Father Ed's Blog

A Catholic priest reflects…

Month: September 2015 (Page 1 of 2)

The UN has lost the plot…

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Many people were left shocked and outraged recently when the United Nations inexplicably elected Saudi Arabia to head its human rights panel. A decision which robs the UN of all and any credibility and will have sane people scratching their heads the world over. It would actually be funny if it wasn’t so disgusting. What possible justification can there be for this?

If you doubt the seriousness then do read this grisly account of a day in the life of a Saudi executioner. It speaks of violent practices that have no place in the civilised world and most definitely not within a nation charged with upholding human rights on a global scale. Under Sharia Law (the religion of peace strikes again) Saudi inhabitants are controlled by fear. Tortured and maimed bodies are routinely left hanging as dire warning to any who would dare protest against the regime. And aside from beheadings, which are taking place at the rate of one every other day, there are routine floggings and stonings and other humiliating punishments being meted out at the whim of local authorities.

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But these are the guys the UN sees fit to lead its panel on human rights!? Can you make any sense that which does not involve Western governments cosying up to Saudi authorities; looking the other way because they are greedy for some of that filthy oil money? How timely Pope Francis message to America was. A message which centred on the need to put people’s needs above the pursuit of money and to recognise the clear dignity of every human soul.

Pray for an end to the modern Western practice of caring little for human dignity which led to meddling in the Middle East at the detriment of many. Pray for an end to Sharia Law and the seemingly endless episodes of Islamic violence in the world at present. And pray for the UN to sort itself out and come to its senses. What a totally deplorable and unjustifiable decision they have made.

Bits and bobs

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There were healthy numbers at the 9:15am Mass this morning, especially as we had several regulars away. Extra chairs were required and it is a wonderful conundrum pondering how we will fit everyone in next week if all should return!? It is not about numbers but growth is always welcome.

I trust the 11am Mass went equally well? Father Nicholas was celebrating it in my absence as I was attending St. Peter’s Church for a special service in which their new curate, Carrie, was welcomed into the fold. It was a pleasure to present her with a copy of the papal encyclical Laudato Si before the service, on behalf of all of us at Saint Anselm’s, and I wished her well in her new ministry within the village. It was lovely to have been invited, along with representatives from the baptist church. Ecumenical relationships are certainly improving at the moment, in answer to prayer, and the clergy are meeting monthly now to pray together the morning office according to one another’s tradition. This is excellent news.

Back to St. Anselm’s and it was announced this morning that my day of rest, for domestic reasons, is moving from a Monday to a Friday as of this coming week. From next week a Mass will be held on a Monday morning at 10am and the Friday mass will end from this week. Please make a note of this!

Another development is that at the 9:15am Mass, on the first Sunday of the month (starting next week) will be celebrated according to the Ordinariate Rite. If it is successful it may then be used at all 9:15am services with the Novus Ordo remaining standard at 11am. Fr. Jack is on standby to serve as sub-deacon and Fr. Nicholas and myself will be taking the roles of deacon and celebrant.

Finally Sunday the 11th has been set aside for our Harvest celebration this year. Please bring non perishable produce to the service for the procession of gifts. These will be given to the local soup kitchen and food banks. We will also accept any Cafod envelopes that you may have. And, of course, we will be singing all the favourite harvest hymns as all is safely gathered in.

Pope Francis in America

Having spent the beginning of his pontificate calling the world into dialogue, the Pope electrified America this week and delivered the main thrust of his message ahead of the synod on the family- and it is robustly pro-life; we must do more to uphold and protect the dignity of every human life from conception to the grave. And so the Holy Father spoke on the death penalty, abortion, war, care for the elderly and infirm, the need to protect marriage and the family. He really did not hold back and I commend the video above in its entirety.

Here are just a few killer quotes:

On the need to protect marriage and the family:

I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of the sanctity of marriage and the family.

On the need to end the arms trade:

Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and end the arms trade.

On the need to end abortion:

The Golden rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

On the need to protect life in general:

(This was not in the speech to congress but said earlier on the visit to America)

I encourage you, then, to confront the challenging issues of our time. Ever present within each of them is life as gift and responsibility. The future freedom and dignity of our societies depends on how we will face these challenges. The innocent victim of abortion, the children who die of hunger or from bombings, the immigrants who drown in search for a better tomorrow, the elderly or the sick who are considered a burden; the victims of terrorism, wars, violence, and drug trafficking, the environment devastated by man’s predatory relationship with nature — at stake in all of this is the gift of God, of which we are noble stewards but not masters.

