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Fr Eamonn's Blog

TOGETHER

THE REVEREND PAUL HUNT B.A., M.A., M.TH. PART-TIME PRIEST-IN-CHARGE, HASTINGS OLD TOWN PARISH with FATHER EAMONN MONSON PARISH PRIEST ST. MARY STAR OF THE SEA

Lord Jesus Christ, at your Last Supper you prayed to the Father that all should be one. Send your Holy Spirit upon all who bear your name and seek to serve you. Strengthen our faith in you, and lead us to love one another in humility. May we who have been reborn in one baptism be united in one faith. Amen.

…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us…

JOHN 17:21

https://ctbi.org.uk/week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-2022/

Fr Eamonn's Blog

Introduction to the Synod: Rachael Roser

Talk to the parish about the Synod

  1. Father Eamonn – An excerpt from the Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis

A certain rich man came up to Jesus “as he was setting out on his journey” (Mk 10:17).  The Gospels frequently show us Jesus “on a journey”; he walks alongside people and listens to the questions lurking in their hearts.  He shows us that God is not found in neat and orderly places, distant from reality, but walks ever at our side.  He meets us where we are, on the often rocky roads of life.  Today, as we begin this synodal process, let us begin by asking ourselves – all of us, Pope, bishops, priests, religious and laity – whether we, the Christian community, embody this “style” of God, who travels the paths of history and shares in the life of humanity.  Are we prepared for the adventure of this journey?  Or are we fearful of the unknown, preferring to take refuge in the usual excuses: “It’s useless” or “We’ve always done it this way”?

Celebrating a Synod means walking on the same road, walking together.  Dear brothers and sisters, let us have a good journey together!  May we be pilgrims in love with the Gospel and open to the surprises of the Holy Spirit.  Let us not miss out on the grace-filled opportunities born of encounter, listening and discernment.  In the joyful conviction that, even as we seek the Lord, he always comes with his love to meet us first.

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  • Rachael – Intro to the Synod

I’m here to speak to you about the Synod which Father has mentioned.  It’s very important.

The Pope is specifically asking us, as ordinary parishioners, to ‘humbly learn together how God is calling us to be a church in the third millennium.’  This process is described as ‘Journeying Together.’

We are being called to take a fresh look at our church, to breathe new life into it and to develop a deeper understanding. We are being asked to reflect, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, on what we think about our church.

We are being asked, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to ask ourselves questions about the church.

  • What do we like about our Church?
  • What do we dislike?
  • What should we do more of as a Church?
  • What should we do less of?
  • What do we want to keep?
  • What do we want to change?

These are very challenging questions that we are being asked to ask of ourselves and each other. But, as with any experience that is challenging, it will also be rewarding and exciting, joyful and wonderous.

The Pope has said that the purpose of the Synod is not just to produce documents but “to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust & bind up wounds.’ He wants us to encounter the Lord and one another, to pray, to devote time to adoration and to talk openly about a new path for the church.

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  • Who should be included in this conversation about our church? Isn’t it for the bishops and priests to do that?

Pope Francis specifically asks that this conversation includes ‘All the children of God.’ That’s us! We are ‘journeying together in the same boat’ like the refugees that I spoke about a few weeks ago, and we need to include ‘all the children of god’ in our boat…and in our conversations about how we want the church to be in the future.

Pope Francis specifically mentions including people who are marginalised and whose voices are not heard including young people and children, homeless people, the poor, people who have been excluded or wounded by the church, the LGBTQ community, people who live together before they are being married, people of other faiths and people of no faith.

God loves all of us equally. In the eyes of God. The smallest baby is equal to the Queen, the unemployed alcoholic is loved by God as much as He loves the Bishop. God loves Boris Johnson as much as he loves the refugee. He loves us all.

But how will we encounter these people? The marginalised, the disenfranchised and the people of no faith? How will we ask them? Well, I say that we live among them. In our ordinary weekday lives, we encounter all sorts of people as we go about our business.

How often do we reveal or conceal our faith? Why is that?

