 – Mums, Dads, Children – find your saint!Click to find out more
Who is ‘my’ saint? You can choose any saint! Were you are named after a saint? Do you have a name that is also the name of a saint? Did you take the name of a saint at confirmation? Is there a saint you particularly admire?
How can I find ‘my’ saint? Ask your parents, brothers and sisters, or grandparents (by phone if they don’t live with you!), if you were named after a saint – or if they know a saint that has the same name as you.
What should I do when I find ‘my’ saint? Once you’ve found – or chosen! – a saint, try to learn something about her, or him. Every single saint has a fascinating story for you to discover. This website has loads of fun facts about many different saints.
Share what you find out: Share your saint with us on our Facebook page – ask a grown-up to help you share a picture with us, and maybe a short message about what you think of your saint!
More things to do:
Some of us have names that are based on other names – if you want to find the origins of your name, we recommend you use Behind the Name, a useful and fascinating website. And Wikipedia has a (partial) list of saints that you can refer to as well.
If you’re interested in exploring saints, rather than finding one with your name, we recommend this dedicated section of the Diocese of Westminster Youth Ministry site as a good place to start.