I applaud Pope Francis for speaking truth to power this week. The effect on John Boenher was wonderful to watch. At several points during the speech he was moved to tears. And again on the balcony when the Holy Father stated that any children present were the most important people there.

 

 

Archbishop Di Noia on the Ordinariate

This is the address which was delivered by Archbishop Augustine Di Noia at the Ordinariate Festival in London last week. It is well worth listening to and I hope that you find the time to do so. Archbishop Di Noia is a Dominican and a high ranking prelate within the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in the Vatican. His praise is, therefore, high praise indeed.

Understanding the refugee crisis

 

The church could learn much from the rugby world

There were emotional scenes in Brighton when, against all odds, Japan overcame the mighty Springboks in the rugby world cup. A feat requiring courage, resilience and pluck. The defence of Japan proved stubborn with players repeatedly putting their bodies on the line for the greater good of the team. It was, as the video shows, an emotional moment then when, having opted for a scrum near the South African line and going over for the winning try in the last minute of play, the final whistle was blown. Well done Japan- a fantastic result not only for yourselves but for rugby in general.

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In England we have a saying. Football is a game for gentlemen played by thugs, rugby is a game for thugs played by gentlemen. Like all sweeping generalisations it is a little unfair but there is truth in it. For where football fans require segregation and a heavy police presence, opposition rugby fans sit together and party. And having played for over three decades I assure you that every punch, knee or gouge I ever received or dished out was followed by a large grin, an arm around the shoulders and a few pints in the bar with my opposite number. We rugby players are a global team; we exist one for the other. See the picture above. The South African players, even in the moment of anguish, saw fit to share the delight of their Japanese counterparts.

And let me praise the Samoan rugby team, and promote them to you as a second club- for they descended on the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Brighton last week and sang this wonderful hymn at the end of the service. What a treat for Father Ray Blake and his people! Can you imagine the England football team doing this? Hardly, the culture in English football is, sadly, a million miles from that which raised these decent Samoan warriors who value their faith so much.

Yesterday Father Nicholas preached on rugby, pointing out that playing requires courage, just as being Christian does, if done properly. And you cannot play alone but must recognise a need for others. A helpful reminder of our need for the church and the support of other Christians. Wussy backs might bring speed and skill to the park, but it is of no use unless they have a ball in hand. And you need bruisers up front to win that ball. It is a team effort and only teams that play together enjoy success on the park. So what do we make of a church that seems incapable of playing as a team united in common purpose?

For ages now the church has been losing the battle in the West. It is fractured and in decline precisely because of the protestant infection. A delight of division and difference of opinion. And so Christians have begun to play against each other and the end result is far from the victory that could be achieved. I guess rugby has the luxury of not being on the radar of the devil. It is only a game, after all, not a matter of eternal life and death.

The fruits of Christian division are death. A lessening of victory for Christ for it creates a church unable to speak with one voice of clarity. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Little wonder Christian influence wanes in the West where the protestant revolution hit hardest, a revolution at work within the Catholic church today not only without.

Do you understand now why we should all be dismissive of heretical opinion, especially from clergy who ought to know better? See why we should disregard those who claim to be  Christian but demand a compromised faith delivered in sympathy with the culture around them? Get real! We do not need a church ever changed by the world; we need one capable of changing the world for the better! And you only get that when the church unites in a shared proclamation of truth.  God’s truth as revealed in Christ not one watered down by selfish demands.

The bottom line. If a chap joined a rugger club and refused to play by the rules he would be chucked out…and not gently. Rugby players are men, they don’t tolerate idiots. St. Nicholas was also a man. He head butted Arias instead of allowing that odious modernist to take to the floor of the synod. I wonder? Might we send the Samoans to the Synod today and with the same mandate? After all we face the same problem. So why do we refuse to eject the modernists as St. Nicholas did? Why give voice to those dismissing not upholding Catholic doctrine?

