Mystagogia

I am sure that most of you are aware of the process by which an adult becomes a Catholic Christian in the church. It is known as Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. The RCIA as it is known consists of various stages. Firstly there is an enquiry period at the end of which the person is formerly welcomed into a period known as the catechumenate which comprises of a systematic formation in the faith. At the beginning of Lent there is a Rite of Election when the person is called to the Sacraments of Initiation by the bishop. The time during Lent is known as a period of purification and enlightenment. It is a time fo prayer and reflection. At the Easter vigil the adult is baptised and confirmed and receives Communion for the first time. In our parish this Easter, Amir was baptised and Alex and Chris were received into full communion. Also at the vigil Darren and Angus completed their initiation when they received the sacrament of Confirmation with the other three. Now the final stage is called the period of mystagogia. Mystagogical Catechesis is the period of catechesis, from Easter to Pentecost, that instructs the neophytes, the new faithful, in the significances of the signs and symbols of the Sacraments and sacred liturgy, so as to increase their full, conscious, active participation in the life of the Christian community. “Mystagogia” is a strange word that is gradually returning to the Christian vocabulary. It means “going deeper into the mysteries”—that is, into the truths of the faith. Mystagogia describes the ancient custom of spending the first week of Easter with the newly baptised, helping them experience the depths of the truths they had accepted in their Baptism, Confirmation and first Eucharist. The Easter season is a time of “mystagogia” for everyone, not just for new Christians. The newly baptised, or neophytes, continue to meet with one another after Easter until Pentecost, gradually taking their place in the Church, to discuss and discover the living of a sacramental life; living out the Gospel and becoming involved in the parish. Topics often covered are evangelisation, stewardship and lay ministry. As it is for all Christians, it is a lifelong process of entering ever more deeply into the death and resurrection of the Lord. As a parish, this is an ideal time for us to reflect on what we have celebrated.
Here are some questions we can ask ourselves. How am I living a sacramental life? How do I see my place within the Church and the parish? Am I a missionary disciple? Am I a good steward of my gifts and talents? Do I use them for the building up of the community? What difference does the Eucharist make to my life? Am I open to the working of the Holy Spirit in my life?

Hopefully in the coming weeks between Easter and Pentecost we will be able to reflect on these areas of our lives as a member of the body of Christ, the Church.

Newsletter for week starting 28 April 2019

 

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Resurrexit Sixut Dixit, Alleluia

I am sure that I have shared this before but one of the most enduring memories of my primary school days was when our parish priest, Fr Joe, talking to our class about the resurrection, said “If the resurrection of Jesus did not happen then would take off my roman collar and throw it away.” With that he took off his collar. We are sat there open mouthed. Father Joe was recalling St Paul’s words “How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. … But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” The resurrection was a real physical event. Belief in the resurrection of the dead has been an essential element of the Christian faith from its beginnings. “The confidence of Christians is the resurrection of the dead; believing this we live.” (Tertullian) As we celebrate this great feast, this life changing event, we need to ask ourselves: How does the resurrection of Jesus change the way we see things today? How does it affect the way I live my life? What difference does it make?
Bishop Robert Barron in his podcast sermon for Easter Sunday reminds us of three things. The first thing is that the fact of the resurrection shows us that that this world, as we know it, is not all that there is. For some people this world is the final framework of their lives and death is the most frightening feature. For many, everything that comes into being will eventually fade away. The psalmist says of us that our span of life is seventy years or eighty for those who are strong. Even our world and the universe will eventually fade away. But the resurrection of Christ proclaims that death does not have the final word. We don’t have to live as though death had the final word. In the light of the resurrection we see our time as a time of something in gestation. We are not meant to live here ultimately. Our life here is a preparation for life everlasting. The second thing to remember is that the resurrection of Jesus declares that the cross, which for the Romans was the ultimate symbol of torture and death, was not victorious. For tyrants, violence was the way that they get their way. The cross was the means the Romans used to subjugate and control. The risen Christ is the inspiration of rebellion and is the taunt of tyrants. Christ has been victorious over tyranny. Jesus had taken the worst that the world could possible have thrown at him and he returned alive and triumphant. The third thing to remember is that Jesus died and rose to bring everyone to new life. Salvation is open to all. Christ endured great suffering to be one with the whole of humanity.
The resurrection shows that Christ can gather back to the Father everyone he has embraced through his suffering and death. Jesus went all the way down in his suffering to reach all those who wandered from God. What a great feast! What great hope!
We will spend the next fifty days celebrating the resurrection. Father Sylvester, Deacon David and his wife Bridget and myself wish you a happy and joyous Easter. Thank you to all who have helped in making Holy Week prayerful and uplifting.
Resurrexit Sixut Dixit, Alleluia

Newsletter starting 21st April 2019

 

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Newsletter week starting 14 April 2019

 

This message is only for the use of the intended recipient(s). It may contain information which is confidential and legally privileged within the meaning of applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender as soon as possible.
Any copying, disclosure, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it is prohibited and may be unlawful. Unless stated to the contrary, any opinions expressed in this message are personal and may not be attributed to Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark CIO. Registered Charity No.: 1173050
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The Greatest Breakthrough for Humanity

We all know what has dominated our news programmes and papers in the past months.  I won’t say the B word. Yet on Thursday a piece of news was announced simultaneously in Brussels,  Washington, Santiago, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo and Lyngby in Denmark that overshadowed this bleak news. “Decades in the making”, as one newspaper said. Scientists revealed the first direct visual image of a black hole – located five hundred million trillion kilometres from Earth and 6.5 billion times as heavy as the Sun. Carlos Moedas, the European research commissioner said something about this piece of news that struck me. “This a a huge breakthrough for humanity. The history of science will be spilt into the time before the image and the time after the image.”