We should ask the people who we encounter in our daily lives, what they think about the Catholic church and we should listen to them. I’m sure this sounds challenging so I want to tell you about an experience I had recently. I had just learned about the Synod and I was excited at this opportunity to take a fresh look at our church. I was running with two friends around Alexandra Park, we do 5k twice a week, and as we ran I told them all about the Synod.  One was Catholic and the other wasn’t. After the run, it was my non-Catholic friend who asked for more information, who was interested. She had a spiritual hunger and she wanted to know more.

So we are being asked to have conversations and report back. If we hear things that are unfavourable or unkind about our church, we should listen to those things too and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, reflect on them.

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  • So how is this going to work in practice? This enormous and important conversation that the Pope has asked us to have?

First of all there is more information about the Synod and the process on the parish website and on the Vatican website.  We will soon have a noticeboard at the back of the church and more information will be available in the weeks ahead.

There will be a parish meeting here in the church at 10.45 on Saturday 8th January and everyone is welcome to join us at that meeting. Or, if you would like, you can establish your own Synod group. There is guidance in these two booklets which are available on the website of the Vatican, the diocese and the parish.

We have been asked to give feedback about our reflections and conclusions by the 4th February 2022. This means that we only have a few weeks. We better get on with it!

Feedback can be given back either as a group or as an individual. It can be returned online using Survey Monkey and the address is on the noticeboard at the back of the church and on the parish website. If you don’t have access to the internet, please speak to myself or Father Eamonn and we will help.

Feedback is entirely confidential and anonymous. However, if you would be happy to share your thoughts, or the thoughts of your group Father Eamonn would be interested to hear our thoughts and has asked that, as well as sharing our thoughts online, if you wish, you can share them with him by giving him a copy.

This Synod is a huge challenge to us all to breathe new life into our church. We ask the Holy Spirit to guide us on our journey. And as with all journeys into new territory, it is normal to feel both excited and apprehensive at the outset.

One last thing and it’s a book recommendation. It’s an ideal Christmas present for anyone who is still racking their brains trying to think of the perfect present. This is Pope Francis book called Let Us Dream.  I highly recommend it. It’s available at the library or I’m happy to lend out my copy. It’s inspiring.

Thank you for listening.

Arundel and Brighton link to the Synod: https://www.abdiocese.org.uk/synod

Fr Eamonn's Blog

Preparing for Christmas 2021

St. Mary Star of the Sea Church – Pallottine Fathers

Advent 2021 – Preparing for Christmas

Dear Parishioners,

To facilitate our spiritual preparation for Christmas I will be available for Confessions/Sacrament of Reconciliation before and after each Mass on the weekend of December 18th/19th.

Sadly, for the second year in a row we will not be able to hold the usual 5pm children’s Mass on Christmas Eve. Instead, the church will be open all day on Christmas Eve from  and I invite young family groups to come and visit the crib in the church, family by family as we did last year. There will be an opportunity for a brief prayer, to light a candle and take a photo. If the smaller children want to come dressed as angels or shepherds then that would be lovely.

The Masses on Christmas Eve December 24th will be at 6pm, 8pm and 10pm and on Christmas Day December 25th at 10am and 11.30am. There will be no evening Mass on December 25th. On Sunday December 26th Masses are as usual – 10am and 11.30am

Wishing you all the Love, Joy, Peace and Hope of the season.

Warmest regards,

Father Eamonn

Fr Eamonn's Blog

Updated Government rules on face coverings for Places of Worship – December 10, 2021

Updated rules on face coverings

The government has announced that England will move to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.

From Friday 10 December the public, and staff in public facing areas, are required to wear face coverings in these additional settings:

  • community centres (including village halls), youth centres, members clubs and social clubs
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • polling stations and premises used for the counting of votes
  • places of worship
  • crematoria and burial ground chapels

If you are not able to wear a face covering

In settings where face coverings are required in England, there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering.

Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances. Some people are less able to wear face coverings, and the reasons for this may not be visible to others.

This includes (but is not limited to):

  • children under the age of 11 (The UK Health and Security Agency does not recommend face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
  • people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • people for whom putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
  • people speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
  • to avoid the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
  • police officers and other emergency workers, given that this may interfere with their ability to serve the public