This is not to suggest we don’t need a church capable of thinking, discussing and engaging in debate. Healthy theological reflection is important. The rules of rugby develop, of course, over time and so does church teaching. But you cannot allow for dissent masquerading as reflection. You cannot, in rugby terms, simply take to the pitch and do what you damn well please, attempting to force change by shrill demand or unorthodox practice! But that is precisely how an unfortunate section of the church behaves today, in an era in which historic virtues are ignored and obedience is out of fashion. Many seem to think they can ignore what scripture plainly reveals.

My prayer is that a healthy dose of the masculine spirit of rugby  (and of St. Nicholas) might infuse and the church again. For it is a body desperately lacking in that regard at present; all too often overseen and undermined by timid men. The sort who would prove too afraid to run out on a rugby pitch let alone take the fight to the world and the devil! And then they prove to weak to stand up against the villainous. Those who work behind the scenes not to strengthen the church but damage it, ever pushing for unhealthy agendas to serve their twisted purpose. Just consider those who protected peadophiles or engaged in such behaviour themselves. They do not stand for Christ! Clearly we need to learn how to deal with enemies and better deal with those who refuse to stand up to them.

Enough then of a spineless overly feminised culture in which the clear voice of dissent is ever mistaken, wilfully at times, as somehow being a mature contribution to theological debate. We need a church that will brook no nonsense and which understands where authority resides. One capable of dealing compassionately but firmly with heretics and unrepentant sinners. It is time to strong-arm the loons; those who too often seem to be calling the shots at present. We need the men of God to arise and we need the heretical to stand down.

The Ordinariate Festival

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Yesterday I travelled to Westminster Cathedral to be part of the Ordinariate Festival. And it proved to be a great success.

In the morning we heard reports from a selection of groups to help us share in one another’s journey. I was particularly struck by Father Lashbrook’s passion during which he explained to us the vision for the Torbay group now that they have purchased their own property. We also heard some tops from Precious Blood who have managed to triple giving and attendance within the parish. This was followed by a report from one of the newest emerging groups- in Wales. And then it was time for the legend that is Monsignor Broadhurst to talk to us about the financial life of the Ordinariate.

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We then went into the Cathedral itself for a special Mass offered according to the Ordinariate Use of the Roman Rite. This was an historic moment being the first time it has ever been offered at Westminster Cathedral. It was a reverent and beautiful Mass and it is good to see the Ordinariate growing in its understanding and appreciation of the patrimony it exists for. A patrimony steeped in English Spirituality which intentionally points to pre-reformation life and the Catholic identity and calling of this nation.

Mass was offered by Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia OP, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who also preached. In his very fine homily he focussed on the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary and asked us to consider the implications of her giving assent to what God was doing “even though she did not feel ready”. Sometimes we need to trust God even when we don’t feel ready to embrace change. He simply calls and we must respond- after all if God had waited for the world to be ready for the incarnation – we would still be waiting! Archbishop Di Noia went on to state his firm personal belief that the Ordinariate is important and that it is a “work of grace”.

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I wonder how many people have understood that the Ordinariate is good news but feel they are not ready for it? Excuses can always be found that stop us confronting what is in front of us. The homily of the Archbishop prompts all to reconsider what God might be doing and to take seriously what the Catholic church is doing within the Ordinariate. A movement pointing to a need for true unity and the bringing home of separated brethren into one body.

In the afternoon I had to slip home, unfortunately, and therefore missed the address given by Archbishop Di Noia. However the good news is that all the talks were recorded and will soon be available online. When they are I shall, of course, share them with you. The Ordinariate continues to develop and grow.

Pray for the Synod on the family

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The Synod on the family is almost on us and Catholics should be praying fervently for it. Because, at present, there is a sense of division and unease amongst the Cardinals of the Church. So much so that one senses a possible crisis looming, some even warn of schism, as the church wrestles with fundamental issues regarding human sexuality.

The dispute arose last year during the first part of the Synod. When instead of focusing on the actual needs of the family (I have been scandalised as a parent  how little children have even been mentioned in any of this) attention turned instead to those outside of marriage and in broken homes; with certain Cardinals calling for the church to embrace the conclusions of the sexual revolution. They want an historic change to Catholic teaching bringing acceptance, even blessing, to sexually active homosexual couples, and they want divorced people who have entered new sexual relationships to be granted full access to the sacraments.