This Sunday, we begin the week when we celebrate and recall the greatest breakthrough for humanity, the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, who is the Christ. This was the one event that changed our world forever and changed us for ever. Until recently we spilt time before and after this event, i.e. BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini) to emphasise the overwhelming importance of this event for the human race.

Today, known as Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, with the crowd, we welcome Jesus into Jerusalem, waving our palms; but the mood soon changes to a proclamation of the passion and death of Jesus. “For, though innocent, Jesus suffered willingly for sinners and accepted unjust condemnation to save the guilty. His death has washed away our sins, and his Resurrection has purchased our justification.” There are five days left of Lent including today. If we have not managed to keep Lent well or perhaps not at all then the good news is we have time enough to do some fasting, time enough to give to the poor and needy and time enough to reflect prayerfully on the passion of Jesus. So it is not too late. On Thursday evening we begin our Triduum. As one writer put it “On Thursday night we walk out of Lent into these three holiest days. We walk into them singing, “We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered.”” It is a gifted time for us when we prepare to celebrate the joy of the Resurrection. Please pray for those who are to be received into full communion in the Church, Alex and Chris and for those who are to complete their initiation by being confirmed. This will take place next Saturday at the “Easter Vigil in the Holy Night” which begins at 8:30pm with the blessing of the fire. On Easter Sunday we will all renew our baptismal promises. Please pray for Amir and Lily will be baptised at 12:15.

Passiontide

As you enter church this weekend you will see the statues and crucifixes are covered in purple. This time is traditionally known as Passiontide. I want this weekend to encourage you to think about what you are going to do for the three most important days of the year. They are: the day Jesus died, the day he laid in the tomb and the day he rose from the dead. We call these days the Triduum. The word comes from the Latin words for Three Days. These three days are Friday,  Saturday and Sunday but we start counting them from Thursday night. Each day begins the night before as the most important liturgical feasts do. The liturgist, Fr Paul Turner writes, “Although we call this time three days, in spirit it is really only one event. What we start on Holy Thursday we finish on Easter Sunday: one long glorious day.” Ideally it would be good if you were able to celebrate this unique time by setting aside ordinary activities and giving these days your fullest attention.

How do we celebrate Holy Thursday? At the Mass of the Lord’s Supper we commemorate the meal Jesus had with his disciples when he took bread and wine, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them saying, “This is my Body, This is my Blood.” He washed the feet of his disciples. Jesus then went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, where he was arrested and his disciples fled. What can you do to  prepare for this day? Here are some suggestions. Have a special supper saying farewell to Lent and a welcome to the Triduum. Be willing to have your feet washed at the Mass. (I am always looking for 12 volunteers). Bring money for the special collection for the poor taken during this Mass. This year it will go for the work of Fr Freddy Loro in Sudan. Plan to give some time to watch before the Blessed Sacrament before midnight in the Hall. Remember that Jesus asked his disciples to watch with him one hour.

On Good Friday we take time to reflect on the death of Jesus.  We fast and abstain from meat on this day in response to the loving sacrifice of Jesus. This Good Friday you could also abstain from other things as well such as your electronic devises and forms of entertainment. “You may want to do something positive. Make this a day when you show your love to others, just as Jesus spared nothing to show his love for us.” (Turner). You could join in the morning prayer at the Church, take  part in the ecumenical walk of witness through the streets of Canterbury in the morning and come to the Solemn afternoon liturgy. In the evening, in the church there will be a meditation on the last seven words of Christ.

Holy Saturday is a day of rest. Jesus lay in the tomb this day.  The Church invites us to fast and abstain this day, just as we did on Friday, but the purpose of today’s fast is to join in prayer with those who are preparing for baptism or being received into full communion with the Church. You could again come to morning prayer or plan you one peaceful quiet day.

The Easter Vigil is the most important liturgy of the year. It immerses us in the mystery of death and resurrection, It proclaims  the resurrection anew, it brings  new life to the baptised, it reinvigorates us as we recommit ourselves to Christ.  This is a Vigil not to be missed. The Easter Sunday Mass is, in a way, an extra celebration for those who cannot attend the Vigil. On Easter Day we conclude the Triduum. How will you celebrate  this day? Many people wear their best clothes on Easter Day. How and with whom will you feast this day?

Newsletter week starting 07th April 2019

 

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Newsletter for week starting 31st March 2019

 

This message is only for the use of the intended recipient(s). It may contain information which is confidential and legally privileged within the meaning of applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender as soon as possible.
Any copying, disclosure, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it is prohibited and may be unlawful. Unless stated to the contrary, any opinions expressed in this message are personal and may not be attributed to Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark CIO. Registered Charity No.: 1173050
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