Those calling for change present the issue as one of mercy but it is, in truth, a little more complicated than that. For there is no real mercy without judgement and justice. Hence those who believe we have no mandate to change what God has revealed are vociferously opposed. Enter the Cardinals who want to defend and uphold the teaching of the church as it has been in all ages, who feel that such unbiblical innovation would wreak havoc on the Church at the serious cost of the salvation of souls. You cannot bless sin. And so two camps now exist and blood could be spilt before the second session is over.

Interestingly these divisions, these different camps, are identical to those encountered within Anglicanism. Clearly the sexual revolution poses the same questions to all Christendom then regardless of denomination. And thus it is that in all denominations at present these two same camps are emerging.

The first consists of those who believe in fixed revelation. Jesus Christ; the same yesterday, today and forever. They uphold the Christian faith as a covenant of truth given by Christ for all people in all ages. We might advance scientifically but fundamental human nature doesn’t change and nor does God’s word. Such Christians, in sympathy with the church in all ages, are not against change per se but they cannot brook compromise with unscriptural innovations. Any change must therefore be organic flowing out of what came before and leading back to Christ and the Early Church. The Holy Spirit does not U-turn. Thus scripture and tradition are held in high regard. The church called to inspire change in man not the other way around. Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II sat in this camp. It is, after all, the normative position of authentic Catholicism!

The second camp are recent arrivals on the Christian scene and especially within the Catholic scene. The Modernists. Who, though they undoubtedly mean well, are this generation’s heretics. Those who want to eat their cake and have it, living with one foot in the church and one in the world. Who conclude that truth is open to interpretation in each age and culture. Respecting those parts of scripture and tradition that chime- they do not feel beholden by bits that don’t. And so a pick and mix theology arises to suit their whims and wants. A comfortable faith worked out via insights of modern culture. Unsurprisingly the media delights in this approach and backs them all the way. They are to be proclaimed as “progressives”- those holding to the faith as “outdated”.

It doesn’t take a genius to realise the views are irreconcilable. Hence the danger of schism looming in most denominations at present. One must choose where truth resides. Until recently it was not difficult for Catholics to choose because Catholicism itself so obviously pointed to the first camp. Yet, inspired by protestantism, many Catholics sat light to their own traditions, teaching and customs in the years following Vatican II. So that today, in many places, the reality is chilling. Many Catholics just aren’t Catholic at all. Hence the fight now rages within the church as well as without. Hence its outbreak in the synod.

As we ponder the battle field where do we place Pope Francis? That is the burning issue for the church today. Leading many to ask- is the pope Catholic?!! Into which camp does he fall? At present the jury is out because he can be read in any number of ways. He really is an enigma wrapped up in a question.

Of those who think they have worked him out two views emerge! Some say he sits with modernists and is, therefore, a danger to the church. An antipope whose agenda is revolution in a liberal and secular direction. Hence the media love for him! They argue he is a cunning manipulator who wisely favours conventional  thinking with his mouth, but advances modernist positions by his actions. A Jesuit version of Archbishop Williams, in other words, who delights in double speak. Who encourages a deliberate disconnect between pastoral practice and doctrine. The traditionalist voice accepted in theory but ignored in practice; that the liberal agenda may proceed in peace and at pace.

Others believe this is unfair. They say the Pope is not a modernist at all but a faithful son of the church. A skilled and clever politician who is wooing the world for an authentic conversion. They see him encouraging debate only so that he might later settle it. They would point to his recent upholding of conventional teaching regarding anulments, whilst showing necessary mercy via the cutting of red tape. This group believe Francis is playing a game but not the one modernists hope for. And having gathered them close he will bring them to account.

By the end of the Synod we should know whose caricature is right. Fortunately, whatever occurs, the Catholic church is a different beast to Anglicanism. Meaning that even if modernist tails are wagging the dog it does not mean they set the agenda. The process and machine of the church should see to that.

Yet the gathering Synod is nevertheless unsettling and the signs do not look encouraging for those who hold to the teaching of the church in all ages. Why so many modernist Cardinals (mostly in their 80s) compared with orthodox voices? And why- for heaven sake- is Cardinal Daneels there? He who is a known and proven protector of Paedophiles and who has even encouraged abortion! What is Frances up to?

Is he ‘on message’ for the radical schismatics who hunger for change….or does he want to ensure those voices cannot complain they were not listened to when he comes down firmly on the side of truth?

I am praying- like crazy- it proves the  latter (and I have a sneaky feeling it will) because it strikes me that the former will lead to untold chaos, possibly schism, wreaking havoc for a generation and more…

The rains came but the house stood firm

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Below is the sermon I preached for our patronal festival last Sunday. A Mass during which we thanked God for his many blessings on our parish in recent months and years.

Why was Jesus born in Bethlehem not Jerusalem? Why David not Goliath? Why did Jesus choose 12 such feeble men on which to found the church? Why was St. John Vianney sent to the backwater of Ars to become patron saint of all priests?

Because, I think, God delights in little things and in little places. And he loves stacking the odds against himself, in human terms, to then show us the indisputable power of the Spirit when miracles then flow. Goliath should have smashed David but, because God was with him, David won. 12 scared men huddled in an upper room should not have changed the world, but because God was with them, they did! Time and again in the miracles witnessed in little people and in little places then, we see the proof of God’s blessing.

And this has been the story of Saint Anselm’s, I believe, since the arrival of the Ordinariate four years ago. In human terms a project which should have failed but which hasn’t, because God has been with us and has blessed us. Just consider the extraordinary journey we have been on.

For years this little place pottered along happily. A Mass centre run from nearby Paddock Wood. A popular deacon co-ordinated its life and nobody could have possibly imagined that it would soon find itself at the epicentre of a global papal initiative. It was one of those places where change happens slowly if at all. It didn’t need to. Mass was offered, the sacraments celebrated.

But then something happened that would change St. Anselm’s forever. Pope Benedict declared the Catholic church was inviting Anglicans to be reconciled, in groups, and with a specific mission- to uphold an Anglican Patrimony. What is this Anglican Patrimony? That needs explaining to the many who have not yet grasped the purpose and point of the Ordinariate. It is best understood as being an authentic English spirituality that speaks to this nation in it’s dialect.

You see England once flourished as a Catholic nation, developing its own rich culture and customs in the process. The English Catholic Way was born and would become the vision behind the construction of our fine Cathedrals, country parishes, Oxbridge and all that. But at the reformation this “English way” was lost. Catholics retained their faith, at tremendous cost, but could not hope to sustain the English Way hidden away in priest holes and under threat of death and poverty. So the English way was partially absorbed instead into the emerging Church of England and can still be seen today, where Anglicanism retains its own historic nature, in harvest festivals, the retention of elements of the Sarum rite, the great choirs, etc…

It took until the 19th Century for Catholicism to recover; largely due, thank God, to a rise in Irish immigration. So by the 20th Century Catholicism is again flourishing in England… but not -and this is important- in the old English way. Consider the nickname of Liverpool Cathedral-it’s Paddy’s wigwam. Or how certain Anglicans delight in naming the “Roman” Catholic church the Italian mission to the Irish. Its just not English is the point being made…

Of course its deeply unfair. There are, in fact, plenty of English Catholics. But for many out there it nevertheless rings true. Catholicism seems foreign; isn’t English in the way that Marmite, Beefeaters or the C of E is. Pope Benedict understood this- that’s why he forms the Ordinariate; to bring home the English via their own spirituality- the Anglican patrimony with its roots in the ancient English way. Not to replace the wonderful cosmopolitan makeup of Catholicism in England today but to compliment it. That we might speak both universally and locally in terms of our evangelisation and mission here in this land.

So quite a vision then for the Ordinariate. Where would it manifest? Surely in places of importance and prestige? No; because God, remember, delights in little things and little places. So it was here in Pembury that one of the largest groups sprung up. Recall also here that God delights in stacking the odds against himself to prove the presence of his Spirit when blessings later abound.

Well the odds were certainly against us four years ago. There was no money- it was left, quite rightly, with Paddock Wood. There were precious little resources. Father Nicholas and I puzzled at how we could possibly witness to the English way, with its great emphasis on culture, reverence and beauty, using just a simple altar on wheels, an electronic piano and 100 plastic chairs. And the pastoral considerations were even more daunting….

On the one hand we had inherited a congregation, unused to change, whose style was minimalist. They needed time to absorb what was happening. But time was not on offer because, on the other hand, we had the Ordinariate group, who had surrendered a sumptuous furnished church for unity and who delighted in tradition. They needed to see progress and purpose in their not insignificant sacrifice! Now factor in that the locals inevitably felt a little invaded, they only had 11 days notice let us remember!- and all the ingredients were in place for disunity and strife. And sadly we lost some people in those early months. But despite this we held to the vision, did our best to reason with people and prayed and trusted that God knew what he was about.

Extraordinary things began to happen. Gifts arrived from the most unexpected quarters, parish giving almost doubled. Newcomers started arriving. We were attracting young families and so the average age of worshipper plummeted. And those entering forged friendships with those who had been here for years. Suddenly we were working together; pulling down trees , sorting clutter. Through loans and gifts a hall was funded. Permanent space for worship was created.

From almost nothing then we  built this rubbish church. I say rubbish because every single thing we have put in it -pews, altar, pulpit, et al- is somebody else’s rubbish. Things discarded or no longer needed which have helped us so much. And amongst the finds have been deeply significant, even miraculous, gifts. The relics of Blessed Dominic Barberi now reside in our Altar. He who came to England and received Blessed John Henry Newman, patron of the Ordinariate, into the church. And we have a set of oil stocks, as of last week, that belonged to Newman himself. These are in our possession. How can that be? Because God is having a laugh, I think, and here in little Pembury auspicious items find their way to us and the English way is taking shape.

Finally God’s presence has been clear to me due to an enormous sense of spiritual struggle in all that has been accomplished. It really has felt as if the devil is enraged by what is happening here. At every step we have encountered hostility, bitter resistance and quite illogical anger from those who do not have the best intentions of the Ordinariate at heart. Often these people had no real interest in our church so why were they so animated about our development?

Truly the winds blew, the rains came and they battered us. But, because we are built on the rock of our Catholic faith not the shifting sands of relativist opinions, the house stood firm. Yes despite the hostility and against all the odds- we have prevailed! Because God has been with us and he has been active. It is not us who are building here but him. And he has cared for us.

For, as well as attracting detractors we have also found much love and support and friendship. One friend is here today. Bishop John; who fielded the hysterical letters in the early days and who backed us to the hilt when the bombs were flying. Today he opens our hall, already blessed by Monsignor Newton. And because he is the only bishop we know who was raised locally we have decided to name the hall after him. From this moment it is to be ‘The Hine Room’. I thank him today for his help and support publicly and ask you all to continue to pray for our development. May it be to the glory of God as we work together with all Catholics in this land to call people to unity and truth.

The Festival weekend

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It was a wonderful weekend at St. Anselm’s parish. On Saturday morning we held a coffee morning and open day during which cakes were served and refreshments offered to all who came to see what our church has been up to in recent months. At the same time a working party spruced up the garden and Chris and Tom worked hard on the first phase of restoring our final pew. They did a magnificent job.

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On the Sunday bishop John Hine came to celebrate our patronal festival, which we often transfer as it tends to fall on or around Holy Week and the Easter holiday period. This Mass was offered with the special intention of our thanksgiving to God for his many blessings on our parish in recent years. After the Mass we went into the new hall to unveil a plaque. The hall was then named as the Hine Room, after bishop John, the only bishop we know to have been raised in Pembury as a boy. Here he is informing us that the only other thing named after his family is a variety of Cognac!

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After the unveiling of the plaque gifts were handed out to those who were especially involved in the building of the hall. We thanked Geoffrey Ravenhill for acting as the project manager. We thanked Peter and Michael our treasurers who were kept busy throughout the process. We thanked an absent Mike Blande for overseeing the transformation of the gardens and grounds. And we thanked Martin Green, our architect, pictured receiving his reward from bishop John.

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The other visiting priest was Father Hartley. He was the very first parish priest in Pembury who oversaw the building of the hall and had hoped to also build a church before he was moved to Paddock Wood instead. Aged in his 90’s he now lives in residential care with his two brothers, who are also priests. It was lovely to have him with us as a sign of our continuity with the past. He was surprised at how many parishioners remember him and was thrilled at the construction of the church. Prayers are sometimes answered after many years, he reflected.

Finally a thank you to Joanna Bogle who travelled all the way from London to be with us. She had with her two more beautiful hassocks for our parish which were put in pride of place in our chapel at evensong. A great champion of the Ordinariate she also remarked on the good work that has been done. A big thank you to all those who baked and cooked and supported us in whatever way. It was a very happy and unifying weekend for all involved.

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